Ramanamaharishi. Atma Anubhavam: Soul Experience         Edited on April 20, 2018


         சக்தி விகடன் - 11 Jan, 2011 Part 1 & 2

Ramanamaharishi   Ātma Anubhavam (Soul Experience)



When an endeavor is (deserves to be) forsaken, only Jñānis can reject it outright.  Apprehension of the views of Bālaswāmy, the future Ramana Maharishi, on Hata Yoga, reveals his patience and depth of knowledge for a youth of his age.  He did not use harsh language in his rejection of Hata Yoga. There was not even a scintilla of hubris (Scintilla: compared to the germ of a rice paddy).  He was only 26 years of age, when he explained (the futility of Hata Yoga in the pursuit of Self-Enquiry).  No wasted words fell out of his mouth.  Ripe reflection (on the subject) expressed his views in precise sentences.

The pundits say, ‘The Path of Enquiry is like feeding tender grass to a testosterone-charged (virile) bull to make it docile.” Only the intense seekers of wisdom pursue the path of enquiry.  The middling seekers engage in Dhyana by one-pointed concentration of the mind. The greenhorns begin with Pranayama practice and progress stepwise to the Path of Enquiry.

Practice what one is comfortable with.  Krishna in Bhagavadgita says, “My devotee is dearer to me than a yogi.” Is there a worry about the chosen path, when the aspirant steadies his mind and attains maturity to engage in self-enquiry?

Is asceticism the way?  Not so. Sannyāsī has put his heart and soul in knowing himself.  It is not just abandoning the worldly affairs or the relinquishing of bonds!  If he is drawn to self-enquiry and though he remains solitary or a householder, both will appear as one to the aspirant. Though he participates in all matters, the endeavorer (seeker) remains aloof.

Bālaswāmy declares, “Know it well! Eat only Sattvic foods. With a strong effort, give up the self-conceit of ‘one-self’ and the ego of ‘I.’  Self-enquiry becomes then an easily attainable matter.  There is nothing impossible.  Strong will and effort are important.”

Sastri, a visitor from Chidambaram gave the book on Vivekasūdāmai to Bālaswāmy.  It is a wonderful book. Those in pursuit of self-enquiry need not read any book other than this. Bālaswāmy gave it to Sēṣaiyar to read. Sēṣaiyar could not grasp the textual meanings. He had problems in understanding the text.  He begged Bālaswāmy to make it easily understood.

Pazhaṉisāmi brought a Tamil translation of the book. The author Ulakanātha Swāmiga wrote it Viruttam style. Bālaswāmy began to write it in prose style.  Sēṣaiyar received a substitute book; Bālaswāmy gave up writing the book in prose.

A devotee named Uththaḍi sold his properties, gave away his riches in an act of philanthropy, and offered the last 100 rupees to Bālaswāmy, who refused to accept it.  In the 1940s, it was a large sum.

When Sēṣaiyar’s son-in-law Krishnan, one day was cleaning the Virūpāi cave, he saw the incomplete Tamil translation of Vivekasūdāmaṇi. He thought he could bring it to print, if he had that 100 rupees.  He requested Bālaswāmy to complete the translation. His idea was apparent to Bālaswāmy. In a few days, the translated manuscript was completed. Uththaṇḍi's money became purified and facilitated in the printing and publication of Vivekasūdāmaṇi in Tamil prose.

What does Vivekasūdāmaṇi say, written by Bālaswāmy, later known as Bhagavan Ramanamaharishi? All the peoples of the world desire for freedom from bodily harm, afflictions and sorrows, at all places and always. All have limitless love of themselves.  The cause for this desire is to remain in comfort. During deep sleep, man is used to comfort. He wanders looking for the same comfort in other endeavors.  He discovers there is no comfort anywhere not associated with deep sleep.    

As the people are in grief, not finding a way to happiness and comfort as in deep sleep, God took the human form of Ādisankara and revealed the secrets of Vedanta in his treatise Vivekasūdāmaṇi.

