Sunday, 15 July 2018

Mandukya Upanishad - 1

Mandukya Upanishad

Prayer 1:
प्रज्ञानांशुप्रतानैः स्थिरचरनिकरव्यापिभिर्व्याप्य लोका
न्भुक्त्वा भोगान्स्थविष्ठान्पुनरपि धिषणोद्भासितान्कामजन्यान्  
पीत्वा सर्वान्विशेषान्स्वपिति मधुरभुङ्मायया भोजयन्नो 
मायासङ्ख्यातुरीयं परममृतमजं ब्रह्म यत्तन्नतोऽस्मि

This is an attempt to study Mandukya upanishad with the aid of Swami Tattvavidananda ji's telugu lectures on the same. 

Mandukya Upanishad is an Upanishad of great prominence. Traditionally, the students study this Upanishad after completing rest of the 10 upanishads.  The main topic of this Upanishad is study of Avasta-Traya vicharam [ investigation into the three states : waking, sleep and deep sleep] and OM-kara svarupa nirupana [establishing the meaning or Essence of the mantra OM]. Basically there are three states in our lives: jagrat or waking state, svapna or dream sleep state and sushupti or deep sleep state. Even as we observe these three states of our lives,  its an amazing feeling to note that all our troubles, turmoil’s, worries, fears etc belong to the waking state alone. They are not perceivable in the dream or deep sleep states [the dream troubles are not available in jagrat state, they are different].  So all these worries etc, including all the spiritual activities, are only present in the jagrat state - which is only one part of our complete experience. The other two states that we experience also need to be taken into consideration while investigating the truth about ourselves. Regarding this, Swami Rama Tirtha had commented that all western philosophers have taken only the waking state into consideration while analyzing the Truth. When we have some data, we should consider the whole data. IF we take only 50 percent of the data into consideration, the analysis will not be complete. Thus in order to come up with a holistic philosophy it’s important to consider all three states of experience, because that’s the only way we can take the complete sphere of experience into consideration.  Swami Rama tirtha used to say that only Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads have taken all three states into consideration.
               Mandukya Upanishad shows way as to how these three states can be analyzed and studied to know and understand our True Nature. This approach of studying the three states of our being and analyzing them starts from Mandukya Upanishad.  This is one very prominent feature of Mandukya Upanishad.

Upanishad Is The Knowledge , Not Merely a Book:
               When we use words like “Upanishads” or “Advaita Vedanta Shastra”, we tend to consider it too high for us to understand and appreciate. There is a general tendency to think that this knowledge is available only for some special people or scholars. No matter how profound a name we give, this knowledge is for our consumption. The knowledge is profound, but it’s for us and our consumption. We need to understand this truth and liberate ourselves. Upanishad is not the name of a book, it’s the name for the Knowledge. The books do not contain knowledge. Books contain some lines drawn in a certain way. Knowledge takes place in our intellects.  Books serve as indirect pointers, we can read the book but the understanding has to happen in our intellects. In Sanskrit Buddhi or intellect is also called Hrdhayam
or heart. These words are many times used synonymously.
For example. The knowledge “earth moves around sun”, whats the locus of this knowledge ? It’s the intellect, not in the book. The knowledge does not take place in the book. Knowledge takes place in our intellect. The lines in the book just act as pointers to “remind” the knowledge in our intellect – or to make the knowledge take place in our intellect. So when we say the book contains knowledge what we mean is that the book contains certain pointers which can make the knowledge happen within our intellect, i.e., those lines in the book should be able to trigger some knowledge in our minds. That’s the purpose of books. Books are indirect means for knowledge. Upanishad is basically the knowledge that takes place in our minds. The book is called Upanishad, but that’s an indirect meaning [not the main meaning]. For everything there is a primary meaning, i.e., the direct meaning : called Pradhana Artham[main meaning]. And there is an indirect means of knowledge called apradhana artham[not the main meaning]. Upanishad mainly means that knowledge which takes place in our hrdhayam(heart) or intellect. And the book can be called Upanishad as an indirect source of that knowledge – since those lines aid knowledge in our intellect.
Why This Knowledge ?
What’s the use of this knowledge? Usually we tend to see “use” or utility value in everything. To not look for too much materialistic utility in everything is not a very wise way of living. Its good to reduce this tendency to look for material benefits in everything. But if at all we are asked “whats the use of knowledge”, the best answer could be “the use of knowledge is elimination of ignorance in the heart”. That’s the best answer. The ignorance in the intellect will be eliminated by knowledge. That’s the utility.  There need not any materialistic benefit in everything. Knowledge is its own result. When we know some truth, in that knowing there is bliss. We should not develop the tendency to look for material benefits in everything. There is no happiness in the material objects. For example, there is no happiness in money.  That there is some happiness in money is a “bhrama”, an illusion. Please tell me .. does a moneyed man have money or is the moneyed man in the grips of money ? Usually the moneyed man is in  the grips of money and does not even know that this is the case. Instead of using money, he gets into a mode of getting used by the money [meaning money becomes more important than himself and he is lost in that money].
This knowledge is what removes the ignorance that’s lurking in our hearts and lights the Truth that’s in our heart. This knowledge is called Upanishad.

Meaning of the word Upanishad
Upanishad : upa-ni-shad … shad means that which annihilates. Annihilates ignorance. Ni means we have to hold onto it firmly. Usually we do not have that firmness. We hold onto things meekly. There is a saying in telugu [by vemanna] that says “Don’t take up a thing or if you take it up, don’t leave hold of it in between. If we hold onto a thing we should not leave it half. Its better to die than to leave our determination half way”. One has to be firm in determination. What ever we take up, we need to hold onto that firmly. Otherwise there is no point in taking it up. “ni” means we need to hold onto this knowledge firmly and allow it to take place in our minds. That’s when it will annihilate ignorance. One should not be like a fair whether friend. One needs to stay with this knowledge even when circumstances are tough. We need to develop the attitude of firmness. When in testing times we should treat them as challenges. Tough situations are like tests which really bring out the strength of our hearts. When we face such situations we need to have depth in our understanding and face the situations with firm abidance in that understanding. “Ni” is the prefix in “Nistha”. Stha is gati nirodhau.  To stay fixed without moving is Stha. Motionlessly. How Firm ? Very Strong and Firm, very rigid … that’s Nistha. We need to  hold onto this knowledge very rigidly. People have a tendency to be dishonest and then offer a part of that money  to a temple or God. That means that person will manage his business dishonestly and at the same time maintain good terms with God. That kind of an attitude will not work. One cannot be dishonest and develop this knowledge. If one wants this knowledge one must do away with all dishonest in dealings of life. What I mean is we need to examine ourselves and see where is our Nishta ? What is our fundamental goal of life? One should not allow one’s life to become self contradictory. If a person behaves differently at different places and situations of life, that’s not correct. One needs to live clean and clear and without any contradictions in behavior or thinking. One need to be sthira… Firmly seated in this knowledge.

