January 8, 2015 Comments Off on Ramana maharishi
SRI RAMANASRAMAM INSERT JANUARY 2015
VOL. 9, NO. 1
January dawns with devotees waiting in eager anticipation of Bhagavan’s 135th Jayanti celebrations, commencing with music in the New Library Auditorium on the evening of the 5th Jaunary.
Early morning Dhannurmasa pujas are underway each day, contributing to an atmosphere of renewed devotion and an intimate encounter with Bhagavan in his Shrine.
This issue of Saranagati concludes the story of Mango Tree Cave, with anecdotes about great devotees who came to see Bhagavan in the early years. It also looks at some of the other interesting figures who inhabited the Hill in those days.
In Sri Bhagavan, The Editorial Team
Mango Tree Cave (part three)
Following Ganapati Muni’s stay, other great souls came to meet Bhagavan at Mango Tree Cave. Mastan Swami, a simple weaver born of a poor Muslim family from Desur, came to Tiruvannamalai with Akhilandamma in 1914. During his first meeting with Bhagavan at Mango Tree Cave, Bhagavan’s gaze, “filled with grace, compassion and steady wisdom”, fell on him and he stood transfixed: “After giving me [his] look, the gate of my Heart [opened…]. I stood [near him] for eight hours, absolutely without fatigue, filled with total absorption and peace.1” Years later reflecting on Mastan, Bhagavan said: “All sorts of beings gravitate towards the presence of a jnani — devas, rishis, Brahmanishtas, siddhas and yogis.[…] Some of these great beings show up in the guise of beggars or madmen, and some of them even manage to appear in the forms
1 Kunjuswami, Mountain Path, 1979, p. 154. See Power of the Presence, vol III, pp. 23-24.
of birds and animals. Among those who show up in a normal human body, and who subsequently stay on and become devotees, there is a huge range: complete beginners to highly advanced souls. The most advanced are ripe fruits, just waiting to fall. One such devotee was Mastan. As soon as he touched the railings of the gate, he would have a paralysing experience of the Self. He would stand rooted to the spot, unable to move for six or seven hours. This happened several times.[…] He was highly spiritual, though outwardly he looked like an ordinary man. He was a kind generous man who always looked for an opportunity to help others. He never showed any self-importance [but] liked to stay in the background, unnoticed.2”
Another notable figure who came to see Bhagavan at Mango Tree Cave was Seshadri Swami, known from his boyhood as the “saint with a golden hand”. His family having given up on ever arranging a marriage for the God-child who, since his earliest youth, only occupied himself with puja and prayer. Born to a family ofDevibhaktasinKanchipuram,theKamakotiVamsa were charged with propagating Sri Vidya worship. Having come to Tiruvannamalai in 1887 when just 17 years old, Seshadri was nine years senior to Bhagavan and ‘adopted’ the young Venkataraman to his care in the Patala Linga days (1896) at Arunachala Temple. But though senior in age and revered by locals for his great devotion and prodigious spiritual gifts, from the beginning Seshadri never doubted the spiritual supremacy of the boy from Tiruchuli.
In 1910 at a time when Seshadri was residing on the Hill just below Bhagavan, a certain Subramania Mudali came to him for help. Seshadri advised him to take up sadhana. When the latter protested that he was too busy with his work, Seshadri said, “You see, my younger brother has a ‘salary’ of Rs.10,000 and I have a salary of Rs.1,000; why shouldn’t you at least try for Rs 100?” By ‘younger brother’ he was referring to young Ramana and by ‘salary’ he meant spiritual advancement. Mudali continuing to show his disinclination, said, “I have no time, Swami”. Seshadri warned him in the sternest terms saying that he would be
2 Viswanatha Swami, Power of the Presence, vol III, p. 24-25,
guilty of Brahma hatya, i.e. the sin of ‘slaying a Brahmana’, if he neglected his own spiritual development. Disturbed by the strong counsel, Mudali went to Bhagavan to find out if it could be true. Bhagavan concurred, “Yes, you can be said to commit murder of Brahman by not realizing that you are Brahman.”
