Tuesday, 31 December 2013


This is the essence; This is the essence!
This indeed is the essence of Ramana’s words!
Tell me who is the real You! Seek the real You!
You are not surely the putrid flesh.
The body is born, the body dies.
The body knows not itself in deep sleep.
You are Knowledge. Knowledge is You.
Knowledge-Eternal is never born nor dies.
In sleep is Awareness of Self, not of body
You alone witness absence of body-consciousness
Do not all know that body takes birth
Is there anybody who is aware of birth of Consciousness?
You are not the body as declared above.
Destroy the false notion that you are the body
Seek ceaselessly your real nature
Think no other thought.
If the root thought ‘I am the body’
Subside; then all other thoughts subside.
‘Who is aware of the body’ -This quest
Alone will eliminate ‘I am the body’ notion.
The deluded one who thinks ‘I am the body’
Will crave for food, clothes and desires thereon
He who is free from the delusion ‘I am the body’-
His mind will not crave for food, clothes and desires extensive
Even as the end draws nigh, get not perturbed
Be tranquil; it is all God’s work
Ponder not the body is one, two or three(gross, subtle or causal)
Vain is such pursuit.
If you observe attentively
There is no scope for body-consciousness at all
Reject all appearance that seems apart [from You]
Reject it as ‘Not I’
All other dogmas and tenets are garbage-like collections
Remove them all away.
Repeatedly questing ‘Who am I’
The I-thought alone stays
The rest will be ashes.
When I-thought gets burnt away
Know that ‘That is the Real You’; bereft of thought
That which neither rises nor sets is the Real You shinning effulgent
As the Self shines like the resplendent Sun
Be that, never falling back
This is the essence, this is the essence,
This indeed is the essence of Ramana’s Teaching.

 Sivaprakasam Pillai

Thursday, 19 December 2013


About twenty years ago I read a Christian book entitled Thank You God. Its basic thesis was that one should continuously thank God for the way things are right now, not petition Him for things to be different. That means thanking Him for all the terrible things that are going on in your life, not just thanking Him for the good stuff that is coming your way. And this should not just be at the verbal level. One needs to keep saying 'Thank you, God,' to oneself until one actually feels a glow of gratitude. When this happens, there are remarkable and unexpected consequences. Let me give you an example
There was a woman featured in this book whose husband was an alcoholic. She had organized prayer meetings at her local church in which everyone had prayed to God, asking Him to stop this man from drinking. Nothing happened. Then this woman heard about 'Thank you, God'. She thought, 'Well, nothing else has worked. Let me try this.' She started saying, 'Thank you God for making my husband an alcoholic,' and she kept on saying it until she actually began to feel gratitude inside. Shortly afterwards, her husband stopped drinking of his own accord and never touched alcohol again.
This is surrender. It's not saying, 'Excuse me God, but I know better than You, so would You please make this happen,' it's acknowledging, 'The world is the way You want it to be, and I thank You for it'.
When this happens in your life, seemingly miraculous things start happening around you. The power of your own surrender, your own gratitude, actually changes the things around you. When I first read about this, I thought, 'This is weird, but it just might work. Let me try it.' At that point in my life, I had been having problems with four or five people whom I was trying to do business with. Despite daily reminders, they were not doing things they had promised to do. I sat down and started saying 'Thank you Mr X for not doing this job. Thank you Mr Y for trying to cheat me on that last deal we did,' and so on. I did this for a couple of hours until I finally did feel a strong sense of gratitude towards these people. When their image came up in my mind, I didn't remember all the frustrations I had experienced in dealing with them. I just had an image of them in my mind towards which I felt gratitude and acceptance.
The next morning, when I went to work, all of these people were waiting for me. Usually, I had to go hunting for them in order to listen to their latest excuse. All of them were smiling, and all of them had done the jobs I had been pestering them for days to do. It was an astonishing testimonial to the power of loving acceptance. Like everyone else, I am still stuck in the world of doing-doing-doing, but when all my misguided doings have produced an intractable mess, I try to drop my belief that 'I' have to do something to solve this problem, and start thanking God for the mess I have made for myself. A few minutes of this is usually enough to resolve the thorniest of problems.
When I was sixteen, I took a gliding course. The first time I was given the controls, the glider was wobbling all over the place because I was reacting, or I should say over-reacting, to every minor fluctuation of the machine. Finally, the instructor took the controls away from me and said 'Watch this'. He put the glider on a level flight, put the controls in the central position and then let go of them. The glider flew itself, with no wobbles at all, with no one's hands on the controls. All my effects were just interfering with the glider's natural ability to fly itself. That's how life is for all of us. We persist in thinking that we have to 'do' things, but all our doings merely create problems.
I am not claiming that I have learned to take my hand off the controls of life and let God pilot my life for me, but I do remember all this, with wry amusement, when problems (all self-inflicted, of course) suddenly appear. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I found myself in the middle of a publishing drama that seemed to be utterly insoluble. It was such a mess, I didn't even try to talk to all the people involved. I went instead to Sri Ramana's samadhi, put the manuscript in front of it, and explained what had happened. I thanked him for the drama and added, 'This is your responsibility, not mine'. I had my eyes closed when I said this. When I opened them, an old friend was there, offering me some chocolate-chip cookies, something that had never happened before. I took them as Ramana's prasad. Later that day the problem was solved in five minutes. All the protagonists (who had been immovable antagonists the day before) came together and the work was completed amicably in record time.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