Upa means “Near”. We need to go near. Which means we should have “Prema” or “Love” that’s what near means. We need to have Sraddha and study this with Love. Sometimes this is translated to mean “Go near a Guru”. That’s ok, but a guru is not a person, its about a system… an organized system. Its an institution, a person remains a representative. Generally people tend to start praying the Guru. They offer oblations to guru and the gurus also encourage it! “ishvaro gurur atmeti murthi bedhaya vibhagine,  vyoma vat vyapta dehaya dakshinamurthaye namah” [between ishvara, atma and guruh the difference is only in the forms (murthi). The one Self which is in and through all bodies like space … to that Dakshinamurthi I offer my salutations]. Guru is Chinmaya svarupah, Chinmaya – Sat. Guru is Pure Awareness. Guru, God and even Me : Everything is Awareness alone. If I take myself to be the physical body, God also would appear like that and then the guru is physically adored. This tendency is due to misunderstanding the meaning of the word Guru. Many so called gurus encourage this sort of physical attachments using this word “upa” to mean going near the guru. Its indeed true that one must go to a guru. That translation is correct. But one must have abidance in the Knowledge. One should have the dedication towards the knowledge and not guru. This knowledge must take place in our own hearts and not in the books or even in the face of the guru. That knowledge has to take place in our own hearts – no where else.

This is how the word Upanishad needs to be understood. The word “ni” can be translated to mean seated below or at a lower level and sad to mean seated. That’s seated at a lower pedestal – a more appropriate meaning would be to be seated with “Bhakti” or devotion. One should have sradha and bhakti and with that develop the knowledge that there is one Self in both the student and the teacher. This knowledge is named Upanishad. 

Insecurity Is Not Solved Seeking Security:
We all experience insecurity and incompleteness within. And we try to eliminate that insecurity through security. Security is required as we experience insecurity. Its indeed true that we experience insecurity but the premise that insecurity is eliminated through security is not correct. For example if a person feels insecure and maintains a gun man. And does this increase security ? If a person cannot go out without a gun man, it means insecurity. Security is not the solution for insecurity because security is the opposite of insecurity. When we have a magnet north pole attracting us and to avoid its attraction if I hold onto South Pole, have I got beyond that attraction or am I still in it? Security is the opposite of insecurity. Whatever we try to avoid in this life, we make it stronger. Suppose someone is there who says “I will not get angry”, what is he trying to avoid or negate?  To make him angry all we have to do is go to him and say “you say all this but u too get angry”, the person really gets angry. If I try to negate a thing that becomes stronger. He is negating anger and if we use the same idea and say “you have not yet got over anger”, he gets angry.  To get over insecurity, if we run after security … that very running after the security creates insecurities!!
A friend of mine was admitted in a hospital. I went there to learn that this person was bitten by his own dog! I asked him “why did you keep that dog?”  and he replied “For my security” J . It’s like that. 

The solution to insecurity or incompleteness is not in running after security. Instead if we face the insecurity or incompleteness within and try to see it face to face. If we look within our minds and try to see why this insecurity is there, we get beyond that insecurity! This is Upanishad. If the sorrow is in hearts and we seek happiness outside in the external world … we do not get that happiness. The cause for inner incompleteness is our ignorance and not because we really lack something. We feel that we lack something and therefore run after the external world after bars, clubs etc … that leads to more suffering. Even if a sanyasin goes after students they develop more attachment and create more troubles for themselves.  If even a Sanyasin seeks name and fame, they create troubles for themselves. If I seek something, its opposite also follows it.

Shastra Sravanam Is a Must:
The root cause of suffering is ignorance. Unless that’s destroyed, one cannot find liberation. The knowledge that annihilates that ignorance is called Upanishad. Upanishads teach “brahma Atma Aikyam” the oneness of Brahman and self. That is, what ever happiness or Bliss you seek is within you in your own heart. That’s the teaching of Upanishads. Happiness or Sukham is named Brahman. That completeness or fulfilled-ness which you seek is within yourself. Do you know what is meant by seeking completeness ?  When a desire if fulfilled we get the feeling “Ah!” -  the satisfaction. That happiness or bliss is of the form of experience alone. It’s a kind of “feeling of Fullness” … Purnatvam that’s not created or artificial but natural. That is a kind of Completeness or feeling of being fulfilled that happens naturally .Thats ananda that’s natural and not artificial. It’s not like a person wearing raymonds suite and feeling artificial sense of completeness. Not artificially due to some externally arranged circumstances but naturally to see it as one’s own nature is called Brahma-atma aikyam [oneness of Atma and Brahman]. This oneness or Ananda cannot be known by “Seeing” . its not obtained by pratyaksha pramana. It cannot be seen with eyes or cannot be seen with intellect within. It has to be learned by hearing to the Scriptures. When just hearing is not enough one has to do Mananam and nidhidhyasam. Nidhidhyasam means meditation . When a person with a meditative tendency hears to the truth it works. One should develop the meditative attitude and listen to the Scriptures and also meditate on the teachings of the scriptures. That’s the only way to know the truth.
This is kevala Shabda pramana gamyam. Its obtained only through Shabda Pramana by hearing to the scriptures and meditating on it and also meditatively listening to it. For example if we chant “OM” ,… when the chant dissolves one is already one with the Self. When we identify ourselves with mind, we remain as separate individuals and do not experience oneness with the Self. When mind is still one remains one with the Self. That’s why in deep sleep when the mind is dissolved one experiences Bliss or oneness. That’s why when we start meditating on Om, when OM ends with that ending the mind also dissolves in the Awareness and that moment is oneness. That’s purnatvam or completeness. This oneness can be therefore got through a Shabdam or word “OM”. This word “OM” acts like an anchor even in meditation and also is the knowledge of the Self. Shastra sravanam or hearing the scriptures from a guru can be of great use. When a student meditates after hearing the Truth from the Scriptures it works wonders .If a student sits to meditate without hearing the shastras or scriptures it won’t be that effective. Through study of scriptures also this knowledge can take place. If without study of scriptures, one simply sits down for meditation using a technique its result is also not very effective. Since the mind is not yet ripe enough to delve deeply into the Self. Therefore it’s a must to study scriptures and hear to the teacher teaching it so that our mind is ripe enough to delve deeply into the Self and remain thus. Therefore there is only one way to know the oneness of Atma and Brahman [me and Ananda or happiness] , that is by hearing to the scriptures meditatively from a teacher.

