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Biography of a Heavy Sleeper

Venkataraman Aiyer (1879-1950) had read many English books and would daily read an English newspaper. W. Y. Evans-Wentz had given him copies of his published books, and of these books he liked best Tibet's Great Yogi, Milarepa. He once requested N. Balaram Reddy to read it. [Cf. N. Balaram Reddy, My Reminiscences]

Venkataraman Aiyer lived on the southern slope of a hill for many years, and then moved down to the foot of the hill, where he spent his last 28 years on earth. Visitors experienced deep feelings in his presence. He answered questions for hours every day. Many books originated in it. He taught such as, "The body is itself a disease." He also said that often the best learning is had by silent speech. But that would depend on what is communicated or not communicated - The proper view is rather that the body is an opportunity - for joking too.

Learning a lot from observing nature frankly is fit too.

About thirty miles south of Madurai is the village Tirucculi (Tiruchuzhi) in the Tamil land of South India, and there lived in the latter part of the 1800s Sundaram Aiyar with his wife Alagammal. To them was born a child, Venkataraman, on December 30, 1879. The child, Venkataraman Aiyer, was later known as Bhagavan and Maharishi. He grew up a healthy, normal boy. There was nothing markedly distinctive about Venkataraman's early years. He was sent to an elementary school in Tirucculi, and then for a year's education to a school in Dindigul.

When Venkataraman was twelve, his father died, and the children went to live with his father's brother Subbaiyar, who had a house in the city of Madurai (Madura). There he was sent to Scott's Middle School and then to the American Mission High School. He was an indifferent student, but he was healthy and strong. He was athletic, and football and wrestling appealed to him. His memory wasamazing too, and he was a really deep sleeper. Thus, boys who had grudges against him would come when he was asleep and carry him where they liked and beat him and then put him back to bed, and he would know nothing about it til he was told about it the next morning. [Mal 15].

Shortly before his sixteenth birthday he had a premonition of Arunachala. It is a mountain. And soon afterwards he felt provoked by a book, the life-stories of sixty-three Tamil saints. This first piece of religious literature that he read, enthralled him.

He became spontaneously self-realized, or enlightened, on July 17 1896, when he was sixteen. One day he was sitting up alone on the first floor of his uncle's house. There was nothing wrong with it. But he felt he was going to die, and he did not know why he felt like that. He calmly thought about what he should do. He said to himself, "Now, death has come. What does it mean? What is it that is dying? This body dies."

This was what he thought: "Well, this body is now dead. It will be carried to the burning ground and there burnt and reduced to ashes. But . . . am I dead? Is the body I?"

He took care to explain to later devotees that this was not reasoning, but a flash of understanding and a flood of Self-awareness. It resulted in a change in his life. Things that he had valued earlier now lost their value. School-studies, friends, relations - none of these had now any significance for him. He grew utterly indifferent. Avoiding company he preferred to sit alone, absorbed in meditation.

Venkataraman admitted to himself that there was no use pretending to study and be his old self. Very soon he departed for Tiruvannamalai. He wrote in a letter he left for his family: "No one need grieve over this act." Thus, six weeks after his Awakening, he had blissfully renounced what he owned and fled to the hill of Arunachala in South India.

When Venkataraman went from Madurai he did not know there was a rail-track to Tiruvannamalai itself. Sometime in the afternoon Venkataraman arrived at another place near Turuvannamalai by train. From there he set out on foot for Tiruvannamalai. He walked about ten miles late in the evening. He went to a temple that was built on a large rock nearby, waited for the doors to be opened, entered and sat down in the pillared hall. He had a vision of brilliant light. It shone for some time and then disappeared. Venkataraman continued sitting till he was roused by the temple priests who were wanting to lock the doors and go to another temple three quarters of a mile away for service. Venkataraman followed them, and while inside that temple he "got lost" again.

Next morning, Venkataraman resumed his journey and boarded the train to Tiruvannamalai. The travel took only a short time. Alighting from the train, he hastened to the great temple of Arunacalesvara. All the gates stood open. Venkataraman entered and experienced great ecstasy and joy.