The power of humility, which bestows immortality, is the foremost among powers that are hard to attain. Since the only benefit of learning and other similar virtues is the attainment of humility, humility alone is the real ornament of the sages. It is the storehouse of all other virtues and is therefore extolled as the wealth of divine grace. Although it is a characteristic befitting wise people in general, it is especially indispensable for sadhus.

Since attaining greatness is impossible for anyone except by humility, all the disciplines of conduct such as yama and niyama, which are prescribed specifically for aspirants on the spiritual path, have as their aim only the attainment of humility. Humility is indeed the hallmark of the destruction of the ego. Because of this, humility is especially extolled by sadhus themselves as the code of conduct befitting them.

Moreover, for those who are residing at Arunachala, it is indispensable in every way. Arunachala is the sacred place where even the embodiments of God, Brahma, Vishnu and Sakti, humbly subsided. Since it has the power to humble even those who would not be humbled, those who do not humbly subside at Arunachala will surely not attain that redeeming virtue anywhere else.

The Supreme Lord, who is the highest of the high, shines unrivaled and unsurpassed only because he remains the humblest of the humble. When the divine virtue of humility is necessary even for the Supreme Lord, who is totally independent, is it necessary to emphasize that it is absolutely indispensable for sadhus who do not have such independence? Therefore, just as in their inner life, in their outer life also sadhus should possess complete and perfect humility. It is not that humility is necessary only for devotees of the Lord; even for the Lord it is the characteristic virtue.

Sri Ramana Darsanam, Sadhu Natanananda

One's greatness increases to the extent that one becomes humble. The reason why God is supreme to such an extent that the whole universe bows to Him is His sublime state of humility in which the deluded ego never rises unknowingly.
Is it not on account of His behaving so humbly, as one ever in the service of every creature, that God stands worthy of all the glorious worships ever performed by all the worlds? By seeing Himself in all, by being humble even to devotees who bow to everyone, and by naturally remaining at such a pinnacle of humility that nothing can be humbler than Himself, the state of being supreme has come to the Lord.

Living By the Words of Bhagavan


Q: If somebody wants to start practicing the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, where and how should they start?

