A Light on the Teaching of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

The Essence of Spiritual Practice
(Sadhanai Saram)

by Sri Sadhu Om

__________

Please note

This text is a selection of verses from a book written by Sri Sadhu Om, a direct disciple of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, entitled « The Essence of Spiritual Practice » (Sadhanai Saram). Kindly note that this document is to be used for personal, non-commercial, educational and informational purposes only. The full English version can be easily found online in PDF format.

7. Grace Alone is of Prime Importance

15. The ego is only a trivial entity; besides, it is unreal (asat) and powerless (asakta). It is a mere adjunct which rises and subsides. Therefore, what foolishness it is to think, “The spiritual practice (sadhana) done by the strength of this ego will by itself bestow the goal of life; the supreme power of divine Grace is not of any consequence (and is not necessary in order for one to attain the goal)”!

17. Unless our Lord, Sri Ramana, who is the form of God, Himself bestows His divine Grace, who can by his own effort attain that heroic state of firmly abiding as Self, having clearly known one consciousness other than the body to be the real “I”?

 

19. Devotion and Knowledge – Bhakti and Jnana

79. To the extent to which love for God arises in one’s heart, to that extent will one acquire knowledge about Him. And to the extent to which one knows the nature of God, to that extent will the mind gain steadfast love for Him. Thus, knowledge (jnana) will be increased by devotion (bhakti), and devotion (bhakti) will be increased by knowledge (jnana).

80. By means of our love for God, He will give us more knowledge of Him, and by means of our knowledge of Him, He will give us more love for Him. Therefore, of these two paths, bhakti and jnana, follow that one for which you first gain a liking, because that one path will lead you to follow the other one into the heart.

81. In the life of an aspirant who is seeking liberation, bhakti and jnana will be experienced as inseparable, like the two sides of one sheet of paper. Hence, each one is equal to the other. They are not two different things, for the true nature of both of them is one and the same; know that bhakti and jnana are merely two names for that one thing.

Garland of Guru’s Sayings (Guru Vachaka Kovai) verses 722, 731)

82. The state of abiding firmly in Self-alone is wisdom (jnana). Would it be possible to abide thus in Self if one did not have love for Self? Love for Self-alone is bhakti; abiding firmly in Self on account of that love alone is jnana. What difference is there between these two? Discriminate and know this truth. (Maharshi’s Gospel p.24)

84. An aspirant who practices Self-inquiry, which is the path of jnana, denies his own individuality by knowing, “I, this insignificant ego, am not the doer of any action”; while a devotee denies his own individuality by knowing, “God alone is the doer of all actions.” Thus, since an aspirant who follows either of these two paths refrains from assuming the sense of doership, understand that these two paths are not different even during the time of practice, and follow either of them.

85. We should not allow our minds to become bewildered and confused by trying to deliberate and decide, “Which of these two, the practice of bhakti or the practice of jnana is the best means for attaining liberation?” For whichever path a liking arises in the heart of a person, for that person that path alone is the best.

86. According to the strength of habit continuing from former lives, in this life the mind will acquire a liking either for the path of devotion or the direct and unfailing path of Self-inquiry, and will feel that particular path to be the best and most suited to itself. Therefore, follow at least one of these two paths to its very end.

 

20. Inquiry Becoming Easy Due to Devotion

87. When, having wept and wept with intense yearning for a long time, unceasingly thinking of and adoring the Gracious Feet (of the Lord), the mind which rises (as “I am so-and-so”) dissolves and becomes pure, the blemishless Self-inquiry (jnanatmavichara) will become firmly settled (in the heart) and the experience of Self (swarupa-anubhava) will of its own accord arise very easily indeed. – Sri Muruganar

 

21. Self-Surrender and Self-Inquiry

89. Since the ego itself is everything (as revealed by Sri Bhagavan in verse 26 of Reality in Forty Verses), giving up the ego, the feeling “I am this body,” by surrendering it to God, is lovingly surrendering everything to Him. Having once surrendered the ego to God, abiding in Self without taking it back again (that is, without again identifying the body as “I” or “mine”) is true tapas.

91. Destroying the ego through Self-attention is alone the excellent path of self-surrender. Therefore, scrutinizing and knowing one’s own Self is alone the proper method of practicing both self-surrender, the path of devotion, and Self-inquiry, the path of knowledge.

92. The path of knowledge, in which we scrutinize “Who am I?”, is itself the path of devotion in which we have true love for God. Knowing thus, that Self-inquiry and self-surrender are one and the same, not only in their goal but also in their method of practice, follow the practice of Self-attention.

 

26. The Fear of Death

148. After the death of the mind has thus been firmly attained as a result of the fear of the death of the body, since there is no law that the body should die as soon as the mind dies, in the outlook of others the body of the Jivanmukta will continue to live, yet his mind will have died due to the dawn of true knowledge.

