Thursday 26 December 2013

The unique clarity and simplicity of Sri Ramana’s teachings

Yesterday a friend wrote to me quoting verse 579 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai:
Because of the non-dual nature of [our] enduring self, [and] because of the fact that excluding self there is no other gati [refuge, means or goal], the upēya [the aim or goal] which [we are to] reach is only self and the upāya [the means or path] is only self. Know them to be non-different.
and saying ‘I think only Bhagavan has provided such clarity on the path, as well as the goal that we should aim for’. To this I replied:

Yes, I too believe that ‘only Bhagavan has provided such clarity on the path, as well as the goal that we should aim for’. He has provided unsurpassed clarity on the goal we should seek and achieve, on the path by which we should seek and achieve it, and on the reason why seeking and achieving it is more important than anything else that we can do in this life.

I believe that the reason why his teachings are so clear and convincing is that they are so simple and so coherent, by which I mean that they all tie together so logically. They are also based on premises that are self-evident once he has pointed them out to us: that is, they are based on the following simple and clear analysis of our experience of ourself in our three states of experience, waking, dream and sleep.

We cannot be either the body that we experience as ‘I’ in waking or the body that we experience as ‘I’ in dream, because in waking we experience ourself without experiencing the dream body, and in dream we experience ourself without experiencing this waking body. What we essentially experience as ‘I’ must therefore be distinct from either of these two types of body. Likewise, we cannot be this mind, because we experience ‘I am’ in sleep without experiencing this mind. Therefore, since I am neither this body nor this mind, what am I?

Since we are currently ignorant of what we are (though we clearly know that we are), all our putative knowledge of other things is also open to serious doubt, so in order to have certain knowledge about anything we must first attain certain knowledge of what we are, and to attain such knowledge we should investigate ourself by focussing our attention more and more keenly on this ‘I’.

So clear and so simple.


R Viswanathan said...

"Since Bhagavan himself declared that Atma Viddai is very simple, if any devotee of Bhagavan says that it is difficult to practise it, it is because of the ego. The funny nature of the ego is also such that one feels great to say that Bhagavan's teachings are wonderful, but at the same time, one feels humble to say that it is difficult to put it into practice.'

What I really meant to convey is that one does not feel that one lets down Bhagavan if the teaching is considered as difficult, especially when Bhagavan said that one has to simply pay attention to that due to existence of which everything else gets done, including thinking.

R. Viswanathan

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should take the dream analogy too literally. After all, Sri Ramana facilitated the liberation (mukti) of his mother and a cow. There is no point in liberating imagined characters. The dream analogy is only a theory for us to work with.