The rest of his life was spent in Tiruvannamalai. The first place he lived in there was the great temple. For a few weeks he remained in the thousand-pillared hall. There was a senior swami there, who sometimes stood guard over young Venkataraman and drove away urchins that threw stones and things at him while he was meditating.

In the end Venkataraman was removed from that place by devotees without his being aware of it, and from then on someone or other took care of Venkataraman - in gardens, groves, shrines - to keep him alive. He never spoke; he had no inclination to talk, and at times texts were read out to him.

A little less than six months after he arrived at Tiruvannamalai, Venkataraman shifted his staying-place to a shrine called Gurumurtam at the earnest request of its keeper. Venkataraman's fame spread, and pilgrims and sight-seers came to visit him.

After about a year Venkataraman moved to a neighbouring mango orchard. Nothing moved him – not even the wailing and weeping of his mother in front of him after his family had found out where he stayed.

Some time after this event Venkataraman went up the hill Arunachala and started living in a cave there. Here too the crowds came. Among them, a few earnest seekers used to put him questions and wanted scriptural points explained. Venkataraman sometimes wrote out his answers and explanations.

Venkataraman told a Sanskrit scholar, "If one watches from where the notion 'I' arises, the mind gets absorbed there. When a mantra is repeated, if one watches from where that mantra sound arises, the mind gets absorbed there." To the scholar this came as a revelation, and he proclaimed Venkataraman to be Bhagavan. Venkataraman was then 28 years old. Bhagavan and Ramana Maharshi stuck, so he became known by that.

Venkataraman taught a certain form of self-inquiry, of self-pondering inquiry, where one focuces on the I-thought and its source, which is said to be deeper than the ego in the heart. "The Self alone is real," is a facet of his teachings, along with "All that exists is but the manifestation of the Supreme Being," "Self is Simple Being," and so on. And "One can realize at heart without end." His "Who am I?" probing is a simple form of jnana-yoga (wisdom-yoga).

How many have succeeded in following the deepening thought of "I" to the source, straightway into Being? Stand up and be counted among the very lucky guys if some reason it works.

In 1916 his mother returned and was determined to spend the rest of her life with Venkataraman. Soon after his mother came, Venkataraman moved from his cave to Skandasramam, a little higher up the hill, and there his mother received training in intense spiritual life and took charge of the ashram kitchen. After four years his aging mother grew weak. Venkataraman tended her with care and affection, and spent even sleepless nights sitting up with her till she passed away.

As the years rolled by, the ashram grew steadily, and people not only from India but from other continents came to see the sage and get help from him in their spiritual pursuits.

Venkataraman's first Western devotee was an Englishman. He wrote about his first visit: " . . . a man beyond description."

Not just good people went to the ashram. Bad sadhus turned up too. And thieves broke into the ashram and even beat Venkataraman. When one of the thieves gave him a blow on the left thigh, he told him: "If you are not satisfied you can strike the other leg also."

When one of the devotees sought his permission to punish the thieves, he forbade him, saying: "They have their dharma, we have ours . . . Let us not interfere with them."

He showed animals and birds the same consideration that he did to humans that went to him. Birds and squirrels built their nests around him. Cows, dogs and monkeys found asylum in the ashram. He knew their ways quite intimately. He would see to it that they were fed properly and well.

And the ashram grew bigger. Venkataraman sat most of the time in the constructed hall there as the witness to what happened around him. There were numerous invitations for him to undertake tours, but he never moved out of Tiruvannamalai. Most of the time, every day, people sat before him. They sat mostly in silence. Sometimes some of them asked questions; and sometimes he answered them.

In 1947, his health began to fail. Towards the end of 1948 a small nodule appeared below the elbow of his left arm. It was cancer. At last the doctors suggested amputating the arm. Venkataraman replied with a smile, "The body is itself a disease. Let it have its natural end."

The disease did not yield to treatment. Venkataraman was indifferent. But his grace flowed. Crowds came in large numbers. Venkataraman insisted that they should be allowed to see him [have darshan, the sight of a holy one]. Venkataraman had compassion for those who grieved over the suffering, and reminded them: "They take this body for Bhagavan and attribute suffering to him. What a pity! They are despondent the Bhagavan is going to leave them and go away - where can he go, and how?"

