When I vision a way of living, of a culture, a civilization,
I vision very naively, because I vision a community whose
members may practice various religions, but who are capable
of seeing the essential sameness of all religions and who
know that sameness each moment of living whether living
within or without the religious framework. Religion,
therefore, becomes a human practice chosen for any number of
reasons, only one of which might be to enjoy closeness to or
the celebration of that sameness.
I vision a civilization whose people live only to bask in
the sameness and who see to it that others have the freedom
to do the same.
It's a gift that doesn't come so naturally to many. And to
those to whom it is natural, the gift, at one time bare, had
become wrapped in so many layers of fear-paper, that a great
effort is needed to bare it once more and to keep the paper,
via some static electricity of the psyche, from being
attracted back to it.
In the visioned -- not the planned or intended --
civilization, the pulp is not mashed that would give rise to
the fear-paper. There are very few seeds of that
civilization. I see too many leaders. Too many people
pushing their books and protecting their property. For
starters, I would like to see authors in the nondual arena
put their books on the Internet for all to see for free. I
think they will sell a lot more books that way. Those who
refuse to do so, I think, have not seen the largeness of
what they are doing and are robbing Grace.
Thank you for your reply. I think that the wisest thing for me to do
with your response, and let it soak in. There are a number of mportant
points that you make here that I have heard before, but are beyond my
realization. To ask an additional question would be trying to force an
experiential understanding on my part that clearly isn't ready to
I am going to let the wiring loosen up a bit. I appreciate your help!
Ben - sometimes "just sitting with things" is very helpful. I wish you
I agree that "trying to force an experiential understanding" is not
as doing such ends up constructing a dualism between "where One is" and
"where One wants to be" (or thinks One should be, needs to be, etc.)
helpful here, in my opinion, is simply to notice whenever one constructs
duality in the process of "trying to reach an understanding." With
clarity, one "catches Oneself in the act" of constructing dualistic
oppositions. Essentially, these are self rejecting self by saying "this
isn't good enough as it is," "I need to be more, be something, have
something, understand something." Just looking at how this process
has proven very useful to me. It's a powerful process in society, not
"in me." In fact, it's involved in the process by which "society"
constructs "me." So the idea that "I" am looking at "what is going on
me" turns out to be empty (as there is no division between the "I" that
looking and "that which is being looked at." Reminds me of Meister
Eckhardt's statement, "the eye through which I see God is the same eye
through which God sees me." Really looking into all that is involved
takes full awareness, and ends up with all of perceived reality being
called into question. Then, the only one who can "answer" the "question"
the One who provided the basis for the question in the first place!
-- with love -- Dan
Belief fascinates me - Can't actually think of a catchier smoke
in the back of the throat...
Posted by HARSHA:
Professor N. R. Krishnamoorthy Aiyer
I am now ninety-two years old and I first met the Maharshi in the summer
1914, when I was just a boy of sixteen. We were then on a pilgrimage to
Tirupati and had halted in Tiruvannamalai, from where my grandmother
We were not strangers to this town.
In the pilgrim party there were half a dozen boys, all of whom were
age. We all decided to go up to Virupaksha cave. The Maharshi was then
residing there and was attentive to all the activities of us youngsters.
noticed his gaze particularly focused on me.
We were all playing with the conch shell. The sadhus used to blow this
like a horn when they went into town to beg for alms.
One after the other, we attempted to blow the conch shell. No one
us from doing this, and I noticed an encouraging smile from the
This was my first visit.
Some eight years later, I came to Tiruvannamalai to visit my sister, who
married there. One evening, two companions and I went to visit
Ganapati Muni up on the hill where he had his ashram. What can I say
that great seer of Mantra Sastra?
I was just then out of college after finishing my masters degree in
I presented to Kavyakanta the latest views of Einstein, Planck and
regard to the constitution of matter and the universe. He gave a patient
hearing, and then said, "Can you put it in a brief way?" Answering in
affirmative, I went on explaining that there is a continuum in which
and space are involved, wherein particles change into waves and waves
into particles and all can dissolve into a single unitary medium. That
the prospect of the future.
He listened patiently to all this and said, "the world picture is in
frame," and after a pause he exclaimed, "chitram, chitram !" These words
mean 'picture' - you may call it a movie-picture. Those words sent a
through my body, through my whole frame. I suddenly felt disembodied. I
myself the whole space in which the pictures were placed - this body
one of the pictures. This experience lasted for a brief eternity. When I
came round to myself we took leave of Kavyakanta.