2nd Class:

Upanishads are Not-Sectarian In Nature:
            There are a few more points we need to understand about these Upanishads. The world is full of creeds and belief systems, when we take the Upanishads they do not belong to a particular creed or sect. That’s when if we take Isavasyopanishad, there are commentaries written on it by different people with different religious beliefs ex, Vaishnavites, Shivites etc.
For example in Bhagavatam there is a statement “Satyam Param DhiMahi”, “I Meditate on the Ultimate Truth”. Now Truth means what?  Sri Krishna, Sri Rama or who ? That is not mentioned. Its totally non-sectarian in nature. This is how Upanishads. Upanishads are about the Science of Life. When we say science of life, it means its not something for a specific group of people. Its something that’s valid for everyone at once.

Upanishads Speak About the Self :
      Religious systems that worship a particular god or godess teach methods to worship that god or godess and what benefits one would reap by doing so. But they do not , in general, tell us about “Our Self”. Here, God is not someone who is in a heaven or in Vaikuntam .  Upanishads teach us about  “Who we are”. Religious systems speak about Gods, Goddesses etc but they seldom speak about “Shanti” or Peace. Should religions create peace and harmony or conflicts ? Religions should develop peace and harmony. But most of the religious systems talk about Gods and Goddesses but not directly about Peace itself. 
OM Shantih ! Shantih! Shantih! Is seen when one reaches Upanishads, not in the sectarian systems. Because, a person trying to preach his religion and spread his religion will he be peaceful or in struggle ? Such a person is in constant conflict, a pressure to spread the religion or belief system is constantly with him. If a person is absolutely still, can he spread his beliefs ? Suppose we have to arrange for a feast, or organize a meeting, can he remain totally calm and still ? That wont work. With Karma [activities] and Upasana [rituals and worships] this is always the case. Peace is taught in Upanishads. Upanishads teach Atma Svarupam [That is about Our own Selves… who I am] and then Upanishads give prime importance to Shanti or peace.

Consider the six fold accomplishments that qualify a student for grasping Vedanta:
Sama means manas vikshepa shanti … i.e., calming of the mental turmoil’s
Dama means indriya vikshepa shanty … i.e., calming the turmoil at the level of the sense organs.
Uparita means kriya rupa vikshepa shanty … i.e., calming the turmoil at the level of action.
Titiksha means Shanti from turmoil created by the opposites of Suka-Dukka
Sraddha means shanti from ahamkara and mamakara, i.e., calming of ego and identifications related to ego.
Samadhi means shanti from mental fluctuations. The mind seems to run automatically and non-stop. Calming of such fluctuations is Samadhi. This is called canchalatvam, freedom from that is chanchalatvam.

So all these shamadi Shatka sampattih have one thing in common: Peace.

Upanishads do not promise Results In Future:
               Most religious systems also have lot of promises. Like going to a particular religious place one gets something. By seeing one’s astrological arrangement and correcting there one may be better etc. However we never find a person saying “All my problems are now solved”. Its as if setting the person in a loop.
What kind of promise does Upanishads give? Absolutely no promise. One just knows oneself. Then what ? Well, just find out and see what happens! Upanishads contain a Guru and a Disciple who together analyze life and explore. There are no promises in it. If at all any promises like , if you come to me, ill teach in 10 days… even that promise is not like the promises of religious sects. There are no promises like “after death this is what happens etc”; no post mortem promises.
Further Upanishads do not have any rigid beliefs . Typically we have religious systems saying that when one worships a particular God, one goes to heaven and otherwise one goes to hell. I once asked a person “Sir, there is a person who is very good person and lives a clean life and but did not worship your God, what happens to him after death”. He said, “He will go to hell!”
And there is one more person who lived a life full of manipulations and cheating and this person later took up to worship of your God, where does he go ? He replied, “He goes to heaven!”
That’s how fanatic thinking goes. Upanishads do not encourage any such fanatic beliefs.  These fanatic beliefs are basically (10:30)
These are called fanatical beliefs. Their belief system is so rigid that they cannot but convert another person into that religion. This differentiation between religions and Upanishads is very important to appreciate mandukya Upanishad itself. Many teachers simply carry along the beliefs along with the teaching of Upanishads. This won’t work, because Upanishads is all about Atma Vichara, inquiry into the Self. Its an inquiry and not a belief, so it requires a questioning mind here. I do not mean to say Bhakti and Shradha should not be there, Upa-Means Bhakti and Ni- Means Sradha ; these should be there … but then Upanishad teachings are at a beyond the religious dogmas.
Also Upanishads inquire into the known world that is all around us and having inquired into all that is know (vidhitam) very deeply, Upanishads make an attempt to lead us to that which is not knowable as an object of the senses or the mind [avidhitam]. Dogmatic beliefs, on the contrary, leave whats around us and whats in us and talk about a God who is somewhere above in the heavens.
What is God ?IF we know it (As an object ) can it be God ? How can we know the infinite?
Someone was asked “Do you know God” and he replied “Ofcourse I do, I have been teaching about him for the last 20 years”
And another person was asked the same question and he replied “How can anyone know God? Is not God infinite and our mind and intellect limited? To know is God a man or a tree ? God is Ananta Tatvam , the infinite Being. How can he be known”.
Now who has known the truth ? That Ishvara cannot be known as an object , to know this is the kind of knowledge Upanishads teach.
Further, in the dogmatic systems, there is a representative who performs certain rituals and we simply have to follow his instructions and do what he says. We do not need to know anything here.  That’s how karma kanda and upasana are. Here its not like that. Here the students have to develop their own inner instruments and discover the Truth within. There is such a subtle difference between the religions and Upanishads.

Just one more point before getting into the Bhasyam : Upa-Ni-Shad Upa means going near, very near. Near what ? That which shines everything, that Atman. And ni – this is a backwards journey – its of the form of nivritti [giving up or renouncing or letting go]. In our normal day to day life we are go more towards pravritti, ie., we go outwards and try to earn rewards, success etc. That is bahir mukha pravritti – that is outwards vision. When we come to Upanishads its anthar mukham [inward vision] – that is the attention is turned inwards, such a journey is called nivritti. Because Atma is Self, the Light because of which all others shine … That Awareness which is the light of light [jyotisham jyotih]. That is Atman.  To resolve into that Atman and remain seated there ; and by thus remaining [ni], when the whole ignorance is destroyed [sad]… that’s Upanishad.  This is well explained by Sri Madhusudana Saraswati :
Tasyaiva aham tavaiva aham tvameva aham iti tridha…
A bhakta , if we ask who you are would say “I am a Lover”, whom do you love? And he answers The Lord who is above.
The next level Bhakta would answer “That God who is all around is in the form of this world”
And the final level is “I am you and you are me”.
Its said that Hanuman was asked whats your relation to Rama and [this is not from Ramayana , but from some other source] and he replied “from the standpoint of body I am Rama’s servant, from the stand point of mind  I am a part of Rama and from the standpoint of Self I am Rama”. This is not from Ramayana , I just heard it somewhere. That is how the Truth is.
“I am The Self, Atman, God”  , to know this is the upanishad’s objective. The separation between me and the Lord which is due to ignorance … an Upanishad is that which destroys this ignorance and thereby the separation.

