11546Re: The solution to the root problem all spiritual seekers face
- Oct 31, 2003Dear Michael,
Thank you for wanting to share this with us. But, isn't it accurate to
say that this is all your own theory/interpretation? To quote David
Godman, speaking of his "take" on Ramama's method of Self Inquiry,
from his outstanding Ramana article in the very soon to be released
new issue of The Inner Traveler:
"This is self-inquiry, and this is the method by which it should be
practiced. Hold on to the sense of 'I', and whenever you get
distracted by other things revert to it again. It is something that
should be done going on inside you all the time, irrespective of what
the body is doing."
No awareness of awareness stuff (which could be seen as no different
than awareness of breath, or ones thoughts, or a mandala, mantra,
etc.), and no First Ring, Seventh Ring judgements either.
I mean you no disrespect or any "bad" adjective at all. But I feel
that you are presenting this in a very seemingly authorative way as an
attempt to help, and I think Ramana pointed us to inquire "Who am I",
and would direct us to ask "Who is being aware of awareness", or
Peace and blessings,
"Michael L." <uarelove@y...> wrote:
> At the Ramana Maharshi group
> Joe asked a question
> regarding breathing exercises
> mentioned by Sri Ramana Maharshi
> in the book Self-Inquiry.
> Because the answer to Joe's question
> contains the solution
> to the root problem,
> that all spiritual seekers face,
> it is being posted here:
> Dear Joe:
> I do not know who wrote the preface to Self-inquiry
> in the 1996 sixth revised addition of the book
> "The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi".
> It may have been Professor K. Swaminathan,
> or T.K. Jayaraman or Michael James.
> Whoever it was, they demonstrated good insight into
> Sri Ramana's teachings and also a good insight into
> the danger of the ego misusing the teachings
> found in the book Self-inquiry.
> Here is that preface:
> "Self-inquiry is the first work the Maharshi ever
> wrote. It was written about 1901, that is, when he
> was a sage (jnani) in perfect realization of the Self,
> in the resplendent bliss of divine knowledge.
> At that time he was living in Virupaksha cave on the
> hill of Arunachala. A number of disciples had already
> gathered round him. Although he had not actually
> taken a vow of silence, he seldom spoke, and so wrote
> his replies to certain questions put to him by
> Gambhiram Seshayya, one of the earliest devotees.
> The latter copied them in his diary. After his death
> this diary was obtained from his brother; the
> questions and answers were edited by Natanananda and
> published with Bhagavan's approval under the name of
> Vichara Sangraham, or Self-inquiry. Subsequently they
> were changed into the form of an essay. The original
> form has been adopted in the present work.
> There is no youthfulness or immaturity in the work.
> The Master wrote with the authority of full spiritual
> knowledge, just as in his later years. Like all his
> expositions, verbal as well as written, this is
> concerned with practical questions of the path to
> realization of the Self, never with barren theory.
> However, it does differ from the later exposistions in
> one important respect: that is, that it describes not
> only the path of Self-inquiry but others also;
> meditation on one's identity with the Self and a yogic
> path based on breath-control. He himself prescribed
> only Self-inquiry or submission to the Guru. He would
> say: 'There are two ways; ask yourself 'Who am I?' or
> Why did he include the mention of less direct and more
> elaborate methods in this first exposition? The
> obvious contingent reason is that the disciple for who
> it was written had been reading books about these
> various methods and asked questions about them.
> Perhaps also, in a wider sense, it is appropriate that
> there should first be a general exposition of various
> methods before lifelong instruction in that which is
> prescribed. Certainly the other methods, although
> described, are scarely recommended.
> The breath-control that is described is, of course,
> not mere physical exercise. It is the spiritual
> significance of the exercise that makes it an
> elaborate science. 'Science' is indeed the right word
> for it, for it is a traditional Indian science of
> self-purification. This makes it abstruse for the
> Western reader who has no previous grounding in it,
> especially as, like all sciences, it has its technical
> vocabulary which does not permit adequate translation
> without lengthy notes. One has to remember that in
> writing this exposition the Maharshi knew that he
> could count on a technical knowledge of the science in
> question in the person for whom he wrote. The
> consolation for Westerner readers is to remember that
> he neither recommended nor prescribed this path and in
> his later works scarcely mentioned it. It is not
> necessary for them to learn its technicalities."