The next day we had a meeting with Bhagavan. This was about the time he
arrived at the present site of Sri Ramanasramam (1922). There were no
buildings at all, except for a small shed covering the samadhi (grave)
Bhagavan was seated on a bench under the shade of a tree, and with him,
lying on the same bench, was the dog named Rose. Bhagavan was simply
stroking the dog.
I wondered, among us Brahmins the dog was such an animal that it would
defile all purity. A good part of my respect for the Maharshi left me
saw him touching that unclean animal - for all its apparent cleanliness
neatness it was unclean from the Brahmin point of view.
I had a question for the Maharshi. At that time I was an agnostic. I
nature could take care of itself, so where is the need for a Creator?
is the use of writing all these religious books telling 'cock and bull'
stories, which do not change the situation.
I wanted to put to him straight questions: is there a soul? Is there a
Is there salvation? All these three questions were condensed into one:
sir, you are sitting here like this - I can see your present condition -
what will be your future sthiti ? The word sthiti in Sanskrit means
The Maharshi did not answer the question. "Oho," I thought, "you are
shelter under the guise of indifferent silence for not answering an
inconvenient question!" As soon as I thought this the Maharshi replied
felt as if a bomb had exploded under my seat.
"Sthiti, what do you mean by the word sthiti!" he exclaimed.
I was not prepared for that question. "Oho, this man is very dangerous,
dangerously alive. I will have to answer with proper care," I thought.
So I said to myself, "If I ask him about the sthiti or 'state' of the
it is useless: the body will be burned or buried. What I should ask him
about the condition of something within the body. Of course, I can
a mind inside of me." Then I was about to answer "By sthiti, I mean
when it struck me what if he counter-questions with "What is mind?" This
am not prepared to answer.
As all this was passing through my mind he was sitting there staring at
with a fierce look.
I then questioned within me, "What is mind? Mind is made up of thoughts.
Now, what are thoughts?" I landed in a void. No answer. I then realised
I could not present a question about a mind which did not exist!
Up to that point, the mind was the greatest thing that existed for me.
discovered it did not exist! I was bewildered. I simply sat like a
Two pairs of eyes were then gripping each other: the eyes of the
and my eyes were locked together in a tight embrace. I lost all sense of
body. Nothing existed except the eyes of the Maharshi.
I don't know how long I remained like that, but when I returned to my
senses, I was terribly afraid of the man. "This is a dangerous man," I
thought. In spite of myself, I prostrated and got away from his company.
- - - (to be continued)
Harsha, thanks for posting this. I read it some time ago on the maharshi
newsletters, and I wondered then and I still wonder, what is this fear
and sense of danger? How can it be felt? I mean who feels it? If no one
feels it, how can it be felt? But it is felt. Is it fear of the unknown?
But then it disappears and the unknown is still unknown. So that can't
be it. Is it an illusion who fears? But an illusion can't fear.
Thanks Andrew for raising an important point. The fundamental instinct
self-preservation appears to exist at every level of being, no matter
subtle. The fear of Complete Annihilation is at the core of the "I"
of the personality. This fear has no antidotes other than knowledge,
understanding, and complete surrender to the Divine which appears as the
Unknown. Total surrender to God is not possible until the soul/ego is
for it. Hence spiritual practices and inquiry and taking selfless
(Karma yoga) are meant to thin out the karmas and gradually ripen the
so it can recognize its identity with the Essential Principle of
which cannot go out of Existence. When the fruit is ripe, it falls off
the mere presence of Gravity. But even before that, there is always the
pull. The pull creates fears on many levels. The "I" essence
with karmic particles or vibrations is the subtle body or the subtle
personality. Attraction and repulsion to karmic vibrations constitutes
changing personality and the changing identification. Many traditions
postulate the existence of Grace operating prior to Realization. Grace
Self. It is like Gravity. Always Present.
I recall saying more than once on the Kundalini list, that
no matter how dangerous Kundalini was spoken to be, and
there are dangers and warnings to be heeded, that the danger
of nonduality is far greater. Society can contain the one
who has turned insane or whose genius is finite, but the
nondual person is not touched by structures of society, nor
even by a civilization. Nothing is destroyed yet nothing can
exist in the presence of the nondual one. Is there anything