On April 14 1950, when he was seventy years old, all in the ashram knew that the end was nearing. The sage asked his attendants to make him sit up. He opened his eyes for a brief while; there was a smile; a tear of bliss trickled down from the outer corner of his eyes; and at last the breathing stopped. There was no struggle. At that very moment a comet moved slowly across the sky, reached the summit of the Arunachala hill and disappeared behind it.

Ramana seldom wrote. What little he wrote in prose or verse, was to meet specific demands of his devotees. He once said, "Somehow, it never occurs to me to write a book or compose poems. All the poems I have made were on the request of someone or other in connection with some particular event."

The most important of his works is The Forty Verses on Existence. Some of the works of Shankara like Crest-Jewel of Wisdom and Self-Knowledge, Atma-bodha were rendered into Tamil by him. Most of what he wrote is in Tamil. But he wrote also in Sanskrit, Telugu, and Malayalam.

The philosophy of Venkataraman is the same as that of Advaita-Vedanta. It has Self-realization for its aim. His central path is inquiry into the content of the notion 'I'. The inquiry "Who am I?" is "to focus the entire mind at its source," which is called the Self. When the Self shines forth, it is great realization.

[A source: Bhr]

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TAO STUDY

A Sadhana Laid Bare

The Beginning of the Story

When Venkataraman was seventeen he was sitting alone in a room on the first floor of his uncle's house. A sudden violent fear of death overtook him. He just felt "I am going to die" and began thinking what to do about it. He felt he had to solve the problem there and then. He said to himself mentally such as, "Death has come; what does it mean? This body dies."

He at once dramatized how death took place. He lay with his limbs stretched out stiff and imitated a corpse. He said to himself, "Well then, this body is dead . . . But with the death of this body am I dead? Is the body I? . . . I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the "I" within me, apart from it."

This is the approach of the ancient "not this, not that" (neti-neti) practice of yoga, and the whole discriminatory process of his sadhana took barely half an hour. From that moment the "I" or Self focussed attention on itself "by a powerful fascination". Whether he was talking rading or anything else, he was still centred on "I". And fear of death had disappeared for all, and "You are really absolute Being," became one of his dominant teachings.

Previous to that crisis he had had no clear perception of the Self and felt no perceptible or direct interest in it. [Mal 18-19, 21]

From His Interview with Paul Brunton

PAUL BRUNTON interviewed him years later: "How can one lose the feeling of one's personality?"

Ramama told him that the first and foremost of all thoughts is the thought "I" and added that you could mentally follow the "I" thread until it leads you back to its source. It is the last [thought] to disappear that way.

Brunton asked what was then left, and if a man then would become an idiot.

He was told that man contrary to that would attain immortal consciousness, become truly wise - Self knowing. When a man knows his true Self, something divine and eternal takes possession of him. When this happens a man has not really lost himself; rather he has found himself, so enquiry into the the true Self is worthy to be undertaken.

In contrast to this, the greatest kings and statesmen know in their heart of hearts that they cannot rule themselves, do not yet know who they are. [Mal 19-21]

He would swallow with indifference -

Approaching books, naming

Analysing and naming came easily within reach as we develop mentally and further. One may approach books both as a writer or reader, and analysing and naming often helps in the acquisition of knowledge in them.

LoBooks resulted from approaching him

"I SHOULD describe the state I was in as Suddha Manas or Vijnana or the intuition of the Illumined." [Mal 24] (1)

After obtaining control of the mind through breathing exercises, one is to harness the controlled mind to the [Deep, Inner] Self, he later mentioned. [cf. Mal 22]

Radiating Grace on those who approached him, came naturally and effortlessly. [cf. Mal 24]

"I had read no books except the Periapuranam, the Bible and bits of Taymanavar or Tevaram." And he went through studies rather mechanically, with his attention was far away from superficial matter. [Mal 23-24, cf. Mal 22]

He made as little outer change as possible to this new state of awareness, but he now preferred solitude. [cf. Mal 22, 23] (2)

