Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Interview with Sadhu Om

In the early 1980s an English magazine called Arunachala Ramana appeared for a few years. During its brief lifespan several interesting items appeared on its pages which, to my knowledge, have not appeared elsewhere in the Ramana literature. I will add a few of these pieces to the blog over the next few days. The first is an interview which its editor. M. N. Baboo, had with Sadhu Om. It appeared in the February 1982 issue.

Question: When did you first hear of Sri Bhagavan?

Sadhu Om: In 1943, when I read Suddhananda Bharati’s book Sri Ramana Vijayam.

Question: When did you first see Bhagavan and what was your experience at that time?

Sadhu Om: I was able to come to Bhagavan only in 1945. When I entered the hall I wanted to see Bhagavan but I only saw a sofa and no one sitting on it. I was surprised to see, however, that everyone else was doing namaskarams towards that sofa. When I was hesitating whether to do namaskarams, I began to notice the vague outline of a human figure sitting on the sofa. At once I prostrated. When I got up, I saw that vague figure slowly solidifying and becoming clear. Then only was I able to recognise it as Sri Bhagavan.

On the next morning I sang before Sri Bhagavan the song Kuyilodu Koorai which I had composed while coming to him. He corrected one or two grammatical points in the song and asked me to show it to Muruganar. After coming to Bhagavan, there was a vast change and improvement in my poetic flow and style.

Question: How did Bhagavan look on Arunachala?

Sadhu Om: Bhagavan used to say, ‘Arunachala is jnanagni [the fire of jnana] in the form of a hill. It is Lord Siva Himself. Just as we identify our body as “I”, so Lord Siva, out of His compassion, identifies this hill as “I”. To live near Arunachala itself is satsang.’

Question: What sadhana did you follow?

Sadhu Om: Bhagavan taught two paths, self-enquiry and self-surrender. Just as it is natural for a man to walk on two legs, so it was natural for me to follow these two paths.

Question: What is the difference between the teachings of Sankara and Bhagavan?

Sadhu Om: Basically, they are one and the same. The only difference lies in the clues that they gave. Sankara and the ancient sastras said that self-enquiry is the path, but the only clues that they gave for the practice of self-enquiry were, ‘You are not the body, mind, etc., you are Brahman’. People failed to understand the purpose behind these clues, and so they started meditating, ‘I am not this, I am That’. In other words they were thinking only about ‘this’ and ‘that’, and were not attending to ‘I’. Therefore, knowing that people had misunderstood these ancient clues, Bhagavan, who is Sankara himself, has come again and given a simple clue: ‘Who am I?’ This is a positive and direct clue because in ‘Who am I? there is only ‘I’ and no ‘this’ or ‘that’. There is no room for us to think about things other than ‘I’. Thus Bhagavan has shown us a simple clue which will surely turn our attention only towards ‘I’. Attention to the mere feeling ‘I’ is the correct technique of self-enquiry.

Question: Among Bhagavan’s works, which do you consider the most important?

Sadhu Om: Ulladu Narpadu [Reality in Forty Verses].

Question: Would you please tell us some incidents that reveal the humour of Bhagavan?

Sadhu Om: Before standing up from the sofa Bhagavan used to rub ointment on his knees to relieve them from rheumatic stiffness. One day it was almost time for the dinner bell to ring, but Bhagavan had not started to rub the ointment on his knees. To remind him, the attendant took up his walking stick. Bhagavan smiled and said, ‘When the stick is waved, the monkey must dance’.

On another occasion a special puja was being conducted in the Mother’s Temple, and so the dinner was delayed. The poor people and sadhus, who are known as paradesis [outsiders] became impatient and began shouting, asking why their meals were delayed.

Seeing this commotion, the sarvadhikari [manager] ordered in a loud voice, ‘Paradesis will be fed only after the other people!’, and this was overheard by Bhagavan.

When finally the dinner bell rang, all the devotees gathered in the dining hall, but Bhagavan was nowhere to be seen. Everyone started searching for him and finally someone found him sitting under a tree in Palakottu [a garden to the West of the ashram where Bhagavan went for a walk almost every day].

When he was asked to come for dinner, Bhagavan replied, ‘No, not necessary. You may all take food without me.’

This was reported to the sarvadhikari who at once sent two doctor devotees to Bhagavan, thinking that he was perhaps not well. When Bhagavan told the doctors that nothing was wrong with his health, they asked him why he was not coming for food.

‘It has been ordered that paradesis will be fed afterwards. I am also a paradesi [an outsider]. So let the swadesis [the people who belong here] take their food first. Afterwards, I will take food along with the other paradesis.’

On hearing this the sarvadhikari at once ordered that the paradesis should be fed first. Only then did Bhagavan come to the dining room. From that day onwards, the paradesis were always served first.

[There is a play on words here that is not fully brought out in this recorded answer. Bhagavan definitely did belong to the ashram, and would not consider himself to be an outsider there. However, the word paradesi is also used to denote sannyasins and sadhus. To emphasise the point that people should not be discriminated against when food was being served, Bhagavan chose to identify himself on this occasion as a sadhu, not an outsider.]

Question: Can you tell me about any miracles performed by Bhagavan?

Sadhu Om: Whenever devotees told Bhagavan that he had performed a miracle, he always denied it because he had no sense of doership. However, many miracles used to happen in his presence, and he once explained that they were all ‘automatic divine activity’. Almost every devotee can tell you of some miracle that happened to them.

Question: So please tell us about at least two miracles that happened.

Sadhu Om: When he was a baby, a devotee called Amritalingam was found to have a liver tumour. Therefore, his mother, Mrs C. P. Nathan, took him to Bhagavan and said, ‘Bhagavan, the doctors say that he has a liver tumour and that it cannot be cured’.

Bhagavan then touched the baby’s belly and remarked, ‘Who said so? Nothing is found here?’

After that, all signs of the tumour disappeared.

