Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Musings on 'Never Mind the Mind' of Ramana Maharshi


The only burden that we have is the mind. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi asks one to "Never mind the mind". This saying (Talks - 97) of Bhagavan Ramana is popular among devotees. The conversation between Bhagavan Ramana and the devotee goes thus:

D.: How to control the mind? 

M.: What is mind? Whose is the mind? 

D.: Mind always wanders. I cannot control it. 

M.: It is the nature of the mind to wander. You are not the mind. The mind springs up and sinks down. It is impermanent, transitory, whereas you are eternal. There is nothing but the Self. To inhere in the Self is the thing. Never mind the mind. If its source is sought, it will vanish leaving the Self unaffected.

D.: So one need not seek to control the mind? 

M.: There is no mind to control if you realise the Self. The mind vanishing, the Self shines forth. In the realised man the mind may be active or inactive, the Self alone remains for him. For the mind, the body and the world are not separate from the Self. They rise from and sink into the Self. They do not remain apart from the Self. Can they be different from the Self? Only be aware of the Self. Why worry about these shadows? How do they affect the Self?

In the normal sense, we think of mind control only to remove the negative traits, negative emotions in the form of worries etc in us. We also involve in mind control to check it from straying. Ramana says, "If the enquiry is made whether mind exists, it will be found that mind does not exist. That is control of mind. Otherwise, if the mind is taken to exist and one seeks to control it, it amounts to mind controlling the mind, just like a thief turning out to be a policeman to catch the thief, i.e., himself. Mind persists in that way alone, but eludes itself"- Sri Ramana Maharshi (Talk 43)

We also try to develop positive qualities in us like practising certain disciplines like Ahimsa, checking one's temper, quelling hatred, jealousy, inferiority and superiority complex etc etc... While they are good, the truth is that all our attempts to become noble is exercised within the ambit of the mind. This should be fine if we are into personality development. In the Ramana way we try to dissolve the personality, the individuality, in the pure being, which is our true nature. Bringing in good thoughts will purify the mind. However, in the direct path such as the Ramana way, we simply enquire to see if the mind exists and on finding it doesn't, one simply is in his natural state of being.

In the direct path, the focus is to find the source (the being or I AM)  of the 'individual I' or the ego (the mind) which is responsible for the rising of thoughts. With the practice of Self-enquiry, one stays in the Source. 

In the very beginning of sadhana, for some, it is natural to use “Never mind the mind" as a tool to stay at the source. It is only too natural for us to pacify ourselves when thoughts arise by saying "Oh it is only the mind". When clarity emerges with sadhana, we realise that even such reminders are basically thoughts. In the moment of such realisation, we experience the pure being, the peaceful state as thoughts dissolves in it. 

Sometimes thoughts spring up in a gush from past happenings that bog one down. The urge is to quell them immediately. The more we try to, the more they arise causing restlessness. Self-enquiry-'For whom are these thoughts?', 'Where-from do these thoughts arise?', 'Who am I', may also seem mechanical. It may seem as if we have lost all control. Ramana says 'never mind the mind' for its nature is to wander! We will have to inhere in the Self, which is the source. This becomes involuntary when practise becomes stable. We then focus directly on the source and not on thoughts.  The thoughts recede to a hazy background when the ever-present Self, the source takes over; stronger the attention on the source, dimmer the thoughts become. This may be true when we have considerably practised Self-enquiry that to shift the attention to the source in a moment becomes possible. 

Stray thoughts, worries of the future, thoughts arising from the past and other forms of thoughts as mere shadows of the ego ghost (I thought). Experiencing the source or staying centered  in it proves them non-existent.

'Never mind the mind' becomes natural, automatic and rather an involuntary process to stay in the source, to stay in peace with continuous practise by the Master’s Grace. 

By the way, why do we muse on "Never mind the mind", when the Master has said just that! lollll :) Lets not think, lets us just be!

Monday, 22 September 2014

My Master's Feet O River Ganges...

This poem glorifies the Master, Sri Ramana Maharshi's Feet as more sacred than the River Ganges. While it is a belief that the River makes one pure of one's vices, the Master's Feet takes one beyond virtue and vice to experience ultimate freedom.



O ancient river, purity's door,
Multitudes march to Thy shore,
Your holy waters wash the sins to emerge clear,
While my Master's Feet bestows it now and here!

In your waters, breath arrested, heads dip and rise,
To remove the accumulated vice,
But virtue adds ensuring continuity,
At my Master's Feet dissolves both in eternity.

Arising from Shiva's locks,
You make pure of those who flock,
But seeds of deeds after, impregnated in future,
At my Master's Feet no space nor time,
No seeds to nurture.

Virtue and vice arise from ego(individual self),
Traced back to the source to forgo,       
The phantom ego which emerge from the heart,
With it the two dissolve in, from the place of start.

My Master's Feet, O Ganges,
It is but the Heart,
In it when the ego merges,
Freedom it is beyond thought!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Twisted Mind and the Truth!

'The Twisted Mind and the Truth' is based on a little, but power packed story dedicated to seekers of truth and those who really value a good night's sleep.