Mandukya Upanishad:
               This is the Upanishad that was first visualized by Manduka Maharshi. Manduka [Frog] shabda was taken by a Rishi as his name. All these rishis used to take name by birds, animals etc. Vaidika rishis were like that. Did you hear the Rishi Shaunaka Maharshi ? Shaunaka  is derived from shunaka(shaunakasys apashyam shunakah), meaning dog. When we say Shaunaka Maharshi it sounds ok, but how does it sound when we say Shunaka Maharshi ? J. People who know the word Shunaka would find it a little funny. His name is shunakah.  Dogs make a howling noise early in the morning , if you hear that how does it appear ? Does it not appear like the “sama veda chants” ? Also, dog some times, after just waking up howls like “aaaauuuuummmm”… as if chanting “OM” ! Therefore dog is not considered inauspicious in Vedas. This notion that dogs howling is inauspicious etc is from the puranas. Another example, Kikkiri , the name of a bird. Similarly manduka , frog, is the name of another rishi. I could remember three names, similarly there are many other such rishis who have taken the names of animals, birds etc.
Mandukya Upanishad was first realized by Manduka Maharshi, hence the name.This manduka Upanishad is Atharvana Veda Upanishad. Its there in the samahita portion also. In the samahita portion the chanting of Vedas is compared to the sounds created by frogs. Frogs create such sounds when there is a rain. Infact there is a story in Vedas , Once there was a famine due to lack of rains and one maharshi prays to the lord and it rains. Then , all the frogs offer salutations to the rishi saying “Oh Rishi Its only by your grace are we able to have this rain” as per the story. The chants of the frogs is like veda chants. Such comparisions are there in the Vedas.  Thus the rishi’s name is manduka and mandukasya - iyam mandukya . Upanishad is a stri linga shabdah, through samasa it becomes mandukya.
Further there is what is called Mandukya kruti … frog jumping. There are games called frog jumping competition, children play these games. When a frog jumps, please tell me does it make the first move backwards or forwards ? Before leaping forward a frog always prepares backwards. It draws backwards and then jumps forward. Backward movement – nivritti, this is what we are seeing here. Mandukya kruti nyayam is all about preparing backwards. I’ll explain how this is …
This book is there, what is it ? Book. And it appears clearly therefore its Drishyam, an object that is seen. For an object to be seen, it should shine. If it does not shine no one can see. However beautiful a flower is, it must shine so that someone may be able to see it. What shines this? If we say its light, then that’s called “Bahir Mukha Drishti” [a vision turned outwards]. What is antar mukha drishti [ inward turned vision] ? This drishyam , we should call it a drishyam an appearance not an object , vastu. Its to be seen as an appearance only. Its drshyate na tu jayathe , its seen not something that’s born… not an object. Anyways, this book is seen, Drishyam, if someone is blind one cannot see it. Only a person who has vision can see it. Therefore it’s the eyes that shine the book. Now these eyes also borrow their ability to see from the mind, and from what does the mind borrow its ability to “recognize” ? Heart. The one Self which stays in all these and gives them the ability to “See” is called the Turiyam, the fourth. We need to reach this fourth , which does not mean we take four outward steps. What it means is the steps have to be taken from the book, to eyes, to mind to the Self … inwards.  Backwards , nivritti. This is called mandukya nyayam.
Further, please tell me … where is the whole jagrat avasta [wakeful life] ? Its in the eyes. From morning till night what ever world we experience is in the eyes [or senses].  When we dream , where is the dream shining ? in the mind. Suppose that mind is in the neck. What is that because of which the mind shines ? it’s the amani bhavam , the heart. The physical waking state, the dream state that’s in the mind and the deep sleep state in the heart location… the one awareness which shines in all these three states is called Turiyam. The one which is the basis for all these three states – the one Self in whose presence all these shine is the fourth , Awareness, which is called Turiyam. The one who knows this Turiyam as one’s state becomes realized. This is mandukya nya based Upanishad.
Now this viveka [differentiation] of these three states or avasthas , is seen in the first prayer verse of this Upanishad by the Bhasyakara. Lets repeat the verse once:
prajhaanaa.NshuprataanaiH sthiracaranikaravyaapibhirvyaapya lokaan
bhuktvaa bhogaan sthaviShThaan punarapi dhiShaNodbhaasitaan kaamajanyaan |
piitvaa sarvaan visheShaan svapiti madhurabhu~Na maayayaa bhojayanno
maayaasa.Nkhyaaturiiya.N paramamR^itamaja.N brahma yattannato.asmi || 

प्रज्ञानांशुप्रतानैः स्थिरचरनिकरव्यापिभिर्व्याप्य लोका
न्भुक्त्वा भोगान्स्थविष्ठान्पुनरपि धिषणोद्भासितान्कामजन्यान्  
पीत्वा सर्वान्विशेषान्स्वपिति मधुरभुङ्मायया भोजयन्नो 
मायासङ्ख्यातुरीयं परममृतमजं ब्रह्म यत्तन्नतोऽस्मि