In Bālaswāmy’s prose form the preface starts like this.

‘Rare (rare) is birth as a human.  These humans should enjoy their happiness, that is innate in them.  It comes with wisdom.  Wisdom comes from enquiry.  What should be done for it?’

Bālaswāmy says, ‘You should seek a good Guru. He explains who the good Guru and pupil are?  What is the nature of service to the Guru? No matter what, one’s own effort is the path. ‘

I am Braḥmam, Aham, and Brahmāsmi: This realization meditated upon in Cittaṁ will clarify the mind and help attain Samadhi.

Bālaswāmy continues to elaborate for the welfare of the world.

Human birth is rare.  To be born knowledgeable is rarer. For that knower to attain the joy of liberation, it takes several long births. Don’t run after Pundits’ explanations. The sound of Vīṇā gives pleasure for the duration. Later, it gives nothing else. Likewise, Upanyāsas (lectures) do not offer Moka or liberation (freedom from rebirth).

Can anything happen without effort? Can you become a king just by calling yourself a king? Just mentioning the name of the medicine, can a cure take place? By saying ‘I am Braḥmam.’ one cannot attain liberation. Receiving explanation of ‘I,’ and meditating on it uninterruptedly, one should attain a steady state.

Passion is the product of the brain, bone, fat, muscle, body parts, blood, body…, which do not make the “I.” That will cause problems. For the one who considers the phenomenal world only is important, it is like pulling a crocodile, as if it is a log, to the beach.  When the body-identification fades and passion leaves, Moka comes near.

A person spends his time in corporeal pleasures nurtured and augmented by the mind and imagination.  Body plays a role in dreams. The mind is the cause of dreams.  There is a limitation in body comfort. There is an end to a dream.

The mind calculates, ‘I had good experience yesterday; today I am bereft of it; what comes tomorrow?’ Mind does not rest after having the experience. It does not have the patience to wait for the experience to come on its own. If I don’t get it, nobody should have it. The mind is caught up in I-Me-Mine egoism. The mind loses the ability to experience.

The Ātmā, the repository of all, stands steady as an immobile witness. If it is not for the existence of Ātmā, there is neither a body nor a mind.

Body without mind and Deep Sleep without memory take us close to Āṉmā. It is supreme joy. Think of proximity to Āṉmā eternally.

The I-ness of the body (identification with the body) and the mind bereft of the Āṉmā (soul): What is the mind’s declaration?  The truth is Ātmā is the true owner of I-ness.  But, the mind’s ego, forgetting Ātmā’s ownership of 'I', declares (falsely) it is the ‘I’ (that is the owner of I-ness).  The mind stays in the forefront knowing but forgetting and hiding negation of the ‘I’, as the Ātmā stays quiescent.

In dream, there is a generation (appearance) of a world; likewise, in the awake state, the mind generates a world of its own. The mind identifies itself with the impermanence of a body, a Jāti, a religion, a language…and exults in them.

Going beyond such trivialities, identifying the ‘I’ with the soul, stopping the mental games, and foregoing the desires, whoever remains quiescent, he can have self-realization; the mental agitation will evaporate.

Buddhi is the repository of sensory impressions, accumulations in hiding from the previous births. Their instigation can precipitate the deeds of merit and sin (in this birth). With the mind becoming quiescent, Buddhi will be under self-restraint.

Going beyond to apprehend the soul, you will come to a revelation that I-You-God entity is one.  Where is the difference then?  With no difference in sight, where is the wrangling?  There is no argument about big and small.  If all are Ātma Rūpam (Soul unity), is there a delineating border.  Are there Jāti-religion-language barriers? Where is the need for a language for communication between two individual souls?  What barrier does religion pose? What meaning does Jāti carry?  There are none.

Once knowledge of ‘I am Ātmā’ is realized, you become that.

Love of body is love of fame in the world. One cannot meditate on Ātmā, if your burdened with the hubris of modern education.  Removing these impediments, Ātma Darśan is attainable.

