Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Open Thread

It seems that the previous Open Thread was getting too large. New comments were not appearing. Thanks to those who pointed this out to me. From now on, please continue your discussions here.

675 comments:

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Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

I make a fresh start with the new thread here... please follow me.

Maneesha said...

Reposting from the old thread...

Bhagavan had told something like this (paraphrased) when someone asked about diet: Sri Adi Sankara had told that food must be taken as medicine to cure the disease called hunger and not for taste purposes. So, one should eat only when hungry and should eat what one gets, without any preferences.

If one is cooking for himslef/herself, don't know what should be cooked. :)

Losing M. Mind said...

"This may be pointing out the obvious, but all this concern for food, for meat vs. vegetarianism, all springs from identification with the body, and it just reinforces that point of view."

Does it matter to the cow????

Losing M. Mind said...

BY, are you so beyond the body-mind identification, that you would be willing to be in the factory farmed animal's place? (after all as the Self it doesn't matter) That the pain wouldn't effect you, that you wouldn't fear your own demise? Also, are you so beyond it, that you don't mind the karmic consequence, of that being where you end up in your next life? In that case, empathy may be helpful.

Losing M. Mind said...

can't help but noticing the irony of your eloquent diatribes against the treatment of Dalits, contrasted with your own indifference to direct perpetration by yourself and other aspirants on non-human animals.

Losing M. Mind said...

I know in some scripture it said, if someone claims to be a yogi, but harms so much as an insect. Know that that person is not a true yogi, a true sannyasin. Notice that vegetarianism was observed at Ramanasramam, notice that Maharshi advised a diet of sattvic food in moderate quantities. Notice that he interfered with people mistreating animals and plants harshly. I take it that if one is not liberated, it is an absolute necessity to observe ahimsa strictly.

Ravi said...

Friends,
I would go with Sri Bhagavan's recommendation-pure vegetarian food.Sri Bhagavan had not given undue emphasis on any other requirement,but he has not given any leeway here.So,notwithstanding whether Sri Ramakrishna ate Fish or Swami Vivekananda ate meat,Vegetarian diet seems to be indispensable for all Sadhakas.Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda have indeed admitted that as one progresses in Sadhana one tends to become more sensitive to the type of Food and its effect on one's consciousness,and chooses it accordingly.
I agree with R.Subramanian and Scott that apart from purely one's 'Need',it also is absolutely essential that 'Ahimsa' as a Dharma becomes a Necessity to progress in Sadhana.
I have lived for 3 months in the winter in Canada and was quite comfortable with the Vegetarian food that we could cook there.I am sure that we can manage the same thing in Tibet as well.The availabilty of Food Grains may be a problem in Winter,but one can always store it and use it through the long winter.
Besides the type of Food,the other ingredients that go into cooking also matters-like the person who cooks the Food colours it with his psyche and the person who eats it does it with his Greed.The left over is definitely harmful for the aspirant.So,eating outside in Hotels,etc are best avoided where possible.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
In this excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,the Master covers the whole Gamut of what we have been discussing:
MASTER (to Vijay and the other devotees): "A man brought a bottle of consecrated wine
for me; but I couldn't even touch it."
VIJAY: "Ah!"
MASTER: "I become intoxicated at the mere thought of God. I don't have to take any wine.
I feel drunk at the very sight of the charanamrita. I feel as if I had drunk five bottles of
liquor. When a person attains such a state he cannot help discriminating about food."
NARENDRA: "As regards food, one should take whatever comes."
MASTER: "What you say applies only to a particular state of the aspirant's mind. No food
can harm a jnani.
According to the Gita, the jnani himself does not eat; his eating is an offering to the
Kundalini. But that does not apply to a bhakta. The present state of my mind is such that I
cannot eat any food unless it is first offered to God by a brahmin priest. Formerly my state
of mind was such that I would enjoy inhaling the smell of burning corpses, carried by the
wind from the other side of the Ganges. It tasted very sweet to me. But nowadays I cannot
eat food touched by anybody and everybody. No, I cannot. But once in a while I do. One
day I was taken to see a performance of a play at Keshab's house. They gave me luchi and
curries to eat. I didn't know whether the food was handed to me by a washerman or a
barber; but I ate quite a little. (All laugh.) Rakhal had asked me to eat.
(To Narendra) "With you it is all right. You are in 'this' as well as in 'that'. You can eat
everything now. (To the devotees) Blessed is he who feels longing for God, though he eats
pork. But shame on him whose mind dwells on 'woman and gold', though he eats the purest
food-boiled vegetables, rice, and ghee.
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear everyone,

Since Sri Bhagavan insisted on vegetarian food and since all of us
are following Sri Bhagavan, these disussions have been taking place.
If some lenience could be permitted on this, then another recommendation
of Sri Bhagavan viz., circumambulation of the Hill can also be diluted. Why do pradakshina of the Hill, let me do pradakshina of my housing complex
or this park or that hotel., etc.,
For a Jnani who is in non dual state of consciousness, these are immaterial. But Sri Bhagavan taught for the sake of sadhakas, and not for another Brahma Jnani. One can even question that if a person had come from Antarctica, what would have Sri Bhagavan told him regarding food etc?., These are all hypothetical.

i said...

Btw, today is Swami Vivekananda Jayanthi.

It is man-making religion that we want. It is man-making theories that we want. It is man-making education all round that we want. And here is the test of truth- anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually and spiritually reject as poison; there is no life in it, it cannot be true. Truth is strengthening. Truth is purity. Truth is all knowledge.

arvind said...

Hi folks,

LMM alludes to an important point. There cannot just be a “Self”-ish (pun intended) reasoning regarding the harm a tamasic diet might possibly bring to one’s sadhana.

How can any sadhaka even bear the thought of having to bring the pain of death to another entity, both the physical and the mental, just to fill the stomach? Esp when the stomach can easily & nutritionally be filled by simple veggie stuff that harms nobody. On Indian roads sometimes you can see a buffalo being taken to a slaughterhouse, walking meekly behinds its “owner”. One look at its eyes and you know instantly that the “animal” is aware that it is going to its doom, and the look of infinite sadness in its eyes is just heart-rending…..

I know that an argument is put forward that even plants have life; and that to eat and survive, we have to take life, even if it be vegetable life. Sure, it is vegetable life that we eat. But Life is all about dealing with shades of grey, nothing really is sharply black or white. And eating eggs & meat, for me, is just one shade of grey that is too dark.

Best wishes

Ravi said...

i/Friends,
Thanks very much for Swamiji's inspiring words.Swamiji was a multidimensional personality ,where all sorts of apparent contradictions were harmonized and exemplified as different aspects of the One Truth.
Truly a unique seer, a Role model and inspiration for all youths.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear everyone,

THE ZOO STORY - APOLOGY TO EDWARD ALBEE:

Here is a pageant. In London zoo, [again London zoo!], all the tigers, lions, panthers and cheetahs decided one day, saying: What is this. We are given cold and stale mutton and beef everyday and that too in very small quantities? This is not good for out sadhana. Let us all go out and take man's flesh, hot and fresh and it will help us to attain Self realization! They all broke open the zoo-gates, and rushed to Picadilly Circus and pounced on men and women, tore them apart and enjoyed the hot, fresh human flesh and said: "Yes. Self does not need food. It does not distinguish between mutton, beef and men's flash.It is the body that needs. This can however, help us for sadhana."

S. said...

salutations to all:

folks: i completely appreciate your recommendation on vegetarianism. but it's amusing that though bhagavAn was for vegetarian food, yet he never used such 'strong' words to nearly condemn those who aren't ok with it! :-))) devaraAja mudaliar and arthur osborne did take a long time to leave their liking for non-vegetarian food (there could be many more!), but let's not criticise those seekers who come from different environments/ geographies/ cultures etc. and who may be used to such kind of food.

as far as what's 'categorical' or 'mandatory', everything that's essential has been clearly outlined by bhagavAn in "his" principal writings (nAn yAr, uLLadu nArpadhu, upadEsa undiyAr etc. - the rest, regardless of their reliability, are secondary, and that includes 'talks', 'letters' & everything else). i could be wrong but i don't think bhagavAn spoke to the effect of vegetarianism being a sine qua non in his principal writings, did he? if it were, he certainly would have! bhagavAn, like in several other cases, would have preferred vegetarianism to come naturally of its own to those who for some reason or the other are stuck with it. after all, there are the much bigger sharks of lust & greed to grapple with - and being a non-vegetarian is not much of a 'crime' before being smitten with lust & stricken with greed! to say 'unless you become a vegetarian, there is no hope' is bordering on bigotry :-)

vichAra first, let everything else come of their own accord :-)))

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

I am not sure about Devaraja Mudaliar. But Arthur Osborne took
some years to leave the non vegetarian food. I think, his wife
and children left it earlier. He writes in My Life and my quest:...It was only now, in my Madras period, that I became a complete vegetarian. Physical disciplines are, of course, much
less important on the direct path of Self Enquiry than on any other,
but one which Bhagavan did lay stress on was vegetarianism. The most obvious motive for it is compassion -- not merely personal compassion for the animals slaughtered; that also of course, but beneath it is the more intellectual compassion of equal-
mindedness, seeing the same sanctity in all life and not consenting that other creatures should be deprived of theirs in order to sustain mine own. Even apart from that, however, vegetarianism is in one's mind as well as body. Animal food is deleterious for spiritual development; it sets up an undesirable vibration or magnetism and the mind imbibes the wrong qualities. Whenever any one asked Bhagavan about it, He always and quite definitely recommended vegetarianism. It is also characteristic of His wisdom and patience that if any one did not ask, He did not enjoin it. It is the tree that produces the fruit, not the fruit the tree. To impose vegetarianism from above might lead to suppressed resentment which would smoulder and increase. It was better to wait till the inner development demanded it. I had been a great meat eater all my life, taking meat daily, often in one form or another, three times a day, morning, noon, and night, except for a short period at Oxford when I had been a vegetarian as a result of reading Leonardo da Vinci's saying that we are all cemeteries of dead animals. At Tiruvannamalai, we ate less meat than ever before but did not completely renounce it. By the time we moved to Madras, we had given up cooking meat at home. But every Tuesday I used to into town at lunchtime to lay my weekly stock of tobacco, and I would eart a meat lunch at a restaurant. One Tuesday, I ordered a chicken pilau but when it arrived I felt that I just could not face the thought of eating it. It was not any theoretical objection or even any feeling of compassion for the chicken, just an inner revulsion. So I sent back the order and ordered fried fish instead. Next Tuesday, I repeated this order, but I had the same feeling about that also and sent it back. I never ate meat or fish again. The meditation sets up a finer vibration and in some ways makes one, more sensitive to food and environment. The point had been reached when vegetarianism had become a necessity..... Soon my Tuesday lunches in town ceased to be necessary in any case, I gave up smoking.

Broken Yogi said...

LMM,

If you re-read my post, you'll see that I don't consider dietary issues of NO importance, just of secondary importance, in relation to spiritual practice. One doesn't have to have transcended all identification with the body to see this. If the point of spiritual practice is to transcend identification with the body, worrying unduly about what one eats is going to have the opposite effect. Of course, just eating for pleasure and bodily satisfaction is also going to reinforce identification with the body, so that also must be transcended. And even health food fanaticism reinforces identification with the body, as does righteousness about vegetarianism or various dietary rules and regulations.

The important thing is to understand the core of spiritual practice, and put one's attention on that, which is transcendence of ego and identification with the body-mind. If one orders one's life around that, the rest falls into place in a natural fashion. There's a natural process of growing sensitivity and adaptation. It's different for everyone, and making hard and fast rules that everyone must follow tends to inhibit this sensitivity.

For my part, I'm a vegetarian, but I don't consider that to be a rule I follow or that everyone must follow. I don't think there's anything morally or ethically wrong with people killing and eating animals for food. Human beings evolved eating meat, and it's a natural part of our diet. Spiritual practice, however, is generally helped along by a less heavy or tamasic diet, so I think it helps to be a vegetarian or at least very light on animal products. That's what I've found at least, but even this varies from person to person.

I'm very much opposed to the brutal kinds of factory farming practiced in much of the world, but I'm not opposed to humane and ecologically responsible raising of animals for food. I don't see this as comparable to the issue of the dalits, since animals actually are biologically different species and have a different place in the order of creation, whereas dalits do not. They are as fully human as any of us are, and there is no sane or Godly reason to treat them as inferior or force them into some cultural position based on their parentage. It's natural enough that people will fall into various positions in society based on their character and merit, but I see no wisdom and much evil in forcing lowly positions on people based on nothing more than parentage and custom.

I have much love and concern for the welfare of animals, but I also recognize that in the natural hierarchy of life every living things gets eaten by something else, we cannot avoid this. We kill billions of microbes with every breath. We die if we don't kill plants at least. It should just be done naturally and sanely and humanely, but it must be done.

Also, be aware that ahimsa applies to speech as well, and that aggressive and violent speech is not to be practiced either.

Broken Yogi said...

For what its worth, I sympathize with Subramanian's zoo story. I don't like zoos, keeping animals in cages for human amusement, and forcing them into such an unnatural diet and lifestyle. Obviously I don't want animals to eat humans, but it's important to note that they do naturally eat other animals. Some animals are carnivores, and that's just their nature. I think it probably would be good for their spiritual practice to eat raw meat in the wild than the kind of food given to them in zoos. The gazelle, I think on some level knows that part of its purpose in life is to be food for lions.

And humans too evolved as meat-eaters. In fact, without meat, humans would never have likely developed the intelligence we have, and would not be able to discuss matters of spiritual practice as a consequence. If you look at all the purely vegetarian animals, they are all of rather low intelligence, whereas the carnivores are of much higher intelligence. We could never have attained such large brains and intelligence as vegetarian creatures, but required meat in our diets. This is just a biological fact we can't ignore.

Of course, we are not slaves to our biology or our evolutionary roots, and spiritual practice doesn't have to bow to that history precisely because it is not bowing to the body and identification with the body, but to the Spirit and Source of all things. So spiritual practice tries to turn even the bodily life towards spirit rather than towards flesh, and that is why there's a healthy inclination towards non-fleshy foods in many who practice a spiritual life. But there's no hard and fast rule that if broken sends anyone to hell.

Broken Yogi said...

It probably is possible at this time, due to massive industrialization and farming techniques, transportation and trade, to be a vegetarian through a Canadian or Tibetan winter. Not so before this time, however, and in Tibet at least a thriving spiritual culture flourished among meat-eaters, and vegetarianism would have been virtually impossible. The same is the case through much of the world, particularly in cold climates. Trying to turn one's own cultural customs, which are really the product of climate and geography for the most part, into "Gods' law" is rather narcissistic.

The same with this fear of being harmed by the "bad vibes" of others. The only bad vibes that are going to really harm us spiritually are our own, and we should be cognizant of how we are harming ourselves and not worry so much about others harming us. Treating other people as bad and impure is itself bad and impure, and an act of violence we are perpetrating on ourselves through the mind. It's important to see that the outer world is a projection of our own mind, and that the harms we see going on there are really in us. If we wish to change others we must change ourselves, because they are not other than ourselves. That is true ahimsa.

Broken Yogi said...

Interesting thought experiment:

I'm sure most here have heard that scientists are developing ways to grow meat in laboratory conditions without harming any animals. Meat cells can be propagated in sterile conditions and produced economically and ecologically efficient ways. So, would eating such meat be spiritually okay with the laws of ahimsa? Or would it still be tamasic and spiritually degrading? (Let's assume that Brahmin priests run the labs)

This is not really science fiction. Fairly soon this is probably going to be a reality. This is the future of "factory farming".

(interestingly, the word verification below reads "nytemeat")

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi/Friends,
It is not a question of Diet;it is a question of valuing Life and no Sadhaka can hope to be fully sentient when he/ or she treats other sentient beings as if they are insentient or not sufficiently sentient.This very insensitivity cuts one off from the essential Truth of one's existence.This is an experiential Truth.
Coming to Tibetans and Vegetarian Food,this is what the dalai Lama has to say(although he occassionally takes NV food like Swami Vivekananda used to):
"People think of animals as if they were vegetables, and that is not right. We have to change the way people think about animals. I encourage the Tibetan people and all people to move toward a vegetarian diet that doesn't cause suffering."

Ralph Waldo Emerson says:
"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."

Some of the most humane and compassionate men/women(mostly westerners,happily so lest we think that the customs of the East are projected as 'God made'!)have said something deep&thoughtful-Here they are-Please visit:
http://www.betterworld.net/quotes/vegetarian-quotes.htm
-----------------------------------
Coming to the 'Intelligence' of animals,Sri Ramakrishna used to say: "The crow, too thinks he is a clever bird; but the first thing he does when he wakes up in the early morning is to fill his stomach with nothing but others' filth. Haven't you noticed how he struts about? Very clever indeed!"

A calm mind is the aim of sadhana and not the 'Intelligence' that can Track and Hunt down others.Here the Vegetarian animals like the Elephant(also strong),the Horses(Strong and fleet footed) are capable of a higher degree of 'Intelligence' than their carnivore bretherens.Herbivorous animals live longer and are of calmer demeanour than omnivorous animals.
-----------------------------------
During the Rainy season,the Sanyasis observe ChaturmAsya(for 4 months)where they stay put in one place and avoid travelling in order not to trample on insects and worms that may come out of hiding;the idea is that CONSCIOUSLY one should not be instrumental in killing any other creature.unconsciously one may be killing thousands of microbes but that is different.This is called AHIMSA PRATISHTA.
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
One of the several wonderful quotations from that link that I have posted is by Benjamin Franklin:
My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chided for my singularity, but, with this lighter repast, I made the greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension. "
This is exactly what the Sages of the east have also said.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
This forceful comment by Dennis Weaver is truly clinching:
"I think there will come a time, and this is down the road a great many years, when civilized people will look back in horror on our generation and the ones that have preceded it: the idea that we should eat other living things running around on four legs, that we should raise them just for the purpose of killing them! The people of the future will say, meat-eaters in disgust and regard us in the same way that we regard cannibals and cannibalism. "
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
G B Shaw puts it so simply:
Animals are my friends-and I don't eat my friends.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
It is quite important as to how the food comes,not just its material composition:
This is what the Great aVVayar(the sagely Grandma)said in response to Lord muruga:
What is hard ?
'Poverty is hard, harder still is poverty in young age, harder is a faithless spouse, and the hardest is to take food from a person who does not love you.'
For the complete article on aVVaiyAr ,pl refer:
http://sagribow.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/09/the-tamil-saint-avvaiyar.htm

The Food that is tainted by a greedy,jealous,unclean person is bound to have its impact.This is not a figment of imagination.
Sri Ramakrishna could not even touch the food that was offered by people of questionable integrity.
Naren did some detective work and found that this was invariably true.
In the Gospel,we find sri Ramakrishna picking up a sweet as if it was a dead Rat and exclaimg:"Which Rascal offered this one?".
Namaskar.

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

I'll make a deal with you. I'll agree that eating meat is an abomination and that people in the future will look back on it with horror if you will agree that the caste system is an abomination and that people in the future will also look back on it with horror.

Agreed?

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Friends, does someone here knows a good elaboration on the subject: When does man turns himself to God?

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

I do not agree that humans developed
intelligence by eating only animal food. The ancient Rishis of India
did not eat meat and they spoke the
highest truth. Arya Bhatta, a brahmin and vegetarian, measured the
velocity of light and also told about the planets and stars [without telescopes] to the extent that they could see them with naked eyes.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
Friend,does anything depend on our agreeing or disagreeing!The caste system,I know it for the true thing it is and not as the distorted thing it might have degenerated into.A thousand imitations/aberrations do not disprove that the 'Original' was not genuine.We decided not to discuss this and I will leave it there.
Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

Broken Yogi I feel like you're wasting your time with Ravi in regard to the caste system.
He will not step back and look at it objectively. HE is in denial!
glow

Broken Yogi said...

Subramanian,

I was referring to early paleolithic man, not the ancient rishis. We're talking about the period from about 2.5 million years ago up to about 10,000 years ago. Our species was a hunter-gather during this entire period, and we all ate meat. Evolutionary biologists think it is very clear that our exceptional brain development simply would not have been possible without consuming meat, based sheerly on the chemical facts that meat gives far more calories and protein, which is necessary for our brain's development in purely evolutionary terms. Not that we have to have meat today, but we did in order to get where we are today. But that's why we are so accustomed to meat eating and why it seems natural to most people. Because it is how we evolved as a species.

However, that doesn't mean we can't adapt to vegetarianism if we choose to and are careful to get the necessary nutrition. But it does explain why most people eat meat and see nothing wrong with it. Even most spiritually minded people eat some meat or fish, including of course Christians, Jews, Muslims, Taoists and others. I've even been known to have fish now and then. Jesus ate meat from all accounts. So did all the Jewish prophets. It's part of western culture through and through. Vegetarians here, even famous ones, are considered oddballs. So that great future day when we all look back and think this is a terrible pastime is not coming any time soon.

