RAMANA : LESSONS FOR DAILY LIVING – 1 (Post No.8375)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8375

Date uploaded in London – – – 21 July 2020   

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RAMANA : LESSONS FOR DAILY LIVING – 1

                                                   R. Nanjappa

Bhagavan Ramana was a Sage, Jnani. Naturally, one would expect him to teach us spirituality. Surprisingly, he never ‘taught’ anyone anything for 54 years! 

Spiritual lessons

It may look surprising. But this is a fact. He never even once asked anyone to follow his teaching. He never even once criticised anyone for their views. He said something only when people approached him on their own and asked. Even then, he responded to what they said, never forcing his views on anyone in any matter. We observe this clearly from the “Talks”.

Most people who approached him with doubts or difficulties would be following some path or tradition or sadhana. Or they might have learned some philosophy, and developed doubts. Bhagavan would strengthen each one in his own sadhana, in his own tradition. He would explain that on their own terms, at their own level. He would point out how all sadhanas finally ended with the annihilation of the ego, or finding the true Self. But he never even once asked anyone to take up that path. He would point out the truth as He knew it. It was for people to follow what they would.

Someone would say he was doing Gayatri. Bhagavan would say that it was the highest mantra in our sastras. Someone would ask whether Nama japa was effective. Bhagavan would confirm its effectiveness, but also add that it must have been received in the proper manner! To a Christian seeker, he would point out how in the entire Bible only the words “I AM THAT I AM” is printed in capital letters! To a Muslim questioner, he would say that Islam meant obedience to the will of God; if they did obey, they would get ‘salam’- peace! (Surrender is the second teaching of Bhagavan, along with enquiry into ‘Who Am I’.)

He would not answer idle curiosity or theoretical arguments. Once a young man came and after relating all that he had done, asked ‘Which way  should  I go?”. Bhagavan simply said: “Go the way you came”. Bhagavan was then leaving the hall. The young man was upset; but the devotees in the hall explained that his words actually meant that he should trace the thought of ‘I’ that he mentioned to its origin- trace it i.e get back to its source!

The problem with Bhagavan was that he was bound by the devotee. He responded at their own level. Most were casual visitors, from orthodox traditions- smarta (Sankarite), Saivas, Vaishnavas, etc and they asked questions from that background. He would therefore answer them accordingly. Very few persons ever cared to ask him for his teaching! Sadhu Om once pointed out that this was like a school boy asking an eminent scientist like Einstein who visited the class, about some doubt in his homework, instead of asking the scientist what he had himself discovered!  

Sadhu OM

His writings, in Tamil, provide authentic exposition of Bhagavan’s works- drawn from internal sources, without reliance on any external authority. English translations, by Michael James are available for some of them.

Most people in the Asramam did not follow the method of ‘Self Enquiry’! But when a serious seeker like Muruganar pointedly asked him about the nature of Reality and the way to attain it (meiyin yiyalbum athai mevum tiranum- மெய்யின் இயல்பும் அதை மேவும் திறனும்), we got the Forty Verses on Reality! In fact, everything that Bhagavan ever wrote or said was in response to a serious questioner. Only two hymns on Arunachala came to him on their own,

literally forced themselves on him! He said they would not leave him until he wrote them down! But Bhagavan’s real method of instruction was not through words but “by silent influence on the Heart”,as Arthur Osborne pointed out. For those devotees who followed his method and totally depended on him, Bhagavan did give specific directions.

                            ***                 to be continued

tags – Ramana lessons-1

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