Look hard and deep, when sensory desires assault you and similar thoughts rise in the mind. Cut down the enemies (thoughts from the mind) as they emerge. You can realize the self-effulgence of the soul.

The egoism is a great obstruction or barrier.  Ask questions about ego pertaining to the attitude of ‘I’, the ways, the conduct, the language, the Kulam… Once the soul departs following death, all are lost: the language, the genus, the color, the height, the wealth, the beauty…

Turn to the mind inside.  Try to look at Āṉmā, the responsible cause of everything. Then, indestructible beauty, undiminished clear intellect, world-wide friendship will come your way.  There will be a radiant delight.  Laughter will be your lot, though hungry, ill… Ego does not leave upon destruction. It comes back again and again. Be careful.

As the water bubbles break to become water and the mud pot breaks to become mud, the birth-free soul shines easily. Fear of death leaves. The fear of death, the terrorizer of this world, does not afflict the Jñāṉi.  An attitude of expectant departure prevails. That is great liberation.

How are eating and dressing for a Jñāni?  He acts as if he does them in the dream without attachment. There is no submission to an order or command. He wanders with complete freedom. Unknowing to anybody, he moves with a beggar as another beggar.

Bālaswāmy rendered Sankara’s Vivekasūdāmaṇi in a prose style, which was written with understanding and realization.

Then, what is the use for Hata Yogam?

Yama and Niyama are unnecessary.  When the mind becomes quiescent, they come to the aspirant by themselves.  Realization of Brahmacharya, the essence of Braḥmam becomes apparent.  Mantra Japas, devotion, Kīrtanas, breath control are not the attractants to the mind.  On the contrary, breath and mind will become quiescent. The mind without passion enjoys the breath without effort.

Looking at the mental games, the mind quietens and dies. Then Ātma-Anubhavam (experience) takes place.

Why should one get involved with Yama, Niyama, Prāṇāyāma… without controlling and looking at the mind? Bālaswāmy says that the enemies can be assaulted directly. Maharishi says it is acceptable, if a person learns Hata Yoga and progresses to Dhyana. Maharishi says why touch the nose going around the head. Direct touching is important.

During festivals, the sugar candies in the shapes of bear, monkey, deer, rabbit... are sold. All these forms bought and eaten by people eventually become the irreducible sweet sugar. Likewise, the goal of man is Ātma-Anubhavam (soul experience).

All these methods including Hata Yogam have the goal to destroy the mind and get Darśan of Āṉmā. Touch directly. Enquiry is fail-proof device. Other modalities can change directions. There may be obstructions in the paths. What am I?, Who am I?, What is that?: if you consider these without interruption, at some point you attain the realization.

It is impossible to write a story form about Maharishi. We cannot give a series of events as his story in a cookie cutter fashion. He is of the form of Tattvas. He is the Light of Wisdom. It is Sat matter, to be realized beyond words.

Let us do Darśan…

Sakthi Vikatan 11 Jan, 2011   Lord of Mercy, Kanchi Mahan




Instantaneous disease transference from a devotee to Periyava. A miracle

Akhila Karthikeyan shared this story. ‘Kanchi Mahan never lets down his devotees.  That he assumes the suffering and the illness of his devotee and saves them are the truth.

‘A person about 35, came with his parents from Tirunelveli. Since they were new to the Mutt, they stayed a little away from the crowd. ‘

His face showed the pain he suffered then. Mahāperiyava must have seen it. He called the family to come closer to him. Nearby, Bālu was doing Kaiṅkaryam to Periyava.

The devotee who came near Periyava, said, “I suffer intractable abdominal pain. It saps my life.  I have seen many doctors and took many medications with no relief.  Remedial atonement brought no relief. Our Gurunāthar Sirungeri Swāmigaḷ suggested to go to Kanchi Periyava, obtain Darśan, and narrate my health problems. He assured Periyava will give me the relief. Periyava said, “Is that so! as if he was ignorant of the facts.

