Saturday, September 3, 2011

RAMANARPANAM - Iusse # 2




















Dear Readers,

I am glad to present the second article under the title “Ramanarpanam”.

The article dwells on the biography, teachings and miracles of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
In the Biography section we can read about Bhagavan’s Childhood, schooling at Dindigul, an interesting incident occurred at Dindigul where Bhagavan had slept like a Kumbakarnan, may be an early indication of his deep meditative powers?


In the teachings we can hear the discussion transpired between Maharshi and Mrs. M.A. Piggot. Their conversation will help us to understand a little of Maharshi’s philosophy.


In the Miracles we share the experience of Bhagavan’s devotee Sri P.V. Sastri and how his deep sorrow was removed by visiting Ramanasramam.


I hope you will cherish reading this!


Please give your valuable feedback.


Happy reading!


Warm Regards,
A.V. Devan
3.9.2011
Chennai

RAMANARPANAM – [Issue # 2]


Ramana Leela (Excerpts from the Biography)


Childhood


The child Venkateswara (the name given to Ramana at birth) was unique. He seldom spoke or quarreled. There was a close relative, Meenakshi of his age. He would not suckle his mother’s breast if Meenakshi did not also suckle milk; he was so indifferent about his feeding. He had a sweet and gentle smile but behind it was a determined nature. While admitting him in school in due course, his name was noted as Venkataraman. This name stuck. Lakshmana Iyer a close relative of the family was well versed in Telugu. He used to address the child as Ramana or on occasion as “Nayana Ramani”. “Nayana” in Telugu literally means father but is also used as an expression of endearment. The child adopted the Telugu tradition and addressed his father as Nayana, unlike the rest. In course of time the other members also adopted this mode of addressing. This extended to outsiders as well, all of whom began addressing Sundaram Iyer as “Nayana”. Venkataraman always had his way. One day, Sundaram Iyer set out from his house on business. He placed two pillows in a cart. The child remarked, “Nayana, the first pillow will drop off”. The father ignored this and went away. In a little while, the child’s prophecy came true. Sundaram Iyer was astonished – how could the boy know beforehand?. In his eighth year Venkataraman had his Upanayana. He learnt to say in the ancient traditional way, “I Venkateswara Sarma pay obeisance”.



The school in which Venkataraman was admitted was run in a mantapa. The head master was one Madhura Nayagam Pillai. Only Tamil was taught there up to the fifth standard. Sundaram Iyer wanted his sons to be educated in English so that they could get into government service. But at Tiruchuzhi nobody taught English. Sundaram Iyer had two younger brothers – the elder one among them, Subbu Iyer, was a clerk in the Sub-Registrar’s Office at Dindigul. There was a Hindu School at Dindigul where English was taught. Nagaswami was put in that school. Venkataraman also was sent there in 1891 to join the sixth standard.



The brothers were like Rama and Lakshmana (who had the support of the monkeys). These brothers had the support of a group of young boys! They were friendly and healthy. The elder one was an adept at jumping on the tree branches, and was nicknamed “monkey”. The younger one was always a winner and came to be known as one with a golden touch or with a golden hand (thanga-kai) reminding us of one of the several names of Siva, “Hiranyabahu” (Golden armed). The brothers were interested in gymnastics, wrestling and football. The younger one simply followed his brother – he had no particular preferences. If provoked to a fight, he was unsparing which was why even those older than him left him alone. Venkataraman was never afraid of being beaten up either. Venkataraman was a sound sleeper. At Dindigul, their house was in Abhirami Amman Kovil Street. On a birthday of Srinivas, son of Subbu Iyer, after the evening meal was got ready, the rest of the family went to the temple leaving Venkataraman to look after the house. A litter later, he bolted the door and fell asleep. The family returned late in the night and knocked at the door but there was no response. They pounded on the door and made a lot of noise which brought forth several neighbors on the scene but all of this was of no avail. Everyone was wondering as to what happened to Venkataraman. After several attempts they succeeded in opening the door. Thereafter they gathered round Venkataraman and tried various means to wake him up. They wondered at his sound sleep and likened him to the legendary Kumbhakarna. Getting to know about this quality of his, some schoolmates who were earlier beaten by Venkataraman but were afraid to retaliate, would take him while asleep to a lonely spot, thrash him and bring him back to his bed. By their words and hints on the following day, Venkataraman would guess what had transpired the previous night. As mistaken by some, that movement of Venkataraman during sleep was but due to somnambulism.



