Musings on the Philosophy of a great Sage

 Photo Courtesy: bhagwan-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com

There are some arguments that stop even before they have started and one that glares at me is the continues debate of that which is unreal vs that which is real. Pure spiritual philosophies define the real world as unreal which is the basic argument that people agree to disagree on even before they tried to understand the potential deeper meaning of the words.

Here is an eye opening statement of Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi that helps me understand this phenomenon a little better from my perspective.

Quoting from "The Teachings of Ramana Maharishi In His Own Words" by Author Osborne:

"The world is perceived as an apparent objective reality when the mind is externalized, thereby abandoning its identity with the Self. When the world is thus perceived the true nature of the Self is not revealed; conversely, when the Self is realized the world ceases to appear as an objective reality."

Let me first start with the meaning of externalizing and internalizing the mind. We live in 2 states of the mind all the time, that which we stitch into the external world around us, which we call "real" and that which is a figment of our imagination and perception which is apparently internal and "unreal" from our own perspective.

To put this in a practical example, the real world could be defined as what my boss expects me to do at work tomorrow and the unreal world is my apparently realistic imagination of how beautiful Lord Shiva Nataraja looks in the great hall of Chidambaram when I imagine Him through my devotional mind. As I am extremely connected to the external world, it is very difficult for the mind to state it as unreal and try and connect to the "Self", hence the external world appears as the apparent objective reality. In case, in all sincerity I made the dance of Lord Shiva Nataraja all real in my mind and enjoyed the blissful moment of viewing his divine presence in my mind, that world built on the river of Bhakti is far more real than a distant boss I may or may not meet tomorrow.

The next word I would like to explain is what the Self is. This of course is my understanding and purely my perspective, and I may be wrong :). To my understanding and realization, the Self is the definition of ME, at this present moment in time, with no thoughts that cloud my mind, with no intellect that defines my ego, with no rules that define my identity, with no relationships that govern my role, and with no possessions that define my earthly existence. I am free off the world, I am free off society, I am free off my ego, I am free off man made rules and I possess nothing. When the mind tunes itself to this thinking for even 5 minutes and connects with this reality, I have touched the Self, that is the real ME. Hence the world now ceases to appear, it is non existent, and therefore not real.

This explanation in simpler terms defines the deeper truth of what the Great Ramana Maharishi might have tried to indicate, but now, there is the other argument of how do we call an ever changing world as unreal and illusionistic specially when the changes are visible right before our eyes?

Let’s revisit this statement of the illusion in this so called real world. Let’s take the step back and view the history of this country and its people across the ages. We have had a colorful past, there have been enough battles, there is enough diversity in language and life style, and yet the religious nature of Hinduism in the country is intact, and as ancient as ancient can get surpassing all the other world religions in terms of time and tolerance to withstand any form of destruction.

As Vedanta explains, that which changes is unreal and that which remains unchanged with the tolerance of time is real. People have come and gone, generations have changed, dynasties have been wiped out and replaced and yet the basic religious identity hardly got shattered by these blows. Isnt the faith of Hinduism, this way of life, this art of spiritualism actually real that it didn’t depend on any one human being or time for its sustenance? The thought of Lord Shiva is as powerful today as it was in the Indus valley ages. The thought of Vishnu is as profound now as it was during the Aryan age [If there was a disputed Aryan period at all?!]

Change is not permanent, and that is best explained by the recent turmoil brought in by the wealth revealed after centuries in the ancient temple of Lord Padmanabha Swamy. The wealth belongs to no one; the wealth in our system of rules still has great value, without an owner. Our rules don’t define what to do with this wealth, but this wealth certainly reeks fear into people about who will manage it and how justly they will be honest to the Lord's earthly possessions and hopefully it will not go into the wrong hands. The wealth cannot be used [to be fair to all] and therefore much as it is of great value, it is as good as sand for it belongs to no one.

