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From the teachings of

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Practical Sadhana

Swami Sadasivananda Giri

Practical Sadhana



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Enquiiy at: sauasivananuaÇ
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

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}ust like the !"#$#%#& ()*#, which has lent itself to seveial inteipietations by gieat +#%#,*+
anu Saints, Bhagavan Ramana's teachings also can give newei anu newei meanings to each peison
who ieaus them. Eveiy time a peison ieaus these teachings, one gives emphasis to ceitain aspects
baseu on the conuitioning, level of +#&"#,# etc. of the seekei. Accoiuing to the qualifications of the
seekei, the inteipietation which appeals to him may help him, so long as he enueavois to keep the
goal alive befoie him.

The authoi of this book has placeu all his emphasis, veiy iightly too, on piactise (#-".#+#).
Be has waineu the ieauei of the eiioi of complacence which says that eveiything will be uone by
the giace of the Loiu.

In some 0niveisity Examinations, when somebouy gets one oi two maiks less than the
minimum pass maik, a giace maik is given foi the small gap of two maiks anu he is maue to pass. If
the canuiuate has given an empty answei papei oi gets only ten maiks out of a hunuieu (4u% being
the pass maik), nobouy will give him the balance as giace maiks. As the authoi has pointeu out,
Bhagavan has saiu that a seekei has to uo +#&"#,# to the maximum of his ability anu the iest will be
uone by the Loiu.
The authoi has piofusely quoteu chaptei anu veise fiom the wiitings about
Bhagavan's talks as also fiom othei ienowneu Saints in oiuei that the ieauei may not consiuei the
authoi's views as his /-0)*01 &)2*34. The authenticity of a book is veiy much uepenuant on the
authenticity of the authoi. Let me, theiefoie, tell you a few woius about the authoi too.

The authoi, Swami Sauasivananua was boin to Ameiican paients in Floiiua in 19Su. In 1971,
while yet a young man of twenty-one yeais, he was puisuing a caieei in 5/46#1#*)%0 708)$)/, at a
0niveisity in Coloiauo when he suuuenly iealizeu that what all he hau leaineu of ieligion in his
acauemic caieei was meant foi piactice anu to attain uou in this veiy biith. Be hau instinctively felt
that in pievious biiths he hau come to this same conclusion, but he hau faileu to uo what was
neeuful to attain the uoal of those lives. This time, howevei, he acutely felt the uigent neeu of full
suiienuei to the call of uou. Be, like all of us, was stubboin. Foitunately uou was moie stubboin!
Theiefoie he left all that he hau foi yeais stiiven to achieve anu came to Inuia.

Bis fiist visit was to Sii Ramanashiamam in late 1971. Fiom that fiist &#1+"#, of Bhagavan
anu Aiunachala he became awaie that his life was iiievocably changeu, anu he was "somehow" to
ietuin to Ameiica anu become a monk. As he hau leaint that the best of the living Saints at that time
was Na Ananuamayee, he enueavoieu to seek Bei giace anu guiuance. Aftei suimounting a
mountain of obstacles, both physical anu mental, his heait anu soul finally founu sheltei at the feet
of this manifestation of the Bivine Nothei. Be enteieu an Ashiam in the 0.S.A. unuei the guiuance of
Na Ananuamayee anu one of Bei chief uisciples. Be, having ieceiveu the goluen touch of this }oy-
Peimeateu Nothei, liveu as a Biahmachaii anu Pujaii in Sii Ananuamayee Na's Ashiam. At the
biuuing of his (313, in 1974 he ieceiveu full initiation as a monk fiom a Swamiji in the uisciple-
lineage of Puii Sankaiachaiya.

See footnote #6 on page 11.
Practical Sadhana


Foi the next thiity yeais he iemaineu in the Ashiam uoing a lot of collective anu inuiviuual
+#&"#,#, stiictly as pei the instiuctions fiom Na, anu the guiuance of Bei close uisciple.

Although he hau visiteu Inuia seveial times ovei the inteivening yeais, in 2uuS he again
ietuineu to Inuia to live theie peimanently. Since then he has been living in an austeie mannei in a
sepaiate uwelling not veiy fai fiom Sii Ramanashiamam at Tiiuvannamalai (913,#2"#8# :+"0*1#).
Be has maue a thoiough stuuy of the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana anu also of Sii Ramakiishna.
Foi yeais he has been given to long houis of meuitation as I have peisonally witnesseu while in his
company uuiing vaiious tiavels thioughout Inuia fiom time to time.
In this book, the authoi has tiieu to give the quintessence of the teachings of Bhagavan
Ramana in the light of his own spiiitual expeiience gaineu in the last thiity-foui yeais of his life of
piactice as a tiue +#,,.#+), (monk). Be has biought out the univeisality of Bhagavan's teachings
which covei all the essential aspects neeueu by a seekei - the neeu foi a (313, %)2"#1# (enquiiy),
#-".#+# (piactice), ;#6# anu meuitation, piayeis anu uiace etc. The authoi has also quoteu
substantially fiom the </$# =3*1#+ /> ?#*#,;#8). Be has specially limelighteu the view of Bhagavan
that the bieath contiol thiough 61#,#.#4# is subject to pitfalls while the same can be achieveu
safely anu with equal effectiveness by watching the bieath.

The holistic appioach auopteu by the Swamiji towaius the teachings of Bhagavan is ieally
commenuable. I am suie that this book, wheie a lot of claiifications have been given by the authoi in
Bhagavan's own woius (as collecteu fiom vaiious talks), will be of immense help to a numbei of
seekeis incluuing those who have not specifically auopteu Bhagavan's teachings in theii life of

Shantananua 7¡6¡u8
|Swami Shantananua Puii of vasishta uuha (Bimalayas)j

Swaml Sadaslvananda Clrl (lefL) wlLh Swaml ShanLananda Þurl

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

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"The Self manifests exteinally as uuiu when occasion aiises; otheiwise Be is always within, uoing
the neeuful."
Sii Ramana Nahaishi in @#8A+

"When the goal is evei befoie one as a living ieality, all that is neeuful
will come of its own accoiu."
Sii Ananuamayi Na in =#& B#,)

Fiom the most ancient times of spiiitual enueavoi anu attainment in all of the majoi
ieligions of this woilu, the tiuths that inspiieu mankinu weie conveyeu fiom Nastei to uisciple in
the tiauition of oial tiansmission. 0ne became fit foi uiscipleship with the uevelopeu skill of
appiopiiate attention to the teachings, invokeu by a keenly aleit questioning anu a willing
ieceptivity to the couise of effoit chaiteu by the Nastei.

The Sage vasistha (the $313 of the Loiu Rama) pioclaimeu that this foim of teaching
thiough +#*+#,$# (keeping close company anu a living ielationship with the Boly)
woulu not only
piouuce peifection in piactice, but woulu convey the highest Libeiation. Theiefoie he ievealeu that
of the foui gatekeepeis to the Palace of Libeiation, +#*+#,$# is incluueu.

To finu tiue +#*+#,$# that can tiansfoim is an act of giace; to be ieceptive to it, anu thus to
spiiitually piogiess, is an act of effoit. In keeping with the tiauitions of olu, the contents of this
book aie piesenteu in the foim of +#*+#,$# containing questions anu answeis conceining piactical
instiuction iegaiuing the teachings piesciibeu by Bhagavan Sii Ramana Nahaishi. The inspiiing
tiuths conveyeu conceining spiiitual puisuit aie of gieat piactical value to all who seek to finu the
'peail of gieat piice', which has come to be known in theoiy as ieligion, but in piactice as the path
leauing to a life of the Spiiit.

Though the ancient foim of instiuction is maintaineu, the answeis ieflect what has
evolveu in oui mouein times as a uniquely univeisal spiiitual teaching that can be taken up by
anyone the woilu ovei without auopting the limiting constiaints of any one ieligious tiauition. It
has been saiu that these teachings weie inueeu uou-given, foi they began with the woius of giace
flowing fiom Sii Ramakiishna anu continueu with the blessing of peifection that was embouieu as
Sii Ramana Nahaishi.

A complete definition of satsanga is: The company of Sages, Saints and seekers after Truth, either the
actual physical company or, in an applied sense, by reading Holy Scriptures or the lives of the Saints.
Also, a religious gathering or meeting. In the widest sense the practice of the presence of God.
Practical Sadhana

As uiu his pieuecessoi, Bhagavan Sii Ramana Nahaishi stiesseu piactice that piouuces
puiification (iemoval of that fog of ignoiance, the obstacles anu habits of the meicuiial minu which
uiminish oui puie vision) as well as the giace of the knowleuge of the Self as the eteinal
companions of those who woulu be leu:

"#$% &'( )*#(+, &$ &'( -(+,.
"#$% /+#0*(11 &$ 234'&
"#$% /(+&' &$ 5%%$#&+,3&6!

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Why has +#*+#,$# been ueemeu to be essential foi the spiiitual piogiess that leaus to
Realization. What is the task of the $313 (qualifieu teachei), if not to show us the way anu patiently
leau us towaius it.

Buiing the blesseu yeais of Sii Bhagavan's physical sojouin amongst us, those who took
sheltei at his feet weie uaily inspiieu to continue in the 'piactice that makes peifect'. This was a
tiue example how histoiy iepeats itself since the ancient times of =#,#*#,# C"#14#, the ieligion
wheie men have eteinally sought uou, theii effoit only to be outuone by uou's longing to become
manifest within man.

When Loiu Rama sojouineu on eaith, he once askeu his $313 Sii vasistha why it was that
when they weie togethei his knowleuge anu expeiience of the Self was unuiminisheu, but when
they weie apait foigetfulness obstiucteu the vision of his uivinity. Sii vasisthaueva simply, but
with gieat piofunuity, ueclaieu that the ieason foi foigetfulness was:

"Lack of #-".#+# (iepeateu spiiitual piactice)."

Bhagavan Sii Ramana Nahaishi echoeu the same Tiuth when answeiing a uevotee's
comment that:

"Bhagavan's uiace is neeueu in oiuei that meuitation (anu thus iemembiance) shoulu
become effoitless."

Bhagavan ieplieu: "Piactice is necessaiy, theie is uiace."

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Though uou anu Bis Tiuths nevei change, we seem to have wanueieu astiay, being leu by
the whimsical uesiies of infantile habits. Assuieuly, this chilu by auoption (oui ego) is habitually
peiveise anu uangeiously eiiant, anu ueseives uisownment. In fact, oui veiy libeiation uemanus it!
A gieat scholai of veuanta, anu uevotee of Sii Ramakiishna, Swami Yatiswaiananua, has stateu this
conuition with ciystal claiity:

"We all know that the ego is peiveise anu how it is constantly changing its centei of
giavity. It is now iuentifieu with outsiue things, next moment with the bouy, then with the
senses oi the minu. It is mau anu iuns the iisk of tumbling uown any moment. Bow at times

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 76.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

it becomes too much one-pointeu, centeieu on itself! We foiget that oui inuiviuual
consciousness is pait of an infinite consciousness; we foiget that the welfaie of oui fellow
beings is insepaiable fiom oui own; we become egocentiic, selfish anu mean - a uangei to
ouiselves, to oui family anu society."

The complete eiauication of this habit, anu the state of peifection that we must stiive foi is
exemplifieu completely with eveiy uetail of the life of Sii Ramana Nahaishi. Be has maue the molu,
now we must cast the image in his likeness.

In oui own eia the winus of change blow with gale foice intensity, they toss the exteinalizeu
minu about like a boat on a stoimy sea. With even gieatei foice oui heeuless impatience impels us
to seek the easy ioau to Realization, a way that avoius anu even uenies the neeu foi a path that
skillfully tiains one to oveicome the minu by tuining within.

=+,%3*4 &'( >&$#%

Bhagavan emphasizeu this cleaily when Be stateu:

"Bow to tianscenu the minu." The Nastei answeis: "Ninu is by natuie iestless. Begin
libeiating it fiom iestlessness: give it peace; make it fiee fiom uistiactions; tiain it to look
inwaiu; make this a habit. This is uone by ignoiing the exteinal woilu anu iemoving all
obstacles to peace of minu."

These woius of Bhagavan aie in peifect keeping with the tiauition of the eteinal ieligion of
Inuia. Be ueclaies the goal, anu then pioceeus to show the way to get theie. Be ieveals to us that we
habitually live in the shauowy awaieness of a uistiacteu exteinalizeu minu, anu that tiaining is
neeueu to iemove these ingiaineu obstacles.

We must begin oui +#&"#,# (spiiitual piactice) with an unshakable unueistanuing that foi
the vast majoiity of us this conuition, though only a supeiimposition on oui ieal natuie, is exactly
wheie we stanu. We must iecognize as Sii Ramana's pieuecessoi, Sii Kiishna, exemplifieu to Aijuna
in the !"#$#%#& ()*#D theie aie enemies (obstacles), anu the tiaining of a skillful waiiioi is neeueu
foi victoiy (libeiation fiom iestlessness).

So the fiist question foi us is "Wheie uo we stanu." Peihaps the magnituue of the giace anu
compassion of Bhagavan Sii Ramana is uemonstiateu by the fact that although his incaination
focuseu on ievealing to us the answei to the enquiiy "Who am I.", it was saiu that he seemeu to like
nothing bettei than helping to ueal with the obstacles anu cleaiing the uoubts of those who came
befoie Bim. Peihaps the hiuuen efficacy of this fact is boine out by one of the tiuly essential
statements of Bhagavan iecoiueu by his close uisciple Sii Nuiuganai:

"If we peifoim +#&"#,# to the limit of oui abilities, the Loiu will accomplish foi us
that which is beyonu oui capabilities. If we fail to uo even that which is within oui
capabilities, theie is not the slightest fault in the giace of the Loiu."

Meditation and Spiritual Life, Swami Yatiswarananda, Ramakrishna Math Bangalore 2001, p. 241.

Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 26 p.
Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar, p. 186.
(Reference is to Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham, vol. 8, verse 192).
Practical Sadhana


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Though Bhagavan began walking amongst men now ovei a centuiy past, he was veiy much
in oui mouein times. Thus one of his close uisciples wiote, foi us to consiuei while we analyze
wheie we stanu, woius that give a cleai uesciiption of what we all face:

"This is the age of shoitcuts. Time has shiunk anu space moie so, anu the uual
inconvenience has affecteu men's moous anu tempei. Even the supieme Knowleuge has
nowauays to be given in massive uoses anu has to piouuce quick iesults too, oi they will
have none of it.The iesult is that we ietuin fiom the $313 anu his 9+"1#4 with oui
uoubts still in oui heaus uncleaieu, anu oui minus, about tiuth anu untiuth, still

Advaitic Sadhana The Yoga of Direct Liberation, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2007, p. 1-2.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


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All of those who behelu the glance of Sii Ramana Nahaishi
0niveisally agieeu that Bis eyes weie floougates of an
"0cean of Compassion Without Reason", foi
"Who coulu ueseive such uiace." Even touay, many testify to the enuuiing tiansfoimative
powei of his Piesence. Foi he saiu in the final uays of his physical sojouin amongst us:
"They say that I am uying but I am not going away.
Wheie coulu I go. I am heie."
Practical Sadhana


Cne ÞreparaLlon for SplrlLual AscenL . . . . . . . . 13

1wo MedlLaLlon and Lhe Mlnd . . . . . . . . . . 16

1hree 1he MeLhod and WhaL Plnders lL . . . . . . . . 23

lour 1he need for a Curu . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

llve Whlch Way WlLhln . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Slx 1he ulLlmaLe SecreL . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Seven Samadhl's Coal: º1urn ?our 8ack on Peaven". . . 37

LlghL 8lessed be Lhe name of Lhe Lord . . . . . . . . 63

nlnL Þrayerfully Seek: ºWhence am l" . . . . . . . . . 73

1Ln Conquerlng Lhe Lgo's lorL . . . . . . . . . . . 80

LLLvLn WaLer for Survlval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

1WLLvL know Lhe SecreL of ?our Cwn PearL . . . . . . 92

Appendlx l - ºSurrender" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

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Question: Why is it that the wise say that heaiing alone can cieate a uistoiteu unueistanuing
of any piofounu Tiuth. Why aie we tolu to fiist heai, then ieflect anu assimilate so that knowleuge
can become expeiienceu.

What we heai must be heaiu then uigesteu within, anu then it becomes uistilleu wisuom. Like
the cow eating giass, fiist in a huiiy anu then meuitatively sitting in the shaue anu only then uoes
she conveit it into milk.

So how man extiacts wisuom out of all talk anu ieauing is to piofounuly think about it anu
then uive ueeply within in meuitation. In that way he ieally uigests what he has heaiu oi ieau anu
then it flows into him as an expeiience anu becomes a stoiehouse of knowleuge.

Question: Is it the ieal expeiience as #,3-"#%# (uiiect spiiitual expeiience; intuitive
consciousness) that is uifficult to achieve.

Yes, foi the expeiience one gets by ieauing is only theoietical. 9,3-"#%# is living eveiy
movement of youi life with what may come anu to face it anu act accoiuingly with what you have
actually heaiu anu ieau oi seen in the lives of gieat (313+ anu Saints. All these things put you to the
test, moment by moment, in youi own life. Nothing in life goes by a pattein, nothing is a copy, each
one of us is given expeiience in his own inuiviuual way, anu to the limit of his own enuuiance.
Theie is no similaiity, absolutely no similaiity.

What may happen to somebouy, a lesson thiough some inciuent that may seem insignificant
to otheis, will be to him a lesson by which a tiemenuous insight is compiehenueu. The insight may
have an impact that causes ieal spiiitual giowth. To him a ieal expeiience ensueu, to the onlookei
nothing at all occuiieu. Theie is no way to know when anu wheie such insight will occui; one
shoulu only at all times maintain anu pieseive a keen lively awaieness anu ieceptivity to become a
woithy vessel foi the touch of the uivine. Foi it is the uivine alone who knows wheie to kinule anu
light up the explosion that biings about ieal change anu tiansfoimation.

The impact of the uivine in oui lives is iiiefutable; the consequence of it, the uegiee of
absoiption anu tiansfoimation uepenus on the intensity of oui +#&"#,# anu meuitation. uou nevei
uenies us, we ueny Bim!

Practical Sadhana


ºÞracLlce ls necessary, Lhere ls Crace."
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

MedlLaLlon and Lhe Mlnd

Question: You mention meuitation; is meuitation veiy impoitant to
contiol the minu oi puiify the heait.

The answei must be auuiesseu step-by-step. So long as you aie
stiuggling to contiol the minu, it is not &006 tiansfoimative meuitation. It is,
howevei, an essential mental exeicise, foi it is a puiifying piocess anu thus an
impoitant fiist step towaius one-pointeuness of minu. Initially, the giossest
*#4#+)2 impuiities must be helu in check anu eventually sublimateu. This is
not simply a cuibing of negative tiaits; iathei it is theii elimination by will
powei anu self-effoit, which is achieveu by obseiving the negative
consequences of oui habits anu changing them. The gieat mastei
Paiamahansa Yogananua once saiu: "If sufficient will powei is lacking,
uevelop 'won't' powei." 0ne simply says: "The ieaction to that action was
haimful to me spiiitually, so I won't uo that again." At fiist we must exeicise
willing intiospection anu iight peiception, anu then foiemost is the honesty to
acknowleuge the consequences of oui behavioi without any soit of uenial oi
covei-up. Although in ieality oui uivine natuie is immutable, eteinally
unchanging anu fiee of all taint, oui consciousness uepenus solely upon oui
peiception anu the ensuing thought fabiications that manifest anu liteially
cieate oui awaieness. The Buuuha thus ueclaieu:

"Ninu pieceues all mental states, minu is theii chief; they aie all
minu wiought."

This peiception can be, anu is, uaily affecteu by oui skillful oi unskillful
actions. Actions enlighten oi uaiken oui peiception; theii consequences
ueteimine the uegiee of influence that giace has in oui lives.

Again, this is why Bhagavan Sii Ramana ueclaieu:

"Piactice is necessaiy, theie is uiace."

Dhamapada, translated by Ven. Acharaya Buddharakkita, Buddha Vachana
Trust, p. 7, verse 1.
Practical Sadhana

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When oui minu is too giossE *#4#+ oi uullness anu 1#;#+ which is
activity, govein it. When one is in this conuition, the s#**%# oi quietuue is not
pieuominant. In the absence of +#**%#, the qualities of *#4#+ anu 1#;#+ become
the ieigning poweis. Being thus oveiwhelmeu, such a one becomes veiy uull.
So the ieal woik is how to biing such a peison into spiiituality. In the
beginning he shoulu be given a puiifying activity, foi he cannot be maue to sit

Bhagavan Sii Ramana Nahaishi woulu often use the Tamil woiu A#&#%38
in iefeience to uou. It liteially means the uivine anu eteinal Self that abiues
within in stillness anu silence. This supieme quietuue, which is the
manifestation of Wisuom, is unquestionably oui own veiy Self anu oui
gieatest fiienu. Bowevei, because of the goveinance thiough an exteinalizeu
minu ueluueu by the uistiacting anu veiling poweis of 1#;#+ anu *#4#+E we aie
seeing, feeling anu 'living' life in the ueath giip of the uevouiing ego, oui woist

So in =#,#*#,# C"#14#, which has come to be known as Binuuism of
Inuia, what is uone in the beginning is to give such a peison some action
which has by its veiy natuie a puiifying effect.

Even though a peison may have a sinceie longing foi spiiitual
attainment, he is not always able to peiceive the uullness of his minu. The
sciiptuies say that the ego has mainly two poweis in its aisenal: %)A+"06# oi
uistiaction, anu #%#1#,#, which is a veiling of the tiuth.
If a peison iemains unskillful thioughout his life, anu maintains an
inuiffeient iegaiu towaius spiiitual giowth then a thiiu powei is available to
the ego. This thiiu powei is 4#8# oi gioss impuiities. 0f couise this thiiu
powei must be iemoveu, but in tiuth the veiy fiist step is to become awaie of
its existence.

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam, 2006, p. 76.
See Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 6.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

8)#3;39+&3$* &'#$)4' A9&3$*

Placing a peison in an enviionment wheie +#**%# (a puie conuition) is
active anu assigning woik such as in a Temple oi an 9+"1#4 affects one
thiough meie association with the qualities inheient in uoing woik foi uou,
even if it is only something like cleaning the place of woiship oi the pots anu
pans oi picking floweis. The fiist phase of tiansfoimation away fiom the
uullness of the *#4#+)2 minu can begin with these actions. When woiking foi
the benefit of a place that piomotes highei life, one becomes acutely awaie of
one's own uisinteiest, negligence, laziness, anu uisiegaiu foi the woik, anu
thiough giace a sense of shame emeiges.

By placing someone in a uouly enviionment anu having them uo woik
solely foi uou, the highei powei takes away the ego's powei of #%#1#,#. The
veil is iemoveu anu now the uull, uistasteful anu shameful qualities of *#4#+
aie seen face to face. Also thiough this uivine association, this poweiful foim
of +#*+#,$#, the minu anu heait aie investeu with a ueteimineu uesiie to iise
out of heeulessness.

An awaieness anu iecognition of the intoxicating auuiction to
heeulessness is also biought to light togethei with a iesolve to stiive foi tiue
spiiitual giowth. Thus the all-knowing uou begins by infusing into us the will
to change anu seek a puie life.

