Since we have been discussing, rather passionately at times, the role of God and the Guru in the granting of liberation, I thought today that I would introduce some ‘expert testimony’ from a devotee who had first hand experience of that liberating grace.
Here is another installment of verses from Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam by Muruganar. All the verses I have included today come from a section entitled ‘The Rapture of the Guru’s Grace’. The translation is by Robert Butler. Robert has translated the whole work and he is mildly optimistic that it will be in print by the end of the year. I have persuaded him to have a separate printing in
The nature of the Guru
Even as I grieved, thinking thoughts I should not think, he became my Lord, spreading his radiance within my heart so that I tasted the sweet nectar of his bliss. He is the ambrosial one who delights my eyes with his form that is pure consciousness. He is
He is the Ancient One who prospers in his powerful natural state of mauna, untroubled by questions of ‘where’ and ‘when’. He is the Wondrous One who, established in the glorious radiance of the supreme reality, banishes the mental creations that manifest as space and time.
He who dispelled my dullness of mind with the powerful rays of his radiant grace is none other than the Self’s bright Sun, infinite and supreme, who reduced to ashes the impediment of my threefold body.
Heart, he neither separates from nor merges with you. He is the lofty one, the reality that is Brahman. Great and small, unaffected by the threefold divisions [knower, known and knowledge, God, the soul and the world etc.], he is eternally liberated and all-transcending. He is the witness, the supreme source of consciousness’ light. He is pure space. He is your husband and protector.
Glory of the Guru’s feet
Manifesting as the vast all-transcending supreme reality that reveals the truth, so that the false dream of the deluded senses is destroyed, they are the holy feet of Lord Siva, which for those desirous of salvation are the path that leads to final liberation.
Through the path of his grace that even the gods cannot know, he came as a Teacher, in a form knowable to the senses and easily accessible to the hearts of men, setting upon the earth those holy feet that shine like bright jewels set in wisdom’s dawn.
The world that is perceived through the five senses is like a fiction played out in space and time. For the perplexed souls of men the only salvation is to follow the feet of the Slayer of Death, he whose nature is pure and limitless intelligence.
He is the fair husband, the virtuous one. He shines with jnana, the light of the Self, the core of the real. He is pure space. He is the holy bridegroom. He is the Lord whose holy feet are placed upon the heads of the Vedas themselves. And it is those same feet that dwell within my heart as the ultimate reality!
If you ask what it was that, as pure consciousness, took the soul of this devotee as its dwelling place, granting me that realisation which never fails – it was the feet of Sri Ramana who reigns as the divine king in the consummate state of final absorption in Brahman.
As soon as I had I obtained the blessing of approaching, as a devoted servant, those golden feet which shimmer like perfect, whole gems, the abundant sufferings caused by the ties of kinship and family ceased and took their leave, never to return again.
As soon as I sought asylum in the protecting embrace of the Self, whose glorious form shines with the noble radiance of the Supreme, the sorrowful delusion of birth and death receded from me, for I had tasted the nectar of the experience of Sivam.
The moment he placed upon my head those compassionate feet that allay the suffering of his devoted servants – so that the mark of destiny is wiped from their brows – the seeds of defilement withered and died within me and the torment within my heart was fully assuaged.
The great excellence of his holy feet, which illuminate the hearts of those who have attained equanimity, is that they have brought me to the verdant mountain shore of liberation, and through their grace I have escaped the waves of the ocean of rebirth.
The direct experience of the one Self engulfed me in its radiance, banishing the misery of birth that cloaked my soul in darkness. There then remained in my consciousness no landmark whatsoever other than my teacher’s feet – the infinite sky of his grace – subjecting me to their gracious rule and dispelling my fears.
The lotus flowers of his feet sprang up within my heart and shone there as the witness, so that I retained no connection whatsoever with anything else. Now I can perceive nothing other than those feet that are the Self whose nature is the highest knowledge.
The majesty of the Guru
He is the wisest of sages, the Primal Being who imparts clear understanding so that the sense of doership is removed from our actions. He is the unique Master who through his gracious bearing afforded me his blissful compassion so that I suffered no more.