LoAnalysing and naming came easily as well

HE NO LONGER had any likes or dislikes with regard to food. He would swallow whatever was given to him with like indifference. [cf. Mal 23] (4)

"The books were analysing and naming what I had felt intuitively". [Mal 24]

LoHe was meek from his won Self-identity

CONVENTIONAL aims of life became unreal. He remained in constant, unbroken awareness of the Self and there was no more sadhana [training], no more spiritual effort, after this. Further progress toward Self-identity came naturally and without effort. [cf. Mal 24]

He became meek. "I had never heard of Brahman [Reality inside], samsara and so forth." [cf. Mal 22, Mal 24]

Gist

IN SUM
  1. Books do not have to result from mechanical study alone.
  2. Those who can analyse and name very well from inside, should have favourable conditions to do it and prosper.
  3. Who is meek from Self-realization or Self-identity, can progress too.

Simple adages Mechanical study may be a way of learning a trade or something for breadwinning, and may not be so bad. It often helps to analyse and learn well. Along with it, some measures to enhance or improve one's self-understanding and self-assertiveness could be very useful. Self-knowledge is an altogether different "thing".

And so?

ANECDOTE Many devotees hoped to be allowed to give up their jobs and remain always with Venkataraman. And many were surprised at the answers they got, such as, "Bhagavan is always with you, in you. The Self in you is Bhagavan. It is that you should realize."

"One who truly renounces actually merges in the world and expands his live to embrace the whole world."

"He who renounces when he is not yet ripe for it only creates new bonds."

But there are some who "drop off from secular life as a ripe fruit does from the branch of a tree".

And the explantation that the Bhagavan most often gave, was that true renunication is in the mind. [Mal 72-73]

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TAO STUDY

Teachings of Venkataraman

The references below are to the book The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words [Tb].

LoThey err who crave instruction in Reality

In death, being is not lost — The Self is the witness of the three states of waking, dream and sleep. — You are eternal. [#29, 26, 32]

Find out first — Mere book learning is not of any great use. — Everything . . . illusion or Divine . . . must be within the Self. — The truth is that Realization is eternal and already exists. [27, 19, 23]

The world . . . has survived the death of so many who once lived — Many, craving instruction, brought him books; he became learned almost by accident. He said, "As I listened to . . . sacred books, I learnt all this and found . . . what I had felt." AO. — The state of deep sleep . . . what was in deep sleep continues to be now also. [21, 11, 25-26]

No one is ever away from his Self and therefore everyone is in fact Self-realized; only . . . people do not know this. — Abide in the natural heart-centre as the inherent Reality dwells in its natural heart-centre. [#23, 14]

When a person is sufficiently mature he becomes convinced naturally. — [The interval between death and re-birth] may be long or short. [22, #29]

Some theoretical knowledge is needed, but practical application is what is needed. — Reality . . . It is that which is. — Awareness is itself the "I". — The English words - Enlightenment, Liberation and Self-Realization - are here to correspond to the Sanskrit words Jnana, Moksha and Mukti. AO. [#13, 16, 24, 12]

It is possible [to know the posthumous state of an individual], but why try? — Were you born? — The Realized Man merges into Being when death comes. — There is neither birth nor death, one simply remains what one really is.[31, 27, #29, 30]

To understand anything there must be the Self. [15 (2)]

LoPure Knowledge is at first like feeling (you feel inside oneself)

Point the way to the Self. — The real Self is waiting . . . to receive you. — Phenomena are real when experienced as the Self. — Illusion itself is illusory. [#14, #22. 16, 17 (3)]

Consciousness is pure knowledge. — The Self or pure Consciousness — The real Self is continuous and unaffected. — The teaching varies according to the understanding of the listener. [23, 21, 31, #28 (4)]

Actual intuition is more like feeling. — Self-realization. Attain that first. — Comment: What he had realized he recognized in Shankara's teachings. AO. [13, #27, 15]

LoRealization is beyond useful and useless knowledge, beyond all those categories

Everyone is the Self. — Neither the physical body nor the subtle body is meant by the Self. — The Enlightened . . . his attention is turned to the Self. [#23, #21, 19 (5)]