This vruttam is very beautiful , I think its called as sradhara vruttam.
Natosmi – means I salute [I do namaskas], to whom ?
Brahma yat tan natosmi – That Brahman which Is,  I offer my salutations to that.
There are two styles of presenting the vastu [the Only object or  Reality].  That which alone Is, is called Vastu, the Reality.
The world cannot be called as that which exists. All we can say is drishyate, it appears. Therefore jagat is not vastu.  As long as we identify with objects of the world as “me”, that “me” is also not Vastu.
Therefore , that Chinmaya – Sat , please hold onto this word, Chinmaya – Sat. Chinmaya means conscious, SAT- Being. Its just Being. This Being, how is it known ? That I AM, how do I know ? By seeing with eyes or through mind or how do I know [To see , I should already be there].  Its known by itself. This is what is called Chinmaya Sat, Svayam prakashita sat. That which shines by itself. By itself its known means,  it is Being which is one with Consciousness. Meaning the Sat which is with the Cit dhatu. For example when we say a pot is or exists, the pot is there, but it does not know itself nor does it know anything else.  That type of “Being” is not Self Aware-ful Being. However when I say I AM, its Chinmaya SAT, Self Aware-ful Being. If we say where is God, we say he lives in vaikunta etc, does it mean that God is far away or near by? He is far away. If , on the other hand, we say “Self Awareful Being”, is God – where is this God? In our hearts.
In order to know this God who is in our hearts, whats the way? Suppose I say “I am a rich man”, it means I am identifying my “being” with the riches in the bank. That is “I” is linked to the riches in the bank. So is he going outside or inwards for “I” ? Outwards – that is bahir mukha dristi. Therefore , drop this “mama”, all that is mine, as it is outside. Now lets go to “aham”, when we say aham, and we mean the body , how can body be me ? its known by me. Body does not know itself. Body is not self awareful being. Its known in the presence of another thing that’s self shining. Eye cannot see itself. So am I the one which sees this eye or am I the eye itself ? am I the intelligence which knows the eye or am I the eye ? I am that intelligence. Similarly, I am the intelligence in whose presence the body gets known. So I am not the body but the intelligence. This is called viveka. When it comes to “aham” its viveka. When we discussed “mama”, leaving the mama is vairagyam. We first start with vairagyam, and then , ask “koham”, who am I. when I say who am I, we reject all those that are physical etc. and thus leaving everything what remains is Brahman. There are two styles of presenting this Brahman. One is “Vidhi” “This is”, when it is presented as “This IS”, its called Vidhi mukha style of explaining. When the same truth is presented  by rejecting all that is not That, that’s called Nisheda Mukha style of presenting the Truth. Nishedha means rejecting everything.
Here Shankara first prayer expresses the Self as vidhi mukham.
That Brahman which “IS” [vidhi], I salute him.
Now, Brahman Is, and we salute that Brahman, where is this Brahman ?
Lokhan vyapya , its omni present, it is spread in all lokhas.
Suppose we say something is in a lokha, it means its there in that lokha and not in others. That’s when we say its there in that Lokha its there. And when its there in a particular lokha, where is it ? is it everywhere or at a particular place? At a particular place only.  If God is described thus, it means God has become limited. That’s not how Brahman is described here. He is said to be present encompassing all the Lokas. Which means he is present all over the earth and this universe. Which means he is present all around me ! How is he thus present ? Now, where is the sun ? is he there everywhere… Sun means the “Light”. Is light at one corner of a room or all over the place? Though we place a small lamp at one corner of the room, it spreads all over the room. Similarly God is spread all over the place. How? Just as the rays of the sun are spread all around. That’s why,
Anshupratanau : Anshu means rays, the light rays of sun spreads all around, similarly,
Pragyana – anshu-pratanau : pragyana means intelligence. Intelligence is present in all beings. All beings follow their dharma and have intelligence. Thus  the Brahman is spread all around in all lokas as the rays of the intelligence … as intelligence itself which is everywhere. That is how this Brahman is.
That Brahman I salute

3rd class
There are two prayer verses, but the essential teaching is the same: to recognize Parabrahman through Avasta Traya Viveka as one with Atma. These prayer verses contain the entire essence of Mandukya Upanishad. If the essence is the same, why are there two slokhas ? The same Avasta-traya-viveka is presented “Vidhi-Mukatah” in the first slokha and “Nishedha-Mukatah” in the second slokha. Vidhi Mukha means “What IS , I recognize it and do namaskar to it” – IT just means I do namaskar to myself : mahyam namo-namaha – I do namaskar to myself. Why is this so ? When we say that Parabrahma is Vyapi or uniformly present in all three states [Avasta Traya], it is present as Atma [The Presence], and so it just means one is really doing namaskar to one’s own True Self. When its presented as “That which is present in all three states uniformly”, that is Vidhi Mukha way or presenting it . When the same truth is presented as “That which remains beyond or untouched by the three states”, that is Nishedha way of presenting the same Truth.