Conceptually, what good has "Change" brought to this newly found wealth at an ancient temple? Is Lord Padmanabhaswamy suddenly that much more important because of the wealth he now has revealed to us as we perceive it through our minds? He always had it, we found His wealth now! This wealth was illusionistic and conceptual till it was brought to the surface, and now it controls the mind a lot more than the Bhakti that rules the devotees mind to Lord Padmanabhaswamy. He is no longer the Great divine being who rests in the enigmatic ocean of time, he is now the owner of Rs 90000 crores which will again disappear with time, but Lord Padmanabha Swamy as a concept will remain even if this temple is ravaged by time. 

Its a matter of time, the wealth that was once open treasure was buried for more than a century, and is now revealed and will be buried again. As we have seen before, what will remain is the unchanging principle of spiritualism defined by the existence of the great Trinity, by the spiritual presence of the Gods who rule the Indian mindset. We are part of the change, the physical body will give itself up, its the astral body that will bail us out to the next level in our spiritual journey. The change as we perceive it is limited to this life, the unchanging is the Atman that pervades the space and will leave the physical body at will survive the individual after death.

To the great Sage Ramana Maharishi, I bow in all humility for these divine teachings.


JC said...

A good attempt, Kavitha!

'I' recently wrote a comment in 'Hindi' in some blog about 'Bharat' being clled 'India' in the 'present', as follows.

यह माना जाता है कि उनके मूल निवास स्थान पर हुई किसी प्राकृतिक दुर्घटना के कारण कुछ आर्य यूरोप में बस गए और वो यूरो आर्य कहलाये, शेष कुछ 'भारत' में पहले - वर्तमान में सिन्धु कहलाये जाने वाली नदी के किनारे - बस गए और उनमें से कुछ फिर गंगा-यमुना घाटी में भी आ बस गए...
खैर जो भी हो, क्यूंकि 'इतिहास दोहराता है', अनुमान लगाया जा सकता है कि जब वो 'भारत' में आये होंगे तो वे तत्कालीन देश वासियों की तुलना में अत्याधिक 'ज्ञानी', प्रगतिशील रहे होंगे जो संस्कृत भाषा का उपयोग करते होंगे... संस्कृत में चन्द्रमा को 'इंदु' कहते हैं, और जैसा हमें आज पता है 'भारत' में परंपरागत तौर पर 'पंचांग' का उपयोग होता आया है, जिसमें काल की गणना के लिए सूर्य के चक्र के अतिरिक्त चन्द्रमा के चक्र का भी उपयोग में लाया जाता है, जिसके आधार पर सब रीती-रिवाज़ मनाये जाते हैं... और अनादि काल से 'शिव' के माथे पर भी चन्द्रमा दर्शाया जाता आ रहा है कि उन्होंने चन्द्रमा को उच्चतम स्थान दिया... आदि आदि..
जिस कारण मूल निवासी उन्हें 'हिन्दू' और उस स्थान को 'हिन्दुस्थान' कहने लग पड़े होंगे, और क्यूंकि तत्कालीन 'सिन्धु' कहलाये जाने वाली, संस्कृत में 'सागर', एक विशाल नदी है जिसमें पंजाब की नदियाँ वैसे ही मिलती हैं जैसे सागर में सब नदियाँ अंततोगत्वा मिलती हैं!
अँगरेज़ जब आये तो उन्होंने देश को इन्डिया (INDIA) कहना आरम्भ कर दिया होगा, और नदी को इंडस (INDUS) पुकाराना !!!

And to explain 'maya', ie, 'illusion' due to 'dwaitwad', ie, appearance of the opposites in the believable physical world, as part of the design, just as 'we' watch recorded films for entertainment, the essence, as follows.

मान्यता है की सृष्टि आरम्भ हुई ब्रह्मनाद (ॐ) से... और सृष्टि के पहले क्या था ? मौनी बाबा !!!

और हिन्दू मान्यतानुसार काल चक्र उल्टा चल रहा है, अर्थात उत्पत्ति तो धरा से शिखर (सतयुग की चरम सीमा) पर, उसके प्रतिबिम्ब समान, 'सागर-माथा' शिखर यानि ऐवेरेस्ट पर झंडा गाढ़ने समान थी,,, किन्तु हम पृथ्वी पर आधारित प्राणियों को जो दीखता प्रतीत होता है वो शिखर से धरातल पर उतरने समान है, यानि उच्चतम से निम्नतम स्तर पर पहुँचने का (जवाहर लाल से 'मौनमोहन' तक, प्रकृति का संकेत देख रहे हैं ?! :)

If desired, 'I' can give English translation too of the above.