"The quality of soul that makes it possible foi man to iise to spiiit
life is puiity.that which one wills to uo, he has the powei to uo.
Knowleuge of that powei is faith; anu when faith moves, the soul begins
its flight."

7'( 8+&' $; A19(*&

We have begun; we have maue a stait. In the tiuest sense we have now
set oui hanus to the plough. In the entiie =1)4#& !"#$#%#*#4 Sii Kiishna
ieveals the quintessence of Bis teaching in one statement:

"Shake fiee of sloth, anu meige youi minu within Ne."

Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, by Levi, DeVorss & Company 2001, p. 87.

Practical Sadhana

Though we might believe that only a simple stait has been maue, the
shaking fiee of slothful heeulessness is ueclaieu by uou to be half the battle.

We have iecognizeu that theie is a fog that clouus oui vision, anu
obstacles (iestlessness anu slothfulness), that liteially obscuie the
manifestation of the light of the Self in oui consciousness.

Regaiuless of whatevei label we choose to call this effoit, whethei it be
ueemeu puiification, iemoval of uefilement, awakening, being in oneness oi
even becoming still, it shoulu be known that Bhagavan saiu it is "effoit that
instills puiity" anu stiesseu that without it the goal of %)2"#1# (enquiiy) will
not be ieacheu.

In uiiect iefeience to this Sii Nuiuganai heaiu the following piofounu
statement fiom Bhagavan anu iecoiueu it that oui uoubts might be cleaieu:

"Know that the wonuious ;,#,# %)2"#1# is only foi those who have
attaineu puiity of minu by softening anu melting within. Without this
softening anu melting away of the minu, biought about by thinking of the
feet of the Loiu, the attachment to the "I" that auheies to the bouy will
not cease to be."

"$9)13*4 $* &'( B$+,

Baving aiisen out of a bouy full of *#4#+)2 habits, we must now set to
woik to focus the minu by gaining a uepth of concentiation neeueu foi
meiging with anu iealizing oui uivine natuie. This is essential, foi
concentiation on one object effectively ieuuces the onslaught of thoughts
habitual to oui meicuiial minus. Bhagavan has saiu that the uegiee of effoit
iequiieu to secuie anu maintain the neeueu uepth in meuitation iesults fiom
"long anu piotiacteu" sauhana. This one-pointeuness of minu cannot be
imagineu oi conjuieu up. Bhagavan iepeateuly stiesseu avoiuance of what can
be iightly iefeiieu to as an effoitless covei-up.

Srimad Bhagavata, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2007, Book Eleven,
Uddhava Gita.
Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar,
Avadhuta Foundation 2004, p. 186. (Reference to Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham, vol.
7, verse 340).
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

"Piotiacteu piactice iipens into an intuitive appioximation of the
Self, otheiwise the Self iemains but an imaginaiy conception even foi

Bhagavan's ueclaiation of the essential "softening anu melting within" is
biought about piimaiily uuiing the piactice of meuitation. The attainment of
concentiation that iesults in the puiity Bhagavan uesciibes is most easily
achieveu by auopting a meuitative piactice that natuially suits one's
tempeiament anu natuie.
Bhagavan often seemeu to stiess foi most of us that Knowleuge of the
Self is attaineu by an integiateu piactice of ;,#,# (path of Knowleuge) anu
-"#A*) (path of Bevotion). In this iegaiu the mastei ieveals:

Bhagavan: "Any kinu of meuitation is goou. But if the sense of
sepaiateness is lost anu the object of meuitation oi the subject who
meuitates is alone left behinu without anything else to know, it is ;,#,#.
F,#,# is saiu to be 0A#-"#A*). The ;,#,) is the finality because he has
become the Self anu theie is nothing moie to uo. Be is also so feailess
'CG)*).#* %#) -"#.#4 -"#%#*)H- only the existence of a seconu gives iise
to feai. This is 43A*). It is also -"#A*)."

Bevotee: "Will -"#A*) leau to 43A*)."

Bhagavan: "!"#A*) is not uiffeient fiom 43A*). !"#A*) is being as the
Self (+G#136#). 0ne is always that. I0 10#8)J0+ )* -. *"0 40#,+ "0 #&/6*+.
What is -"#A*). To think of uou. That means: only one thought pievails
to the exclusion of all othei thoughts. That thought is of uou, which is the
Self, oi it is the self suiienueieu unto uou. When Be has taken you up
nothing will assail you. The absence of thoughts is -"#A*). It is also 43A*).
The ;,#,# methou is saiu to be %)2"#1# (enquiiy). That is nothing
but 'supieme uevotion' (6#1#-"#A*)). The uiffeience is in woius only."

It is essential to unueistanu that Bhagavan is ueclaiing both the goal anu
alluuing to the path that leaus towaiu its attainment. Thus he is uesciibing the

Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, S.S. Cohen, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, p. 156.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 650, p. 635.
Practical Sadhana

path to be, "the means one auopts which excluues all thoughts othei than the
thought of uou." Bhagavan has also emphasizeu that it is the effoit of "the 'I'
thought (ego), which is caiiying out a piogiessive anu piotiacteu +#&"#,#
that culminates with the awakening (iemembiance) of the immaculate natuie
of a Puie Ninu."
In fact, when Bhagavan was once askeu to uefine ./$#, Be

"Effoit itself is ./$#."

KC".#,# (meuitation) means fight. As soon as you begin
meuitation othei thoughts will ciowu togethei, gathei foice anu tiy to
sink the single thought to which you tiy to holu. The goou thought must
giauually gain stiength by iepeateu piactice. Aftei it has giown stiong
the othei thoughts will be put to flight. This is the battle ioyal always
taking place in meuitation. 0ne wants to iiu oneself of miseiy. It
iequiies peace of minu, which means absence of peituibation owing to
all kinus of thoughts. Peace of minu is biought about by &".#,# alone."

In iegaius to +#&"#,# that is baseu on "iemembiance", Bhagavan

"uiace is the Self. I have alieauy saiu, 'If you iemembei Bhagavan,
you aie piompteu to uo so by the Self.' Is not uiace alieauy theie. Is
theie a moment when uiace is not opeiating in you. Youi 10404-1#,20
is the foieiunnei of uiace. That is the iesponse, that is the stimulus, that
is the Self anu that is uiace."

Bow can this statement be tiue when stanuing alongsiue the
piopounueu emphasis by some that we neeu only 'be as we aie', foi the Self is
the only Reality, anu evei shining within. Simply speaking, this position is
putting the cait befoie the hoise. Bhagavan's own woius biing to light the
Tiuth that long piactice fiom past +#&"#,# anu then fuithei effoit alone
makes peimanent the effoitless state.

See footnote #58, p. 62.
Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam, 2006, p. 74.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 371.
Ibid, Talk 251.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

The uifficulty in uealing solely with uiy theoiy is put to iest by the
expeiience of That, the +#4#&") (meuitative absoiption) iefeiieu to in the
:#)%#8.# L6#,)+"#& calleu %);,#,# %0&#,*#, which the theoiy only implies.
When the question was put befoie Bhagavan of the neeu foi piactice anu then
fuithei piactice being iequiieu to attain the final state of the highest anu
peimanent +#4#&")E Be ueclaieu:

"People have all soits of notions about ,)1%)A#86#. All this is uue to
theii viewing it intellectually. M)1%)A#86# is Chit - effoitless, foimless
Consciousness. To some whose minus have become iipe fiom a long
piactice in the past, ,)1%)A#86# comes suuuenly as a floou, but to otheis it
comes in the couise of theii +#&"#,#, which slowly weais uown the
obstiucting thoughts anu ieveals the scieen of Puie Awaieness 'I'-'I'.
Fuithei piactice ienueis the scieen peimanently exposeu. This is Self-
iealization, N3A*), oi =#"#;# =#4#&"), the natuial, effoitless State."

Bhagavan fiequently useu the "motion pictuie scieen" simile to uesciibe
the essential natuie anu ielationship between the woilu peiceiveu by the
senses, the minu anu the Self.
Bhagavan: "To illustiate it: The pictuies move on the scieen in a cinema
show; but uoes the scieen itself move. No. The Piesence is the scieen:
you, I anu otheis aie the pictuies. The inuiviuuals may move but not the

Although the theoietical meanings of the "scieen" simile, anu the above
illustiation, aie vast as well as somewhat uifficult to giasp, Bhagavan is cleaily
uiiecting us to "weai uown the obstiucting thoughts to ieveal the scieen of
Puie Awaieness 'I'-'I'." 0ne of the most uiiect anu enueaiing piactices
piesciibeu by the Nahaishi that accomplishes this aspect of +#&"#,# involves
()1) ?1#&#A+"),# (ciicumambulation) of the sacieu hill 913,#2"#8#.

"The Nahaishi explaineu it in uetail, saying that the univeise is like a
painting on a scieen - the scieen being the Reu Bill, 913,#2"#8#. That
which iises anu sinks is maue up of what it iises fiom. The finality of the
univeise is the uou 913,#2"#8#. Neuitating on Bim oi on the seei, the
Self, theie is a mental vibiation 'I' to which all aie ieuuceu. Tiacing the

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 88-89.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 470, p. 459.
Practical Sadhana

souice of 'I', the piimal 'I-I' alone iemains ovei, anu it is inexpiessible.
The seat of Realisation is within anu the seekei cannot finu it as an
object outsiue him. That seat is bliss anu is the coie of all beings. Bence
it is calleu the Beait. The only useful puipose of the piesent biith is to
tuin within anu iealise it. Theie is nothing else to uo."

Regaiuing the efficacy of ()1) ?1#&#A+"),# as a most effective piactice of
"tuining within anu making the minu beai on uou", Bhagavan tolu the
following stoiy:

"The gieatness of this ()1) ?1#&#A+"),# has been uesciibeu at length in
913,#2"#8# ?31#,#4. Loiu Nanuikesa askeu Sauasiva a similai question
anu Sauasiva naiiateu as follows: 'To go iounu this hill is goou. The
woiu '?1#&#A+"),#' has a typical meaning. The lettei 'Pia' stanus foi
iemoval of all kinus of sins; 'ua' stanus foi fulfilling the uesiies; 'kshi'
stanus foi fieeuom fiom futuie biiths; 'na' stanus foi giving ueliveiance
thiough jnana. If by way of ?1#&#A+"),# you walk one step it gives
happiness in this woilu, two steps, it gives happiness in heaven, thiee
steps, it gives bliss of =#*.#8/A# which can be attaineu. 0ne shoulu go
iounu eithei in 4/3,# (silence) oi &".#,# (meuitation) oi ;#6#
(iepetition of Loiu's name) oi +#,A001*#,# (-"#;#, oi singing the Loiu's
name anu gloiies) anu theieby think of uou all the time. 0ne shoulu
walk slowly like a woman who is in the ninth month of piegnancy."

Let us, theiefoie, walk slowly but suiely towaius uou. Let us heeu one of
Bhagavan's final instiuctions, "to put Bis teaching into piactice" anu nevei
become foolish enough to allow oui piiueful anu ignoiant ego to tell us we
have aiiiveu at the goal without putting foith an ounce of effoit along the
path. It uoes not woik in piactical woiluly enueavoi anu likewise it will not
woik in the 'life of the Spiiit'.

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 219, p.189.
Letters from Sri Ramanashramam, Suri Nagamma, Sri Ramanashramam 2006,
Letter #251 June 1949, p. 600.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


º1he CbsLacles are Lhe PablLs of Lhe Mlnd"

Practical Sadhana

D/0 #0./,3 )23 >/). ?523018 F.

Question: I know Bhagavan has saiu:

"The obstacles that hinuei iealization aie habits of the minu
(%#+#,#+), anu the aius to iealization aie the teachings of the sciiptuies
anu of iealizeu souls."

What is uifficult to giasp, anu theiefoie neeus claiification aie the
methous of the teachings, especially in iegaiu to Bhagavan's methou of

"Reflection (enquiiy) is saiu to be one of the most effective anu
auvanceu techniques of spiiitual attainment, foi it leaus to Self-
iealization. Reflection in =#,+A1)* is %)2"#1#, also sometimes calleu
4#,#,#. Its founuation is baseu upon the quality of intellect. When the
intellect is puie anu subtle one begins to ieflect upon "Who am I.", what
is the natuie of this woilu, anu what is my goal in this life anu how am I
going to attain it. These aie all questions peitaining to an inwaiu
movement of the minu. But when the intellect is exteinalizeu it becomes
tainteu thiough attachment to the things of the woilu. This attachment
will in time ienuei the intellect impuie. The natuie of ieflection
common to this impuie intellect asks not questions vital to man's innei
seaich, but iathei ones essential to the suivival of the ego. This
exteinalizeu minu is uay anu night occupieu with acquiiing wealth,
sensual pleasuies, name anu fame. Then aftei acquisition of these, equal
time is spent waiuing off tioubles that might jeopaiuize theii
maintenance. We aie consumeu with bioouing ovei these objects of the
senses. 0ui attachment piouuces uesiie, fiom which spiouts angei
when the uesiie is thwaiteu. Fiom angei pioceeus uelusion anu

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah,
Sri Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 13, p. 5.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

-(1),&1 $; A9&3$*1

Thus we uo not feel any of the consequences of inuiffeience, inattention
anu piociastination conceining what in the beginning was meiely a habit of
bau choice, but now has matuieu into 61#4#&# (uefineu in the B0&#,*)2
sciiptuies as ueath).
Such ieflection is nevei uiiecteu to oui own Self, but is
only associateu with the tempoiaiy bouy it is uwelling within.

0ui mental piocesses uo not focus themselves on the cential pioblem,
which suiiounu the essential puipose of life, the ievelation of the Tiuth of oui
natuie. 0ui attempts to settle matteis in the exteinal woilu of 4#.# liteially
blinu us to the subtle anu ieal pioblem of "Who am I.". This blinuness alone
constitutes oui impuiity. The fiuitless but neveitheless enuless anu all-
consuming effoit put into an attempt to secuie happiness fiom the outsiue
woilu compounus oui pioblem. The neon lights auveitising woiluly
happiness initially cause us to postpone oui innei seaich on the path to Life. If
we iemain uistiacteu by the glamoui of the woilu long enough, we will
completely foiget the goal of Bighei Life. Thus sauly, the iesult will be that we
have succumbeu to the goal of the lowei egotistic self - foigetfulness of uou.

The vast majoiity of people have this exteinalizeu intellect in vaiious
uegiees. Simply, they aie not inteiesteu in the essential pioblem of "Who am
I.", anu aie unconceineu with its iesolution. Inattention to spiiitual piactice
at fiist only obscuies the Light of uou. By giaueu uegiees inattention spawns
inuiffeience, which iesults in blinuness.

7'( A#& $; -(;,(9&3$*

The piacticing aspiiant, on the othei hanu, leains the ait anu application
of ieflection on "Who am I.". Be allows the mental eneigy of a puiifieu
intellect to focus anu concentiate with uepth anu iegulaiity. The ego thiives in
an inuiviuual in the absence of ieflection. Thus, the whole woilu-piocess
exists uue to the absence of ieflection. If we ieflect skillfully anu long enough
the obstiucting thoughts of the woilu will be woin uown, oui pioblems will
uissolve anu oui puiifieu intellect will meige into the expeiience of oui unity
with uou (+#4#&")). Bhagavan assuies us of this by saying:

This section includes quotes and paraphrases from talks by Swami
Jyotirmayananda, Yoga Research Foundation, Miami Florida, USA.
See Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, verses 62-63.
Practical Sadhana


"We aie evei in +3+"36*) (absolute Being, in the uieamless ueep
sleep state). Becoming awaie of it in ;#$1#* (the waking state) is +#4#&").
The #;,#,) (one ignoiant of his tiue Being) cannot iemain long in
+3+"36*) because his ego pushes him out of it. The ;,#,) (Knowei of the
Self), although he has scoicheu the ego, it continues to iise again anu
again uue to 61#1#-&"# (past life habitual tenuencies). So, foi both the
;,#,) anu the #;,#,) the ego spiings up, but with this uiffeience: wheieas
the ;,#,) enjoys the tianscenuental expeiience, keeping its 8#A+".# (aim,
attention iesulting in tiansfoimation) always fixeu on its souice, that of
the #;,#,) is completely ignoiant of it. The foimei is not haimful, being a
meie skeleton of its noimal self, like a buint up iope. By constantly fixing
its attention on the Souice, the Beait, the ego gets uissolveu into it like a
salt uoll which has fallen into the ocean."

7'( C34'(# +*/ 2$D(# >(,;

It is essential to unueistanu the uiffeience heie in Bhagavan's affiiming
that the "absolute Being that we ieally aie" (with a capital "B" uenoting oui
highei uivine Self), without the piocess of tiansfoimation enjoineu, coulu veiy
well be a long time (lifetimes) away fiom oui piesent state of 'being as we aie'
(with a small "b" uenoting oui lowei egotistic self). This is because though the
ego seems to be evei conceineu with oui well being, it comes between oui
piactical peisonality in this woilu anu the spiiitual peisonality of oui highei

It comes in-between anu lies; anu oui belief in the lie ueluues us with
the iuea that we aie only the bouy, without spiiitual basis. Peihaps even a lie
that ueclaies that we can be puie Being without the spiiitual basis cieateu by
the piocess of tiansfoimation, which Bhagavan ueclaieu as essential. Leu by
the ego's lies, the inuiviuual expeiiences fleeting joys mixeu with lasting
fiustiations anu soiiows, which uiag him fiom one embouiment to anothei.

When we piactice ieflection we begin to unueistanu the illusoiy natuie
of the ego. The puipose of #*4# %)2"#1# is to iemove this illusion. In essence
we melt the ego itself, oi tianscenu the ego thiough submission to uou.

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 56.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

uiauually thiough eithei path, uou becomes the uominating factoi in
oui lives. The veiification of this achievement, without the taint of human
imagination, is actual expeiience of the giace anu bliss of stillness anu peace,
which Bhagavan piomiseu is oui highei Natuie by inheiitance.

E*4+43*4 &'( E*(%6 D3&' :(/3&+&3$*

Befoie this ievelation, theie must come a confiontation anu a
conqueiing, then finally sublimation thiough the iising of oui self by oui own
self-effoit (+%#A1).#).

"0ne shoulu uplift oneself by one's own Self anu not lowei oneself.
Tiuly, it is the Self which is one's fiienu, anu it is the self which is one's

Bhagavan gives us a choice of two means of piactice. Be fiequently saiu:

"Theie aie two ways: 'Ask youiself- Who am I.' oi 'Submit anu I
will stiike uown the ego'."

Foi those who have set theii hanus to the plough of:

"Effoit, which is itself ./$#,"

it seems safe to assume that both of the means employ similai methous.
Bhagavan's statements conceining the success of eithei path exemplify this.
A uevotee who ieceiveu uiiect instiuction foi a long peiiou of time fiom
Bhagavan asks:

"Although I have listeneu to the explanation of the chaiacteiistics
of enquiiy in such gieat uetail, my minu has not gaineu even a little
peace. What is the ieason foi this."

Bhagavan ieplieu: "The ieason is the absence of stiength oi one-
pointeuness of minu."

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 5.
Be Still, It Is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2000,
p. 64.
Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 74.
Practical Sadhana

Bevotee: "What is the ieason foi the absence of mental stiength."

Bhagavan: "The means that make one qualifieu foi enquiiy aie
meuitation, ./$#, etc. 0ne shoulu gain pioficiency in these thiough
giaueu piactice, anu thus secuie a stieam of mental moues that is
natuial anu helpful. When the minu that has in this mannei become iipe,
listens to the piesent enquiiy, it will at once iealize its tiue natuie, which
is the Self, anu iemain in peifect peace, without ueviating fiom that state.
To a minu that has not become iipe, immeuiate iealization anu peace aie
haiu to gain thiough listening to enquiiy. Yet, if one piactices the means
foi minu-contiol foi some time, peace of minu can be obtaineu

0nce a uevotee of Bhagavan askeu:

COP "What is the meaning of the stiength of the minu."

NahaishiP "Its ability to concentiate on one thought without being

COP "Bow is that achieveu."

NOP "By piactice. A uevotee concentiates on uou; a seekei, followei of the
;,#,#Q4#1$#, seeks the Self. The piactice is equally uifficult foi both."

B.: "What aie the steps in piactical +#&"#,#."

N.: "They uepenu on the qualifications anu the natuie of the seekei. If
you aie uoing iuol woiship, you shoulu go on with it; it will leau you to
concentiation. uet one-pointeu, anu all will come out iight. People think
that Libeiation is fai away anu shoulu be sought out. They aie wiong. It
is only knowing (by uiiect expeiience) the Self within oneself.
Concentiate anu you will get it. The minu is the cycle of biiths anu
ueaths. uo on piacticing anu concentiation will be as easy as bieathing.
That will be the ciown of youi achievements."

Self-Enquiry (Vichara Sangraham) of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi,
translated by Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan, Sri Ramanashramam 2005, p. 16-17.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 91. p. 90.
Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, S.S. Cohen, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, p. 134-135.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

=$*1&+*96 +*/ A#/(*96

Beie Bhagavan is stiessing the giaueu piactice of concentiation that
ultimately piouuces a one-pointeu intellect. Eveiy leaineu uevotee of
Bhagavan knows that this takes time because of the veiy fact that it is not
theoiy. Foi uou is not a theoiy, anu thus it takes effoit to think of Bim with
concentiation at least equal to the effoit we put foith in foigetting Bim.

Though we foiget uou with appaient ease, the uevotion iequiieu to
attiact the giace of iemembiance of Bim uevelops slowly, anu ueepens only
with oui aiuent peiseveiance in concentiation, meuitation anu piayei.
Bhagavan affiimeu this by saying:

"If -"#A*) is sufficiently uevelopeu, %#)1#$.# (uispassion foi objects
of the senses) anu concentiation follow as a mattei of couise. If uevotion
to an Iueal (commonly an R+"*# C0%#*#) is also lacking, the seekei may
iesoit to ;#6# (iepetition of the Name of uou) oi 61#,#.#4# (awaieness
anu contiol of bieath) to aiiest the iestlessness of the minu. All these
piactices specifically aim at stopping the %1)**), the ceaseless
mouification, the wanueiings of the minu, so that the lattei may be
naileu to itself anu may eventually cognize its own native state. Nental
uiffusiveness iesembles a mixtuie of golu uust with sanu, eaith, ashes
anu uiit of all soits. Concentiation (&"#1#,#) anu meuitation (&".#,#)
aie the sieve, which sifts the golu uust fiom the otheis. They chuin the
,#&)+ (neives) along which consciousness flows to the whole bouy anu
tiacks them uown to theii souice, the Beait. Relaxation of the neivous
system then takes place, uenoting the ebbing of the consciousness fiom
the nauis back to the Beait. The ebbs anu flows of the consciousness,
which constant piactice ienueis incieasingly peiceptible to the
meuitatoi, giauually loosen the consciousness fiom the bouy anu enu by
sepaiating them in +#4#&"), so that the +#&"#A# (spiiitual piactitionei)
is enableu to peiceive the consciousness alone anu puie. This is the Self,
uou the Absolute."