At Mango Tree Cave a couple of years earlier, Vasudeva Sastri witnessed an interesting encounter between Bhagavan and Seshadri. The latter known for his ability to read minds, found that when gazing at Bhagavan, he was unable to discern his thoughts: “It is not clear what this person is thinking.” Bhagavan gave no reply. After a pause Seshadri added, “If one worships Lord Arunachala, He will grant salvation.” Bhagavan asked, “Who is it that worships and who is the worshipped?” Seshadri laughed boisterously, saying, “That is just what is not clear.”3
Other early residents and guests
But while there were remarkable guests at Mango Tree Cave, not all were spiritually advanced and some could in fact be quite a nuisance. There was a certain established economy on the Hill, where swamis would earn their living by dispensing ‘spiritual knowledge’ to visitors and extracting a fee for their services. There was also a hierarchy of prestige according to assumed levels of spiritual attainment. But with the arrival of one who was concerned with neither wealth nor reputation, the pecking order—to the chagrin of some of the residents—was invariably overturned.
M. Balanandam, a prominent character familiar with the Vedas, Gita, Brahma Sutras and versed in numerous languages, was hard-pressed to maintain his elevated status on the Hill once Brahmanaswami took up residence there. Similarly, just adjacent to Mango Tree Cave, was Jada Swami, who had been living on the Hill before Bhagavan’s arrival. Known for his long matted locks, he held elaborate pujas attended by the residents on the Hill. When young Brahmanaswami joined the daily ceremonies, visitors and residents gradually began to take notice of the gracious and illuminating presence of the youngster and did namaskaram before him. Initially this made Jadaswami jealous. But in time, the latter would see how things really stood and came to respect the young sage.
Others assumed their ascendency over Bhagavan and endeavoured to ‘help’ the young swami. Next door to Jada Swami lived Bhagavathar Swami. One day upon returning from the Himalayas, the swami told Bhagavan that he had had a dream in which the Lord commanded him to initiate his ‘child Ramana who was there wasting his time’. When Bhagavathar Swami came to commence the initiation ceremony, Bhagavan said, “You have been told by the Lord in your dream to give mantra initiation to me. Let the same Lord appear to me in my dream and bid me take mantra initiation from you and then we will see.” Bhagavathar Swami realised he had underestimated the young sage and bashfully withdrew.
Other curious figures on the Hill include Milakai Siddhar or Chili Swami who had the daily habit of smearing green chili paste over his body. One day one of the swami’s disciples came with the intention of administering the treatment to Bhagavan. Taking Bhagavan’s silence for consent, Chili Swami’s disciple quickly painted the peppery paste on Bhagavan’s body. “What to do?” Bhagavan later commented, “He went on smearing the green chili paste over my body. For the first few minutes my body felt a severe burning sensation, but after a while the whole system felt very cool. I actually liked it.”
Another curious incident narrated by Kunjuswami occured when Palaniswami and Perumalswami were away in town. A group of wandering sadhus (bairagis) came to see Bhagavan at Virupaksha. saying: “We are coming from the Vindhya Hills. We had darshan of the great siddha there and he has commanded us to take you to him.” Bhagavan as usual remained silent and unmoved.
Some woodcutters who overheard the conversation
saw Perumalswami on their way down and apprised him of the situation. Perumalswami came and took one look, then went back to the town, brought tins of oil together with a large cooking vessel and put them down before the band. He then gathered fire-wood. Both the bairagis and Bhagavan were bewildered by the unusual behaviour, the former not knowing who Perumalswami was. Perumalswami put the big vessel on the fire and said: “I belong to the next village. I had a vision last night of the great siddha of the Vindyas, who commanded me to go to Virupakshi Cave. ‘You will find some bairagis there,’ he said. ‘They are siddhas too, having great powers. Pour boiling oil on them and see how they remain untouched by it.’