David: This is another classic question: 'What should I do?' However, the question itself is misconceived. It is based on the erroneous assumption that happiness and peace are states that can be experienced by striving, by effort. The busy mind covers up the peace and the silence that is your own natural state, so if you put the mind in gear and use it to pursue some spiritual goal, you are usually taking it away from the peace, not towards it. This is a hard concept for many people to grasp.
People found their own inner peace in Sri Ramana's presence because they didn't interfere with the energy that was eradicating their minds, their sense of being a particular person who has ideas, beliefs, and so on. The true practice of Sri Ramana's teachings is remaining quiet, remaining in a state of inner mental quiescence that allows the power of Sri Ramana to seep into your heart and transform you. This can be summarized in one of Sri Ramana's classic comments: 'Just keep quiet. Bhagavan will do the rest.'
If you use the phrase 'practicing the teachings,' the following sequence is assumed: that Sri Ramana speaks of some goal that has to be attained, that he gives you some route, some practice, to reach that goal, and that you then use your mind to vigorously move towards that goal. The mind wants to be in charge of this operation. It wants to listen to the Guru, understand what is required, and then use itself to move in the prescribed direction. All this is wrong. Mind is not the vehicle one uses to carry out the teachings; it is, instead, the obstacle that prevents one from directly experiencing them. The only useful, productive thing the mind can do is disappear.
Sri Ramana himself always said that his true teachings were given out in silence. Those who were receptive to them were the ones who could get out of the way mentally, allowing Sri Ramana's silent emanations to work on them. In the benedictory verse to his philosophical poem Ulladu Narpadu Sri Ramana wrote, and I paraphrase a little: 'Who can meditate on that which alone exists. One cannot meditate on it because one is not apart from it. One can only be it.' This is the essence of Sri Ramana's teachings. 'Be what you are and remain as you are without having any thoughts. Don't try to meditate on the Self, on God. Just abide silently at the source of the mind and you will experience that you are God, that you are the Self.'

David Godman, Interviews

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Hi Reinhard -Hope you are doing fine. For the past 2 years I am kind of more serious in practicing Self-enquiry. I already started to see some positive flow. Having said that, there is only one single thought that disturbs or holds responsibility for any hampering, which is the fundamental hypothesis on which the entire "science of Being" rests. There is only one query which lingers in my practicing mind- 

"Why does Self have a wonderous power called "mind" and why this game of projecting a "world" and a "body form" with a complex mechanism allowing each mind component to realize & to get absorbed back? "
This thought was clinging to me right from the 1st time I read Michael James's 'Happiness and the art of Being' book. Thus only when i assume this the rest follows.

Many times, at least, these days, this thought haunts me. If i could kill this thought i would be comfortable. I know this cannot be answered like an objective Science experiment. But surprisingly in all the published literature this is not even questioned or raised with Bhagavan and more or less people seem to accept this fundamental assumption of the entire theory. Even no one questioned this with their talks with RM. Rest of the questions & their answers does not disturb me at all as once the basis is assumed rest follows on which I am clear at this juncture. I need one grand BIG help from you to resolve this. I know to satisfy a mind it needs a hard pull and a friendly approach rather than a thrust. Can you throw some light and point to any discussions by Bhagavan or Robert Adams, if any, on this fundamental aspect? That wouId be a great help. Thanks a lot.

Warm regards

This shows that you are deeply questioning. This is sometimes called the forbidden question. Notice that you ask from the mind system! To understand how a cinema functions you have to step outside of the position of a guest seeing a film. Understand the analogy? From the 'standpoint' of the Eternal there is no separation, no creation, no seeker, no liberation. Therefore the scriptures talk about maya, literally 'that which is not'. Bhagavan, when asked about his view would sometimes cite the Gaudapa Karika. III, v.48:

"No jiva ever comes into existence. There exists no cause that can produce it. The supreme truth is that nothing ever is born."

The practical solution is to verify all this in your own experience by exploring your own being. Is it changeful? Can you give it the main emphasis and only see thoughts from there? Our mind has no substantial core. Only thoughts verify other thoughts. As soon as being is allowed to be in the center a fundamental shift starts. SAT is not mental and the thoughts that get into contact with IT are becoming tuned like a musical instrument. That is why Bhagavan could teach through his mere beingness and presence. All that came and all who come today find this rock-like stillness filled with his warmth. In this we can trust enough to explore it within and find our own conviction.

Friday, 6 December 2013


4. Is the state of ‘being still’ a state involving effort or effortless?

It is not an effortless state of indolence. All mundane activities which are ordinarily called effort are performed with the aid of a portion of the mind and with frequent breaks. But the act of communion with the Self (atma vyavahara) or remaining still inwardly is perfect effort, which is performed with the entire mind and without break.

Maya (delusion or ignorance) which cannot be destroyed by any other act is completely destroyed by this perfect effort, which is called ‘silence’ (mouna).

5. What is the nature of maya?

Maya is that which makes us regard as non-existent the Self, the Reality, which is always and everywhere present, all-pervasive and self-luminous, and as existent the individual soul (jiva), the world (jagat), and God (para) which have been conclusively proved to be non-existent at all times and places.

6. As the Self shines fully of its own accord why is it not generally recognized like the other objects of the world by all persons?