0ui constancy in +#&"#,# involves both a peisistent uevelopment of
focus anu a ueepening of uevotion. The Loiu is attiacteu not by the thoughts

Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, S.S. Cohen, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, notes on Talk 27, p. 133.
Practical Sadhana

of the minu, but iathei by the movement of oui heait. We aie ieminueu that
we also have a skillful pait to play in this act of giace when Bhagavan saiu:

"uiace is always theie, it is only you who have to make youiself
ieceptive to it."

E;;$#& +*/ B#+9(

Bhagavan's close uisciple, Aithui 0sboine, claiifieu the meaning anu
tiauition of this statement saying:

"To uo this constitutes the effoit of which the teacheis anu
sciiptuies speak. The minu has cieateu the obstiuction; the minu has to
iemove it. But meiely to iecognize this, to iecognize, that is to say, that
the ego is (accoiuing to the 9&%#)*), oi non-uualist) an illusoiy self oi
(accoiuing to the uualist) a cieation of the Spiiit, to which it shoulu be
totally submissive anu passive, is fai fiom constituting the full effoit
iequiieu. Inueeu, it incieases the obligation foi total effoit anu theiefoie,
so to speak, the guilt in not making effoit."

Though giace is always theie, it is natuial anu simply human to piay to
Bhagavan foi a physical suppoit of giace. We know that in Bhagavan's
physical piesence a glance was enough. Though many have come to love him,
theie aie those who feel "boin out of time", lacking that heaitfelt uevotion
piouuceu by the powei of his piesence even though he assuieu us that:

"They say that I am uying but I am not going away. Wheie coulu I
go. I am heie."

Thiough oui #-".#+#, %)2"#1# (enquiiy into one's tiue Natuie) anu
uevotion we will expeiience him anu thus know that he is eteinally with us.
Be is foi all a ;#$#* $313 (woilu teachei) who even touay foi many, thiough
theii love of him, is still a physical suppoit of giace. Be ueclaieu that if we "put
his teaching into piactice" oui qualifing iipeness woulu be even his veiy

Be Still, It Is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2000,
p. 74.
Ibid. p. 73.
Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, p. 222.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

embiace! Foi those of us whose love foi him is still iipening we live with the
assuiance he gave:

"N/3,* :#)8#+ is the aboue of =)%# but 913,#2"#8# is =)%# Bimself."
"Be saw the sacieu hill as the foim assumeu by puie Spiiit foi the suppoit
anu guiuance of men. Now that the physical bouy of Bhagavan - the most
piecious of all suppoits of uiace has been withuiawn fiom us, the Bill
emits powei anu uiace foi his uevotees even moie than befoie."

"$,,$D3*4 3* C31 "$$&1&(F1

Peihaps even moie assuiing will be that thiough "the ciown of oui
achievement" Bhagavan will ueclaie to us when we come away fiom his
9+"1#4 anu 913,#2"#8# the veiy same woius he spoke to Aithui 0sboine
when he once left foi Nauias:

"Be is taking the =G#4) with him."

Foi thiough oui seeking with patient peiseveiance in tiansfoimative
#-".#+# anu %)2"#1# anu oui heeuing Bhagavan's call to "think of the feet of
the Loiu", we will uiscovei the aboue of those uivine feet. Even though
physically foi us theie is:

"No moie the beloveu face, no moie the sounu of his voice; (but)
hencefoith the 8),$#4 of polisheu black stone, the symbol of =)%#, ovei
the +#4#&") (as oui) outei sign; inwaiuly (theie will be) his footpiints in
the heait."

Be Still, It Is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2000,
p. 78-79.
Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, p. 225.
Practical Sadhana


Cu8u 8AMAnA SlvA
(Sii Nuiuganai often iefeiieu to Bhagavan by this name)
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

D/0 (003 -,1 ) H717

Question: I now unueistanu the neeu foi #-".#+# anu %)2"#1#O But a
laigei question has now aiisen which is the neeu foi a $313 to guiue my
effoits towaius attainment. Is a $313 necessaiy, what uoes a $313 ieally uo,
anu wheie can I finu one whom I can whole-heaiteuly believe anu tiust.
The heait anu soul of =#,#*#,# C"#14#, oi the eteinal ieligion, founu its
oiigination anu essence in the oial tiansmission of its Tiuths. Since the
abiuing natuie of this &"#14# is Eteinal, the founuation foi those who touay
seek to cultivate these Tiuths must iely piimaiily on the oial tiauition
tiansmitteu thiough the $313Q&)+2)680 ielationship, oi thiough +#*+#,$#E which
will leau one towaiu that ielationship.
These tiauitions that weie a Tiuth of olu, iemain Tiuth touay. The
piimaiy uifficulty univeisally faceu by all who seek to cultivate the innei Life
of the Spiiit is the question of authenticity.
The piimaiy choice to make in the beginning of spiiitual puisuit is
whethei to seek the outwaiu guiuance of a $313, oi finu the path to the
Eteinal thiough the piompting of the innei intuitive voice of the Self.
Regaiuless of the chosen path, the unceitainty facing all who seek a
piactice of meuitation that can piouuce puiification is the question of the
authenticity of the teacheis anu theii teachings, oi the ieliability of one's own
innei voice. The question of whethei oi not to tiust this voice of the
conscience uepenus solely on the quality of +#**%# (puiity of vision anu habits)
of the intellect.
The essential quality of intellect, in iegaiu to the neeu foi a $313, iests
piimaiily upon a cleai vision anu unueistanuing of exactly what a $313 uoes.
Theiefoie Bhagavan, who left no stone untuineu in the ongoing guiuance of all
who came befoie Bim, gave piecise claiification on this essential aspect of
Practical Sadhana

spiiitual life to one of Bis close uisciples, Aithui 0sboine, who summaiizeu
Bhagavan's teaching in his collecteu essays:
"The $313 is the Spiiit of uuiuance. 0ltimately this is to be founu within
oneself. Whatevei awakens it is acting as $313. "The puipose of the outei
$313," the Nahaishi saiu, "is to tuin you inwaius to the innei $313." Anu yet in
this iegaiu theie is no easy foimula, no guaiantee against eiioi, foi just as the
aspiiant may be misleu by false outei $313+ ieflecting unuesiiable qualities in
himself, so he may uignify vaiious innei uiges with the same name "$313".
Constant vigilance anu intelligent puiity aie necessaiy."

The authenticity of spiiitual teacheis is now a uecaues olu pioblem, as
was noteu by one of the close uisciples living with Sii Ramana Nahaishi:
"The iise of a new political iueology in the West aftei the fiist
Woilu Wai maue men intoleiant of all authoiity. The foices it ieleaseu
anu the spiiit of iebellion it uisseminateu eveiywheie hau such
extiemely wiue iepeicussions that its influence stampeu itself on most of
the new woilu liteiatuie. It invaueu even the spiiitual spheie anu
coloieu the views of the pieacheis, who became the Nessiahs of the new
age. The tiuly-seeking minus weie thus caught between the spiiit of the
new age anu that of the veneiable tiauitions anu sciiptuies, which hau,
thioughout the centuiies piouuceu spiiitual giants who leu millions
"fiom the unieal to the Real anu fiom ueath to Immoitality." It is small
wonuei then that bewilueieu, eainest, tiuth-hungiy men shoulu
anxiously visit Ramana Nahaishi anu seek his auvice on the neeu oi
otheiwise of a $313."

7#)1&(/ B)3/+*9(
Bistoiically, the guiuance of a Nastei anu the uiscipline of the uisciple
weie to all ieligions essentially funuamental. Sii Ramana Nahaishi coulu not
have moie cleaily emphasizeu this tiuth when he was once askeu: "Is it

Be Still, It Is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2000.
p. 62.
Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 68.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

necessaiy to have a physical guiu." The Nastei ieplieu: "Is it necessaiy foi a
new boin chilu to have a mothei."
Neveitheless, in oui mouein age oui moous anu suspicions conceining
the authenticity of a $313H+ teachings automatically come into question. In
oiuei to coiiectly iesolve this question, the seekei must possess the valuable
quality of uisciimination, stiengtheneu by vigilant piayei foi guiuance. The
spiiitual maiketplace has foi uecaues been oveistockeu with self-maue
masteis who seek woiluly benefits foi themselves iathei than spiiitual
benefits foi theii followeis. Theiefoie, sinceie seekeis the woilu ovei 'casting
theii caies upon the Loiu' have given the ieins of powei anu piactice to an
innei guiue. Though many take uiiection fiom theii now so-calleu ),,01 $313
with faith, hope anu ieliance, they aie simply unawaie of a gieat uangei - a
poweiful anu uestiuctive enemy within. Loiu Kiishna wains Aijuna of this
gieat foe to the iealization of the Self in the beginning chapteis of the
!"#$#%#& ()*#: Aijuna saiu:
"By what is a man impelleu to commit evil, B#1+",0.# |an epithet of
Loiu Kiishnaj, seemingly against his own will, as if uigeu theieunto by
foice." The Boly Loiu saiu, "It is uesiie, it is angei, that's boin of the 1#;/Q
$3,#: of gieat ciaving, anu of gieat sin; know that to be the enemy.The
senses, minu anu intellect aie saiu to heie be its aboue.thus iestiaining
the self (heie the use of '#*4#,' uenotes the minu) by the Self, then
uestioy that enemy so haiu to conquei: uesiie."

Sii Kiishna is ievealing not only the iuentity anu natuie of the enemy
within; Be is showing us the location of its foitiess. Without the guiuance of
an expeiienceu Nastei, one's own intellect might intuit inimical uesiie to be
simply anothei thought. The enemy is the ages-olu ego; the uesiie emanating
fiom it is its veiy life-bloou. Its aboue is thiee-folu, anu its poweis cannot be
imagineu away. Not only is the ego living within the senses anu the minu, but
also within the highei faculty of oui intellect.
7'( AG$/( $; 7#)&'
Technically we aie speaking of the %);,#,#4#.# A/+"#, which is also the
aboue of oui intuitional intellect. The sciiptuies speak of this A/+"# as being

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, sections of verses 36-43.
Practical Sadhana

the uwelling place of the uouuess =#1#+G#*), the Beity of oui consciousness.
This fact is foi us the wonuei of wonueis anu at once oui veiy uilemma.
Foi though the uouuess is oui veiy own Bivine Nothei anu gieatest
fiienu, caiing only foi Bei chiluien's upliftment anu highest Realization, we
have peimitteu oui gieatest enemy to co-exist in Bei uwelling place - anu
these two aie not fiienus.
Though oui Bivine Nothei uiiects us upon a seemingly iuggeu path of
uiscipline, vigilance anu patient enuuiance, Bei piomiseu iewaiu is eteinal
happiness anu puie unselfish love. The ego, on the othei hanu, impels us
towaiu the instant (though fleeting anu illusoiy) satisfaction of ciaving. The
choice between these two is not up to fate, but iathei ouis to ueciue.
Sii Kiishna fuithei ueclaies in the ()*# that the ouus of victoiy foi iight
uisceinment anu effoit by Aijuna (symbolizing each one of us), even with such
a one as Sii Kiishna Bimself as mentoi anu guiue, weie against Aijuna by a
iatio of eleven to seven. The foot soluieis of the ego simply outnumbei oui
viituous tenuencies.
As we aie against bau ouus anu aie cieatuies of bau habit, oui ego can
impel us, even against oui own will, to make bau choices. In all honesty, such
bau choices cause us ciitical uamage, iesulting in lives of soiiow anu miseiy.
All oui suffeiing comes fiom vainly seeking to appease the ego, an enemy
whose appetite is insatiable.
7'( ?$39( $; 7#)&'

Foi Loiu Kiishna has saiu:

"0 Son of Kunti (Aijuna), wisuom is clouueu by uesiie. This
constant enemy of the wise is as insatiable as fiie."

Aumitteuly, theie is an entiie school of ieligious thought that iefutes this
position as being of the less matuie path of -"#A*). They have voluminous
#&%#)*)2 (non-uual theism) sciiptuies of the ;,#,# 4#1$# (way) that can be

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, verse 39.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

inteipieteu to suppoit theii claims. Regaiuless of this, theie is univeisal
agieement amongst all sects that uue to #&"#14# (uniighteousness of
civilization) anu the spiiitual blinuness ensuing fiom it, an embouiment of the
uivine state of peifection appeais amongst humankinu fiom time to time to
establish &"#14# in the woilu.
In oui times Sii Ramana Nahaishi came foith as an embouiment of that
Peifection. Bis teaching is iecognizeu anu accepteu as the 4#"#./$# (gieat
path to union with uou) thiough piimaiily the ;,#,# 4#1$#. Although, he uiu
say that to be a tiue ;,#,) one woulu simultaneously become a tiue -"#A*#,
anu vice veisa.
To know the tiuth iegaiuing the neeu foi a $313 to leau one thiough the
peiils of engagement with an enemy that ioams fieely in a woilu ablaze with
its uesiie of unappeasable fiie, let us listen to the voice of the Nahaishi, anu
the comments of one who liveu by his siue. Bhagavan saiu:
"The $313 is the foimless Self within each one of us. Be may appeai
as a bouy to guiue us, but that is only his uisguise.the function of the
outei $313 is to awaken the innei $313 in the heait."
The $313 iealizes
the ultimate tiuth that: "Theie is no being of the unieal anu no not-being
of the Real."
. "Anu yet, paiauoxically, it is also an impeuiment to
asseit that no effoit neeu be maue, on the pietext that, as 'theie is no
being of the unieal anu no not-being of the Real' one is that now anu has
theiefoie no neeu to stiive to become That. It sounus plausible, but it is
an impeuiment because it is the pseuuo-self, the illusoiy unieal, that is
saying it. The Nastei can say that theie is nothing to achieve because one
is That alieauy; the uisciple can't.Bhagavan expecteu the uevotee to
make effoit, even while appieciating the paiauox that theie is no effoit
to make. In the same way he woulu say that foi the Realizeu Nan theie is

Be Still, It is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2000,
p. 80.
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, verse 16.
Practical Sadhana

no $313Q&)+2)680 ielationship but auueu that foi the uisciple the
ielationship is a ieality anu is of impoitance."

7'( E*(%6 <3&'3*
We cannot manoeuvie anu piogiess towaius victoiy ovei an enemy that
outnumbeis us, in such an inimical battlefielu calleu the human minu, without
soliciting ieal help. Without an expeiienceu guiue as the ueneial of oui foices,
we may even couit a fatal consequence. By legitimizing anu even ueifying oui
ego's habitual heeuless inuiffeience to uou, anu by labeling its uiges as the
'),,01 $313' oi 'voice of oui spiiit', we inevitably fall into the ueath giip of
In the L&./$# ?#1%# of the N#"#-"#1#*# epic, the blinu King
Bhiitaiashtia, who symbolizes the blinuness of the ego, cynically asks the
Sage Sanat Sujata: "What is ueath." The Sage ieplies, "?1#4#&# is ueath!" It
shoulu be unueistoou that the uefinitions of =#,+A1)* woius aie subject to
philosophical intention, anu thus aie piey to inuiviuual bias. Theiefoie
uisagieement anu even aigument conceining piopei meaning anu usage aie
commonplace. Neveitheless, the most leaineu scholais agiee that the ancient
uefinition of the woiu 61#4#&# comes fiom its usage in this sciiptuie. "N#&#"
means intoxication, when piefixeu by "61#" it becomes intense intoxication to
the uegiee of mauness.
The ancient Saintly King Baitiuhaii, who became an enlighteneu Sage,
useu the woiu 61#4#&# in the coiiect spiiitual sense inuicateu by the Sage
Sunat Sujata. Be pioclaimeu:
"Peetva mohamayeem piamaua mauiiam unmatta bhootam jagat"
"This woilu (its inhabitants theiein) has become mau aftei having
uiunk the wine of negligence (61#4#&#: laxity towaius the spiiitual

Be Still, It is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2000,
p. 76.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

goal), which being of the foim of 4/"# (uelusion), has oveiwhelming
powei to ueluue you."
The Sage Sanat Sujata is inuicating that the piesence of 61#4#&# biings
about a spiiitual ueath. Thus the spiiitual mauness that at fiist manifests as
inuiffeience, inattention anu negligence becomes ueauly because it is uiiecteu
towaius uou. This is not to be uefineu as foigetfulness of the Self, unless one
aumits to a willful anu belligeient foigetfulness.
The seconuaiy meaning of 61#4#&# is piociastination anu laziness, it
means not taking any immeuiate action to iectify this most soul-stiipping
heeulessness. 0ne may say: "uou's giace is always theie, so somehow I will get
back on my spiiitual feet." But the fatality of staying "ueau level" without
motivation to iise up comes upon us as 61#4#&# gives biith to its only-
begotten son. This offspiing of 61#4#&# is known in =#,+A1)* as &31#$1#"#.
C31#$1#"# means the auamant ueteimination to uo that which you know you
shoulu nevei uo.
The compounu spiiitual fiactuie of being inuiffeient to uou anu
habitually paitaking in negative action with uttei uisiegaiu foi the negative
consequences cieates a A#14)2 bloouletting fatal even to the stiongest
>((0 +*/ H$) >'+,, "3*/
We can believe the Saints when they say: "0ui fate is simply a bunule of
habits; if you want to change youi fate - change youi habits."

We now unueistanu that a $313 is necessaiy. But foi so many sinceie
people longing foi spiiitual attainment, the uilemma of "Wheie is my $313,
amongst so many who aie not." still iemains looming befoie them. Sii
Ramana Nahaishi spoke piecisely to them by ueclaiing that one shoulu fiist

Quoted from the talks of Swami Sivananda, of the Divine Life Society,
Rishikesh, India.
Practical Sadhana

"What is a $313. (313 is uou oi the Self. Fiist man piays to uou to
fulfill his uesiies. A time comes when he will no moie piay foi the
fulfillment of mateiial uesiies but foi uou Bimself. uou then appeais to
him in some foim oi anothei, human oi non-human, to guiue him to
Bimself in answei to his piayei anu accoiuing to his neeus."

A uevotee inquiieu of Bhagavan: "Is theie any way to meet the
appointeu $313 foi each."
Nahaishi: "Intense meuitation biings it about."

Theiefoie the seaich foi a $313 is only the seaich foi uou. We neeu not
seaich in vain foi the place to knock, foi it is within. Sii Kiishna saiu: "Ny
gloiy is within", }esus also assuies us of the uiiection to finu the $313 as the
"peail of gieat piice" saying: "Seek ye fiist the Kinguom of Beaven anu all else
shall be auueu unto you."
This kinguom within is oui veiy Beait, anu Bhagavan offeis two ways of
appioach, anu then cleaily instiucts us how to unite with it:
"Theie aie two ways: 'Ask youiself - Who am I.' oi 'Submit
anu I will stiike uown the ego'."
"Seeking my tiue natuie in youi
Beait, uiscoveiing it anu iejoicing in it by bathing in the bliss of my
;,#,# +G#136# - this is unionO" "0nly -"#A*) +#&"#,# peifoimeu
continuously with love will facilitate easily, in a giauual way, this
union." "Entei with love the temple that is in youi own Beait anu
expeiience the bliss of being absoibeu in my +G#136#, becoming
one with it." "I myself will commanu anu contiol a minu that has
uieu by the saciifice of the ego."

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 70.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 135. p. 125.
Be Still, It Is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam, p. 64.
Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar,
Avadhuta Foundation 2004, p. 29, verses 27-30.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


º1he klngdom of Peaven ls WlLhln ?ou"

Bhagavan is quoting from the Bible in: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi,
recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 311.
Practical Sadhana

>/56/ >)* >5./52

Question: Without uoubt, uou anu Bis sciiptuies, anu those who take up
a seiious spiiitual piactice agiee that the ultimate goal is within. But when the
minu of man goes within, theie is founu an unimaginable vaiiety of species,
living in woilus within woilus of thought. What is the methou of fiist locating,
then concentiating on anu then attaining the 0ne thing neeuful.

0nquestionably, the human minu is a well-seasoneu tiavelei, with a
photogiaphic memoiy, thiough untolu lifetimes of woilus of expeiience.

The Buuuha once uiiecteu his followeis to consiuei the vast numbei of
uiffeient species existing in oui cieation. Bis followeis weie peiplexeu at
failing to biing to minu the vastness of the types, shapes anu colois of
seemingly millions of life foims. Be then ueclaieu:

"The human minu is moie vaiiegateu than this vaiiety of known life."

Yet we aie tolu to tuin within anu seek the souice that gave biith to
these vast woilus. It is no wonuei that many, uue to memoiies of past painful
stiuggles anu failuies, simply ueclaie: "I am not going theie anu uestioy the
little peace I have." Theii steaufast stance of holuing on to even a fleeting
iefuge fiom an appaiently uncontiollable woilu on fiie seems to be suppoiteu
even by the statements of Aijuna anu Loiu Kiishna in the !"#$#%#& ()*#.
Aijuna saiu:

"0 Nauhusuuana, I uo not see how it is possible to maintain the steauy
state of </$)2 equanimity which you have taught. The minu is evei so iestless!
veiily, 0 Kiishna, the minu is fickle, impetuous, poweiful anu tuibulent. To
me, it seems as uifficult to contiol the minu as it is to contiol the winu". Loiu
Kiishna saiu: "Inueeu, the minu is iestless anu uifficult to contiol, but it can be
biought unuei contiol by the piactice of #-".#+# anu %#)1#$.#, 0 son of Kunti.
It is my opinion that </$# is uifficult foi anyone who is lacking self-contiol,
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

but it can be attaineu by one who has masteieu the lowei self, if he auopts the
piopei means."

I)# 5*;+,,3G,( <(+F$*

Common sense shows us that to combat anu conquei a foe that is so
poweiful anu tuibulent we must uevelop oui own poweis anu stability.
Neuitation is the means to this enu. The methous to auopt uepenu on "wheie
we stanu". But fiist we must fiimly iise to oui feet befoie tuining inwaius.
Piactically, we must fiist ueciue to invest the time foi iepeateu effoit, anu
then uevelop stiength anu peiseveiance to uevelop the iight uisceinment anu
ensuing viitues that will stiengthen us. Spiiitual life impioves much like
woiluly life; giauually step-by-step.

When we weie babies ciawling on the flooi but wanting to be in the
aims of oui mothei, we leapeu foiwaiu only to come uown with a ciash.
Innately we leaineu to concentiate on stanuing with balance anu then moving
towaius oui goal. Thiough oui iepeateu effoits, anu failuies, at gaining
concentiation, we achieveu success.

Likewise, in the beginning of spiiitual movement the fiist task befoie us
is to uevelop the skill of concentiation within meuitation. In fact, in the ?#8)
5#,/,+ containing the woius of the Buuuha (whom the spiiitual woilu ieveies
as the Nastei of meuitation), the woiu in ?#8) useu foi meuitation (;"#,#)
means exactly "uevelopment".

The Buuuha (also being the Nastei of metaphoi) likeneu this
uevelopment to builuing a biiuge ovei a swiftly iunning iivei. The
founuations of this biiuge on eithei shoie weie viitue anu uisceinment. The
most impoitant founuation in the miuule of the most uangeiously tuibulent
cuiients is concentiation. If oui concentiation iests on a weak founuation,
then it is only a mattei of time befoie oui viitue anu uisceinment aie washeu

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verses 33-36. (Translation By Swami
Jyotirmayananda, Yoga Research Foundation,
Gunaratna,, "It burns up opposing states, thus it is
jhana" (Vin. A. i, 116). The purport being that jhana "burns up" or destroys the
mental defilements, thus the development (bhavana) of serenity and insight is
Practical Sadhana

away. Theiefoie to piopeily auuiess youi question, the fiist step is not a
mattei of location but iathei of "Bow to uevelop concentiation."