After Realization useless burdens are to be thrown overboard. — Realization . . . is not anything new to be acquired. — The Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance. — The essence of the mind is . . . consciousness [awareness]. [#13, #23, #25, 23]

If a man's merits and demerits are equal, he is re-born immediately. — Be well prepared of death beforehand. AO — Lived absorbed in the Self. — You wrongly identify yourself with the body. [29, 32, 10, 31]

The qualified one realizes the truth. — Theory serves as a basis for practice. — The world has no reality apart from Brahman. — There is neither birth nor death. [#30, #13, 16, #27 (6)]

Waking, dream and sleep are mind phases. — The Self is understood as the continuous Self uninterrupted by waking, dream and deep sleep. — Latent potentialities withdraw into the heart at death. [#26, #26, 29]

He spoke freely and his replies were often given with laughter and humour. AO — The spirit is not disembodied. It carries along a gross body, and/or a subtle one. [11, #31] (7)

Gist

IN SUM
  1. They err who crave instruction in Reality.
  2. Pure Knowledge is at first like feeling (you feel inside oneself). Tend it.
  3. Realization is beyond useful and useless knowledge, beyond all those categories.
IN NUCE Reality is a Pure Realization -

Silent Language

ANECDOTE

When Venkataraman was staying in a certain cave, two men came to see him. They started to talk to him at length about all they had done in spiritual matters, and the spiritual books they had read. One of them them also confessed that in spite of all this, he had no peace.

The speeches of the two men took quite a long time, but Venkataraman did not interrupt them even once. He continued to remain silent even after the speeches had ended. Then one of the men gave up waiting for a reply and delivered yet another long speech. Venkataraman listened in silence and continued to remain silent when the speech was over.

The man then said, "We have been speaking to you for a long time, but you don't open your mouth at all. Please tell us something. Anything, however brief, will do."

The guru finally said, "All this time I have been speaking in my own language. What can I do if you won't listen to it?"

One of the two men caught the meaning of Sri Bhagavan's reply and chanted a verse by Shankara:

Though the Master's speech is simple silence,
the doubts of the disciples are all resolved."

The two visitors then gave up speeches and questions.

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Venkataraman Instructions

When a pleasant, cool southern breeze is blowing, what need is there for a fan? (a verse from the Yoga Vasishta) [Crm 142]

One should ask: "What is the need for instruction in the Self if life is pleasant enough already and the Self cannot be explained anyway?"

At any rate - you can take it from me - here is gist from two more works by Venkataraman:

Twig

To ask the mind to kill itself is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So you must turn inward. [Gfb 15]

Venkataraman speaks for taking the ego back to its source: "Go on repeating "I-I" and that will lead you to the same goal. There is no harm in using "I" as a mantra. It is the first name of God." [Gfb 15-16, passim]

Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. [Crm 45]

This pursuit and related ones can take some of us deep inside - "The state we call realization is simply being oneself . . . we loosely talk of Self-realization for want of a better term." [Gfb 26]

Knowing one's Self is only being one's Self — This very Self is referred to as the witness (sakshi) and the transcendent (turiya, literally the fourth) — One's Self is of the nature of Brahman [Gfb 29, Crm 10, 12]

The Self is self-luminous . . . and is the reality which is self-manifest. [Crm 27]

What is called the Heart is no other than Brahman. [Crm 9]

Venkataraman too advises to give up all thoughts regarding the non-self and focus intently inwardly somehow. "Breath and mind arise from the same source and when one of them is controlled the other is also controlled," he tells. — [The breath control that is described is . . . not mere physical exercise. Publishers]. — Breath control is the means for mind control - Breath can be controlled . . . by regulation of breath (pranayama). [Gfb 15; Crm 4, 20]

. When we watch wherefrom the "I-thought" arises, we are necessarily watching the source of breath also, as the "I-thought" and the breath arise from the same source. Breath control may serve as an aid. — The six mystic centres [chakras] which are said to be loci of meditation, are [merely] meant for beginners in yoga. [Gfb 16, Crm 26]

Regulation of life, such as getting up at a fixed hour, bathing, doing mantra-japa, etc., all this is for people who do not feel drawn to Self-enquiry, or are not capable of it. [Gfb 17]

