[Advaita-l] Bhagavan Ramana
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 22:57:03 CDT 2016
Sri Dakshinamurti and Sri Ramana. ~~By Sadhu Arunachala (M.Chadwick).
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi has often been compared to Sri Dakshinamurti,
who sits silently under the banyan tree on the north slope of Arunachala,
and there is much ground for this comparison. Moreover, it is more than
just a comparison. Actually the two are identical, though their bodies may
seem, to us who are bound by the limitations of time and space, different.
Sri Dakshinamurti has retreated to an inaccessible vastness, no longer to
be reached by humans, and we can only surmise that this was done because he
found the world unworthy and unable to understand his silent instruction,
whereas in the form of Sri Ramana he was always most accessible and
explained to one and all the meaning of this silence; if they did not
listen now, well, the seed would bear fruit on some future occasion.
Nothing was ever wasted, for him there was no time and so there could be no
Strangely, Bhagavan (as we all used to call Sri Ramana) once found himself
in the proximity of the Silent Guru. He had gone off on a ramble about the
slopes of the hill when he saw a very large banyan-tree leaf lying in his
path. So struck was he by this that he set off in search of its source. At
length he came within sight of an abnormally large tree, which he thought
must be the one he was looking for. But he could not reach it, his way was
blocked by a wall of sheer rock,and at the same time he was attacked by a
swarm of wasps whose nest he had unwittingly disturbed. So, realizing he
was not destined to proceed, he returned. After this event, he discouraged
his disciples who proposed to explore the Hill in quest of the same spot.
"You will not succeed in any way" he would tell them. And though
occasionally someone would ignore his advice, nobody ever did succeed in
getting a glimpse of the enormous tree.
Both Sri Dakshinamurti and Sri Ramana taught exactly the same, a teaching
that can be fully expounded in silence. As soon as words are used we are in
the realm of the relative, and for Bhagavan there was no relative. It was
only a fictitious appearance of Reality which is One (Advaita). "Make an
effort to be without effort," he would say. In fact don't do anything,
because actually there is nothing to do. The whole trouble with us all is
this constant doing, associating ourselves with all sorts of actions and
circumstances and so putting apparent limitations on the Illimitable. How
can speech do more than point out to us our mistakes? It can tell us only
to 'be', not to be this or to be that, because being this or that is back
again in the realm of limitation, and it is just exactly this that he is
trying to make us understand.
And is there really any method of reaching that which is eternally and
forever here and now? Yes, I know Sri Ramana taught Self-enquiry. Find out
who is this eternal and ever conscious being you really are through the
method of 'Who am I?' in fact. But that was all. 'Just be yourself,' in
other words, and to be yourself you must get behind phenomena to the
Eternal Witness and this can only be done by Self-enquiry.
However, sometimes he would expound philosophy by the hour to clear the
doubts of his many visitors, but in the end he would always explain that
this was actually quite unnecessary. There was only one thing to know and
one thing to do. Silence was best. Once when he saw me puzzling over the
intricate division and recombination of the elements in an Advaitic
treatise he had told me to read, he turned to someone sitting before him
and said, "Tell him not to worry over all that, that is for those people
who demand that sort of thing, who want analytical explanation of
everything. Let him read the rest which he can understand."
He has stated explicitly that he himself never at anytime did any sadhana.
"Sometimes I would sit with my eyes closed and sometimes with them open. I
still do. But I know no mantra or yogic exercises and would not have any
use for them if I did." And it is certain that he never taught any of these
things. He told us how to set about Self-enquiry and advised certain rules
of life that would facilitate this, but that was all. He says in the little
book Who am I?: "Regulation of diet, restricting it to sattvic food taken
in moderate quantities, is of all rules of conduct the best, and is most
conducive to the development of sattvic qualities of the mind. These, in
their turn, assist us in the practice of Atma Vichara or enquiry in quest
of the Self." For the mind is the product of the food we eat, he explained.