And really, should we look back on our paleo-lithic meat eating ancestors with disdain? If the hadn't eaten meat, we wouldn't be here, nor would the whole of civilization, including the sanatana dharma itself. We'd have brains about a third of our present size. Not a lot of dharma talk among chimps, you know?

Broken Yogi said...

Ravi,

Just kidding you, my friend.

Still, it would be nice if you showed as much concern for lower caste humans as you do for animals.

Ravi said...

Broken Yogi,
"it would be nice if you showed as much concern for lower caste humans as you do for animals"

Please rest assured that the caste system does not come in the way in being Humane and considerate-Just remember the quote from Sri Bhagavan-How Janaka sent each to their respective quarters.

We have one of the best exemplars in the Sage of Kanchi and not even the DK(Political party) leader E V Ramasamy Naicker who is famous for his Quote-"If you see a snake and a Brahmin,Leave aside the Snake and take care of the Brahmin!" could point a finger at the sage!He had great respect and Love for the Sage of kanchi.
I will narrate this interesting story a little later.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

I am not sure about the age of Rishis. Nevertheles, the palelithic
men and women did eat meat, because
the earth was full of jungles. Only
later years, the ground was made even and they learnt growing paddy,
wheat, maize, plants, and trees. So, it was not impossible that they had consumed meat of all animals. In fact they did not know even proper clothing, and they were wearing sheaves of leaves and barks and had some rough stone made arms. They had to do hard work, day and light and even keep vigil from the attack of animals on them. So they walked here and there to search for animals and clothing materials. Such a hard work needed perhaps more calories. In today's context, when everything is mechanized, and paddy, wheat, vegetables and flowers are grown aplenty, and when the human work even in factory is mostly through operating machines, there is no hard labor worth the name at all. Excepting in mining and other difficult processes. Hence I am of the view, it is all the more necessary that man switches over to vegetarian food. People do aerobics, yoga and walking to keep them fit because they are not spending their calories! Even the calories from veg. food is quite high and one has to burn away these calories.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Even the so called non believers and haters of gods, cried calling god's name in times of their crisis. When Karunanidhi was arrested by Jayalalitha, a few years back, late in the evening, in the former's house, he cried, Muruga, Muruga, they are killing me!" [when the police pushed him downstairs]. The live video was shown in Tamizh channels, but later this clipping was removed.

Frederich Nietzhe said in his death bed: "I had all along my life been telling that god is dead and if god were to be really there, Oh, I am doomed."

Clemens Varghese Ramos asked in one of the recent posts, "When a man turns himself to God?" The answer is when there is a crisis like disease, death and bereavement. The man is also sometimes angry towards god when expected things do not happen. When my sister died at the age of 29, right on a hospital bed, due to mishandling of a minor surgery
by the doctor, my mother broke the photographs of Satya Sai Baba, in the house!

S. said...

salutations to all:

broken yogi:
i suppose our ancestors were more like 'animals' than as the 'humans' we know today (today is several thousand years!). by the way, evolutionary biology did make significant leaps of progress but yet what precisely led to the branching of 'humans' from their ape-like ancestors is, at best, speculative. there are smart theories along with their expert critics, with none being anywhere close to conclusive - not much different from questions such as 'what happened at/prior to the big-bang?' - as animals, no doubt, our ancestors did need meat to survive & sustain but as we sort-of 'grew up' to be 'humans', they weren't much of a necessity :-) doesn't our jaw structure, shaped by centuries of evolution, resemble more of the 'herbivore' than that of the 'carnivore'? as an extension to your statement on 'chimps', neither do we see any 'dharma' talk between felines, do we? :-)

Ravi said...

Friends,
'Dissertation upon Roast Pig'-an essay by Charles lamb tells how man possibly discovered 'roasting' a pig!
Pl read:
http://www.angelfire.com/nv/mf/elia1/pig.htm
Namaskar.

i said...

- V Ramasamy Naicker had a small Ganesha Idol with him throughout his life.
- Karunanidhi's house has a Ganesha idol to which his wives perform puja daily
- During Karunanidhi meeting with Satya Sai Baba, he said, if there is any god that I belive then it is only my "Manasaakshi" or my conscience.
- How can we forget the famous Kannadasan, who was a strong non believer and became a staunch believer after Karunanidhi had given him a book of the Gita and criticise it in and out!

i said...

The interesting thing is that, Bhagavan Ramana is such a revolution that He not only dissolves all religions of all faiths, also the non believers, the occult, black magicians.

Self Enquiry is the only way where all religions Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and other faiths do not mind as there is nothing personal about personally enquiring who am I. There is No God concept here. Their own God can still be and still enquire!

None can escape the question "Who am I"

Anonymous said...

Subramanian,
You were mentioning Sathya Sai.Your mum's pain was understandable.I know relatives who lost their son.Relatives told us Sai Baba actually came in their dream that night before and announced the death and asked not to grieve.The parents went to their son and repeatedly enquired if everything was OK.All seemed OK but the next day the Son committed suicide. My sister is a recent devotee and my brother in law had a dream the night before of him saying I will protect you.In the morning they thought it was a General blessing and within hours they met with big car accident with not bodily injury.

I think Godmen use miracles occassionally to lure/turn ripe souls back on to devotion.The word gets out and frenzied common people target these miracles as a short cut to material happiness.That includes myself.But Shridi Sai in the guise of miracles I draw them to me and they will eventually settle for only my love.That 'eventually' might mean a lot of generations for most of us.Even Ramana says the same thing about when Grace starts flowing.

But he also has become highly controversial worldwide especially after the BBC documentary(youtube) and the USA even issued travel advisory against him.Again none of the foreign accusers never filed a police complaint.But there are also numerous stories of some sort of help and cushion in miraculous ways.He also claims many times in his discourses that he is God. I think the moral of the story is we cant expect every Guru to be a Ramana or Thakur and we are neither a Murugunar or Suri Nagamma to deserve one.So we have to accept advanced souls as Gurus and learn from everybody and everything whatever we can like Lord Dattatreya.Ofcourse cheats like Nithyananda and Amma Bhagawan(in Andhra) should be nicely roughed up with mob treatment.

But everyone agrees he is not as famous as Shirdiwale for wish fulfilling and miracles.He claims he is the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba although both come across very different in their methods.He is probably the most famous(by sheer numbers) living Godman in all time History.

I have mixed feelings from all the confusion about him out there but I have to admit he is a great orator with extensive knowledge of scriptures and comes across as authority on his subject. But most conmen in the religion business are good orators and psychologists.Unfortunately all his discourses are in Telugu.Although they are translated live as he speaks the quality of the translation is very poor.


All his discourses are online now at :
http://radiosai.org/program/SW1.php

I have enjoyed many of his discourses although it is the same old wine(Truth) in a new bottle.His Summer courses to students are mainly Advaita.These days it is difficult to even get a proper glimpse of him during the darshans to the sheer number of visitors everyday.

-z

Broken Yogi said...

Early paleolithic man (australopithicus) had a brain bigger than a chimp, but less than a third the size of ours. They were mostly hervibores, like chimps, but they ate some meat, as even chimps do in small amounts. Starting with Homo Habilus, this began to change. Humans became more serious hunters, and developed skills to augment that. They learned how to make tools which enabled them to eat meat more efficiently and get to the juicy bone marrow where essential nutrients lay.

This began an evolutionary process by which we evolved into "men", and that required a greater reliance on meat. The vastly greater caloric and protein benefits of meat allowed our bodies to devote more and more energy to brain development, which is rather costly and is not generally selected for. What caused our species to select for hight brain development at the expense of other characteristics like size and strength (as in gorillas or even chimps - we are far weaker than the average chimp) is not known. But the role of meat in supporting this is unquestionable from a scientific standpoint.

So the basically evolutionary story is of man becoming a highly intelligent hunter eating meat which further fueled the development of larger brains and higher intelligence. THis went on for over 2 million years until about 200,000 years ago, when anatomically modern humans came into being. Then 50-100,000 years ago further changes in brains structure and chemistry seem to have spawned the highly intelligent humans we know today. In fact, all modern humans can be traced to a small group of around 3,000 individuals who live some 50-70,000 years ago. All other branches of the human species either died out or were outcompeted or simply killed in the process of this group expanding its territory until it travelled throughout the world.

All this was done using meat as fuel. Domestication of animals and agriculture only appeared on the scene some 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Everything we know of as "civilization" was the result of that revolution. All of the ancient rishis came after this time. All of the scriptures came after this time.

cont.

Broken Yogi said...

The change in diet this brought about was very costly. Human health suffered greatly from the dependence of grains and other domesticated crops. Populations went up because more food could be producted, but health plummetted and we are still adapting to this change. Fortunately humans have evolved even in this short time a good ability to digest grains and vegetables, but it's just now getting to the point for most people where a purely vegetarian diet is possible as a healthy alternative. For most of this time, people still needed animal proteins to get by, which is only possible through the domestication of animals and their slaughter for food.

These are just the facts of history, folks. I think it's a bad idea to demonize this history, or those who are still working through it. While at this point in human development it's certainly possible to become a vegetarian without suffering much in the way of health consequences, for most people through most of history this has not been the case.

So our human "animal", the body, is simply adapted to meat eating, and it's really just how it lives. We don't have to be governed by our bodies, but we do have to take their structure and function into account. We can, for spiritual purposes, make sacrifices and not eat meat, and that's fine and good, but we can't expect humanity as a whole to follow suit. We can expect them to treat animals humanely however, and to consider vegetarianism, but no one is going to hell for eating meat. Telling people scary fairy tales in order to get them to change their behavior is reprehensible in my view. Making them into guilty sinners simply for continuing on with dietary traditions that literally go back millions of years makes no spiritual sense at all, even for the cause of helping animals.

For one thing, if humans don't eat meat, all these domestic animals we eat won't hardly exist any more. There's won't be millions of cattle or pigs or goats happily roaming the plains of the earth. There will be some raised as milk animals, a rare few in the wild, and that's it. But who knows, maybe that's all for the best some day. At the very least however it can be done in a humane and healthy manner.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear i.,

Many start as non believers or as not
given to godly thinking. Pothana, a
Telugu poet was a sex maniac and Arunagiri Natha was also morbid sex
monger. So also the famous Bhilvamangal from Kerala. All these
became staunch believers in God and before that they left all their angularities too.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear i.,

There is an interesting anecdote when
Sri Bhagavan spoke about Guru. Some
devotee asked Him: How about agnostics? Sri Bhagavan said: Yes,
for him to develop this agnostic mind, there must have been someone who was telling him about that. That person is his guru!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,

Very interesting. In my family all
my sisters excepting one are Satya
Sai Devotee. My parents, who are
no more, were also devotees. However, Satya Sai did not click with me. Materialization of rings,
vibhuti etc., are due to siddhic powers. They are only like
dreams. I found Sri Bhagavan since
10 years quite satisfying to me, because He speaks only the Truth and He is the Truth.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

Thanks for your detailed posts. Both plants and animals are living in this world, along with humans.
Both have become food for humans.
Ultimately the choice is the extent of injury to these two categories by
humans.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Here is an excerpt from 'The letters from Sri Ramanasramam':
20th April, 1946
(42) ABHAYAM SARVA BHUTHEBHYAHA
(COMPASSION TOWARDS ALL)
At the time that Bhagavan was to go out in the morning
today, the labourers who had been deputed to gather
mangoes from the tree near the steps towards the mountain
began beating the tree with sticks to knock down the mangoes
instead of climbing the tree and plucking them one by one.
In the course of the beating, the mango leaves also were
falling down in heaps. Hearing the sound of the beating
even while seated on the sofa, Bhagavan sent word through
his attendants not to do so and when he went out as usual,
saw mango leaves lying in heaps. Unable to bear the cruel
sight, he began saying in a harsh tone to the labourers,
“Enough of this! Now go! When you are to gather the fruit,
do you have to beat the tree so that the leaves fall off? In
return for giving us fruit, is the tree to be beaten with sticks?
Who gave you this work? Instead of beating the tree, you
might as well cut it to the roots. You need not gather the
fruit. Go away!”
Bhagavan’s voice, which was like thunder, reverberated
in the ears of all who were there and made them tremble
with fear. The bamboos that were held aloft were brought
down and placed on the ground. The labourers stood with
folded hands like statues. They had no words to speak. When
I saw the personification of kindness towards nature in an
angry mood, my heart beat violently and my eyes were full
of tears. Can one who is so much moved by the falling of the
leaves of a tree, bear pain in the minds of human beings?
Bhagavan Ramana is indeed karunapoorna sudhabdhi, the
ocean filled with the nectar of compassion.
By the time he returned from the Gosala side, the
devotees had gathered the leaves into a heap and begged
him to forgive the fault. Bhagavan went into the hall, saying,
“How cruel! See how many beatings were showered on the
tree! How big is the heap of leaves! Oh!”
When Bhagavan was in Virupaksha Cave, Echamma,
who installed a picture of Bhagavan and a picture of Seshadri
Swami in her house, decided to do puja with a lakh of tender
leaves, and began it after informing Bhagavan about it. By
the time she had finished the puja with fifty thousand leaves,
summer had set in, and she could not gather any more leaves
even though she wandered all over the mountain. She got
tired, and went to Bhagavan to ventilate her grievances.
Bhagavan said, “If you cannot get the leaves, why not pinch
yourself and do puja?” She said, “Oh, but that will be painful!”
Bhagavan said, “If it pains you to pinch your body, is it not
painful to the tree when you cut its leaves?” She turned pale
and asked, “Why did you not tell me earlier, Swami?” He
replied, “When you know that pinching the body is painful,
why did you not know that the tree will be equally pained if
you rob it of its leaves? Do I have to tell you that?”
That tender leaves should not be cut from trees is also
stated in the sloka in “Devikalottara Stotra” in Jnanachara
Vicharapadalam, given below:
Roots should not be pulled out. Leaves should not be
pinched. Living beings should not be harmed. Flowers
should not be plucked.
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Nice post about Sri Bhagavan's
abundant love towards plants and animals. Once when someone announced
on a crowded day in the Asramam, "only second batch for paradesis,
i.e. free-food seekers, Sri Bhagavan
went to Palakottu and was talking to monkeys and squirrels. Not seeing Him in the dining hall, the devotees found Him at last in Palakottu. When asked to come for food, Sri Bhagavan said that someone had announced second batch for paradesis, and He was the first paradesi. They apologized to Him and begged Him to come for food. I think from that day [till today] alms-seekers are fed first before the visitors and inmates, in the Asramam.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear everyone,

A new sub-thread. Mother worship
is quite famous in Hindu culture and
Kavyakanta Ganapati was one of the important Devi Upasakas. Saaktam is a branch in 6 subsects of Hinduism as
per Sri Sankara. Sri Soundarya Lahari and Sri Lalita Sahasranamam
are considered the best poems on Mother Lalita Tripura Sundari. In
Sri Soundara Lahari, each sloka is beneficial if chanted with piety a specific number of times. Germans
have done some research on such Devi slokas and found out that these beneficial effects are true. Mantras are quite effective if chanted correctly and with devotion. The first verse of SSL, Siva saktya yukto... is considered the best for ensuring peaceful domestic life, if chanted daily.

Ravi said...

R.subramanian/Friends,
"“If it pains you to pinch your body, is it not
painful to the tree when you cut its leaves?” She turned pale
and asked, “Why did you not tell me earlier, Swami?” He
replied, “When you know that pinching the body is painful,
why did you not know that the tree will be equally pained if
you rob it of its leaves? Do I have to tell you that?”

Every now and the we encounter the arguement that only after self Realization,one can be Dharmic!Here Sri Bhagavan is emphatic that even 'empathy' is enough to be Dharmic.This is proof enough that one can truly understand Sri Bhagavan only if we pay attention to the life he lived.His actions were more eloquent than his words!
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian,
On Mother worship and Soundarya lahari(Ocean of Beauty),we have the excellent Discourse of Kanchi MahAswami.Here is the introduction:


A Digest of Paramacharya’s Discourses on Soundaryalahari

“How could Adi Sankara, who preached the jnAna mArga, have promoted this work (Soundaryalahari) of bhakti? It cannot be his,” say some who profess ‘Philosophy’. But our Acharya was not a professor who isolated philosophy as a separate discipline. Having written very profoundly on advaita and its deepest implications in his several Bhashyas and the other works of his, he promoted the spiritual pursuit of the common man by writing and talking about the need to follow one’s swadharma by Karma and Bhakti. His intent was to raise the common man from his own level. For this purpose he went from one pilgrim centre to another all his life and composed hymns after hymns and also established yantras in temples.

The philosophers argue: JnAni says everything is One. But Bhakti can happen only when there is the duality of the devotee and the deity. Therefore, they say, the jnAni can never be a bhakta. These philosophers cannot themselves claim to have the Enlightenment of advaita ! But there have been those who could have so claimed, like the sage Suka, Madhusudana Saraswati or Sadasiva-brahmam. If we carefully study their lives we will know that they were devotees of God in the fullest sense of the word and have themselves written works of Bhakti. Even in our own times Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has been a great devotee of Mother Goddess and Ramana Maharishi has done works of devotion on God Arunachalesvara. Again, on the other side, great devotees like Manikka-vasagar, Nammazhvar, Arunagiri-nathar, Tayumanavar, etc. have themselves been convinced advaitins, and this is reflected in innumerable flashes in their compositions.

If a jnAni should not do a Bhakti composition, then I would say that he should not also do a work of jnAna. Why am I saying this? Let us go back to the definition of a jnAni. ‘ The world is all mAyA; the thinking of people as if they were separate separate jIvAtmAs is nothing but Ignorance’ - with such a conviction through personal experience, they have thrown away that Ignorance as well as its basic locus, the mind, and they live in the non-dualistic state of ‘ ‘I’ am everything’ – such should be the status of the jnAni; shouldn’t it be so? Such a person preaching, or writing a book, even if it be about the subject of jnAna – is it not a contradiction? Unless such a person thinks there is a world outside of him and there are jIvAtmAs outside, how can he think of ‘teaching’? Teaching whom? And when we look at it this way, all those great teachers of jnAna should really not be jnAnis ! What power will there be for such a teaching about jnAna from teachers who are not jnAnis themselves?"

Continued.....

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian/Friends,
The Sage of Kanchi's discourse on Soundarya Lahari,continued...

On the other hand what do we observe in our experience? Whether it is the teaching about jnAna in the Gita, or the Viveka Chudamani of our Acharya, or the Avadhuta Gita of Sri Dattatreya or the teaching in the Yoga-vASiShTa, or a song of Tayumanavar – even when we just read these we feel we are being taken beyond the curtain created by mAyA to some distant peaceful state of Calm. Just by reading, in one’s spiritually ripe stage, such teachings, there have been people who have renounced the world and reached the state of Bliss-in-one-Self !. If these teachings had not been written from that spiritual apex of Experiential Excellence, how could such things have ever happened?

Therefore, however much by your intellectual logic, you argue whether a jnAni can get bhakti, how the jnAni can do any preaching and so such possibilities cannot exist and so on, these are certainly happening, by the Will of the Lord which is beyond the Possible and the Impossible.

It is only the Play of the Lord that the jnAni, who is non-dualistic internally, appears to do things in the dualistic world. His mind may have vanished, mAyA might have been transcended by him; but that does not mean that the outside world of jIvAtmAs has disintegrated. What do we gather from this? There is a Super-Mind which does all this and in some mysterious way is compering and directing the entire universe. And it also means that it is the same Supra-Mind that is making the minds of men revolve in the illusion of mAyA. It is that Power which is known in advaita scriptures as saguNa-brahman or Isvara. In the scriptures devoted to shakti or Shiva , whenever they call the Actionless nirguNa-brahman as ‘Shivam’ they call this saguNa-brahman as ‘shakti’, ‘parA-shakti’ or ‘ambAL’. Just as that nirguNa-brahman exhibits itself and acts as the saguNa-brahman, so also, it must be presumed, that the enlightened jnAni also does his external actions and that again, is the work of the saguNa-brahman!

continued.....

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Friends, besides of meat: How to deal with money in terms of spirituality? What is the meaning of the sages?

Is it prober for spiritual teachers to take money? I must admit that I hate it.

Ravi said...

R.Subramanian,
Kanchi MahAswami continued....

What is the path of jnAna? It is the effort through self-enquiry and meditation for the eradication of the mind and vanquishing of mAyA. But the other path is to dedicate oneself and all one’s thoughts and actions to that very parA-shakti (who produced this mAyA on us) with an attitude of devotion. It is like giving the house-key to the thief himself ! However much the parA-shakti may play with you and toss you and your mind hither and thither, Her infinite compassion cannot be negated. Only when we separate and rejoin, we realise the value of that union. To pray to Her for that reunion and for Her to get us back to Her in answer to our prayers – this is the great Leela of Duality wherein She exhibits Her Infinite Compassion ! So when one prays with Bhakti for such release She releases Him by giving Him that Wisdom of Enlightenment.

