Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya
“Grace is both the beginning and the end. Introversion is due to Grace; Perseverance is Grace; and Realisation is Grace” says Ramana Maharshi-Talks 319
It would be the experience of every Ramana devotee, who has dedicated himself to the practice of Self enquiry, to experience the Grace of the Guru enveloping him, taking control of his life. This results in diminishing of the sense of ego-the ‘I’ sense which is identifying oneself with the body and the mind.
The showers of Grace in every minute detail of life are inexplicable and beyond one’s imagination; the sudden manifestation of it, yet very subtly and naturally, placing things in order leaves one dumbstruck.
Will basking in the ‘thought of Grace’ (in different situations) threaten one’s practice in subduing the ego and rather enriching it? In my humble opinion it depends on the mind-set of the people. When Grace has begun to manifest in one’s material life, it is sure to guide one to the ultimate as well. In my humble opinion, may be one will be caught in the snares of materialism in the beginning. However the manifestation of Grace in one’s material life also brings about exhaustion in the enjoyment of material pleasures, bringing in discrimination. One understands that all pleasures are time bound and one starts yearning for the eternal. Being already in the Guru’s fold, the manifestation of Grace diverts the attention from the end achieved to the thought of Bhagavan Himself. Bhagavan Ramana becomes the object of one’s thoughts.
A friend (a Ramana follower, steeped in the practice of Self enquiry) once asked me, “Why are you so enamoured by Him (His form)?” Another (an ardent devotee of Bhagavan) cautioned me on my yearning to visit the ashram for the creation of fresh vasanas or impressions. In both the cases the questions clearly pointed out an attachment on my side to the Guru’s form. While (purely by His Grace) that I make a little effort to practise His teachings, in my humble opinion, I feel that while I am attached to my own form and other forms in the name of relationships (though in the process of making efforts in practising), I feel that an attachment towards the Guru’s form begins to culminate the attachment to all other forms in His. Furthermore attachment to the Guru’s form brings about liberation and not binding as in other attachments.
I recall Shri Alan Jacobs ji’s beautiful words of wisdom in the ‘Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning,’ Bangalore, “One does not fall in love with Bhagavan, but one rises in love with Bhagavan!”
From another angle, manifestation of Grace and the thought of it slowly but surely endows the spirit of surrender in one. Having seen Grace manifested in different occasions, the sense of doer-ship slowly gives way to surrender as one understands clearly the exercise of the higher power. Living slowly becomes effortless.
Even in the very words of Bhagavan, to a devotee confessing about the difficulty of surrendering completely, “Yes, complete surrender is impossible in the beginning. Partial surrender is certainly possible for all. In course of time that will lead to complete surrender” In fact Bhagavan Ramana vouchsafes that partial surrender can undo destiny. He also states, “Complete surrender is another name for jnana or liberation,” (Day by Day with Bhagavan(1-3-46 Morning)
Even while we follow Self enquiry steadfastly (by enquiring ‘Who am I’ with the rise of every single thought, which is absolutely necessary), the very existence of the idea of engaging in the thought of Grace will slow down one’s practice will also have to be questioned. Is Bhagavan not both within and without?
Well, it all depends on the mind set of individuals being different, and each one progressing in one’s one pace. Here I recall Sarada akka (Saradha Natarajan, the President of Ramana Maharshi Centre of Learning) saying in one of our conversations, “Whether you cross half the well or little more or little less, you are still inside the well!”
However whatever mind-set one has and wherever one stands in his practise, Ramana’s unfailing and compelling Grace will no doubt guide the seeker in realising the truth of himself.
Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya
Image Courtesy : Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai