" My Search for Truth - Maharshi Became my Guru ! "
It was 1991 when I first encountered the book “ Life and Teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi ”, by Arthur Osborne.
Tears rolled down my cheeks and I was unable to read any further, then, while going through the scene of Maharshi leaving his physical body. It was as if I just lost someone dearest to me.
It was, in fact, the most distressful period of my life. Due to a road accident my elder son became quadriplegic. His life was confined to bed and wheel chair only. He needed regular attendance by atleast one of the family members with him. I used to attend him beyond my office hours.
Externally, I appeared to be quite normal and was attending to my domestic and official duties quite satisfying to others. However, internally, I was hankering for a support which could provide me solace.
I was in search of a guru who could guide me appropriately towards my ultimate goal.
Complete Works of Vivekananda, Autobiography of a Yogi , Tilak Bhashya on Srimad Bhagavat Gita ... and a few other books of such kind used to be my constant companions those days during leisure hours both in my office as well as in residence.
Suddenly, one day, I was given the above mentioned book related to Sri Ramana Maharshi by a well-wisher of mine. The very next week, I had the opportunity to go through the book “ A Search in Secret India ” by Dr. Paul Brunton. I also came in contact with other books published by Ramana Ashramam like “ Talks with Ramana Maharshi ” , “ Day by Day with Sri Bhagavan ” and many more.
Maharshi’s written statement given to his mother :
“ The ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their past deeds ... prarabdh karma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, ... try how hard you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to stop it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is for one to be silent ” ... gave me the real solace needed at that time.
It is mentioned in one of the books : Maharshi once telling a devotee that ... any person coming into his contact can never run away ... like the prey in a tiger’s jaw.
I was gradually and naturally falling prey into his jaw ! I turned to be his disciple and he became my guru ! Since then, he appeared in several of my dreams. He caressed me like a mother, guided me like a guru and taught me like a teacher. Very rightly he is called Bhagavan by his devotees.
I could get the opportunity to be at Ramana Ashramam for the first time in 1994.
Since then I have been fortunate to be there for about thirty times. Every time I leave Ramana Ashramam I feel I am leaving my home for some other place.
Maharshi was born on 30th December 1879, in village Tiruchuli about 50 km south of Madurai in South India.
His father Sundaram Aiyer was a popular pleader in the court. The boy Vankataraman, as he was then named, received his primary education at Tiruchuli. Thereafter he was sent to Dindigul where he studied upto class five. He had to return back only after a year as his father passed away in 1892.
He and his elder brother were shifted to Madurai to live with his uncle. The famous Meenakshi temple was very near to his uncle’s house. Vankataraman was very much interested those days in sports. Perhaps the state of spirituality then latent in him made him indifferent to studies and other worldly gains.
As a play of destiny, an elderly relative visited his house at Madurai and told that he was coming from Arunachala. Vankataraman was aware of the name of Arunachala ever since he had been a little boy as something supremely Holy. However, he was quite astonished to learn that one could go to Arunachala which is a sacred hill at Tiruvannamalai.
A few months later, he had an experience with death. After the experience, there was marked change in his behavior and daily routine.
He now lost all interest in sports and was indifferent to the food he ate. His brother saw his lack of interest in studies and other worldly activities. It was 29th Aug 1896 when his brother rebuked :
“ Why should a person who behaves in this fashion retain all these things ? ”.
Vankataraman realized the truth in his brother’s words. Immediately he jumped up, went out of the school, and left Madurai for Thiruvannamalai.
He had no interest in the outer world there. He sat immersed in the bliss of being. He made no effort to sustain his body also. Persons nearby helped sustained his body by offering him cups of milk or other food.
For about two years his well-wishers shifted him from one temple to another. Later, he moved up the hills and remained there, staying in one cave or another, till 1922.
Sri Ramana Maharshi taught mainly through silence. His spiritual silence and gaze were unique. He answered only such questions which were asked with sincere motives. Whatever he wrote was in response to some request to meet the specific needs of the devotees.
As his realization was spontaneous and perfect so are his teachings simple and direct. “ Know Thyself ” is the fundamental note of his teachings. The method of enquiry as taught by him consists of enquiring as to “ Who Am I ? ”. One has to put the above question to oneself and then concentrate on finding the source of the ego and preventing the occurrence of thoughts.
Mind and ego are one and the same. The first and foremost of all thoughts is the I-thought. ‘ I ’ asserting in this body is mind only.
In the month of June, last year, that is year 2005, I had the opportunity to go through a few issues of the magazine, “ Spiritual India ” wherein I came to know for the first time about Patriji.
Anapanasati Method of Meditation, as described in the issues, appeared to be reasonable. However, a doubt arose in my mind whether the method has ever been prescribed by Maharshiji and whether it would lead to Self Realization or not.
I immediately consulted a book which was readily available with me ... “ Commentary on Upadesha Saram ” by Swami Tejomayanandji and published by Central Chinmaya Mission Trust.
“ Upadesha Saram ” contains thirty shlokas by Ramana Maharshi narrating the methods prescribed under different paths like Bhakti, Yog, Gyan and Self-Enquiry etc., for Self Realization.
It is described under the commentary of verse eleven that Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi has advised a very simple method of pranayam called “ Pran-Veekshana ” ... meaning remaining merely a witness to the incoming and outgoing breath.
Normal breathing activity is to be observed. No effort is to be made to control the breath. By this method of pranayam too the mind becomes relatively peaceful and there is no danger of malpractice.
In the commentary of the next verse ... number twelve ... it is further mentioned that ... in the method of “ Pran-Veekshana ” the mind finds a pre-occupation and no associated thoughts of ‘ likes ’ and ‘ dislikes ’ arise and so it gets quiet and absorbed.
Well ! All my doubts were cleared ! I, with my family members, along with a friend of mine, visited “ Spiritual India ” center at Hyderabad in September 2005 with prior permission of Patriji.
All of us had darshan of Patriji and sat for meditation under his guidance. One common experience which we had there was quieting of mind to a large extent.
Prior to that, my wife and son used to sit for meditation only occasionally.
However, since then, we all have been sitting for meditation regularly. I find change in my attitude. The ups and downs in my life are not affecting me much now. Most of the times the activities undertaken by me appear as not being done by me but just happening.
I find conscious breathing as prescribed under Anapansati to be a scientific method for meditation.
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