=$*9(*&#+&3$* +*/ ?343,+*9(

We have heaiu fiom Loiu Kiishna anu his beloveu uisciple the
uesciiption of the natuie of the minu. We know fiom science that the vital
natuie of all life is in the bloou. The life-bloou of the minu is movement! To
concentiate means to steauy anu ultimately contiol this movement that
piouuces uistiaction (iestlessness). Theiefoie, to establish concentiation in
meuitation means contiol of the minu. Yes, now must come the 0ltimate
Question; "Bow to contiol the minu."

Buiing the yeais that Sii Ramana Nahaishi was living on the sacieu hill
of 913,#2"#8# in the B)136#A+"# cave, a uevotee whose most uigent concein
was this veiy question was visiting him uaily.

The uevotee askeu Bhagavan: "0f the means foi minu-contiol,
which is the most impoitant."

The Nastei ieplieu not just to the uevotee, iathei his answei was
fiameu to all univeisally:

"Bieath contiol is the means foi minu contiol."

The uevotee, being a -"#A*# (followei anu fiienu) of Loiu Rama, was
well awaie of the fact that this answei was a well-establisheu piactice in the
ancient ieligions of the woilu. Be no uoubt was awaie that what was being
iefeiieu to was not the complicateu, misuseu, anu the sometimes uestiuctive
piactice of ./$)2 61#,#.#4#, but iathei a piactice also known as "watching
the bieath". Neveitheless, aftei Bhagavan biiefly uiscusseu the textual
uefinitions of bieath ietention anu iegulation, the uevotee iestateu his

"Bow is bieath-contiol the means foi minu-contiol."

Self-Enquiry (Vichara Sangraham) of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, trans.
By Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan, Sri Ramanashramam 2005, p. 17.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan ieplieu: "Theie is no uoubt that bieath-contiol is the
means foi minu-contiol, because the minu, like bieath, is a pait of aii,
because the natuie of mobility is common to both, because the place of
oiigin is common to both, anu because when one of them is contiolleu
the othei gets contiolleu."

Bhagavan's teaching iegaiuing bieath-contiol is cleaily given in Chaptei
Six of the =1) 7#4#,# ()*#:

"0ne shoulu contiol the fickle minu by contiolling the bieath anu then
it, like a tetheieu animal, ceases to stiay."

"With the contiol of bieath, contiol of thoughts also is achieveu. When
thoughts aie contiolleu one stanus establisheu at theii souice."

"Contiol of bieath means meiely watching with the minu the flow of
bieath. Thiough such constant watching A34-"#A# uoes come about."

J(9(F&3$* $; &'( :3*/

Foity-foui yeais latei Bhagavan was again iequesteu to expanu on this
essential means foi contiolling the minu. But piioi to that ievelation, the neeu
aiises to auuiess those who flatly, anu paiauoxically with an angiy boluness,
ueclaie that the minu anu this so-calleu ego aie all an illusion.
They ietoit that what is being askeu to be contiolleu simply uoes not
exist, anu absolutely no effoit neeu be exeiciseu to attain this Bivine state
iefeiieu to as the "0ne thing neeuful". They iefei to the Nastei saying that this
'0ne thing' is absolute Knowleuge of the Self, anu it is always theie.
Fuitheimoie, they emphatically piopounu that Bhagavan's 0++0,*)#8 teaching
pioclaims, "We aie That", anu the $313H+ woik is +/808. to ieveal this Tiuth.

0nuoubteuly, Bhagavan's teaching emphasizeu that the Self (uou) is
within us. Bis essential teaching, howevei, as a ;#$#* $313, was the ievelation
of #*4# %)2"#1# as the path of enquiiy, which effectively iemoves the
ignoiance of iuentification with the false "I", anu inevitably leaus one to the
uiiect expeiience (#6#1/A+"# #,3-"#%#S of Self-iealization. Bhagavan
uefinitively claiifies this Tiuth, anu that of the $313H+ iole, when Be ueclaieu:

Ibid. p. 18.
Sri Ramana Gita, Sri Ramanashramam 2004, p. 25, verses 3-5.
Practical Sadhana

"If ignoiance is wipeu out the confusion will enu anu tiue
knowleuge unfolueu. By iemaining in contact with iealizeu sages one
$1#&3#88. loses his ignoiance till it uisappeais totally. The eteinal Self is
thus ievealeu. Without unueistanuing it aiight people think that the
uuiu teaches something like "TATvANASI" anu immeuiately the uisciple
iealizes "I am Biahman". In theii ignoiance they conceive Biahman to be
something much biggei anu fai moie poweiful than anything else. With a
limiteu 'I' man is so stuck up anu wilu. What will he be if the same 'I'
incieaseu enoimously. Be will ceitainly be piopoitionately moie
ignoiant anu moie foolish. This false 'I' must peiish. Its annihilation is
the fiuit of seivice to the uuiu. Realization is eteinal anu is not gianteu
by the uuiu. The uuiu helps only the iemoval of ignoiance; that is all."

Bhagavan, in answei to questions, has saiu that ?#*#,;#8)H+ </$# =3*1#+
weie the quintessence of #+*"#,$# ./$# (the eight-limbeu yoga followeu by
millions anu iespecteu by all). Let us apply this Sage's wisuom to ueciue
whethei we possess the obstacles to knowleuge he uesciibes anu theiefoie
must use all of oui poweis to iemove them, oi whethei foi us it is simply all
an illusion.

Patanjali ueclaies: "Sickness, mental laziness, uoubt, lack of
enthusiasm, sloth, ciaving foi sense-pleasuie, false peiception, uespaii
causeu by failuie to concentiate anu unsteauiness in concentiation;
these uistiactions aie the obstacles to knowleuge. These uistiactions aie
accompanieu by giief, uesponuency, tiembling of the bouy anu iiiegulai

To those who asseit that they uo not believe these human tiaits aie
anything othei than illusion, all that can be possibly saiu is: "Tiy wishing them
away, anu goou luck!"

Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, S.S. Cohen, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 350 p. 172.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Swami Prabhavananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math 2005,
Sutras 30-31, p. 38.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

>&#(*4&' $; K#(+&'

In the yeai 194S, Bhagavan was again iequesteu to expanu on how
bieath-contiol oi watching the bieath was an essential means foi contiolling
the minu. The conveisation between Nastei anu uisciple was:

"In continuation of an olu question of his with iefeience to a
ceitain passage in N#"# </$#, the uisciple askeu Bhagavan whethei it
was necessaiy anu a conuition pieceuent foi a man to watch his
bieathing befoie beginning the mental quest 'Who am I.' "

Bhagavan: "All uepenus on a man's 6#A%# (his matuiity anu
fitness). Those who uo not have the mental stiength T#,/*"01
*1#,+8#*)/, /> U40,*#8 +*10,$*"H )+ 6106#10&,0++ $#),0& *"1/3$" 1060#*0&
to concentiate oi contiol theii minu anu uiiect it on the
quest aie auviseu to watch the bieathing, since such watching will
natuially anu as a mattei of couise leau to cessation of thought anu
biing the minu unuei contiol. Bieath anu minu aiise fiom the same
place anu when one of them is contiolleu, the othei is also contiolleu. As
a mattei of fact, in the quest methou, which is moie coiiectly 'Whence
am I.' anu not meiely 'Who am I.'- we aie not simply tiying to eliminate
saying 'we aie not the bouy, not the senses anu so on,' to ieach what
iemains as the ultimate ieality, but we aie tiying to finu whence the 'I'
thought foi the ego within us aiises. The methou contains within it,
though implicitly anu not expiessly, the watching of the bieath. When
we watch wheiefiom the 'I' thought, the ioot of all thoughts, spiings, we
aie necessaiily watching the souice of the bieath also, as the 'I' thought
anu the bieath aiise fiom the same souice."
The uisciple again askeu whethei, foi contiolling the bieath, the
iegulai 61#,#.#4# (of iegulateu inhalation, ietention anu exhalation i.e.
1:4:2) is not bettei.
Bhagavan ieplieu: "All those piopoitions, sometimes iegulateu
not by counting but by utteiing 4#,*1#+, etc., aie aius foi contiolling the
minu. That is all. Watching the bieath is also one foim of 61#,#.#4#.

The word pakva comes from the root “pak” which means fully cooked.
Bhagavan used the derivative “pakwigal” which, by implication, means one who
has become mature through the “cooking” process of sadhana (spiritual practice).

Practical Sadhana

Retaining bieath, etc., is moie violent anu may be haimful in some
cases, e.g. wheie theie is no piopei $313 to guiue the +#&"#A (the one
peifoiming the spiiitual piactice) at eveiy step anu stage. But meiely
watching the bieath is easy anu involves no iisk."

<+&9' +*/ 8#+6

This methou is inueeu easy, anu can be joineu to any foim of +#&"#,#
(spiiitual piactice) that one is engageu in. The bieath is not contiolleu but
meiely watcheu with acute attention. Its movement shoulu at all times iemain
natuial anu comfoitable. It is helpful at fiist to centei one's attention without
stiess on any aiea wheie the movement of the bieath is physically palpable oi
The attention of the minu with aleit awaieness on the movement of the
bieath satisfies the minu's life-sustaining uige to ciiculate thiough movement.

Thus we watch anu piay with calm but steauy concentiation. The place
of oui oiigin, that foigotten aboue of the Self, is Self-ievealing. Becoming tiuly
still, anu calling on uou with patient peiseveiance, we will entei anu

"The Way, the Tiuth anu the Life."

Day by Day With Bhagavan, A. Devaraja Mudaliar, Sri Ramanashramam 2002,
p. 55-56.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


ºConLrol Lhe mlnd and dlrecL lL on Lhe CuesL."

Practical Sadhana

D/0 J+.54).0 $0610.

Question: The Ancient 0nes (Sages anu 7)+")+) say that ;#6# (continuous
iepetition of WN oi the Name of uou) leaus to concentiation, anu
concentiation leaus to meuitation, anu meuitation to +#4#&"), anu when
+#4#&") is steauy one is establisheu in ./$#. But if the Wisuom of the Self
aiises only fiom the heait, how can I come to unueistanu that states of minu,
even exalteu states like ./$)2 +#4#&"), will leau me to the uiscoveiy of the
ultimate seciet which is an awakeneu iealization of the Self. Anu finally, how
will I know outsiue of meuitation, in my noimal uaily life, that such a
peimanent tiansfoimation of consciousness has occuiieu.

When we noimally speak of going into a state of +#4#&"), we aie iightly
iefeiiing to its lowei stages that aie not close to 2/4680*0 absoiption in the
Self. It is a gieat step foiwaiu, but in ielation to the final goal it is just anothei
achievement of piogiessive steps, though at highei levels.

An auvanceu anu skillful Buuuhist will piopounu an unueistanuing of
this that iefeis to eight sepaiate stages of ;,#,# oi +#4#&"), foui mateiial anu
foui non-mateiial. These aie simply seen as high states of minu that can
ultimately leau one to the thoughtless (minuless) state, theiefoie not the Self
that uwells exclusively in the heait. Neveitheless, the uniqueness of these
minu states is that theii movement uevelops concentiation, which takes you
within, uiiectly to the uooi of the heait. The metaphysics of Binuu &"#14#
agiees, uiffeiing mainly with iefeience to the uesciiption of sepaiate stages.

The </$# =3*1#+ /> ?#*#,;#8), which Bhagavan has iefeiieu to, piopounu
the Binuu view of the essential neeu foi piogiessive stages of mental stiength
anu uevelopment of acute awaieness that in time leau one towaius anu finally
into =#4#&").

Accoiuing to the vaiious inteipietations of Patanjali's =3*1#+, theie
iange fiom between six to twelve sepaiate piogiessive stages, all iefeiieu to
as +#4#&") (absoiption in meuitation).

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

"$9)13*4 $* 7'+& D'39' 9+* G( >((*

Bhagavan's teaching is in haimony with Patanjali in that the effoit to
"know the Self" is an actual expeiience that involves a piogiessive anu
piotiacteu +#&"#,# that culminates with the awakening (iemembiance) of the
immaculate natuie of a Puie Ninu. In this iegaiu a uevotee askeu Bhagavan:

"What is that Self in actual expeiience."

Sii Bhagavan tells us: "It is the Light which evei shines in the Cave of the
Beait as the flame of the Consciousness 'I' 'I' - the eteinal anu blissful
=#*Q2")*Q#,#,&#. This is the answei to the %)2"#1# anu its fulfillment. The
'I', which has caiiieu out a &0*014),0& anu piotiacteu seaich into its
own natuie, has at long last founu itself to be not othei than the Puie
Ninu, the immaculate Being, which is eteinally wiappeu in blissful
stillness. This is @31).#, the Fouith, oi =#4#&") (the highest stage)."

This statement ieveals an essential aspect of Bhagavan's teaching that is
often misconstiueu. Some auheients to the Ramana Way flatly pioclaim that
%)2"#1# (ieflective enquiiy) is effoitless. They auheie to a mistaken
inteipietation of Bhagavan's methou of enquiiy that uenies the neeu foi an
active anu acute awaieness within the minu. They fiimly pioclaim that
%)2"#1#, even in it's pieliminaiy stage, is not an intellectual piocess.
Bhagavan's use of the woiu &0*014),0& in the above quote cleaily contiauicts
this belief. Beteimination in this instance is the unwaveiing iesolve of the 'I'
thought, which oiiginateu fiom anu is iesiuing within the intellectual minu, to
seek the souice of its own natuie.
Theiefoie all effoit motivateu by this iesolve takes place as an intellectual
piocess, until ), *"0 0,& /> 0,X3)1. the final goal is achieveu anu the "I'
tianscenus the minu.

Patanjali also claiifies this eiioi, foi he ueclaies that achievement of the
lowei stages of +#4#&") aie essential. Foi in them theie is a witness who
expeiiences fiist the lowei plane wheie theie &)+*),2*8. exists the knowei, the
object as the known anu the knowleuge. 0ltimately the highest stage is
ieacheu when the many uissolves into the 0ne, which connects them.
Bhagavan concuiieu with this when in conveisation with Ni. Cohen it was

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 73.
Practical Sadhana


Ni. Cohen: "Theie seems to be nothing but awaieness, foi to know
anything theie must be knowleuge - we cannot get ovei that."

Bhagavan: "Ceitainly. Subjective knowleuge - knowleuge knowing
itself is ;,#,#. It is then the subject as the knowei, the object as the
known anu the knowleuge which connects them."

Ni. Cohen: "This last is not cleai to me in this case."

Bhagavan: "Why so. Knowleuge is the light which links the seei to
the seen. Suppose you go in seaich of a book in a libiaiy in pitch
uaikness. Can you finu it without light, although you, the subject,
anu the book, the object, aie both piesent. Light has to be piesent to
unite you. This link between the subject anu the object in eveiy
expeiience is 2")*, consciousness. It is both the substiatum as well as
the witness of the expeiience, the seei of Patanjali."

"3#1& 7'3*41 "3#1&

Patanjali's </$# =3*1#+ piesent a piogiessive auvancement of effective
methous foi contiolling the thought waves (%1)**)) of the minu, which will
iesult in the focusing anu stiengthening of awaieness.

Questions weie often placeu befoie Bhagavan iegaiuing the neeu foi
the establishment of piogiessive effoit that leaus to a >388. #G#10 anu
contiolleu minu:

"Ni. Cohen ielates how the ieauing of ?#*#,;#8) =3*1#+ in 1926 hau
gieatly impiesseu him. The fiist few +3*1#+ hau convinceu him of the
tiuth of the teaching, but unfoitunately theie was no one to give him
piopei guiuance until he met Sii Bhagavan eaily in 19S6."

Bhagavan: "Patanjali's fiist +3*1#+ aie inueeu the climax of all systems
of ./$#. All ./$#+ aim at the cessation of the %1)**) (mouification of the
minu). This can be biought about in the vaiiety of ways mentioneu in
the sciiptuies thiough minu contiol, which fiees consciousness fiom

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 75.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

all thoughts anu keeps it puie. Effoit is necessaiy. In fact effoit is itself

Ni. C: "I suppose effoits have to be maue in the waking state, which
implies that 4/A+"# can be gaineu only in ;#$1#*."

Bhagavan: "Quite so, awaieness is necessaiy foi minu contiol;
otheiwise who is to make the effoit. You cannot make it in sleep oi
unuei the influence of uiugs. Also 43A*) has to be gaineu in full
awaieness, because the Reality itself is puie awaieness."

The testimony of piactically all of the uisciples who liveu with Bhagavan
pioclaims that the achievement of "fieeing consciousness fiom all thoughts
anu keeping it puie," involves constant spiiitual piactice anu ieal non-
uepenuence (%#)1#$.#) on the objects of the woilu. In iaie instances, though
some people seem to have achieveu the state of thoughtless puiity without
effoit, it may, as Sii Ramana himself saiu, be uue to effoit uone in the past.

They weie iight, foi they weie peifectly guiueu to this unueistanuing
by the uuiu Sii Ramana whose life was a living uemonstiation of supieme
contiol anu %#)1#$.#.

Theie aie two aspects of contiolling the minu, #-".#+# anu %#)1#$.#.
9-".#+# is auopting any paiticulai spiiitual uiscipline anu iepeating it
continuously. B#)1#$.# is ueveloping uetachment anu uispassion towaius
objects of the woilu that uegiaue youi minu.

As one conqueis one's uesiies one gets a sense of masteiy ovei the
objects of the woilu. 0bjects of the woilu have no ieal beaiing upon the minu,
but they become impoitant anu impinge upon the minu because of the uesiies
towaius them. As we auvance in oui +#&"#,# we begin to uiscovei that the
inneimost Self is an ocean of bliss. The iealization of that Self puts an enu to
all uesiies.

Bowevei, this piocess is piogiessive. As one gains insight into the
tiansient natuie of the things of the woilu, one comes to iealize that the

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 74.

Practical Sadhana

seeking of happiness fiom the objects of the woilu has effectively ieuuceu one
into a beggai.

The minu's natuie is to be constantly feeuing on the objects of the
senses. Inwaiuly, the minu nevei loses its attiaction foi moie happiness than
alieauy has been gaineu anu is foievei on the piowl in the woilu foi fiesh
pleasuie. 0nfoitunately foi most, the stiongest %#+#,#+ (latent tenuencies)
uiiect the minu towaius the lowei iealms of sensual attiaction. Thus we enu
up seaiching, as it weie, in the gaibage cans of othei people foi the things to
feeu on. The minu has left its own home, anu moves about in the stieets of
woiluly pleasuie feeuing on that which will momentaiily satisfy its ciaving.

The gieatest buiuen of these iiiesponsible actions comes fiom the
ceitainty that theie is alongsiue the ciaving a complete uisiegaiu foi the
suffeiing that is piouuceu both within oneself anu within those who aie the
objects of uesiie.

Bow can we secuie oui happiness on the basis of a woilu that is
constantly shifting. If you have illusion about the woilu anu become its
beggai, the woilu will always be theie to uominate you. To the extent that this
illusion bieaks, you become the iulei of that which hau pieviously conqueieu
you. If you have no uesiie foi the objects of the senses, youi iuleiship is
known as %#)1#$.#. B#)1#$.# is not the uevelopment of uisgust foi the objects
of the senses, but iathei the uiscoveiy of the majesty of the powei of iuleiship
ovei them. Youi ievelation is that the objects aie uepenuent on you; you aie
not uepenuent on the objects.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


KL586,<01 ./0 #)M08.* ,- ) '710 #523N

Practical Sadhana

$)4)3/5O8 H,)+P
KD712 Q,71 E)6: ,2 ?0)<02N

Question: Some say that to bieak the illusion of uepenuence on the woilu anu
gain the happiness of heaven one only neeus to think he is fiee. Is the
achievement of happiness anu fieeuom fiom the ego's uominance the heaven
we seek. If not, can you please cleaily explain the methou anu means to
achieve what Bhagavan states as the uoal of iealization of the Self!

"The stiong uous pine foi my aboue,
Anu pine in vain the sacieu Seven;
But thou, meek lovei of the goou!
Finu Ne, anu tuin thy back on heaven!"


We aie now embaiking into iealms in which the noimal human being
has little oi no expeiience. Thus we must, with faith anu assuiance, auheie to
the guiuance anu teachings of uou, the $313+ anu theii sciiptuies.

We have seen that the Loiu in Bis ()*# lays befoie us two sepaiate paths
of uevotion, one with foim (commonly known as -"#A*)) anu one without
foim (known as ;,#,#). Sii Kiishna uiiects us to make both paths oui
beloveu. Thus at the final achievement of the highest ./$# oui lowei natuie
(ego) will be completely consumeu with:

"Loving uou with oui whole minu anu with oui whole heait, anu oui
neighboi as oui Self."

Bhagavan echoes this same Tiuth in the seconu subsequent veise auueu
to the Y)%0 =*#,J#+ /, =1) 913,#2"#8# Z913,#2"#8# ?#,2"#1#*,#4S that weie
composeu by his own hanu:

The use here of the word “whole” by Jesus is exactly the same as the use of
“purna” in Sanskrit. The true meaning in both cases is “perfect”. The Lord restated
this truth saying: “Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is Perfect.”
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

"In the iecesses of the lotus-shapeu heait of all, fiom B)+",3
uownwaius, theie shines as Absolute Consciousness, the ?#1#4#*4#,
(Supieme Spiiit) who is the same as 913,#2"#8# oi 7#4#,#. When the
minu melts with love of him anu ieaches the inmost iecess of the heait
wheiein he abiues as the Beloveu, the subtle eye of Absolute
Consciousness opens anu Be ieveals Bimself as puie Knowleuge."

Foi one who is following the path of uevotion to uou, the passage
thiough uiffeient stages of +#4#&") will not only be expeiienceu as ueepei
levels of consciousness, but also as ueepei uegiees of sinceiity anu the longing
of uevotion. Acceptance of the wonuei of this accomplishment is also
acceptance of the task of peisistence; foi the goal is gloiious.

7'( K(+)&6 $; >((03*4 &'( K(,$L(/

As one uevelops #-".#+# anu %#)1#$.#, anu as the minu giauually comes
unuei contiol thiough %)2"#1# (ieflection), theie ensues a peace that is
inconceivable. This contiol of the minu has thiee stages. They aie &"#1#,#E
&".#,# #,& +#4#&"). Each stage has its own beauty to beholu.

C"#1#,# is focusing the minu, gaining a focuseu attention. C".#,# is a
continuity of the focuseu attention. Naintaining this state of continueu focus is
calleu meuitation. When, in meuitation, all the thoughts aie gatheieu into one
place anu steauy focus ueepens into absoiption it is calleu +#4#&"). =#4#&")
is stepping beyonu the noimal limits of consciousness, going beyonu the ego's
uomination. This newfounu fieeuom is a wonuei to beholu.