Returning to the verse :
Yat brahma tat nataha asmi … yat brahma means yat brahma asti , tat nataha asmi . Here jagat is an appearance but not really something that exists, this is well accepted by all followers of Upanishads. Somewhere Shankara says that Upanishad vadis [people who follow or accept the Upanishads] they have two things that are well accepted: [This is about the views of followers of Upanishad in his period , he was obviously not talking about people who came in later . Later on these ]
a)      Jagat is Mithya
b)     Brahma Ekam Advitiyam
All Upanishad followers accepted these, there were differences in other aspects like the importance and role of karma and jnanam etc. All the differences regarding these have developed post sankara period.
When its said “Brahma yat asti”, this jagat is only an appearance , its not “asti”. Brahman is the Adhishtana [the basis or that on which this appearance is] of this appearance.  For a Movie, the screen is the Adhistana. A Movie is an appearance “on” something  that remains stationary – that is the Adhistana. Without Adishtana, one an appearance like movie cannot be seen. For this appearance called jagat, is there an Adhistana or not ? When such a question is asked, there can be people who say its not there, some people might say its there and there are others who will say “its there and not there” ! Advaita Vedanta is to recognize this Adhistana as “IS” Brahma yat [asti], this is Advaita Vedanta.
There is “No Adhistana”, this is Kshanika Vijnana Vadin argument, Buddha did not say this, but some followers understood it this way. In this context Brahman and Ishvara may be used equivalently and hence this namaskara is to that Ishvara. There may be places where these words are used differently but in this context it can be taken to mean I  salute the Ishvara. All Upanishads and scriptures do namaskara to Ishvara alone, but in doing this there are multiple ways [styles] …
Agnir devo dvi-jaatinaam, muni-naam hridi daivatam, prathima sthula budhinaam sarvatra vidhitatmanaam.
This is from manu smriti. Manu maharaja collected many vedantic ideas into manu smriti. Here what he says is … A for a vaidika’s sradha is towards Agnihotra etc. Agni is their Deva. For a Meditative person God is in the heart – just close the eyes and meditate on the God within. For a person with gross mind, without an idol they cannot conceive of God. This is not to say that anyone who keeps an idol is gross minded, a person who cannot conceive of God without the support of an idol is still stuck with gross physical mode of thinking. And then the verse says that for a person who knows the truth, God is everywhere – everywhere means both inside and outside.
This salutation is of the last type… infact its like saying aham brahmasmi mahyam namo namaha , I am brahman and I salute myself. If you tell this to a dvaitin, they may find it blasphemous but for a vedantin this is perfectly fine. Swami Ranganathan used to say that the God that is proclaimed by the Vedantin is Atman”. This is what Advaita Vedanta is all about. On this aspect if one does not take a stand and speaks neither this way nor that way, that is not Advaita Vedanta. The God if Vedantin is Atman. Atma  means what ? Are you doing namaskar to yourself ? Yes. That is the way it is. One should say this unequivocally and straight. One cannot take a double stand on this. Mahyam namo namaha … not one namaskara but twice 😊 and that too to myself – again and again … because when we know the true nature of this “I” it is Brahman! Who am I ?
This Brahman is “Vyapya”, means spread everywhere ? where ? Lokaan, lokaan means praninaha… that is all pranis beings … how can we can we say it is beings ? “Sthira chara nikhara”, that is Shitra pranis or beings that remain still like trees and chara , those that move … nikhara : varieties of these beings. That is vyapya lokaan sthira-chara-nikhara, that is this Brahman is present in and through the varieties of beings : some that do not move like the trees and some that move . The way to understand this is “The Sun god is in and through all these objects as light”. Sun is not seen directly, and yet all light is the Sun God himself. Similarly, all these trees, animals birds and humans have this Parabrahman . As even the Sun is in and through all these objects in the form of rays or light, Parabrahman is present in all these beings in the form of “chaitanyam” , Prajnanam. In this body there is prajnanam and similarly all beings have prajnanam in them. Prajnanam is like “Anshu” … the word “Anshu” means a “ray” . This word can have two meanings “a part of” or “a ray of”. Mamaiva amsho jeeva lokhe … Here it is in the form of “as a part of”. In the context of this verse “amshuhu”, as a ray of sun. These rays are in multiple forms, pratanaihi  … that is they are “spread”. How is this spread ? In the eyes its in the form of vision, in the ears it is in the form of the ability to hear, as the ability to reflect in the mind and so on … these rays are thus spread like the rays of sun. what kind of ray is this ? Prajnana anshuhu , a ray of prajnana. What is prajnana ? prajna is primordial knowingness? forms, feelings, sounds, our intellectual reasonings etc … [vijnana = collected information and reasoning , of the intellect. This is different from prajnana, vijnana is also known through prajnana, the primordial ability to know]. To know all these one needs the primordial ability to know. Even Ajnana is known. For knowing all these, at the root of all these knowings is a basic “ability to know – primordial intelligence” which is called prajna. Suppose I ask you : have you woken up, and you say “no” , that means you have woken up and if one were to say “yes”, then he is right. If one does not speak, may be he has not yet woken up. This “waking up” is about that primordial awareness in whose presence all knowing takes place. This is jnanam that is manifest, vyakta … prakrushtam jnanam … its not like the knowledge of a pot. That is vijnanam, vishesha jnanam… specific knowledge of an object. What about just jnanam ? not specific to anything. Different types of specific knowledges arise and dissolve in that. Unborn and undying primordial knowledge is called prajnanam , prakrushtam jnanam. This jnanam is neither born nor does it dye … this is called prajnanam, or pra-jnapti. Pra here means unborn-undying-unchanging. Jnapti means nirvishesha jnanam. Prajnanam = brahman. This means awareness is brahman. All this shines in that awareness … jiva is really this awareness seen through limiting ideas- limitations. When those limiting ideas are removed, one remains one with ishvara. Just as ghata-akasha is just akasha seen as bound by pot, while it is not. When a person dies we break a pot, that is symbolic of saying that the parichheda bhava [limitations ] are broken and the jiva has dissolved in ishvara.

Prajnanam is Brahman, then what is jiva? Prajnana-amshu [ray of prajnana], that is prajnana seen through a certain limitation. And then the activities of the jiva and his abilities become prajnana-amshu-pratana… the Vistara or spreading of that prajnana amshu . these are in sthira-chara-nikhara-vyapibihi. Vyapya lokaan, this brahman is thus spread all around… and that parabrahman I perform a namaskara to ! Why should we do a namaskara to it ? because I have arisen from it and I dissolve into it when I sleep. The limited view, the amsha, dissolves in that parabrahman when sleeping , one need not wait till death. Death is just like dirgha nidra, long sleep. Nothing more.
Prajnana has another name : chit. Prajnana amshu is also called chid-abhasha.
Now, what is this chit-abhasha doing ? bhukta bhogan stavishtan, please see, chit-abhasa is also of the same type as chit… this jiva if he get a bhoga, shankara says somewhere , “upalabdhir eva bhoga”. When we eat a sweet, what do we mean by that ? whatever went into the stomach is irrelevant here, the enjoyment is of the taste.  Rasa-asvadam, enjoyment of taste is nothing but rasa-jnanam , the knowledge of the taste. Enjoyment of taste = knowledge of the taste. This is enjoyment . this is bhoga. We should thus make eating into a form of meditation. Meditation is not an act to be done though in early states it might look like that. It is a quality. Every activity has to become meditative. When we walk, if we are mindful of the walking that is walking meditation. Instead of thinking various things mindfulness is on walking, that is meditation. When we hear, if our mindfulness is on hearing, when we talk, if we are mindful of talking … those activities become meditation. Walking in self awareness is mindful walking and this is meditation, this is athma nishta. That’s why we are told to remain silent when doing bhojanam.
This is a way to make every activity in life into meditation. This is a quality that can be brought into every act.

Lecture 4

Buddha’s meditation is to observe breathing at the tip of one’s nose with half closed eyes. This is indian Buddha’s meditation 😊. Japan Buddha’s meditation has a big belly. All he does is observe the belly as the breath goes in and out. One may pay attention to belly, or at the nose or at the chest, and observe the breathing. This is meditation. Self awareness is meditation – this is mentioned as “atmani eva atmanam pashye” in our sruthis.
Bhuktva bhogaan … bhoga is just knowing here. What ever is known is bhoga. Knowing is enjoyment – no separate knowing.  All bhoga anubhava is coming from that prajnanam , in this sense that experience truly belongs to that prajnanam not us. Thus the true bhokta is really God. What type of bhogas ? Sthavishtan, that is gross. Bhogas are divided as sthula bhogas and sukshma bhogas. Sukshma bhoga is the kind of joy we experience in dream when we have our expectations met. While in waking state what we experience is sthula.  That is jagrat avastha experiences. So that ishvara is experiencing the sthula bhogas. And then … punarapi … again, the experience of bhoga in dreams as sukshma bhogas. What are these dream bhogas born of ? kaama janyan , born of desires. These are dishanodbhasitan, born of buddhi, udbhashitan means born of it. Having experienced these bhogas as well … bhuktva. So this parabrahman having experienced the waking state experiences and the dream experiences … now plz tell me if all these experiences are of parabrahman, where is jiva? Well, he is not there , that is what is the point. Jiva appears due to ajnanam and disappears when jnanam arises. Jiva is never separate from ishvara whether one out of ajnana thinks he is separate or out of jnana sees himself as one with ishvara. And whether he thinks he is apart of this prakruti or not he never is a part of it. He can never be the kshetra, he is always kshetrajna. Aghatita ghatana patiyasi maya, ajnana has the ability to make what is impossible appear as if true. This is maya. That parabrahma alone experienced even the dream experiences. And then … sarvaan visheshaan peetva svapiti, the same parabrahman is slipping into deep sleep … how? Having dissolved , swallowed all these bhogas in it. Peetva, having swallowed , goes into deep sleep. Sarvaan visheshaan , all these various forms etc is swallowed. And how is he in deep sleep ? Madhurabhruk, experiencing Ananda. This nidra is really strange, when we dissolve in it there is bliss. One may have deep fascination for money or a beloved, and yet he leaves those objects dissolves into deep sleep … all happiness is only following that happiness of deep sleep. If one does not get that one cannot have any other experience of happiness. Nidra is really a very deep happiness. Now we can see that between samsara and a deep happiness there is only a small flip. People resort to intoxicants only to get into a euphoric state that is like nidra.
The one who experiences all these is ishvara, then what about us ? bhojayan naha … he experiences and thus makes us experience. That is “I experience sukha-dhukka of various states” this is how we think, but this is all happening due to the shine of the parabrahma in us. If it is his shine, how can I take it to be my experience ? mayaya bhojayan nah … due to ajnana we take ourselves to be bhoktas of all these states. We have taken bhoktrutvam on ourselves and as long as we hold onto bhoktrutvam, kartrutvam follows. One has to neutralize bhoktrutvam first. This is called karma yoga. Karmani eva adhikaraste … be a karta, but leave that bhoktrutvam first. This is karma yoga… then through jnana kartrutvam is given up too.
Mayaya bhojayan nah … parabrahma is running the whole show while we think we are doing all this.


