Friday, August 6, 2010

Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi considered humility to be the highest quality.

Sri Ramana's teachings about self-enquiry, the practice he is most widely associated with, 
have been classified as the Path of Knowledge among the Indian schools of thought. 

His earliest teachings are documented in the book Nan Yar?(Who am I?).   A translation with notes is available in English as 'The Path of Sri Ramana, Part One'  by Sri Sadhu Om, one of the direct disciples
of Sri Ramana.

As all living beings desire to be happy always, without misery, 

in everyone there is observed supreme love for one's self, 

and as happiness alone is the cause for love, 

in order to gain that happiness which is one's nature 

and which is experienced in the state of deep sleep 

where there is no mind, one should know one's self. 

For that, the path of knowledge, the inquiry in the form

 "Who am I?",  is the principal means.

What is called mind is a wondrous power existing in Self.   It projects all thoughts.

If we set aside all thoughts and see, there will be no such thing as mind remaining separate;
therefore, thought itself  is the form of the mind. 

Other than thoughts, there is no such thing as the world.

The mind will subside only by means of the enquiry 'Who am I?'. 

The thought 'Who am I?', destroying all other thoughts, will itself finally be destroyed like the stick 
used for stirring the funeral pyre.

If other thoughts rise, one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire, 'To whom did they
arise?', it will be known 'To me'. 

If one then enquires 'Who am I?', the mind (power of attention) will turn back to its source. 

By repeatedly practising thus, the power of the mind to abide in its source increases.

The place where even the slightest trace of the 'I' does not exist, alone is Self.

Self itself is the world; Self itself is 'I'; Self itself is God; all is the Supreme Self (siva swarupam)

Sri Ramana warned against considering self-enquiry as an intellectual exercise. 

Properly done, it involves fixing the attention firmly and intensely on the feeling of 'I', without thinking.
It is perhaps more helpful to see it as 'Self-attention' or  'Self-abiding'  

Attention must be fixed on the 'I' until the feeling of duality disappears.

Although he advocated self-enquiry as the fastest means to realization, he also recommended the path of
bhakti and self-surrender (to one's Deity or Guru) either concurrently or as an adequate alternative,
which would ultimately converge with the path of self-enquiry.

Sri Ramana's Teachings:

Sri Ramana says "enquiry in the form 'Who am I' alone is the principal means to make the mind subside, there is no adequate means other than self-enquiry.  

If controlled by other means, mind will remain as if subsided, but will rise again"

Teachers in his tradition:

He considered his own guru to be the Self, in the form of the sacred mountain Arunachala. Sri Ramana did not publicize himself as a guru, never claimed to have disciples, and never appointed any successors. 

While a few who came to see him are said to have become enlightened through association, and there are
accounts of private acknowledgements, he did not publicly acknowledge any living person as liberated 
other than his mother at death. 

Sri Ramana declared himself an atiasrama (beyond all caste and religious restrictions, not attached to anything in life), and did not belong to or promote any lineage.

Despite his non-affiliations, there are numerous contemporary teachers who publicly associate
themselves with Sri Ramana, and some who assert being in his lineage.

His method of teaching was characterized by the following:

He urged people who came to him to practice self-enquiry;

He directed people to look inward rather than seeking outside themselves for Realization.

He viewed all who came to him as the Self,  rather than as lesser beings. 

He charged no money, and was adamant that no one ever ask for money in his name;

He never promoted or called attention to himself.

Instead, Sri Ramana remained in one place for 54 years,offering spiritual guidance
to anyone of any background who came to him,
and asking nothing in return;

He considered humility to be the highest quality;

He said the deep sense of peace one felt around a jnani was the surest indicator
of their spiritual state, that

-equality towards all was a true sign of liberation, and that

- what a true jnani did was always for others, not themselves.

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