It is wrong to think that the goal of Bhakti lies in the dualistic attitude of being separate from God. It is by this wrong assumption that people ask the question: How can a jnAni exhibit Bhakti? In the very path of Bhakti wherein it appears there is an embedded duality, the same Bhakti would lead the practitioner to the stage where he will ask: Oh God ! May I be one with You ! This is the subtle point which the questioning people miss. When that stage comes to the devotee, the very parA-shakti known as kArya-brahman or saguNa-brahman will bless him with that jnAna that takes him to the non-dual kAraNa-brahman or nirguNa-brahman.

Not everybody can practise the path of jnAna that brings the realisation of the mahA-vAkyas by sravaNa (hearing), manana (thinking and recalling) and nididhyAsana (contemplating). Only when the mind vanishes one can realise the Self as the Absolute brahman. If that is so, the real question is: How to kill the truant mind, which refuses to be subdued, much less vanquished ? The very effort of vanquishing the mind has to be done by the mind only. How can it kill itself ? The palm can slap another; but it cannot slap itself. Though we are thus brought to a dilemma, there is a supreme power which has created all these minds. So instead of self-effort to kill our minds, we should leave it to the parA-shakti and surrender to Her. Instead of falling at the feet of the witness for the prosecution we fall at the feet of the prosecutor himself ! Then She will help us quell the mind; She will grace us with the necessary jnAna."

For the coomplete article,Please visit:
http://www.krishnamurthys.com/profvk/gohitvip/DPDS01-05.html
-----------------------------------
"Bondage and liberation are both of Her making. By Her Maya
worldly people become entangled in 'woman and gold', and again, through Her grace they
attain their liberation. She is called Saviour, and the remover of the bondage that binds one
to the world."-Sri Ramakrishna

Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Very much Yes. Sri Bhagavan's life
must be read from all reminiscences about Him, along with His teachings.
He lived as He taught. Once Viswanatha Swami had washed His codpiece and kept it dry. Seeing this, Sri Bhagavan said: Viswanatha!
give me your dhoti tomorrow. I must
wash it.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

It is said about Sri Sankara: He is
an advaiti within and Sakta outside.
Once someone asked Sri Bhagavan: Swami, why are you not writing anything about Sakti, Unnamulai?
Sri Bhagavan replied: Who else is writing all that I am writing and speaking? It is the Sakti within me. Sahayavalli [Tiruchuzhi] and Meenakshi [Madurai] only directed Him to Arunachala.

Broken Yogi said...

It is not only a question of eating what does the least harm to those eaten (plants and animals alike), but balancing that with what gives the most benefit to those who eat. If our ancestors had eaten like vegetarian gorillas, we would have the intelligence of gorillas, not men. We ate meat for millions of years, and that is why most people eat meat today. It is what has benefited the species the most.

Like I say, it is a sacrifice to not eat meat. And that is good for those engaged in spiritual practice to make sacrifices like that. But not everyone can or should do that. There are many people for whom it is appropriate to eat meat. It benefits their health to some degree. But there are many for whom it hurts their health, especially if overindulged, and especially in the way animals are grown, killed, and their meat treated. There are varying degrees of human need and also of spiritual sensitivity. Some are harmed by extremes of vegetarianism. Many more are harmed by extremes of meat-eating. Finding the right balance of right nutrition and the harms done at all ends of the spectrum is difficult, and not simplistic as some are trying to make it out.

Ramana advocated vegetarianism, but he did not treat meat-eaters as sinners or defiled people. Just as he advocated self-enquiry but did not treat those who practiced other approaches as spiritual inferiors. It's important to respect those who practice and live differently, and not assume they are inferior or evil, especially when they are not doing anything unnatural for humans to do.

Same goes for "women and gold" as well.

Ravi said...

Broken yogi,
"Ramana advocated vegetarianism, but he did not treat meat-eaters as sinners or defiled people."

Sri Bhagavan treated even sinners and defiled people as Humans only.So this arguement falls by the way side.We do not expect Sri Bhagavan to explicitly tell people what they should be doing-as the proverb goes in Tamil-"A word is enough for a 'Good' Human and a single stroke 'beating' is enough for a 'Good' beast".
Just because Sri bhagavan remained silent on many things does not mean that he 'approved' those things.In fact,one has all the more reason to introspect when sri Bhagavan remains silent and does not protest in an open fashion.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

A true Jnani and a guru will not accept any money from disciples.
Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Bhagavan
were of this type. Sri Vivekananda
accepted money, but on his return from America, he submitted all the money to Swami Brahmananda, the first disciple of SRK, to be used for Math purposes. Then, he asked for one pice to go in a boat on Ganga! In the ancient days, it is often said in Upanishads that a disciple will only take grass, and twigs [for agni sacrifice] to the guru and nothing else. In fact the guru fed him during his stay. In Sanskrit there is a pun on the sentence, Guru sishya-vidhabhari. It means that guru takes away the ignorance of the disciple. It can be read Guru-sisya-vidh-abahari, the guru who steals from the pocket of disciple! Today's gurus, are of the second category!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Yes. Without mother's grace, one cannot attain the father. Grace is also feminine. Christians name their girl children as Grace and Mercy. But a realized Jnani is both mother and father. He also issues grace towards the disciple. Sri Bhagavan was guided by Sahayavalli [Tiruchuzhi] and Meenakshi [Madurai] to reach Arunachala. Saint Manikkavavachgar says in Kovil Mootha Tirupadigam, Elder Decad on Kovil [Chidambaram]: You are keeping Mother within you. You are in Mother. Both of you are within me, please therefore grace me, so that I shall complete this birth and attain you with success.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

Yes. Vegetarianism helps, it is aid
to Atma Vicharam, says Sri Bhagavan, in Who am I? Spiritually oriented people do not much care of a good physique but definitely for good health. Tirumoolar who was adapting a Yoga marga, also advised vegetarian food. Health must be maintained. One should not go bedridden, and that is adequate for spiritual sadhana and this is ensured by vegetarian food.

Broken Yogi said...

As for Clemen's question about money, I think that it is improper to charge money for spiritual teachings or help. I agree with Papaji's attitude that only phonies and frauds ask for money.

There's room of course for those who live on alms, if they also live a renunciate lifestyle. But all too often teachers want money in order to live a very luxuriant lifestyle. The genuine teachers never charge, and they don't turn their vocation into a profession. The real teachers either earn their own living by their own sweat, like Nisargadatta or Papaji, or they live as genuine renunciates, sharing with all alike, like Ramana.

One has to be very wary of those who create institutions which depend heavily on large donations. Generally these have no genuine core of spirituality to them. They are usually just businesses.

Nothing wrong with business, by the way, but religion and spirituality should not be a business, and the two shouldn't be mixed. If one needs to make money, do it through productive work, not through religious donations and services.

amIatall said...

Hi all, I am new here and something brought me here to share my experience on this subject.
Such discussion may arise because of lack of practice. When practiced, all things come of their own accord.
I have never payed attention to food, but only to Bhagavans words and His teachings. Some years went away and my surroundings and I noticed that I don't eat meat. It happened so naturally that I have not given a thought to it.
Again, attention expands everything. For example one loves meat. The more one tries to do something about it the more energy is flooded on that subject. The more difficult to let go. Illusion is maintained.
Then such discussions arise, because the desire wants to defend itself, and other desire wants to defend too. So, it is not between You, but it is between the desires that play is going on. Letting go is the key. Be one pointed and practice. And you will see what a difference it will make. When, through practice, Bhagavan will bring compassion to Your hearts, that Intelligence itself will solve all such problems. That Intelligence won't let you do what is harmful to all.

- am i at all

Subramanian. R said...

Dear amiatall,

Very nice explanation. Sri Bhagavan
once said Annamlaai Swami, who had reported about his own sexual thoughts and as to what to do further: "The thoughts came and had gone. Why are you thinking about it now. This thinking about that old thought only is the problem. Let it go." All desires arise from thoughts. Whether good or bad. If the thought is forsaken, without it rising its ugly head again and again, it will go. Once Sri Bhagavan told a devotee who was a householder and had desired to leave that householdership: "Why do you think you are a householder? The similar thought that you are a hermit will haunt you if you go forth as one. Whether you continue in the household or renounce it and go to live in the forest, your mind haunts you. The ego is the source of thought. It creates a the body and the world and makes you think you are a householder. If you renounce, it will only substitute the thought of renunciation for that of family. Hence changing the environment in house or outside in the forest is of no help. The only obstacle is the mind. Then why try to change the environment?.....

Anonymous said...

Regarding Diet, these days I dont eat Garlic and cut down on onion and use more pepper:) I will continue to eat some types of meat.I hope the old sages were right.I need more Rajas to deal with my Tamas.The most important but less talked about topic in Diet is 'MODERATION'.I think it is really the monks or similarily advanced who should worry about the source of their food.

-z

i said...

Dear Anonymous,

If you ask me, "moderation" is the word. Doing anything drastic will only prove futile. In current conditions, just continuing with the regular family diet in neat moderation, not really bothering much about veg or non veg, just focussing all our attention on the Self is more important!

Its more important to focus on Self Enquiry rather seeing what is right or wrong! Lets leave the rights and wrongs to the books and consume what ever we are eating in less and moderate quantities, but yes it should be wholesome food.

One can eat onions and garlic, apart from the scriptures, they have got medicinal properties which every body need in current times in city life, pollution, BP, and what not!

"Moderation" is the word! this is what is aimed to achieve!

i said...

Do not have any ideas, of Satwa, Rajas and Tamas and all. Just be, what ever you eat, observe moderation, observe your own self, consuming some food makes you dull and lazy, some food makes you active!

So observe yourself and decide yourself! what is good and what is not!

What is good for you need not necessarily be good for me!

For one Garlic could be a life saver. can he stop consuming garlic because its not recommended for a spiritual life!

The objective is to remain unperturbed. Give the body what it needs, it needs very little! its only because of our taste buds that we end up having more than what is required and suffer the consequences, all energies will be focussed only on digesting the food and you will not be able to focus on meditation.

Moderation!

Ravi said...

Rp/friends,
Here is one excerpt from thousands of wonderful incidents of the compassion of The sage of Kanchi,as narrated by Sri Ra Ganapathy:

The bhakta parAdhIna and the Paattiamma
devotee:...... A very old woman (Paatti)
author:....... Raa. Ganapathi
source:....... KaruNaikkadalil sila alaigaL, pages 77-80
publisher:.... Divya Vidya Padhippaham (Jun. 2005 Edition)
type:......... book, Tamil

It is not clear to my mind if this incident happened at the SriMaTham camp in Trichy National College High School campus, or Madurai Sethupathi High School campus.

The darshan queue was stopped from moving because of some important deliberation that was going on inside the SriMaTham camp. An old woman was standing in the queue. She can be described as the old woman of old women! She could have been over a hundred years old, standing bent at a right-angle, a staff in her hand that she was holding shakily. She was crying with all the tiredness of her soul: "Sankara, my Sankara! I was agitated if I would see you, or leave this world without seeing you. You came seeking this place! Since you have come, I came to have your darshan, but you have stopped me (nirutthi vecchu-tiyedaa) Sankara!"

Sri Sambha Murthi SastrigaL was going inside the camp, passing the old woman on his way. He was the pUrvAshrama younger brother of Maha PeriyavaL. He was of a kind heart, true to the family blood that coursed his veins. No sooner he heard the old woman's wail of yearning than he hastened his steps towards the interior. As he entered, he told Sri CaraNar who was immersed in an important delibration, "Outside--a Paatti--of a hundred or hundred and twenty or whatever age. Stands yearning and wailing for Periyavaa's darshan."

Before the last words were out of his mouth, PeriyavaaL stormed outside!

"Why have you stopped me, Sankara?" The Paatti was wailing repeatedly. He went to her, stood very near to her and said, "PaattI, here your Sankaran has come. Look! Without knowing that you have come, I was busy with something inside. And as I came to know it, here I have come running." The Ruler of Grace spoke the words of nectar, which came up as the essence of his love.

"Vanduttiya, Sankara (so you have come, Sankara)!", said Paatti and held his hands tightly! The hands that were held by his mother Mahalakshmi AmmaL, were held today by another person, after a span of about 55 years!

As she raised her face and looked at the holy visage of Sri CaraNar, the vRiddhAmbikA (the good old mother) said, "Though you have come running for my sake and stand before me, I cannot look at you properly with my dim eyesight! ennappA (my son), only you should give me some good sight for a good darshan."

Continued.....

Ravi said...

Rp/Friends,
The Compassion of the sage of Kanchi continued...

It was the time of a hot sun. There was a narrow, thatched roof over the heads of the people in the queue. At Paatti's words, the bhakta parAdhIna jumped aside the shelter of the roof and stood in the hot son, barefooted!

"Is the vision better now, Paatti?" he said.

"It shows up very well ennappA, it shows very well!" Paatti patted her cheeks loudly.

PeriyavaaL gave her a complete darshan of his person, letting sunlight fall well on his face, tilting it, lifting it, and turning it in many angles, even turning his whole body giving her a darshan of his back.

In a torrent of emotion, without knowing what she spoke, the old woman stuttered and lisped, cried profusely and was very happy!

Sri CaraNar(Bhagavad pAda) came near her again and said, "Have you seen me well Paatti! Can I go?"

"Yes, I have seen you very well (PAtthuNtempa), my son! Even for this anAmadeyam (nonentity), KaruNAmurti, you have given your darshan. I was holding my soul just to see you. I have seen you now. Take me now my son, take me!" The parama bhakta prayed to him.

"PaattI!(Grandma!) When the time comes, let us take it. I shall ask you now to be dropped in your place. Go there and remain in Swami smaraNa (remembrance of God). Don't come running again to see me! I shall always be with you without leaving you aside for a moment!" The kRupA varSA (shower of compassion) gave her his words.

Is there anything that matches the bhAgyam of the Paatti who received such words of assurance from Sri CaraNar who out of his modesty uses words only sparingly when he gives his abhayam(Fearlessness) to the bhaktas?

Glossary:
ambikA - mother, good woman
kRpA - tenderness, compassion
parAdhIna - entirely engaged in or intent upon or devoted to
pUrvAshrama - of an earlier ashram or stage, before the sanyAsa stage
smaraNa - remembrance, reminiscence, recollection
varSa - rain, shower
vR^iddhA - old woman

Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ravi,
I heard great things about the Kanchi swami(Chandra Sekhara Swami) from here and else. But I have one doubt. How are we to take the appointment of his successor(Jayendra Saraswathi) who ended up in jail?Being such a great soul with great foresight could he not have avoided such a big disreputaion to the Mutt. To whatever great heights ChandraSekhara Swami took the Sankara tradition to, it was all brought down by the episode of Jayendra Saraswati.

-z

Ravi said...

z,
I will not elaborate.He who does not abide by the words of the Guru is bound to come to grief.
Namaskar.

S. said...

salutations to all:

anonymous(z.):
you asked an interesting question, which am sure the wise men/women of the blog shall answer in some detail. but think about it: svAmijI (vivekAnanda) & his brother-disciples went through severe hardship for quite a few years after thAkur's mahAsamAdhi - could not have thAkur avoided that? ramaNAsramam had to sail through some rather rough weather of litigations & the like - could not have bhagavAn averted that? some of the most sincere 'students' of bhagavAn had to suffer because of the whims & fancies of the chinnasvAmigaL, couldn't bhagavAn have corrected that? :-)))

not only individuals but also institutions & organisations, countries & territories also go through their own share of ups & downs, highs & lows in the vicissitudes of space & time (call it destiny or whatever else). they too merely symbolise the ephemeral nature of the world (jagat also implies that which comes & goes, thus changing all the time), and in time, everything will get devoured & resuscitated by time, isn't it? and there is a reason why mahAtmas such as bhagavAn & thAkur too at some point in time instead of perpetuating their physical embodiment just cast away their mortal coil, for otherwise even the best of men will be tempted to cling to their form losing sight of the substance they represented. moreover, the establishments that bear their names is never to be confused with them - someday the rAmakrshNA mission or ramaNAsramam may no longer survive but that will only injure those who incorrectly identified bhagavAn with the Asramam or thAkur with the maTam (and such an identification in itself is yet again a subtle manifestation of the 'i am the body' thought). coming to the kAnchi maTam, the present pontiff did go through infamy, but do we really know what really happened? not really, isn't it? also, extend the same caution when it comes to 'reported miracles' of paramAchArya or anybody else (doesn't matter who writes, ra gaNapathy included!). most devotees tend to be unwittingly over-zealous in grossly exaggerating a simple happening into an unnecessary miracle (most often nothing more than a propaganda machine).

this should be obvious to anyone who reads bhagavAn, who systematically undermined or even dismissed all such miraculous attributions. whether such things are true or not is not the issue; that they are, or ought to be, absolutely irrelevant, is! perhaps, to drive this point home majestically, both bhagavAn & thAkur 'visibly' suffered through a lethal ailment and also 'apparently' succumbed to it :-) the truth that bhagavAn lived is akin to a mathematical truth, i.e., can be tried & proven for oneself to one's fullest satisfaction :-). and as far as miracles are concerned, many a times, i wonder: after all, what isn't a miracle? :-)))

S. said...

salutations to all:

anonymous(z.)/folks:
a thought experiment - say your guru tells you in total secrecy: "you can be done with your 'work' in this very birth but that will require you to agree on one thing - to bear a lifetime of absolute infamy. for as long as you will live, and for all times later, you will be known as an example of how one should NOT be, and shall be remembered by one & all, including your brother-disciples, with utmost irreverence! this 'knowledge' shall strictly be known only to you & me. if you agree, in this very life, in due course, you will be a 'mukta'!"

how many of us can do it, folks? :-) it's much much much harder than it seems! also do remember this verse 2.34 from the bhagavad gIta:
akIrtim chApi bhUtAni kathayishyanti tevyayAm |
sambhAvitasya chAkIrtir maraNAd atirichyate ||


(besides, everyone will speak ill of you for all time. more poignant than death is infamy to a man accustomed to be honoured by all)
who knows - a 'mild' version of the above may have been vouchsafed to jayendra sarasvati... :-)))
there is a rich possibility that the man condemned by all may be free in this very life while a man respected by all may have a baggage of lifetimes!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi S,
But it is believed that successors to Pontiffs are appointed with divine knowledge.The belief that the clippings on this blog on him so far present is Chandra Sekhara Swami is a very advanced soul.I have also heard similar comments from others.

The second point is the kind of allegations are third degree criminal not some petty offences or embezzlement of funds or fake healing or a downfall like Sage Vishwamithra.Similar is the case with Sathya Sai Baba or Muktananda.Surely they did have some powers but the kind of allegations against them are also very serious criminal offenses.The allegations are no less in degree when compared with the current fame Nithyananda; probably worse.

The question I raised was about allegations of third degree criminiality and divine foresight of Chadra Sekhara Swami in appointing Jayendra Saraswati.

-z

Ravi said...

z,
"The question I raised was about allegations of third degree criminiality and divine foresight of Chadra Sekhara Swami in appointing Jayendra Saraswati."

First,let me clear one thing-that the mahAswami is not an 'advanced soul' but a fully illumined Jnani.

The other thing as s has said is something that can only be speculated.One thing I know for sure(do not ask me how)is that all these allegations are simply baseless-that Sri jayendra Saraswati is absolutely an innocent person,a sadhu.I will leave it at that.

Sri Mahaperiyava did not only appoint his successor,he also appointed his successor's successor and the Divine will does not guarantee 'success' and 'surety' in terms of our understanding!
As you said earlier,may be that we do not deserve any Great one to be amidst us!May be we have to increase our 'Deserving' quotient!
-----------------------------------
It does appear that the 'only monk of the century' as the Sage of kanchi has been described by the DalAi Lama ,is perhaps the last Monk!The Present day lot are but householders who have not married and chose to be celibates!They are given to all sorts of comforts and conveniences that no way are in accordance with SannyAsa Dharma.We may call them Sadhus but not Sannyasis.
I have seen many persons in Ochre robes but I have never yet met a sannyAsi,barring one.The only one I saw was The Sage of Kanchi-and I know how such a Darshan can wash away lifetimes of Dross.
-----------------------------------Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Rp/Friends,
Here is another incident that is typical of the utterly simple but effective way, The Sage of Kanchi would deliver messages:

"Where did you learn?"

As narrated by Sri D.Sivasubramanian, Dy. Director Handloom (Retd.) TN Govt. now doing seva at Sri MaTham Office, with thanks to him for his permission to post his recollection in KF:

As an ardent devotee of Kanchi MahaswamigaL, I have great pleasure to read articles appearing in magaziness, souvenirs etc. about MahaswamigaL and I am used to preserve them in my library.

On one such occasion I was thrilled by an article written by Dr. C.R. Swaminathan, former Deputy Educational advisor to Govt. of India. given to a souvenir. I reproduce a gist of the article, the message of which, I feel, should be spread among the present generation.