Sakti (power) is of two types – one is mental, the other practical. During deep sleep these lie dormant in the body and do not get dissipated as in the waking state. That is the reason why the body becomes energetic as soon as it awakens. Owing to the Sadhaka’s will Sakti does not get wasted externally through the sense organs; it becomes turned inward towards the Self. Deep sleep is involuntary, hence it is a state of ignorance. On the other hand, Samadhi is voluntary and is a state of knowledge. For Raman, the body was able, through this deep sleep state to sustain a state of tapas in later years. Neither of the brothers was particularly interested in studies. Maybe, the elder one was a little better. The younger one, on the other hand, remembered that there was such a thing as education only upon seeing the teacher’s face!. However, he had the faculty of committing to memory anything he heard once. But he took particular care to memorize Tamil poems. He never aspired to become a scholar nor did anyone expect him to become one.



Subbu Iyer was transferred to Madurai in 1891. The brothers also moved with him. They were admitted in the Scott Middle School in the North Avani Street. Their residence was in North Chithirai Street.



Talks with Bhagavan



Conversation between Sri Ramana Maharshi and Mrs. M.A. Piggot, an English Lady, who had read “Search in Secret India” came to see the Maharshi. The following conversation happened on 7th January, 1935.



Mrs. Piggot :



Is a Master necessary for realisation?.



Ramana Maharshi :



The realisation is the result of the Master’s grace more than teachings, lectures, meditation, etc. They are only secondary aids, whereas the former is the primary and the essential cause.



Mrs. Piggot :



What are the obstacles which hinder realisation of the Self?



Ramana Maharshi :



They are habits of mind (Vasanas).



Mrs. Piggot :



How to overcome the mental habits (Vasanas)?



Ramana Maharshi :



By realizing the Self.



Mrs. Piggot :



This is a vicious circle.

Ramana Maharshi :



It is the ego which raises such difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffers from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.



Mrs. Piggot :



What are the aids for realization?.



Ramana Maharshi :



The teachings of the scriptures and of realized souls.



Mrs. Piggot :



Can such teachings be discussions, lectures and meditations?.



Ramana Maharshi :



Yes, all these are only secondary aids, whereas the essential is the Master’s Grace.



Mrs. Piggot :



How long will it take for one to get that?.



Ramana Maharshi :



Why do you desire to know?.



Mrs. Piggot :



How long will it take for one to get that?.

Ramana Maharshi :



Why do you desire to know?.

Mrs. Piggot :



To give me Hope.



Ramana Maharshi :



Even such a desire is an obstacle. The Self is ever there, there is nothing without it. Be the self and the desires and doubts will disappear. Such Self is the witness in sleep, dream and waking states of existence. These states belong to the ego. The Self transcends even the ego. Did you not exist in sleep? Did you know then that you were asleep or unaware of the world?. It is only in the waking state that you describe the experience of sleep as being unawareness; therefore the consciousness when asleep is the same as that when awake. If you know what this waking consciousness is, you will know the consciousness which witnesses all the three states. Such consciousness could be found by seeking the consciousness as it was in sleep.



Mrs. Piggot :



In that case, I fall asleep.



Ramana Maharshi :



No harm!.



Mrs. Piggot :



It is a blank.



Ramana Maharshi :



For whom is the blank? Find out. You cannot deny yourself at any time. The Self is ever there and continues in all states.



Mrs. Piggot :



Should I remain as if in sleep and be watchful at the same time?

Ramana Maharshi :



Yes. Watchfulness is the waking state. Therefore the state will not be one of sleep, but sleepless sleep. If you go the way of your thoughts you will be carried away by them and you will find yourself in an endless maze.



Mrs. Piggot :



So, then, I must go back tracing the source of the thoughts.



Ramana Maharshi :



Quite so ; in that way the thoughts will disappear and the Self alone will remain. In fact there is no inside or outside for the Self. They are also projections of the ego. The Self is pure and absolute.



Mrs. Piggot :



It is understood, intellectually only. Is not intellect a help for realization?.



Ramana Maharshi :



Yes, certainly. It is the best help possible. But there are no others to be helped. For a realized being sees the Self, just like a goldsmith estimating the gold in various jewels. When you identify yourself with the body then only the forms and shapes are there. But when you transcend your body the others disappear along with your body- consciousness.



Mrs. Piggot :



Is it so with plant, trees etc.,



Ramana Maharshi :



Do they exist at all apart from the Self? Find it out. You think that you see them. The thought is projected out from your Self. Find out where from it rises. Thoughts will cease to rise and the self alone will remain.

Mrs. Piggot :



I understand theoretically. But they are still there.



Ramana Maharshi :



Yes. It is like a Cinema show. There is the light on the screen and the shadows flitting across impress the audience as the enactment of some piece. Similarly also will it be, if in the same play an audience also is shown. The seer, the seen, will then only be the screen. Apply it to yourself. You are the screen, the Self has created the ego, the ego has its accretions of thoughts which are displayed as the world, the trees, plants etc., of which you are asking. In reality, all these are nothing but the Self. If you see the Self, the same will be found to be all, everywhere and always. Nothing but the Self exists.