Raju said...

Hi kavitha
nice article again as usual.

but im surprised to see that you are writing this kind of article in your present status,


JC said...

Yes, Shri Kumar, 'I' was also surprised!

It shows how once someone seeks the 'Truth', it virtually becomes an obsession!

However, once someone is able to break the spider-web-like 'maya' of 'eight-handed Durga', ie, illusion, one realises why the sages reached the real being as formless, related with time and space zero, and hence called Him or Her unborn and unending... while the apparent real physical forms are His imaginary instruments to Him travel in His past (from infinity to zero)! Again and again, in search of His origin! While on the other hand, being aware of the Truth, but a puzzle for His various apparently physical innumerable forms related with some particular cross section of time, in His remote past, to allow them also to realise the truth of each being image of Shiva Himself ("Shivoham! Tat tvam asi!...

Raju said...

I believe:
"to get or to become" the self internally is possible with meditation. through meditation one can reach a state which was described by kavitha, mano layam with kala(time)..you forget every thing...u will be in the state of samadhi... but externally we have to follow dharma all the time and we have to do karma..from which we can never escape ..so being righteous or following dharma is the only solution for the disease of maya....

JC said...

Yes, s/shri Kavitha, Raju... The concept is an accepted practice over ages,,, but, before typing your thoughts, didn't you first learn how to start the computer, write the proper password, and reach the desired blog and not some other site that would distract or divert your attention from the 'Truth' you apparently seek...with the background knowledge that your brain is an exceptionally advanced analogous computer? for which no printed 'dos' and 'donts' are not supplied along with the delivery of the concerned computer!

JC said...

Try sitting in a secluded place, say within your own house, and try to switch off all your thoughts for some time. 'I' am sure 'you' would find it impossible to stop 'your' thoughts even for a few minutes.

Now, can 'you' tell 'me' what is the source of these incessant thoughts, which appear even in your sleep as film-like projections?! And, one very well knows that it is these thoughts that become the basic source of all our actions, whether it is translated by you into different actions, viz. speech or writing, or performing some physical action, or just inaction, ie, leaving it for future, although it is said "Procrastination is the thief of time"!

If our thoughts are really not ours then these have to be someone else's, maybe transmitted through some other person and recorded in your brain, which suddenly pop up into your brain. Or, maybe every individual this way is interconnected and under control of just one invisible being, we call 'paramatma' or supreme soul, ie, some energy form that is indestructible, and thus the concept of 'God' as formless unborn and unending ???!!! If so, the question is what He/ She/ It seeks???
Any guesses?

Raju said...

Hi Jc sir,
1st-the dos and don'ts (dharma) are supplied to generations through gurukul system, where every body learned to do what is necessary, but currently, we or most of our system loosing them. ofcourse many people are trying to reestablish them and very soon it will come true. But great thing is that in olden days women are not allowed to reach the gurukul, still there is no notable deviations of dharma ( actions).
2nd- thoughts- the self is the source for the thoughts, it want to achieve something or want to enjoy something or it may want to dissolve. until it realizes the "god (may be truth or purpose)".
Many saints advised to get out of the desire of coming to this earth again for common folks.

JC said...

Shri Raju, Let's for convenience call it 'Nature' through which characters, such as Adi Shankaracharya etc., conveyed the philosophy of 'adwaitwad', ie, non-duality as the 'Truth' of the existence of one and only formless, Nadbindu, literally the unseen point source of infinite sound energy in the infinite appearing ever expanding universal void, as the energy that went into creation of the apparent physical universe that the void holds within it, within no time for the 'creator' is related with time and space zero!