This happened in the year 1956-57, when H.H. Sri Kanchi MahaswamigaL was camping at the Madras Sanskrit College, Mylapore, Madras.

One evening, MahaswamigaL was about to address a huge gathering in which great personalities like Rajaji were present. He was contemplating about the topic he should speak on.

Suddenly, he called late Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer, who was standing by the side of the dais and recited two lines of a Sanskrit verse. He asked the Professor if he remembered the remaining two lines of that verse. The Professor pleaded ignorance and got down from the dais.

This conversation took place before the mike, so audience gathered could easily hear its details. Dr. C. R. Swaminathan, the author of the article on Mahaperiyava, heard the beginning of the Sanskrit verse that Periyavaa recited. Since he happened to know the other two lines of the verse, he went to Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer and told him those two lines.

The Professor went up the dais again and recited the lines before MahaswamigaL.

Mahaperiyava asked him, "You said you did not know the lines. How come you know them now?"

The professor replied "Someone in the audience remembered it and told me."

Mahaperiyavaa inquired who was the person and told the Profession to call Dr. Swaminathan to the dais. When he came, Paramacharya inquired about his name and occupation. Then the sage asked, "Where did you study?" Thinking that the question was about his academic education, Dr. Swaminathan replied that he studied in the Presidency College, Madras.

"Not that. Where did you learn this verse?"

Dr. C.R. said that his grandfather taught him the verse when he was a child. Paramacharaya inquired about his native place, his grandfather's name and his family details. The entire conversation was held before the mike, so the audience heard every bit of it.

The verse in question was the following:

arthathuranam na gurur na bandhu
kSudhAthuranam na ruciki na pakvam
vidyathurANAm, na sukham, na nidhrA
kamathuranam na bhayam na lajja

One who pursues wealth knows no guru or relations.
One who is hungry knows not taste or if the food was cooked well.
One who pursues knowledge knows neither comfort nor sleep.
One who has desires knows no fear or shame.

Later in the discourse, Paramacharya dealt with the Kenopanishad and explained how Goddess Parvati came as a teacher to enlighten the celestials about the supreme Brahman.

When concluding the discourse, he referred to the earlier incident and said:

"Before I started delivering my discourse, I called a young man to the stage to know where from he learnt the subhashita verse, of which I recited the first half. I knew who he was. What I wanted him to tell you about his reciting the other two lines this moral verse was that he had learnt it, not from his school or college, but from his grand-father, and that during his childhood days. It was to impress upon you all that children should get moral education at home from elders because they cannot get it from the modern schools and colleges".

....continued....

Ravi said...

Rp/Friends,
The sage of kAnchi continued...
Dr. Swaminathan concluded his article with these words:

"I am recalling this incident to show that an insignificant person like myself, extremely nervous, while standing before H.H. on the dais, noticed by about thousands of people forming the audience, could be utilisied by the Acharya to drive home to the audience that (a) a joint family system with elderly parents and grand parents can serve as a valuable supplement to the school education of young children (b) the elders can usefully spend their time by narrating such stories and morals to the children and (c) such teaching can be retained in one's memory only if imparted at the formative age."
The above incident happened 50 years before, but the message holds good even today and will stand for years to come.


-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Maneesha said...

Oh S.! How I wish someone promised those nectar words into my ears!! To hell with the world and its fame!

I think everyone who has come to Bhagavan would agree with me!

Anonymous said...

Friends, What's the controversy surrounding Peter Heehs new book on Aurobindo? I believe he is a long time devotee of Aurobindo; so many comments, such a storm in a tea cup!

Maneesha said...

S.,

(Again, apropos to ur "offer" post.)

Seriously, u have left me wishing for that moment. Just a couple of days back, i was reading this account in Day by Day where Maschendranath, in public, offers Brahman to whoever would give him two puran polies and I was wishing that I come across such an offer now! You have brought up something similar and its stirring such thoughts once again!

"yOgaratO vA bhOgaratO vA
sagharatO vA sangha vihInaha
yasya brahmaNi ramatE cittam
nandati nandati nadatyEva"

"He who enjoys the bliss of Brahman, whether indulged in yoga or wordly enjoyments, has companion or is alone, is always happy (irrespective of how he seems to be)!"


Everyone who has come to Bhagavan surely knows whats better!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Thanks for the two nice posts on Kanchi Mahaswami. All Brahma Jnanis
are the embodiment of compassion.
Once Sri Bhagavan and a few others
were going for girivalam by the
inner route. Suddenly Sri Bhagavan took a deviation and went into the forests. After a few minutes, He saw an old man sitting with a pot of Kanji. The old man stood up and said: Swami, you have come. I am very happy. Sri Bhagavan asked:
What have you got? He showed the
pot of Kanji and Sri Bhagavan took almost the full quantity. Then He beamed at the other devotees, who were running and coming behind Him: "Who do you think, he is? It is such people who gave me food even before all were coming. Keep your eatables with you. This is
sufficient for me. Give some eats to this man!"

KaruNaiyal ennai aaNdu koNda nee...

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,

This is a tricky topic. Many like me has lost faith in Jayendra and his junior. You should not only be good but also appear to the world to be good. The death of that gentleman in Kanchi Varadharaja Swami temple precincts is a great tragedy. The matter is subjudis.
No one can surmise the outcome. Some staunch and stubborn believers still go to him. I have not been able to reconcile myself. More particularly, after Sri Bhagavan, no one seems to me worth praying to, as guru. Kanchi Mahaswami was an exception.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

'But now after one has made some progress on the spiritual SAdhanA path, one is likely to think that the mind is now clear and hereafter it will understand all that has yet to be achieved on the path of Self Realisation. This is a kind of ego – an unrecognizable ego that creeps in. Things do happen even upto the stage of Self-Realisation, that cannot be understood by the smartest intellect. Even a JnAni who has achieved that Self-Realisation will not be able to explain them by his intellect. One has to continue with the same regimen without questioning them until the Self-Realisation sprouts up like the rise of the Sun. When those things happen, one has to take them as they are, without analysing them by the intellect. One may have to be content with the thought: “The SAdhanA that has brought me so far will certainly take me further by the same Grace of the Lord that brought me up to now; I shall not subject it to any intellectual questioning.” Even after one has obtained Enlightenment, the things may still be inaccessible to the intellect. Even our Acharya – there cannot be a better Acharya than he – does not try to tell that secret of achievement to us in the language of the intellect. “I cannot describe it. Simply keep on proceeding with Faith” – this is his message and accordingly he keeps this shraddhA at this advanced stage of SAdhanA.

DISCOURSES OF SAGE OF KANCHI

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

Yes. As civilization advances, poetry declines - said one poet.
So also with spiritualism. As civilization advances, spiritualism
also declines.

Anonymous said...

Came upon an interesting writer Neville Goddard, 'The power of awareness' published 1952. His teacher was an old Ethiopian Jew. " The center of my being remains the same, regardless of the concept I hold of myself. At the center of manifestation, there is only one I AM manifesting in legions of forms or concepts of itself and "I am that I am". I AM is the self-definition of the absolute, the foundation on which everything rests. I AM is the first cause-substance. I AM is the self-definition of God. I AM hath sent me unto you. [Exodus 3:14] I AM THAT I AM. [Exodus 3:14] Be still and know that I AM God. [Psalm 46:10] I AM is a feeling of permanent awareness. The very center of consciousness is the feeling of I AM. I may forget who I am, where I am, what I am, but I cannot forget that I AM"
glow

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,

This is a million dollar question.
You might have heard that one of the close devotee, a young man, not a chosen disciple, of Sri Ramakrishna became mad! How come? How come, that Sri Bhagavan did not foresee the villainy of PerumaL Swami? PS was a great devotee and an attendant in the early days. Why dis Sri Sankara did not foresee the period of psychosis for Sri Padmapada? Padmapada became mad and suffered this psychosis for some time and then after his return to Sri Sankara, he was cured by his grace.
Why should Tirunavukkarasar go to Jainism first and then come back - spending a good number of years, in between, carrying an insufferable colic pain. Did not Siva foresee this and prevent it?

S. said...

salutations to all:

maneesha:
appreciate your excitement & earnestness :-), but yet i confess it's manifold times harder than what it seems on the surface. yes, it would be lovely to have bhagavAn come & say that! say, he comes in a form you can't recognise & says the same thing - you think you will take the deal? you might 'assume' or even 'aspire' to be in a state where you do but... the mind's desire for 'security' and 'preservation' is too great for it to give it up for something that's beyond its ability to conceptualise. am saying this because one may always wish to counter saying 'what about those who die for their country in a battle or what about those who would do this believing it to be a 'holy war' or jihAd etc.' - it's possible there because the mind can yet sort-of visualise the 'ideal' of sacrificing in a battle, but not so simple is the case of 'mukti', for our mind has nearly no clue about it. otherwise, every man joining the armed forces (or the militant hordes) shall be a deserving 'mumukshu', are they? :-)

only the foremost among men/women can do it, and who are they? as an illustration, think of those who came to bhagavAn in the very first few years of his coming to aruNAchalA, long before anyone excepting a handful knew about the 'fullness' in bhagavAn; those who came later too were lofty but stand in no comparison to those who came right in the beginning :-) those who met thAkur in that small room at dakshinesvar or those who reposed total faith in bhagavAn when he appeared as a young lad as brAhmaNa svAmi (with no visible signs of who he was!) were "different" :-)

there is yet another reason why i quoted verse 2.34 of the bhagavad gItA earlier - to indicate that no less a person as arjunA, who almost constantly had the companionship of the lord himself, had to be reminded again & again & again in over 18 long chapters on what he has to do!!! (also note that despite this, pArtha still swore vengeance for abhimanyu's death). i only wanted to say that this 'might' be applicable to jayendra sarasvati, for he was not only the chosen successor of the maTam but also had the blessed company of a great sage (paramAchArya) :-) 'want' is not the same as 'ability', though with sAdhanA, they could converge :-) the sooner we rid ourselves of our delusive 'eligibility' for freedom, the better might we be for truly becoming eligible :-)

yes, there is one sureway of knowing whether one will indeed gulp down the 'offer' i mentioned - and that is, if you think you can, the offer would have already come to you by now :-))) if that's not the case, it may only show we haven't come close even to the 'r' in 'ready', isn't it? :-))) btw, 'coming to bhagavAn' (as you said) is to 'abide in the self', not reading bhagavAn's writings or visiting tiruvaNNAmalai or writing in this blog, isn't it? :-)))

S. said...

salutations to all:

maneesha:

verse 63 of aksharamaNamAlai -
நோக்கியே கருதிமெய் தாக்கியே பக்குவ
மாக்கிநீ யாண்டரு ளருணாசலா

(Look at me! Think of me! Touch me! Make me fit, ripen me! Then be my master, govern me, O AruNAchalA)

he will make us do vichAra, will make us desire nothing but him & him alone, nothing less than freedom, and then we will be 'ready' for the 'offer' :-)))

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

Nokkiye - sakshu diksha, Karuthi -
mano diksha, mei thaakiya - sparsa
diksha are ready with Sri Bhagavan
to "offer". But are we the fit vessels to take this nectar? The
nectar will surely flow into us,
provided we throw away the ego.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,

Talks No. 450:

Bhagavan: "The vision implies the seer. The seer cannot deny the existence of the Self. There is no
moment when the Self as Consciousness
does not exist. Nor can the seer remain apart from Consciousness. This Consciousness is the eternal being and the only being. The seer cannot see himself. Does he deny his existence because he cannot see himself with the eyes as pratyaksha? No. So, pratyaksha does not mean seeing, but Being. 'To Be' is to realize - Hence I AM THAT I AM. I AM is Siva. Nothing else can be without Him. Everything has its being in Siva and because of Siva....

Ravi said...

s/maneesha/friends,
"Look at me! Think of me! Touch me! Make me fit, ripen me! Then be my master, govern me, O AruNAchalA"

The Onus is clearly on Arunacahala!No quarters given to any 'sadhana'-as the very illusion of 'doing Sadhana' has to go!
How do we know that He is doing this-by the simple fact,what Sri Bhagavan told Kitty osborne-"Bhagavan will remember Kitty,if Kitty remembers Bhagavan"
So,the very fact that one is thinking of Bhagavan(in whatever sense),reading his works,rejoicing in recounting his 'stories' means that Bhagavan is remembering 'Kitty'.This is all that matters!
Namaskar.

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi:
'trying sAdhanA' is the 'best' way to 'remember bhagavAn' :-), and for me, it's primarily trying vichAra (i don't have much of an inclination to be wedded to bhagavAn's physical form) :-))) of course, from the advaitin's view, 'doing sAdhanA' is an 'illusion' (as you said); so is 'remembering bhagavAn' and 'realising the self' :-)))

Ravi said...

S,
"'trying sAdhanA' is the 'best' way to 'remember bhagavAn' :-),"

Loving Sri bhagavan is the easy way to 'remember' him.How do we say that we are attched to 'physical' form?Are we attached to sri Bhagavan's 'youthful form' or his 'Old age Form'?Are we attached to the Form or formless Bhagavan?As one THINKS ,this is all totally missing the point-just mere thoughts!
Loving Bhagavan is not 'Doing sadhana'.
Namaskar.

S. said...

salutations to all:

folks: ravi says "...loving bhagavAn is NOT 'doing sAdhanA'..."!!! - i disagree; your views solicited :-)

ravi:
all the issues you raised may be an issue to the one who is trying to 'love bhagavAn' :-) none of these is/are an issue to the one trying vichAra :-) honestly, i don't know what 'loving bhagavAn' even means! - am too inept to know anything about 'love'! - to try vichAra is the only way i know how to love bhagavAn, the rest are of little consequence to me (though am tolerant to such 'sentimental nonsense'!) :-)))

Maneesha said...

S.,

Yeah, agree with you... In that story, that I was talking abt from day by day too, only one person recognises and the rest only dint beleive in Maschendranath. So, obviously, only that person had the needed discrimination and, I feel Maschendranath had come only for him! So, yes, we can only make ourselves "ready" only by incessant vichara.

That was just a fancy/fairy tale kind of a thing that got me a l'le excited :)

And, by "those who have come to Bhagavan", I meant those who beleive in Him.

Also, apropos to your post on diet and vichara, of course, if one is able to hold on to vichara, it only says talks about string mind. The diet Bhagavan approved of was for those who cannot hold on to the vichara.

Maneesha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi and others,

Sri Bhagavan in Talks No.433:

Love is not different from the Self. Love of an object is an inferior order and cannot endure. Where the Self is love, in other words, God is love.

Sri Bhagavan Letters dt. 26.04.1948:

Love itself is the actual form of God. If by saying, "I do not love this; I do not love that", you reject all things, that which remains is Swarupam. i.e innate
Self. That is pure bliss. Call it pure bliss, God, Atma or what you will. That is devotion; that is realization and that is everything...One who knows the secret of that love finds the world itself full of universal love.

Sri Arunachala Padigam, Verse 2:

O Aruna Hill, embodied Love, loveless I was. Never had I pined for you and melted within as wax in fire. And yet you chose to claim me as your own. If now, if you fail to fill me with love of you and if you let me perish in this loveless state, is it fair? O Bliss that springs from Love, Nectar welling up in lovers'
hearts, O joy which is my only refuge, your will is mine. Here in this surrender, is pure joy, Lord of my life.

Vichara without loving Sri Bhagavan? = It will be like breathing in total vacuum!

The words Anbu [Love], KaruNai [Compassion ] and AruL [Grace] appear many times in Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam. All are concorporate.

Maneesha said...

Had to delete last comment 'coz of many typos... Here is the right version :)

Ravi and S.,

You both have exchanged places!! I am so surprised by Ravi saying "remembering is not sadhana" and S. actually opposing it! I would have expected it to be other way round. I believe that both bhakti and vichara are both intertwined... I can somehow not separate them.

Ravi,

Can you please explain what you meant and why you said "Loving Bhagavan is not a sadhana"? When one is in love, one thinks not of anything else than the loved one. And yes, love is selfless; and if not, it simply is not love.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... of course, from the advaitin's view, 'doing sAdhanA' is an 'illusion' (as you said); so is 'remembering bhagavAn' and 'realising the self' ...

... ? ...

Ravi said...

maneesha,
"remembering is not sadhana"
I have not said this!I have said that loving Bhagavan is not 'DOING sadhana'.All i have said is that in Loving ,there is no Effort of Doing;The remembrance is automatic.The other way may not be true-In remembrance there need not be Love and in such case ,one may have to 'DO SADHANA' and hope this 'forced remembrance' somehow becomes Love.
No need to wrack our mind in trying to understand whether this is 'true Love' ,etc,etc.Can anyone say that one does not know what 'Love' is?This spark is there even in animals,and it is enough to let this spark be not buried by 'DOING SADHANA'(egoistic efforts!).
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

Yes. If you stretch the advaitam to an extent of Ajata Vadam of Gaudapada, then there is no creation, no dissolution, no bondage, no liberation, no one seeking liberation, no one doing spiriutal practices, no one who is liberated. One who is established in the Self sees this by his knowledge of Reality. {Karika, Vaithathya Prakarana, verse 32].

Gudapada, Sankara and Sri Bhagavan
are all in Mars. We are yet to go past the escape velocity of the earth! Remember Sri Bhagavan. Start with devotion to Him. Love Him. Melt and shed tears for Him.
Do all these simultaneously with Vichara, till you reach the pinnacle.

Maneesha said...

Ravi,

Sorry, I was referring to "loving is not sadhana". Your psot explains. Thanks.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Anbe Sivam = Love is Consciousness.
says Saint Tirumoolar.

REMEMBERING BHAGAVAN/LOVING BHAGAVAN:

Sri AAMM, Verse 102:

The moment I thought of You as Arunachala, You caught me in the noose of Grace. Can the net of your Grace fail to catch and hold its prey, O Arunachala!

Sri AAMM, Verse 103:

As I thought of You and so got caught in the web of Your grace,
You like a spider held me tight and consumed me, O Arunachala!

Sri AAMM, Verse 104:

Let me be a loving servant of the devotees of those devotees who hear Your name with love, O Arunachala!

S. said...

salutations to all:

clemens:
oh, was just alluding to the famous verse 2.32 of the mANDUkya kArikA: :-)))
na nirodho na chotpattir na baddho na cha sAdhakaha |
na mumukshur na vai muktah ityeshA paramArthatA ||

[There is no dissolution, no origination, none in bondage, none possessed of the means of liberation, none desirous of liberation, and none liberated. This is the ultimate truth]

maneesha: hahahaha... me and ravi exchanging places? of course, not - No, Never! hahahaha - will continue to confess that vichAra is 'the' method and persist in labeling bhakti, as professed by many (including those in this blog!), to be not much different from refined 'sentimental nonsense' :-)))

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... If you stretch the advaitam to an extent of Ajata Vadam of Gaudapada, then there is no creation, no dissolution, no bondage, no liberation, no one seeking liberation, no one doing spiriutal practices, no one who is liberated. ...

Dear R. Subramanian, I know Gaudapada and ajativada very well. I wanted to point out that there are 'advaitins' and 'advaita', and 'advaitins' may say so, i.e., that 'doing sAdhanA' is an 'illusion'. But 'advaita' never said this.

Not this world is an illusion but an illusion is how we interpret it. When a worldy mind says: 'sadhana is an illusion' then this is a new illusion as well. Are we able to DEFINE or to speak about what illusion and reality really is?

92. All jivas are, by their very nature, illumined from the very beginning. There can never be any doubt about their nature. He who,. having known this, rests without seeking further knowledge is alone capable of attaining Immortality.
95. They alone in this world are endowed with the highest wisdom who are firm in their conviction of the sameness and birthlessness of Atman. The ordinary man does not understand their way.
(Gaudapada karika)


Does 'having known this', 'capable of attaining' and 'firmness in their conviction' sound like: 'sadhana is an illusion'?

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi/maneesha:
ravi says "...let this spark be not buried by 'DOING SADHANA' (egoistic efforts!)..."

hahahahahahaha... this so-called 'loving' is plainly hypocritical, for this concept of 'selflessly loving', as claimed by the so-called bhaktAs, is mostly an impressive-sounding word, nothing more! would claim that everybody who loves bhagavAn 'loves' him only with an ulterior motive (that he will 'help us cross the ocean of samsAra'). only he who can love one & all can also love bhagavAn with complete purity, and this is obviously possible only for him/her who has realised the self - everything else is just a bargain, a trade in the name of bhakti that is delusively vested with nobility to fool oneself & others as well... :-)

at least, the self-enquirer, who starts with the 'ego' (whether it's there or not is to be found out, as of now, it very well seems to be!), is a lot more honest in confronting the problem head-on on with his own limited strengths without pestilently hovering around the poor lord for cleaning his self-created garbage can! (for most so-called bhaktAs, the lord is simply a free super-cleaner who is supposed to have no other job than clear up the bhaktA's dustbin) :-)))

Maneesha said...

