Saturday 30 December 2006

'Putting it all together'

Yesterday I received the following message that someone sent through the form on the Contact Me page of my website:

I'm very new to this teaching of advaita vedanta. I have some books of Nisargatta and Ramana and waiting for Sadhu Om's books to arrive. Haven't started to read them yet. I have almost completely read Robert Adams' The Silence of The Heart and I am deeply touched by it. I'm still leaning on how to put everything together, so as to awaken to my Self. Self-Realization is what I want! I am very pleased that your interest aren't in the direction of money, as I read on your site (your E-book). I have found the web site '...' [name of this other website omitted] and was surprised to see that everything has a price. I don't know how to understand this! I would apreciate your help in 'putting it all together' and help my understanding.
In reply I wrote as follows:

Regarding your request for help in "putting it altogether", I believe that the first and most important need for anyone coming newly to Sri Ramana is to acquire a clear understanding of both the philosophy and the practice that he taught.

The sole purpose of his philosophy is to provide us with a firm foundation of clear theoretical understanding upon the basis of which we can practise the science and art called 'self-enquiry' or self-investigation, which he taught as the only means by which we can discover who or what we really are. That is, his philosophy enables us to understand clearly how our present knowledge about ourself is imperfect, what is the nature of true self-knowledge (which is what is meant by terms such as 'self-realisation', 'self-awakening' or 'enlightenment'), why we need to experience such true self-knowledge, and why 'self-enquiry' or self-investigation (which is simply the practice of self-attention or self-attentiveness) is the only means by which we can attain the direct non-dual experience of such true self-knowledge.

To help people such as yourself to 'put together' or understand comprehensively all the interconnected elements of Sri Ramana's teachings, I compiled some of my reflections on them into the form of a book, Happiness and the Art of Being, so I would suggest that you may find it helpful to begin by reading this. I would also highly recommend that you read the books of Sri Sadhu Om, particularly The Path of Sri Ramana - Part One and A Light on the Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi - The Essence of Spiritual Practice, and also Guru Vachaka Kovai.

By reading the appropriate books, we can gain the necessary understanding of the non-dual science of true self-knowledge, but such understanding will be useful to us only to the extent to which we actually apply it in practice. All unhappiness, and all the other problems that we experience as a result of our seeming lack of complete and perfect happiness, arise only due to our lack of clear self-knowledge. Therefore, since perfectly clear self-knowledge is the only solution to all our problems, and since we cannot truly know anything unless we attend to it directly, self-attention is the only means by which we can know our own real nature, our essential being, and thereby experience true and lasting happiness.


Sankarraman said...

Even though from the absolute context it is real that no person as an individual has realized self-realization since it is beyond the pale of personal ego, not admitting of any arrival or achievement of something by a person, still we have the strong notions that persons like Ramana have realized. Is it our misconception that Ramana is an individual confounding his body to be the Being. I raised the same aspect in the Advaita forum. Many traditional advaitins, who are averse to the teachings of Ramana, are of the view that since the bondage is felt by the individual, liberation is also for the individual. This seems to be a very down to the earth idea. Your point that no person attains self-realization is a fact. But as a person only one does sadhana. There is no denying that reality. But the consummation is the understanding that the person had been all along an illusion, is an illusion, will be an illusion.

Bob P said...

Thank you very much for the book recommendations Michael, I will be getting these very soon.

Appreciate reading will not get us to the goal so to speak but I think it is good to study what Bhagavan taught and also frequently read good books about his teaching to keep it alive in our hearts and our main priority of focus.

Thank you