On another occasion a devotee whose ishta deva [chosen deity] was Lord Subrahmanya, came to Bhagavan and reported, ‘I was in hospital and suffering from a critical disease. The doctors had decided that there was no hope for me. One night, while I was wide awake, you came and sat by my bed and said some kind words to me. The next day I began to recover, and now I am back to normal. It is all due to your grace.’

Bhagavan smiled and said, ‘Because of your devotion to Lord Subrahmanya, he had to come to save your life. But see! Why did he appear in my form, instead of his own? Because of this, you now attribute the miracle to me.’

Question: Please tell us about Bhagavan’s forbearance of suffering during his cancer operations.

Sadhu Om: Even at the time of his fourth operation, which was a very major one, Bhagavan refused to be given chloroform. The operation took a long time, and because of the profuse bleeding, it was very difficult for the doctors to dress the wound. Towards the end of the operation Bhagavan was talking to someone when the doctors informed him that the operation was over.

‘What! Is it over?’ asked Bhagavan.

Someone then asked, ‘Bhagavan, did you not feel any pain?’

Bhagavan replied, ‘Yes, there was pain, like a hundred chillies being ground in the wound, but even that pain is not apart from me.’

On another occasion, talking about the cancer, Bhagavan said, ‘The body itself is a disease. If another disease comes to this first disease, is it not good for us?’

Question: Did anyone predict the birth of Bhagavan?

Sadhu Om: Ramalinga Swami [a 19th century Tamil saint] sung in verse, shortly before he passed away [in 1877] ‘O men, the time is fast approaching when my Lord [Siva] will come on earth’. Vivekananda also predicted in 1898 that a great Atma-jyoti [light of the Self] was now springing up in Tamil Nadu.

Question: Did you see the jyoti [light] at the time of Bhagavan’s nirvana?

Sadhu Om: We were sitting in the Mathrubhuteswara veranda singing Aksharamanamalai, when all of a sudden we saw a bright flash from the nirvana room where Bhagavan lay. We thought at first that it was a camera flashlight. But at the same time people in the open began shouting ‘Jyoti! Jyoti in the sky!’ because they saw a big light in the sky, which then slowly moved northwards and disappeared behind Arunachala.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tks David.Lookforward to many more pieces from Arunachala Ramana magazine.Rgds

N.BALASUBRAMANIAN
N.Delhi

David Godman said...

Thanks for the positive feedback. I will post another one tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

After some deep questioning by one of teachers about my path I came across this blog for the first time. Its nice to see that may others identify with RM's teachings in way similar to mine. I look forward to future postings. I feel such a sense of peace.

Karthik said...

Hi Davidji
So Happy to have discovered this your blog. I will look foreward to read more tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

"Just as it is natural for a man to walk on two legs, so it was natural for me to follow these two paths." That's just an amazing statement because truly following either of these paths is not easy for a majority of the population.

Mumukshu

Anonymous said...

"Attention to the mere feeling ‘I’ is the correct technique of self-enquiry." Is the mere feeling 'I' mentioned by Sri Sadhu Om devoid of body consciousness? If there is body consciousness, there are also sense perceptions and resultant thoughts which seem to constantly impinge on the effort to focus on 'I'. If there is constant effort to focus on 'I' ignoring thoughts and sense perceptions will the body consciousness eventually vanish and the ego destroyed? How does it work?

David Godman said...

Sadhu Om always maintained that 'mere attention to the feeling "I"' was the correct and only way to do enquiry. Although Bhagavan himself, in his written works and spoken comments, asked devotees to ask themselves 'Who am I?', Sadhu Om rarely emphasised this point.

Apropos the questions posed by the last anonymous contributor, I suggest you work your way through the many dialogues (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Day by Day with Bhagavan, Maharshi's Gospel, and so on) in which Bhagavan explained the theory and practise of self-enquiry. Your questions are answered there, by Bhagavan himself, many times over.

In summary, though, the feeling 'I' is independent of body consciousness. One should attend to it to the exclusion of all other thoughts. The ideas 'I am a body,' I am a person' and so on, only arise when the 'I'-thought connects to and identifies with other thoughts. The severing of this connecting process isolates the 'I'-thought and makes it retreat back to its source, the Self, since it cannot survive without associating with thoughts. What happens then is something you have to experience for yourself.

Krishnanand said...

Dear David

Thanks for starting this blog .I daily look forward to this blog to develop more clarity on teachings of Bhagawan Ramana .
Coming to this message of Sadhu Om where in he stated that Ramalinga Swamigal had said in poems about the arrival of Bhagawan ,have u verified the verses of Ramalinga Swamigal about the same .

KRISHNANAND
Chennai

David Godman said...

No, I haven't checked. I just printed the interview as I found it. I do know, though, that Sadhu Om enjoyed Ramlinga Swami's poetry. Personally, I don't find either prediction very persuasive. They are both too general.

arvind said...

Thanks David for all the postings & indeed for taking the trouble to reply to all the comments to the comments.

Further to your remark above to queries raised by the anonymous folk, I thought I might add what Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say (I forget now which book exactly has it – you would be knowing much more about this actually). I have found it, personally, a useful idea to remember always.

He said, “I was a simple man, but I trusted my Guru. What he told me to do, I did. He told me to concentrate on ‘I am’ – I did. He told me that I am beyond all perceivables and conceivables – I believed. I gave my heart and soul, my entire attention and the whole of my spare time (I had to work to keep family alive). As a result of faith and earnest application, I realized my self (‘swarupa’) within three years.”

Ramprax said...

"Just as it is natural for a man to walk on two legs, so it was natural for me to follow these two paths."
That line reminded me of a line from Yoga Vaasistha expressing a similar idea:- "Birds are able to fly with their two wings: even so both work and knowledge together lead to the supreme goal of liberation." (1-1-7)

celio leite said...