Well S.,

To be honest, no, Love towards Bhagavan is not with an intention. Its not even with reason, how can there be an intention! I dont have a reason to Love Bhagavan. I simply love him and that ends there. I dont buy your arguments, just the way you dont buy others' :) But then, i feel this way only in some "moments", not always. I know how I feel and do not need others approval/stamp whether it is love or otherwise.

And why cannot one consider Him as a cleaner? How can one even do vichara unless for His Grace? Bhagavan Himself has quoted from vedas "tEna vinA trNamapi na chalati" - "Unless for His Grace, even grass blade cannot move", what talk about doing vichara? It is definitely effort coupled with Grace!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

Gaudapada says 'having known this..' Once you have known this, you rest without seeking further knowledge or doing karmas. Till such time you have not known this,
then Sadhana is essential. This Sadhanas should start with abundant devotion to Guru or the Self. Because only devotion brings forth grace from guru.

Sri Bhagavan also says in ULLadu Narpadu, Verse 39:

Thoughts of bondage and of freedom last only as long as one feels 'I am bound'.

Since most of us have not yet jettisoned the feeling 'I am bound', thoughts of bondage and of freedom would last. This only needs Vichara. And Vichara needs as a predominant factor, bhakti - devotion and love towards Guru, to receive his grace which is quite essential for progress in Vichara. Vichara without love would be dry and sterile.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

ADVAITAM IS A STATE. AN EXPERIENCE.
ADVAITIN IS ONLY MAKING A STATEMENT, ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE.
It is like reading Kama Sutra, without even getting married.
Till his statement becomes State, he should do sadhana that includes devotion and love towards Bhagavan.
Loving, simply, as Maneesha said, for love sake. Without motive. Motive, if it is there, brings the
ghost of ego. In Srimad Bhagavatam, all women came to Brindavan on the banks of Yamuna for dancing with Krishna. When one or more of them became proud of Krishna being with them and loving them most, then Krishna disappeared from them! [Rasa Lila]. The women who loved him for love sake - like the wives of brahmins, who gave Krishna and other cowherds food, despite their husbands preventing them, are benefited most. [Ysjna Patni Upakyanam].

Ravi said...

s,
"that he will 'help us cross the ocean of samsAra'"
:)))).This is just laughable.Nothing can be farther than Truth than this.The Devotee never has any such 'ambitious' goals!
Namaskar.

S. said...

salutations to all:

maneesha:
laughed a good deal on reading your comment :-))) it's not that i don't 'buy' others' arguments - several times, have enjoyed david's posts, ravi's expositions, arvind's explanations, broken yogi's elaborations, remarks by ramprax, you, subramanian, clemens etc. etc. - not that i don't appreciate what folks have to say - there are many wonderful people in this blog, and at times a devil as me is necessary to keep the fun going... hahahahahaha. to say 'i don't need anybody's approval' is a defensive tactic (a response arising out of fright & dismay!); not at all necessary here because there is no imposition/ enforcement from anyone in this blog, isn't it? of course, some opinions & thoughts, some arguments & criticism may appear 'strong' but is all in good spirit of fun & sharing :-)))

and yes, would continue to say that the bhaktA has to hold his/her concocted love highly, not because it's really so (it isn't!) but that's what preserves his/her esteem and keeps him/her going! tell me - would you have loved bhagavAn to the extent you do if he isn't what you know him to be? you may say 'yes' to hold your ground but we, including you, know that's just not true. if a bhakta and a jnAni are two sides of the same coin, it also has to be true that unless & until one has 'ripened' enough, no true 'love' is legitimately possible. as i said earlier, one needs to be a peter to love jesus, a naren to love thAkur, a echammAL to love bhagavAn with no trappings of selfishness. we aren't them and we cannot love :-)))

self-enquiry is much easier (bhagavAn wasn't joking when he spoke about vichAra as the simplest & easiest) :-). regarding your reference of 'not even a blade of grass moving without his will', will tell such a god - 'mr. god dictator, get lost (would be more abusive if i weren't writing here!); nobody asked you to create a blade of grass that needs your cursed totalitarian consent to move' :-))) grace is what it is - it neither favours one nor condemns another. it's entirely up to us to make use of that grace to realise our self :-) great men as mANikkavAsagar or bhagavAn may now & then attribute everything to grace but they alone know why they said & what they meant! when we attempt to ape them and say the same thing, not only do we not know what we are saying but also lying to ourselves and others. it isn't surprising to see bhagavAn saying 'find out who you are first and we will see who/what is god' to someone who says 'it's all god's will'!!! :-)))

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi:
you say "...This is just laughable.Nothing can be farther than Truth than this.The Devotee never has any such 'ambitious' goals!..."

:-))) if what you claim is true, then why be 'devoted' to a god whom you haven't seen, who you do not know, about whom everything you know is all 'borrowed' knowledge and nothing first-hand!
if all that you want to is to 'love', then it's a lot easier & simpler to love what is readily available - flowers, animals, children, the beautiful star-studded sky, the extraordinary beauty of mathematics etc. - why an unknown unseen unheard 'god' to love??? :-)))

we cannot love, period. please don't fool yourself (& others) :-)))

Ravi said...

Friends,
Here is an excerpt from the wonderful gem of a Book,'At the Feet of Bhagavan' by Sri T K Sundaresa Iyer:
T.K. Sundaresa Iyer (T.K.S) met Sri Ramana in 1908 when T.K.S was only a twelve year old boy. Bhagavan, although a full blown Self-Realized sage, was also quite young. Many early devotees have described how Bhagavan by his sheer look would give them experience of the Self. However, it was not true in every case.

T.K.S’s cousin Krishnamurthy had been visiting Bhagavan Ramana regularly and would sing songs of devotion to him. One day T.K.S asked his cousin where he went every day. Krishnamurthy told him about Ramana and said, “The Lord of the Hill Himself is sitting in human form, why don’t you come with me.” Both of them then climbed the Hill and went to Virupksha cave to visit the Sage.

Now the story in T.K.S.’s own words:

I too climbed the Hill and found Bhagavan sitting on a stone slab, with about 10 devotees around him. Each would sing a song. Bhagavan turned to me and asked, “Well, won’t you sing a song also.” One of Sundramurthy’s songs came to my mind and I sang it. It’s meaning was, “No other support have I, except thy holy feet. By holding on to them, I shall win your grace. Great men sing your praise Oh, Lord. Grant that my tongue may repeat Thy name even when my mind strays.”

“Yes. That is what must be done,” said Bhagavan, and I took it to be his teaching for me. From that time on, I went to see him regularly for several years without missing a day.

One day I wondered why I was visiting him at all. What was the use? There seemed to be no inner advancement. Going up the hill was meaningless toil. I decided to end my visits on the hill.

For one hundred days exactly I did not see Bhagavan. On the hundred and first day I could suffer no longer and I ran to Skandasramam, above Virupaksha Cave. Bhagavan saw me climbing, got up and came forward to meet me. When I fell at his feet, I could not restrain myself and burst into tears. I clung to them and would not get up.

Bhagavan pulled me up and asked: “It is over three months since I saw you. Where were you?” I told him how I thought that seeing him was of no use. “All right,” he said, “maybe it is of no use, so what? You felt the loss, did you not?”

Then I understood that we did not go to him for profit, but because away from him there was no life for us.
-----------------------------------
The words of Sri T K sundaresa iyer will be echoed by every single devotee(jnani or ajnani!).
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

s,
:-))) if what you claim is true, then why be 'devoted' to a god whom you haven't seen, who you do not know, about whom everything you know is all 'borrowed' knowledge and nothing first-hand!
if all that you want to is to 'love', then it's a lot easier & simpler to love what is readily available - flowers, animals, children, the beautiful star-studded sky, the extraordinary beauty of mathematics etc. - why an unknown unseen unheard 'god' to love??? :-)))

we cannot love, period. please don't fool yourself (& others) :-)))
-----------------------------------

This is not a problem for me and why do you ASSUME that Love is 'restricted' to an 'unknown','unseen','unheard' Object(Why call 'God',eh!)and not to other things???It is only when one can Love the flower,the Child,the sea,the Sky,that one can know what Love is!Not in a way a dandy does by smelling a Rose and proclaiming-"Ah! A Rose,how sweet it smells!"
Love is not something that can be imagined.Just watch a cow licking its calf.You may get a glimpse of it and then you may decide whether 'We can Love'-period.If you cannot and believe that the cow is 'sentimental' about the calf,please do not expect vichara to set aright your vision!
Namaskar.

Maneesha said...

S.,

Well, I did not say that I do not need others approval/stamp whether it is love or otherwise as self-defence. On the contrary, I said that coz I dont think you know what I am speaking of. So, if you have no idea what I am speaking of, then there is no meaning in your criticism/approval. Same holds for others too.

"would you have loved bhagavAn to the extent you do if he isn't what you know him to be?"
I say, no, I wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Causeless Love/Devotion:

This is one topic I keep wondering about many times.For most of the times I see a material reason for my love i.e need based.That need could also be 'Fear' or my 'incapacity'.Sometimes I observed the welling up of love/inspiration from my heart automatically/instinctively projected on to an ideal and that ideal could be a God,Guru,Devotional art etc.This is how I understand it when I try to analyse it later.

But in some few cases I cant explain;for eg in case of my instincts.Instincts are instincts i.e the core and so very deep for one to analyse them.If you love sweets, sex etc you love them, that is it; there can be no explaination for that.
Similarily some people are born with this instinctive love towards Eeshwara/God that probably cant be explained.For a vast majority though it can be seen through introspection that it is need or fear based.That is if we dont gain anything from God(that includes Moksha or fear of losing something) he will not matter.

But Saints say one cannot progress to instinctive love towards God(i.e love for love's sake) bypassing motivated love.So they say it is OK if people come to them with acceptable wish fulfilling.

1)But the problem for me is everytime I get a chance for devotion I automatically run this question and I quickly find a material reason or fear.It is like the advise dont remember a bear during meditation.

2)And also thoughts why should God help only me and my needs will not stop with this alone.

3)I will keep on asking untill death for boons.

4)Another thought is why not finish our allotted role rather than complain?

5)Another thought is Ramana says 'The World','Ego' and 'Eeshwara' all rise and dissolve at the same time.If 'Ego' is false and transitory so is 'Eeshwara'.I.e Theoritically speaking Paths of Atma Vichara and 'Neti Neti' are mutually exclusive with Bhakthi.

6)Another thought is; there an eligibility for boons.There are billions of people asking God for help at any given time all through the 14 lokas.God doesn't help everyone AND the same person all the time?Does he?So there is eligibility(timing/maturity) for help.That makes God 'Insentient'.It is only my 'Ignorance' that makes him Sentient.For eg: I go to see a movie with a friend who has already seen it a few times.But he has agreed to accompany me only to give me company.As the movie takes me along through various emotions,suspense,thrill etc I feel the ride.But my friend having seen the movie so many times will not feel so emotional.What is the difference?Ignorance. As I am watching the movie first time I have ignorance about the outcome of every turn in the movie and so the movie is very alive for me in other words 'Sentient'.Same with God.God is sentient because of our ignorance.

This is how my thoughts play around and hence I cant complete Devotion to God.

I covered many topics and so think deeply before you reply.Comments appreciated.Thanks.

Folks, Happy Sankranthi, Pongal to you all.

-z

Maneesha said...

S.,

I am somehow surprised... You feel that vichara, recommended by Bhagavan, makes sense to you, so you take it. The other method doesn't appeal to your intellect and so you disapprove of it when others bring it up. By vichara, you would have now known that intellect itself is unreliable. How then can you advocate what this intellect approves of? Isn't that contradicting?

S. said...

salutations to all:

ravi/maneesha:
ravi: precisely. TKS can say; i can't & i may not be off the mark if i say neither can you or the others in this blog!
maneesha: i do understand what you are speaking of :-) this isn't a sAnkara/mAdhva bhAshyam on an abstruse aphorism of the brahmasUtra for it to be incomprehensible :-)))

my apologies if this doesn't sound OK with any of you - am nearly the atheistic 'sinner' and thus the lord not having 'revealed' himself to me is perfectly ok with me :-). but folks, if your love is that lofty/pure as you presumably are making it out to be, either you should have 'seen' bhagavAn and be 'done with your work' by now, or would have 'seen' bhagavAn at least in this life, have you? after all, you folks love him so selflessly, have you seen him or spoken with him? (not in the vedAntic sense, just in the sweet & simple bhakta's way where the blessed lord can't keep himself away from his beloved bhakta). well, if you haven't, then there must be a grain, if not a sack, of something genuine in what i say, isn't it? :-)))

S. said...

salutations to all:

maneesha:
you said "...By vichara, you would have now known that intellect itself is unreliable... "

:-))) not yet. the day i know it for sure, i will be 'done' :-) until then, if not everything, the majority of things, are very much the work of the intellect (includes our so-called 'feelings'), which includes my appreciation of bhagavAn or the brahmasUtra or mathematics... (when we so often dismiss the intellect as 'unreliable', it's that very intellect having the last laugh, have you observed that?) :-)))

Maneesha said...

S.,

You had said "to say 'i don't need anybody's approval' is a defensive tactic (a response arising out of fright & dismay!)"

I needed to explain as you seemed to have misundersttod. Not that what I said was rocket science.

Anonymous said...

Folks,
Continuing on 'Causeless Love/Bhakthi'

Despite of all the mental ramblings, I have seen in my experience that the concept of 'Eeshwara/Bhathi' work very well and produce results.In the simile of Elephant waking up on dreaming about a lion; the lion could only be a dream lion or a mental concept but it still works and produces the result of waking up the elephant.

That is why these days when I meet Bhakthas I do not discuss Advaitic concepts lest I should corrupt them with my confusion.But this is an Advaitic blog so I guess it is free range here.

-z

Maneesha said...

"when we so often dismiss the intellect as 'unreliable', it's that very intellect having the last laugh, have you observed that"

:) yeah...

Anonymous said...

S,
You keep saying you are not a Bhaktha. Are you not a Ramana Bhaktha?

-z

Ravi said...

s,
"ravi: precisely. TKS can say; i can't & i may not be off the mark if i say neither can you or the others in this blog!"

I have to say you are totally off the mark here.

Namaskar.

Ravi said...

s,
"after all, you folks love him so selflessly, have you seen him or spoken with him?"
Appar Swamigal in his tevAram underscores the Blossoming of Love.

முன்னம் அவனுடைய நாமங் கேட்டாள்
மூர்த்தி யவனிருக்கும் வண்ணங் கேட்டாள்
பின்னை அவனுடைய ஆரூர் கேட்டாள்
பெயர்த்து மவனுக்கே பிச்சி யானாள்
அன்னையையும் அத்தனையும் அன்றே நீத்தாள்
அகன்றாள் அகலிடத்தார் ஆசா ரத்தை
தன்னை மறந்தாள்தன் நாமங் கெட்டாள்
தலைப்பட்டாள் நங்கை தலைவன் றாளே.

Earlier she heard His name.
She heard about His being.
Later she heard of His ArUr (abode).
Now she became mad of Him.
She gave up mother and father that day itself.
Left the manners of the world.
Forgot herself, forgot her name too !
The lady headed only to the Feet of the Lord!
-----------------------------------
The devotees who understand this,understand simply.It is by 'hearing' and not by 'seeing' that this sort of 'Love' blossoms.This is because Love is not some 'foreign' emotion or feeling 'injected';it is not a graft.Blessed are the ones in whom it springs on just hearing about the 'Name' of the Beloved.
namaskar.

Broken Yogi said...

Both bhatki and jnana mean finding the true source of both self and love. In self-enquiry, we examine the illusory ego-self with the aim of knowing the true Self that is its source. It is the same with "love". When we love anyone or anyone, we need to find the source of this love. Love of an object is not real love, but the source of this love is real.

Rope and snake, in both cases. The ego that loves has a source, and that source is the true nature of love and self. The snake has its source in the rope, and the love we have for others, including Bhagavan, has its source in the Self. So to "love Bhagavan" means to find the source of that love in the Self. If one merely loves Bhagavan as an object, one isn't really loving Bhagavan. One must allow one's love to go beyond the subject-object illusion to the source of both, the Self. That I believe is why Ramana considered true devotion to him to take the form of self-enquiry. The source of bhakti and the source of the ego are the same Self.

Ravi said...

z,
"Sometimes I observed the welling up of love/inspiration from my heart automatically/instinctively projected on to an ideal and that ideal could be a God,Guru,Devotional art etc."

This is quite important.Do not belittle this spark.

The Great Seer Poet Sri Subramaniya Bharati beautifully puts it in one of his poems:

அக்னிக் குஞ்சொன்று கண்டேன்
அதை அங்கோர் காட்டிலோர் பொந்திடை வைத்தேன்
வெந்து தணிந்தது காடு
தழல் வீரத்தில் குஞ்சென்றும் மூப்பென்றுமுண்டோ.

A spark of fire did I see
In the forest, I hid it in the hollow of a tree
Burnt to a cinder was the forest.
In its rage, is there
a difference between a spark or a blaze?

-----------------------------------
There is just no difference in this 'spark' of Love between a Great devotee and a fledgling.This is what the poet says and this is the Truth.
Just forget all 'theories' ,all talk of 'ripe' and 'unripe',etc.Just tend to this 'spark' of Agni that you have come by.This itself will lead to all the rest.
This spark is what the Vedas refer when they say -"Agni meede purohitam".
Wish you the Very Best.
Namaskar.

S. said...

salutations to all:

anonymous(z.):
z. said "...Are you not a Ramana Bhaktha?..."
- i know neither bhakti nor jnAna. bhagavAn & thAkur are the two men whom i admire the most; while it may be far from anything to do with bhakti, i also do not know why i cherish them! of course, would like to be in a state where i could say this: :-)))
(no particular reason why am stating this verse here - this is what came to my mind as soon as i began writing a reply, that's all) :-)

மண்ணு நீரும் வளர்ந்தெழு தேயுவும்
விண்ணும் காலு நுழைந்து விளங்கிடும்
எண்ணுஞ் சங்கையு மெல்லையு மின்றிய
கண்ணுக் காவி ரமணனென் காதலன்
[the ramaNa who pervades the five elements, the ramaNa who transcends thought, is beyond doubt, and without limit, he who is my very life, that ramaNa is my most loved one]
(verse 4 of 'ponnaiothha pathhu' - saturday pArAyaNa)
:-)))
(if i have missed out anything in the translation, request ravi/ subramanian to correct me)

Anonymous said...

BYogi,
Thanks for your thoughts.You say :

"Both Bhakthi and Jnana mean finding the true source of both self and love."

You are talking about the 'End'. But the topic here is the beginning and the middle not the End.We do not begin Neti-Neti or Devotion with an intention to find the source of Love.Ofcourse it will end there. We begin Devotion may be because we want God(Sentient God/Eeshwara not Absolute God) to help us in our personal situation.Otherwise God doesn't really come into the picture.Same with Neti-Neti(Not this-Not this). We begin introspection to see if there is any problem in our approach and attitude regarding a specific personal problem and it may eventually develop into Neti-Neti (Mano Vichara), climax as Atma Vichara and end in Love/Self over many reincarnations.

-z

Broken Yogi said...

z,

I'm not talking about the end, but the orientation even from the beginning.

That orientation should be towards the source, not the object. Even devotion to a God, or a Guru, or even a person, has to have as its overarching orientation devotion to the source from which these come, or we simply get lost in confusion, maya, etc.

The objects of our devotion come and go, and eventually so do we. That is why we need to learn, from the beginning, to become oriented towards our mutual source. All devotion requires a source of the devotion. Where does devotion come from? We must be oriented towards that source of devotion if we are to practice devotion. And that source is in the subject. But that subjective source is not the "ego", it is beyond that, in the source of the ego.

So whether we look inward or outward, practice devotion or jnana, we have to be oriented towards the source of these, and we have to surrender to that source. If we just practice these in the conventional manner, we fail to pay attention to the source, and we fall into confusion and conflict. By becoming oriented towards their source, even from the beginning, we are started on a path of growing clarity.

I think if you examine any genuine devotee you will find this orientation towards the source, even when they talk about the objects of their devotion. The same is true of genuine practitioners of jnana yogas, even from the beginning. One does not have to be at the "end" to be oriented towards the source. That is because the end is right here, not far away. It is necessary at the beginning to develop this orientation towards the source in order to make real progress at all. Otherwise the end is always far away and out of reach.

We can at least touch the end right here and now, because it is right here and now. Although our surrender in the beginning will of course be partial and incomplete, it will at least be real, because it is oreinted towards the Real, the Self. And for that reason it is also touched by the grace of the Self, and we can respond in kind, even from the rawest beginner's position.

Losing M. Mind said...

It's hard not to admire jnanis, because they express nothing but the true, good and beautiful, act with the highest spiritual intelligence, and fill with bliss.

hey jude said...