Wherever particular objects are known it is the Self which has known itself in the form of those objects. For what is known as knowledge or awareness is only the potency of the Self (atma sakti). The Self is the only sentient object. There is nothing apart from the Self. If there are such objects they are all insentient and therefore cannot either know themselves or mutually know one another. It is because the Self does not know its true nature in this manner that it seems to be immersed and struggling in the ocean of birth (and death) in the form of the individual soul.


1. What is the method of practice?

"As the Self of a person who tries to attain Self-realization is not different from him and as there is nothing other than or superior to him to be attained by him, Self-realization being only the realization of one’s own nature, the seeker of Liberation realizes, without doubts or misconceptions, his real nature by distinguishing the eternal from the transient, and never swerves from his natural state. This is known as the practice of knowledge. This is the enquiry leading to Self-realization."

2. Can this path of enquiry be followed by all aspirants?

"This is suitable only for the ripe souls. The rest should follow different methods according to the state of their minds."

Monday, 25 November 2013


“In the vision of death, though all the senses were benumbed, the aham sphurana (shining
Self-awareness) was clearly evident, and so I realized that it was that awareness that we call ‘I’, and not the body. This Self-awareness never decays. It is unrelated to anything. It is Self-luminous. Even if this body is burnt, it will not be affected. Hence, I realised on that very day so clearly that that was ‘I’.”


Saturday, 23 November 2013


A young man from Colombo asked Bhagavan, “J. Krishnamurti teaches the method of effortless and choiceless awareness as distinct from that of deliberate concentration. Would Sri Bhagavan be pleased to explain how best to practice meditation and what form the object of meditation should take?”
Bhagavan: Effortless and choiceless awareness is our real nature. If we can attain it or be in that state, it is all right. But one cannot reach it without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation. All the age-long vasanas carry the mind outward and turn it to external objects. All such thoughts have to be given up and the mind turned inward. For that, effort is necessary for most people. Of course everybody, every book says, “Summa iru” i.e., “Be quiet or still”. But it is not easy. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if we find one who has at once achieved the mauna or Supreme state indicated by “Summa iru”, you may take it that the effort necessary has already been finished in a previous life. So that, effortless and choiceless awareness is reached only after deliberate meditation. That meditation can take any form which appeals to you best. See what helps you to keep away all other thoughts and adopt that method for your meditation.


A constant issue. So many misunderstand the term effort. The effort for truth or God is triggered by Grace only. The force of will gets unified only through turning towards Truth. Desire will become yearning and yearning can become love for God. Stillness is matured through these steps, it is not possible to plan it or bring it about by any intellectual understanding of advaitic concepts. That is the path of ripening through sadhana and Grace.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


But in the breaking-through, when
I come to be free of
will of myself and of 
God's will
and of all his works and
of God himself,
then I am above all
created things, and 
I am neither God nor 
But I am what I was and 
what I shall remain, now and 

I receive such riches that 
God, as he is "God" and
as he performs all his 
divine works,
cannot suffice me; for in
this breaking- through I
that God and I are one.

Meister Eckhart

Saturday, 9 November 2013


In Ulladu Narpadu he [the narrator of this story] found as 'the world is false' and ‘what exists is only one.’ These ideas puzzled the young man All that he had learned at the university rose up in his mind: the nature of the atom and the universe, the wonderful and great power that was stored in them; and the means employed by scientists to harness this power for everyday use. 

He began to think about the book he was reading and the academic knowledge he had acquired: I am like a tiny atom in this vast universe. Why should God create me here? Where was I before I was born? Where will I be after I die, and why should I be here now? Is not everything that I see real? Am I not aware of the existence of things through my five senses?
The Maharshi says that none of these things exists. Am I not seeing the Maharshi himself sitting in front of me?'

Thoughts such as these churned his mind until he could no longer continue reading the book. He became lost in
deep thought.
The Maharshi then looked at the young man and asked, 'What is your doubt?'
The young man immediately sat up and, looking at the
Maharshi, replied, 'A form exists on the sofa, and another
form exists on the floor. If I open my eyes and look, the two of them are clearly visible. But you are teaching that what exists is only one. How can this be true?'

The Maharshi laughed a little and then kept quiet for some time. A few minutes later he gave the following reply.

