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Be As You Are

Be As You Are

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Published by Julian Summerhayes
Sri Ramana Maharshi
Sri Ramana Maharshi

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Published by: Julian Summerhayes on Nov 07, 2013
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08/02/2014

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Be as you are
 – The teachings of sri Ramana Maharishi
 
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  Introduction 
In I896 a sixteen-year-old schoolboy walked out on his family and, driven by an inner compulsion, slowly made his way to Arunachala, a holy mountain and pilgrimage centre in South India. On his arrival he threw away all his money and possessions and abandoned himself to a newly-discovered awareness that his real nature was formless, immanent consciousness. His absorption in this awareness was so intense that he was completely oblivious of his body and the world; insects chewed away portions of his legs, his body wasted away  because he was rarely conscious enough to eat and his hair and fingernails grew to unmanageable lengths. After two or three years in this state he began a slow return to physical normality, a process that was not finally completed for several years. His awareness of himself as consciousness was unaffected by this physical transition and it remained continuous and undimmed for the rest of his life. In Hindu parlance he had `realized the Self'; that is to say, he had realized by direct experience that nothing existed apart from an indivisible and universal consciousness which was experienced in its unmanifest form as beingness or awareness and in its manifest form as the appearance of the universe.  Normally this awareness is only generated after a long and arduous  period of spiritual practice but in this case it happened
 
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spontaneously, without prior effort or desire. Venkataraman, the sixteen-year-old schoolboy, was alone in an upstairs room of his uncle's house in Madurai (near the southern tip of India) when he was suddenly gripped by an intense fear of death. In the following few minutes he went through a simulated death experience during which he became consciously aware for the first time that his real nature was imperishable and that it was unrelated to the body, the mind or the personality. Many people have reported similar unexpected experiences but they are almost invariably temporary. In Venkataraman's case the experience was permanent and irreversible. From that time on his consciousness of being an individual person ceased to exist and it never functioned in him again. Venkataraman told no one about his experience and for six weeks he kept up the appearance of being an ordinary schoolboy. However, he found it an increasingly difficult posture to maintain and at the end of this six week period he abandoned his family and went directly to the holy mountain of Arunachala. The choice of Arunachala was far from random. Throughout his  brief life he had always associated the name of Arunachala with God and it was a major revelation to him when he discovered that it was not some heavenly realm but a tangible earthly entity. The mountain itself had long been regarded by Hindus as a manifestation of Siva, a Hindu God, and in later years Venkataraman often said that it was the spiritual power of Arunachala which had brought about his Self-realization. His love for the mountain was so great that from the day

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