149. The existence-consciousness “I am,” which continues to live even after the mind has died, alone is the Supreme Reality (Brahman), which continues to exist even after the entire universe has been destroyed (pralaya). Since there is never even for a moment any such thing as death or destruction for this Self-consciousness “I am”, know that this “I am” alone is the unending and indestructible supreme Self.

 

27. Birthlessness and Deathlessness

150. Not thinking the body to be “I” is birthlessness; never forgetting the Self-consciousness “I am” is deathlessness. When and why will birth or death come to those who, abiding in the state of Self-knowledge, are ever devoid of thinking and forgetting?

151. Thinking of anything other than “I” is alone birth; not thinking of anything other than “I” is liberation (mukti). Will those who have learnt well the art of not thinking, and who thereby abide firmly in the thought-free state, come again under the sway of thought? The practice of refraining from seeing oneself as the many objects of this world is alone perfect practice (sadhana). If one achieves success in this sadhana, then there will be no more birth or death.

 

28. The Transcendent Nature of Self

153. This vast world, God, souls, bondage and liberation all appear to exist only in the waking and dream states, in which thoughts exist; but do they exist in sleep, which is devoid of thoughts? Similarly, they do not exist in the state of Self-knowledge (turiya). If one scrutinizes, “To whom do they appear to exist in waking and dream?” they will cease to exist.

154. Since they are known only when thoughts exist, and since they do not shine when one abides firmly in Self, the creator of the soul, God and world is only the mind, which is the aggregate of all thoughts. Is this creation a work done by Self? No.

155. If the truth is to be told clearly, the real substance of the world seen in the waking state is only this ego, which rises and thunders, as “I am this body”. On the other hand, if anyone says that Self at any time revolved in mad delusion and either performed creation and all such actions, or became this soul, world and God, that would be a great wrong.

 

29. Pramada

156. Know that the world, soul and God have all seemingly come into existence only because of our pramada or slackness in Self-attention.

 

37. Spiritual Maturity (Pakva)

199. For people whose madness of desire for the pleasures of this world has not yet subsided, who have not become disgusted with all the efforts they have been making to obtain those pleasures, and whose minds have not therefore completely withdrawn from all such extroverted desires and efforts, it will not be easy to inquire, “Who am I?”, and to know the true state of Self, just as a reflection of one’s face will not be formed clearly in swiftly running water. Know that a reflection can be seen clearly only when the water stops running and collects itself calmly together in one place.

200. If the liking to attain true knowledge really rises with one, it will be easy for one to experience Self-knowledge, the state of perfect emancipation, as clearly as an amalaka (crystal, or gooseberry) fruit in the hand. But so long as even an iota of the liking to enjoy the pleasures of this unreal world remains unsubsided in one’s heart, the real thirst to know Self will not rise within one.

203. Though many crores (millions) of very important thoughts rise in one’s heart, bliss can be enjoyed only when one rejects all of them and remains still, knowing that to be still is far more important than to continue attending to any thought whatsoever. Only by those earnest aspirants who have clearly understood this truth, can real austere practice (tapas) be possible.

 

39. The Thoughts That Arise During Meditation

216. The tendencies (vasanas) are the seeds, and the thoughts that rise are the plants. The Grace of God or Guru is the water that makes the vasanas sprout in the form of thoughts. Then in order to destroy those thoughts, which exist in the form of desires, that same Grace crushes them by the power of the clear discrimination that it bestows upon us. Therefore, until you achieve victory in this war of Grace, do not become disheartened and give up your meditation.

217. All thoughts that we have cultivated due to our worldly desires in many former lives when we did not possess proper discrimination, have been accumulated in our heart in the form of very powerful tendencies (vasanas). Those vasanas exist in the form of likes and dislikes, and they will be destroyed only to the extent to which we abide firmly in the Self.

 

40. How to Make Thoughts Subside

218. All thoughts (vrittis) arise only because the unreal feeling “I am this body” has become well soaked and firmly established in us. All these thoughts will be destroyed only if we vigilantly practice Self-inquiry, and thereby root out the unreal feeling “I am this body.”

221. The tendency to identify this gross body as “I” (in the waking state) alone is the root which paves the path for ignorance to subsist as the subtle body (in dream) and to hide as the casual body (in sleep). Therefore, if we abide as Self, having repeatedly practiced Self-attention and having thereby put an end to this root-tendency to identify the gross body as “I,” the tendency to identify with the other two bodies will also be destroyed automatically.

 

41. Intermittent Attempts

225. If at one single attempt you strive persistently for long hours without limit, to pull Selfwards and restrain the running mind without leaving your hold on Self-attention, you will find that you are not able to maintain a steady intensity of Self-attention. Therefore, after making one attempt for a few minutes, relax your effort for a while, and then again make a fresh attempt with renewed effort.