Mrs. Piggot :



Yes, I still understand only theoretically. Yet the answers are simple and beautiful and convincing.



Ramana Maharshi :



Even the thought, “I do not realize” is a hindrance. In fact, the Self alone is.

Miracles of Maharshi



How I came to the Maharshi By Sri P.V. Sastri



In May 1945 my eldest son, who was 23 years old, married, devout and a very promising young man, passed away. The event was so terrible and caused such grief that it was thought I would not survive it. I neglected practically all my worldly duties for some time. Later I was somehow attracted to Sri Ramanasramam and went there with the whole of my family. Ordinary people, under such circumstances, would go to obtain peace and get rid of their sorrow. But that was not the idea of my wife and myself. Having read about Sri Krishna’s bringing Sandipani’s son back to life, we were so mad as to think of getting our son restored to life by the grace of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. We were prepared to sacrifice our all for that.



We left for Tiruvannamalai and reaching the Ashram at 11 a.m. entered the hall where Bhagavan used to sit. Our one idea was to beseech him to bring our son back to life; but despite our intense desire we found that we could not open our mouths to speak. We simply sat silent till Bhagavan rose of lunch and everyone went out.



Then we too went back to where we lodged. We went again in the afternoon, when devotees assembled in the hall, with the same purpose but with the same result. In that way, eight days passed.



Each morning and afternoon we wanted to implore Bhagavan to bring our son back to life but we could not utter a word in his presence. On the eighth evening we talked it over together on coming out of the hall and decided that it was no use staying any longer since our purpose had not been fulfilled. So we decided to leave next morning.



At that moment a gentleman of the name of Subbarao met us. He was formerly a pleader, think at Nellore and had come to Tiruvannamalai and settled down as one of the resident devotees. We had made friends, perhaps because I also am a pleader. He asked me what we were talking about, so I told him our whole story. I admitted that we felt peace in Bhagavan’s presence, but the moment we left the hall our grief burst out again like a volcanic eruption and yet we were unable to speak out and put our desire before Bhagavan.



Mr. Subbarao promised to take us to Sri Bhagavan next day and introduce to him. We agreed and next day, on being introduced, told Bhagavan about our grief and in a general way asked for his help. Sri Bhagavan nodded, his head and said, “Seri, Seri” (All right, All right). But we still found ourselves unable to talk any more, still less to tell him what it was that we really wanted. Again we felt constrained to sit there speechless. That evening we decided to leave, since even the intervention of Mr. Subbarao had not helped us.



But Ramana would not let us go. The thought ocurred to me that I should buy some books published by the Ashram, so I went to the book stall. The gentleman in charge was in meditation, but he opened his eyes immediately and asked us to come in. On being questioned by him I repeated our whole story. He said that the Maharshi was capable of bringing the boy back to life, but since the boy was a highly religious and really devout young man he would have gone to better regions and would not like to come back to us. I assured him that he loved so much and we loved him so much that he would really come back if it were possible.
The gentlemen then put me another question. Suppose Bhagavan brings him back to you then both of you die, what will the position be then? This question dispelled the thick cloud of illusion that had enveloped us and at last we saw our attempt to get our son back was sheer madness. I felt at the time and still feel now that it was not the bookseller that was talking to me like that but really Bhagavan speaking through him.



We abandoned the hope of getting our son back to life and also our plan of leaving immediately. We stayed for about twelve more days, until our monetary resources were exhausted. The rest of our stay at the Ashram was only for the purpose of obtaining peace. Sri Ramana’s “All Right” had been meant to help us in the only way in which a realized Guru will help. His grace was bestowed on us and he began to work silently in our hearts to remove the thick clouds of sorrow and end the volcanic outbursts of grief. He began to instill peace and develop real knowledge in us. Silently and slowly the grace is still working in that direction. What we wanted to have we were actually prevented from asking for. We were also not allowed to go away in a mood of despair. We were blessed with his grace and uplifted in the right way. Because this is an experience of an extraordinary type I feel that it is appropriate to make it known to all the devotees of Bhagavan.


Bibliography/Reference

Sri Ramana Leela – Telugu Original by Sri Krishna Bhikshu. Edited and Translated by Pingali Surya Sundaram published by Sri Ramanasramam.

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi – Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.

Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi – (Enchanting and Uplifting Reminiscences of 202 persons) – Compiled and Edited by Professor Laxmi Narain.

How I came to the Maharshi – By P.V. Sastri – Saranagathi – Jan 2010 (Published in The Mountain Path, July 1964)

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