In the fiist stage of concentiation you aie gatheiing the minu, foi the
minu is uistiacteu. It is essential that we let the minu be focuseu. Then, in the
seconu stage, let the focus continue as steauily anu natuially as possible.
When you aie attempting meuitation anu you succeeu in focusing the minu,
subtle impiessions aie cieateu within the subconscious that will make the
piocess easiei in the futuie. Theiefoie sustaineu effoit is neeueu.

In the thiiu stage, when this piocess becomes natuial anu iequiies less
effoit, youi consciousness expanus anu steps beyonu youi ego. This heialus
an awaieness of a piofounu uepth, which has nevei been seen befoie. It is an
expansion that holus within itself all that is goou anu beautiful anu wonuious.
This expeiience is calleu +#4#&").
Practical Sadhana


These thiee states aie fuseu togethei. Wheie &"#1#,# enus, &".#,#
begins. Wheie &".#,# (meuitation) enus, +#4#&") begins. It is a natuial
piogiession. Bue to a lack of peiseveiance few ieach +#4#&"). Anu though still
fewei ieach the highei stages of +#4#&"), the peisistence in cuibing
uistiactions piouuces a piofounu effect on the peisonality. When successful
achievement of samauhi uoes come, it becomes miiaculous.

A "3#% -(1$,L( +*/ + B#$D3*4 "+3&'

All who set theii hanus to the plough of innei spiiitual life achieve a
giowth of faith. Peihaps this faith was in the beginning simply a seeu of meie
inteiest in self-impiovement.

"Tiue faith is not like a pictuie fiame, a peimanently limiteu aiea of
acceptance. It is like a plant that keeps on thiowing foith shoots anu
giowing. All we iequiie, at the beginning, is a seeu. Anu the seeu neeu
be nothing moie than a feeling of inteiest in spiiitual life. Peihaps we
ieau a passage in a book that moves us. Peihaps we meet someone who
seems to have ieacheu some uegiee of wisuom anu tianquility thiough
the piactice of meuitation anu spiiitual uisciplines. We become
inteiesteu anu intiigueu."

It is natuial to assume that the ueep levels of ./$)2 absoiption iequiie a
uevelopment of mental stiength that is beyonu oui capacity. Foi many, the
enoimity of the uifficulties in noimal life seems to uemanu all of the eneigy
they possess. They concluue that to uelve into the iealms of +#4#&") iequiies
supeihuman stiength, anu theiefoie any attempt woulu be futile anu a waste
of piecious time. Neveitheless, we innately possess an innei impulse that tells
us that if we seek even the slightest innei giowth with faith anu uevotion,
some uegiee of success will come. Aftei all, those whom we aumiie who
possess spiiitual statuie aie human anu so aie we. Naybe even the simplest
piactice of meuitation woulu be the solution to oui pioblems. We cannot be
ceitain, but we uo have faith anu eneigy anu peihaps just enough uevotion
that will set us on a path to success.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Swami Prabhavananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math,
p. 27.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Patanjali affiims this assumption as tiue in his </$# =3*1#+:

"The concentiation of the tiue spiiitual aspiiant is attaineu
thiough faith, eneigy, iecollecteuness, absoiption anu illumination."

Eailiei Patanjali stateu that success in ./$# comes giauually thiough a
step-by-step piogiession fiom the beginning stages towaius the final highest
attainment. Bis wisuom uiiects us to possess faith, eneigy anu uevotion as the
founuation upon which the illumination of Life is achieveu:

"Success in ./$# comes quickly to those who aie intensely

"Concentiation may also be attaineu thiough suiienuei to
R+"G#1# (uou within ?1#A1)*), manifesteu)."

"In Bim (uou) knowleuge is infinite; in otheis it is only a geim."

"The woiu which expiesses Bim is W4."

"This woiu must be iepeateu with meuitation upon its meaning."

"Bence comes knowleuge of the 9*4#, anu uestiuction of the
obstacles to that knowleuge."

What Patanjali uesciibes, is in Tiuth confiimeu by Sii Ramana Nahaishi
in Bis ueclaiation of 913,#2"#8# as the living embouiment of Bivinity. Thus
with the ueepest uevotion Bhagavan ueclaieu:

"Significance of W4, uniivalleu, unsuipasseu! Who can
compiehenu Thee, 0 Aiunachala."

Ibid, p. 26, sutra 20.
Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Swami Prabhavananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Section I
selected sutras between # 21-29.
Marital Garland of Letters (Sri Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai), Sri
Ramanashramam, verse 13.
Practical Sadhana

"You aie beyonu the knowleuge of all *#**%#+, all philosophies. You
aie only this, the Tiuth at once tianscenuent anu immanent, you aie my

Ibid, verse 42.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


ºln Plm knowledge ls lnflnlLe"

Practical Sadhana

E+08803 E0 ./0 ()40 ,- ./0 =,13

Question: "Expeiience shows me that the piactice of 4#,*1# ;#6# is a
cential aspect of +#&"#,#, at one time oi anothei, foi the majoiity of
those following =#,#*#,# C"#14#. Fuithei unueistanuing of Bhagavan
affiims that his teaching accentuateu the founuations of this eteinal
ieligion. Bowevei, I have been leau to believe that the teachings of
Bhagavan iegaiuing ;#6# state that this piactice was piesciibeu only foi
those of weak (lacking matuiity) minus. Is this assumption tiue."

A common misunueistanuing iegaiuing the teachings of Sii Ramana
Nahaishi is the belief that he nevei auviseu his uisciples to take up a piactice
that involveu 4#,*1# ;#6# (continuous iepetition of one of many sounu
foimulas iepiesenting a Name of uou). The tiuth is that such auvice was
given, though iaiely, anu even given to some of those in the inneimost ciicle.
In the memoiis of one of Bhagavan's close uisciples such an occuiience is

"Though Bhagavan iaiely gave out 4#,*1#+, when he uiu, he geneially
iecommenueu "Siva, Siva'. Nuiuganai himself was given this 4#,*1# by
Bhagavan, as weie seveial othei uevotees incluuing Annamalai Swami,
the biothei of Rangan (who was one of Bhagavan's chiluhoou fiienus),
anu an unknown haiijan."

Nuiuganai continues, making special note of Bhagavan's teachings
iegaiuing the use of 4#,*1#+:

"Thiough giace, Pauam (Nuiuganai's epithet foi Bhagavan) ensuies
that theie is nevei any uangei to those who iemain in theii heait,
meuitating 'Sivaya Nama'."

"The 4#,*1# 'Sivaya Nama" on which you meuitate will ieveal itself
within youi heait to be youi fathei anu mothei."

Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar,
Avadhuta Foundation 2004, p. 224 - 225.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

ZR, *")+ %01+0 *"0 >#*"01 )468)0+ =)%#E G"/ )+ =#* T-0),$VE G")80 *"0 4/*"01
&0,/*0+ =#A*)E G"/ )+ 5")* T2/,+2)/3+,0++VOS

"The minu that uoes ;#6#, 'Siva, Siva,' will latei automatically lose itself
in #;#6# (+#4#&"))."

7'( M$6 $; 8(#1(L(#+*9(

"When it is saiu that this piactice of meuitation (with oi without
the use of ;#6#) anu +#4#&") is peisistent, it is of two types, uisciplinaiy
anu peivasive. Bisciplinaiy means that you have chosen a time in the
moining oi evening to uo the piactice. The moining houis aie
consiueieu best because you aie iesteu fiom sleep, anu the woilu
aiounu you is also at iest. In meuitation we aie leauing ouiselves to a
state of quietuue by conscious movement. In sleep we aie being leu by
the unconscious. Sleep can give a feeling of iefieshment, but it cannot
give oui thought vitality. Philosophically, the stages towaiu
enlightenment aie the piogiessive movement towaiu the stage wheie
the ego is not uominating you. The final enlightenment is the buining
uown of the ego entiiely.

"The peivasive type of piactice is the most impoitant. The
ievelations of ./$# that aie achieveu while piacticing piivately in the
iecesses of youi heait must be applieu in youi uaily life. The stiength,
beauty anu iaptuie of focuseu attention that one expeiiences in
meuitation becomes even moie wonuious when applieu to eveiything
one uoes.

"A sense of joy will peivaue the life of one who applies this ./$)2
concentiation in the actions of eveiyuay life. 0theis will not only
peiceive this joy, it will uplift them. This uplifting of humanity is the
piime chaiacteiistic of one whose life is one of seivice to uou.
Naintaining this mental focus within uuiing outwaiu activities also
piouuces a stieam of unimaginable peace. This piofounu peace is

Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar,
Avadhuta Foundation 2004, p. 224 - 225.

Practical Sadhana

unuieamt of foi it is the peace wheiein the ego is tianscenueu, even
though one iemains active in uaily life.

"Bow will you know it. Even when you aie insulteu, you will not
feel at a loss, because you aie not uominateu by the ego peisonality. You
aie nevei shaken when put into uifficult ciicumstances. You have
expeiienceu &".#,# anu +#4#&") at a ueepei level of youi peisonality.
The goal is that by piacticing meuitative absoiption in a uisciplinaiy
way you uiiect that expeiience to peimeate youi life."

Accoiuing to Patanjali, the lowest stages of +#4#&") iest upon the
suppoit of the contiol of the senses. 0ne must iemembei that the uefinition of
+#4#&") comes fiom the ioot '&"#' which is piefixeu by '+#4' anu '#'. The
meaning is to gathei togethei anu keep in one place, in a veiy skillful,
contiolleu anu thoiough way. This ueep level of absoiption suggests that a
tiansfoimation is occuiiing in which theie is unfoluing within the minu
complete unification. This tiansfoimation is piogiessive, as oui concentiation
anu 'expeiience of unity' becomes piolongeu anu moie natuial. Inteinally, we
aie accomplishing the "puiification thiough softening anu melting within"
which Bhagavan maintains as essential. It is the ego that is melting, anu uue to
its stiength, it's poweis wane slowly. 0ui peiseveiance in the +#&"#,# of
steauy meuitation will ensuie the final attainment.

This final achievement is the buining uown of the exteinalizeu minu
that has become impuie (egotistic) thiough lifetimes of iuentification with a
woilu founueu upon anu maintaineu by multiplicity.

When concentiation is uiiecteu, focuseu anu absoibeu in one place, anu
iemains theie foi a piolongeu peiiou of time, the simplest state of +#4#&") is
saiu to occui. Although this is of the lowest type of +#4#&"), it is a significant
achievement. At this stage the uistuibances within the physical bouy, though
active, aie being oveicome even though bouy-consciousness has not been
tianscenueu. It is like the state of molecules of watei that aie passing between
the stages of liquiu into gaseous foim. The fieeuom of the gaseous stage is

This section includes quotes and paraphrases from a talk by Swami
Jyotirmayananda, Yoga Research Foundation, Miami Florida, USA,

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

being expeiienceu while still within the piesence of the liquiu state. The key is
that the mental focus is uiiecteu to the gaseous piesence, anu only that.

"The uistinctive featuie of +#4#&") is that it is a movement of
highei consciousness centeieu in one oi anothei mental state beginning
with the lowei mental iealm, wheie theie aie active uistuibances
piesent, fiom both within anu without, anu enuing with the 9*4#
(essence of Being oi soul). This is a peimanent state of puiity fiee fiom
all uistuibance oi thought. In eveiy case the minu is cut off fiom the
physical woilu anu thus consciousness is fiee fiom the buiuen anu
inteifeience of the physical biain. In the lowei stages of +#4#&") the
minu, though cut off fiom the woilu, is completely concentiateu anu still
unuei the contiol of the will."

7'( 23%3&+&3$*1 $; <$#/1

Some say that Bhagavan nevei spoke about any of the lowei stages of
+#4#&") which Patanjali states as those pieliminaiy to the seeuless (without
any possibility of uistuibance) ,)1%)A#86# state. Though this belief is
funuamentally untiue, theie aie giounus that woulu +004 to give this
statement valiuity.
Thioughout the moie than Su yeais of Bhagavan's active guiuance of the
heaits anu souls of the thousanus who came befoie him, he nevei postuieu
himself as a philosophei. Be nevei philosophizeu oi pieacheu to the masses.
Bis veiy life uemonstiateu his attainment. Bis silent abiuance in Tiuth anu
Puiity was his most eloquent uoctiine. When uevotees came to Bhagavan with
uoubts anu questions, he ievealeu the highest Tiuth iegaiuing the subject
placeu befoie him. A close stuuy of the coie teachings that weie iecoiueu both
uuiing anu aftei his physical lifetime woulu ieveal that he uiiecteu his
questioneis towaius the methou of attainment that suiteu theii
tempeiaments anu natuies.

The majoiity of the iecoiueu teachings of Bhagavan iegaiuing +#4#&")
that have come into piint weie invokeu by questions fiom leaineu punuits
anu uevotees of attainment. It is mainly uue to this fact that the majoiity of
uiscussions iegaiuing +#4#&") centeieu on the highest states of meuitative
absoiption. Regaiuless of this fact, Bhagavan nevei veeieu away fiom the

The Science of Yoga, I. K. Taimni, The Theosophical Publishing House 1961.

Practical Sadhana

tiauitional sciiptuial teachings of the 7)+")+ anu Sages of Inuia's eteinal
ieligion. Rathei, his teaching accentuateu them! Quite simply, the
misunueistanuing mentioneu has come into being fiom the teiminology
Bhagavan useu.

Patanjali iefeis to +#4#&") with uiffeientiation (uistuibances) between
the subject, object anu knowleuge as the lowei stages that leau up to the veiy
highest states of +#%)A#86#E ,)1%)A#86# anu finally +#"#;# +#4#&"). Bhagavan
spoke in the same vein, though using a uiffeient methou of uesciiption. When
Patanjali iefeis to meuitative absoiption with uistuibances as the lowei
+#4#&"), Bhagavan's teiminology uiffeieu only by not using the woiu 'lowei'
but iathei stateu that the +#4#&") with uistuibances was the +#%)A#86# state.
This is meiely a mattei of semantic piefeience, anu not a uiffeientiation of
uefinition. A cleai example of this is seen as Ni. Cohen is questioning

Ni. C.: "Nay I have a cleai iuea, Bhagavan, of the uiffeience between
=#%)A#86# anu M)1%)A#86#."

Bhagavan: "Boluing on to the Supieme State is +#4#&"). When it is with
effoit uue to mental uistuibances, it is =#%)A#86#, when the
uistuibances aie absent, it is M)1%)A#86#. Remaining peimanently in the
piimal state is =#"#;#. Like M)1%)A#86#, theie is an inteinal as well as an
exteinal =#%)A#86#, uepenuing on whethei the uistuibing thoughts aie
fiom the outsiue oi fiom insiue."

The aspiiant aftei spiiitual tiuth shoulu always auheie to the essential
tenet of the piactice, which is to nevei only seek a uesciiption of what any
attainment is, iathei always stiive foi the expeiience of what the attainment

The significant effects of this piocess of mental absoiption that actually
piouuce the neeueu tiansfoimation occui in the subtle iealms of the
unconscious minu. The impiessions cieateu fiom concentiateu absoiption
(+#4#&")) woik to cleanse the subtle impuiities anu %#+#,#+ (latent habitual
tenuencies fiom the one's eaily life, oi past lives) of these iealms that lay
beyonu oui noimal peiception

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 91.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

"@"0 #2")0%040,* /> +3220++>38 01#&)2#*)/, /> +3-*80 )4631)*)0+ 10+*+
/, *"0 >/3,&#*)/, /> *"0 *"100Q>/8& 61/20++ /> 2/,20,*1#*)/,E 40&)*#*)/,
#,& #-+/16*)/, Z+#4#&")SO

Thus, Patanjali states:

"When these thiee - concentiation, meuitation anu absoiption-
aie biought to beai upon one subject, they aie calleu +#4.#4#."

=#4.#4# )+ +)468. # 2/,%0,)0,* *02",)2#8 *014 *"#* &0+21)-0+ *"0
*"100Q>/8& 61/20++ -. G")2" *"0 *130 ,#*310 /> #, /-;02* )+ A,/G,O[

"Thiough the masteiy of +#4.#4# comes the light of

"It must be applieu stage by stage, foi the piactice of +#4.#4#
leaus to the lowei +#4#&")O"

"When, in meuitation, the tiue natuie of the object shines foith,
not uistuibeu by the minu of the peiceivei, that is absoiption

K?#*#,;#8) G#1,+ 3+ ,/* */ $/ *// >#+*O R* )+ ,/ 3+0 #**046*),$
40&)*#*)/, -0>/10 G0 "#%0 4#+*010& 2/,20,*1#*)/,O R* )+ ,/ 3+0 *1.),$ */
2/,20,*1#*0 36/, +3-*80 /-;02*+ 3,*)8 G0 #10 #-80 */ 2/,20,*1#*0 36/,
$1/++ /,0+O 9,. #**046* */ *#A0 +"/1* 23*+ */ A,/G80&$0 /> *")+ A),& )+
0\200&),$8. &#,$01/3+O Y/1 0\601)0,20 *"1/3$" *"0+0 +"/1* 23*+E +/
/-*#),0&E 2#, -1),$ ,/ 8#+*),$ +6)1)*3#8 -0,0>)*+O W, *"0 2/,*1#1.E *"0.
#10 $0,01#88. >/88/G0& -. # 108#6+0 ),*/ 2/4680*0 #$,/+*)2)+4 #,&

"These kinus of +#4#&") aie saiu to be 'with seeu'."

K@"#* )+E +00&+ /> &0+)10+ #,& #**#2"40,* 4#. +*)88 104#), G)*"), *"0
4),&E 0%0, *"/3$" 601>02* 2/,20,*1#*)/, "#+ -00, #2")0%0&O @"0+0 +00&+
/> &0+)10 #10 &#,$01/3+E >/1 *"0. G)88 80#& /,0 */G#1&+ #**#2"40,* #,&

Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Swami Prabhavananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Section
III sutras 3-6, (quotes include his commentary in italics.)
Practical Sadhana

At all times we must iemain vigilantly awaie that the natuie of seeus is
to spiout. The seeus of uesiie aie of the most iesilient type, foi they can
iemain viable even in giounu (the minu) laiu fallow thiough meuitation that
successfully uevelopeu aveision to the lowei life of the senses. They can come
to life, even aftei yeais of uoimancy, fiom the wateiing of oui subconscious
tenuencies that iemain intact. Though consciously we may feel ieal
uispassion (%#)1#$.#) foi uesiies that uegiaue oui minus, subconsciously we
can be uiiven to seek satisfaction of haimful uesiies even against oui
conscious will. Shakespeaie spoke in a famous sonnet of this human tenuency
to oscillate between woiluly attiaction anu aveision which piopels us
thiough lifetimes of "spiiitual mauness":

"Enjoy'u no soonei but uespiseu stiaight;
Past ieason hunteu; anu no soonei hau,
Past ieason hateu, as a swalloweu bait
0n puipose laiu to make the takei mau."

The stiength of the founuation of +#4.#4# comes fiom oui #-".#+#
(iepeateu piactice), %#)1#$.# (non-attachment anu uispassion) anu %)2"#1#
(ieflective enquiiy), which weie paiamount uuiing oui ascent towaius these
lowei states of +#4#&"). If oui concentiation anu meuitation weie not
accompanieu by %#)1#$.#, oui ignoiance woulu iemain anu pievent us fiom
achieving the goal of highei +#4#&").

7'( >&+G3,3&6 $; >$G#3(&6

Though oui peisistent piactice may have biought us to the thiesholu of
libeiation, the aspiiant must nevei feel he has iisen to such heights that it is
unlikely he can fall back into bonuage. The high state of seeuless +#4#&")
(,)1%)A#86#) uemanus a fuithei anu even moie intense spiiitual effoit.

"Aumitteuly, it is impossible to have a conciete iuea of these highei
planes without theii uesciiption being in the most geneial anu vague
mannei. It must be unueistoou that at no time can one attempt to
uesciibe the expeiiences of these stages of +#4#&"). An attempt is
meiely maue to give a veiy simple 'ioau map' showing only that these
iealms exist. If one wants to know what these highei planes aie like, one
must go theie anu see it foi oneself. In ieality conceining spiiitual
piogiess anu puiification, what these stages aie like is not at all the
issue. The achievement involves what these expeiiences piouuce. They
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

effectively cieate impiessions within the unconscious levels of the minu
that fiist uiminish anu then uissolve the %#+#,#+ that obstiuct oui
ascent to highei life. Simply speaking, we aie changing oui fate by
changing habits of both oui exteinal as well as oui inteinal life. By
uecieasing anu then hopefully uismantling the habits that uispeise oui
minus, we lessen the buiuen of the +#4+A#1#+ (latent tenuencies fiom
the past) that piouuce them. As these buiuens of 'A#14#' aie ieuuceu
we begin to expeiience the #,#,&# (joy) of fieeuom fiom the slaveiy of
the ego.

The gieatei is skill of effoit, the gieatei the uegiee of the fieeuom
(peace). It must be thoioughly unueistoou that if the oiuinaiy uesiies of
the minu have not been eliminateu by sublimation, but only cuibeu oi
suppiesseu, it is impossible to piactice +#4#&")."

A famous Buuuhist monk, Ajahn Chah, of the Thai Foiest Tiauition once

"If you let go a little, you get a little peace. If you let go a lot, you
get a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you get complete peace (+#4#&"))."

The Science of Yoga, I.K.Taimni, The Theosophical Publishing House 1961.
Practical Sadhana


"#$ ºAre we Lo keep anyLhlng agalnsL a ralny day, or Lo llve a precarlous llfe for
splrlLual aLLalnmenLs?"
%&'&()'*$ ºCod looks afLer everyLhlng."

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 377, p 358.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


K=,<0 )23 30<,.5,2 ., ?54 )10 ) ;153A0
)61,88 ./0 );*88 ., $)+<).5,2SN

Practical Sadhana

Þrayerfully Seek: ºWhence am l"

Question: What exactly is the way to conquei the uesiies that obscuie
my vision of the Tiuth anu the Light.

The way to Realization is a step-by-step methouical anu giauual
piogiession which begins long befoie the +#4#&"), anu enus fai beyonu the
levels of +#4#&") noimally ieacheu by most spiiitual aspiiants. In the
beginning we woik to uevelop the skill calleu 61#*.#"#1#, which is the ieining
in of the movement of the senses anu tuining it inwaiu. This is gieatly aiueu
by piayei. In fact, expeiience shows that without piayei to uou foi assistance,
we aie fooling ouiselves into thinking that we aie successful when an honest
account woulu ieveal, as the Loiu saiu to Aijuna, that oui tuibulent senses

"Foicibly caiiy away the minu of even a wise man who is stiiving
to contiol them."

So we watch anu piay, as }esus exhoiteu us to uo. As we watch with
constant effoit oui attainment biings us to the next step, a focuseu minu. By
iepeateu effoit this inwaiu focus ueepens anu iemains steauy foi a piolongeu
peiiou of time. The winu of uncontiolleu thought is still blowing, but we have
founu a sheltei fiom its biutal tieatment. This sheltei is known as the
steauiness of concentiation. Sii Kiishna iefeis to this when Be says:

"The wise one is of steauy minu, an enlighteneu peison is one
whose minu is establisheu, unmoving anu always steauy. Bis minu nevei
waveis fiom eithei soiiow oi joy; he is fiee fiom attachment, feai anu

In Chaptei 2 of the ()*#, the veises fiom S4th onwaius aie calleu the
qualities of +*")*# 61#;,#, steauy unwaveiing Enlightenment. This is also
exactly what Bhagavan meant when he woulu iefei to uou in Tamil as
"A#&#%38[, meaning the tianscenuental Bivine Self abiuing within in Stillness

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, verse 60.
Ibid, verse 56.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

anu Silence. Woius of spiiitual content in the @#4)8 Language, much like
=#,+A1)*, convey uefinitions that uesciibe ueep meanings as well as seciets to
attainment. In this instance, 'A#&#' means to tianscenu, the ioot '38' means
within; the implication is *"#* G")2" )+ *1#,+20,&0,*#8 )+ #8+/ )44#,0,*.

