Sunday, April 14, 2013

Source of 'I': as preached by Shri Ramana Maharshi

[14th April, 2013], O Learned and Devoted Servants of God, 
Generally, people think that Shri Ramana Maharshi is a follower of Advaita. If this is correct, Shri Ramana should have told that the meaning of ‘I’ is God. According to the followers of Advaita, the ‘I’ is God (Aham Brahma Asmi). But, Shri Ramana was always telling that you should search for the source of ‘I’. If ‘I’ is God, there cannot be the source of ‘I’ since God is the ultimate source of this whole creation. The ‘I’ stands for the human soul. In Advaita, the soul is said to be God. Shri Ramana was telling that everybody should search for the source of ‘I’ and never told that anything about the source of ‘I’. If Shri Ramana has any information about the source of ‘I’, He should have revealed that information straight and in that case, there is no need of the strenuous search for the devotees. Guru is expected to give the information about critical points. He is not guru if he says that you should search for the information about a critical point. People approach guru only to know the information about the critical point, who are unable to take up the strenuous analysis in search. Moreover, people may go wrong in searching a critical point and therefore, the guru is approached so that they can avoid all these possibilities of risk and danger. Therefore, does this mean that Shri Ramana is not guru? Certainly, Shri Ramana is not only guru but also satguru because He is the incarnation of Lord Subrahmanya, who is the son of Lord Shiva. The main characteristic of satguru is to give the right information about any critical point in the spiritual knowledge. All this shows that Shri Ramana should have given the right information about the source of ‘I’. But, He did not give it. The reason for that is that the source of ‘I’ can never be known. The source of ‘I’ is God, who is unimaginable. Veda and Gita clearly establish this point (Yasyaamatam..., Maamtu veda na...). Hence, the meaning for the search of ‘I’ is that God is unimaginable to any extent of analytical search. In such case, Shri Ramana should have told straight that God is unimaginable. Here, the practical point is that if you say about the unimaginable nature of God, people will not directly accept it. They may have a doubt that since you are unable to know God, you are telling that God is unimaginable. Hence, to realize that God is unimaginable, one has to search through analysis by himself or herself. Hence, Shri Ramana did not directly reveal that God is unimaginable and only told that one has to continuously search the source of ‘I’, which is God till he arrives to the conclusion that God is unimaginable.

People often quote the incident in which Shri Ramana allowed an operation of the boil on His body without anaesthesia. Based on this, people think that the divine soul has the power to tolerate the pain in the operation. This is the knowledge due to misunderstanding. The correct concept here is that if you are identifying yourself as the soul and not as the body, you can easily detach from the body and will not be affected by any damage of the body. Gita says that the body is like the shirt of the soul (Vaasaamsi...). If the shirt is cut by a blade, you need not be hurt by it. This is called as self-realization (Atma Yoga), which has no connection with divinity. Self-realization is as good as the medicine of anaesthesia. Of course, self-realization is better than such medicines since a poor man may not afford to purchase the medicine. Moreover, the medicine has always side reactions affecting your health. Hence, this incident is only a demonstration of the fruit of Atma yoga, which is purely related to the realm of this creation (Pravrutti) and has nothing to do with the subject of creator (Nivrutti).
No doubt, that Shri Ramana is incarnation of God and can do anything by His will alone. But, such power is not possible in the case of every ordinary human being. Hence, if He behaves like God, people also imitate His behaviour thinking that they are also God. The reason for such misunderstanding is that Shri Ramana is already misunderstood as the follower of Advaita according to which every soul is God. Therefore, Shri Ramana always behaved as an ordinary human being in order to avoid such misunderstanding based on misinterpretation of the correct concept. Hence, Shri Ramana prayed Lord of Arunachala to cure His mother affected by illness. If Shri Ramana is God by Himself since every soul is God, He should have cured the illness by His mere will. In fact, He should have preached His mother also that she herself is God to cure her illness without depending on others. Shri Ramana is God based on the concept of human incarnation and Shri Ramana is not God based on the concept that every soul is God. If He performs the miracle, people will take the second concept and not the first. Therefore, to avoid this misconception, Shri Ramana did not perform the miracle.

Shankara Himself is Lord Shiva and Shri Ramana is incarnation of the son of Lord Shiva. Being the son, He gave the correct the interpretation of the philosophy of His father. Shankara also never told that every soul is God. Shankara only told that He alone is God based on the concept of human incarnation. Shankara told that He is God (Shivoham). The disciples did not take this based on the first concept but took this based on the second concept. Therefore, everybody started stating that he is God. Shankara swallowed the molten lead and asked the disciples to do the same. The disciples unable to do that fell on His divine feet. Then Shankara modified His statement with more accuracy stating that He alone is God (Shivah kevaloham). Hence, the conclusion is that Shri Ramana being the incarnation of Lord Subrahmanya gave further clarification of the philosophy of His father Shankara to remove the misunderstanding from the minds of the followers of Advaita.

Shri Ramana was telling that the ‘I’ will vanish by spiritual effort repeated practically and God is remained. This appears as if the ‘I’ (Jeeva or individual soul or thought or mind) is transformed into God. This is again the misinterpretation of the logic. Suppose, there are two items: A and B. Suppose, A vanished and B alone is left over. It appears as if the A has become B. But, actually, the A being the part of creation disappeared and B being the eternal creator, is left over. You must cross over this apparent illusion and identify the actual truth.

    People should realise that they are different from Shri Ramana like the non-electrified metallic wires different from the electrified wire. Shri Ramana is the human incarnation in which the soul is charged by the unimaginable God. The other souls are not charged by the unimaginable God. Hence, any ordinary human being should not imitate the human incarnation and should understand the message given by the human incarnation in the right sense using the sharp analytical faculty (Buddhi) given by God. In such case, all the misunderstandings rising from misinterpretations will vanish and the ordinary human being can take up the spiritual journey in the right path to reach the right goal.

At the lotus feet of Shri Datta Swami