Purify the food and the mind automatically becomes pure. Again: "Likes and
dislikes, love and hatred are equally to be eschewed. Nor is it proper to
let the mind rest often on the affairs of worldly life. As far as possible
one should not interfere in the affairs of others. Everything offered to
others is really an offering to oneself; and if only this is realized, who
is there that could refuse anything to others?" Let me quote once again:
"If the ego rises all else will rise, if it subsides all else will also
subside. The deeper the humility with which we conduct ourselves the better
it is for us. If only the mind is kept under control, what matters it where
one may happen to be?"
It all sounds so simple put like this, and yet how many of us succeed? No
question hereof going off and taking sannyasa, for as he says:
"renunciation is not discarding external things, but the cancellation of
the uprising ego." And this can quite possibly be done more effectively in
the world and amidst family life. For, to the determined seeker some
opposition is really good, it gives him something to work on and keeps him
alert, just as the airplane needs the opposition of the air to hold it
He was always very definite in pointing out that Liberation is not some
far-off, after-death experience. It is here and now for all of us always.
Just drop the false association with limitation. Nothing new will happen,
we shall then see that we have been all the time what we thought was
something alien, something we were searching for. But he was no missionary
trying to drive people along a definite track. Did he not know far better
than we that everything had its proper time, there was no forcing it. A
certain number of people were bound to come to him, and a few were able to
remain permanently. It was just their karma. Once when a visitor was taking
leave and, with tears, complained that he could not remain any longer,
Bhagavan remarked in a very matter of fact way that if everybody who came
remained, there would not be any room for anybody.
For people who believed in reforms and all sorts of charitable activity,
his advice was: "First help yourself and then you may be able to help
others. How can you possibly do any good to others when you yourself are
still only seeking for the Good?" It is starting about it at the wrong end.
People who never came to him have often said that his was a negative
philosophy. But this is only ignorance of the truth. He was a dynamic force
himself and never
advised the inaction of inertia. "Do, but do not associate yourself with
the doer. Be the witness always," was his message. Things will undoubtedly
go on, and as long as we imagine ourselves to be the body we will naturally
believe that we perform the various activities ourselves. It is absolutely
useless to sit back and say: "I am not the body, so there is no need to do
anything," when this is only a catch phrase of intellectualism. We do not
really believe it is true, so it is only hypocrisy. When we do actually
know it, we shall never talk like that. For the real sannyasin, he has
said, there is no difference between solitude and active life, as he does
not regard himself as the doer in either case.
His message was for one and all, and nobody, whatever his occupation, need
say that he has no time, for it is to be practiced now and always, whatever
we may be doing, be it working, resting, eating or sleeping. At the end of
Catechism of Enquiry, [now titled Spiritual Instruction] it is said: "It is
within our power to adopt a simple and nutritious diet, and with earnest
and incessant endeavor, eradicate the ego, the cause of all misery, by
canceling all mental activities born of the ego (i.e., the idea "I am the
doer".) Can obsessing thought arise without the ego, and can there be
illusion apart from such thought?"
And in these few words are summed up the whole of the teaching of the great
Sage of Arunachala who was in fact none other than Sri Dakshinamurti in
mortal form. And even now though Sri Ramana has left his body, where is the
difference? Does he not exactly come up to the definition of Sri
Dakshinamurti as given by Sri Sundararaja Sarma in his commentary on the
slokas of Sri Sankaracharya? Sri - Sakti, Dakshin - Perfect, Amurti -
formless, or "The Ever-Perfect, Invisible Power," as one might term it.
The first verse of the Sri Dakshinamurti Stotra by Sri Sankaracharya
declares the same: "I bow to Sri Dakshinamurti in the form of my Guru; I
bow to him by whose Grace the whole world is found to exist entirely in the
mind, like a city's image mirrored in a glass, though like a dream, through
Maya's power it appears outside; and by whose Grace, again, on the dawn of
Knowledge it is perceived as the everlasting and non-dual Self."
But of a truth the Self is one. When we have reached that state of
knowledge, when we live in the Self alone and see the world for what it is,
we too shall find that both Sri Dakshinamurti and Sri Ramana are and ever
have been enthroned in our hearts. Let us pray earnestly that the dawn of
that day may be near at hand.
From: The Call Divine, January 1953.
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