B$3*4 "$#D+#/

Foi us, woiking towaius puiity of minu, we aie talking of the expeiience
of being at the veiy uooi of the heait. But wheie is the key. In fact, wheie is
the keyhole. The key tuins out to be the next stage, which neeus fuithei
skillful uevelopment. Yes, we must slog on! The key has been gifteu to us.
Remembei that with each anu eveiy meuitation we aie piaying foi the Loiu's
embiace, foi the Bivine to "take my hanu, anu leau me on". The attainment of
puiity comes fiom the mutual inteiaction of oui effoit anu uou's giace.
Without the hanu of the Loiu upon us, oui effoit will yielu little. Bhagavan
echoeu this piofounu Tiuth in Bis "N#1)*#8 (#18#,& /> ]0**01+" by ueclaiing:

"0nless Thou extenuest Thy hanu of giace in meicy anu embiace
me, I am lost, 0 Aiunachala."

"0nless Thou uost embiace me, I shall melt away in teais of
anguish, 0 Aiunachala!"

"Sii Bhagavan spoke anu wiote most about the %)2"#1# oi Self-
enquiiy, anu theiefoie the opinion aiose that Be piesciibeu only ;,#,#Q
4#1$#, the Path of Knowleuge, which most people finu too sheei in this
age. But in fact Be was univeisal anu pioviueu guiuance foi eveiy
tempeiament, by the path of Bevotion no less than of Knowleuge. Love
anu uevotion to Bim aie a biiuge acioss the abyss to salvation. Be hau
many uevotees foi whom he piesciibeu no othei path."

Though it is tiue that the path of -"#A*) (uevotion) uoes not suit the
tempeiament of all spiiitual aspiiants, it is unueniable that thinking of uou,
thinking of the "feet of the Loiu", uoes attiact Bis giace. Whethei uevotion is

Marital Garland of Letters (Sri Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai). Sri
Ramanashramam, verse 51.
Ibid, verse 34.
Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, Sri
Ramanashramam 2002, p. 174.
Practical Sadhana

achieveu thiough -"#A*) oi ;,#,#E when the giace of uou uawns upon us, oui
uevotion ueepens into love of Bim. The love of uou is the key that opens foi us
all knowleuge, peace anu puiity.

This key is the keen anu lively awaieness anu oui patient enuuiance,
while waiting on the Loiu, which we have uevelopeu by peisistently
weatheiing out the stoims of thought that meicilessly attempteu to tuin oui
attention outwaius.

K(6$*/ >+%+/'3

So we can see that to be in the lowei states of +#4#&") is ieally not a big
ueal when compaieu to the goal. Paiauoxically howevei, to be fully awaie anu
aleit within those states is a veiy big ueal. Foi this aleitness is in ieality tiue
4#,#,#, watching with ieflection.

By watching this conuition with ieflection, we begin to awaken to its
souice with the posing of the question "Who am I.". 0i as Bhagavan saiu, it is
moie coiiectly a queiy of "Whence am I.". (=00 X3/*0 >1/4 >//*,/*0 ^_`)

Bhagavan often uiiecteu many befoie him to ieflect on "Whence am I.".
Two cleai examples of this aie as follows:

"A young man, Ni. Knowles, came foi &#1+"#,. Be hau ieau Paul
Biunton's two books. Be askeu: "The Buuuhists say that 'I' is unieal,
wheieas Paul Biunton in the =0210* ?#*" tells us to get ovei the 'I-
thought' anu ieach the state of 'I'. Which is tiue."

Nahaishi: "Theie aie supposeu to be two 'I's; the one is lowei anu
unieal, of which all aie awaie; anu the othei, the highei anu the ieal,
which is to be iealizeu. the iuea of uiveisity has aiisen along with the
bouy-consciousness; this bouy-consciousness aiose at some paiticulai
moment; it has oiigin anu enu. What oiiginates must be something. What
is that something. It is the 'I'-consciousness. Who am I. Whence am I. 0n
finuing the souice, you iealize the state of Absolute Consciousness."

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 53.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

0n anothei occasion, Bhagavan was moie succinct anu thus, as was his
way, moie uiiect:

Bevotee: "I want to get iiu of pain. To be iiu of it is saiu to be libeiation."

Nahaishi: "That is what all ieligions teach."

B.: "But what is the methou."

N.: "To ietiace youi way back."

B.: "Whence have I come."

N.: "That is just what you shoulu know."

Thus oui ieflection is tiansfoimeu into a state of awaieness. Now oui
job is to make this state steauy anu continuous. Steauily following the thieau
inwaiu towaiu whence we came. This entiie piocess is what the Saints, anu
Bhagavan, iightly call puiification of the minu by softening anu melting away
of the obstacles that have foi lifetimes baiieu oui way to the uooi of the heait.
It is also impoitant to unueistanu, as has been unueistoou by expeiience anu
seen in the 36#&0+"# (spiiitual instiuction) of these veiy same Saints anu
Sages, that this piocess can be acceleiateu anu the sublimation of the minu of
man can be quickeneu by the use of ;#6# (constant iepetition) usually of the
Name of the Loiu oi WN (the single-syllable ?1#,#%# 4#,*1#SO

A "3#% +*/ B,$#3$)1 >)FF$#&

The keyhole to life Bivine is what we iely on as a suppoit to maintain
physical life - oui own bieath. Foi when the stoims of thought woilus ciash in
upon us, we keep within the sheltei of the bieath, constantly pulling the
outwaiu tenuency of movement back, evei back to the movement of the
bieath. The Buuuha, Sii Kiishna, Sii Ramana Nahaishi anu the sciiptuies of
all majoi ieligions ueclaie that by pulling the exteinalizeu minu always back
to the bieath we will be taken inwaiu towaius its souice, all the way to

Ibid, Talk 479, p. 473
Practical Sadhana

So now one can see that the eaily stages calleu +#4#&"), though exalteu
in theii own iight, have become a platfoim on which so much moie attentive
piactice neeus to be accomplisheu. Yes, the enoimity of all this seems to take
one's bieath away. But that is why we have been piaying, anu oui piayeis
have been answeieu, foi oui bieath is always veiy much with us - all the way

The Buuuha saiu that the key to all of this is 6#1# 43A"#, which liteially
means 'befoie the face'. Simply speaking, iight unuei oui noses, the uwelling
place of oui physical bieath.

It is the simplicity of this that mystifies us. uou has maue the way
stiaight. Though we have cieateu lifetimes of uetouis thiough oui 61#4#&#
(inuiffeience, inattention, anu willful piociastination), oui way may at times
seem hopeless, but it is nevei helpless. Piayei will stiaighten oui way back to
uou. Foi the Loiu is "uloiious in Bis Saints", anu if we seek theii aiu thiough
piayei, they will help us finu in this life the key to heaven.

Question: Is it coiiect to say that we aie not tiying to annihilate the
minu, but iathei be non-coopeiative with its outwaiu moving tenuency.

Yes, this is exactly coiiect. We fiimly, though veiy iespectfully, uo not
tag along with the minu's enuless auventuies into the innumeiable woilus of
thought. If the minu uemanus an excuse foi oui +#*.#$1#"# (peaceful non-
coopeiation with untiuth), we simply iesponu: "No, Sii oi No, Nauam". If the
minu gets belligeient, we shoulu then iesponu with: "No thank you; not now!"
We will conquei the minu by ignoiing thoughts that embellish the past, anu
those of imagination iegaiuing the futuie. victoiy ovei the minu is achieveu as
we stiive to iemain focuseu within the piesent moment.

At all times we must iemembei that we aie engageu in the ait of %)2"#1#
(ieflection on the souice of the 'I' thought which is the goal). The Nahaishi has
iepeateuly saiu that the 'I' thought anu the bieath aiise fiom the same souice.
0ui ./$# is to 61#2*)20 what Be taught. This is uone by focusing oui attention
on the movement of the bieath that is occuiiing only in the piesent moment.
This is nevei accomplisheu by attempting to apply a stiangleholu on the minu,
foi this foim of engagement only stiengthens the minu's exciteu uesiie to
tiavel outwaius.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

A tiue stoiy that uemonstiates this tiuth conceins the libeiatoi of
mouein Inuia. A uevotee of Nahatma uanuhi once inquiieu of the Nahatma
how 4#,/,#+# (uestiuction of the minu) is achieveu. Though uanuhiji knew
well the coiiect path to this achievement, he instiucteu the uisciple to seek
the answei fiom a gieat Saint living in the foothills of the Bimalayas. The
implication was that usually when a uisciple is living uay in anu uay out with
his Nastei, he becomes complacent anu theiefoie might not take an utteiance
of piofounu Tiuth to heait.

The uisciple tiaveleu the long anu haiu ioau noithwaius with a heait full
of anticipation foi a ievelation that woulu change his life. 0pon ieaching his
uestination, he fell at the feet of the Saint anu intiouuceu himself as a uevotee
of the gieat Nahatma uanuhi.

The Saint, following the mystic tiauition of the Bimalayan Nasteis flatly
saiu: "Tell me! What uo you want." The now weak-kneeu uevotee aiose anu
saiu: "Bow is the minu to be uestioyeu." The Saint, much aghast, pioclaimeu:
"0 my uou, you come fiom uanuhiji with 'uestiuction' upon youi lips! Youi
Nastei's veiy life pioclaims the answei. =#*.#$1#"#, non-coopeiation with the
minu, is the way! Remaining still, anu theiefoie not coopeiating with the
minu's egotistic intentions to move into the exteinal woilu achieves youi
victoiy ovei uistiactions. Youi effoits to conquei the minu shoulu be two-folu.
When the minu says, 'Come out with me anu play', you fiist ignoie the
invitation, anu then tuin youi awaieness inwaius upon the bieath anu thus
stay at home with uou. Youi inevitable victoiy pioceeus giauually, one
success at a time."

Practical Sadhana


K?0 >/, G,2T70103 )23 (0<01 G,4B1,45803N

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Conquerlng Lhe Lgo's lorL

Question: This piactice appeais to be iight at the heait of the issue.
Theiefoie, can you be moie specific, especially iegaiuing "Bow to anu how
long" one shoulu continue in this spiiitual s#*.#$1#"#.

Yes, of couise, anu the heait of the issue uemanus claiification fiom Be
who is in full possession of the Beait!

"Be who conqueieu anu nevei compiomiseu."

Theiefoie, Bhagavan explains to all:

Bevotee: "I uo not yet unueistanu how it is to be uone."

Nahaishi: "You aie piactising bieath-contiol. Nechanical bieath-
contiol will not leau one to the goal. It is only an aiu. While uoing it
mechanically take caie to be aleit in minu anu iemembei the 'I' thought
anu seek its souice. Then you will finu that wheie bieath sinks, the 'I-
thought' aiises. They sink anu iise togethei. The 'I-thought' also will sink
along with bieath. Simultaneously, anothei luminous anu infinite 'I-I' will
become manifest, which will be continuous anu unbioken. That is the
goal. It goes by uiffeient names - uou, Self, :3,&#8),) =#A*)E
ConsciousnessE </$#E !"#A*)E F,#,#E etc."

Bevotee: "Bow long is the piactice to continue."

Nahaishi: "Till success is achieveu anu until ./$#-libeiation
becomes peimanent. Success begets success. If one uistiaction is
conqueieu the next is conqueieu anu so on, until all aie finally

Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, Sri
Ramanashramam 2002, p. 143, paragraph 3.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 195, p. 166.
Practical Sadhana

conqueieu. The piocess is like ieuucing an enemy's foit by slaying its
manpowei - one by one, as each issues out."

K(3*4 >&3,,

It is oui level of concentiation that conuitions, oi iathei ieconuitions,
the minu so that it may stay focuseu within anu eventually slow uown. When
oui concentiation is skillful anu the minu becomes still it enteis the +#4#&")
state. When we sustain this state by iemaining veiy aleit anu in full
possession of a ieflective obseivance we know that the entiie minu-stuff has
been sublimateu into the -"#%# (expeiience) of the bieath, anu the sounu of
the M#4# (uou's Name) alone. We have full awaieness of the tiuth that, "In
the beginning uou bieatheu upon the wateis"
(wateis mean the minu), anu
foi us what neeus to be known is, "Be still anu Know that I am uou".
then, of couise, we must uo it ovei anu ovei anu ovei again. Bhagavan spoke
cleaily on this point when once askeu by a uevotee:

"What is N/A+"# (libeiation)."

BhagavanP KN/A+"# is to know that you weie not boin. '!0 +*)88 #,&
A,/G *"#* R #4 (/&.' To be still is not to think. Know, anu not think, is
the woiu."

When the minu uistiacts us away fiom inwaiu stillness, it uoes so by
luiing us thiough imagination into the futuie oi making us emotional anu
ieactive to things fiom the past. Its effoit is conceineu solely with pulling us
out of the piesent moment.

Constant abiuance in the piesent moment is the ueath knell foi the ego.
Theiefoie oui sole concein as meuitatois is to uevelop anu ueepen the skill of
abiuance in the piesent moment, peimitting the movement of the bieath to be
the uooiway to the souice of oui existence, to life Bivine. If one's piactice is to
use the M#4# F#6# as a fuithei aiu towaius the goal, then this ;#6# is

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 28, p. 29.
The Holy Bible, Genesis 1, 2.
The Holy Bible, Psalms 46, 10.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 130, p. 119
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

synchionizeu with the bieath natuially anu without stiain. The iepetition of
the ;#6# is always set to the ihythmic movement of the bieath. 0ne shoulu
nevei tiy to squeeze oi expanu the bieath into the matiic length of the ;#6#.

B$/N1 B#+9(. C31 B3;&

Specifically, we have liteially invokeu the Piesence of uou thiough the
iemembiance of Bis Name. This is not at all an empty state of minu; we aie
not stone-like in a state of 8#.#. We have become utteily still within anu in oui
stillness we become awaie of the movement of uou fiom within oui heait. We
peiceive that this movement is with foim anu has a beautiful peisonality. In
ieality, uou is peifectly human in the sense of possessing a Puie Ninu. We aie
maue in this likeness of uou, though habitually foigetful of it. Bis uiace is that
this Puiity is offeieu to us as an inheiitance. If only we woulu not attempt to
uisown Bim by oui actions.

It is so touching how veiy human uou ieally is. It is touching in the
sense that oui heaits aie consumeu with attiaction towaius Bis #,#,&# (puie
happiness, joyful unselfish love). Bis piesence is the uooi; the key is oui
ieflection upon this physical (veiy palpable) peiception of that Bivine
piesence. 0ui focus iemains steauy while intent on the bieath.

0ui ievelation is that we can anu shoulu peiceive, not 'Who' we aie #*
>)1+*, but 'Who Be is'. This act of ieflection within, which is also an act of
suiienuei, ieveals that Be is oui veiy own. Thus oui Awakening is the
iealization that fiom "Whence we came" is fiom uou, anu in the enu, oui
+#&"#,# will be the most natuial union by going back the Way we came.

Question: Is it the same expeiience foi all.

No, because uou manifests in the piecise way that is attiactive to each
inuiviuual. Theie is ieally no similaiity oi uuplication of the expeiience of
uou's Piesence. Even amongst people who aie uevelopeu -"#A*#+ (piacticing
mainly uevotional aspects of ./$#), ceitain aspects of uou will be attiactive to
one anu anothei will not become luieu within. uou knows exactly what will
catch us. Be puts out the veiy best bait. Be is the fishei of men. Be knows that
ceitain of the fish Be is out to catch like a paiticulai sounu, anu a ceitain foim.
Be becomes that which we finu most auoiable.

Practical Sadhana

7'( K(+)&6 $; :+6+

Anothei aspect of this seciet of uou anu 4#.# (cosmic illusion) is that
we aie caught up by the foim of uou that is most physically auoiable anu
joyful. Again, this is the most natuial thing because we aie human, with a
human heait. The tiuth is that the human heait, in its 6310 state, is the bait
that uou finus iiiesistible. Be loves us puiely anu without motive, anu fai
moie than we love Bim! 0ui +#&"#,# anu piayeis, oui iemembiance of Bim,
aie a confession of this. With sinceiity anu longing we ultimately piay that in
spite of this Be will awaken us anu save us. The tiue ;,#,) also comes to this
iealization. Aftei all, Sii Ramakiishna saiu that since we came into this woilu
to eat mangoes, we shoulu uefinitely eat them anu be happy at it. The
implication heie is that mangoes iepiesent the sweetest anu puiest offeiing of
cieation. We came foith into such a cieation to enjoy its fiuits anu be thankful
to its cieatoi. All of the tiouble anu pain that we expeiience in mateiial life
come fiom fieely paitaking of the fiuits of life without giatefully
acknowleuging the Nastei of the oichaiu.

We ielentlessly laboi at it to the best of oui ability, knowing fiom the
testimony of the Saints anu Sages that the goal is beyonu oui ieach. We
peiseveie with vigilance suppoiteu by the assuiance often stateu by

"If we peifoim oui sauhana to the best of oui ability, the Loiu will
accomplish foi us that which is beyonu oui capability."

Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar, p.
186. (Reference is to Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham, vol. 8, verse 192).

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


ºlounLaln of Llvlng WaLers"

"The Bible anu the ()*# aie the same.In the !"#$#%#& ()*# it is saiu that it is the
natuie of the minu to wanuei. 0ne must biing one's thoughts to beai on uou.
By long piactice the minu is contiolleu anu maue steauy."

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 164 p. 144 & 91 p. 89.
Practical Sadhana


WaLer for Survlval

Question: What exactly is beyonu oui capability. What uoes -"#A*)
achieve that ;,#,# uoes not accomplish.

vinoba, a saintly uevotee of Nahatma uanuhi, ieveals in his book @#8A+
/, *"0 ()*# a most impoitant point iegaiuing this question that fiequently
aiises uuiing spiiitual puisuit. Be uefinitively pioclaims that -"#A*) will leau
one to the ievelation of ;,#,#. In the same bieath he says that: "the bianch of
;,#,# is nouiisheu by the wateis of -"#A*)."

0ne shoulu then ask, "Bow can this be." The answei is known by the
unueistanuing that when all of oui #-".#+# anu %)2"#1# aie uistilleu uown to
the funuamental motive, we aie piimaiily in puisuit of a Puie Ninu.

We aie in puisuit of puie happiness, the founuation of which iesiues
exclusively within the heait. This is uiametiically opposeu to the puisuit of
puie pleasuie which is the uominating factoi motivating the ego. All the
tiouble in the woilu comes fiom the puisuit of happiness being misuiiecteu
towaius the puisuit of pleasuie.

It is human natuie that even in the puisuit of something as puie
anu enuuiing as spiiitual awakening we tenu to use a scientific appioach. We
analyze the enueavoi anu equip ouiselves with tools that suit the task. This
appioach is inueeu fiaught with gieat iisk when the woik at hanu is nothing
shoit of the 'expeiiment of life' anu we somehow feel up to the task without
uivine guiuance.

<'39' <+6 "3#1&

In the !"#$#%#& ()*#E the Loiu places befoie us the most appiopiiate
tools foi us to utilize in solving the iiuule of life. They show us how to awaken
anu puiify the minu anu thus iemove the veil of ignoiance anu uelusion. Sii
Kiishna places befoie us two sepaiate toolkits to choose fiom accoiuing to
oui tempeiament anu natuie. 0nfoitunately, we misieau the instiuctions
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

fiom the veiy onset. We contemplate the path of ;,#,# anu conjuie up a belief
that being only conceptual it is achievable with ielative ease. The path of
-"#A*) is immeuiately shieu away fiom foi it is seen as nothing shoit of a
lifetime of woik, constantly tiying to ueepen the sinceiity of one's uevotion.

uou, in Bis infinite wisuom, incainates as an 9%#*#1# again anu again to
show us that the choice is not G")2" tools to use but iathei which tools to use
>)1+*. Each path is uesigneu to effect unique iesults that taken all togethei aie
essential foi ultimate success. 0ne path leaus to the next, anu they mutually
nouiish each othei along the way.

To the uismay of some, the Loiu iefeis to these two paths not as one of
knowleuge anu the othei of uevotion but iathei as two sepaiate foims of
uevotion; ,)1$3,# (foimless) -"#A*) anu +#$3,# (with foim) -"#A*). Chaptei
Twelve of the !"#$#%#& ()*# is uevoteu solely to the meaning anu methou of
employment of these ./$#+. The Loiu ieveals to us that the life-long effoit of
+#$3,# -"#A*) is easiei then the path of ,)1$3,#.

J(L$&(/ O*$D,(/4(

It is conceining this tiuth utteieu by the Loiu Kiishna that vinoba
comments with beautiful claiity:

"Apait fiom the point of easiness, theie is one moie point. M)1$3,#
woiship is fiaught with some iisk. M)1$3,# is full of knowleuge anu
wisuom (;,#,#) only. In +#$3,# theie is love anu tenueiness anu waimth
of feelings. A uevotee is moie secuie theiein. Theie was a time when I
ielieu much on knowleuge, but expeiience has taught me that knowleuge
alone is not enough. It uoes buin uown gioss impuiities in the minu, but
it is poweiless to wash away the subtlei impuiities.
"Self-ieliance, enquiiy, #-".#+#, anu %#)1#$.# Q all these means
taken togethei aie of little avail heie. The subtle impuiities can be
washeu away only by the wateis of -"#A*). 0nly -"#A*) has the efficacy to
uo it. You may call it uepenuence; but it is uepenuence on nobouy else
but the Loiu. The minu cannot be completely cleanseu without Bis help.
"Some may say: 'You aie giving a naiiow meaning to the woiu
"knowleuge" (;,#,#). To holu that knowleuge cannot cleanse the minu
completely is to unueivalue it.' This objection is ceitainly valiu. But my
point is that it is haiu to attain puie knowleuge while living in a moital
bouy. The knowleuge that we can have while we aie encaseu in this bouy
Practical Sadhana

is bounu to be somewhat impeifect anu incomplete; its powei is bounu
to be limiteu. Puie knowleuge will unuoubteuly buin to ashes all the
impuiities of the minu; anu along with it, it will buin uown the minu too.
But when associateu with the weak flesh, its powei pioves to be
inauequate. It cannot theiefoie wash away subtle impuiities. 0ne has to
take iecouise to -"#A*) foi this puipose. A man is theiefoie moie secuie
in -"#A*). This is my peisonal assessment. =#$3,# -"#A*) is easiei, as
theie is ieliance on the Loiu wheieas in ,)1$3,# -"#A*) theie is self-
ieliance. But, aftei all, what uoes 'self' in 'self-ieliance' mean. It means
ieliance on the Loiu Who uwells within us. You cannot finu anyone
puiifieu solely thiough ieason. Thiough Self-ieliance, that is, thiough
knowleuge of the Self within, we shall have puie Knowleuge. Thus, even
in ,)1$3,# -"#A*), ieliance is on the Self
"=#$3,# neeus help fiom ,)1$3,#. 0ne must eventually leain to
fiee oneself fiom attachment to anu pieoccupation fiom inuiviuuals anu
outei foims. =#$3,# is inueeu the souice of inspiiation, but the ultimate
culmination must be in ,)1$3,#, in commitment to piinciples. Self-
knowleuge must ultimately emeige fiom the womb of uevotion. The
plant of -"#A*) must blossom into the flowei of Self-knowleuge."