227. When the mind, our power of attention, having little by little gained the strength to turn Selfwards, finally at one time reaches the heart due to the intensity and clarity of its Self-attention, it will drown in Self, having been caught in the clutch of the Grace of God who has ever been waiting without the least forgetfulness to catch it, and hence it will never again turn outwards to know objects other than “I”.

 

43. Self-Inquiry and Other Methods of Practice (Sadhana)

236. For those who listen and pay heed to what Sri Ramana Bhagavan has said, the path of Self-inquiry is very easy. Only to those who ask, “What is this path? What is that path?”, having already confused their mind by learning so much, does it become necessary to teach all the other superficial and extroverted methods of sadhana saying, “First subdue the breath (by practicing pranayama), subdue the tongue (by observing silence), and subdue the mischief of the mind (by practicing meditation).”

237. From the mouth of Sri Ramana Bhagavan, words sometimes arose as if commending other methods, such as watching the breath or japa. This apparently was in order to shut the mean mouths of bystanders (those people who were attached to the practice of traditional yogic and vedantic methods of sadhana, by giving them no room to find fault saying, “Bhagavan has set aside all the ancient methods, showing complete indifference to them”.

238. If the mind practices any one thing incessantly, it will naturally gain one-pointedness in that one thing. However, rather than any external object, the first person consciousness “I” is alone the most worthy thing for the mind to have as the target of its attention, is it not? By taking any second person object, such as the movement of the breath, or the right side of the chest, as the target of its attention, the mind will attain only a state of temporary absorption in that object.

239. The state in which the mind, by the strength of practice (abhyasa-bala), abides or immerses itself in the attention to any second person object, however exalted that object may be, is only a state of temporary absorption of the mind (manolaya). On the other hand, by abiding in the state of Self-attention, the natural state of true awakening, the state of destruction of the mind (mano-nasa) will be attained. Since this natural state of Self-knowledge alone is our goal, cling firmly only to this flawless practice (sadhana), or incessantly thinking “I, I”.

240. The one-pointedness of mind, which is gained by the practice of repetition of a mantra (japa) or meditation (dhyana), will also be gained by practicing Self-inquiry; but in a very easy manner without the need of any restriction or restraint, such as those that are to be observed while practicing other methods of practice (sadhana). Rather than the common existence-consciousness “I am,” which is always experienced by all people, what more worthy and easy target of attention (dhyana-lakshana) is now needed?

241. Whatever kind of person they may be, everyone says, “I am”; so what obstacle can there be for anyone to attend unceasingly to that Self-consciousness “I am?” Therefore, without giving room for even an iota of doubt, attend with love and joy only to your own being.

 

50. Untouching Union (Asparsa Yoga)

278. Our existence and the consciousness of our existence ever remain unseparated from us; when it is so, why should the state in which we remain as we are be called a state of yoga, in which we have approached and united (with our own existence)? We are always only one; therefore, the natural state in which we abide as we are, is not a state of our uniting with ourself, nor is it a state of our becoming ourself. Declare that that state is the state of “not touching” (asparsam); that is, the state of separation from all adjuncts such as the body and mind).

279. To talk in admiration about going and uniting hereafter with our natural state, which is nondual and which can never become two, and to glorify that this is yoga, is appropriate only for people who are deluded into believing that their ego-life (which is experienced only in the darkness of ignorance) is the real life. Know clearly that the truth is that no yoga is necessary for our real nature.

 

51. Who is a Jnani?

280. Is the intellect, which decides, “This person is a Jnani; that person is an ajnani” knowledge (jnana) or ignorance (ajnana)? Jnana is only one! Therefore, even the Jnani who is seen by the mind, the ajnana that sees Jnanis as many, is only a product of that ajnana.

281. You (the mind that sees others) are yourself a mere thought. Therefore, the person who is said by you to be a pure soul, or a Mahatma, is only one among the many thoughts that are thought by you, the first thought! How can such a thought, which is an illusory product of ajnana, be a supreme Knower of Self (Atma-jnani)? Reflecting in this manner, know this truth.

282. To say, “He is a good soul, a Jnani, I know,” is untrue. Even to say, “All people are Jnanis,” is untrue, because to see as if many people are existing, is the sign of ignorance. Only one person truly exists; that is you. Know thus.

283. In the true outlook of the Jnani, there is no ajnani (because there is no one who is other than himself). The ajnani (pointing to a body and saying “This person is a Jnani,” gives the name “Jnani” only to a body. Due to this defective outlook, where-by the ajnani sees even the Jnani as a body, he becomes one who sees even the Jnani only as an ajnani.

