PS: Please send a mail to me, Hariram_Subramonia@infosys, with subject "subscribe quotes" to get these quotes directly in your inbox. Send a mail with subject "unsubscribe quotes" to stop getting quotes in your inbox. Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #194 Question: What is namaskara (prostration)?
Maharshi: Prostration means “subsidence of the ego”. What is “subsidence”? To merge into the source of its origin. God cannot be deceived by outward bowings and prostrations. He sees if the individuality is there or not.
Maharshi here explains about Namaskara. In ancient times, lot of yagaas and yajnas were performed. All these rituals had things to be offered to the sacred fire called Homa Agni & in the Homa kunda. Thus the rishis used to offer ghee & other things by chanting in Sanskrit (Agne idam na mama – O Agni, this is not mine). This short verse got still shortened & became used as NAMA. The above explanation of Namaskara is told by Swami Chinmayananda who was the disciple of Tapovan Maharaj (who was considered as the one of the person in recent times who knew all the Vedas). This meaning also comes in par with the meaning given by Maharshi.
All problems, sorrows and sufferings can be traced to Ego or possession of things. When I have the thought that “I am a software engineer working in a company”, the post of SOFTWARE ENGINEER becomes a possession. When the sense of possession comes, the next step is to make sure that the possession remains without any fault or problem. Thus I try to impress my boss so that my job remains intact & so that I get more and more promotion!!!!!! Here comes the appraisal cycles & O God! My appraiser did not give good feedback to my work & hence I don’t get any promotion. Now, I compare myself with another employee who joined with me & he is now at a higher post or rank than me. Thus, sorrow comes to me, inferiority complex creeps in, jealousy creeps in & I start praying to the Almighty that I should get higher post than ME (Think here getting higher post for me is not the problem, but higher post compared to him is the problem).
These are just an example of how possession can make a person sad & also deadly at times. We find the Ambani brothers fighting amongst themselves for fame & power!!!! Possessiveness doesn’t stop at just the word level, even cheap tactics & murder also results…… Pity these things!!!! What else can be said about such things happening in the seemingly existent world. Thus, any sort of possession will cause problem to the person. Thus what Vedanta seeks from a person is renouncing of possessiveness. Possession of things is not a problem, but the thought of possessiveness & identifying oneself with the possession of the objects is the problem. King Janaka was a Jeevanmukta but still he had a kingdom & was ruling all the people in Mithila. Thus, the real namaskara happens only when the possessor is renounced. Mere external renunciation will not help, renunciation of the possessor is required. When a person renounces the thought that “I am the doer, I am the worker, I am the enjoyer” – then there occurs the renunciation of the Ego. When Ego is renounced, then the person realizes that “I am the Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss absolute & realizes that there never was any Ego – that Ego creeped in because of ignorance of one’s own real nature & that Ego is illusory and has no existence”. Ego or Jeeva is the reflection of the Self or Brahman in the mind. Without the Self, there is no Jeeva but even without Jeeva there is the Self. Jeeva can never be present as the Self is without parts & all-pervading & hence where is the mind & the reflected-Jeeva???? Thus, a person realizes the absolute reality that “I am the Self” when the Ego is renounced.
Namaskara is done in order to renounce the Ego. The Real namaskara is not prostrating with the full body at the feet of Narayana & after that telling that when I was prostrating, a person walked in between me and Narayana & he will befit the bad effect of doing such action. Such wordings & thoughts are the Ego & unless the Ego is renounced, namaskara doesn’t happen in its entirety.
