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Early Ramana Teaching


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kingfisher111
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« on: Mar 31, 2019 10:19 pm »

A report of Paul Brunton and a Monk meeting Ramana.  Paul's book "Secret Search of India" was the first widespread book on Ramana that made him more well known.


Monk: We have travelled far and wide in search of Enlightenment.  How can we get it?

Ramana: Through deep enquiry and confident meditation.

Paul: Many people meditate in the West but show no signs of progress.

Ramana: How do you know that they don't make progress?  Spiritual progress is not easily discernible.

Paul: A few years ago I got some glimpses of the Bliss but in the years that followed I lost it again.  Then last year I again got it.  Why is that?

Ramana: You lost it because your meditation had not become natural (sahaja).  When you become habitually inturned the enjoyment of spiritual beatitude becomes a normal experience.

Paul: Might it be due to the lack of a Guru?

Ramana: Yes, but the Guru is within; that Guru who is within is identical with your Self.

Paul: What is the way to God-realization?

Ramana: Self-Enquiry (vichara), asking yourself the "Who am I?" enquiry into the nature of your Self.


Paul Brunton's summary of Self-Enquiry, the "Who am I?" method:

"Trace thought to its place of origin, watch for the real self to reveal itself, and then your thoughts will die down of their own accord."


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« Reply #1 on: Apr 01, 2019 12:18 am »

Self inquiry appears to be the trapped in its own questioning dialogue. For me-so far-self -inquiry has not been helpful in meditation. It just leads to more thought and thought is a product of mind; the chatter of the mind. Of course I cannot speak for others but only myself. I Wonder how Ramana would respond to my situation and my Response to him....

I Find it is better not to ask any questions but rather practice techniques that help extinguish the thoughts because just behind our thoughts Is bliss. The More I ask about my thoughts; the more I’m inundated with new thoughts.The real self reveals itself for this entity-that I call me-for a Lack of better words-when all questions answers witticisms and criticisms are silenced. So I would call what Ramana calls self inquiry; introspection, Which is also a necessary ingredient in spiritual evolution and enlightenment. I do not claim to have the only technique to enlightenment-nor to say his technique wouldn’t work for someone else-only to express my experience with what Ramana has explained here that I have Found indispensable to spiritual enlightenment or experience of any sort that is introspection. Because without introspection behavioral patterns and habits remain; Many of which are a detriment to spiritual experience.
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 01, 2019 02:33 pm »

Atma-Vichara (Self enquiry or Self investigation) is certainly not introspection as in an examination of ones psychological traits, hidden motives, desires, complexes, etc. Nor is it repeating the sentence to oneself, "Who am I?" and trying to formulate an answer. Those may be preliminary practices, but they aren't strictly Atma-Vichara. So what is it? I will let Muruganar tell us in (Ramana approved) translated verse:

Quote
To reverse the outgoing nature of the mind and to fix it in the Self, the Heart, one's source, so that it abides there all the time without allowing the ruinous "I"-thought to rise - this is the method of atma-vichara. - Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 389

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Each time a thought arises, do not entertain the idea of allowing it to develop even slightly. [Instead,] the proper course is to first enquire to oneself, "To whom has this thought occured?" - GVK, verse 397

Steve says, "Self inquiry appears to be the trapped in its own questioning dialogue. For me-so far-self -inquiry has not been helpful in meditation. It just leads to more thought and thought is a product of mind; the chatter of the mind. Of course I cannot speak for others but only myself."

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The thought "Who am I?", destroying all the other multifarious thoughts, will itself, like the long and sturdy pole used to stir the funeral pyre, finally die, leaving the perfect silence of mauna. GVK, verse 401

Ramana says, "You say 'Who am I?' becomes a japa. It is not meant that you should go on asking 'Who am I?' In that case, thought will not so easily die. In the direct method, as you call it, in asking yourself, 'Who am I?', you are told to concentrate within yourself where the 'I'-thought, the roof of all other thoughts, arises. As the Self is not outside but inside you, you are asked to dive within, instead of going without. What can be more easy than going to yourself? But the fact remains that to some this method will seem difficult and will not appeal. That is why so many different methods have been taught. Each of them will appeal to some as the best and easiest. That is according to their pakva or fitness. But to some, nothing except the vichara marga [the path of enquiry] will appeal. They will ask, 'You want me to know or to see this or that. But who is the knower, the seer?' Whatever other method may be chosen, there will be always a doer. That cannot be escaped. One must find out who the doer is. Till then, the sadhana cannot be ended. So eventually, all must come to find out 'Who am I?'" - Be as you are, pg 76

Ramana never pushed people to give up other practices, and would even help people to do other practices that were important to them. However, it is clear that Ramana felt the finale of all practices would be the enquiry and that this was inevitable.