'Don't you perform experiments in the laboratory when
you are at the university? Let us suppose that you are researching into some topic. To whatever extent the equipment you use in the experiment is subtle and precise, to that same extent the real nature of the things being studied will be known. But even if the equipment is highly sophisticated, if your vision is not normal, then the true nature of the things being studied will not be known. Even
if the vision is normal, if the brain itself is not normal,
then also the true nature of the object being studied will not be known clearly. And even if the brain is normal, if the mind does not engage itself with full attention on the experiment, knowing the truth will not be possible. So, ultimately, ascertaining the truth of an object of study is
dependent on the mind.

What is this thing that we call "mind"? Only thoughts.
But all thoughts expand from one and the same thought.
That one thought is the primary cause and basis of all other thoughts. It is the "I am the body" thought. Unless thought occurs first, the appearance of the many external objects, and the accompanying thought that they are different from oneself, will not occur. In deep sleep, where the ‘I am the body’ idea is absent, the world does appear.
Nor do other thoughts appear there. When one wakes up, it is the thought ‘I am the body’ that rises first. In this thought there are two components: one is the body and the other is ‘I’.
The body is something that appears and disappears. It keeps changing all the time and its existence is dependent on outside materials such as food.
However, the characteristic of ‘I’ is directly opposed to this.
That which truly exists must exist all the time, but the
body does not exist all the time. Therefore, it cannot be real. The ‘I’, though, exists all the time in all the three states of waking, dream and sleep. It is therefore real, whereas the body is unreal. Furthermore, these two joined together cannot constitute a real entity. How can night and day, darkness and light, exist together? If light exists, there is no darkness; if there is darkness, there is no light.

In the same way, no entity comprising the body and ‘I’ exists. Therefore, the "I am the body" thought is itself false.
If you begin to research into the world with this false
thought as the instrument, how can the truth be
discovered?' asked Bhagavan.

At that very moment the obsession that the young man had had for modern, western, scientific methods completely vanished. He understood that truth cannot be known
its methods.

Mountain Path, 2004


In the law case where he was heard by a lawyer, Bhagavan made this statement about himself which was written down in shorthand and can therefore be taken as a literal document:

" I have not given sannyas (the status of renunciate) to any one, nor have I taken sannyas from any one. I was living in Skandashram. My mother, who was also living there, passed away in 1922. Her corpse was brought to the foot of the hill and buried here and a samadhi (shrine) was built over it. From that time puja
was started here. After a while I left Skandashram and came and stayed here. At no time have I taken any title. At no time have I initiated any disciples with diksha (formal initiation) or in any ritualistic way. I do not impose any restrictions or discipline on those who gather round me. I do not invite any one to come to this place, nor do I tell any one to leave this place. By birth I am a Brahmin.
I was a Brahmachari (celibate student) when I came here (i.e. to Tiruvannamalai). Within an hour of arriving I threw away my sacred thread, clothes, etc.; I shaved my head clean. I had about three rupees and threw it away, and since then I do not touch money. I accept in my hands things that can be eaten. I do not give upadesa (spiritual instruction) or call myself a guru. However, if questions are asked by seekers I answer them. Since 1907 people have called me ' Ramana Rishi'.
I am an ' athyashrami' (beyond the ashrams and castes) not falling within the category of any of the ashrams. This state is recognized in the sastras. It is explained in the Suta Samhita. The athyashrami can own property if necessary. He needs a guru, but the Self is my guru. The athyashrami is not bound to observe any rites. I have no desire to aquire properties, but things come and I accept them. I agree that to own property is worldly, but I do not hate the world.”

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Only gentleness and patience, and silence are receptive for being. 'I' is a thought-feeling, it is still an object. But what it really signifies is neither subject nor object. It is non-dual.

We can regain the purity and simplicity of a child when we stop arguing, worrying with ourselves and with others. The use of the mind confines us to the dictates of the mind, of duality and suffering. We ARE the Self, we only think we are a person.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


The necessity of serious sadhana

1. In order that your mind should become firm, observe with full attention your duty, which is the practice of sadhana.

2. Instead of practicing sadhana superficially, follow it intensively in such a way that your mind is totally immersed in it.

3. Only the aspiration towards the fair firmament of supreme consciousness, which has no final goal other than mauna, is most worthy endeavor.