A few days ago I heard that people spend 90%ish of
their time defending their point of view.
That's a heckuva lotta time and energy
and creativity.
We all try to sound rational on this blogsite but in reality we are all awash with hormones and most of our thoughts and actions are propelled not by calm thought but by feelings and emotion.
Thats why the 'Marital garland of letters' full of bhava, has such an impact.

Anonymous said...

Just as I was watching Shirdi Sai Baba Movie online I did see causeless love. So I take it that as one progresses more and more this kind of Bhaava increases to most of the activities in a day.What a turn around for me in a day:)

-z

Ravi said...

z,
"I was watching Shirdi Sai Baba Movie online I did see causeless love."
In his wonderful essay 'self Reliance',Ralph waldo Emerson says-"Trust your emotion. In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity, yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hands of the harlot, and flee."

This is exactly what sri Ramakrishna says.As you have rightly observed in your posts-not to stunt this 'pure emotion' with ideas of this theory or that.Not to allow the intellect to sit on judgement over it;If allowed this freeplay,forget whether it is directed towards the 'object' or towards the 'source'-one will discover the spark behind the smoke.
-----------------------------------
Shirdi ke Saibaba is a well made movie.The Fact that we are able to appreciate the Goodness and Selfless Love in Baba,simply shows its presence in us.This is why we resonate in unison.Is there any doubt in this?
I like all the songs in this film-SainAth tere hazArOn hAth,DeepAvali manAyi suhAni.I enjoyed the scene where Saibaba lights up the Diya with water to give joy to that child-the miracle is not that 'water' turned into a fuel-the miracle is the LOVE that does all these things.
Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

Mullah Meditates

Nasrudin joined a Trappist monastery. It was customary
in this monastery to maintain silence all year with the
exception of one monk having a chance to speak once a
year. The first year one monk said, "I like potatoes and
I hope we can have more potatoes in our menu". The next
year a second monk spoke and said, "I am sick of having
potatoes every day in this monastery". The following
year it was Mulla Nasrudin's turn to speak and he said,
"I want a transfer to another monastery. I cannot stand
this constant bickering"!
glow

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,

Hindu scriptures call this as
a-hethu bhakti, causeless devotion.
No doubt devotion starts with karana-
bhakti, devotion with a reason. But
in course of time, it matures into
a-hethu bhakti.

Sri Bhagavan says about karana-bhakti in Verse 67 of Sri AAMM:

You are fearless. And I being afraid, seek you who are fearless,
O Arunachala!

arvind said...

Z, folks,

This thread is moving faster than what I can keep up with! Sorry folks, still stuck with an old post, on Sri Jayendra Saraswati.

Just thought to mention that I have personally known Sri Jayendra Saraswati for around 45 years, from since I was very small and he had just been anointed as successor by the Paramacharya. And I mean reeaally personally. For what that is worth, let me tell you that he is incapable of the things he stands accused of.

Most would agree that his style of functioning as the head of the Matham, rightly or wrongly, has been totally different from the Paramacharya’s. And that has lead to a lot of angst amongst the old orthodox. But to accuse him of the stuff he’s charged with? Sheer absurdity.

Generally we seem to have the tendency to be too quick to bring down our spiritual leaders. I have come across many old stalwarts from amongst the Kanchi Matham devotees, who would swear by Sri Jayendra Saraswati earlier, but now, gleefully, relate sensationalist stories from the press saying this and that about this venerable old man. A venerable old man who has spent every day of his last 60 years and more, sleeping but 4 – 5 hours despite significant health problems unknown to most, and otherwise either doing puja, giving darshan, or tackling weighty matters as he saw fit concerning the fate of Sanatana Dharma in the world. We would, perhaps, do well to instead examine the motives of his accusers, of politicians in particular, who for their nefarious purposes chose to bring down one of the greatest spiritual institutions in India and the world.

Best wishes

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

This verse of Appar brings tears in my eyes, since I simultaneously think of Sri Bhagavan and Smt. Kanakammal. Kanakammal says this
process of Appar to Sri Bhagavan.
Sri Bhagavan heard some visitor to His house telling Arunachalam, when asked wherefrom he was coming. {Namam kettaL]. This brings indescribable happiness in Sri Bhagavan. Then He asked where is Arunachalam? The visitor said: You do not know? That is Tiruvannamalai. It is a Sivakshetram, where Arunachleswara is there with Apeeta Kuchambal. {Aroor KettaL]. This produced further bliss and immense desire to go there, in Sri Ramana's heart. He became mad [Picchi aanaaL] to go there.

Sri Bhagavan describes this in Sri Arunachala Ashtakam, Verse 1.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

Yes. Very true. In devotion one approaches god with ego. This ego gets burnt when the devotion becomes total self-surrender. In Vicharam, one inquires into the nature of ego and kills it. Both are complimentary to each other. Bhakti is Jnana Matha, mother of Jnana.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Yes. It is Agni Kunju. A simple
devotion which is a spark becomes
a conflagration of devotion and ends up as ego submission to the Almighty. It all started with A.R.
Natarajan of Ramana Centre in Bangalore, for me. One day, I went there and he spoke to me very kindly and told about Sri Bhagavan. He was quite free on that afternoon and he even sang Desika Padigam of Muruganar for me! He then gave me Bhagavat Vachanamrutam [Talks in Tamizh] to me. I bought that and it has come to this stage today, six or seven years. If I do not go to T'malai atleast once in 3 months, I grow resteless! Sri Bhagavan has graced me both for this life and hereafter.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

Wonderful. KaNNukku aavi... He is the life in my eyes! Satyamanagalam
Venkataramana Iyer, says in the last poem, verse 19: "asi padathu uruvanavan.. He is the very word
asi. I was breaking my head. Nochur Venkataraman says: Asi padam, the word Asi in Tat vam Asi,
when translated in English, becomes
You are That. 'are' is the bridge
that unites Thou with That. A guru is the bridge to unite you with the Self!

Ravi said...

Arvind,
I agree with your observations and as i have said-Sri Jayendra saraswati is a Sadhu and totally innocent.He was gullible and despite warnings and advices by well wishers used to entertain dubious people, and got into trouble.Despite warnings regarding the sinister designs of the then government,he chose not to take the Legal route well in time,ignoring the developments that subsequently unfolded and paid the penalty.
I will only say that despite being subject to all this brutality of a megalomaniacal government and police machinery,he advised his devotees not to blame anyone and most of all jayalalitha,the then chief Minister of Tamil nadu who initiated all this.
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

M said...

David,

New post please! Why r we made to starve!? :(

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,

We have devotion because we want God. In fact, it is not God, it is the Self we want. Upanishads says that one loves his wife not for her sake but for the Self. One loves children not for their sake but for the Self. Who else is dearer to you than the Self. The Self is the focus of love. Saint Manikkavachagar says:

You have given Yourself to me,
And has taken me to Yourself,
Who is wiser in this two?
I got endless Bliss from You,
What have You got from me?
O Lord of Tiruperundurai,
You have taken my Heart as Your temple.
O my father! Iswara! You have taken my body as Your Abode!
What recompense can I pay for You?

[The Sivam or the Self is a poor
bargainer. He takes this lowly me and has given Him to me!]
- Tiruvachakam, Kovil Tirupadigam, Verse 9.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Broken Yogi,

Yes. The Self is the dearest to all.
It is the Source for devotion and vichara. Sri Bhagavan attained the Self but sang about Arunachala with overwhelming love. Saint Manikkavachagar says:

What penance did I do? [nothing].
I simply say Sivaya Namah:
He entered on His own, my Heart that is inside my fleshy body! He graced me.
He is honey, He is nectar, He is Siva ever sweet to me.
He made me to lose interest in my body and this life! [Tiruvesarvu,
Verse 10].

He further says in Tirupulambal,
Verse 3:

I do not want my relatives,
I do not want my town,
I do not want any name,
I do not want the learned,
I do want only melt with all
My learning and sweet tongue,
[To sing of you] O Lord of Kutralam, O the Dancer,
Like the calf cries for its mother!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Anon.,

Sri Bhagavan, the pinnacle Jnana Bodham used to shed tears while reading Periya Puranam stories and often stopped in the middle, closing the book saying, 'I cannot read further.' Bhakti and Jnana are inseparable twosome. That is why His Arunachala Stuti Panchakam, starts with bhakti in AAMM and ends with merger in Sri Arunachala Ashtakam. Thereafter, He describes the four modes of bhakti, karma, jnana and yoga in Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam, after describing the Arunachala's Sthata Lakshanam [as He is] and His Swarupa Lakshanam [His Form], in Verses 1 and 2.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Arvind,

That is why even people like me who have gone away from Jayendra, are eagerly waiting for the verdict, though the word of Judiciary is not
the word of the Almighty. But we want a verdict based not on faith but on truth, unlike Ayodhya verdict.

Ravi said...

Friends,
I had posted the story of Nandanar,the Pariah saint in this Blog and this disappeared when the new comments system was introduced and withdrawn subsequently.It was our dear friend Nandu narasimhan's longing to see and be in Arunachala that triggered me into posting this story.The story of Nandanar was such that it elicited a comment from our friend 'Bookworm'(Wish him well wherever he is) that it was the Best(possibly the only one in our friend's viewpoint) that I ever posted.I have been toying with this idea of posting it for the benefit of readers here and for myself.
This is from the Excellent collection of independant articles of sri B R Rajam Iyer,who started the renowned journal 'Prabuddha Bharata' inspired by Swami Vivekananda.Rajam Iyer lived for just 26 years(1872-1898)on this terra firma.The collection of his articles were brought together as a Book-Rambles in Vedanta.
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

You should write Nandanar [Tiru NaLai
Povar] story as it appears in Periya
Puranam. He was a small landholder and was doing the agriculture all himself. So he has no time to visit
Chidambaram {Thillai]. He was telling everyone "I shall go tomorrow", "I shall go tomorrow."
NaaLai poven. This became his name. He eventually went to Thillai and was first looking at the temple from far off. The big bull was preventing his clear sight of Nataraja. Then he said: Like a Big bull, Nandi is hiding your form. Nataraja said to Nandi: Please move away a little bit. Then Nandi moved a little. He had a clear vision of Nataraja. This place from where he saw Nataraja first is called Tiruppungur. In Gopala Krishna Bharatiyar's story [of course, he wrote to bring in the casteism that was prevalent in his times], it is said that Nandanar was an agricultural laborer and the brahmin landlords did not give him leave, etc.,

Ravi said...

R.subramanian,
The historicity of Nandanar and the facts associated with it as narrated in periya puranam is only one aspect.Sri Gopalakrishna bhArati greatly enhanced the symbolic significance of Nandanar and this is enjoyable and inspiring in its own way.This is something that each one of us can relate to and seize upon.Sri Rajam Iyer's narration follows the opera composed by Sri gopAlakrishna BhArati-nandanar charitra keertanai.So,we will be taking this route,and discovering the Nanda within us.
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

Friends,
This series of posts on Nandanar is dedicated to our friend,Nandu Narasimhan.

nanda,the pariah saint:
Adhanur was a village in the south Arcot District of Tamil nadu.The parachery (the quarters of the pariahs,always remote from those of the other castes)of Adhanur ,was on the outskirts of the village.A number of small unventillated,single roomed,hovel-like huts with pumpkin creepers covering their tops and scattered too wildly to be classified into streets or rows,black earthenware generally kept outside the huts,broken mudwalls,heaps of rotting bones and other filthy matter abounding on every side,cocks and hens that chuckled and bode their time,dogs that barked all day long,half-naked women that barked oftener and louder and troops of dirty,sun-burnt and naked children playing or quarelling-such were the surroundings amidst which our great saint was ushered into the world.Our actions are mixed in character,partly good and partly bad and nanda,to whom it was given,by the goodness of his previous karma,to set an inspiring example to the world and grow into god,was destined,by the necessary counterpart of the same karma,to be born in the midst of a barbarous community:but the beauty of providence is such that our very punishments are blessings in disguise,and the apparently unfavourable conditions,under which Nanda was born,themselves proved to be,as we shall see,for his own good and indirectly for that of the world.

continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued....
Even in his early boyhood,nanda was,as we may easily understand,unlike the other boys of the parachery:his very play consisted in making figures of god,in clay i.e. as he at that age wanted him to be-a stout,black man with bold whiskers,a huge lace turban,and high-heeled native shoes,and an axe or a scythe in his hand and at the same time very trustworthy,and kind and merciful to those that sought his protection.To make such clay gods,to sing and dance around them,to carry them along in procession,to organize an infant band of bhaktas and make festivals for his gods were his chief juvenile sports.The small circular gopuram(tower)of the saivite temple in the brahmin part of Adhanur had a strange fascination for his boyish imagination for there were beauty,grandeur and, as
he could not approach it,mystery enough to set them forth in relief.It was this love of the Grand,the beautiful and the mysterious that was remarkable in Nanda and chiefly contributed to his salvation.He would often wistfully gaze at that tower wondering at its shape,size and grandeur and busily form guesses about the treasure underneath concealed to his view,which it was meant to glorify.Often as the village god passed in procession with torchlight,music,drums and vedic chant,nanda followed by other pariah boys would run forth to obtain a view,however distant of the festival and return deeply impressed with the procession and its poetic associations.He had an inborn respect for all holy things-temples,festivals,Brahmins,and the Vedas,which his low birth tended greatly to develop.
continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

As he grew into manhood,his imaginative fervour and piety also grew with him and deepened and he became more and more eager to contribute what he could,however humble it might be,to the service of the lord.It is the tendency of true love to grow till it overflows the heart,and then it can no longer be shut up within,but must necessarily show itself out in action.nanda thought long over what he could do to please the Lord;he was not rich:he was of low birth:no kind of charity readily suggested itself to him.One day while seriously thinking over the matter,it struck him all of a sudden that he might supply temples with leather for drums.To him,there was something almost miraculous in the very suddenness of the thought and he rose up with joy and exclaimed:"the Lord has spoken to me.He has commanded me to supply His drums with Leather",and he immediately set about preparing it.The Lord indeed does always keep conversing with us,only,we do not hear Him:and of the things we offer to him He chooses,not by their value(for He is himself the Lord of all things)but by the love and piety with which they are offered.The labour of procuring leather,of wetting and tanning it and cutting it into proper sizes,henceforth became to Nanda a sacred pastime and the very smell of leather roused in his imaginative mind a group of holy associations.
Continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

nanda had a few friends in parachery(it is a pity that their names have not been handed down to posterity)who shared his enthusiasm and sympathised with him in his labours.Every now and then he would speak to them of God's glory and grace,smear himself and them with sacred ashes,and one day,while there was no work to be done in the fields,he stole away with them(we must remember that these pariahs were slaves under the Village landlords)to a famous temple a few miles off,called Tirupunkoor now known as old vaitheesvaran Koil.They went round the village three times,repeatedly besmeared themselves with sacred ashes and shouted forth the names of siva.Nanda was beside himself with pious enthusiasm and danced and wept,and after sunset,when the temple doors were opened,sent forth to the priest his offerings of coconuts,plantain fruits and loads of leather.He and his companions stood outside the temple at a little distance from the Flag staff,and from there obtained occasional glimpses of the image within.Their joy,particularly that of nanda,knew no bounds when they beheld for the first time,though from a great distance,the mysterious sanctum sanctorum of the great temple all radiant with light.The ringing of the bells,the crowd of neat looking pious devotees,the recitation of sacred verses,the puja,the burning of camphor,the worshipping with light and other imposing rituals of the temple,and above all the lingam(Image of siva)itself,which by its very form filled the whole place with a peculiar solemnity and sacredness,far exceeded his grandest expectations and impressed his imagination much more deeply(here his low birth was an advantage to him)than they did that of the Brahmin worshippers inside,who were familiarized to them.
Continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

There was to him a mystery only half cleared and a solemnity he had never known before;he eagerly drank in the spectacle which to him was new and fascinating;tears flowed in torrents from his eyes and his emotional communion with God became every moment closer and closer till at last he became completely absorbed in meditation and all thought expired in the enjoyment.Those that saw him were filled with wonder at the steadiness of his devotion,his self-absorption and the serenity that shone in his face in spite of his low caste,and before he woke from his devotional trance a large and admiring crowd had gathered around him.The sensation created at the time was so great that his visit to Tirupunkoor has made a distinct epoch in its history and richly added to the glory of its temple,for tradition asserts that while he was standing behind the Flag-staff and struggling to get a view of the Lingam inside,Siva took pity on him and ordered Nandi(the image of the Bull placed opposite to the lingam in all saivite temples)to move a little to one side,that his low caste devotee might get a view of Him;and accordingly unto this day the huge figure of nandi at Tirupunkoor is placed not exactly opposite to the image of Siva but leaning to one side.
As soon as nanda awoke from his holy trance,he prostrated before the Brahmin crowd,that had gathered about him and began with his friends to go round the Village once again.It so happened,that while thus going round,a certain Brahmin pundit was reciting before a large audience chidambarapuranam(the Story of chidambaram) from the pial of one of the cornermost houses of the Brahmin quarters.As Nanda passed along,he heard the Brahmin say:"Chidambaram is the holiest place in all the world;he that once visits the temple there,be he a chandAla(outcaste),crosses once and forever the ocean of births and deaths":and then followed an eloquent description of the temple and the inner meaning of its grand symbolism.
...continued....

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

It is fine. Right from Sangam poetry to Kamba Ramayanam and Periya Puranam days, the classical Tamizh was strictly followed. This was perhaps also an obstacle for expression. Only Gopala Krishna Bharatiyar and Subrahmanya Bharati first came out of this. Like Walt Witman said metrical poetry is the handcuff on the poets by royalty and feudal lords. Walt Witman broke it with his Leaves of the Grass. Then came e.e. cummings. Mahavidwan Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai first did not accept this Nandan Nataka Charitram. It appears Gopalakrishna Bharati came to his house in Tiruchirapalli and made him listen to the poems and then got also a Verse-Forword for the work. Goapala Krishna Bharati also met Saint Tyagaraja, in Tiruviayaru. Tyagaraja who was more a musician asked Bharati whether he had made any poem on Abohi ragam. Bharati had not done that and therefore spent a night and composed a song in Abohi Ragam and gave it to Saint Thyagaraja.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

Indeed in point of tradition,Chidambaram is one of the Richest cities in the world.What palestine was for the Christians,what Mecca is to the Muhammadans,what sreerangam is to the vaishnavites,that Chidambaram is to the saivites of the Hindu community.It is one of the Five great places of worship in Southern India,in each of which,God is represented as one of the five elements.There the representation is as Akas(ether),the first of the five elements.The idea of worshipping the elements as God is essentially Vedic,and it is a great help in the finding out and practical recognition of the divinity in the universe-which latter,when examined,is seen to be nothing but a physico-chemical compound of these elements.In a higher sense,the Akas worshipped at Chidambaram is not the ether of the scientists,but the spaceless,timeless,unconditioned Self.The very name Chidambaram means the Akas of wisdom and the temple there is called KOil-the temple par excellence.In the centre of that temple,there is a gold tiled mantapam(hall)called the Chit Sabha-the hall of wisdom in which to be seen first the image of nataraja and then what is known as the Rahasya(the secret)-representing of course the secret of all secrets,the characterless Nirvana of the Self.Of all the anthropomorphic representations of the deity yet known to man,that of nataraja is one of the very best and the image at chidambaram,which is the prototype of all similiar images elsewhere,is certainly one of the most inspiring figures that I(rajam Iyer)have known.Even considered as purely a work of art,there are few images more faultless,more life-like and more charming.That soft curly hair tufted like that of a dikshitar(a priest),the long prominent nose,those eyes so full of life and expression,that face in which dignity,bliss and mercy speak out and dance,that natural bend of the arms and their ornaments,that beautiful attitude of the dancer,and lastly,that raised foot(kunjidapAda)so eminently inspiring are before me as I (Iyer)write,and when to the artistic appreciation of the image is joined a full understanding of its idea,its inner poetry-that form the noise of the damaruka(a little drum)held in one of the right hands,innumerable worlds are represented as rushing forth into life as sparks from fire,as bubbles from a spring -Sabda nishtam Jagat-the world sprang out of and stands by sound or vibration;the other Right hand expressive of the idea "be it so",represents the power which maintains those worlds under a great unerring and faultless law;that the fire in one of the left hands ,represent the mighty and mysterious power of destruction,which makes the stars,mountains,and oceans "the perfume and suppliance of a minute";that firmly planted Right leg indicates the power of the mystery that refuses to clear up,the thick manifold veil of illusive panorama which hides Truth from us for ages together;and that lastly,the raised left foot that symbolises the grace of God,which shelters and saves those that seek it,from the eternal infinite,and terribly deceiving drama of creation,existence and destruction-it is no wonder,that men like appar,manikkar,pattinathAr,and thAyumAnavar forgot in that presence the petty commercial prose of our daily life,and broke forth in the highest,the most philosophical,and the most impassioned poetry that the Tamil language has known.
Continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