To my surprise when I came, you were all here, just as the siddha predicted. What a fool I was to doubt the holy words of the siddha. Immediately, I rushed to town for the vessel and tins of oil. Would I not incur a curse if I disobeyed the siddha?” Not surprisingly, when Perumal Swami went indoors, the bairagis, took to their heels.4
Devotees at Mango Tree Cave
But true devotees of Bhagavan, from the time of Ganapati Muni, each in their turn, also came and stayed at Mango
Tree Cave. T.K. Sundaresa Iyer took up residence there with the Muni in order to study the Rig Veda Sutras and follow the Mantra-Homa Marga until the latter left for Belgaum in 1926. Later on, Yogi Ramaiah occupied the little hermitage below the mango tree. In 1949 Ramani Ammal inhabited the kutir there together with another lady-devotee. Finally, Bhagavan’s attendant, Satyananda Swami, stayed there for a time as well. Each was fortunate to absorb the blessedness imbued by Bhagavan during his stays there in the warmer seasons of those glorious early years on the Hill. —
4 Adapted from Kunju Swami in Moments Remembered pp. 69-70.
September 25, 2014 Comments Off on Tolerance – Spiritual Maturity – The Story of Rashbi
Rabbi Shimeon Bar Yochai (Rashbi)
Rabbi Shimeon is the author of the classic Kabbalistic work, the Holy Zohar (‘Book of Splendor’), first published in 1558. Transcribed by his student R’ Abba, the Zohar lays out the foundations and core principles of mysticism and contains, often in cryptic form, the deepest cosmic secrets. An extraordinary scholar and miracle worker, Rabbi Shimeon was renowned for his mastery of both the revealed and the hidden dimensions of Torah.
~ Due to persecution against Jews led by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, R’ Shimeon is sentenced to death for defying the government. Forced to flee, he hides in a cave for thirteen years together with his son, R’ Elazar, where they study Torah day and night. A carob tree and a spring of fresh water miraculously spring up at the entrance to the desert cave and they are sustained until the Emperor dies and the decree is annulled.
Source: The Rashibi
They lived in the cave for twelve years. Elijah came and stood at the opening of the cave. He said, “Who will tell the son of Yohai that Caesar is dead and his decree was canceled?”
They went out. They saw people plowing and planting. He [Rabbi Simeon] said, “They are forsaking eternal life and occupying themselves with temporal life.” Every place they cast their eyes was immediately burned.
A heavenly voice came out and said, “Did you come out to destroy my world? Return to your cave!” They returned and lived in the cave for twelve months. They said, “The sentence of the wicked in Gehinom is twelve months.” A heavenly voice came forth [and said,] “Get out of your cave.”
They went out. Everything that Rabbi Eliezer destroyed, Rabbi Simeon repaired.
Source: Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 33b: Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai and the Cave
To understand this story – Rabbi Simon Jacobson listen to from minute 1:05
“Twelve years away from civilization he became far more sublime…When Rashbi and his son came back they saw the superficiality, the pettiness, the things people are involved in: the material level, surface level. It so disturbed them that whatever they looked at began to burn.Whether it’s metaphorical or physical the idea is that their great spiritual height that they reached was intolerant of a petty world.
And God said to him: Oh no. You didn’t learn the main lesson.Twelve years. You need to go back a thirteenth year. You need to reach a level of maturity. Bar Mitzvah: the thirteenth year, and learn not to destroy my world, but to repair it…
So he went back a thirteenth year, and this time when Rashbi came out, wherever he went, whatever was broken, he healed. Whatever was broken, he fixed. He found ways. …
God said – I did not create the world for chaos, but to settle it. To civilize this world. Fix it. Find a way to inspire through love and Rashbi finally discovered that. He too was at the edge of intolerance but then he went a deep level deeper, became even more soulful, and this time his soul learnt – you know what? I’ve to make this better. So it’s a greater level of maturity.
And I’m not talking about tolerance that he became more compromising, his standards lowered. On the contrary, in theory you can imagine his standards went up. But his maturity also went up; so now instead of fighting it, instead of burning it, he repaired it….
Rashbi went deeper so he was able to deal with the people who were petty…He was still intolerant of the pettiness, but his method was no longer through intolerance. It was through repair. Through healing.
August 19, 2014 Comments Off on Actions are Sacred
Tell your hand: “Oh hand, how sacred you are? You are unity personified. One finger cannot lift a cup; when one finger moves to pick it up, all of you, though different in sizes and shape, rush to help and hold the cup! You don’t care for or observe any difference. Such is the unity inherent in you, amongst your fingers. Oh hand, you are very helpful in preserving the human body, you remove troubles through your hard work and you help others. Why do you sometimes act in a manner that develops enmity? Today there is no unity in any congregation, society or religion. However, you know no hatred. Please never indulge in wrong actions.” Thus instruct and guide your hand so that your actions become sacred. When your thoughts, words and deeds are sanctified, all the other instruments also follow suit and thus you attain liberation.