The great and noble Ramana, flower of the Saivite faith, in whom the powerful light of jnana, the diamond of truth, shines forth, is the Mountain Teacher, who in grace entirely destroyed the antics of false
He is the Lord, the immaculate reality, suffusing the inner stillness where thoughts no longer arise with the pure light of his grace. Dwelling as the Self in the form of the shining Guru, he shattered the darkness that enveloped this world.
The excellence of the Guru’s words
To those who take as their goal the holy utterances of the Guru – in whom the flame of the Self illuminates the supreme reality – those sacred words are the only truth, and nothing can stand comparison with them.
To whatever extent a man listens to good counsel, to that extent will he reap a great and lasting benefit from it; but a single word from our Lord, he who lavishes upon us the treasure of his compassion with more than a mother’s love, will be as rarest ambrosia.
Those devotees who have tasted the unique word distilled from the divine lotus mouth of the Prince of Tamilians, and have slaked their thirst on the fair ambrosia of reality, will be immersed in the Self, conscious of nothing which is not That.
When he expounded the truth of reality, so hard to grasp, that which had been unattainable was made easy through his very nature, so that the lofty truth of mighty Brahman became manifest in my heart as my own essential being.
It [the word of the Guru] is the unique word for dispersing the darkness of ignorance, so hard to dispel. The moment he destroyed the entrapping illusion [by uttering that word], I could no longer discern any distinction between myself and him, as the triad of knower, known and knowing was revealed as false.
When, through the power of his unique word, Sri Ramana destroyed my soul’s defilement, declaring it to be nonexistent, my own true Self, shining forth suddenly within my heart, became as Siva in the divine sky of Chidambaram.
Through the medium of his unique unspoken word, the knot within my heart was severed and destroyed, so that my spirit became separate from the illusory body that surrounded it, giving way to the overflowing expanse of reality.
The power of the Guru’s rule
He placed the nectar-filled lotuses of his feet upon my head and said, ‘Know that you are That’. He held me in his sway, abiding as the radiant absolute fullness merged in the cave of the heart, joyfully and causelessly bestowing his grace.
Devoid of all capacity for jnana as I was, he revealed to me in grace the true realisation of his own Self, dwelling within me as the ‘I’ sense. Without even for an instant becoming separated from the absolute state of reality where nothing is lacking, joyfully he made himself my Master.
Holding dominion upon this earth over the life of pure reality that shines as the treasured wealth of the wise gods themselves, he plunged me into the ocean of his grace, so that I was completely submerged. Destroying the seeds of my ajnana vasana [ignorance], he became my Lord.
Even as I wandered lost, he took me fully into the gracious protection of his noble feet, filling my existence with prosperity and joy in the bright heaven of final liberation which the mind cannot fathom.
He is the Lord who shines as the form of true love within the pure consciousness that is free from doubt and wrong understanding. What a wonder it is that, totally ignorant as I was as to how I might achieve it, he imparted to me the state of mauna so that I was redeemed, becoming Sivam itself!
I was the meanest and most wretched of curs, and the corrupt life of the senses was all I knew. What a wonder it was that you illuminated even my heart with the pure radiance of your feet so that, tasting your supreme bliss, I was filled with joy.
What a wonder it was how, through his sweet grace, I attained [true] tapas so that my mind became clear, realising that ‘I’ is Sivam; how the shameful delusion of ego was abolished, and sorrow, the dream of birth, vanished.
I was the lowest of the low, my mind intoxicated by birth. Yet I attained that tapas which is filled with the holiness of the way of truth of Lord Siva: to speak with deep and abundant desire of the glory of his grace, dwelling in the heart with a consciousness made conformable to his own.
Protection of the Guru’ s grace
Slaying the rutting elephant of my ego-mind, he brought me to the state of final liberation, whose nature is delight, graciously feeding me on the honeyed essence of his holy feet, so that the burning pangs of my soul’s hunger and thirst faded and disappeared.