[To be Continued ...]

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Guru Vachaka Kovai -- A Holistic Appreciation of Bhagavan Ramana's Teachings.


My salutations to my gurus who have given me the clarity to appreciate the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. For a spiritual sadhaka, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's teachings are a real treasure. This text called Guru Vachaka Kovai is Sri Muruganar's collection of his Guru's [Ramana's] teachings. Its a collection of 1254 verses in Tamil. Now I do not know Tamil, but thanks to sri Michael James and Sri Sadho OM we have the English translation. My thanks also to sri David Godman who made these available online :

The Upanishads say that we are Purna, Complete. They say that we are of the nature of Ananda, limitlessness. But when we look at our own lives, our experiences seem to be contradicting this. While the Upanishads state that we are limitless and Complete, our own observations about ourselves are exactly the opposite. We look at ourselves as unfulfilled, empty and limited. How can we resolve this conflict ? Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's teachings give us some clues. These teachings are like any Prakarana Grantha -- Shankara wrote Vivekachudamani etc, which are all equally useful. So in this appreciation of Bhagavan's teachings we do not make the mistake of treating him as someone who is different from the traditional teachers. We do not want to build a cult around Ramana, we want to appreciate his teachings and workout our own liberation. Whats the use of praising Ramana Maharshi and making him into a God ? Instead if we grasp the vision he has conveyed through his teachings, we can mold our lives and discover our own freedom. Most of the Ramana communities today have made Ramana into a kind of God and they go on doing Bhajans before his idol. I do not look down upon such practices but I would like to emphasize that its more important to get the vision he has conveyed through his teachings. Such practices are very good aids in one's spiritual journey, however, its the vision of Truth alone that can liberate a person.This is an attempt to understand what Bhagavan has taught and I am not ready to accept that Bhagavan's teachings are different from Sri Adi Shankaracharya's teachings. My attempt is to convey the vision that Ramana has presented -- a vision which can transform us even today if we understand it in a holistic way. Unfortunately most followers of Ramana are no more trying to get the vision of Bhagavan in a holistic fashion. They are more engrossed in stories associated with Bhagavan and his disciples! Its unfortunate because somewhere along the line, the actual understanding is missed. Once again, for a person who tries to get the vision of Truth through Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's teachings, these stories are wonderful illustrations.

Guru Vachaka kovai is a collection of sayings of Bhagavan as collected by Sri Muruganar.We use these simple sayings as pointers towards the truth. These simple pointers convey something and the very fact that Sri Muruganar noted them down means that he felt that they would be useful. In the very beginning of this text, Sri Muruganar states the reason for collecting these teachings: "These teachings destroy the base nature of mind", he states. And whether or not they do, we will have to see. The teaching has a way to work on the mind. We need to study these in a holistic fashion , trying to get the essential vision of the Guru. As long as we do not get the vision of Vedantic teachings [As I said I do not see Ramana's teachings as different from the teachings of Vedanta], we do not discover the transformation within ourselves. If we do not discover this transformation within ourselves we would make it into some exotic goal reachable by only a fortunate few. 

"These teachings destroy the base nature of our minds" ... what does it mean  ? How does it do that ? Lets give it a chance and see. Most often we see people saying "I want to meditate but my mind does not settle."... There are others who say, I want to annihilate my ego and enter into nirvikalpa samadhi but somehow its not working like that. Here we will enquire as to why our mind does not remain calm. We will have to delve deeply into these points. I request the readers to carefully follow what I present here. I am not going to deviate from Ramana's teachings anywhere and yet I try to bring out the vision Bhagavan is conveying. Once the vision is got, one can live this with ease. There is no complication in this. This vision is extremely simple and that's one of the main reasons why it is easily missed. People are habituated to something very exotic and out of the earth while this is simple and straightforward. Ramana does not say that we have to experience some awakening of Kundalini etc. Lets be clear on this. He has presented a teaching and this teaching conveys a vision -- a vision that can change our lives once and for all. Whether or not it works we have to see. Do we really want to discover this liberation in our own lives ? If so, lets approach this subject in a holistic way and verify if the teaching can indeed destroy the base nature of our mind or not. These pointers are very clear and self sufficient.


Obeisance to the Guru

This Light [i.e., these verses] of the Guru’s Teachings, which destroys the base nature of mind – ‘I’ and ‘mine’ – shines as Self, illuminating our hearts, whenever we long with increasing despair for Grace.

Mind is disturbed or agitated, lets start with this. We have to start with the mind because there is no problem anywhere else. If at all there is a problem its only in the human mind. A tsunami may take place and a whole island may be wiped off... yet the nature is not the least troubled. The trees, the seas, the mountains ... no where is there any agitation. All agitation is in the human mind. So we have to start our inquiry with our own minds. So in order to inquire into our minds, where do we have to go ? Please see this. If I have to experiment on a few chemicals, I have to gather them and then start with my experiment. But if I have to observe a few things about myself, where do I do it ? Here, now ... coz the equipment that's needed is ever available -- ME. We have to inquire about ourselves because without that there is no way to know the Truth. These verses are pointers for us to inquire within. As they are provided we have to see how they convey the state of things as they are. They convey a vision and we use these pointers to look within and then as we see .... we can say "Ah! Indeed this is how it is "! 