Thanks a lot David!
But i have a question: keep the inner feeling of "I" (Atma- Vichara) isnt dificcult. But ,in special moments, like when we pass through a very intense pain of body or serious emotional breakdown, like soon after a death of a son, or before a very stressing event like a discourse to almost hundred people when we have panic to speak in public?
How to keep the inner feeling of "I" in moments so difficults, is there any clue?
Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting question Celio, I'd like to read David's answer to it. I have no practical experience but judging from David's previous answer here, I'd say that attention to the inner feeling of 'I' has to be total to have any effect - no body consciousness, no feeling of 'I am the doer'. Keeping your attention on only 'I' has to become natural and in challenging moments like those you've mentioned, your attention can totally be on 'I' only if it is already your natural state. My two cents worth(less)..

David Godman said...

While the goal of continual self-attention is an admirable one, no one can actually accomplish this. Someone once asked Bhagavan if he should sit and meditate all day, and Bhagavan replied, 'You vasanas will not allow you'.

This is actually the first question that I asked Nisargadatta Maharaj when I met him in 1978. I said that I reverted to the feeling of 'I' as often as I could, but there were still long periods of the day when the mind was elsewhere, and such periods didn't seem to be getting shorter of fewer.

Maharaj told me that it didn't matter, and that the important thing was to keep a strong interest in the 'I' feeling and become conscious of it as often as possible. He said it wasn't necessary to have 100% attention on it all the time. He said that the mind moves to whatever it is interested in, and if you have a determination to dwell as 'I', then that desire will cause attention to go back to it again and again. Eventually, that determination to get to the source of the 'I' will produce the necessary results.

My own experience is that if you do enquiry persistently, a current of awareness is generated which persists even when one is not consciously doing it. It is rather like applying the accelerator to a car. When you remove your foot, there is still some forward momentum.

While the idea is to do enquiry in all places and at all times, don't be upset if you find that certain events cause your mind to forget all about it. Do it when you can and for as long as you can.

Apropos the original question: I remember a story I read a long time ago about a Zen master who received a visit from the emperor. He became flustered and worried about the visit. After the emperor had left, he renounced his position and went back to being an ordinary monk because he felt that his lack of equanimity during the emperor's visit proved that he was not as enlightened as he thought he was.

Anonymous said...

"You vasanas will not allow you." I guess that's the only logical answer when we prove incapable of attending to 'I am' for short/long periods. "I reverted to the feeling of 'I' as often as I could" - If I may ask you a few immature questions about the process - When you start a spell of self-enquiry, is there constant effort to hold onto 'I' for a while before it becomes effortless? Should body(and world) consciousness necessarily disappear to call a spell of enquiry a success?

David Godman said...

This is what Bhagavan had to say about effort in enquiry leading to effortlessness:

D. - But you have often said that one must reject other thoughts when he begins the quest, but the thoughts are endless; if one thought is rejected, another comes and there seems to be no end at all.

M. - I do not say that you must go on rejecting thoughts. If you cling to yourself, say the I-thought, and when your interest keeps you to that single idea, other thoughts get rejected, automatically they vanish.

D. - And so rejection of thoughts is not necessary?

M. - No. It may be necessary for a time or for some. You fancy that there is no end if one goes on rejecting every thought when it rises. No. There is an end. If you are vigilant, and make a stern effort to reject every thought when it rises, you will soon find that you are going deeper and deeper into your own inner self, where there is no need for your effort to reject the thoughts.

D. - Then it is possible to be without effort, without strain!

M. - Not only that, it is impossible for you to make an effort beyond a certain extent.

D. - I want to be further enlightened. Should I try to make no effort at all?

M. - Here it is impossible for you to be without effort. When you go deeper, it is impossible for you to make any effort.

D. - Then I can dispense with outside help and by mine own effort get into the deeper truth by myself.

M. - True. But the very fact that you are possessed of the quest of the Self is a manifestation of the Divine Grace. It is effulgent in the Heart, the inner being, the Real Self. It draws you from within. You have to attempt to get in from without. Your attempt is Vichara (earnest-quest), the deep inner movement is Grace. That is why I say there is no real Vichara without Grace, nor is there Grace active for him who is without Vichara. Both are necessary.

Sat Darshana Bhashya

------------------

Apropos your other question, you can call your enquiry a success if you are not distracted by thoughts other than 'I'. Thoughts will still come, but if they fail to connect to other interesting thoughts which then sidetrack your attention, then you are doing well

Murali said...

David,

In the "Sat darsana bhashya" dialogue above, is the assumption that the practice described there is while sitting down and dedicating the time for self-enqiry?

In normal things like "having lunch" or "walking to a place" or "waiting for a bus", we still need focus for those events..right? How can we remain focused on I-thought, and be oblivious to what is happening outside? For the example, in the event of having our lunch, we need to bestow outside attention like mixing food, being careful that it does not spill etc., right? How can we be pre-occupied in focusing on I thought in these cases?

Regards Murali

David Godman said...

Bhagavan never said that self-enquiry should be done sitting down with one's eyes closed. He said that eyes-closed meditation was OK for beginners, but he said that once one had got a grounding in the practice, one should try to incorporate it into one's daily life, whenever one remembers.

Whenever you forget the 'I', and remember that you have forgotten it, go back to remembrance. That is all you can do, and all Bhagavan expected anyone to do.

Anonymous said...

"Thoughts will still come, but if they fail to connect to other interesting thoughts which then sidetrack your attention, then you are doing well"
"He(Nisargadatta) said that the mind moves to whatever it is interested in, and if you have a determination to dwell as 'I', then that desire will cause attention to go back to it again and again."
I guess it's all about the interest in attending to 'I' overriding all other interests. Thanks!

அவனடிமை said...

Dear All: I got this very useful blog update about Sri. Saadhu Om's interview only today.
Reg. Sri. David's comment //Sadhu Om always maintained that 'mere attention to the feeling "I"' was the correct and only way to do enquiry. Although Bhagavan himself, in his written works and spoken comments, asked devotees to ask themselves 'Who am I?', Sadhu Om rarely emphasised this point.//
in my understanding, both describe the same process; when a thought arises, one goes through a mental question of 'who is getting this thought ?' instead of going after that thought; this first step will take some time and several sessions as we are so very much used to going after thoughts.. slowly the attention will stick to this question and the consequent internal reply 'this is my thought'; note that both the question and the answer are internal and attention to this question and answer has already diverted the ego 'I' away from the thought itself; now the answer should be countered with a second question, 'so, who is this me ?' this again is an internal question posed by 'I' - this is what Sri. Bhagavan means by "ask 'who am I' "; the answer to this question will be silence - which is what is "simply staying with the 'I' feeling" which Sri. Saadhu Om refers to. Hence both Sri. Bhagavan's insistence on the question 'who am I' and Sri. Swamigal's statement 'stay with the feeling 'I' are essentially one and the same.

Reg. the other question of "how do I keep my attention to daily tasks like eating, waiting for the bus, if I were to keep my attention of 'I' thought", this is my understanding.

Till we feel that the sadhana is done in separate sessions where the attention is to be on 'I' thought it is not possible, as you rightly said it is not possible to keep mind's attention in 'I' thought while attending to other stuff. But ask yourself this question: while you are paying attention to those thoughts arent you very aware of your gender and the individuality for ex. "I am Murali and I am a man"; is that awareness a disturbance to your attention on eating; isn't it a 'I' self-consciousnes as opposed to an 'I' thought ? If it is an 'I' thought , then it will be distracting; but if it is a 'I' self consciousness (even if it is a 'I am this body' consciousness) it is not distracting to the work that is being done.
This state will happen only on constant contemplation and extreme desire to be attentive to the 'I'

God's Grace that I found this blog update and many thanks to all devotees startig from Sri. DG.

love, manof678@yahoo.com

nonduel said...

Dear அவனடிமை

And Dear David,

I would like to have your understanding on the following.

The correct way is having the (quote) 'mere attention to the feeling "I" (end) and one keeps it there. One-pointedness on the "I".

My question is this:

Is there an "enquiry", or does one scrutizise this "I", sort of search for it?

Because the enquiry "from whence does it come?" does imply an investigation, a search of some sort. Could that be the "diving deeply in the self"?

Returning the attention on the "I" and with a subtle "looking" from whence did this "I" come from.

Not a mental repetition of the question, or looking for a localisation, but more a subtle inner search.

அவனடிமை said...

//"from whence does it come?"// -
where the it refers to the 'I' thought is the last question
where enquiry (which the mind does) ends;

alternatively put, the enquiry concludes at the end of the last question in this series:
Q: "who is getting this thought" ?
A: " I am getting this thought"
Q: "Who is this I" ?

Once this last question is posed (internally), the enquiry ends, because the correct answer to the last question would be a mere silence and beyond that there cannot be any inquiry or searching.

One has to remain in this silence for the Self to reveal by itself.

(In other words 'adimai' or the ego 'I' cannot and will not find 'avan' - or 'that' or 'Him';

'That' will reveal by Itself to Itself and there will not be an 'I' then)

(please note the incorrect answers to the last question can be of the type:
'I, avanadimai (the name of the person)' OR
'I, this body', OR
'I, this mind').

The incorrect answers are incorrect because they can be followed by another Question like 'oh, if 'I' is the mind, who is knowing it'? and this question would have an answer : 'I am knowing the mind' which will be followed by yet another question: 'then who is this I am'?

Thus enquiry ends when one comes to the final question which a mind/ego is capable of posing to itself : 'who is this I' or 'where is this I coming from' ? and is incapable of answering it iteself correctly.

There is no searching or enquiry possible after this and hence "staying in full attention and alertness to 'I' feeling in total silence" is all that is needed.

However, depending on the vaasanas (or tendencies) of the ego, more and more thoughts are likely to come up ("oh I need to go take care of this", "oh, I forgot about this" etc.) and hence, if the mind remembers, it will have to get back to its inquiry mode when it catches itself 'napping'.

Full alertness and being-in-tune with 'I' feeling is what is mentioned by Sri. Bhagavan in Ulladu Narpadhu verse:

"kuurndha madhiyaal pEcchu mUchu adakki koNdu uLLee aazhndariya veNDdum".

"கூர்ந்த மதியால் பேச்சு மூச்சு அடக்கி கொண்டு உள்ளே ஆழ்ந்தறிய வேண்டும்"

followed by

" 'naan aar ?' ena manamuL naadi uLam naNNavE naan aam avan thalai naaNamuRa, 'naan'-'naan' aa(ga)th thondrum ondru thaanaga'th "

" 'நான் யார்?' என மனமுள் நாடி உளம் நண்ணவே, நான் ஆம் அவன் தலை நாணமுற, 'நான்'-'நான்' ஆ(க)த் தோன்றும் ஒன்று தானாகத் "

which clearly indicates that Self-Effulgence is Self-initiated.

Sri. Saadhu Om's hint of Self-Inquiry and Self-Surrender being used as two legs to walk in Sri. Bhagavan's path and his advice to read/contemplate Ulladhu Narpadu verses are of immense help to any practitioner.

love..

nonduel said...

Dear அவனடிமை

Thank you for a very clear answer.

Yes...Love

David Godman said...

அவனடிமை said...


(please note the incorrect answers to the last question can be of the type:
'I, avanadimai (the name of the person)' OR
'I, this body', OR
'I, this mind').

The incorrect answers are incorrect because they can be followed by another Question like 'oh, if 'I' is the mind, who is knowing it'? and this question would have an answer : 'I am knowing the mind' which will be followed by yet another question: 'then who is this I am'?

* * *

I agree. Any answer the mind gives to the question 'Who am I?' is incorrect. The only 'correct' reply is the experience of the mind disappearing into its source.

David Godman said...