From Be As You Are:
Quote
Question: When I do this and cling to my self, that is, the 'I'-thought, other thoughts come and go, but I say to myself 'Who am I?' and there is no answer forthcoming. To be in this condition is the practice. Is it so?
Answer: This is a mistake that people often make. What happens when you make a serious quest for the Self is that the 'I'-thought disappears and something else from the depths takes hold of you and that is not the 'I' which commenced the quest.

Question: Yes. How to do it [Self-enquiry]?
Answer: Think 'I,I', and hold to that one thought to the exclusion of all others.
« Last Edit: Apr 01, 2019 05:44 pm by ding dong » Report Spam   Logged
kingfisher111
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 09, 2019 08:34 am »

Self inquiry appears to be the trapped in its own questioning dialogue. For me-so far-self -inquiry has not been helpful in meditation. It just leads to more thought and thought is a product of mind; the chatter of the mind. Of course I cannot speak for others but only myself. I Wonder how Ramana would respond to my situation and my Response to him....

I Find it is better not to ask any questions but rather practice techniques that help extinguish the thoughts because just behind our thoughts Is bliss. The More I ask about my thoughts; the more I’m inundated with new thoughts.The real self reveals itself for this entity-that I call me-for a Lack of better words-when all questions answers witticisms and criticisms are silenced. So I would call what Ramana calls self inquiry; introspection, Which is also a necessary ingredient in spiritual evolution and enlightenment. I do not claim to have the only technique to enlightenment-nor to say his technique wouldn’t work for someone else-only to express my experience with what Ramana has explained here that I have Found indispensable to spiritual enlightenment or experience of any sort that is introspection. Because without introspection behavioral patterns and habits remain; Many of which are a detriment to spiritual experience.

You've got the right idea Steve, but Self Enquiry is just another word for what you mean I think.  As Brock points out, it's not introspection or self-analysis.  It's a return to Self, the I AM that comes before thoughts emerge.

The actual practice can look similar to meditation, except when thoughts arise like "I am meditating", you can ask "who is meditating?", and then stay there, where you feel the "I".  Ramana said the "I" arises from the heart, two fingers to the right of center, but this physical location is also Universal and not the greatest truth, but can also be helpful in practice.

All forms of meditation lead the mind to focus on one thing.  Ramana said once all other thoughts have subsided and the mind is "single point focused", that thought can go too, like the last stick being used to stoke a fire, that final stick or thought is put into the fire and the Mind returns to it's Source, I AM, God, Love, Oneness, Peace, Self, etc.  which is experienced without any thoughts or mind (those words are just "pointers", not descriptions, because no idea or words can describe the Infinite Self-Luminous Self).

That's my current understanding, based on Ramana and other's teachings of Self-Enquiry.

« Last Edit: Apr 09, 2019 08:36 am by kingfisher111 » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 09, 2019 10:50 pm »

Excerpt from the book No Mind, I Am The Self, a book about the life and teachings of one of Ramana's direct students, Sri Lakshmana Swamy, who achieved Self Realization in Ramana's presence in 1949:

Q: How do I make the 'I'-thought go back to its source?
Swamy: By the quest 'Who am I?'
Q: I don't understand.  What is this quest?
S: Ask yourself 'Who am I?'.  Dive within and look for this 'I' that is giving you all this trouble.  If you do this earnestly enough you will experience the bliss of the Self.
    The quest is the earnest search for the source of the 'I'-thought.
Q: I still don't understand.  How is one to go about doing all this?
S: If you don't understand or find it difficult, it will be enough if you hold on to the name and form of an enlightened one.  Or just try to be without thoughts.  If you can manage either of these then the grace of the Self will help you towards the goal.



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