When a person does namaskara by falling completely at the feet of God or Guru, the head falls done (head has the Ego thought) and hence Ego subsides (at least for some time, just to spring up again though ). When a person thus does this regularly, slowly the Ego subsides completely & he realizes that there is neither any doer nor any action (or the fruits to be attained by the actions). He thus realizes the absolute reality that “There is only one thing called Self or Consciousness which is wrongly perceived as the dual world & its objects). The concept of God in Vedanta is SARVAJNA & SARVA VYAAPI – he is all-knowing and all-pervading. Such an all-pervading God clears knows the intentions of the devotee who is prostrating. Thus God or the Self only sees if the Ego has subsided. If the Ego has subsided, then the reflection vanishes & the original Self shines. Thus, if a person does prostrate to God or goes to temple with the Ego attitude, such a devotion will never help. It will only lead to problems & arguments with people about whether Siva is great or Vishnu is great!!!. Real devotion is that in which the devotee merges into the Lord, there remains no Ego or individuality in the devotee as there is only the Lord here. Whatever is seen, whatever is perceived – everything is but God alone. The Isavasya Upanishad (one of the oldest Upanishad) starts with
“Ishavasyam idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyam jagat”
God pervades everything here (both moving and non-moving things) in this world. The Upanishad again tells in the later half of the sloka as to how this ultimate reality of God present everywhere (meaning God is only present) can be realized
“Tena Tyaktena bhunjeethah ma gritaah kasyasvid dhanam”
Realize the God through renunciation of the Ego. Sankaracharya clearly describes this renunciation as renunciation all objects ranging from son, mother, wealth & objects. This renunciation of things is not external renunciation but internal renunciation of the possession of the things. Upanishad again tells “Don’t covet anybody’s wealth as whose is wealth???” If everything is pervaded in and out by God, then whose is the wealth or what is wealth other than God? Who are you other than God???? Thus, Namaskara is completely done when the Ego subsides and when the Ego subsides, then & there the person realizes the Self of the nature of Bliss absolute. Sankaracharya explains this in Upadesha Sahasri
“Aham ithi atma dheerya cha Mama ithi Atmeeya Dheerapi
Artha shoonye yada yasya sa atmajno bhaved tatha” For that person who has no “I and mine”, that very moment he becomes a direct experiencer of the Self (nay, he himself realizes that I am the Self). Egoism is nothing but “I and mine” – feeling of individuality & attitude of possession. Krishna says in Gita chapter 18
“Yasya na ahamkritir bhaavo budhir yasya na lipyathe
Hatvaapi sa imam lokaan na hanthi na nibhandhyathe” He who doesn’t have the thought of doership & whose mind doesn’t attach to actions or the fruits – even if he kills the whole world, he never becomes a killer nor does he get affected by the action of killing.
Thus, renunciation of the possessor is the ultimate goal of mankind & this is the one and only way through which a person realizes the absolute reality of one’s own real nature of Consciousness and Bliss absolute. Even though, one may have learned the whole of Vedas but until the Ego subsides, he still hasn’t realized the absolute reality of the Self (even though he already is the Self but the Ego creates wrong identifications and problems arise).
When the Ego subsides, then a person realizes that “I am the Self, I am neither the doer nor the enjoyer because whatever is present is only the Self” & hence he rejoices in the inherent & eternal bliss of the Self. As Sankara says in Nirvana Shatkam
“Chidananda Roopah Sivoham sivoham” – I am that Siva or the Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss, I am that Self. Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize the Self without wasting much time as each moment is uncertain and precious. PS: Please send a mail to me, Hariram_Subramonia@infosys, with subject "subscribe quotes" to get these quotes directly in your inbox. Send a mail with subject "unsubscribe quotes" to stop getting quotes in your inbox. Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #195
Sleep is a state of happiness; there is no misery. The sense of want, of pain etc. arises only in the wakeful state. What is the change that has taken place? You are the same in both, but there is difference in happiness. Why? Because the mind has risen now. This mind rises after the ‘I-thought’. The thought arises from consciousness. If one abides in it, one is always happy.
Maharshi is here explaining the root cause of all problems & hinting at the nature of bliss in the state of realization.
The state of deep sleep is something very similar to realization as in deep sleep also there is no sorrow; in realization also there is no sorrow. During deep sleep, there is no sorrow because there is no duality perceived there. Similarly in realization, there is no duality perceived & hence there is no sorrow.
All the problems in life have one common cause to them. This common cause can be put in one word as IGNORANCE. When the real nature of oneself is not known, then all other thoughts are superimposed on the Self. These thoughts limit the limitless Self even as a pot limits (or seemingly limits) the infinite space into it. Due to these limitations, the Self finds himself in bondage & sorrow. The Self thus strives to attain eternal bliss or contentment & satisfaction. Due to the ignorance, there appears a limited Self termed as Jeeva or Ego. This Ego is the reflection of the Self in the mind or internal instruments. This Ego identifies itself with the mind, intellect and chitta as well as with the external gross body and various external sense objects. Thus starts the journey of suffering and misery. The Jeeva gets bonded to the body as well as to some people (whom it calls as its own). Due to this likes and dislikes, there arises attachment and aversion. These attachment in turn leads one to happiness and misery according to the situation. Thus, the Jeeva gets deluded into the non-ending cycle of birth and death through these attachments. As said earlier, IGNORANCE leads one to desires. When a person finds himself incomplete & imperfect, he strives to become perfect and complete. Thus starts desires. Desires are incomplete in themselves as they are mere thoughts. Hence the Ego now puts these desires into actions so that they can be fructified. Actions bear results. Due to these results, the Ego enjoys these pleasures. These enjoyments in turn drive him towards doing more actions which again lead to results. Thus the vicious circle continues and thereby the Jeeva ends into the innumerous births and deaths.
Until a person realizes this truth that everything here is caused due to Ignorance alone, there can never be contentment and perfection. An important thing to be noted here is that the Self is always perfect and complete – but it is only for the Ego (reflected consciousness that imperfection, bondage and liberation are there).
But when a person realizes that ignorance is the cause of all the things in the world, all the sorrow, all the sufferings, all the miseries – he slowly strives to find out his own real nature of Eternal Bliss. Thus, initially he realizes the knowledge that “I am the Self, I am omni-present – I am the only thing present, there is nothing separate from Me, whatever is being seen as objects are nothing but Consciousness or Me alone. The objects that are seen are only names and forms of the Self & have no reality apart from Me”. This knowledge slowly removes the obstructions in him, the ignorance veil. When this veil is slowly removed, he feels the eternal bliss at those moments when ignorance is removed. Thus, he again strives for complete removal of the ignorance veil & thereby all the veils are removed and only eternal bliss is enjoyed (even telling that enjoyed would be wrong because enjoyment is only for objects but here there is no object to enjoy only the Subject without any second thing). Thus, the individual Jeeva vanishes and the Self called Kutastha realizes its equality and oneness with Brahman the infinite. This is similar to the pot-space realizing that I am one with infinite space (in-fact both space are the same only but due to the limitations of pot, they seemed different, but when the body, mind identification which is the pot mentioned here is removed, then the similarity is realized & not gained new). Now, the question of whether the pot existed, Jeeva or Ego existed and all might arise in a seeker????
The Ego or the pot and all are nothing but illusions alone. That which is real always exists & that which ceases to exist is not real (Says Krishna in Gita). Thus, the Ego, the body and the mind, the external world and its objects are not seen in deep sleep. This shows that they are not real. As in dream, all the external world are only the Self but seen as though outside, similarly this waking world is a long dream which is only thoughts of the mind & seen as though outside. Thus, a person should intellectually convince himself that the world that I see now is as unreal as the dream. This world has no ultimate reality, whatever is seen is only the Consciousness without which there is no world at all. All scriptures unanimously point to this ultimate reality that the world is unreal because whatever is seen as the world is only the Self or Consciousness (similar to the dream world seen is only the dreamer).
All problems in life arise because a person thinks this world to be real & strives to attain things in life & gets attached to position, fame, people & things. But, when a person realizes that this world is also long dream world only, then the attachment vanishes. When attachment and aversion vanishes, there is no scope for action or desires. When desires are thus rooted out along with the knowledge about one’s own real nature & the ultimate knowledge that everything is only ONE thing of Consciousness, then ignorance is also completely rooted out. When ignorance is thus rooted out, the eternal bliss of the Self is rejoiced and a person always resides in the eternal bliss of the Self. The very reason that a person gets eternal bliss in the state of deep sleep is because in that state there is no duality, there are no external things. Since there are no external things, there is neither attachment nor aversion. All actions are desires are based on duality but in that state there is no duality and hence what to desire and what to achieve. Similar is the state of realization where a person perceives no duality and hence nothing to aspire or work towards. And hence he remains always immersed in the bliss of the Self.
Now, the difference between sleep and realization should be known. The only difference is that in sleep, there is ignorance veil & this ignorance veil obstructs a person being aware of the bliss inherent in the Self. This ignorance causes the bliss to be hid from the person and hence only when a person wakes up, he realizes that he enjoyed bliss in that state. But in the state of waking, there is the ignorance veil & this ignorance veil causes multiple things to be perceived & thereby causing all the problems. In the state of realization, there is no ignorance veil & a person completely realizes that “I am the Self” & therefore he is fully aware of the bliss inherent in himself (even though in that state there is no himself and others).
Now, one may have the doubt whether the world should be completely destroyed for realization (a state similar to the Nirvikalpa Samadhi where there are no thoughts at all).
Vedanta answers that perception of the world is not the cause of problems. Perception of the world and considering it to be REAL is the cause of all problems. When a person realizes that this world is only a name and form & is Consciousness alone, then whom to get angry with and what to get attracted or averted to. Not even a single person cries after waking up that “I lost my mother in dream”!!! Because everyone knows that dream is not real and only illusory. The scriptures and all great Mahatmas have proclaimed that the world that we see now is also illusory only. When a person thus realizes this ultimate reality of the illusoriness of the world, he realizes that the world is just a name and form of Consciousness alone. At that time, he doesn’t have any attachment or aversion to the world because he gives the world the importance of a dream world (the reality of the world is known to such a person). Due to this knowledge about the ultimate reality that the world is nothing but Consciousness alone, there remains nothing else to be known for the person, there remains nothing else to be achieved, there remains nothing to be fulfilled, there remains nothing to be perfected. Such a state is called Realization and the natural state of the Self.
Even though a person might sit for meditation and enter into Samadhi at will – even all these are but objects for the Subject of Self. These only help one to remove the obstructions and know the real nature of the Self. All such methods are only Actions and actions are born out of ignorance and as explained earlier actions only lead to more actions. Hence any amount of meditation or Samadhi or Bhajans can give a person realization – there are just temporary means to the ultimate reality of Oneness. They all are means to Knowledge which is the end to all sorrow and miseries. If this reality that the Self cannot be achieved through meditation or Samadhi is not known, then a person gets deluded into Samadhi. When such a deluded person meets another spiritual person, the question asked will be “How much time do you meditate? Have you experienced Samadhi? If Yes, then you are really great?!!!!!”. These are all again illusions only and not the ultimate Reality.
The ultimate reality is that “I am already the Self” – this is ultimate knowledge. Hence this knowledge can never be gained through any amount of work or pooja, but only through Self-Enquiry into one’s own real nature. This is the reason why Vedanta gives importance to Sahaja Samadhi or natural absorption and Jeevan Mukti rather than Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Mukti after going to Vaikunta. Realizing one’s own real nature is the one and only way to realize the Self and get rid of all sorrows caused due to ignorance. Kaivalya Upanishad says
“Mayi eva sarvam Yad bhootam yat cha bhavyam sanaatanam
Jnaatva tam atimrityum atyethi na anya pantha vimukthaye” I am only everything – whatever was there, whatever is there & whatever will be there, all this are Me alone who am eternal. Knowing thus, the ultimate reality a person attains immortality or cessation of sorrow. There is no other way than this to realization. Sankaracharya says in Vivekachoodamani
“Vadanthu saastraani yajanthu devaan
Kurvanthu karmaani bhajanthu devathaah
Atmaikya bodhena vina vimuktir na sidhyathi
Brahma sata anthare api”
Let scriptures be chanted or discoursed, let Gods be propitiated through sacrifices, let actions be done for Heaven and other finite fruits, let Gods be chanted through bhajans – but still a person cannot have liberation other than by realizing that “I am the Self & one with Brahman” – not even in a life span of 100 years of Brahma.
Maharshi himself says in Upadesa Saram about Karma or actions (even bhajans, meditation all fall under actions only)
“Krithi mahodhadhau patina kaaranam
Phalam asaasvatham gati nirodhakam” Actions have finite fruits (not eternal fruits), they make a person fall into the ocean of Samsaara (ignorance and sufferings) and are obstructions to the path of realization. Hence, the ultimate reality should be realized through enquiry and through knowledge alone and not through any amount of actions. This reality is that “I am the Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss” & “I am already that”. And when a person through intellect and practice removes the obstructions, he realizes that his very nature of Bliss. There ends all sorrow and miseries & the person rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self. As Sankara says
“Chidananda roopah sivoham sivoham”- I am the Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss, I am that Self. Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize the Self without wasting much time as each moment is uncertain and precious. PS: Please send a mail to me, Hariram_Subramonia@infosys, with subject "subscribe quotes" to get these quotes directly in your inbox. Send a mail with subject "unsubscribe quotes" to stop getting quotes in your inbox. Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #196 Question: It is said that the non-Brahmins should not hear the recital of the Vedas.
Maharshi: Mind your business. Why do you waste your time in these matters? “I heard the recital”, you say. “Who is that I?” Without knowing the ‘I’ you are using the word. If its significance be known there will be no doubt. Find the ‘I’ first and you may afterwards speak of other matters.
Maharshi is here strongly condemning doubts leaving aside the ultimate reality of “I am Brahman” and the path of Enquiry into this real ‘I’. Any doubts, any sacred actions, any meditation leaving aside the ultimate reality will only lead to SORROW, CONFUSION, QUARRELS and IGNORANCE in the end. Whenever a person forgets the reality that there is no water in desert & runs for water, tries to find out whether the water is tasty or not – those researches and actions will only lead to sorrow only when no water is found in the desert. Similarly when the absolute reality of “SARVAM KHALU IDAM BRAHMA or everything is verily Brahman” is forgotten and all actions are done, those very actions will become bondages and bind the person to sorrow and delusion. On the other hand, if this ultimate reality is known and all other actions are performed, there will be happiness and bliss only. This is like running after water in desert after knowing that there is no water. Thus the person when doesn’t find water, he is not sad because he already knew that there is no water in the desert.
The ultimate and absolute reality is Consciousness, one without the second. The world and all other things are insentient & depend on Consciousness for their very existence. And hence, these seeming objects are only names and forms of Consciousness. Consciousness is that which is being seen as the world and its objects. When this ultimate reality is not known, people get deluded into the objects and fight amongst each other about the objects and their characteristics.
When this reality is known and the most sacred action of Sandhya Vandanam is done, then it becomes a pooja & a mere drama. One sudden day, if the person is not able to do Sandhya, he will not get upset and sad. On the other hand, if a person is not knowing the ultimate reality of Oneness, then the very Sandhya becomes the cause of sorrow and suffering. The same person, when he becomes old is not able to do Sandhya & hence cries to the Lord telling that “O Lord! What have you done to Me, I am not able to do Sandhya also”!!!! Thus the faults are put on the Almighty!!!! What a pity!!!!!! Thus, any action becomes a bondage when the ultimate reality of “I am the Self, I am Brahman, I am God” is forgotten. Bhagavatham in itself depicts this in the form of the story of Krishna and his leaving the mortal body from Earth. When Krishna left his mortal coil, Kali came in & started affecting people. This depicts that the moment the thought of Lord or Brahman is forgotten, that very moment, Kali or bad thoughts & bondage creeps in. Know then, that sorrows, sufferings are in store for the person. This Kali is what is troubling most of the people through quarrels on Gayatri Mantra being chanted by women, Vedas should not be learned by women & that women are impure. All these only show the ignorance and that bondage is what is speaking through these words.