Nonduel

Enquiry into the nature and source of the 'I' requires that one should hold onto the 'I'-thought, excluding all other thoughts, and then allow that 'I'-thought to go back to where it originated. The search is done by following where the subsiding 'I'-thought leads, not by pre-supposing a destination and putting attention there.

It's 'enquiry' because it is an active search for the source. However, that 'enquiry', that 'search' is done by holding on to the subsiding 'I' and seeing where it leads, not by framing questions about it.

I like the analogy Bhagavan gave in Maharshi's Gospel, where he says that holding on to the 'I'-thought and following it to its source is like a dog tracing its master by his scent:


Bhagavan. Self-enquiry by following the clue of aham-vritti ['I'-thought] is just like the dog tracing its master by his scent. The master may be at some distant, unknown place, but that does not at all stand in the way of the dog tracing him. The master’s scent is an infallible clue for the animal, and nothing else, such as the dress he wears, or his build and stature etc., counts. The dog holds on to that scent undistractedly while searching for him, and finally it succeeds in tracing him.

David Godman said...

nonduel

My question is this:

Is there an "enquiry", or does one scrutizise this "I", sort of search for it?

Because the enquiry "from whence does it come?" does imply an investigation, a search of some sort. Could that be the "diving deeply in the self"?

Returning the attention on the "I" and with a subtle "looking" from whence did this "I" come from.

Not a mental repetition of the question, or looking for a localisation, but more a subtle inner search.

* * *

As I explained in the earlier reply, the search is not done by looking 'at' or 'for' something, it is done by holding on to the 'I' and allowing it to show one the place of its origin.

Ravi said...

David/Nonduel,
Interesting how this 'question'comes up over and over Again.
From the Devotees point of view,the following cue from Sri Bhagavan-"The master’s scent is an infallible clue for the animal, and nothing else, such as the dress he wears, or his build and stature etc., counts. The dog holds on to that scent undistractedly while searching for him, and finally it succeeds in tracing him."-is TO WAIT SIMPLY without any expectation.JUST BE!

The Search is just a momentary activty to orient towards the scent.This cannot be done by an ACTIVE THINKING mind at all!

nonduel said...

Thank you David and others for your replies.

அவனடிமை said...

Dear David:

Can the other possible posts/info from the English magazine Arunachala Ramana be shared here when you get a chance ?

Love to all.

அவனடிமை said...

couple of Sri arunAchala akshara maNa mAlai verses to highlight the surrender (bhakthi) and inquiry aspects and their mutual inclusiveness:

ஞமலியிற் கேடா நான்.என் உறுதியால்
நாடி நின் உருவேன் அருணாசலா

njamaliyiR kEdA nAn.en uRudhiyAl
nAdi nin uruvEn aruNAchalA
verse 39

ஞானமில்லாது உன் ஆசையாற் தளர்வு.அற
ஞானம் தெரித்து அருள் அருணாசலா

njyAnamillAdhu un AsaiyAR thaLarvu.aRa
njyAnam theritthu aruL aruNAchalA
verse 40

Both not only convey the inability of ego/mind but also teaches the posture or approach a seeker should take - one of surrender and seeking.

Oh aruNAchalA ! (When it comes to following the scent of the master), I am inferior even to a dog (njamali=dog), with what strength (of my fickle mind) will I then reach Your form ?
verse # 39

oh aruNachalA ! Lacking thus the knowledge (to "follow the scent (of 'I') " or practice self-attention), however, pining for union with You, I would definitely become frustrated and crestfallen, please remove that frustration by Your Grace and bestow show me that knowledge (to pursue Your True Form)
verse # 40

How nicely these verses depict the heart of a sincere devotee whose mind while longing for union with her Lord is unable to do pursue Him by her own strength.

This is demonstration of Bhakthi and Vichara together for any seeker. They are not one without the other or one instead of the other. They go hand-in-hand.

Love to all..

Ravi said...

AvanadiMY,
Thanks very much for your wonderful comments from Akshara maNa Maalai.They are truly spot on.I somehow feel that the Akshara maNa Maalai is Sri Bhagavan's most comprehensive, accessible Teaching-Surely for sadhana,going around Arunachala(Physically or mentally)singing these wonderful couplets is a sureshot way;also a sweet way.As psalms,these are the among the Best ever composed-somewhat like Parapara kanni of Thayumanavar.

Namaskars!

David Godman said...

அவனடிமை said...

Dear David:

Can the other possible posts/info from the English magazine Arunachala Ramana be shared here when you get a chance ?

I will look again to see what I can find. Much of the material there has already appeared in other books, and some of the remainder is of dubious validity.

Vijayan said...

Dear David/others,

I am indeed lucky to have discovered this blog.

My question is regarding the "I" thought. In my experience seaaching for the source of the "I" thought ends in "being" the "I" thought without a subject-object relationship. I wonder if that is the limit of effort. Can any further effort be made?

Also, in my experience, Ramana Maharshi's "I-I" seems closer to the truth than Nisargadatta's "I am". "I am" seems suseptible to contamination by other thoughts. I suspect both are the same.

Any comments are welcome.

David Godman said...

Vijayan said...

Dear David/others,

I am indeed lucky to have discovered this blog.

My question is regarding the "I" thought. In my experience searching for the source of the "I" thought ends in "being" the "I" thought without a subject-object relationship. I wonder if that is the limit of effort. Can any further effort be made?

Also, in my experience, Ramana Maharshi's "I-I" seems closer to the truth than Nisargadatta's "I am". "I am" seems suseptible to contamination by other thoughts. I suspect both are the same.

Any comments are welcome.


If you have truly reached the state of being, and can remain there, then effort is no longer required, or even possible. Effort will only be required when one recollects that attention has strayed from it to something else.