Nanda paused and heard the whole story of Chidambaram from the eloquent lips of the Brahmin Reciter.It acted on him like magic.The words,Chidambaram and Nataraja,obtained a strange mastery over him.He became eager to visit Chidambaram,which was not very far off,that very night,and was with great difficulty dissuaded from his object by his companions."The temple at chidambaram would be closed,"they said,"before you reach it and besides ,you are a slave to your Brahmin Master,you should not forget your position so easily.we have already stayed away too long and it will not be proper to do so longer." A Lesser man in that situation might have been provoked to reply:"Is that Brahmin greater than God?I care not for him.I shall have my own way," but Nanda meekly replied:"Yes,you are right.It has pleased God to place me in the situation of a bondsman.He knows what is good for me infinitely better than I do.To resign myself to His Will,is even a higher worship than visit his temple.I shall fall at the feet of my Brahmin Landlord,and please him in all honest ways and I am sure he will sooner or later allow me to go to Chidambaram."So saying ,he returned home with his companions,but not before he had dug out with their assistance a tank,still pointed out as his,for the use of the people at Tirupunkoor.The feat was regarded as wonderful,and the idea of a few pariahs joining together and creating a tank,was an altogether novel one,so much so,that popular tradition attributes the work to God Ganesa,who did it in order to please his father Siva's devotee.The Truth is ,Love works wonders and Nanda's love was of a very high order;it was not like that of some people who go into the temple with plenty of offerings to God-coconuts,plantain fruits,etc ,but would not give a pie to the beggar at the temple gate.In Nanda's eyes all men were God's children and to serve them,was itself a kind of worship,higher even than supplying temple-drums with leather or making offerings to God.After digging and completing the tank,he and his companions returned home.
continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

Henceforth it became the one passion of Nanda's life to visit the great temple of Nataraja.Day and night he would pant for it.While working in the fields,while staying at home,while laying himself down to sleep,always his mind was with the Great God dancing as it were the unceasing dance of Creation,Maintenance and Destruction.Everyday he would think of begging his master to let him go to Chidambaram,but day after day passed without his venturing to do so for fear of a refusal.He would tell his friends everyday:"I go to Chidambaram to-morrow,"but a great many to-morrows became to-days and he had not gone:he became a veritable "dupe of to-morrow" and his very friends nicknamed him "one that goes to-morrow"(TirunALaipOvAr)
In the meantime,the pariah community at Adhanur,among whom true Bhakti was a thing altogether unknown,observed first with curiosity and then with alarm,the change that was coming over Nanda.The constant repetition of the Holy Name of Siva,the frequent besmearing of the body with sacred ashes,the meditation he was plunged in,and more even than these,the thorough change that had come over the inner man,his extreme meekness and humility,his constant and involuntary references to God,his inability to talk of anything but Him and His glory,his self absorption even in the midst of work,caused real uneasiness in the minds of his ignorant kinsmen,to whom any kind of deviation from the accustomed run of Life was a source of Fear.He would seldom mix in the cruel and barbarous sports of his community;meat and toddy lost their sway over him.Butchery was an act of abomination in his eyes,and he discouraged it whenever he had occasion.Often while the rest of the community was engaged in quarrel or gossip,he would unconcernedly repose under some tree and meditate:he would look at the wonderful creation around him,admire the unceasing miracles of the universe-plants,rivers,mountains,trees,and say:"Ah,all this deceptive phenomenal wealth is the glory of that one foot of Nataraja so firmly planted down.Beautiful as all this is,let me O God cross over to you and see you not as you seem,but as you are." Then he would fix his mind on the raised foot of Nataraja and pray with eyes filled with tears to be sheltered under its blissful shade of wisdom.
continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

One day Nanda had long sat meditating in this way till his eyes were suffused with tears of joy and he passed into an ecstatic trance,when a curious neighbour went near him,and finding him unconscious and his body wetted with tears,gave the alarm to the whole community that something was wrong with Nanda.The report found ready acceptance on all sides,and soon our poor friend was shaken rudely and disturbed and was at once demanded an explanation;but all that he could say was:"Knowing that there is a God,who can help worshipping him?" which ofcourse was not found satisfactory.The result was that a council was at once formed on the spot,and it was unanimously resolved by the wise of the community,that Nanda's malady was due to the fault of not having held feasts for their gods more frequently,and that therefore one should be celebrated the very next day.
Grand were the preparations that were made for the feast.A huge pandal(shed)was erected and decorated with plantain trees,coconuts,mango leaves and flags.Fowls and sheep were procured in abundance for sacrifice.A Valluva priest of oracular fame was called in,and grotesque clay figures of the mighty gods of wonderful names-veeran,iruLan,kAtteri,veryan,Nondi,chAmundi,nallakarupan,pettannan,pavadai and a multitude of others too numerous to be mentioned here,were made.The next morning,the whole village gathered together under the pandal.The clay gods were arranged in order of importance;fowls and sheep and pots of toddy were ready for the feast.Nanda was held by main force,for which however there was no need ,in the centre of the assembly,and the high priest Valluvanar shook his damarukkam(a little drum);and at once there was a wild blowing of horns and reckless beating of 'drums and timbrels loud' and,as soon as they stopped,the holy priest got inspired;god has descended unto him,and he rose making all sorts of hideous cries;about ten people held him down,perhaps to prevent his escape to heaven.Thus held down and shaking forth his damarukkam,he delivered with appropriate gestures the following oracular utterances."Nandan," he said, "Nandan-Nandan-Nandan is possessed with the big long haired devil which resids in the market Tamarind tree;it will make him laugh and weep and run and talk and sleep"(many people do these things without the help of the devil-Iyer)and he asked:"Does he not do all these?" to which there was a tumultuous reply of "aye,aye,how true the Oracle,how right!". Nanda said nothing but thought within himself:"O Lord,how wonderful is thy dance!Here is a wonderful scene played in thy endless Drama!"
Continued...

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the Pariah saint continued...

"Kill a hundred sheep," continued the oracle,"and two hundred fowls" and offer them with pots of toddy to god karuppan and his brothers,and they say that Nanda will at once be cured.The great gods are extremely angry with you for having neglected them so long."The oracle ceased and immediately a large dancing group of middle aged pariahs was arranged and they sang.

PidAri great,the guardian dev
of all our fields,poor nandan save!

Nanda added,
None but natesan(nataraja)has that power
For he's my chosen lord and lover.

They sang
O vira dark with turban Huge
Beneath thy feet we seek refuge

Nanda said:
No turban could you make for one
who filleth all these worlds alone

They sang(admiringly)
IruLa fat with aspect Brave,
Thy belly is of Goats the grave

Nanda ,
Trust not ye fools!to demons base,
But Him who is all love and grace.

The enthusiastic dancers heard not Nanda,or at any rate heeded him not;but the dance was followed by a more serious affair-the butchering of inncent fowls and sheep.Nanda rose and vehemently protested against it,but in vain;he eloquently preached to them about the grace and glory of the creator,invited them to throw away their wicked gods and barbarous sacrifices and exhorted them to join with him in the worship of the beautiful,eternal Nataraja,but all his words were as pearls cast before the swine;nay worse than that,they tended to strengthen the current notions about his madness.
Continued...

Ravi said...

Friends,
nanda,the pariah saint continued,,,

Nanda turned away from that ignorant multitude in sorrow and filled with pity for them,prayed to God that they might be saved.With every moment of prayer,the longing to visit chidambaram gained new strength,till it grew irrepressible and forced him to apply to his master for leave.After considerable hesitation,the Brahmin landlord was asked;but in the meantime ,the pious devotees of pidari and company,finding that their gods had no power over nanda,had carried their appeal to the more powerful tribunal of their visible agricultural landLORD,who unlike the invisible gods vouchsafed a prompt enquiry.Nanda appeared before his master just a little after the above deputation had gone from there and made his application.
"Eh,you going chidambaram,you pariah fool!You want to become a B r a h m i n???" jeered the landlord.Nanda was thunderstruck,he felt himself undone and returned weeping without speaking a word.He went to the shade of his favourite tree,and there wept in Torrents."O God."he said to himself,"How cruel art thou!I have no right to blame the Brahmin,he ofcourse spoke under Thy prompting,for not an atom moves save at Thy bidding.I am a poor pariah too low for Thy Grace,Ah!how cold art thou!Thou hast no pity on this wretched,miserable forlorn creature.I have nothing to be proud of-no wealth,no beauty,no fame,no learning and as if these were not enough I am born a low caste bondsman.All this was nothing to me,so long as I had hope of Thy Grace,and now i have been deprived of even that.Oh God,How then can I live?".
But hope,that most wonderful of all things,again asserted itself and he thought:"God knows what is best for me,infinitely better than I do.I shall resign myself to His Will in all things great and small.The Brahmin master may relent and I am sure when I am fit to enter His Presence,i shall be allowed to do so."
a few days after,a second application was made for leave and with a similiar result of refusal combined with rebuke;but the disappointment this time had a different effect on him;he consoled himself with the idea that he was not yet fitted for the Holy Presence,and that therefore he should strive to be more pious and god-loving and purer in heart.He redoubled his meditation that there might not be in his waking state a single moment in which God was forgotten,curtailed his hours of sleep,danced in a wild and ecstatic way both morning and evening,and at other times wept for God's grace or rejoiced over his illimitable glory.In the stream,in the bird,in the tree,in man,in short wherever he saw life,there he felt the presence of Nataraja;and under heavy sway of this strange fancy,often played with the stream,embraced the tree,ran after the bird and did a thousand wild things which positively confirmed his kinsmen in the idea of his lunacy.
Continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
nanda,the pariah saint continued,,,

The poor folk tried all sorts of remedies,even bound him by fetters and tortured him,but all in vain.To him,everything in the world was divine,and his love and tenderness to living creatures was simply boundless:he would feed the ants with sugar,would take up the worms from the roadside lest they might be scorched by sun or crushed under the feet of passers-by,play with the children and enjoy the music of the birds as if he were himself one of them.
In the meanwhile however harvest time had come and ,his kinsmen being desperately engaged with him,work in the fields suffered.The landlord got enraged and sent for his men.all of them came,except nanda,and related everything that happened.The Brahmin angrily dismissed them and sent for nanda.Nanda came and bowed to his master and stood.The Brahmin was greatly surprised at the remarkable degree of joy and calmness and humility that shone in his face.It clearly struck him that nanda was no ordinary man,and that what was misconstrued by the ignorant pariahs as madness was nothing but an extravagance of piety and fervour;but he did not want to encourage him,and got really angry when the request to go chidambaram was put forward;yet he was moved at the extremely piteous,sincere and imploring way in which it was urged and the quivering and suspense with which his reply was awaited,as if a soul's destiny hung upon his one word;and so he gently replied:"nanda,you are really a good fellow,but you have fallen into wild ways;you have not been doing your work properly of late.This is the harvest season,the corn has to be reaped,after all the harvest is gathered in,I shall grant you leave to go to chidambaram!".
No sooner was this said than nanda sprang into the fields like a wild deer,and a few hours later ,again called at the landlord's backyard.When the Brahmin asked why he was wanted,Nanda replied:"Do me the favour sir,to go into the fields," and led the way followed by his master;and what was the latter's wonder when he found that the whole of his vast paddy fields has been reaped and the harvest gathered in like a mountain of gold-all the work of a single man,and that in a space of a few hours!
Continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

The landlord could hardly believe his eyes,and struggled to know if he was not dreaming:what he saw was no vision but a concrete and thorough reality,and when convinced of this,he could only say:"Nanda,you could not have done this work,not all your kinsmen together ,what a miracle has God worked in my fields through you.This is the reward of your devotion-the proof to us,incredulous fools of your greatness.Nanda,you are the Holiest,and purest man that I have known,God's dearest Bhakta,Ah!what a sin have I commited by treating you as a slave,-from this moment,I am thy slave and this whole estate is yours.Bless me and recommend me to that High God who is so near and dear and kind to you."
Nanda's feat was at the same time a miracle and not a miracle-not a miracle in the superstitious sense generally attached to the word,but a miracle,a genuine miracle in that it was beyond the power and comprehension of ordinary men.Most of us are ignorant of the resources of love.Its intensity,its abundance and its wonderful possibilities are foreign to our mediocrity and when measured by our leaden standard,appear legendary.Love rolls the hills,leaps over the seas,annihilates the elements and shakes the universe.what can it not do and what has it not done?it is the energy of the soul,nay it is the soul itself and when nanda threw his whole soul into work on which hung the fulfillment of his life's objective,the result was what it was.The astounded Brahmin fell at his feet;and here by the way,it may be said to the credit of our caste system,that however rigorous it may be on the social plane,it has ever been liberal on the religious one.Many of the saints worshipped in our temples are men of the lower castes,some of them being of the very lowest;and the Brahmin is as ready to-day(Rajam iyer) as he was in the days of Nanda to fall at the feet of any man irrespective of caste,if any high religious merit be at least plausibly claimed.
Nanda ran to his master,and raised him up,repeatedly fell at his feet and with tears in his eyes said:"My Lord,what a sin you have commitedby bowing to your pariah slave",to which the Brahmin replied:"You are no longer either a pariah or a slave,you the holist of men;Go to chidambaram,but bless me before you go,forgive mefor my treatment to you and recommend me to God's High Grace." Saying this,he took nanda's hands and placing them on his head(our heads as well-ravi)implored him to give some parting advice. "This is all that your humble slave could say,my lord," said Nanda, "Love God as well as you love your wife,children,lands and wealth.What more does this uncultured slave know?".
The Brahmin looked at the radiant face of Nanda and worshipping him once again reluctantly let him go.With great many kindly exchanges they parted;but hardly had nanda gone a few yards,when the Brahmin ran upto him and asked :"Nanda,dear Nanda,O my Guru,when may I see you back?When will you return?" Nanda replied:"Now,O Master,we part once for all.O my Lord,who really goes to Chidambaram and comes back?I loathe again to enter into this mortal coil.My master,I hope no longer to return." The Brahmin did not understand what Nanda said,but we may perhaps do from the sequel of the narrative.
continued....

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the Pariah saint continued...

No deer that newly escaped from the hunter's toils,no barren woman just blessed with a male child,no blind man that newly received the gift of light,was more rejoiced than Nanda the pariah who was relieved from the work which stood between him and God.His heart sang:
The Drug that cures my grief,the fear-not-drug
The Drug that spreads through all the worlds alike
The Medicine of Grace,the wondrous drug
That grows within,the drug that feasts my love;
The Drug of growing light,the drug that cures the ill
of life,the Drug great and ineffable.
The story goes that the Earth shook with joy,the grasses waved with delight and a few rain drops of joy fell from the Heaven.Nanda sang and jumped like a veritable deer.He jumped with delight.His eyes and ears were hardly his.From Adhanur he reached colladam.The river was in full flood.The waves were rolling forth one after another for very joy as it were.Nanda looked at the river,saw the deep water yet clear,saw the Living Flood and claimed eternal kinship with it.A boat came;a black boatman steered it,and with a sunburnt face,with his sweat ,covered all over the body,but bearing the traces of the white ashes it wore and smelling of sweet camphor.Nanda saw him and worshipped him,for he was Nataraja in his eyes;and getting into the boat for hire sang to a surprised audience about the unfading glory of the Prince of Dancers.He said:
The drug which made me him,the dancing drug
That dances in wisdom's sphere,the silent drug
The poorman's friend,the rarest drug,the drug
Both First and last,The Drug that seeks out those
That seek it not,that which my hunger soothes,
The Loneliest Drug,the pure man's help,the Light,
The Drug that cures false loves and avarice kills,
That which Earth-hunger soothes,the drug which plays
Hide-and-seek,the Drug which is all within
The Heart that Loves,that is my strength and Joy.

NatarAja Guru,NatarAjA,natarAjA,...

Nanda dancedon the Boat.The people in the boat danced with nanda.The sun-burnt boatman forgot his oar and danced with the people.The boat dancing this way and that,dragged itself to the shore.Nanda leapt on the ground-sacred it was,it was the territory of NatarAjA,put his hand into his lap searching for a few copper coins,the fruit of his toil,but the boatman wept and would not take the hire.
Ten minutes were the interval for crossing the river and within that time the Bhakta was recognized and worshipped by a band of men who became his Bhaktas.The Boatman left his boat;The man of business forgot his business;the ploughman left aside his plough.A dancing group formed itself.They danced for very joy.The Tower of Chidambaram ,grand,majestic,loomed from a distance and beckoned Nanda.
Continued...

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued...

Nanda looked at the tower of Nataraja,bowed before it and worshipping it,covered the ground with the other devotees until the base of the tower was visible.The temple gate was in view.And Nanda sang:"Here is the Gate of the Kailas,the gate that opens to the good alone,the gate from which no good man ever returns,that through which Saint mAnikkar entered and sang to the echo of these High walls his divine anthems of ecstacy,the Gate through which that poet of poets appar entered and sang his majestic vedas,the gate through which Sundarar entered and enjoyed the secret nuptials with the prince of Lovers.my brothers and friends and kinsmen,here God is and is not.Here he is both form and no form.Here he dances and is quiet.Here it is that the ignorant are blessed with wisdom and the wise lose their senses.Here he is space and Light.And here he is both the creator and the destroyer." And that is why appar sang:-
The tillai Dancer,wrapt by watery fields
around,this helpless slave to forget and live!

Walking further they reached the sacred precincts of Chidambaram.The associates of Nanda,though of higher caste would not go into the town and enter the temple without Nanda.For 3 days,Nanda sang praises of the Lord and waited along with the other devotees.
Tradition rich in legends and folklore asserts that all the Dikshitars(priests of the Chidambaram temple)on one and the same remarkable Night,dreamt that NatarAjA appeared to them in their vision and directed them to take into their Brahmin fold,the purest of his Bhaktas,Nanda ,the pariah saint.It was a beautiful morning,when the sun had just risen,and the Dikshitars had returned from their bath with sacred ashes besmeared all over their bodies and Rudrakshas hanging loosely round their necks,assembled a miscellaneous council in the devasabha,their general meeting place within the temple.
Appiah Dikshitar,the eldest of the group,rose and told his wonderful dream-how Nataraja appeared before him,and related the possibility of purifying Nanda by means of a fire -bath.Kuppanna Dikshitar ,his immediate successor confirmed the dream by his own experience.Subbah dikshitar saluted the two previous speakers and expressed his surprise at the coincidence of his dream with those related;and all the Dikshitars simultaneously rose and expressed the uniformity of their dreams.at once,when the wind was blowing fiercely and the sun was burning hot,arrangements were made for a sacred fire being reared.
Meanwhile Nanda had just risen from a long trance and was singing:
My Mind,Go tell my Lovely Lord that I
Bow to His Golden Feet that dance on High.

Just then,the Dikshitars appeared in a body before himand bowing to him,to his great surprise,related to him their wonderful dreams,and took him over to the corner of the South mAda Street where the Fire had been prepared.The pious devotee at once sprang into the fire joyfully singing:"My father Isa's feet are cool like the effulgent evening moon,the faultless Vina,the Breeze that unceasingly blows,the spring that swells,a tank round which bees hum and swarm."
Nanda passed through the crucible unhurt.He was taken by the admiring Dikshitars from the South mAda street through the Eastern Tower gate broad like the vedas and speedily led on by the side of kambattuadi mantapa(Subramanya's shrine)and the square tank,and across the deva sabha into the common platform,midway between Sri Govindaraja Perumal and the Dancing NatarAjA.
Continued...

Ravi said...

Friends,
Nanda,the pariah saint continued....
Where once stood appar singing his famous hymn:
"He is my Lord,He who is rare,He who lives in the bosom of the Gracious,He who resides in the temple of the vedas and in the atom,the true god yet unknown,who is sweet like honey and milk,the abounding light of heaven,the God of gods Brahma and vishnu,the Great invisible spirit that pervades the Rolling sea and the Mountain chains.the days on which I forget to sing His Praise are days in which I did not live."

Where stood mAnikkar fainting with Love and pouring forth his remarkable upanishads;and where great men have left the dust of their feet to inspire noble and pious souls that may come after them.There now Nanda stood and on both sides of the Kanaka sabha (the Golden mantapa)huge ocean-voiced bells poured forth their joyous chimes.appiah dikshitar entered into the shrine and made puja to the Lord waved the lighted camphor before the Lord.Nanda rushed to the sanctum sanctorum and disappeared ,singing his swan song:
Nataraja my Lord,Nataraja my Love,
My Lord,I come,I come my Love,
We both are only one from now;
Thou art I,and myself art thou.
-----------------------------------
Friends,Thanks very much.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Thanks for your serial posts on Nandanar. It is heart moving. Sri
Abhirami Bhattar said: "I shall not pray to those petty gods, who took sacrifices of animals. I shall only pray to you and love you. I shall only sing your glory. I shall not see anything other than your great effulgence, I don't care for the two lands [hell and heaven], four directions and the earth. Like Bhattar, Nandanar was also living only for Nataraja Siva. Saint Manikkavachagar says: Even if I go to hell, I shall go there only with your devotees. I don't care for other gods.