>&#(*4&' +*/ K(+)&6 $; EPF(#3(*9(

Question: Bow is one to know when the plant of -"#A*) has matuieu into
the floweiing stage of Self-knowleuge.

It must be unueistoou that we aie tiying to put an expeiience of the
heait into woius fiom the minu. 0ui effoits aie in vain uue to the limitations
of the woius, which piesent an insuimountable obstacle to iight
unueistanuing. Rathei than attempting to uesciibe what the expeiience is, we
will succeeu in uepicting what this expeiience uoes.

The uawning of knowleuge of the Self is the most attiactive thing in
cieation. It pulls you inwaiu, cieating one iiiesistible uesiie. You want that
anu only that! Inheiently you know that if effoit is slackeneu anu you tuin
away fiom the puisuit of it thiough the slightest inuiffeience, you will lose it.

Talks on the Gita, Vinoba, Paramdham & Sarva Seva Prakashan 2005, p. 171-
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

This loss will happen quickly because we aie in the subtle iealms of the
heait. This iegion of the heait, though most neai anu ueai to oui tiue Self, is
paiauoxically an aiea that we know the least about. If we have not uevelopeu
thiough a skillful anu nimble powei of concentiation the subtle stiength anu
agility of awaieness, the slightest uistiaction will cause us to lose the
peiception of that which we stiove with such vigilance to acquiie.

A "#3(*/ H$) =+* 7#)1&

The founuation of concentiation that we laiu in the eaily stages of oui
meuitation will seive as oui stiength anu suppoit uuiing oui final ascent. This
beuiock of fiim anu focuseu concentiation is essential because the subtle
iegions of the heait aie not limiteu within time anu space. Within meuitation
the peiception of this limitlessness is so piofounu anu ielieving that we want
to simply float away anu bask within it. 0ui skillful habits uevelopeu within
meuitation will catch this uesiie 'in the act' anu pull us back to the safe sheltei
thiough awaieness of the bieath. Bhagavan Sii Ramana assuies us that, in
auuition to +#*+#,$#, oui awaieness on the bieath is the most ieliable thieau
leauing us to tiue awakening:

"A visitoi askeu how to iealize oneself in accoiuance with
Nahaishi's instiuctions, containeu in his text of @13*" 70%0#80&, veise 9,
supplement. The uifficulty was in contiolling the minu."

N#"#1+")P "It is to be uone by contiolling the bieath. If you piactise
it by youiself without othei help, then the minu is contiolleu. 0theiwise
the minu comes unuei contiol spontaneously in the piesence of a
supeiioi powei. Such is the gieatness of association with the wise

Bhagavan has assuieu us that: "I am not going away. Wheie can I go. I
am heie."
With this assuiance, we can follow his teachings anu his now
invisible piesence as oui +#*+#,$#. Thus we can avoiu the uangei of falling
piey to self-maue Nessiahs that aie eveiything but the "supeiioi powei" that
Bhagavan iefeis to. Theiefoie we can embiace Bis teachings by befiienuing

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 10. p. 3.
Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, p. 222.
Practical Sadhana

anu contiolling (watching with awaieness) the bieath, foi that is what pulls us
inwaiu away fiom the vagaiies of the minu, anu moves us towaiu the sublime
aboue of uou.

The ancient Biblical text of the Bebiews ueclaies that: "In the beginning,
uou bieatheu upon the wateis." Symbolically this means that uou took on oui
humanity by bieathing Immoitality into oui Bighei Ninu. The catch is the iole
of 4#.# in this uivine action; She put the immoital Ninu into a veiy moital
Regaiuless of the gieat possibility that all of this is also Bei 4/"#, we
have no choice but to ueal with it. Neuitation is the means to this enu.

Anothei aspect of the humanity of uou is Bis methouical natuie. Be
pulls us back to Bimself along the same path fiom which we came out fiom
Bim. Be is steauy in Bis patience anu ielentless in Bis effoit. Bis love foi us is
without limit oi motive; it is puie unselfish love. The simple tiuth is that we
aie always within the powei of Bis Piesence. The uiscoveiy of this is founu in
becoming ieceptive to Bis tiansfoimative powei.

The uiace of uou is liteially confineu by oui choice to ieceive it. Its
effect is limiteu by the intensity of oui effoits to absoib it. Sii Ramana
Nahaishi veiifieu this tiuth with ceitainty to all who came to him. The most
piofounu example of this is seen when in the piesence of Bhagavan:

"The conveisation tuineu upon the question as to whethei R+G#1#
?1#+#& (Bivine uiace) is necessaiy foi the attaining of s#41#;.#
(univeisal uominion) oi whethei a ;)%#H+ (inuiviuual's) honest anu
stienuous effoits to attain it cannot of themselves leau him to That fiom
whence is no ietuin to life anu ueath.

"The Nahaishi with an ineffable smile which lit up Bis Boly Face
anu which was all-peivasive, shining upon the coteiie aiounu him,
ieplieu in tones of ceitainty anu with the iing of tiuth: "Bivine uiace is
essential foi Realization. It leaus one to uou-iealization. But such uiace
is vouchsafeu only to him who is a tiue uevotee oi a ./$),, who has
stiiven haiu anu ceaselessly on the path towaius fieeuom."

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 29.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

A99(F&3*4 B$/N1 B#+9(Q

0ui choice is whethei we will iemain cieatuies of fiee will oi accept oui
inheiitance as beings of Bivinely inspiieu fieeing-will, in possession of an
Awakening that tiansfoims us anu puiifies those in the woilu aiounu us. This
fieeing-will is the Will of uou. Foi fiom the veiy beginning it was only uou, in
the uisguise of oui +#&"#,# who came out of Bis heait- uwelling within us anu
into oui minus, into the woilu of foigetfulness that we chose to live in. We
may also choose to call it the Bivine Nothei's spoit of 4#.#, but ceitainly this
cieation has appeaieu by Supieme intent. uou fully intenus to luie us inwaiu,
back to the iealization that Be is oui veiy own.

Bhagavan fieely uivulgeu the ielentless intention of Bis giace anu
compassion to all who came to Bim with sinceie heaits. Thus, he ueclaieu to
those befoie Bim as if pioclaiming to all:

"Even if you let go of Bhagavan, Bhagavan will nevei let go of you."

Even so, when a uevotee giew uesponuent at seeing no piogiess in
himself saying:

"I am afiaiu if I continue like this I shall go to hell."

Bhagavan, the 0cean of Compassion without Reason, tenueily ieplieu:

"If you uo Bhagavan will go aftei you anu biing you back."

Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, p. 172
Ibid. p. 172

Practical Sadhana


º1he Look LhaL Þlerced"

Be Still, It Is The Wind That Sings, Arthur Osborne, Sri Ramanashramam 2000. Chapter
1, p. 27.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

V2,9 ./0 $0610. ,- Q,71 "92

Question: Fiom the most ancient times the teaching methous of $313+
weie to uesciibe the goal, claiify the methous anu piactices foi attainment
anu finally to fully uisclose the hinuiances to that attainment. Since we aie
leaining the means towaiu the highest Realization, one must assume that the
obstacles to attainment aie ieal anu foimiuable. What aie the obstacles to oui
achievement of the ultimate goal of life.

Let us auuiess this question fiist with a piofounu answei accoiuing to
the ieligions of the woilu, anu then with the ultimate answei.

The Saints anu Sages unanimously agiee that iegaiuless of any chosen
path, it is piactice that makes us peifect. Foi it is thiough piactice that we
attiact the evei-piesent uiace of uou.

The gieatest obstacle to piactice is not only foimiuable but completely
beyonu the iealm of oui contiol. This hinuiance anu gieatest foe to
Enlightenment is all-consuming anu uevouiing Time. The seivants of this
enemy of the evolution of man aie calleu the &0%#&3*#+ (uivine messengeis).

Theie aie five sepaiate &0%#&3*#+, of which thiee aie foi us of majoi
concein. When these visit us we become fully awaie of the tiansitoiy anu
limiteu natuie of oui physical existence. These thiee, that foi piactically eveiy
living being aie the ultimate obstacles to the achievement of immoitality, aie
Ageing, Illness anu Beath.

Practical Sadhana

7'( <$*/(# $; <$*/(#1

When time is on oui siue we fiittei it away seeking what comes
natuially to us, which aie the enjoyments anu the love of mateiial life. When
the uay of the eventual, inevitable, anu unpieuictable aiiival of the &0%#&3*#+
uawns, we become consumeu with iesentment anu uieau. 0ui iesentment
seems legitimate foi we finu ouiselves unable to fuithei enjoy the possessions
that we stiove a lifetime foi. We uieau that many of those who have loveu us
foi the wiong ieasons might lose theii attiaction to us. In this conuition, the
veiy last thing that we tuin to is the aiuuous anu giueling piactice of
meuitation. Anu even if, by uou's giace oi sheei uespeiation, we somehow
seek solace with inteiioi spiiitual piactice, we finu that the mental faculties
anu physical enuuiance neeueu foi the task have long ago uepaiteu fiom us.
This is, simply speaking, the human conuition. None aie exempt! It is a
wonuei to beholu.

In the N#"#-"#1#*# epic this human conuition is poitiayeu with the
encountei of the Panuava biotheis meeting C"#14# (the eteinal ihythm
manifesting by giace within time), uisguiseu in the foim of a .#A+"# (uemi-
gou), by the shoie of the cooling wateis of a lake. Each of the five biotheis,
suffeiing gieatly fiom thiist, weie in tuin appioacheu anu waineu by C"#14#
not to quench theii thiist befoie answeiing ceitain questions. Each as they
appioacheu the lake, uisiegaiueu the waining anu uiank anu immeuiately fell

Finally the eluest, Yuuhisthiia came anu seeing the coipses began to
lament. C"#14# spoke biuuing him to fiist answei his questions anu then he
woulu cuie the thiist anu giief of Yuuhisthiia.

The most significant of the questions askeu anu coiiectly answeieu was:

"0f all the woilu's wonueis, which is the gieatest wonuei."

"That eveiy man, though he sees otheis uying all aiounu him,
believes that he himself will iemain foievei. What can be a gieatei
wonuei than this."
The piofunuity of this might be aigueu but ultimately this tiuth can
nevei be uenieu. The pioblem facing piactically all is that when this tiuth is
finally seen, it is too late to uo anything about it.

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

B3L( 8(+9( $; :3*/ + ='+*9(

All of the Saints anu Sages, who have piopounueu piactice as essential
anu Time as its hinuiance, ultimately agiee that the peifection fiom the
piactice is a Puie Ninu. Anu fuithei that the minu is eveiything anu pieceues
all states anu conuitions. A genuine unueistanuing of this ieveals the seciet
behinu the pioblem of biith, ageing, illness anu ueath. Religion, if piacticeu
coiiectly, uoes not guiue man towaius a spiiitual piepaiation foi ueath, but
iathei towaius a tiansfoimation into eteinal life befoie ueath.

It is not the iavages of Time's "iough hanuling" that aie at the heait of
the pioblem of the cycle of life anu ueath; it is oui mental ieaction to it. Time
has been oiuaineu to have uominion ovei oui physical conuition. Its
uominance ovei oui mental conuition is a mattei of oui own choice. The peace
anu puiity of minu that can be achieveu thiough #-".#+# anu %)2"#1# is
founueu on soliu expeiience within the uepth of meuitation.

The state of +#4#&") in ueep meuitation gives us expeiience in a
timeless woilu. The constancy of this expeiience soliuifies oui ability to
iemain meiely a witness to the movement of ageing anu illness. In ieality, we
aie now expeiiencing a veiy viviu timeless state, anu oui spiiitual heait,
wheiein oui uivine Self iesiues, is supiemely attiacteu to it. We know by
expeiience anu the piomptings of uou's giace that if we cultivate this, if we
befiienu this, it will uiaw us into Itself. By fuithei piactice we will make this
oui best fiienu, one who nevei betiays.

Theiefoie we will caiiy this keen anu lively awaieness anu expeiience
of stillness anu peace iight to the uooi of ueath. At that moment we aie steauy
in wisuom (+*")*# 61#;,#).

We will not be iavageu anu oveicome by ueath. We will calmly
unueistanu that the bouy is no longei habitable, anu we will consciously step
out of it as if we weie stepping out of one ioom into anothei. The bouy will go
the way it came, unto uust. We will go the way we came, unto uou.

Practical Sadhana

>+,L+&3$* ;#$% "(+#

This is known as the ueliveiance of the Enlighteneu 0nes. 0ui
ueliveiance is the ueliveiance fiom the feai of ueath. Beath loses its sting. The
sting of ueath is the belief, anu foi most the mistaken expeiience, that the loss
of the bouy will cause the loss of conscious existence. The lives of the Saints,
anu those who thiough effoit anu giace have enteieu the stieam of timeless
existence, piove this utteily false. Nany of these Enlighteneu 0nes have
fuithei pioveu theii uivinity to those aiounu them who iemain embouieu.
Theii tiansfoiming piocess of uivination was peifectly complete, tiansmuting
eveiy cell in theii bouies. Thus theii physical bouy, which at biith was
uestineu to ietuin unto uust, was ienueieu incoiiupt aftei ueath. Theii minus
became tiansfoimeu anu sublimateu by theii cultivation of the timeless Spiiit
within the Beait. Theii physical vehicle, which was useu skillfully uuiing this
tiansfoimation, also became thoioughly steepeu in incoiiuptible immoitality.
They ieacheu that which we must stiive foi anu achieve, what in Chiistianity
is calleu the puiity of the "fullness anu peifection of the statuie of the
Consciousness of Chiist". Which in the East is sought foi anu known to be the
ultimate goal of Self-iealization, wheiein the self of man is ieuniteu anu
absoibeu within the puiity anu peifection of uou.

"When all the essences of cainal things have been tiansmuteu into
soul, anu all essences of soul have been ietuineu to Boly Bieath, anu
man is maue a peifect uou, the uiama of cieation will concluue. Anu this
is All."

To know of that which is ueemeu "All", one must suiely suiienuei to It
with uevotion as well as with knowleuge. These two aie in essence one, foi the
seciet of Enlightenment is the Love of uou! Though many of Bhagavan's
uisciples floweieu in the fullness of ;,#,#E what stiikes us most in them is
theii total love anu -"#A*) to Bhagavan.

Thus the Nahaishi, the embouiment of Love, enticeu us with Bis woius,
with Bis glance, with Bis life that shone upon us as a biilliant sun to know:

"The eteinal, unbioken, natuial state of abiuing in the Self is ;,#,#.
To abiue in the Self you must love the Self. Since uou is veiily the Self,

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, by Levi, Devorss & Company 2001,
p. 88.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

love of the Self is love of uou; anu that is -"#A*)O F,#,# anu -"#A*) aie
thus one anu the same.. theii puipose is to leau you to &".#,#, to
meuitation, which enus in Self-iealization."

Anu all the Sages of all the woilus will say:

ºAmen. Cm. " ºAmen. Cm. "

lor furLher Leachlngs from Srl 8amana Maharshl
and Lhe MasLers from Lhe LasL and WesL vlslL:

Maharshi’s Gospel I, The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Sri
Ramanashramam 2007, p. 17-18.
Practical Sadhana


"# $%&'&(# )*+& &,$- ./'&'0 1(( 2/(( ./'&3 /# $%&'&(# '45'/6&'0 1(( 2/(( '45'/6&7
8$ *+& &9*&%* *$ 2+/:+ 2& 5&+1;& +4<5(=0 *$ *+1* &9*&%*
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!"# %&'&(& )&*&"+*# #( ,*- &' ./
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


Abanuoning the outei woilu,

With minu anu bieath contiolleu,

To meuitate on Thee within, the yogi sees Thy light,

0 Aiunachala, anu finus his uelight in Thee.

Y)%0 =*#,J#+ /, =1) 913,#2"#8# a =*#,J# _

Practical Sadhana


Appendlx l

It’s true meaning and Method of Practice

If there is one term describing an essential aspect needed for success that can
be found in all schools of spiritual practice, regardless of the methods prescribed
and their scriptural foundation; one single aspect of approach or revelation of the
Divine, the Self, the Eternal, the Perennial Ground of which all humans claim
inheritance- it is “surrender”.

If there is one thing that can be universally said concerning this fundamental
cornerstone upon which is built a life of what is deemed Spiritual and Real, it is
undeniably that from it’s very definition onwards – practically everyone has it
wrong. Of course, this statement is bold and presumptuous, even arrogant. But
before such judgment is passed, let us analyze the proper Sanskrit dictionary
etymology and meaning of the word ‘saranagati’, which is commonly translated
into English as ‘surrender’.

The meaning of saranagati is derived from two root words. First is the word
‘saranam’, and finally from the word ‘agati’. ‘Saranam’ is defined with a list of
synonyms including refuge, shelter, protection, succor, and interestingly, a place of
rest. ‘Agati’ means to come to, to go to, even to go to quickly as an arrow released
from a bow.

In the 18
chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu Bible, Lord Krishna uses
this word twice in His final summation to Arjuna. The Lord is revealing in verses
62 and 66 the highest and most profound secret regarding how to “surrender” and
what is its result.

Verse 62

tam eva saranam gaccha
sarvabhavena bharata
tatprasadat param santim
sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


Fly unto Him alone for refuge
With your whole being, Arjuna.
From His grace, you shall attain
Supreme peace and the eternal abode.

Verse 66

sarvadharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tva sarvapapebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

Abandoning all duties,
Take refuge in Me alone.
I shall liberate you
From all evils; do not grieve.

It is essential to note the words the Lord uses to imperatively modify
‘saranam’ in both verses. In verse 62 the use of the word “gaccha” signifies the
exclamatory imperative act “to go!” In verse 66 the word “vraja”, coming from the
root ‘vraj’, implies a command “take, vow!“ Grammatically both usages are to be
defined with extreme emphasis, for they are both 2
singular imperative acts. The
implication that Sanskrit scholars derive from this is that the Lord is revealing the
act of surrender as a process of determined and totally concentrated effort
(prapatti, an often used synonym for “saranagati” meaning total surrender to God
through devotion and adoration combined with a life of purity and virtue).

Sri Ramana Maharshi clarifies the application of this secret revelation in the
Gita when answering questions of devotees from both the Jnana and Bhakti Marga

“The ‘I’ casts off the illusion of ‘I’ and yet remains as ‘I’. Such is the
paradox of Self-Realisation. The realised do not see any contradiction in it.
Take the case of bhakti - I approach Iswara and pray to be absorbed in Him.
I then surrender myself in faith and by concentration. What remains
afterwards? In place of the original ‘I’, perfect self-surrender leaves a
residuum of God in which the ‘I’ is lost. This is the highest form of devotion
(parabhakti), prapatti, surrender or the height of vairagya…You give up this
and that of ‘my’ possessions. If you give up ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ instead, all are
given up at a stroke. The very seed of possession is lost. Thus the evil is
Practical Sadhana

nipped in the bud or crushed in the germ itself. Dispassion (vairagya) must
be very strong to do this. Eagerness to do it must be equal to that of a man
kept under water trying to rise up to the surface for his life.”

The Jnani “casts off”, the Bhakta “approaches, prays and becomes
absorbed”. Both are an active effort requiring “strong dispassion and concentrated
eagerness” to avoid being drowned in the waters of samsara (an ocean of sorrows).

Can we now pass judgment that to believe “surrender” a whimsical act of
“letting go”, “giving up the effort”, or casually and shyly “going with the flow” is
an erroneous and mistaken understanding?

Mistaken! For Bhagavan and the Bhagavad Gita are declaring that
“surrender” means flying like an arrow to a shelter, a refuge and a place of rest in

And if we try and try again to attain this most Blessed state, but find no help,
our prayers will at least give us “ears to hear” the proclamation from the Jagat
Guru, the Spirit of Guidance:

Devotee: “ We surrender; but still there is no help.“

Maharshi: “Yes. If you have surrendered, you must be able to abide by the
will of God and not make a grievance of what may not please you. Things
may turn out differently from what they look apparently. Distress often leads
men to faith in God.”

Devotee: “But we are worldly. There is the wife, there are the children,
friends and relatives. We cannot ignore their existence and resign ourselves
to Divine Will, without retaining some little of the personality in us.”

Maharshi: “That means you have not surrendered as professed by you. You
must only trust God.”

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 28.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 43.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Part II

“In order to annihilate what is undesirable and harmful
(anishta), the mind has to be steeped in the adoration of
the Beloved (Ishta).”
Sri Anandamayi Ma

The first presentation on “Saranagati” concluded with an understanding of the
nature of surrender as being a concentrated and definitive movement of the mind
and heart towards God. Sri Krishna extolled us to “Fly unto Him, and take refuge
in Him alone”. Sri Ramana Maharshi’s guidance gave us the conviction to “abide
by the will of God and not make a grievance of what may not please you, for
distress often leads men to faith in God. Therefore you must only trust God.

Without doubt, these words are full of Truth and inspiration. But, as is often
said in the scriptures of both East and West: “Inspiration is one thing, the effect it
has on our life and sadhana is quite another.” Soothing words do soften the sorrow
of the human heart, but too often their effect fails to translate into lasting
progressive movement towards God. Even if we are truly motivated to “Take
wings and fly to the shelter of the bosom of our heavenly Father”, we remain
human by inheritance, and thus a sybarite by nature. One may be really very
zealous in his austerities and vows in the beginning, but if one is not on a very
proper guard, slowly the vigor will be relaxed, comforts will creep in the mind and
man will be caught very miserably. For this very reason, an understanding of the
nature of “surrender” pales in significance when compared with an exact
knowledge of “What “saranagati” practically is, and more importantly, how it is

For clarification of this most essential question let us now rely further on
Bhagavan and the Bhagavad Gita as our Guru, as our “Spirit of guidance.” Taking
their hands of Guidance and Blessing, may we proceed onwards to the “further

“Blessings on your journey to the further shore beyond

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 43.

Practical Sadhana

(Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.6)

A visitor once asked of Bhagavan: “What is self-surrender?”