Here are two quotes from Bhagavan on 'I-I' and 'I am'. I think he is essentially describing the same thing:

It is the very nature of the Atma-swarupa consciousness that remains forever as the soul of the soul in the Heart to shine as ‘I-I’. This shining of natural awareness is the inner meaning of the statement that God, the Self, which itself becomes the Guru, unceasingly and directly transmits jnana-upadesa to the true disciples, the mature jivas. (Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 504)

Bhagavan: Jnana is given neither from outside nor from another person. It can be realised by each and everyone in his own Heart. The jnana-Guru of everyone is only the supreme Self that is always revealing its own truth in every Heart through the existence-consciousness ‘I am, I am’. (Sri Ramana Darsanam, p. 38)

T.A. said...

avanidimai: apropos your posting on 14th aug: if understanding is correct that silence which comes after 'who am I' is it the Truth, our Self? If so, then, as our vasanas weaken there is more and more abiding in the silence and finally complete collapse of ego into it. Makes me realise the directness and the easy of Bhagwan's approach.

duartmc9@gmail.com said...

I have no words to describe my feelings toward Bhagavan. All I can say is:

'Bhagavan, there was never one more beautiful than you.'

Shankar said...

Need your help...Kindly send me Sadhu Om swamigal song called Enna vendum enna Vendom.....
If you have the lyrics of this song, kindly send to my mail id, shanka.kr@gmail.com

am much pleased of you.... Interview with Sadhu Om...is really good.... Bhagavan blessed Sadhu Om swamigal in high...

Ravi said...

Shankar,
Enna vEndum enna vEndAm is a beautiful composition of Sri Sadhu Om-it is wonderfully sung by the ramananjali group lead by smt sulochana Natarajan.this song is set to music in Yaman KalyAn-a serene majestic raga and roopaka thAla.
Here is the song:
enna vEndum enna vEndAm enbathai ellAm
ennai vida nangaRindhOn emperumAnE(pallavi-Refrain)

thannai vEndum anbar thanthai thAyum AnAnE
pinnai yAr pin pOga vEndum piLLaiyAm nAnE

nAn ninaithathu eevathu enRAl jnAyam AgumA
ramanan ichchai anRi Ethum nalladhAguma

thAn ninaithathu eevan kEtpOn dAsanAgumA
sarvamum aRinthOn seigai thappumAgumA
(ennakku enna vEndum)

meaning:
What (I) want,What (I)don't want
All this
Better than I
knows He
My Lord.

(To)The Devotees that want (desire) the self;
Father and mother is He.
Then Why go behind anyone;
Child am I(to him).

All that I desire
To give-Is that just?
sans Ramanan's desire(desire for ramana)
is anything good?

that which one desires;
The one who asks-
Is he a devotee?(dAsan)
The omniscient one's doing
can it be wrong?

What I want,What I don't Want(Refrain)
-----------------------------------
Friend,I bought a set of 8 CDs(over 7 hours) of 'Ramana gitam' and the book(volume 1) of Sri Sadhu Om's Book of songs,with swara notation by smt sulochana Natarajan for a mere 300 Rs at sri Ramanasramam.I have converted this into mp3 format in a single CD and this has been playing non stop in my car stereo for the last 8 months.I have never felt like changing this CD yet!

All the songs are quite simple in easy everday tamil-this is the beauty of swamigal's composition.They are a rich blend of jnana and sweet devotion.The singing is not disciplined by classical standards(apaswara is often there),yet there is no mistaking the involvement and a sense of capturing the spirit of the composition-all set to music by various music composers including Sri Swamigal and smt Sulochana Natarajan,ILayarAja and others.
Namaskar.

Nandu Narasimhan said...

Ah Ravi,

So I am not the only madman - I play Nochur Venkataraman's discourses and the Tamil Parayanam non-stop in my car.

As in Bhagavan's time, any doubt in the mind about a certain thing or situation gets an answer in the first ten minutes.

அவனடிமை said...

Dear Ravi: //I have converted this into mp3 format in a single CD// - is it possible to post these mp3 files somewhere (for instance in mediafire.com) ? Appreicate in advance time & effort needed for this.

s. said...

salutations to all:
nandu/ravi:
ஒளிவளர் விளக்கே உவப்பிலா ஒன்றே,
உணர்வுசூழ் கடந்ததோர் உணர்வே,
தெளிவளர் பளின்கின் திரள்மணிக் குன்றே,
சித்தத்துள் தித்திக்கும் தேனே,
அளிவளர் உள்ளத்து ஆனந்தக் கனியே
அம்பலம் ஆடரங் காக,
வெளிவளர் தெய்வக் கூத்துகந் தாயைத்
தொண்டனேன் விளம்புமா விளம்பே.
(from tiruvisappa - the whole of which is in praise of திருச்சிற்றம்பலம்)

while i surely love the 'aruNAchala stutipanchakam, aNNAmalai veNbA etc.', it is the tEvAram compositions in exquisite தமிழ் that often leaves me in a 'vulnerable' state! (sort-of get lost!) tiruvAsagam, tirukkadaikkAppu, tiruvisaippa etc. etc.,, especially the rendition of dharmapuram svAminAthan (a renowned Odhuvar) are so wonderful that to call them 'beautiful' is an understatement! if this is the plight of a rank agnostic like me, with nearly no faith in 'god', then i wonder what this could do to the many in the blog (ravi/nandu/murali/ramprax etc.) who not only understand tamizh but also are endowed with a deep longing for 'god'!!!

Ravi said...

அவனடிமை ,
Uploading the songs may not comply with any copyright that may be associated with these songs.I checked the Ramananjali group website but did not find any downloads offered.
However it does have some interesting story about how smt Sulochana Natarajan got initiated into the Ramana Lahari.You may visit the site:
http://www.ramanamusic.com/publications.htm.

Namaskar.

Ramesh Nagarajan said...

Dear S,

I just want to share my experience regarding your post on Tiruvisappa. I was agnostic too, before the experience of the Truth. On a side note, just to be clear, I am enlightened but not yet liberated (as indicated by one of the David posts quoting "Papaji").