Soon after he saw Periyava’s holy visage, Nellai devotee developed a sense of trust in Periyava and said, “The intractable abdominal pain must leave me. Periyava, you are my refuge. If I do not get your favor, it is apparent this will be my fate.  Instead of dying slowly of this abdominal pain, let me drop dead before you. Periyava should cure and save me.”

Periyava sat in the guise of meditation for a while. As the crowd kept a watch on him, the Nellai devotee felt a gradual alleviation of pain. He said, with tears and a sense of surprise, “Now the pain has gone completely, Periyava.” He fell at his feet in eight-limb prostration and paid homage to Periyava. His parents also offered their homage and salutation. After proper salutations, they took leave of Periyava and left for Nellai.

It appeared Periyava was suffering from an abdominal pain. From that day onwards, Periyava appeared fatigued. Bālu observed him lying curled up and rolling on the bed side to side as if he was in pain.  Bālu did not know what to do.

Bālu was used to make daily preparations for begging by Periyava.  Seeing Periyava suffering with pain, he thought whether he made any mistakes in Bhika, ritual begging. He thought he should offer worship and receive Darśan of Sri Vaithīṣvarar, the family deity.

Next day it was Ekadasi the 11thday on Lunar calendar occurring twice in a lunar month, once the 11th day of waxing moon and once on the 11th day of waning moon. It is a day of fasting for the atonement of sins.  There was no begging that day for him and Periyava. Bālu said to Periyava, “I feel like going to Vaithīṣvarar temple for Darśan, for which I need your permission.”

Periyava laughing in a mischievous and jovial sense retorted to Bālu, “You used to tell, ‘Periyava is no other than my family deity Vaithīṣvarar. Why are you saying you want to go?’ “

He was in a rush to get his permission by any means and said in almost a beseeching tone, “Nothing like that, Periyava… My last visit was when I had head-shearing ceremony. Since then I never had Darśan of my Kula Daivam. That is…”  Periyava gave him permission and Bālu left for the temple.

The worshippers of Vaithīṣvarar for the cure of physical maladies made and presented protective cuirass (templates made of silver covering body parts of the deity = Kavaća = कवच) for body parts of the deity, that correspond to the diseased organ in the worshipper. Supplicating to the God for the cure of abdominal pain, Bālu went shopping particularly for the cuirass for the abdomen with no luck.

Fatigued in body and mind and walking on the bazar street, Bālu was stopped by an elderly woman. She said, “What Swamy, are you not searching for the abdominal plate for Vaithīṣvarar? It is not available in the shops.  You should go to the Temple office and ask to buy a used abdominal plate. They give it to any important customer seeking for it. They may give it to you. “  Saying thus she moved. 

Bālu was in a state of confusion and thought to himself, ‘Who is this old woman? How does she know that I was looking for a silver abdominal plate? Besides, she gave the directions.’  Wondering with such thoughts he made a beeline to temple office.

‘Periyava has abdominal pain:’ How could he say that? He pretended to be an everyday devotee and spoke to the official. It turned out that the temple official and Bālu were students in Maṉṉārgudi school early as youngsters. Because of their brotherhood in the school, the official gave Bālu the silver abdomen (abdominal plate) kept safely in the treasury for a price of 750 Rupees with a receipt.

What else… Bālu went to the sanctum for the Darśan, supplicated to the deity, presented the silver abdominal plate and returned to Kanchi.

Reaching the Mutt, Bālu was immersed in wonder and ecstasy.  Periyava’s abdominal pain was gone for good. His face had the blossom of his original grace.

Bālu said, “Periyava’s favor has allowed me to have Darśan of my Kula Daivam.” Periyava smiling said, “You took my abdominal pain and deposited it with Vaithīṣvarar. Is it not so?

Bālu was horripilated. Maha Periyava assumed the abdominal pain of Nellai devotee in a sleight of transference. How could it be that Mahāperiyava won’t know of Bālu’s supplication to Vaithīṣvarar for relief?

Darśan to be continued