(My Dear Students, Vol 5, Ch 2, Mar 9, 1993).
– Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Thought for the day as written at Prasanthi Nilayam 12th August 2014
August 17, 2014 Comments Off on How to Clear Words
“Overfilled class-sizes, economic disadvantages and “learning disorders” are common. Yet underlying all of this, there are three primary barriers that keep one from successfully studying a subject. Despite all that has been written on the subject of study, these three barriers were never isolated as having such importance in effective education. This is not attention deficit disorder, emotional problems, or stupidity at work. This is the emotional or physical reaction a student of any age will experience when encountering one of these barriers to learning. Students fail to learn because no one has ever taught them how to learn — how to identify the barriers to learning and how to overcome them. What are the three primary barriers to learning? The answer is found in Study Technology, central to which is the delineation of these barriers to study. Never before recognized, these yet constitute the primary reasons for educational failures.
The First Barrier Lack of mass (physical object) of what is being studied If one is attempting to understand the function and operation of a car or a computer or a solar system, the printed page and spoken word are no substitute for the object itself. It would be difficult to understand how to use a computer for the first time if you did not have the computer there in front of you. In fact, lacking the object associated with a word can inhibit all understanding. Have you seen your children or students like this when they study?
Perhaps you have experienced this yourself when you’ve tried to learn something. Barrier to Study Part I
The Second Barrier Too steep a study gradient A gradient is a way of learning or doing something step by step. A gradient can be easy where each step can be done easily, or it can be hard where each step is difficult to do. Too steep a gradient consists of not having mastered prior skills before going on to more complicated or detailed steps. A student who has skipped a gradient may feel a sort of confusion or a feeling of reeling (i.e. moving or swaying like you might fall).
These are two reactions a person will have when they have missed a step or hit too steep a gradient in the subject they’re studying. This is often referred to as “missed basic skills” or “insufficient basic skills.” Barrier to Study Part II
The Third Barrier A word not understood or wrongly understood The third and most important barrier is the misunderstood word. Have you ever been reading a book or a report, gotten to the end of the page and couldn’t remember what you read? Therein lies the phenomena of the misunderstood word – all becomes distinctly blank beyond a word not understood or wrongly understood. The matter is far more critical than one might surmise and of the three barriers it is the misunderstood that bears most upon human relations, the mind and understanding. It is the misunderstood word that establishes aptitude – or lack of it. It produces a vast panorama of reactions and is the prime factor involved with stupidity. It also determines whether or not one can actually perform a learned skill, and to what degree of proficiency. Have you ever observed someone look tired while studying? Like they were about to fall asleep?
All of these are the result of one or more words or symbols not understood or wrongly understood. The misunderstood word can stop a student in his tracks completely. Knowing how to determine when there is a misunderstood word or symbol, how to find it and how to handle it are critical to the success of any student. How to Clear Words ~L Ron Hubbard
January 11, 2014 Comments Off on Where the flame of love rises
Bowl of Saki, January 11, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
In love abides all knowledge. It is mankind’s love and interest in the things that in time reveals their secret, and then man knows how to develop, control, and utilize them. No one can know anybody, however much he may profess to know, except the lover, because in the absence of love the inner eyes are blind. Only the outer eyes are open, which are merely the spectacles of the inner eyes. If the sight is not keen, of what use are the spectacles?
It is for this reason that we admire all those whom we love, and are blind to the good qualities of those whom we do not love. It is not always that these deserve our neglect, but our eyes, without love, cannot see their goodness. Those whom we love may have bad points too, but as love sees beauty, so we see that alone in them. Intelligence itself in its next step towards manifestation is love. When the light of love has been lit, the heart becomes transparent, so that the intelligence of the soul can see through it.