> Although the above preface to Self-inquiry answers
> your question Joe, one can actually go much further
> into all this.
> This brings up the whole question of other methods
> either on their own or as aids to self-inquiry.
> There are people like Sri Sadhu Om and like whoever
> wrote the above preface to self-inquiry and like me
> who know that Sri Ramana did not advocate any aids to
> self-inquiry or any methods other than self-inquiry.
> There are many others who have studied the teachings
> of Sri Ramana Maharshi who are under the mistaken
> impression that he advocated practicing methods other
> than self-inquiry either on their own
> or as aids to self-inquiry.
> A great source to discover how these misconceptions
> arose is the book the Path of Sri Ramana, Part 1.
> In that book Sri Sadhu Om goes into great detail
> explaining how these misconceptions arose.
> He talks about other methods including pranyama.
> I think the pranyama is mentioned in chapter 8,
> but maybe it is chapter 7.
> You can look it up for yourself,
> but I will summarize the basic idea that Sri Sadhu Om
> is conveying about pranayama from my memory:
> Self-attention itself will stop the breath.
> It is a mistake, an error to try any sort of breathing
> exercise because this will result in second person
> attention. Even to wonder "has my breath stopped or
> not?" would lead to the error of second person
> Sri Sadhu Om goes into far more detail than that and
> he of course quotes Sri Ramana in the process.
> You can find the links to read Chapter 7 and Chapter 8
> of the book "The Path of Sri Ramana, Part One" on the
> Direct Path Links Directory.
> This is the link to the Direct Path Links Directory:
> You can join the Yahoo group Path of Sri Ramana, Part
> one and read the rest of the book, but you will have
> to wait a long time at the rate
> it is being posted there.
> You could also buy the book if you are interested.
> It is not an accident that I placed the book
> Self-enquiry under the Seventh Ring Teachings, which
> are now the final ring of teachings on the Direct Path
> Links Directory. You can see why by reading the
> preface to Self-enquiry above or by reading
> "The Path of Sri Ramana, part one.
> For those of you who wonder
> what I mean by Seventh Ring,
> Joe made a comment at the atma vichara group
> about all the links on the
> Direct Path Links Directory.
> I began thinking about that and realized
> that there were way to many links
> listed under that general category
> because some of the teachings were not equal
> as far as their directness is concerned,
> and some of them that were equal in content
> were not equal in clarity of communication.
> Therefore, I placed the links in 7 different
> categories calling them rings.
> The idea being that if objects are orbiting the sun
> (the Self) then the object with the closest orbit
> is the first ring.
> So the First Ring teachings
> are those that are most direct
> and most clearly communicated
> in the most condensed form.
> If one reads the preface above and the
> "Path of Sri Ramana, part one, one can see the
> rationale for placing a book like Self-inquiry
> in the seventh ring, the ring that is the least direct
> of all the rings listed on the
> Direct Path links Directory.
> Now, a good question to ask is,
> why do some people who study Sri Ramana's teachings
> think he advocated methods other than Self-inquiry
> or aids to Self-inquiry
> and others such as the author of the above preface
> and Sri Sadhu Om and myself know that he did not?
> I will briefly explain the main reasons here:
> #1. Because Sri Ramana did speak on the subject of
> other methods and aids.
> If one just leaves it there
> and does not examine what he said more closely
> and what the questioner was asking
> when Sri Ramana spoke on those methods,
> then one might come to the conclusion
> that Sri Ramana advocated methods
> other than Self-inquiry or aids to self-inquiry.
> The following quote by Sri Muruganar from the Garland
> of Guru's (Sri Ramana Maharshi's) Sayings
> will help greatly to clarify this matter.
> Please read the following quote over and over
> reflecting on each line slowly:
> 1106. "The sage's pure mind
> which beholds as a mere witness the whole world
> is like a mirror which reflects
> the foolish thoughts that come before him
> and these thoughts are then mistaken to be his."
> How does one disinguish which words
> spoken by Sri Ramana are a reflection of
> the foolish thoughts of the questioner
> and which are the Teachings of Sri Ramana?