4. Grace will not combine with a bat-like mentality. Stick with intensity to one [path].

Bats nibble at one fruit and fly away, looking for another fruit to nibble at. They never stay long enough in one place to finish a single fruit.

5. All meditation practices are the means that enable the attainment of the strength of mind that is necessary for Atmanishta.

Question: How is the mind to be eliminated or relative consciousness transcended?
Bhagavan: The mind is by nature restless. Begin liberating
it from its restlessness; give it peace; make it free from
distractions; train it to look inward; make this a habit.
This is done by ignoring the external world and removing
the obstacles to peace of mind.

Question: How is restlessness removed from the mind?
Bhagavan: External contacts - contacts with objects other than itself - make the mind restless. Loss of interest in non-Self [vairagya] is the first step. Then the habits of introspection and
introspection and concentration follow. They are characterized by control of external senses, internal
faculties, [sama, dama, etc.] ending in samadhi
[undistracted mind].

Padamalai, edited by David Godman

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Yesterday i went for the first time to the Samadhi Hall and the Old Hall in Sri Ramanasramam. Meditating there i was surprised as i am each year when i return. I am sure all who were there know what i try to express. In one word: It is indescribable. I sometimes hear people say, 'well, you know, Ramana is inside, so there is no need to go to India.' Of course that is true on an absolute level. But if we have never felt this embrace, sitting in His residence, how could we know?
Bhagavan himself has stated repeatedly that to come to Ramanasramam only serves the purpose to experience the universal nature of the Self. He was and He IS universal Being and Love.
Yet, a guru of mine once said, 'You don't grab the horns of a cow to get milk!' 
After coming to Arunachala for 29 years i am amazed to fall in love like for the first time! I can never memorize this, and it is always fresh and convincingly so!
Bhagavan once compared the Self to a rose when asked how it would be possible that this freshness remains.
So i wish all to come to His feet and be embraced by his Love.
Namo Ramanaya... Reinhard


"That fear was only on the first day, that is, the day of the awakening. It was a sudden fear of death, which developed, not merely indifference to external things. It also started two new habits. First, the habit of introspection, that is, having attention perpetually turned on my Self, and second, the habit of emotional tears when visiting the Madurai Temple. The actual enquiry and discovery of ‘Who I am’ was over on the very first day of the change. That time, instinctively, I held my breath and began to think or dive inward with my enquiry into my own nature.

‘This body is going to die,’ I said to myself, referring to the gross physical body. I had no idea that there was any sukshma sarira [subtle body] in human beings. I did not even think of the mind. I thought of the gross physical body when I used the term body, and I came to the conclusion that when it was dead and rigid (then it seemed to me that my body had actually become rigid as I stretched myself like a corpse with rigor mortis upstairs, thinking this out) I was not dead. I was, on the other hand, conscious of being alive, in existence. So the question arose in me, ‘What was this “I”? Is it the body? Who called himself the “I”?’

So I held my mouth shut, determined not to allow it to pronounce ‘I’ or any other syllable. Still I felt within myself, the ‘I’ was there, and the thing calling or feeling itself to be ‘I’ was there. What was that? I felt that there was a force or current, a center of energy playing on the body, continuing regardless of the rigidity or activity of the body, though existing in connection with it. It was that current, force or center that constituted my Self, that kept me acting and moving, but this was the first time I came to know it. I had no idea of my Self before that. From that time on, I was spending my time absorbed in contemplation of that current.

Once I reached that conclusion (as I said, on the first day of the six weeks, the day of my awakening into my new life) the fear of death dropped off. It had no place in my thoughts. 

‘I’, being a subtle current, it had no death to fear. So, further development or activity was issuing from the new life and not from any fear. I had no idea at that time of the identity of that current with the personal God, or Iswara as I used to call him. As for Brahman, the impersonal absolute, I had no idea then. I had not even heard the name then. I had not read the Bhagavad Gita or any other religious works except the Periyapuranam and in Bible class the four Gospels and the Psalms from the Bible. I had seen a copy of Vivekananda’s Chicago lecture, but I had not read it. I could not even pronounce his name correctly. I pronounced it ‘Vyvekananda’, giving the ‘i’ the ‘y’ sound. 