A little boy had some good marbles with him. A little girl had some sweets with her. When they were  playing together, the boy asked for an exchange of the marbles with the sweets to the girl. The girl readily consented. The boy cunningly, retained the best marble and exchanged the rest with the girl for her sweets. The girl gave away all her sweets without retaining any, unlike the boy. That night, the girl went to sleep peacefully, but the boy twisted in his bed wondering if the girl had also kept away the best sweet from him!

The moral of the story goes that in any relationship, it is important to maintain trust without which there is no meaning in it. If not we will end up doubting the other, as the nature of our own mind determines the understanding of things.

A twisted mind fails to see the truth. It is a product of ego and stems into insecurity and cowardice. Since one can't deal with things squarely, one gets lost in its self-created labyrinth of complications. The clutter of thoughts owing to doubting, planning, conspiring etc makes the mind twisted and blurs the vision of the truth directly. Hence unconsciously, the mind becomes a machine that produces such thoughts continuously, which curtails clarity and robs one's natural peace.

A twisted mind is further more a result of age long conditioning. The mind is conditioned for a long time to think and act in the complicated way. Used to such conditioning, the mind, involuntarily begins to function the same way at similar circumstances or almost at all circumstances. If not looked into, this mind can play havoc in each aspect of life.

A pure mind is simply plain. It is endowed naturally and intuitively to know the truth because of continuous practise to keep it pure. Hence it is naturally conscious of things around. This is because of its ability to look at the truth the way it is, without any adulteration of self-woven thoughts. Hence it is a storehouse of peace. An advanced aspirant on the spiritual path, simply uses the mind as a tool to carry out the tasks before him and withdraws it into the Self. When in the Self, it is pure Consciousness, awake and alert.

On the spiritual path, a pure mind is the basis for spiritual evolution. Ramana Maharshi says that the pure mind is not different from the ‘Self’, our true inherent nature, beyond thoughts. It is the state which every spiritual seeker aims for, which is actually inherent in us. He further says that the mind introverted is the ‘Self’ and the ‘Self’ extroverted is the mind!

The twisted mind can however be set right. The wish to straighten it is the very first step. 

Self-enquiry as advised by Ramana Maharshi guides one to one's own natural state of a pure mind.

Even if we are not a spiritual aspirant, an uncomplicated mind will render a good night’s sleep, which is the desire of all.

I related this story to my niece.... She exclaimed with understanding "Priya, ....Oh Ya!!!"

I dedicate this article to all souls treading the spiritual path, and all who value a good night’s sleep.

Link to the original story.



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Illusory World When It Becomes a Reality!

Just a shift in our perception of ourselves can bring about a change in how we look at the world.




The Illusory nature of the world can be understood by first-hand experience from our day to day life of  the waking state, dream state and the deep sleep state, the three states in Consciousness.

We actually perceive and experience the world through the mind. Our mind is nothing but a collection of thoughts, which have the ‘I thought’ as the primary thought. The ‘I thought’ is an impostor that springs from Consciousness donning the appearance of Consciousness, which is the REAL I. If but for the thoughts, there is no such thing called the mind, states Ramana Maharshi. In deep sleep, the mind is lost along with the world, but when we wake up, the individual self (identification with the body and the mind), or the ‘I thought’ rises after which we begin to experience the world for the day.

When we view the world as the individual self or the ‘I thought’ in the waking state, we look at it as different from us. From this standpoint, we all look at the world as something apart from us. The world from our understanding is people, situations, things etc all put together. When the world is looked at something apart from us, it seems as if it has a control on ourselves, our actions, in short on our lives. This truth is actually within the experience of all. Hence, when looked at as apart from us, there arises duality, multiplicity, comparison and as a result misery.

To add to the argument of the illusory world, the world that we call the real in the waking state is completely lost in the deep sleep state. This is because the ‘I thought’ also is lost in the deep sleep state. In the dream state, we are in a different world or plane altogether. Therefore, the world is a seeming condensed form in the ‘I thought’; with different forms in the waking and dream state and being lost in the deep sleep state.

Furthermore, when the ‘I thought’ is not the real ‘I’, how can the world and the experiences perceived through it be real? Therefore, with the illusory ‘I thought’ it is just an ‘illusory world’.

However, there is a seeming paradox. The world can be true too!

Vedanta states that the world is real too. When we look at the world from the standpoint of the Self, our Pure Being or Consciousness, the world is real.

 The pure being or consciousness is the base from which the ‘I thought’ arises and experiences the world and subsides in the deep sleep state. Consciousness is the uniform underlying reality for all the three states. The three states are mere appearances on it. Hence, the world is also but a mere appearance in Consciousness.

However, the world, is not apart from the base (the Self, Pure Being or Consciousness), like that of the apparent pictures on a screen. The objects of the world are manifestations of Consciousness, as they have it for their base and hence infused with it, like the clay in the pot. The world is not separate from one’s own self, Consciousness. The Seer, the Seen and the act of Seeing, all become one, not apart from one another. When we stabilize in this ‘Oneness’ the misery of the world is negated. This can be realized through consistent Self enquiry and meditation.