After the experience of the Truth and when I truly abide in the Self effortlessly (not able to do at all time), I experience the Grace of the Self. During those moments, the tears pour profusely that how this jeeva is so blessed. That is when supreme love towards God is truly experienced. As you could see in this quoted Tiruvisappa, the jeeva is exalting in Grace.

I didn't show much interests towards Carnatic music before. Now, when I listen to "Karuna Jalathe" and other similar songs from Tyagaraja and other compositions , the grace is felt. Similarly, I could appreciate the longing for God, experiencing the grace, when I listen to many tamil movie love songs. The above sentence may sound crazy, the source of the songs doesn't matter as long as we could experience the presence of the ultimate source.

Very few of the words or sentences of these tamil movie songs might sound irrelevant, but these songs truly fit for expressing love towards God.

1. Partha Vizhi parthapadi poothu irrukka (Guna) - experiencing the grace

2. Raasave unnai vida maaten (Aranmanai Kili) - The devotee wants to abide in the Self

3. Ennaith thottu allikkonda mannan perum ennadi - The Self taken over Jeeva and the jeeva expresses the supreme love

4. Engirundho azhaikum un geetham - The devotee struggle to abide in the Self

5. Maniyae Manikuilay - Refer to charanam - eNNa inikkum nilayE inbam kodukkum kalayE - expressing supreme love

6. En mael vizhundha mazhai thuLiyae (May Madam) - The jeeva wondering how do I miss this grace all this time and wonderful conversation between God and the devotee

7. Kangal irandal unn kangal irandal(Subramaniyapuram) - Beautiful song wondering how the grace has entered inside the Jeeva.

8. Kannalane enathu kannai (Bombay) - The jeeva expressing his feelings immediately after the first experience.

Other songs include: Ennullae Ennullae Pala Minnal Ezhum Naeram, thendral vanthu theendum pothu enna vannamo manasila, oru vaarthai kaekka oru varusham kaathirundhen, Munpaniyaa Mudhal Mazhaiyaa among others.

It is a mystical experience of jeeva expressing supreme love towards God.

Ravi said...

s,
I quite go along with you.Yes,the expressions in chaste Tamil have a spontaneous rapturous feeling about them-devoid of the 'intellectual' idea content.Thakur used to call it devotion that is not tinged with intellectual knowledge-hence that much purer and puissant in expression.
As for Ramesh,Yes all music can be rightly appreciated-however the real thing will reveal itself if one just recites the words of the compositions sans the music.One would soon discover that these do not make the grade.In any case they simply do not measure anywhere near the utterly sublime utterances of appar,sundarar,sambandar and manikkavachakar.The compositions of these great souls are a totally different league.
s,yes,Dharmapuram Swaminathan rendering is absolutely soulful-there may be more accomplished musicians equipped with better vocal chords-but the 'Bhava' is what matters.
How does it matter what one thinks of oneself as an 'Agnostic' or otherwise.Is there any doubt that whosoever is moved by these soulful compositions is a devotee or not?!!!
Namaskar.

Anonymous said...

"Looking for God is like seeking a path in a field of snow; if
there is no path and you are looking for one, walk across it and
there is your path." --Thomas Merton

அவனடிமை said...

Dear Ravi: //I have converted this into mp3 format in a single CD// - is it possible to post these mp3 files somewhere (for instance in mediafire.com) ? Appreicate in advance time & effort needed for this.

David Godman said...

This is what Bhagavan had to say about effort in enquiry leading to effortlessness:

D. - But you have often said that one must reject other thoughts when he begins the quest, but the thoughts are endless; if one thought is rejected, another comes and there seems to be no end at all.

M. - I do not say that you must go on rejecting thoughts. If you cling to yourself, say the I-thought, and when your interest keeps you to that single idea, other thoughts get rejected, automatically they vanish.

D. - And so rejection of thoughts is not necessary?

M. - No. It may be necessary for a time or for some. You fancy that there is no end if one goes on rejecting every thought when it rises. No. There is an end. If you are vigilant, and make a stern effort to reject every thought when it rises, you will soon find that you are going deeper and deeper into your own inner self, where there is no need for your effort to reject the thoughts.

D. - Then it is possible to be without effort, without strain!

M. - Not only that, it is impossible for you to make an effort beyond a certain extent.

D. - I want to be further enlightened. Should I try to make no effort at all?

M. - Here it is impossible for you to be without effort. When you go deeper, it is impossible for you to make any effort.

D. - Then I can dispense with outside help and by mine own effort get into the deeper truth by myself.

M. - True. But the very fact that you are possessed of the quest of the Self is a manifestation of the Divine Grace. It is effulgent in the Heart, the inner being, the Real Self. It draws you from within. You have to attempt to get in from without. Your attempt is Vichara (earnest-quest), the deep inner movement is Grace. That is why I say there is no real Vichara without Grace, nor is there Grace active for him who is without Vichara. Both are necessary.

Sat Darshana Bhashya

------------------

Apropos your other question, you can call your enquiry a success if you are not distracted by thoughts other than 'I'. Thoughts will still come, but if they fail to connect to other interesting thoughts which then sidetrack your attention, then you are doing well

David Godman said...

No, I haven't checked. I just printed the interview as I found it. I do know, though, that Sadhu Om enjoyed Ramlinga Swami's poetry. Personally, I don't find either prediction very persuasive. They are both too general.

David Godman said...

Nonduel

Enquiry into the nature and source of the 'I' requires that one should hold onto the 'I'-thought, excluding all other thoughts, and then allow that 'I'-thought to go back to where it originated. The search is done by following where the subsiding 'I'-thought leads, not by pre-supposing a destination and putting attention there.

It's 'enquiry' because it is an active search for the source. However, that 'enquiry', that 'search' is done by holding on to the subsiding 'I' and seeing where it leads, not by framing questions about it.