I had no notions of religious philosophy except the current notions of God, that He is an infinitely powerful person, present everywhere, though worshipped in special places in the images representing Him. This I knew in addition to a few other similar ideas which I picked up from the Bible and thePeriyapuranam. Later, when I was in the Arunachala Temple, I learned of the identity of myself with Brahman, which I had heard in the Ribhu Gita as underlying all. I was only feeling that everything was being done by the current and not by me, a feeling I had had ever since I wrote my parting note and left home. I had ceased to regard the current as my narrow ‘I’. This current, or avesam now felt as if it was my Self, not a superimposition.

While, on the one hand, the awakening gave me a continuous idea or feeling that my Self was a current or force in which I was perpetually absorbed whatever I did, on the other hand the possession led me frequently to the Meenakshi Sundaresa Temple [in Madurai]. Formerly I would visit it occasionally with friends, but at that time [it] produced no noticeable emotional effect, much less a change in my habits. But after the awakening I would go there almost every evening, and in that obsession I would go and stand there for a long time alone before Siva, Nataraja, Meenakshi and the sixty-three saints. I would sob and shed tears, and would tremble with emotion."

Avesasca asvatantrasya svatadrupanimajjanat. 
Paratadrupata Sambhoradyacchaktyavibhaginah.
(Tantraloka – Ahnika I, verse 173)

Avesa means the mergence or disappearance of the limited self into and becoming identical with Supreme Siva, who is at one with the Adi Sakti.

It is clear from other remarks he made on this subject that Bhagavan initially had no idea what had happened to him in 1896. He is, for example, on record as saying, apropos the death experience, that he initially thought he might have caught some strange disease, but was happy for it to stay since it was such a pleasant one. Having made it quite clear in this account that he knew nothing about God or Brahman, it is not surprising that he grasped at explanations that fitted the rather limited world-view he had acquired as a child and a teenager: possession or a disease. Within a few weeks, however, he understood that 'This is my own Self; this is not something imposed from outside, and it not is not something that is going to come and go.' The avesamof possession moved on to the avesam of Self-abidance.
David Godman

From an unedited account of the Self-realization experience that Narasimhaswami had written in 1930.


I (S.N.)beseeched him fervently in the following words:

“It is my great desire that I should actually experience your gracious wisdom. Kindly fulfill my desire.” 

In those days Sri Ramana was not speaking much. Still, he spoke kindly as follows: 

“Is it the body in front of me that desires to obtain my grace? Or is it the awareness within it? If it is the awareness, is it not now looking upon itself as the body and making this request? If so, let the awareness first of all know its real nature. It will then automatically know God and my grace. 
The truth of this can be realized even here and now.” 

Besides speaking like this, he also explained it in the following way, using examples from my daily experience that I could 
understand and relate to.

“It is not the body that desires to obtain the grace. Therefore, 
it is clear that it is the awareness that shines here as ‘you’. 
To you who are the nature of awareness there is no connection during sleep with the body, the senses, the life force [prana] and the mind. On waking up you identify yourself with them, even without your knowledge. This is your experience. All that you have to do hereafter is see that you do not identify yourself with them. In the states of waking and dream try to remain as you were in the state of deep sleep. 
As you are by nature unattached, you have to convert the state of ignorant deep sleep, in which you were formless and unattached, into conscious deep sleep. It is only by doing this that you can remain established in your real nature. 

You should never forget that this experience will come only through long practice. This experience will make 
it clear that your real nature is not different from the nature of 

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Thy Presence fills every nook and corner of the whole universe,
O Auspiciousness! Where can I invoke Thee?
You are everywhere, world’s refuge,
Can a special role be given? The holy Ganges flows from consciousness...
Thy feet—how to give obeisance! O Purity!
Marble-white complexioned,
Can oblations wash a speck? O Untainted! 
What can taint thee?
Cool waters drench not the heat absorbent,
Sandalwood disappears in Your calm.
When endless sky covers Thee
Garments are unnecessary—O Love!
Knowing the very ocean of wisdom
Needless, the sacred thread of knowledge
Precious jewels—ruby, pearly, amethyst
Fade, as Thou art Lord, gloss of all.
When Thou art the fragrance,
blossoming Flower garlands, can they adorn Thee?
When all appeased, will hunger, thirst remain
Since there is only Finis...finis...finis!
Thou are all-pervading! Where to circumambulate?
The Vedas have negated all description
How can I invoke Thee?
The lustrous sun-light fades before Thee
What of the camphor flame? [used in the arati-worship rite]
No place for any immersion [in holy water-tanks in temples]
Since you fill all surroundings. All desire to worship thee is banished. The concept of you being God and I being devotee has vanished. This is my invisible spontaneous prayer I got the light of understanding regarding the worship of thy feet Glory—Thy nature!