When the shift in the identity of ourselves from the ‘I thought’ to Consciousness is realised, the world is also nothing but consciousness. When the focus is on Consciousness, all the seeming manifestations or objects are nothing but the one Consciousness or pure being. Thus, the illusory world from the standpoint of the ‘I thought’ is but reality or Consciousness when stabilized in Consciousness.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Still Water....

The poem “Still Water” reflects Oneness, the Oneness in Stillness despite the apparent duality and movement. The drop in the ocean and the ocean in the drop is but water.




Stillness reigns,
Drops of mind emerge and
Drop back into the Ocean of Stillness.
Every drop, a little ocean.
In the stillness of the vast waters,
Small whirlpools with each drop on the ocean’s breast,
Still, still in the depths.
Ocean in the drop,
Drop in the ocean,
All is water
All is still,
Stillness reigns,
Stillness remains,
Silently I am!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Waking Up To Reality From The Three States Of Consciousness


Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya

It is not some dry philosophy, but the day to day happening in each of our lives, from birth to death that we have missed to pay attention to-the waking state, the dream state and the deep sleep state.




"The world is a changing phenomena, an illusion." A spiritual comrade uttered in the course of a casual conversation.

The conversation drifted to the three states of consciousness-the waking, dreaming and the deep sleep states. They are alternating phases. A little scrutiny, and we can understand about these three states, which we experience every day from birth to death.

By the term "Real", we mean "Original", in the things that we encounter in our day to day life. We call "Original" because there is no change in them ever. So are the three states of consciousness, the waking state, where we engage in day to day activities; and the dream state, where we move about in our dreams with a different set of experiences, in a different world; and the deep sleep state, where our identity is totally lost, our original state?

So the three states will definitely have a common base for them to appear and disappear. If we can rationalise what this common source is, it is but our own "Self". "Self "is not to be looked upon as an object, but our own self.  When we say our own self, we deem it to be our body in the waking state. It cannot be our body, as our body is perceived by the mind. The mind has our presence for its base. Our own self cannot be the mind too, as the mind is totally absent in the deep sleep state; yet we claim that we slept soundly. Even in the absence of our mind, our being is proved. Our own Self is the source of the mind.

Only because we are present we are able to perceive our day to day activities and happenings in the waking state, through the mind.

We dream a beautiful sight, and we get elated and exclaim "Oh I had a beautiful dream!" We are able to exclaim so only because we were present in the dream state. Further more, in the dream state, we identify the self with a different body and we are in a different world altogether. Not the body that which is sleeping on the bed. We can't be that one too, as it also disappears once we are awake.

And in the deep sleep state, our identity is totally lost and we wake up saying that we had a wonderful sleep. We are able to say so only because there again was this consciousness, present even while we are sleeping soundly. There is absolutely no identification with any body. We are simply formless, until we wake up.

So which of these states can be our original state? They are all alternating. So can these alternating states be called real or original? We are so used to this alternating phenomena that we lose sight of the "real" thing.

 Hence that which is original is our own self or  OUR PURE PRESENCE, on the basis of which all perceptions through the mind is possible. Our own self is continuous in all the three states, even while the states alternate.

Ramana Maharshi says that the only difference between the waking state and the dream state is that the former is longer.

My friend said while we were discussing this, "But the dream state is in the subconscious mind." But truly, while in the dream state, did we know that it is the subconscious mind at play? It seems, that in whatever state we are, waking or dreaming, these states are true to us at the time of experiencing them!

Consciousness is reality.  In truth Consciousness is only one. One, complete whole. These states are considered true, only because we falsely identify ourselves with the body. When identification with the body is shed, all is, is only pure and plain Consciousness.

Ramana Maharshi says we or the "Self" is Sat (Truth or that which is Real) Chit (Knowledge or All knowing) Ananda (Bliss) and beyond the all three states. The one who realises this is the one who is truly awake.







Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Path Back Home.....

This poem, "The Path Back Home," is a reflection of a peaceful stroll, alone in nature. The path leads and dissolves into the horizon, with me.... 



Tiny pink and yellow flowers, 
made occasional patches over the ground.
The breeze in the meadow brushed past,
The sun shied, behind the clouds,
A Kingfisher flapped its way towards me, unaware;
and swiftly turned away with an alert chirp.
The three-legged dog hopped and barked;
intrigued and agile,
A squirrel leaped from the roof of the cowshed,
onto the branch of a nearby tree.
I paced the path aimlessly that stretched in front,
A flock of birds took to flight,
to the left from the right.
A peacock started off from a branch of a tree,
and flew far beyond, surprising me.
A glimpse of the "Wordless One" having revealed itself,
from the depths of which thoughts emerged and sunk.
Thoughts of chaos showed up and slid,
back into the depths of peace--a seeming paradox so long hid!
A prayer arose and merged in the Source.
A thought to pen a poem too,
All dissolved in Stillness, without a do.....
For a while I tread the stretch and turned about;
to pace the path back homewards, without a doubt.
A subtle urge to trace the thoughts to their source,
to make an effort while in effortlessness, arose!
And from the depths of the truth it emerged,
"The path is the goal"........
Home is here, Heart is now!