Upanishads depict great women who have received the great mantras and teachings about the Self from great Rishis and teachers. Even the very Gayatri Mantra has the Savitri Devi as the goddess & Gayatri is called the mother of Vedas. If the Vedas have a mother who is the very essence of Vedas, isn’t it foolish enough to tell that women are not supposed to hear or learn Vedas???? Vedas themselves proclaim that a girl can enter into the life of Brahmacharya after going to the teacher & learn the Vedas from the Guru. There have been and still there are many Sanyaasinis who have realized the eternal and absolute reality of the illusory world.
The very famous episode of Sage Yajnavalkya instructing Maitreyi into the Brahma-vidya is depicted in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
Thus, there is no caste or creed for learning of Vedas because as Sankara points out in his commentary on the first Sutra of Vyaasa that each and every person is knowingly or unknowingly trying to realize the Self (as everybody wants to get eternal bliss which is the very nature of the Self). This search for eternal happiness doesn’t have any categorization of man or women. As Maharshi points out all sorrows vanish when one’s own real nature is understood. Only when a person considers himself as the mortal body or the mind, all problems arise. This identification of oneself with the body and mind is due to ignorance about one’s own real nature. It is very much evident that I am not this body because even when the body is not there, I am there (as in dream and deep sleep). Even when the mind is not there, I am there because the mind presumes a thinker & that thinker I am. I am the Subject of all Objects. I am not just a Subject but Subject of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. I am the embodiment of Bliss. My very nature is Bliss. When this ultimate reality is not realized, man searches for happiness in the external world. The external objects are not at all capable of giving one happiness because the happiness derived from the objects depends on the seeker’s attitude. The very same object gives happiness to one person whereas it gives sorrow to the other person. Thus, happiness is not dependent on the objects but it is one’s own very nature.
This happiness is enjoyed during the state of deep sleep but now it is not enjoyed because now the “I” is mixed with the body and the mind. Now the “I” is not realized as the mind is full of thoughts and has been turned external to the external objects. But when these objects are rejected and the real “I” is realized, then all problems and sorrows end. At that time, there is only pure Consciousness present, one without a second. This reality of one’s own nature when known, there remains nothing else to be known. This reality if unknown, all the scriptures, all knowledge about the world is worthless.
Adi Sankara says in Viveka Choodamani
“Avijnaate pare tatve saastradhisthu nishphalaah
Vijnaatepi pare tatve saastradhisthu nishphalaah” Without knowing the ultimate reality about one’s own nature, all the scriptures are of no use. But after knowing the Self, everything becomes known (as whatever is seen as the world is in reality the Self alone) and hence the scriptures are of no use. Each individual is striving towards eternal happiness, striving towards perfection. This perfection is not separate from him but it is his very own nature. When this reality that “I am blissful in nature, I am perfect” is realized & known, then the person becomes happy and content. Because of this knowledge, Ramana Maharshi was happy with just a kaupina or loin cloth, Sankaracharya was happy with his kashaya vastra and walked through the length and breadth of India, Swami Vivekananda was happy renouncing the world and entering into Sanyaasa. But if this knowledge is not known, then neither money nor fame or power can give a person happiness – because in all such situations, a person is searching for happiness in the external world but happiness in him only. Thus only when a person turns inward and finds out his own very nature, all sorrows vanish and eternal bliss is rejoiced. As Sankara says
“Chidananda Roopah sivoham sivoham” – I am that Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss, I am that Self.
Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize the Self without wasting much time as each moment is uncertain and precious.