> Soon I am going to start a new Yahoo group for the
> purpose of answering that question.
> I will take one of the Talks, begining with the first
> talk, from the book "Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi"
> and demonstrate exactly how to distinguish the
> reflection of the foolish thoughts of the questioner
> from Sri Ramana's teachings.
> I will go through the entire book continuing that
> demonstration. However, some people will probably
> learn how to do it from just one
> or two or three Talks.
> I will post an announcement here
> after I create that group.
> #2. Because of the ego's desire
> to preserve its imaginary self.
> If we go to the source of the reason
> it is the ego's desire to preserve its imaginary self.
> If a person is of the spiritual level of maturity that
> the ego still wishes to preserve its imaginary self,
> then that ego will focus on those aspects of the
> teachings that are not direct and that are only a
> reflection of the foolish thoughts of the questioner.
> Almost all humans are on
> the level of spiritual maturity or ripeness,
> in which the ego's primary aim
> is to preserve its imaginary self.
> This also applies to
> most of the people who study Sri Ramana's teaching.
> Therefore the ego only pretends to be
> interested in its own end
> and the ego sabotages the study of
> Sri Ramana's teachings, thus making them ineffective.
> One way to sabotage the study is to focus on those
> aspects of the words spoken or written by Sri Ramana
> that are really just the
> reflection of the foolish thoughts of the questioner,
> as Sri Murganar points out in the saying quoted above.
> Thus a person might even study Sri Ramana's teachings
> for 10 or 40 or 60 years,
> and still at the end of 60 years
> be focussing on those words spoken by Sri Ramana
> that are the reflection of
> the foolish thoughts of the questioner.
> If one does not become aware of
> the desire of the ego to preserve itself
> and the tricks it uses to acheive that end,
> then one's spiritual task is doomed to failure.
> It may be that most people are not aware
> that the ego is just playing tricks on them
> when they focus on aspects of the teachings
> that are not direct and therefore are just the
> reflection of the foolish thoughts of the questioner.
> It may be that most people are not aware
> that it was only the tricks of the ego
> and their level of spiritual maturity that lead them
> to focus on something other than Self-inquiry.
> If someone does become aware of this,
> how can one stop the ego from using these tricks?
> The answer is by increasing the intensity of
> the desire for liberation.
> How does one increase the desire for liberation?
> By reflecting on the choice of
> either ending the ego or not ending the ego
> and looking at the consequences of each.
> How does one look at the consequences?
> By reading descriptions of the experience of
> liberation. On the Direct Path Links Directory you
> can find a link where you can read Sri Ramana
> (Sri Ramana Experience) which is Sri Muruganar's
> description of the experience of liberation.
> Read it everyday to see what it means to end the ego.
> That is looking at
> the positive consequences of ending the ego.
> The other means is facing the negative.
> Facing what it means not to end the ego.
> That is looking at all the things humans beings
> usually block out that are negative about human
> existence. They block it out by looking at only one
> tiny aspect at a time, but not all of it.
> The murders, the rapes, the tortures, the lying, the
> conning, the cheating, 15,000 wars in the last five
> thousand years and what each person went through in
> those wars, disease, death.
> And to reflect on what it will mean
> to have to repeat it all over and over
> for a hundred million more lifetimes.
> One need only face the negative upon rare occaisions,
> when facing the positive was not enough
> and the ego flares up again.
> One of these days I will create a much larger list
> than that, but this gives the general idea.
> If one does a good job of facing the negative
> consequence of not ending the ego
> and the positive consequence of ending the ego,
> then the choice is made and
> even the ego can see the great need for its own end.
> The ego will need to be reminded and therefore it is
> good to read the descriptions of liberation everyday.
> Then the ego preservation strategies either die down
> or become far less prevalent.
> Then one can see the Direct Path.
> Then one's focus will be on the Direct Path.
> Then one begins the practice of the Direct Path.
> As far as how to do that
> and how to turn the mind inward,
> one will find that in the First Ring Teachings
> on the Direct Path links Drectory.
> In order to make it easier to see
> what quotes should be reflected on everyday, soon I
> will start a yahoo group with First Ring quotes.
> Take care,
> with Love,
> Do you Yahoo!?
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