2010-12-14-part1-2     Sakthi Vikatan                                        Revised June 21, 2018

Ramanamaharishi – Who am I?


 Maṉam or mind is the wonderful product of Ātmā. The mind generates thoughts. There are many layers of thinking and perception: He is good; he is bad; this is right, that is wrong; this is lofty, that is crafty. If you remove these thoughts, mind as an entity does not exist. Mind is multiple layers of thoughts.
Those thoughts are your creations. You look at the world through the prism of thoughts. Deep sleep has no thoughts. Therefore, there is no world. As the spider extrudes silk (to make a web), you create the world by your thoughts. The spider makes and eats the silk. Likewise, you withdraw the thoughts into yourself. You think, ‘This is the world.’ You separate people into the good and the bad. This process multiplies and magnifies. The world loses its natural state in your perspective and becomes the world of your creation. What you regard as evil, another determines as good and vice versa.
Every man creates a world of his own, fails to see the real world, and undergoes suffering. The Jñāni who involuted his mind can see the reality of the world as the real.

    Every man creates a world of his own, fails to see the real world, and undergoes suffering. The Jñāni who involuted his mind can see the reality of the world as the real.

Where are these remembrances? Where is this ‘I?’ The mind is where the ‘I’ is. That ‘I’ comes from the heart. That subtle spiritual heart is not made of flesh, a fingertip to the right side of the pit of the chest (xiphisternum). That is where the ‘I-thought’ resides. “I” is the mind. See diagram. If there is no “I” there is no mind. Only after the I-ness appears, other thoughts arise: 

‘After the I-Thought (First person) only, other thoughts appear: Muṉṉilai (= Second person) and Paṭarkkai (= Third person). Without the first person, there is no second or third person.

In “Who am I” inquiry, the mind dies. The mind looks intently to the mind (itself), questions, “Who are you?” makes an enquiry and dies along with the “I.”

 The staff (the stick) used to turn the burning dead body in a pyre is cast off in the fire after completing the burning of the body. Likewise, the enquiring mind, like the staff, disappears. Not following the lead of the thought streams, not thinking of transforming thoughts into deeds, not analyzing the consequences of one’s thoughts and not enquiring into who originates these thoughts, the mind comes back to its beginning and resting state. That thought vanishes. With constant practice, the mind’s power to involute in the place of origin increases. The wonder is the place where there is no “I” even in a minute amount. (This is where the thoughts come to die.) That is Silence. That itself is Jñāṉadṛiṣti (Spiritual perception, occult vision).  That is the seat of Truth. That is Āṉma Sorūpam (Nature of soul). All else are the imaginations of the mind.
To curb the mind, besides “Who am I?” inquiry, there is no another way. Observing other modalities, the mind’s tranquility of short duration takes place only to rise again.
Pranayama curbs the mind. It is true. The benefits last if the breath is controlled (for the duration of breath control); from thereon, the mind runs helter-skelter. Mind and breath have a common origin. Where ego takes its origin, that being also the origin of “I” is the origin of breath.
During deep sleep, the mind is tranquil; the breathing is active. During Deep Sleep, not mistaken for death by nature’s grace and mercy, only the breath moves. In the mind, the gross form is breath or Prāṉa. Until the moment of death, the mind keeps the breath in the body. At death, the mind leaves with breath in its grasp. Prāṇāyāma, though not knowing how to curb the mind, will not break the mind.
Dhyanam and Mantra Japam are ways to curb the mind. The elephant’s proboscis is in constant motion. If a chain is given to the restless trunk, the elephant will hold on to the chain. Likewise, if the chain of Mantra Japam is given to the mind compared to the elephant, it holds on to it. When the Mantra Japam slips, the mind will become restless. But, Mantra Japam facilitates the concentration of the mind. The mind, primed with Mantra Japam, is immersed in “Who am I?” inquiry. The mind can be destroyed.
Food in lesser amounts helps augment a tranquil mind, gives mental strength, and takes you on the path of Āṉma Visāram (Soul Enquiry). Spicy foods and overindulgence make the body drowsy, giving dream sleep. Āṉma Visāram is beyond reach. Āṉma Visāram is responsible for the destruction of the mind (It is NOT Brain Death!). All of these are auxiliary factors. The inquiry, “Who Am I?” only destroys the mind. When thoughts arise, intense attention should be given. To whom it arises should be considered. When the thought is enquired into, the mind gives up the thought and stands empty-handed.
As the enemies come out of the fort, they are killed. Likewise, any thoughts coming from the mind should be destroyed. Then, the clarity of “Who am I?” becomes well-known.
Guru controls his mind and destroys his thoughts. God and Guru are the same. The meat in the tiger’s mouth is irrecoverable. Likewise, those who come under the Guru’s gracious visage will be rescued. Hold on to the Guru and follow his path of thought destruction.
There is no happiness in any affairs of the world. Happiness is to know Ātma. It is receiving the vision of the Sorūpam (God). Why do objects appear to give happiness? When the objects are experienced and enjoyed, the mind gets the vision of the Ātma and comes out. During the vision, there is happiness. The mind receives Ātma Darśan when water satisfies the thirst, food relieves hunger, a tree gives shade from the sun, and sexual intercourse gives pleasure. For a brief time, in these matters, the mind receives Ātma Darśan. The mind feels, “Oh, what a pleasure and relief!” Forgetting, and leaving that happiness, the mind goes in search of the next pleasurable experience. There is no happiness in these earthly pleasures. Happiness is realizing Ātma; the wise ones having found it, shed the everyday joys, remove them from their lives, and continuously endeavor to obtain Ātma Darśan (God-Realization). 
All religions describe the destruction of the mind and abandoning the trivial pleasures of the mundane world in so many other ways. Knowing this, what purpose does it serve to continue reading the (self-help or spiritual) books? To destroy the mind, we should enquire into, “Who am I?” Enquiring into the mind, immersing in the Soul is ‘Soul Enquiry.’ There is no gain in engaging in discussions of academic knowledge of Tattvas without an inquiry. Tattvic talks make the mind a garbage dump.
With a mind in ablation, however sinful is the interlocutor, hatred of him will not appear in your mind. However much he causes grief, oppositional endeavor (on your part) will not appear. The thought that the injured one is not ‘I,’ will reign high. The world will fear such a person.
The mind should not dwell on other matters; one should not poke his nose in another’s business. It is lofty to give others what is yours. What you give others is what you give yourself. Who will not give to others? Humility breeds virtue. When the mind is subdued, living anywhere is possible.
These are ideas of Ramana, written in a book form by Śivapprakāsam Pillai. It is for people like us. Ramana’s path is not easy, as we are shaped by different educational systems and habits which let the mind wander in many directions. There is a chance to understand Ramana’s tenets when we cling to the worldly matters and suffer because of them. Enquiring into, ‘Why all these miseries,’ will take us near the premise, “Who am I?” If you continue the effort and remain embedded in the inquiry, there is a great opportunity for subduing of the mind. When we engage in the white noise of success and failure, wishing well and ill, we get enmeshed in imaginations (of the phenomenal world) and languish unable to get out (of the world of mundane thoughts).
Endeavor and enthusiasm to search for the truth are not the forte of all. With fervor rising, endeavor asserting in you, there is always Bhagavan Ramanar to show the path.
Let us get Darśan.
Images: K.Rajasekaran.