Such oriented devotion takes a person to liberation.

Ramprax said...

Let me do some Naradar Velai. :)
Some fodder on the topic of Bhakti:
http://www.sankaracharya.org/narada_bhakti_sutras.php

S. said...

salutations to all:

if any of you is interested to study the chhAndogya and brhadAraNyaka upanishads (the two largest upanishads of the ten principal upanishads), you may want to explore the following 2 links:

1. http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/chhand-audio.html

2. http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/brdup-audio.html

"tat tvam asi" is from the chhAndogya; "aham brahmAsmi" is from the brhadAraNyaka. svAmi krshnAnanda (no more with us) was a direct disciple of svAmi sivAnanda sarasvatI, and was a very erudite scholar of both sanskrit and vedAnta. his talks & books are worth taking a look for serious students of vedAnta.

m said...

Dear Ravi,

Those posts were wonderful.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Namaskarams,

Came across this interesting article by Rajiv Kapur on the Heart Center. Its here :

http://www.wearesentience.org/resources/Rajivji_Transcripts/2011_01_05_Rajivji_003.pdf

His take is that the center is not the right side as is commonly believed. He says it has significance but it is incorrect to say that the right side of the chest is the true center. Infact he says the center is unknown???

Venkat

Anonymous said...

Sorry it can be found here :

http://www.wearesentience.org/rajivjis-satsang-library.php

Venkat

Losing M. Mind said...

A devotee of Mathru Sri Sarada writes Nome in the current edition of Reflections!

http://www.satramana.org/Reflections_JanFebMar2011.pdf

Ravi said...

Friends,
Thanks for your kind words of appreciation.
Sri Rajam Iyer(hard to believe that all that was written by a lad less than 25!During his final year,when he was ill abd bedridden,he could not have written)so beautifully and sagaciously winds up the story with a small piece of advice(we will find this in the Narada Bhakti sutras):
We have finished nanda's tale.But for manay a long night,let dreams of Nataraja and Nanda,the pariah saint,to whom a beautiful chapter of possibilities was opened,haunt us till our hearts are filled with them and ,so to speak,of the teacher that ceases not to teach.
-----------------------------------
He gives the symbolic significance of the story(apart from having beautifully dealt with the story):

Nanda is the jiva born in parachery of the body,the very thought of one's body is pariahood and requires for its prayaschittam(purification)a bath in the holy waters of the upanishads.Like nanda ,we are slaves,bondsmen to our agricultural God ,the Belly(remember avvaiya'r verse on this,and bhagavan's addition)and slaves to our passion,which are our neighbourly kinsmen.we have a thousand wicked deities to obey,like our bodily comforts,name,fame,power,pelf,etc.
the parachery is remote from the Brahmin quarters and the temple.To thirupunkoor we all have to go-to the sivalingam i.e that which remains after deducting all phenomena,the final mark.Nandi is the ego through whom God is to be approached and who also blocks our uninterrupted vision,the attainment of the Brahman.By god's grace,it may be dispensed with,and the final glimpse is obtained.And when the face of the lord is once seen,woman is forgotten,wealth is neglected,and Love to God grows on what it feeds.
-----------------------------------
Listening to the story of great saints is a simple form of growing in devotion-it just leaves its footprint and that is hard to erase-slowly but silently it takes hold of the listener and plunges him in the perennial waters of bliss.
It is important that after listening to the story,we do not start 'discussing'-this will dissipate the impact.In narada bhakti sutra ,one will find this-'the devotee will not get excited.'

Narada Bhakti sutras are excellent ,but if we read them bereft of the 'context' we may not understand the sutras.The best way is to read the lives of great ones and that will provide the 'context' for the sutras(aphorisms).

For those who want to take up such a study of narad bhakti sutras,I will refer to the free translated version of Swami Vivekananda,which remains faithful to the original and yet does not bury it in technical jargon.You will find it here:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_6/Notes_Of_Class_Talks_And_Lectures/Narada-Bhakti-Sutras

for those of you who may follow a bit of sanskrit,to get the real flavour,you may find this site useful:
http://www.celextel.org/othervedantabooks/naradabhaktisutras.html
-----------------------------------
Namaskar.

Ravi said...

scott,
Thanks very much for that link to the satrama reflections.This is a wonderful magazine and i enjoyed reading Master Nome's beautiful responses to some repeated queries of aspirants who expressed difficulty and doubt.
I am delighted to learn about your valuable contribution -dusting of the temple-a very,very effective Sadhana.
Wish you the very best.
Namaskar.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ramprax,

Narada Bhakti Sutram does not use
the word Bhakti at all. Narada says
that if one could leave vibhakti,
I, mine, for me, to me, etc., it is
Bhakti.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

Thanks for the link. However, e books are a little difficult for use. One cannot stretch on a sofa,
and read. Swami Lokehswarananda's
commentary on Ch.U. and Swami Madhavananda's commentary on Br.U are quite good. It contains Sankrit
verses and direct meaning and commentary.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Ravi,

Wonderful interpretation of the allegorical meaning of Nandanar's
story. In fact many stories of Saiva
Saints in Periya Puranam are symbolic.
The Nayanar who has 'misplaced' Siva Yogi's codpiece and begging bowl, could not satisfy him with everything in the world. Finally he placed his wife and child on the balance, even that was not sufficient. He then sat himself.
This is leaving of all possessions including the ego, to attain Sivam

S. said...

salutations to all:

subramanian:
the links were for the 'audio' files :-). once downloaded, you can listen to them anytime. (the books are also available for free download). mAdhavAnanda's translation of the brhadAraNyaka is of course one of the best ever (better than lokeshvarAnanda's or even gambhirAnanda's translations of the other upanishads).

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

I agree with you. Regarding Maandukuya Upanishad with Gaudapada
Karika and Sankara's commentary, the book by Nikhilananda, is found to be the best by me. When I was in Chennai, and when I visited SRK Math there, Swami Tapasyananda who was then the President of Math, saw me and told me: "You buy this, and read again and again." I bought the book and after many deep readings, I understood its sublimity. I consider this as the best upanishad and the commentary by Sankara as translated by Nikhilananda is found very useful.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear eveyone,

Gaudapada says in Alata Santi, Chapter IV:

2. I salute this Yoga known as Asparasa, i.e. free from all touch
which implies duality], taught through the scripture - the Yoga which promotes happiness of all beings and conduces to the well-being of all and which is free from strife, and contradictions.

3. Quarelling among themselves, some disputants postulate that an existing entity undergoes evolution, whereas other disputants, proud of their understanding, maintain that evolution proceeds from a non-existing entity.

Saint Manikkavachagar says in Tiru Andapahuti, Lines 131-135:

Someone says that He is seen in the way mentioned here, in this book. But He is hidden in that
scripture. One who is meditating
without laziness, gets the grace,
and see Him as Male first. He then shifts as a Neuter, and then a Female, with shining forehead and finally gets hidden again!...He is the thief, changing thus, hold him tight in embrace, cuff him
with flower hand-cuffs, follow him, do not leave him, hold him tight...even then he remains hidden.....

m said...

'What are you to me'


'Are you my mother? But which mother is so lovingly forgiving as to give a suck in return for a stab? Are you my father? But which father is so excessively indulgent as to take to his bosom a base deserter? Are you my love? But which love is so extravagantly devoted as to welcome vicarious suffering and death to relieve the beloved one?

Are you my guru? But which guru is so marvelously magnetic as to attract all souls irresistibly by his mere presence or even remembrance, plunging them immediately into a pool of peace and bliss? Are you my god? But which god is so graciously benevolent as to hasten to save one that had sinned against light? Indeed, What you are to me, you alone must know, O'Bhagavan! OM Tat Sat!'

-G.V.Subbaramayya

[Taken from Sri Davidji's excellent 'Power of Presence' (Part three.)]

Subramanian. R said...

Dear S.,

Yes. Devaraja Mudaliar called himself
as Ramana Sey - Ramana's child. Sey
in Tamizh is child. He used to address Sri Bhagavan, Ammai-appa.
Mother-Father. Sri Bhagavan also uses the phrase, Ammaiyum, Appanumai,
Sri Arunachala Nava Mani Maalai, last verse.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Dear R. Subramanian,

how would you interpret "asparsa yoga - free from all touch"?

Anonymous said...

My dream of the Lion:You all know of the allegory of the Elephant waking up on dreaming about the Lion as told by Bhagawan. It was such a funny dream last night that I had and one with equal force and meaning.
In the end of the dream there was Krishna and I said now Krishna come up on me and next moment the thought of losing my self(death of the ego) came up in me and in an instant I woke up myself with such great fear, urgency, panic and force that I woke up with a scream to avoid losing my ego.The thought of losing myself to Krishna was so great that it literally shook me out of sleep with a shout and as I woke up I remembered the dream of the elephant meant to wake up from ignorance while mine was the opposite.I laughed to myself and managed to back to sleep after an hour.

There was also another incident a month ago of what I thought was a second cloud blast of Grace when I was half awake and there too the fear of losing myself(ego) was so great that I never thought or did anything about religious reading or thought for the next three days.Before that I always used to wonder why there was no grace and when the Ghost(Holy Ghost) actually arrived the Ego took a flight.

I think the message is clear.Do you know what you are asking for?

-z

Anonymous said...

Last night as I lay sleeping, I dreamt
O, marvelous error -
That there was a beehive here inside my heart
And the golden bees were making white combs
And sweet honey from all my failures" ~~ Machado de Assis

glow

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vagas Ramos,

Asparasa Yoga - As a matter of fact there is a contradiction involved in this word. It is Gaudapada's advaitic paradox. Like Zen's - What is the sound of one hand clapping?-.
The word Asparsa, meaning from freedom from all relations, indicates only non-duality, which by its very nature has no contact with any other thing, as such a thing is ever non existent. The Yoga means contacting, implies more than one. Gaudapada names the knowledge of Nondual consciousness as Asparsa Yoga, as the word Yoga was also used in his time to denote the method of realizing the Jnana Bodham, the Ultimate Reality. Since it is a direct method by meditating the Self within, which is nothing but your own self, there is no contact with outside agencies, be a god or an image or a scripture, or a pilgrim centre, or a holy water.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens Vargas Ramos,

Once when Smt. Akhilandamma, who was serving Sri Bhagavan in Virupaksha Cave and also in Skandasramam, asked Sri Bhagavan for upadesa. Sri Bhagavan said: "What upadesa can I give? "Pray - Give mySelf to me!"
"Ennaiye Enakku Kodu". giving implies a receiver, hence it is dual. But asking the Self to give It to one, the asker, has no duality. It is, I think, Asparsa Yoga.

arvind said...

Hi Clemens, Sri Subramanian, folks,

Sri Subramanian has described the basics well. And I thought to add my 2 pice bit to elucidate further on the interpretation of the word “Yoga”, as an actionable and do-able “practice”, in the context of “Asparsa”.

Because, “Asparsa Yoga” translated as the “Yoga of no touch” or variants, in recent times, has been seized upon by many modern day Gurus to describe their approach to sadhana and teachings thereof. Nothing but cheap attempts to hijack the Mandukya and show scriptural legitimacy for their teachings. Popular interpretations thus give the term a sort of “actionable” character; i.e. a sort of a Yoga which can be done, or practiced.

And thus they get it completely wrong.

In my humble opinion, the term “Asparsyogo” as used in the Mandukya is not describing any sort of “Yoga” at all. But all it actually conveys is another fine shade of the idea of the state of Ajata which is basically non-conveyable. As we know, “Yoga” means “union” or “contact”, and “Asparsayogo” would mean “Contactless Contact”.

How are we to understand this further? Perhaps the best tools are verses IX 4 & 5 in the Bhagavad Gita which perfectly describe what is meant by “Contactless Contact”. Though, another enigmatic term “Yogaiswaryam” is used. Sadly, this is another word that is almost always wrongly translated, usually as “Divine Yoga”, whereas it needs to be translated as “Yoga of no other”, or “Sovereign Yoga”, as “Aiswaryam” is used in the sense of pure Sovereignty, of there being only the One.

BG IX.4 & 5: [From ‘Metaphysical Intuition” by Sw. Siddheswarananda. A word: the Swami doesn’t seem familiar with the finer aspects of Ekajiva & Drsti-Srsti and I have many differences with his views on them; but his interpretations, sometimes, are simply brilliant and we can learn a lot from him].

“In my non-manifest aspect
I pervade the entire Universe.
All creatures have their being in me
But I am not in them.”

“And, in reality,
They do not even have their being in me.
Behold my Sovereign Yoga!
My Self, tho’ bringing forth
And sustaining the creatures,
Is not in them.”

He goes on to say: “Both by their ring and by their contents, these verses recall the Mandukya Upanisad where we find the same “Asparsa Yoga”, the “Yoga of non-contact”.

What the BG verses are describing is the state of Ajata: i.e. when the Self is, nothing else is, there is no other, and thus there is the state of “Aiswaryam”.

Thus “Asparsayogo” = “Yogaiswaryam” = “Ajata”. There is NO “Yoga” here as is commonly understood in terms of a do-able practice. All these are terms which try and explain the Un-explainable and, actually, each just gives us a fine shade of meaning of what is ab-initio not explainable.

Best wishes

Subramanian. R said...

Dear Clemens and arvind,

Arvind, Thanks for the excellent additional points.

Brahmasri Nochur Venkataraman says that this Asparsa Yoga has been described in BG in Verse 2.16.

Nasatho vidyathe bhavo naabavo vidhyathe sat |
Ubhayorapi dhrushtandhas tvanayos-
dhatvadhar shibhi ||

Of the unreal existence is not.
Of the real also non existence is not. By the knowers of the Truth
indeed of these final Truth seen.

NV calls it as the most secret verse of BG. Arjuna should have stopped Krishna with this, but the dullard as he was, he had to be told of other 16 chapters! The Real within You is there ever. All the unreal [the world, the jiva and personal god are not.] Only the Jnani sadhaka knows both these fully. Sri Bhagavan tells this to M.Pillai in answer to Qn. 16 of Who am I?

Once Sri Bhagavan was asked by some devotee: "Swami, what will you do if Siva comes before you?" Sri Bhagavan answered smilingly: "I shall tell him not to have this coming and going business with me. Since you are ever within me."

Saint Manikkavachagar says: "I shall chase you and hold on you tight. Where can you go away from me?" [Piditha Pathu, Verse 9. Decad on Holding Firm, Tiruvachakam.] Many commentators have said that the saint chased Siva and held Him tight in Thillai. It is a wrong interpretation. He has already held Him in his Heart. Because he has said in Song 1 itself: "You are ever in my Heart not leaving even for trice of time i.e. batting the eyelids." Holdin on tight the Self within is Asparsa Yoga, i.e. not attainable through any action, as Arvind says.

GK said...

Asparasa Yoga Just keep it simple - dive into the cloud of unknowing and all your questions will be be gone . . .

hey jude said...

Subramanian & friends, Ramana Maharshi's upadesa to Akhilandamma has nothing to do with Asparsa Yoga, this is just an unnecessary addition.
Akhilandamma stood in front of Ramana totally overwhelmed and shy. A great longing welled up in this modest woman. She stood there mutely. Bhagavan understood her predicament. He said to her "be without leaving yourself"
Akhilandamma could not understand the high-level upadesa but had an experience of wonderful effulgence.
"the gracious words welled up in my mind again and again like the rising of the tides"
This is such a delightful story; I have read and reread it many times.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

Arvind, R. Subramanian,

thank you for your lucide understanding of asparsa yoga.

Of the unreal existence is not.
Of the real also non existence is not. By the knowers of the Truth
indeed of these final Truth seen.


Yes, and the meaning of this is no other than that THERE IS ONLY REALITY - NO UNREALITY EXISTS. There is only sat and nothing else and all other apparently existent and non existent things are meanings, projections of the mind.

But how many people would believe and experience this to be true?

What does this mean? Is the tree real we believe to see? It is not real as what we interpret it (i.e., because we make a mental image out of it). The tree and all other "objects" are actually contained in what GK calls the cloud of unknowing, but this unknowing knows itself as awareness.

Master Raphael: The yoga that rests upon psycho-physical aspects, Advaita goes beyond it; there is no yoga higher than comprehension. He whose mind and heart are fused and pointed at comprehending goes directly to the center of Being. Yet Advaita does have, if I may use the expression, its own yoga which is called Asparsayoga. Asparsa means without contact, without relations, without support. Brahman or the Absolute has no supports, because the Absolute rests upon itself alone; being One-without-a-second it cannot have any relation with anything. Therefore, Asparsayoga is the appropriate yoga for Brahman nirgu…a; it is the yoga of Non-duality; it is the yoga of the true sannyasin.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear hey jude,

Yes. I agree that Akhilandamma did not understand upadesa for long time.
But this Upadesa is indicating that one should give Oneself to him or her. Sri Bhagavan did not prescribe any other methods like meditation or worship. Give attention to oneself,
Sraddha was His teaching. I consider this as Asparsa Yoga though Sri Bhagavan did not say in so many words.

These advaitic paradoxes are there in all advaitic works, including that of Sri Bhagavan. For example, the 108 Holy Names [Sri
Ramana Ashottaram] contains one Name as Om Sri Rachitachala Tandavaya Namah: [43]. A non moving who dances. How can non moving dance? What is Achala Natanam? Since the non moving experiences that there is nothing other than it, its Poornam, fullness, and it is experientially an anubhava-sphuranam. There is no question of duality, and so this experiential bliss is called dancing or Natanam. Or Achala Tandavam.

Subramanian. R said...

Dear everyone,

Among the members here, there must be some who are experts in astrology, Western or Hindu. What is this Ophiuchus, the new constellation?
I do not believe in astrology. In fact, my mother told me long back that all 8 planets in my horoscope,
[I am a Scorpion, Anuradha star], are pretty bad and Jupiter [Guru!]
is my saving grace. I now believe it is true. I shall hold on to Guru, Guru Ramana, till my vidheha mukti. Nevertheless, this ego which is still not bridled, asks this question. What is earth's wobbling?

hey jude said...

Subramanian, Akhilandamma may not have understood intellectually as she was so in awe of Ramana, but she understood fully as the bliss reverberated through her.
Punditry will get us nowhere!

Subramanian. R said...

Dear hey jude,

I agree with you. For that matter
Sri Bhagavan too never used any such difficult terms like Asparsa Yoga
or Ajata Vada. In fact, in ULLadu
Narpadu, verse 1 [main text], He begins with Vivarta-Siddhanta, without calling it with such difficult term. It is Muruganar who explains this in GVK 83 and 100.

S. said...

salutations to all:

subramanian/clemens/GK/ others:
GK says "...Asparasa Yoga Just keep it simple - dive into the "cloud of unknowing"..."
this is 'simple', is it? i don't have the slightest clue on what that meant! for simplicity, look at thAkur & bhagavAn (and am sure they may never have said anything as 'complex' as "cloud of unknowing") :-)))

the mAndUkya is the smallest & the subtlest of the principal upanishads. though i have glanced through the kArikA, haven't made a systematic study of it (any decent study of this or any of the prasthAnatrayI, at the minimum, requires a pretty good knowledge of sanskrt!). hope to get there someday and will also enlighten you with my blazing ignorance... hahahahahaha

jokes apart, asparsha & ajAta perhaps meekly point to a state which is absolutely beyond comprehension. even to say, 'this alone is real, all else is unreal', 'holding on tightly to the self', all the mahAvAkyAs, nay everything that can be thought/spoken/done etc. are all ruled out (including this self-referential statement that's talking about what it isn't!) the upanishads have their own paradoxical way of saying that 'truth' is not to be found in the upanishads! one has no way to say what it is/isn't :-)))

Subramanian. R said...

Dear everyone,

Close on the heels of Ophiuchus, I
was reading my daily part of Tirumoolar. He says in VI Tantra,
Verse 1624, some astrological conjunctions for Jnana Upadesa.

In the asterisms of Swati and Visaka,
In the conjunctions of lagnas* Vrischika** and Kataka***
Of the Guru, the holy percepts you receive,
Except it be them who stand in the path of virtue,
The Primal One knows none.

* Ascendant
** Scorpio
*** Cancer

Only the virtuous know the Primal Lord and receive the holy percepts of Guru in the asterisms of Swati
and Visaka, in the conjunctions of lagnas, vrischika and kataka.

Experts if any may kindly elaborate this further.

Clemens Vargas Ramos said...

... asparsha & ajAta perhaps meekly point to a state which is absolutely beyond comprehension ...

It is a natural state - the state where we don't even need to know wether 'we' exist or not. It is beyond objective consciousness. It is ever present. Mind striving to understand the little 'I' cannot understand it, because this state is even beyond of 'I' and 'I-I'.

Every child knows this state.

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