I like the analogy Bhagavan gave in Maharshi's Gospel, where he says that holding on to the 'I'-thought and following it to its source is like a dog tracing its master by his scent:


Bhagavan. Self-enquiry by following the clue of aham-vritti ['I'-thought] is just like the dog tracing its master by his scent. The master may be at some distant, unknown place, but that does not at all stand in the way of the dog tracing him. The master’s scent is an infallible clue for the animal, and nothing else, such as the dress he wears, or his build and stature etc., counts. The dog holds on to that scent undistractedly while searching for him, and finally it succeeds in tracing him.

அவனடிமை said...

//"from whence does it come?"// -
where the it refers to the 'I' thought is the last question
where enquiry (which the mind does) ends;

alternatively put, the enquiry concludes at the end of the last question in this series:
Q: "who is getting this thought" ?
A: " I am getting this thought"
Q: "Who is this I" ?

Once this last question is posed (internally), the enquiry ends, because the correct answer to the last question would be a mere silence and beyond that there cannot be any inquiry or searching.

One has to remain in this silence for the Self to reveal by itself.

(In other words 'adimai' or the ego 'I' cannot and will not find 'avan' - or 'that' or 'Him';

'That' will reveal by Itself to Itself and there will not be an 'I' then)

(please note the incorrect answers to the last question can be of the type:
'I, avanadimai (the name of the person)' OR
'I, this body', OR
'I, this mind').

The incorrect answers are incorrect because they can be followed by another Question like 'oh, if 'I' is the mind, who is knowing it'? and this question would have an answer : 'I am knowing the mind' which will be followed by yet another question: 'then who is this I am'?

Thus enquiry ends when one comes to the final question which a mind/ego is capable of posing to itself : 'who is this I' or 'where is this I coming from' ? and is incapable of answering it iteself correctly.

There is no searching or enquiry possible after this and hence "staying in full attention and alertness to 'I' feeling in total silence" is all that is needed.

However, depending on the vaasanas (or tendencies) of the ego, more and more thoughts are likely to come up ("oh I need to go take care of this", "oh, I forgot about this" etc.) and hence, if the mind remembers, it will have to get back to its inquiry mode when it catches itself 'napping'.

Full alertness and being-in-tune with 'I' feeling is what is mentioned by Sri. Bhagavan in Ulladu Narpadhu verse:

"kuurndha madhiyaal pEcchu mUchu adakki koNdu uLLee aazhndariya veNDdum".

"கூர்ந்த மதியால் பேச்சு மூச்சு அடக்கி கொண்டு உள்ளே ஆழ்ந்தறிய வேண்டும்"

followed by

" 'naan aar ?' ena manamuL naadi uLam naNNavE naan aam avan thalai naaNamuRa, 'naan'-'naan' aa(ga)th thondrum ondru thaanaga'th "

" 'நான் யார்?' என மனமுள் நாடி உளம் நண்ணவே, நான் ஆம் அவன் தலை நாணமுற, 'நான்'-'நான்' ஆ(க)த் தோன்றும் ஒன்று தானாகத் "

which clearly indicates that Self-Effulgence is Self-initiated.

Sri. Saadhu Om's hint of Self-Inquiry and Self-Surrender being used as two legs to walk in Sri. Bhagavan's path and his advice to read/contemplate Ulladhu Narpadu verses are of immense help to any practitioner.

love..

nonduel said...

Dear அவனடிமை

Thank you for a very clear answer.

Yes...Love

Anonymous said...

How did Sadhu Om come by his name? Thank you.

Ravi Annaswamy said...

Ramesh Nagarajan

It is interesting how you found Tamil movie love songs can be used to remember Him (Self).

It is 2004 I am traveling to Annamalai in a local bus and trying to see the Seer and the video is blaring movie songs. In a moment, I discovered that every lyric was a longing that I could use to deepen my longing to be the Self, instead of being seen as a distraction. The very next day I read in Advaita Bodha deepika something along the line of 'If the world is Self, why need to look away from it?' and in Ramana's translation of Drik Drishya viveka the nuance that one should continue to hold on to Self when the eyes are open, the ears are hearing and mind is thinking.

Nice to see your words along the same line

Thanks for sharing.
Ravi Annaswamy

Anonymous said...

About meditating on the "I", i suggest that one thinks of his state prior to the time when he knew any language.If one does not know any language like at the age of 1 or 2 years then obviously....one cannot think as thinking involves mental conversation with oneself in some language known to the thinker.So basically when we were infants...possibly we were in that thoughtless awareness state...but did not know it.So we can reach that state now using the same way...by stopping thinking altogether.If one breathes slowly,his mind slows down, and then one can concentrate on his own presence.It may also happen that one may not breathe for quite some time when keenly attending his own presence.I did this for sometime and u feel an intense peace dwelling inside you.And you wont feel the "I"...but just a presence which is there inside the bag of skin....possibly practicing it more might make one oblivious of the bag of skin and also any perceptions by it....this cannot be put in words as....the feeling of presence is before the words...even thoughts....basically...i shud be present before i think...or speak...so concentrating on one's own presence might be helpful.Not thinking about one's presence...just being it in our free time....no words or mental chatter even about our own presence shud be there...bcoz that implies that the mind is working...Ramana Maharshi's teaching of silence really works when applied carefully...When the mind is silent during sleep or intense shock...then we are in the true presence state...

Anonymous said...

The term 'Paradesi,' also may have the connotation of one transcending all the ashramas. The etymological meaning should be only that. Its meaning has been distorted referring to sadus in a derogatory sense. It isn't correct to say that Bhagavan belongs to the ashram. Only his ignorant followers confounding him to be an ordinary Sadu have imposed that limitation on him.

mahesh said...

Thank you David ji. After reading your book 'Be as you are'. I have found an easier way to do enquiry. To concentrate on the I thought to the exclusion of all else is given by Bhagawan as compiled by you in your book . I feel the snake would change into the rope now