Sakti Vikatan 2010-12-14- part2Guru Darśan = Vision of Guru


Near Mēttūr, a village Nerunjippettai. 1928. Periyava made a visit.

The village personage Sundara Reddiar and the then M.L.A Gurumurthy had devotion, love and respect for Periyava. They used to go to Periyava, the divine man from their village, with other villagers to pay homage to him. They were happy to receive Periyava.

There rang a chorus, ‘Jaya Jaya Sankara; Hara Hara Sankara.’ The people sat around Periyava.  There was another chorus coming from some distance: ‘Govinda Govinda.’ That chanting caught the attention of Periyava and he asked where it was coming from.

    “Nearby, a mountain by name Bālamalai… At the top, there is a Srisiddhēṣvarar Temple (Śiva-Ligam). The devotees going up the mountain utter the name of Govinda. It is about 12 KM from here,” the village elder told Periyava.

To Mahāperiyava, it gave a great delight. Wondering about the devotees’ chanting of Govinda to pay homage to Īśvara (Siva), he expressed his desire to see and pay homage to Srisiddhēṣvarar. The devotees were hesitant thinking a 12-mile hike up the mountain would be difficult for Periyava.  But, Periyava was already on his way up the mountain.

Sundara Reddiar organized a team of devotees directing them to show the way up the mountain to Periyava who in his grace showed the path of virtue to his devotees.

Mahāperiyava having gone 12 miles up the mountain and paying homage to Srisiddhēṣvarar declared, “One day in the future, one devotee at his own expense will build a temple for this Swamy.” Mahāperiyava’s divine prediction came true 62 years later in the 1990s.

That year…north Indian Setji came to receive Darśan of Srisiddhēṣvarar. We don’t know the orders he received from Īśvara.  That devotee at his expense built a temple and helped defray the cost of Kumbabishekam (Consecration).

Akilā Karthikeyan narrated this story in a rapturous mood. He had another interesting story to share with us.

“Long time ago, the ruling king in this part of the country wanted to offer a gift to the people who paid their taxes fully and on time.”

He called his minister and ordered him, “dump the coins in water.” The mind-reading minister ordered his servants to build two bunds (dams). Because of it, the land was prosperous.

When Periyava stayed in Nerunjippettai, the water flowed between the two bunds making a great sound like water rolling the rocks. Periyava finding an idol of Perumal among the rocks asked the village elders whether they knew anything about it.

They said, "We heard the story of a king donating six acres of land for Veṅkaṭa Perumal Temple. We know only that much." Periyava observed, there is a treasure trove below, pointing to a spot nearby.  The villagers did not understand why Periyava made such an observation earlier.

Many years later, the Government built the Mettur Dam for power generation. When the engineers dug a hole in the ground, they found and removed the idol. They went further down to a depth of 25 feet, prepared to lay the foundation, and found a treasure trove. Then only the villagers understood the prophesy of Periyava.

First Hanuman idol was discovered and later the engineers found Srīrāma and Sītadēvi idols. Horripilated Reddiar and other villager transported the idols to Kanchipuram. They met with Mahāperiyava and narrated the matter to him and requested him to build a temple for the idols.  Mahāperiyava assented to their proposal, offered his blessings and grace and said, “Do it forthwith. This will proceed fast.”

When they were about to leave, Periyava called them back inside and addressed them, “When I went up the mountain to pay homage and receive Darśan of Sri Siddheśvar, I had Perumal Gavundar as my guide. Is he well?”  Periyava remembered his humble guide 70 years later. With love and concern, he made an enquiry of him. They were horripilated hearing this from Periyava.

The devotees answered, “Gavundar is doing well. He is 95 years of age.  Periyava pointed to the metal plate with the new clothes said with love, “Take this plate with the clothes to Perumal Gavunder and tell him I enquired of him very much.” Perumal Gavundar must have good fortune to be remembered by and receive gifts from Periyava. They all melted in the shower of love and blessings of Periyava to long lost guide. He never forgot his guide over a period of decades. He had the love and respect for him. That is the mercy of Periyava.