The thought "I am the body" is ignorance. That the body is not apart from the Self is knowledge. [Gfb 30]

How to see the Self? As the Self is one without a second, it is impossible to see it. [Crm 118]

To be taken note of is the Heart which is of the nature of consciousness. It is both inside and outside (us) and has neither an inside nor an outside . . . This is the really important Heart . . . The Self is the Heart. The Heart is Self-luminous. Light arises from the Heart. — True Knowledge is being devoid of knowledge. [Gfb 35; Crm 117]

Renunciation is always in the mind, not in going to the forest or solitary places, or giving up one's duties. [Gfb 38]

Now, then and always - here, now and everywhere - we are the same . . . spaceless. [Crm 117]

Take hold of that State which alone is the Supreme and True One and engage yourself in action in the world, regarding your life there as mere sport. You have discovered That which is the Reality inside your Heart behind all the appearances of this world. So, without ever letting That out of your sight, disport yourself as you like in the world . . . engage yourself in the affairs of the world without any detriment to yourself. [Gfb 43]

More

The body is within the Self. And yet
One thinks one is inside the . . . body. [Crm 130]

Abide in stillness. [Crm 135]

Enter deep into the Heart. [Crm 143]

Poetic

Better than hymns of praise
Is repetition of the Name;
Better low-voiced than loud,
But best of all
Is meditation in the mind.

. . . . . . . .

The noblest attitude of all,
Is to hold Him as the 'I' within,
The very 'I'. [Crm 110]

Mind and breath . . .
Fork out like two branches. [Crm 111]

Where this 'I' notion fades,
Now there as I, as I, arises
The One, the very Self. [Crm 112].

In the nature of their being, creature and creator
Are in substance one.
They differ only
In adjuncts and awareness. [Crm 113]

- Venkataraman Aiyer [The Essence of Instruction. Crm 110]

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Spiritual Instruction of Venkataraman

Here are abstracts from Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. [Sirm]

1. Instruction (Upadesa)

What are the marks of a real teacher (Sadguru)? Steady abidance in the Self.

The Guru who is the embodiment of that which is indicated by the terms sat, chit, and ananda (existence, consciousness and bliss).

Mental concepts are controlled by the mere presence of the real Guru.

By the grace of the Guru . . . is it possible to know oneself.

When the individual's [piousness] has reached a mature stage, . . . the witness of that individual soul and identical with it, comes . . . with the help of sat-chit-ananda. According to this doctrine the Guru can truly be called the Lord.

To a few mature persons the Lord shines as the light of knowledge and imparts awareness of the truth.

What is the end of the path of knowledge (jnana) or Vedanta? It is to know the truth that the 'I' is not different from the Lord (Isvara)

[One is] to achieve that state of Silence which is beyond thought and word.

2. Practice (Abhyasa)

Can this path of enquiry be followed by all aspirants? This is suitable only for the ripe souls.

What are the other methods? They are . . . japa . . . dhyana . . . yoga . . . jnana, etc.

Japa is uttering the names of the gods or sacred mantras like Om either mentally or verbally.

Dhyana [meditation] denotes the repetition of the names, etc., mentally (japa) . . . Perfection in dhyana is the state of abiding in the Self.

Meditation functions in an exceedingly subtle manner at the source of the mind.

The source of the breath is the same as that of the mind.

The practice of stilling the mind through breath control (pranayama) is called yoga.

It is necessary to train the mind with the help of practices like dhyana, whenever it becomes externalised. [Mod]

Those who are established in a state in which there is a cessation of all efforts, never swerve from their true state. [Mod]

Changeless being is one's true nature.

The practice of unswerving abidance in the Self is essential [Mod]

The mind which remains at the end of the enquiry is Brahman.

What is known as knowledge or awareness is only the potency of the Self (atma sakti).

The Lord denotes the Self.

The Lord, whose nature itself is Grace, does not have to bestow His Grace.

The meaning of the word heart (hridayam) is the Self (atman). As it is denoted by the terms existence, consciousness, bliss, eternal and plenum (sat, chit, anandam, nityam, purnam) it has no differences such as exterior and interior or up and down.

