Although my exposure to Ramana Maharshi’s teachings is still relatively small, one thing is already patently obvious: he was uncommonly gentle when dealing with his disciples.
Reading “The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi” one cannot but marvel on how patient and tolerant he was towards even the most irritating cases of spiritual ignorance. Ramana Ashram was, and still is like a magnet attracting the seekers of Realization from all over the world.
When faced with challenging questions coming from visitors’ westernized perspective, Ramana Maharshi’s consciousness brilliantly presented the Truth, unperturbed by the seemingly unsurmountable walls of cultural differences. It is to his great credit and a sign of a Realized Guru that he handled them patiently and with unlimited understanding – Guru’s love for his disciples, in action.
My favorite spiritual teachers all display their unique way of pushing the student inward – towards the Self. Be it Dr David R Hawkins with his westernized approach and scientific arguments reinforcing the message. Or, Nisargadatta Maharaj with his occasionally brash style, hitting the raw nerve of the most hardened and touching the minds of even the most insular members of his audience.
And yet, the message is one and the same for all three of them: Immerse yourself in the Consciousness and relentlessly move towards your Self. Some put it more eloquently than the others… read the book or watch the DVD one more time, and you’ll surely “get it.”
Here are some of the most powerful teachings of Ramana Maharshi that are only gaining strength after reading “The Spiritual Teachings…” for the fifth time. On the subject of the Self:
“Hence I say know that you are really the infinite, pure Being, the Self Absolute. You are always that Self and nothing but that Self. Therefore you can never be really ignorant of the self; your ignorance is merely a formal ignorance…”
Answering a question about the true source of bliss:
“There is happiness when agreeable things are presented to the mind. It is the happiness inherent to the Self, and there is no other happiness. And it is not alien and afar. You are diving into the Self on those occasions which you consider pleasurable; the diving results in self-existent bliss. But the association of ideas is responsible for foisting that bliss on other things or occurrences while, in fact, that bliss is within you.”
And finally, Maharshi’s words explaining what is “Guru-krpa” (Guru’s Grace) and how does it lead to Self-realization:
“Guru is the Self… Sometimes a man becomes dissatisfied with his life, and, not content with what he has, he seeks the satisfaction of his desires, through prayer to God, etc. His mind is gradually purified until he longs to know God, more to obtain His grace than to satisfy his worldly desires. Then, God’s grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a guru and appears to the devotee, teaches him the Truth, and, moreover, purifies his mind by association. The devotee’s mind gains strength and is then able to turn inward. By meditation it is further purified and remains still without the least ripple. That calm expanse is the Self. The Guru is both ‘external’ and ‘internal.’ From the ‘exterior’ he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the ‘interior’ he pulls the mind toward the Self and helps in quietening of the mind. That is guru-krpa. There is no difference between God, Guru, and the Self.”
Thank you God, for making Ramana Maharshi a goal post on my spiritual path. He truly deserves his saintly status amongst the followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christianity and spiritual seekers at large. Although he taught mostly in silence, his message rings loud and clear… in my Heart.