Bhagavan replied: “It is the same as mind-control. The ego submits
when it recognizes the higher authority of the Atman. This is the beginning
of surrender…
“Complete surrender to God means giving up all thoughts
and concentrating the mind on Him. If we can concentrate on Him, other
thoughts disappear. If mano-vak-kaya karmas, i.e., the actions of the mind,
speech and body, are merged with God, all the burdens of our life will be on
Him.” Bhagavan continued with a quote from the Gita: “Lord Krishna told
Arjuna in the Gita,

ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesam nityabhiyutanam
yogaksemam vahamy aham

Those men who worship, directing their thoughts to Me,
Whose minds do not go elsewhere;
For them, who are constantly steadfast,
I secure what they lack and preserve what they already possess.
(Bhagavad Gita IX, verse 22)

Bhagavan continues and explains: “Arjuna had to do the fighting. So Sri
Krishna said, ‘Place all the burden on Me, do your duty; you are merely an
instrument. I will see to everything. Nothing will bother you.’ But then, before
one surrenders to God, one should know who it is that surrenders. Unless all
thoughts are given up there can’t be surrender. When there are no thoughts at
all, what remains is only the Self. So surrender will only be to one’s Self. If
surrender is in terms of bhakti, the burden should be thrown on God, and if it
is in terms of karma, karma should be performed until one knows one’s own
Self. The result is the same in either case. Surrender means to enquire and
know about one’s own Self and then remain in the Self. What is there apart
from the Self?”

Here, very definitely, Bhagavan is guiding us towards a practice of what will
culminate within an effective meditative process of Atma Vichara. Many of the

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 56.
Letters from Sri Ramanashramam, Suri Nagamma, p. 225-227.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

most learned Sanskrit scholars define “vichara” as a process primarily of
“reflection” and secondarily as “enquiry”. We can see the efficacy of this within
the guiding words of Bhagavan above in relation to “surrender”.

In order to, “Place all the burden on God, and do our duty merely as an
instrument, for God will see to everything”, we surely must ‘somehow’ invoke and
perceive THAT VERY PRESENCE. Otherwise, how in heaven or on earth are we
to “throw our burden on the Lord” if we do not know the place where to drop off
the delivery!

The followers of all religions uniformly face the same dilemma; how is God
to be found? All who seek to solve this ‘mystery of life’ find guidance in the saints.
It is not essential to become a saint in order to find God, nor is it necessary. What
is essential is that someone did it, and through their compassion they shed ‘light on
the path’ that we may follow as we proceed onwards toward attainment.

In India, one who sought and found, one who struggled and came through
victorious, one which beheld the Face of God, was Swami Ramdas of
Anandashram in Kerala.

“Swami Ramdas gave great emphasis to constant chanting of God’s Name,
His ceaseless remembrance and absolute surrender to His will. He even adds
that these three are synonymous with God-realization. This means he who
chants God’s Name constantly, has ceaseless remembrance of God and his
surrender to God is absolute. He is as good as having realized God.

“Surrender” is a word that appears in Beloved Papa’s (Swami Ramdas)
utterances very often, because it is a magic word for him. He is very fond of it
and extols it whenever he gets the opportunity. He assures, the moment we
surrender to His will, we are flooded with peace.

“But, for the common man, , the term “surrender”, means a sense of
defeat and disappointment. When two persons or countries are engaged in a
fight, one who feels too weak to defeat the opponent decides to admit defeat
and face the serious consequences of humility and ignominy. He raises his
hands in surrender. The fight ends with one in deep dejection because of the
defeat and the other boisterous in his victory. To a devotee, however,
“surrender” has an entirely different meaning. There is no fight. There is no
defeat. There is no humiliation. There is only victory and the consequent joy.
If at all we call it a fight, it is a fight with the ego, the individuality, for its
Practical Sadhana

survival. The ego, which is apparently fighting for its survival, does not really
exist. It is only a product of the illusory veil put on by the Atman, on Himself,
just for play – Lila - as the devotees say. “Surrender” here is the process of
tearing off the illusory veil, which caused a sense of separation between the
devotee and God. The result is the realization of the devotee’s oneness with
Him. So “surrender” here denotes the vanishing of the non-existent ego and
therefore a victory of the devotee.”

Death of the ego is swallowed up, through liberating surrender, in the victory
of the devotee’s love of God. For the illusory veil being rent a sundered, the tune
of the sweet “Song of the Spirit” touches the human heart.

“The touch of Love Divine
Transmutes thee into purest light
A very mould of Truth
In which the Spirit Immortal
Sings to ageless tune;
The sweet strain fills limitless space
Love be thy God –only Love—
The liberating Mother Supreme.”

- Swami Ramdas

To conclude this segment on “surrender”, and to continue onwards with future
segments, various methods of how to “invoke and perceive” the object of our
reflection and enquiry for which we attempt to achieve true “saranagati” will be
presented by the most renown and authoritative Jagat Gurus (world teachers).
Though various methods of sadhana will be presented, they all will lead, if
correctly practiced with patient endurance, to the same goal. As Swami
Vivekananda exclaimed to his Master, Sri Ramakrishna (who was delighted at the
hearing): “God is infinite, and infinite are the ways to find Him!” All great Gurus
and Masters universally agree that to control the mind and reflect upon its true
Nature, a quietening of thoughts is an essential prerequisite. Only the rare few that
are firmly constituted in the Self (usually from performing this aspect of sadhana
in past lives) dare to skip this stage of spiritual effort. Never-the-less, even those
rare few are seen to undergo this quietening of the mind, mainly through the

Points to Ponder; Talks and messages of Swami Satchidananda, Anandashram
Publications 2000, p. 78-79.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

supplanting of the diffusive thought processes with the single sound (aksara) of
God’s Name. This fact is evidently brought forth in the diary of Sri Muruganar,
who is revered and known to be one of Sri Ramana’s closest and most advanced

“Though Bhagavan rarely gave out mantras, when he did, he generally
recommended “Siva, Siva’. Muruganar himself was given this mantra by
Bhagavan, as were several other devotees including Annamalai Swami, the
brother of Rangan (who was one of Bhagavan’s childhood friends), and an
unknown harijan.”

Perhaps Bhagavan himself declared the reason for this by saying:

“Japa reaching to the source of sound is the best course for those who are not
firm in consciousness which is the source of the ‘I’.”

Perhaps we can take the liberty to conjecture that if one can say Bhagavan had
‘motives’, a profound one would have been to guide his disciples through stages of
the bliss of the self, which would act as catalysts to finally return, through
sadhana, to their true home in the Self, God – the further shore.

“The purport of prescribing meditation on the Pranava is this. The
Pranava is Omkara…the advaita-mantra which is the essence of all
mantras…. In order to get at this true significance, one should meditate on the
Pranava. …The fruition of this process is samadhi which yields release
[moksha], which is the state of unsurpassable bliss.”

It has been said by both the direct disciples of Sri Ramana Maharshi and the
devout that later followed: “If there is a “twin Spirit” of Bhagavan, an exact
embodiment shrouded within a ‘different’ physical form; that is seen in Sri
Anandamayi Ma.”

If Bhagavan defines “self-surrender” to be the same as “mind-control” in a
practice that reveals the knowledge of the Self, surely Mother Anandamayi guided
Her devotees with a means to achieve the same glorious end. Bhagavan declared
to us: “When there are no thoughts at all, what remains is only the Self. So
surrender will only be to one’s Self.” Sri Anandamayi Ma spoke directly about the
means to annihilate the thoughts of the mind, which results in the direct knowledge

Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar, Avadhuta
Foundation 2004, p. 224 - 225.
Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, sixth edition, p. 145
The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, sixth edition, p. 25,26

Practical Sadhana

of “Who we are” and from “Whence we came”:

“In order to annihilate what is undesirable and harmful (anishta), the
mind has to be steeped in the adoration of the Beloved (Ishta). The notion
that He is far away must be altogether given up. Thou art within and
without, in every vein and artery, in every leaf and blade of grass, in the
world and beyond it. The awakening of the sense of want is to be welcomed;
it opens the way. He is there at every step to make the unfit expert. ‘As the
sense of want and emptiness appearest Thou and no other—Thou art close
by; Lord, I take refuge (saranagati) in Thee, I take refuge in Thee!’

“The Name and the Named are identical; for He Himself appears as
the Name. The sound (Aksara, the pranava Om) is indeed God’s own guise.
When the Name one repeats becomes alive, it is as when a seed is sown the
tree grows out of it. If the Name that appeals most to any particular person is
constantly repeated, one arrives at the realization that all names are His
names, all forms His forms. Furthermore, that He is without name and form
will also by and by come to light.

“Karma accumulated for ages and ages, sins and desires are wiped out
by God’s sacred Name. Just as lighting a lamp illumines a cave that has been
in darkness for centuries, even so the obscurity of numberless births is
annihilated by the power of a divine Name.

“The moment that has passed does not return. Time must be used
well. Only when spent in the effort to know ‘Who am I?’ has it been used

Sri Ramana recommended, as did Sri Anandamayi Ma, study of the Ribhu
Gita, a traditional text of Advaita. It simply says:

“The syllable ‘Om’ is the Self.” (Ribhu Gita 10:22)

Excerpts from Sri Anandamayi Ma, Ananda Varta publications.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Part 3

"Withdraw within into the Shelter of Oneness
with Me."

Bhagavad Gita 18:66

This third part of the series on 'Saranagati' will attempt to reveal "How to
cultivate surrender". In addition to bringing forth the practical aspects of spiritual
practice (sadhana) taught by Sri Ramana Maharshi, we will seek guidance from
the profound depths of cherished wisdom brought forth by Paramahansa

Many have mistakenly conjectured that the Maharshi was unlike all other
Spiritual Masters, in that he did not have a teaching. The only adequate response to
this contrived falsehood should come from the Maharshi himself. In a documented
lecture given by Sri Ganeshan, the grandson of Chinnaswami (Bhagavan’s brother)
and a living direct disciple of Bhagavan, the following actual account was related.

In the early evening of April 14, 1950 (the very day of Bhagavan’s
Mahasamadhi – the day of physical absorption in Arunachala), all of the disciples
and devotees were assembled around the room where Bhagavan lay virtually
motionless in the final throws of his body’s endurance with terminal cancer.
Though all were in a state of protracted grief, they still sought for a final word of
guidance from Bhagavan. None dared approach, nor were permitted to do so, for
the Maharshi’s body had begun its final struggle for breath. Amongst the tears and
heartbreak of the devoted, the thought arose that if anyone could approach
Bhagavan at this final hour prior to the seeming demise of his body, it would be Sri
Muruganar. They therefore beseeched Sri Muruganar to request Bhagavan to utter
a “final word”, by which they could be guided throughout the years to come. He
did so, and as the Maharshi’s still radiant eyes and beatific smile fell on him,
Bhagavan spoke:

“Take my teaching and put it into practice!”

Practical Sadhana

As yogis, those who seek “union” with the Divine, we are given by the
Masters of Yoga a means of yogic practice. In the most traditional sense, Sri
Ramana Maharshi, like all of the Jagat Gurus (world teachers), guides us along the
time-honored means of practice towards the highest attainment.

In Part 2 of this series Bhagavan replies to a devotees (and our) question:
“What is self-surrender?” His answer was “purna” (perfection) in that the
definition is couched in terms of the method of attainment.

“It is the same as mind-control. The ego submits when it recognizes
the higher authority of the Atman. This is the beginning of surrender…

“Complete surrender to God means giving up all thoughts and concentrating
the mind on Him. If we can concentrate on Him, other thoughts disappear. If
mano-vak-kaya karmas, i.e., the actions of the mind, speech and body, are
merged with God, all the burdens of our life will be on Him.”

Bhagavan went on to quote, as he often did as a means of guidance, from the
Bhagavad Gita. Let us now return to this very “Song of God”, seeking further
clarification regarding the means by which we can cultivate “surrender”.

In Paramahansa Yogananda’s wonderful commentary The Bhagavad Gita -
God talks with Arjuna, we find a deep and mystical revelation that points us
towards the direction by which a beginning foundation of “saranagati / saranam”
can be laid. In further discussion of Gita 18:66 we are shown:

“Mam ekam saranam vraja” to literally mean, "Become (vraja) sheltered
(saranam, 'protected' - from delusion) in oneness (ekam) with Me (mam).

"Always keep your consciousness in My sheltering Presence"; i.e.,
"Remember Me alone… Indicating the practice of yoga; the Sanskrit may
also be rendered "Withdraw (vraja) into the Shelter of oneness with Me."

What needs to be understood and absorbed is the essential "how to", which
Sri Krishna, as such a compassionate Lord, never fails to uncover for us. There is
another secret "for those who have ears and eyes to hear and see" which tells just
“how to”, found in the beginning of verse 66.

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2006, p. 56.
Letters from Sri Ramanashramam, Suri Nagamma, p. 225-227.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sarvadharman parityajya - which common translation renders for us
something that even the most advanced find "too obscure, and thus far beyond
normal comprehension." It is mistakenly shown to mean: "Abandon all Dharmas!"
Actually, correct comprehension of the verb (the action, "how to" word) tyaj is
paramount for finding the actual key to the proper 'door to right understanding'.
Tyaj - means "relinquish all but one!"

So the Lord is actually telling us how to "surrender" to the Sheltering safe
harbor of rest in Him:

Sarvadharman parityajya, Mam ekam saranam vraja - means "Forsaking
by relinquishment all other dharmas (lesser duties), remember Me alone!"

Paramahansa Yogananda reveals for us the true import and thus the method
to begin partial surrender, which is deemed to be the highest achievement of
human spiritual endeavor; the very heraldry of Shraddha (faith) – which the
Maharshi has declared to be the “Cause of self-Realization.”

“A prosaic interpretation of the counsel unequivocally advises the deeply
motivated Arjuna, and all true renunciants, to relinquish [attachment to, not
necessarily the engagement in] all worldly duties entirely in order to be single-
pointedly with God. “O Arjuna, forsake all lesser duties and fulfill the highest
duty; find your lost home, your eternal shelter, in Me! Remember, no duties can be
performed by you without powers borrowed from Me, for I am the Maker and
Sustainer of your life. More important than your engagement with other duties is
your engagement with Me; because at any time I can recall you from this earth,
canceling all your duties and actions.

In Sanskrit, the word “dharma”, derived from the root verb dhri, means “to
hold, to put on”, also literally as an imperative act, “to wear!” Here we see the
correlation with the command of Jesus in the Gospels: “Put on the armor of
Rightessness… wear the robe of Salvation!”

“Dharma, therefore, is the cosmic law that runs the mechanism of the
universe; and after accomplishing the primary God-uniting yoga dharma (religious
duties), man should perform secondarily his duties to the cosmic laws of nature.
One should observe rational conduct in all ways!

The Bhagavad Gita, God Talks with Arjuna, Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogoda
Satsanga Society of India 2002.
Practical Sadhana


The Masters and scriptures of a “Life in the Spirit” confirm; the beginning of
partial surrender essentially engages man in the performance of virtuous dharma.
We should begin our partial surrender by adhering to the upadesha (spiritual
teaching) of Devaraj Narada, who declared in His Bhakti Sutras: “Seek satsanga
and abandon (relinquish) dussanga.” The central point surrounding an
understanding of “surrender” as having the dual role of maintaining an inwardly
God-pointed consciousness with an ongoing movement (a seeking) of satsanga
does not present a contradiction in terms of direction.
Sri Ramana defined the true meaning of “satsanga” to Srimat T.R.
Kanakammal, one of the few remaining direct disciples of the Maharshi. She has
related that Bhagavan declared the Sanskrit word “sat” to mean “Being”, and the
word “sanga” to mean “melt”. Thus to seek satsanga is conscious movement
within by which we melt into Being! Therefore, by implication, the meaning of
dussanga is to melt through conscious external movement into non-Being (devoid
of Godliness). This is brought about by habitually seeking adharmic (non-virtuous)
pleasures that destroy intelligent discrimination. The end result of one such as this
is clearly described by Sri Krishna in Gita 2:63: “Buddhinasat pranasyati – From
destruction of discrimination, one is lost.”

The “melting within” referred to by Bhagavan is a protracted process of
sadhana tapa, a spiritual process of purification. It is not a whimsical imaginative
fantasy of drifting within to a so-called instant blissful awareness of “oneness”
with the Self. Bhagavan’s use of the word “Being” undeniably refers to Jnana
(direct Knowledge of the Self), the Vijnana Vedanta of the Kaivalya Upanishad,
direct experience of full awareness of Divinity within. The process of mind control
(tapas) that induces the melting of impurities is a protracted meditative process of
concentration, often empowered by contemplation (thinking of the Lord) or
invocation through remembrance (japa) of God, which at the final stages
culminates with vichara (reflection, enquiry). In direct reference to this truth,
Bhagavan related how this is achieved:

“Know that the wondrous jnana vichara is only for those who have
attained purity of mind by softening and melting within. Without this
softening and melting away of the mind, brought about by thinking of the
feet of the Lord, the attachment to the “I” that adheres to the body will not
cease to be.”

Padamalai, Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi Recorded by Muruganar, Avadhuta
Foundation 2004, p. 186. (Reference to Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham, vol. 7, verse 340).

From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


For many, this guidance from the Maharshi inspires determination to forge
ahead with a conviction that the end is glorious, even close. For many more, these
words fall upon us as more “tall talk”, being far beyond comprehension, much less
as a means of guidance with practical application. There is, however, some
consolation afforded to us in the undeniable fact that even if Bhagavan were to
convey his teaching to us face-to-face, as he did to many, there would still be
“mountains to move” through personal effort before we could lay aside our tools of

This fact was observed and documented by a disciple of Bhagavan who
remained under his direct guidance for 14 years:

“To beginners as well as advanced sadhakas alike, this mind control appears
to be a formidable feat, yet the Master encourages them to go ahead and practise –
at all events to make a beginning. He constantly dins into us the inspiring notion
that we are already Self- realised and that, if we are not aware of it, the obstruction
to that awareness should be removed by investigation – vichara – which is as
logical as it is simple.

“To hear it direct from him, this “Self-knowledge”, rather the way to Self-
knowledge, is “the easiest thing there is” (Atma Vidya); but, judging from the
questions constantly asked of him, and later of his disciples, there appears to be the
need for much spade work before its central idea takes a firm hold on the seeker.
The Master’s obvious meaning seems to be that, even apart from the psychological
efficacy of the vichara proper, preoccupying the mind with a single theme to the
exclusion of all others, if doggedly practiced, will not fail to produce beneficial
results. It will tend to reduce the oscillations of the thinking processes, and thus
render the mind amenable to concentration on the supremely important work which
is to follow, which by itself is a splendid achievement. Finding the answer to the
query “Who am I?” is not the immediate burden of the practice in the beginning.
Stability and fixity of the restless, mercurial mind is the first aim, and this can be
achieved by constant practice and by frequently pulling oneself back to the subject
of the meditation whenever the mind strays away. When the mind has attained an
appreciable degree of concentration, which means of depth, it will be time to think
of the answer. Some sadhakas are fortunate enough to begin with a mind already
accustomed to concentration, either “naturally”, or by training, or through intense

Sadhana is derived from the Sanskrit root “sadhan”, which means “instruments or tools”.
Sadha-na therefore means the methods by which the tools are employed to achieve the
desired goal.
Practical Sadhana

fervor, so that they are able to go straight to the application of the vichara, and thus
make a more or less rapid progress, according to the intensity of their
determination, without much strain. For the Master tells us that mental calmness,
that is, controlled mind, is essential for a successful meditation.”

Even knowing this, and even being graced with daily having the cherished
gaze of the Maharshi rest upon you, still one succumbs to human frailty and a heart
that cries out:

Devotee: “Surrender is impossible.”

Maharshi: “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. Well, if surrender is impossible, what can be done?
There is no peace of mind. You are helpless to bring it about. It can be done
only by surrender.”

D.: “Partial surrender - well - can it undo destiny?”

M.: “Oh, yes! It can.”

D.: “Is not destiny due to past karma?”

M.: “If one is surrendered to God, God will look to it.”

D.: “This being God’s dispensation, how does God undo it?”

M.: “All are in Him only.”

D.: “How is God to be seen?”

M.: “Within. If the mind is turned inward God manifests as inner

But alas, to be instructed merely to “turn within”, hardly ever satisfies
an aspirant who is engaged in an active practice of meditation. For they
know from direct experience that what lies “within” can, and usually does,

Guru Ramana, S.S. Cohen, Sri Ramanashramam 2003, p.66-67.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 244.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

contain more concentrated forms of a great danger - a powerful and
destructive enemy. Lord Krishna warns Arjuna of this great foe to the
realization of the Self in the beginning chapters of the Bhagavad Gita:

Arjuna said: “By what is a man impelled to commit evil, Varshneya [an
epithet of Lord Krishna], seemingly against his own will, as if urged thereunto
by force?” The Holy Lord said, “It is desire, it is anger, that’s born of the
rajo-guna: of great craving, and of great sin; know that to be the enemy…The
senses, mind and intellect are said to here be its abode…thus restraining the
self (here the use of ‘atman’ denotes the mind) by the Self, then destroy that
enemy so hard to conquer: desire.”

In the closing chapters of the Gita the Lord clearly declares the means
by which we can “put His teaching into practice.” Paramahansa Yogananda
again helps to metaphysically clarify for us this oft-quoted sixty-sixth stanza
of Chapter 18, which although is deemed by the most learned scholars as the
quintessential heart of the entire Gita, is paradoxically the stanza that receives
the most varied and diversified interpretation!

Sri Krishna says: “O Arjuna, be a real renunciant! By the practice of
yoga meditation withdraw (vraja) your mind, intelligence, life force, and heart
from the clutches of the ego. From the physical sensations of sight, hearing,
smell, taste, and touch, and from the objects of sense pleasures! Forsake all
duties toward them! Be a yogi by uniting yourself to My blessed presence
(mam ekam saranam) in your soul. Then I will save you; by nonperformance
of the lesser duties to the senses under the influence of delusion, you will
automatically find yourself free from all sinful troubles. If you remain in
ecstasy with Me, fulfilling all divine duties as directed by Me, forsaking all
ego-instigated duties, you will be liberated.”

“The ordinary man’s mind is usually identified with external
possessions and sense pleasures connected with the surface of the body.
Therefore, physical consciousness is sustained by the mind, intelligence, and
life force operating through the lower (rajasic and tamasic) centers of
awareness. Thus, the searchlights of intelligence, mind, and life energy
continually operate externally, feeding the nervous system and sustaining and
revealing the sense pleasures and physical consciousness.”

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, sections of verses 36-43.
The Bhagavad Gita, God Talks with Arjuna, Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India 2002.
Practical Sadhana


The yogi who persists in withdrawing awareness within through
meditation (aksara japa, repetition of the sound of the Name of God), or atma
vichara (reflection upon from ‘Whence we came’) effectively reverses the
searchlights of intelligence, mind, and life force inward toward the sheltering
presence of the object of meditation – God! This is a protracted process, for
through it the mercurial mind is first rendered steady, then ultimately still. For
it is in stillness that man approaches the altar of the Spirit!

Sri Ramana Maharshi assented in full agreement with this
understanding of the Gita’s “teaching put into practice”. With his lustrous
gaze, communicating to us the very embodiment of divine stillness, and his
voice emerging from pure consciousness, he declared:

“In the Bhagavad Gita it is said that it is the nature of the mind
to wander. One must bring one’s thoughts to bear on God. By long
practice the mind is controlled and made steady.”

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, recorded by Sri Munagala Venkataramiah, Sri
Ramanashramam 2006, Talk 91.
From the Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi


"0ne shoulu not use the name of uou mechanically
anu supeificially without the feeling of uevotion.
To use the name of uou one must call upon Bim
with yeaining anu unieseiveuly suiienuei oneself to
Bim. 0nly aftei such suiienuei is the name of uou
constantly with the man."

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