But until the heart is kindled by the flame of love, the intelligence, which is constantly yearning to experience life on the surface, is groping in the dark. … Love is like the fire; its glow is devotion, its flame is wisdom, its smoke is attachment, and its ashes detachment. Flame rises from glow, so it is with wisdom, which rises from devotion. When love’s fire produces its flame it illuminates the devotee’s path in life like a torch, and all darkness vanishes…. if this love expands to embrace the whole creation of the Heavenly Father, it raises man to be among the chosen ones of God.
January 11, 2014 Comments Off on An ideal is beyond explanation
An ideal is beyond explanation. To analyze God is to dethrone God.
Bowl of Saki, January 10, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Belief is like a staircase. Each step takes one higher, but when one remains standing on a certain step of the staircase one does not progress. Belief may nail the feet to the ground and keep one there … standing on a certain spot on a staircase. As a person evolves so his belief evolves, until he comes to that stage where he harmonizes with all the different beliefs, where he is no longer against any belief. Then he is not nailed down any more; he is above all the different beliefs. Very often a person says, ‘I cannot understand what God is. Can you explain God to me? But if God were to be explained He would not be God. To explain God is to dethrone God.
God apart, can one explain anything fine and subtle such as gratitude, love, or devotion, in words? How much can be explained? Words are too inadequate to explain great feelings, so how can God be explained in words?
Since to analyze God means to dethrone God, the less said on the subject the better. … Everyone has his own imagination of God. It is best if everyone is left to his own imagination.
However religious or pious, he cannot explain God; not even a mystic or philosopher can explain Him. The ideal of God is the first lesson that must be learnt; and it cannot be learnt by analysis. Therefore the intellectual mind which seeks for an analysis of God is always sure to be disappointed. The philosopher spoke truly when he said, ‘To analyze God is to dethrone God.’ Analysis can never portray even the ideal of God. That is why every messenger, Muhammad, Christ, Moses, Abraham, emphasized the one word: faith. … It is the same with every ideal, even with the ideal of God. An ideal is beyond explanation.
January 11, 2014 Comments Off on The real meaning of crucifixion
The real meaning of crucifixion is to crucify the false self, that the true self may rise. As long as the false self is not crucified, the true self is not realized.
Bowl of Saki, January 9, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Those who rejoice in the joy of another, though at their own expense, have taken the first step towards true life. If we are pleased by giving another a good coat, which we would have liked to wear ourselves, if we enjoy that, we are on the first step. If we enjoy a beautiful thing so much that we would like to have it, and then give that joy to another, enjoying it through his experience, we are dead. That is our death. Yet, we live more than he. Our life is much vaster, deeper, greater.
Seemingly it is a renunciation, an annihilation, but in truth it is a mastery. The real meaning of crucifixion is to crucify this false self, and so resurrect the true self. As long as the false self is not crucified, the true self is still not realized. By Sufis it is called Fana, annihilation.
There is a poem by the great Persian poet Iraqi in which he tells, ‘When I went to the gate of the divine Beloved and knocked at the door, a voice came and said – Who art thou?’ When he had told, ‘I am so and so’, the answer came, ‘There is no place for anyone else in this abode. Go back to whence thou hast come’. He turned back and then, after a long time, after having gone through the process of the cross and of crucifixion, he again went there – with the spirit of selflessness. He knocked at the door; the word came, ‘Who art thou?’, and he said, ‘Thyself alone, for no one else exists save Thee’. And God said, ‘Enter into this abode for now it belongs to thee’. It is such selflessness, to the extent that the thought of self is not there, it is being dead to the self, which is the recognition of God.
The fourth initiation is esoterically called the crucifixion because it is at this initiation that one is crucified in the sense of outer supports being stripped away. All that is left then to hold on to is one’s inner relationship to self, God and the Masters.
So this initiation has to do with letting go and practicing sacrifice. It has to do with learning that what might be perceived as loss is really only the lower self holding onto things that the Higher Self recognizes the initiate does not really want or need. So, in reality, nothing is lost but instead something incredible is gained! What is perceived as loss is nothing but lower-self desire, but what is won is desire for the Higher Self and God. It is not possible to take one’s ascension and become an Integrated Ascended Master without having a true desire and longing for God!
The Integrated Ascended Master wants God like a drowning man wants air! He lives in this world and is involved within it, but his mind is attached to God!