[A Marathi-language abhanga, translated into English, written by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, and sung daily as part of the morning bhajan session of songs and chants]

And that is how I go about now, and ceaselessly repeat the Prayer of Jesus, which is more precious and sweet to me than anything in the world. At times I do as much as 45 miles a day, and do not feel that I am walking at all. I am aware only of the fact that I am saying my Prayer. When the bitter cold pierces me, I begin to say my prayer more earnestly and I quickly get warm all over. When hunger begins to overcome me, I call more often on the name of Jesus, and I forget my wish for food. When I fall ill and get rheumatism in my back and legs, I fix my thoughts on the Prayer and do not notice the pain. If anyone insults me I have only to think, ‘How sweet is the Prayer of Jesus!’ and the grievance and the anger alike pass away and I forget it all.
I have become a kind of fool; I don’t worry about anything any longer and nothing attracts me anymore and nothing vain can hold my interest. The one thing I wish for is to be alone, and all by myself to pray, to pray without ceasing; and doing this, I am filled with joy. God knows what is happening to me!

-The Way of a Pilgrim

Fra Giovanni


To Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513. 

I am your friend and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not got,
but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find 
rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in
this present little instant. Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it,
yet within our reach is joy. 
There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see
we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its
gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly,
or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you
will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of
love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel's hand that
brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a
sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand
is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an
overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not
content with them as joys. They, too, conceal
diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of
beauty - beneath its covering - that you will find
earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage
you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims
together, wending through unknown country, home.

And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the
world sends greetings, but with profound esteem
and with the prayer that for you now and forever,
the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.

-Fra Giovanni Giocondo

This letter was written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo to his friend, Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513. 

Born in Venice, Giocondo would become a priest, a scholar, an architect and a teacher. He was indeed a true 'renaissance man.'

In 1496 Giocondo was invited to France by the King and made royal architect. If you've ever been to Paris and walked across the beautiful bridges Pont Notre-Dame or the Petit Pont -- both of these were designed by Giocondo.

Frà Giovanni Giocondo war ein italienischer Altertumsforscher und Architekt der Frührenaissance, geb. 1435 zu Verona. Er scheint die erste Hälfte seines Lebens hauptsächlich der klassischen Gelehrsamkeit gewidmet zu haben, die er mit dem Studium der antiken Architektur verband. In dieser Periode unterrichtete er den berühmten Julius Caesar Scaliger auf dessen väterlichem Landsitz Lodrone (zwischen Brescia und Trient) in der griechischen und lateinischen Sprache. In Rom und anderen Städten Italiens sammelte G. mehr als 2000 Inschriften, die er Lorenzo de' Medici widmete; eine Abschrift befindet sich in der Biblioteca Magliabecchiana zu Florenz. Er schrieb Noten zu Cäsar, Vitruv, Frontinus. Seine illustrierte Vitruv-Ausgabe erschien 1511 in Venedig. Andere Autoren ließ er zum erstenmal drucken, so auch Catos Schrift "De rebus rusticis". Sein Ruf als Architekt war bereits begründet, als ihn Ludwig XII. 1499 zum Bau der Brücke Notre Dame nach Paris kommen ließ. Während seines dortigen Aufenthalts fand er ein 1508 von Aldus Manutius herausgegebenes Manuskript von Plinius dem Jüngeren. 1509 hatte er Treviso gegen den Kaiser Maximilian zu befestigen. 1512 führte er einen Hauptpfeiler der Etschbrücke in Verona von neuem wieder auf. In seiner Vaterstadt erbaute er den Palazzo del Consiglio. Im Jahr 1514 wurde er nach Rom berufen, wo er als Architekt von St. Peter in Gemeinschaft mit Raffael und Giuliano da San Gallo tätig war, jedoch nur für kurze Zeit, da er am 1. Juli 1515 starb.