However, the void appears to 'us', the infinite models of our common universe (images of Shiv Himself and that's why the saying "Shivoham/ Tat twam asi", ie, we allare Shiva!), through our earth ('Gangadhar Shiva' as its essence with its physical form maintained by Nadbindu the gravitational force concentrated at its centre), as well as models of Mahashiva, ie, essence of nine selected members of our solar system (from Sun in the middle and eight other planets, up to Saturn, that while rotating around their own axes appear to also revolve along their own different orbits around the Sun whose essence is believed housed in human belly, ie, the 'Solar Plexus' ('Manipuraka chakra' to 'Hindus')!

JC said...

25 Jul 11, 19:26
sinimon v: need more about bhogar,kathirgama,babaji nagraj

To look at the background first, whatever information, one can get from the writings of our wise ancients, its essence (satva or satya) is that although earth is illusory, Mithya Jagat, (for Creator is related with zero time and space and therefore depicted as unborn and unending), and yet 'we' the souls are able to perceive the projection of the apparent physical world, just as we believably watch recorded films in 'slow motion', or as 'action replays' of events that are performed in no time... and human form, made of essences of nine planets, acts as a medium to help view the apparent events that occurred in zero time in conversion of pure energy in to the apparent infinite and ever expanding universal void filled with infinite physical forms, called galaxies, oout of which our Milky Way Galaxy is the apparent essence of the universal void!...

Now coming to human form as model, or image, of the universe; highly elevated souls, or 'yogis', have indicated total energy distributed in eight energy centres or 'chakras' (essences of eight members of our solar system from Sun in solar plexus, of Moon in the head the top most point, and of Mars at the tail-bone-end, called Mooladhar) from tail-bone-end to the brain in head existing along the 'merudand' or spinal column,,, and all stations connected through the nervous system, as essence of the ninth member of the solar system, ie, planet Saturn,,, that acts as the railway-like transport system for carrying energy and related information associated with each energy centre, acting as different stations, between base and the head where the muscle computer or brain analyses the information according to the designed capacity of each illusory form!

It is only those characters who can lift total energy to head (naturally possible only in Satyug) can only reach the one and only formless creator!

Various other yogis would however be seen performing some 'miracles' depending on what percentage of the total energy they are able to lift the head,,, out of which 'alchemists' could be one such example...

Priya Radhakrishnan said...

Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya.

The world is considered unreal only from the standpoint of its aspect of change. Hence the term 'real'is attributed to the changeless Self, which is both being and conscious at the same time.

As per Bhagavan Ramana's teachings, so who is the one who is saying the world is real or unreal? We get simply get back to practice, to immerse in silence.

Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya

Priya Radhakrishnan said...

Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya!

The world is considered unreal from the standpoint that it is prone to continous changes. Hence the term 'real' is attributed to the changeless 'Self' which, is both being-ness and consciousness together.
This essence is suffused in all manifestations owing to its underlying quality. Hence real and unreal is transcended which is what is the beingness when one practises the 'Self enquiry' of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. Indeed He is a Great Master.

Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya.

JC said...

Shivoham / Tat twam asi"! That is, I am eternal, unborn and unending, and so you too are!

jeronimus said...

Wonderful blog. Thanks for posting.
Sri Ramana Maharshi explained it so concisely: "The world is real if experienced as the Self; unreal if considered separate to the Self."
In my blog
this is one of the themes.

maxrad software india pvt ltd said...

hare ram hare ram ram ram hare hare
hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna Krishna hare hare ........!!!

Pusshkaran Thirumudhukundram Venkatesan said...

The search is a never ending process because the state of searching,everything including the so called Self dissolves but searching never ends.

Yes, your phrase "The dance of nataraja inside the chitsaba" must be experienced. He will come out twice in a year, with his grace one should see him coming out of the chitsaba, then everything in this world will be boring and make us to see him again & again. That's why chidambaram called as "Perumpattrapuliyur". Naam avanai "Patrinaal" avan nammael "Perumpattruvypaan".
Siva Siva.

Pusshkaran Thirumudhukundram Venkatesan said...

I cannot say just great or wonderful on reading your work. It made me cry on thinking the lord siva. - please donot publish this comment, just want to share.