285. Let the individual (jivatma) who enters the lofty Himalayas and forests seeking Mahatmas, enter instead the heart, by turning within seeking “Where am I?” and thereby become the blissful Self (sukhatma-swarupa). Thereafter, all who were seen externally as pure souls (Mahatmas) will be experienced by him to be his own Self (atma-swarupa). This is the teaching given by Sri Ramana Bhagavan.

287. Therefore, if any thought arises in you hereafter to seek to determine whether someone is a Jnani or an ajnani, reject that thought immediately by inquiring “Who am I who rise to determine about the state of others?” and thus merge your mind in the heart, the source from which that thought arose, by turning within and keenly fixing your attention in that source.

289. If someone is a Jnani, what is that to us? So long as we do not know ourself, that will be of no benefit to us. On scrutiny, Jnana alone is the Jnani; the Jnani is not a human form; he is only the supreme space of pure consciousness. That supreme space is our true nature.

 

52. The Ultimate Secret of Spiritual Practice (Sadhanottava Rahasya)

291. (Among the three places or persons [the first, second and third persons], and among the three times, the present, past and future) the first person (known in Tamil as tanmai-idam or the “selfness-place”) and the present time, are the place and the time that Sadguru Sri Ramana told us to scrutinize (as our dhyana-laksha, or target for attention). If you abide, attending with subtle vigilance to either of these, investigating “Who is this first person, who shines as I?” or “What is this present time that shines as the consciousness am?” you will experience the supreme joy of Self (atma-parabhoga) – having accomplished yoga and having become one who has attained siddhi (the state of final liberation). See and feast upon Self, thus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KIRTANS

 

1     OM namaḥ Śivāya

 

2      Jay Śiva Śaṅkara, he Maheśvara,
        Sukha kara, dukha hara, 

        Hara Hara Śaṅkara 

 

3      Jaya Śiva Śaṅkara, bum bum Hara Hara

        He Kaśi Viśvanāth, Hara Hara Gaṅge

 

4      OM Śakti OM Śakti OM Mahā Śakti

        OM Śakti OM Śakti OM Parā Śakti

 

5      OM Māta Om Kāli Durgadevi namo namaḥ

        Kuṇḍalini Śakti Jagatambe Māta

  

6      Jaya Mā, Jaya Mā, Jagadīśvari, Jaya Mā

        Jagadīśvari, Maheśvari, Bhuvaneśvari, Jaya Mā

        Jaya Mā, Jaya Mā, Jaya Mā, Jaya Mā

 

7      Kali Durge, namo namaḥ

        Jaya Mātā Kali, jaya Mātā Durge

 

8      Ānanda-mayī, Caitanya-mayī, Karuna-mayī Mā

        Jaya Mā Mā Mā, pyari Mā Mā Mā

        Jaya Mā Śrī Ānanda-mayī Mā

 

9      OM Namo Bhagavate Vāsudevāya

 

10     Śrī Kṛṣṇa Govinda Hare Murāre,

         He Nātha Nārāyaṇa Vāsudeva

         Govinda Jaya Jaya, Gopāla Jaya Jaya

         Rādha-Ramaṇa Hari, Govinda Jaya Jaya

 

11     Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare

         Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

 

12    Jaya Bhagavān

 

13    Satyam Jñānam Anantam Brahma

        Satyam Brahma, Jñānam Brahma, 

        Anantam Brahma

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Ces Satsangs sont coordonnés par l’équipe de l’Ashram et ‘Les Amis d’Ajatananda Ashram’, et se dérouleront en anglais, avec une traduction simultanée en français. Vous pourrez donc écouter et voir Swamiji en plein écran et suivre son enseignement qui sera basé sur un texte de l’Advaita et suivi, comme à chaque Satsang, par une session de questions-réponses.

Attention ! Afin de pouvoir participer, votre inscription est obligatoire. Veuillez cliquer sur le bouton “Inscrivez-vous ici” situé sous la description de l’événement pour accéder au formulaire d’inscription.

Pour soutenir l’enseignement de Swamiji et l’Ajatananda Ashram, nous conserverons le principe de la donation consciente. Si vous le souhaitez, vous pourrez faire votre donation au moment de votre inscription.

Le lien Zoom, les infos complémentaires pour la réunion et le texte qui sera commenté par Swamiji vous seront envoyés la veille de l’événement. Nous vous suggérons d’imprimer le texte ou de l’afficher sur un appareil supplémentaire pendant les Satsangs.

Nous vous invitons à garder votre caméra activée et à afficher vos nom et prénom comme nom d’utilisateur ainsi que votre pays pendant la durée de chaque Satsang en signe de pleine participation. À ce sujet, vous pouvez lire ici nos recommandations complémentaires.

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