One last thought: At this initiation the initiate merges with the Soul, and so the Soul body is no longer needed as an intermediary between incarnated Soul and Monad and burns up, so to speak. The initiate becomes the Oversoul or Higher Self, or an extension of the Monad. And so, as a logic consequence, the initiate also “loses” the Higher Self as its teacher, since the Higher Self has now fully merged with the initiate, and gains a new teacher, namely the Monad or Mighty I AM Presence.
If we look only our solar system, then we find the intelligence that organizes this solar system in the very heart of our sun. So therefore, if we want to know about the constellation of the Pleiades to which this sun belongs, we have to go directly to the heart temple of our sun, and from the heart temple of our sun to the Equatorial Sun, and from the Equatorial Sun, if we want to know about the galaxy, we go to the Polar Sun, with the same light, with the same electrons, same force. And then we can go even beyond to the Central Sun, which is the Ain Soph Aur. Then we see how that Ray of Creation descends in different levels through the suns, through the stars. That is why it is written, that Christ, the X, is crucified, in every single cosmic unit.
The planet Earth sustains its life thanks to the Solar Light of our sun. All the life that exists on this planet, exists thanks to the Solar Light that is wisely organized everywhere. Furthermore, the earth rotates around the sun; a complete rotation takes 365 days. During the rotation the four seasons occur: spring, summer, fall and winter. The Solar Light organizes the life of this planet Earth through the four seasons. If we place each season in the ends of the lines of the X, then we can understand how Christ organizes the life of the planet by its rotation. That is why the symbol of Christ is always the Cross; because it is through the Cross—in different ways, in the micro or in the macro—how Christ, fire, Solar Light, transforms nature and the cosmos.
“…’The coming of Christ,’ means the presence of CHRISTOS in a regenerated world, and not at all the actual coming in body of ‘Christ’ Jesus….Christ — the true esoteric SAVIOR — is no man, but the DIVINE PRINCIPLE in every human being. He who strives to resurrect the Spirit crucified in him by his own terrestrial passions, and buried deep in the ‘sepulcher’ of his sinful flesh; he who has the strength to roll back the stone of matter from the door of his own inner sanctuary, he has the risen Christ in him….”
“The ‘Christ principle,’ the awakened and glorified Spirit of Truth, being universal and eternal, the true Christos cannot be monopolized by any one person….We may learn from the Gospel according to Luke, that the ‘worthy’ were those who had been initiated into the mysteries of the Gnosis, and who were ‘accounted worthy’ to attain that ‘resurrection from the dead’ in this life….In other words, they were the great adepts of whatever religion; and the words apply to all those who, without being Initiates, strive and succeed, through personal efforts to live the life and to attain the naturally ensuing spiritual illumination in blending their personality — (the ‘Son’) with (the ‘Father,’) their individual divine Spirit, the God within them. This ‘resurrection’ can never be monopolized by the Christians, but is the spiritual birth-right of every human being endowed with soul and spirit, whatever his religion may be. Such individual is a Christ-man. On the other hand, those who choose to ignore the Christ (principle) within themselves, must die unregenerate heathens — baptism, sacraments, lip-prayers, and belief in dogmas notwithstanding…. He who finds Christos within himself and recognizes the latter as his only ‘way,’ becomes a follower and an Apostle of Christ, though he may have never been baptized, nor even have met a ‘Christian,’ still less call himself one.” H.P. Blavatsky Source: Blavatsky Archives
an adequate and proper one can be found in Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, where he writes in chapter 2 that Christ did not think that God-hood was something to be held to—which is to say, neither should you—but rather, yielding, he took the form of a servant even to death on the cross. This is joyful affirmation of the sufferings of the world. The imitation of Christ, then, is participating in the suffering and joys of the world, all the while seeing through them the radiance of the divine presence. That’s operating from the heart cakra, where the two triangles are joined together.
“That’s what I see in the Crucifixion. Of all the explanations I’ve read, it is the only one that makes, what I would call, respectable sense. The others are all concerned with a wrathful god who has to be appeased by the sacrifice of his son. What do you do with a thing like that? It is a translation of the sacrifice into a very crude image. The idea of God being entity that has to be appeased is just too nasty a concretion.”