Monday, 24 February 2014


Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long or short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.

Dogen Zenji (1200 - 1253)

Sunday, 23 February 2014


Once, I asked Chadwick, “Are you realized?” I have put this question to all of the old devotees like Muruganar, Cohen, Osborne, Sadhu Natanananda, Devaraja Mudaliar and others. None of them either said yes or no - all smiled. When I asked him whether he was realized, he did not say yes or no. Instead, he told me, “I will tell you what happened. After many years of my stay with Bhagavan - four or five years, I committed the mistake of trying to evaluate how much I have progressed spiritually. This is a thing any seeker should not do. I felt that I have not progressed. Many who saw me in Ramanasramam, looked at me like I was a sage or a saint saying, „Oh! He is so fortunate. He is so close to Bhagavan. He meditates so much. He is already in that state.‟ This created a contradiction in me as I personally felt that I was not progressing spiritually. However, having left the material life I could not go back to a worldly life either. I felt caught between the devil and the deep sea. I was sorrow stricken. I ran to Bhagavan‟s hall. He was alone. I told him, „Bhagavan, this is my plight. I am neither here nor there and this causes much sorrow in me.‟

Bhagavan looked at me compassionately and said, „Chadwick, who says all this?‟ Immediately, there was a current like shock in my body and I literally ran to my room, shut the doors and went into a neutral state. I was not bothered whether I was spiritually maturing or whether I would be able to stay in the world. I was in a neutral state of silence. A few days passed like that wherein I was neither happy nor worried.” The only luxury that Chadwick allowed himself was taking his bath in a bath tub which he had in the verandah of his cottage. One day, shortly after the above incident, something happened unexpectedly. As Chadwick told me later, “I was taking my bath and very honestly Ganesan, I was not in a spiritual state or in a prayerful mood when it suddenly dawned - the „I AM‟!”

He experienced it - not just as words. He was so ecstatic that he did not even dry himself. He just wrapped a towel around his waist and ran to the Old Hall from where a few days back he had run away. Fortunately, this time too, Bhagavan was alone. In this spiritual ecstasy of experiencing the „I AM‟, where there was no Chadwick, just the „I AM‟, he asked Bhagavan, “Bhagavan, is THIS it?” Chadwick recounted,

“Bhagavan gave me the most glorious smile, and then confirmed, „Yes, Chadwick, THIS is THAT!‟ I then asked him, „Bhagavan, is it so simple?‟ Bhagavan replied, „Yes it is that simple.‟ Since then, I‟ve never had any doubt.”

V. Ganesan in 'Ramana Periya Puranam'

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


"Sat all alone, revolving in myself
The word that is the symbol of myself,
The mortal limit of the Self was loosed,
And passed into the nameless, as a cloud
Melts into heaven. I touch’d my limbs, the limbs
Were strange, not mine—and yet no shade of doubt,
But utter clearness, and thro’ loss of Self
The gain of such large life as matched with ours
Were sun to spark—unshadowable in words,
Themselves but shadows of a shadow-world ..."

A kind of walking trance I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. This has often come upon me through repeating my own name to myself silently till, all at once, as it were, out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this not a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life.."

"Yes, it is true there are moments when the flesh is nothing to me, when I feel and know the flesh to be the vision, God and the spiritual—the only real and true. Depend upon it, the spiritual is the real; it belongs to one more than the hand and the foot. You may tell me that my hand and my foot are only imaginary symbols of my existence. I could believe you, but you never, never can convince me that the I is not an eternal reality, and that the spiritual is not the true and real part of me.' These words he spoke with such passionate earnestness that a solemn silence fell on us as he left the room."

From 'Cosmic Consciousness'

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


Removing the clouds that are blocking our pure light of wisdom, we can become liberated from the chains of karma, thereby becoming truly free. But how do you do this? There are many methods, but the fastest is meditation and the fastest of those is the hwadu, or gong-an (enquiry). By going beyond the level of being able to meditate in deep sleep, you will reach a place of perfect serenity, your original, bright, shining mirror devoid of all dust that had sat on it. You will see your original face, your true nature, the nature of the entire universe, and realize that you had always and originally been a Buddha. This is nirvana. ”

“ No one can help you with this endeavor. No books, no teachers, not even the Buddha. You must walk this road yourself.
Do not sleep more than four hours.
Do not talk more than necessary.
Do not read books.
Do not snack.
Do not wander or travel frequently."

Seongcheol also set a clear benchmark that the practitioner could apply to gauge his level of practice. Throughout his life, many followers came to him to obtain acknowledgment of their enlightenment. He felt dismayed at the number of people who thought they had attained perfect enlightenment by experiencing some mental phenomenon during their practice. He therefore reiterated that every enlightened person from the Buddha and on had given the same definition of enlightenment. True attainment, he quoted, came only after going beyond the level of being able to meditate in deep sleep. Only after being able to meditate on a gong'an continuously, without interruption, throughout the waking state, then the dreaming state, and finally in deep sleep, one reaches the state where enlightenment can become possible. Before any of this, one should never claim to have become enlightened, even though there may be many instances of weird mental phenomena that happens during one's practice: 

“ Many practitioners believe that they have attained enlightenment. Some say they have attained it multiple times. This is a big delusion. There is only one true enlightenment, such that the attained state never disappears and then reappears, but is constantly present even through the deepest sleep. As Ma Tzu said, 'attained once, attained forever.' Any enlightenment that comes and goes or has gradations is nothing more than delusion. ”