From the Self there arise in succession a kind of luminous and reflected consciousness; the individual consciousness, the seer; and phenomena, that is, the world.

The force of the Self travels through the psychic nerves and, pervading the entire body, imparts sentience to the senses [Abr] What is dhyana (meditation)? It is abiding as one's Self without swerving in any way from one's real nature.

Dhyana is achieved through deliberate mental effort; in samadhi there is no such effort.

One should not be deceived by visions and forget himself. [Mod]

The stream of latent tendencies consists of subtle thoughts. [A note]

What are the rules of conduct which an aspirant (sadhaka) should follow? Moderation in food, moderation in sleep and moderation in speech.

How long should one practice? Until the mind attains effortlessly its natural state of freedom from concepts.

The state of being free from mental concepts is called 'dwelling in solitude'.

Prarabdha [karma] concerns only the out-turned, not the in-turned mind.

Maturity of thought and enquiry pertain to the mind.

Instead of wasting one's life by entering the order of ascetics before one is fit for it, it is better to live the householder's life.

Fix the mind in the Self which is its true nature

The activities of the wise man exist in the eyes of others and not in his own [Abr]

[A wise man] may be accomplishing immense tasks. His activities do not stand in the way of peace of mind. [Abr]

What is the meaning of brahmacharya? Only enquiry into Brahman should be called brahmacharya.

Those who are competent need not formally enter the orders of brahmacharya, etc., in the order laid down. One who has realized his Self does not distinguish between the various orders of life.

3. Experience (Anubhava)

What is the light of consciousness? It is the self-luminous existence-consciousness which reveals to the seer the world of names and forms both inside and outside. . . . It does not become the object of consciousness.

What is bliss? It is the experience of joy (or peace) in the state of vijnana free of all activities and similar to deep sleep.

What is the state beyond bliss? It is the state of unceasing peace of mind . . . which resembles inactive deep sleep. . . . A yogi who is in this state is inactive even while engaged in activity. This is also called sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

The Self is present in all perceptions as the perceiver. There are no objects to be seen when the 'I' is absent.

The idea that one is one's body is what is called hrdaya-granthi (knot of the heart) [A note]

Brahman cannot be apprehended by the impure mind but can be apprehended by the pure mind.

When [the power of Brahman] becomes free from the reflection of consciousness (abhasa) . . . it is called the pure mind. Its state of union with the Brahman is its apprehension of Brahman.

The Self is real, as it comprises everything.

4. Attainment (Arudha)

What is the state of attainment of knowledge? It is firm and effortless abidance in the Self . . . the Self which is existence, consciousness and bliss', the innate self-consciousness

A realized person (jivanmukta).

So long as they make efforts they will not be sages (jnanis)

In waking sleep there is awareness alone.

The sage who is the embodiment of the truths mentioned in the scriptures has no use for them.

The fact that the characteristics of Liberation are described in different ways proves that they are imaginary . . . The firm conviction that there is neither bondage nor liberation is the supreme purpose of all efforts. . . . If one enquires, 'for whom is there bondage and Liberation?' it will be seen, 'they are for me'. If one enquires, 'who am I?' . . . what [eventually] remains is one's real being.

Realized persons uniformly see neither bondage nor Liberation so far as the true Self is concerned.

Joys and sorrows . . . do not really exist.

When the entire universe disappear[s], [the state of pure being] does not disappear.


Venkataraman Aiyer, Literature  

Bhr: Mahadevan, T. M. P. Bhagavan Ramana. Tiruvannamalai, India: Sri Ramanasramam, 1989.

Cor: Osborne, Arthur ed: The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi. New ed. Rider. London, 1969.

Crm: Sri Ramanasramam. The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi. New Indian ed. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1996.

Gfb: Ramana Maharshi. Gems from Bhagavan. Comp. A. D. Mudaliar. 6th ed. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanashramam, 2000.

Mal: Osborne, Arthur ed: Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self- Knowledge. New ed. Rider. London, 1970.

Sirm: Sri Ramanasramam. Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. 8th rev ed. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1974.

Tb: Osborne, Arthur ed: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words. New ed. Rider. London, 1971.

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