‘Know that the realisation of Lord Siva, the foundation of the universe, is of the same essential nature as your own Self!’ Thus in joy did he speak as he fed me lavishly upon the butter churned from the wisdom of the Vedas and Agamas.
Dissipating the ego’s dark cloud, abide steadfastly as that which you are! Thus, like a long-awaited guest, did he come and pour out his grace, establishing it ineradicably within my heart.
He is Lord Siva, bestowing his grace like the rains! He is the Blissful One, the Old One and the New One! He is the one who is sweet to those who flock to him! He entered me, I who dwell as his servant, as the deeply subtle awareness that is the inextinguishable light [of the Self]!
Setting the irremovable seal of the all-encompassing state of Brahman upon my heart, he entered and made it his abode, thoroughly permeating my awareness so that I was conscious of nothing apart from the Self, whose very nature is consciousness itself.
He is the Unique One, whose awareness does not perceive even the tiniest thing as different from itself! He is the Supreme One, whose form is the stillness of reality! He is the Sweet One, the Joyful One! He is the deeply noble Ramana, who joyfully dwells within my mind!
In my desperate plight, poor wretch that I was, I saw in my terror that my only recourse was to seek refuge in the fortress of his holy feet. No sooner had I entered there than my Master, the doughty bestower of clear understanding, flooded my heart with his light.
Not content to establish his light within the hearts of the virtuous only, he who entirely dispels the illusion of ignorance suffused even my understanding with his radiance, filling me with delight, even though I was the most worthless of wretches.
He is the Supreme One, the Lord who dwells upon Kailash’s Mount, who does not frequent those who do not seek him out. Yet, poor ignorant fool that I was, as I wandered in confusion amongst the states of waking and sleep, he came to me and illuminated my heart with the radiance of his true nature.
He whose noble feet never cease, not even for a moment, from their work of imparting their grace to his humble devotees as they are whirled along in the torrent of mental confusion, fittingly infused my own heart with the sweet nectar, rare and true, of Lord Siva’s divine lore [dharma].
Clearly revealing the essence of his own true wisdom, the Lord guided me onto the supreme path of Sivahood, so that there was an end to the demeaning suffering of birth caused by the worthless delusion of involvement in worldly ways.
He is my Master, a bright sun flooding my devotee’s heart with the light of the beautiful and exalted jewel of the [Siva] lingam. He sweetly granted me the boon of dwelling in the state of union with the supreme Self, free of terror and confusion.
I saw him as the wise One with the power to destroy the effects of my deeds; little did I realise then that he would destroy me as well! With a love greater even than that of a mother, he put an end to me, deeming it most beneficial for me.
‘Final liberation in Lord Siva is to be united with the supreme reality that shines, filling your consciousness with its light!’ Thus, never relaxing his hold, spoke the Lord, as he brought my own consciousness into the state of union with Brahman.
I was the lowest of curs, worthy only of reproach, an empty vessel, not knowing how to walk the path of righteousness, and yet that treasure house of compassion here on earth placed me in the midst of his true devotees who have attained that righteous state.
My mind was deluded by the taint of its false creations that spread as a forest of worldly attachments until it was filled with clarity through the grace of my Teacher, and a realisation that cannot be expressed in words shone forth, free of the concept of the ‘I’.
In the shining clarity of the state of Sivam, the Self, where light is pure space and pure space is light, supreme devotion born of love came to fruition within my mind as it ripened in the joy of its own blissful nature.
The delusion wherein I wandered in a dream from womb to womb came to an end, and I feared no more as I awoke into the supreme state of reality. And as I entered this divine existence in the Self, illumined by the blessed truth of Lord Siva, the light of realisation began to shine within me.
Mounted on the steed of thought, Sadasiva rode into the city of my mind, so that miraculously, through the perfection of his grace, the ‘I’, my own self, was revealed as the all-transcending supreme Self in all its glory.
Through the clarity of his divine wisdom that is the very essence of the pure supreme Self, he nurtured in me the eternal state of supreme liberation, so that my very thoughts were sweet sustenance to that gracious Creator.