These are mere statements of fact. 

There is nothing like "intellectual knowledge" here. There is knowledge and we know it or do not know it , that's all. We have to discover this Truth for ourselves in our own lives. There is no possibility of escape. Lets now see what this simple verse is pointing to... 

The base nature of mind is "I" and "Mine". :). This simple statement itself needs to be inquired into. What is "base nature of mind" ? Its something which stops us in our spiritual flight. Suppose I am trying to meditate and the mind is agitated. Whats the problem ? Lets call it the base nature of mind. Nature of mind. Now this base nature of mind has to be destroyed, and we will see how this teaching does it. But before getting to it, I expect the readers to have sufficient patience. I have to present this teaching very carefully so that no one gets it wrong.  The reader has to be patient because here I have to answer everyone ... different people may have different mindsets and I have to address every point that I can think of. As even I elaborate on each point, we will see how this teaching actually works. The reader , who is patient and inquiring along the lines I present here, would slowly start to see how the teaching itself is working ... the teaching works and it destroys the base nature of mind ... and when I say this its not a belief I am giving you. If you allow this teaching to work , you shall see how it destroys the base nature. 

So the "base nature of mind" , is all those tendencies that do block our spiritual progress. Everything that's coming along our way. I sit down for meditation and then observe that the mind is not settling down. That's a problem which is due to some reasons we are yet to explore... lets call it the "base nature of mind". Similarly fear, worry, sorrow, unhappiness ... all this that we observe about ourselves ... they are due to "base nature of mind". This base nature of mind has a name in Vedanta "Ignorance": Ajnana. Here, Sri Muruganar makes another statement "I and Mine" is ignorance. We have formed certain conclusions about ourselves which are all based upon ignorance ... "I am ....short, long, intelligent, unhappy, happy"... we have many conclusions about ourselves. Vedanta says these conclusions are all offshoots of ignorance, the base nature of mind. Ramana says "Inquire: who am i". Now every follower of Ramana knows that Ramana told them to inquire "Who am i" and still we find that people have not yet destroyed this base nature of mind because people lack this understanding. Without proper understanding its impossible to destroy the ignorance. Knowledge alone can destroy ignorance. Ignorance cannot be destroyed by "Doing" something. The famous method called "Self Inquiry" itself needs to be appreciated first. We need to understand what it is ... long before we can apply it appropriately. We will see that as we progress with this study.

So the scriptures [and Ramana here] state that we are Purna, Complete and Ananta - Limitless by nature ... and yet when we look at ourselves we see quite the opposite. So there are two ways we can approach this now. One way is to say that the scriptures are false, our experience is correct. This is one approach. When we do this we are nastikas. Clearly we have not explored and we have also blocked the chance to explore by concluding that the scriptures are wrong. Another approach is to say the scriptures may be correct but I have concluded wrongly about myself. Even here we have not yet explored. If we take this second approach but do not explore we remain believers. Having taken the second approach when we "inquire" into these teachings to find out the flaws in our understanding ... the teaching will work on us and destroy the ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed we see the Truth as it IS. This is a Vedantins approach. This approach is called an approach of a Sadhaka who has sraddha. Sraddha is not mere belief. Its an inquiring attitude giving the benefit of doubt to the teaching. We inquire into ourselves with the aid of these pointers and as we see what these pointers are pointing to, the base nature of mind slowly gets destroyed. This is the purpose of these teachings. The laboratory for our experiments is our own mind. We do not have to go anywhere and the experiment itself consists in understanding this teaching carefully. That itself is the meditation. 

Knowledge Alone Destroys Ignorance, Nothing to Do About It:

     This is something very important to understand. I am afraid of presenting some of these views in public forums ... I have been kicked out of more than one religious forums because of these views [even tough I was polite. Most often, views contrary to one's fixed opinions are not inquired into]. But then, Sri Adi Shankaracharya himself says this in Atma Bodha. And he says this again and again in his various bhasyams. This cannot be ignored. I am taking the liberty of presenting some shankara views here because I believe Ramana Maharshi's teachings were 100% in agreement with Shankara's teachings.If people read this and still ignore it, that's their choice-- it shows their sincerity. 

Shankara says in Atma Bodha [Verse 3]:
avirodhitayaa karma naavidyaa.N vinivartayet |
vidyaavidyaa.N nihantyeva tejastimirasa~Nghavat ||

अविरोधितया कर्म नाविद्याँ विनिवर्तयेत्।
विद्याविद्याँ निहन्त्येव तेजस्तिमिरसङ्घवत्॥

avirodhitaya : since its not opposed to
karma: action
na - not 
avidhyaam : ignorance.
vinivartayet: destroys
vidya : knowledge
nihanti : destroys
eva : alone
tejah : light
timirasangavat : as deep darkness.

"Action cannot destroy ignorance as it is not opposed to ignorance. Knowledge alone destroys ignorance just as light destroys deep darkness".

So this is what Shankara has said. Some people have tried to twist statements like this to mean that Knowledge is Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Abidance as self. This is not what shankara meant. He himself states in verse 5 of Atma Bodha that "having removed ignorance this knowledge disappears " ... he means that this knowledge is basically an antidote for the ignorance. The base nature of mind, which is all our conclusions about ourselves as "I" and "Mine" can only be removed by a teaching, knowledge. And not through practices. Karma or actions, which include all upasanas [meditations etc] are useful but cannot directly destroy ignorance. This is where I disagree with most new age followers of Ramana - they are of the opinion that teaching is not going to aid or teaching is subservient to practice. Shankara clearly presented that its the other way round: Practice is subservient to this teaching. This teaching destroys ignorance and practice only aids us in seeing this teaching more clearly. 

Friends, this is not a small difference. Let me illustrate with an example... Suppose someone is afraid of a shadow. He is thinking that this shadow is a ghost which is going to get hold of him. Now the cause of this person's problem is : Ignorance. Ignorance of his own nature and of the nature of the "Seen" object [Shadow]. So This is his problem. So what does he need now ? Does he need a new practice or the knowledge that its only a shadow [and the knowledge of his own nature that no shadow can harm him] ? Please consider this carefully. This person, who thinks that the shadow is a ghost now sits down for meditation and his mind is agitated. Where is the problem ? The problem is in his wrong conclusions and wrong ideas. The problem is in his thinking that the shadow can harm him. Unless this problem be solved, there is no way any practice can help him. He needs knowledge. Coz practices are not "Virodhis" ... "against the fundamental idea that its a ghost". So Knowledge alone is the cure.

so this teaching removes ignorance and this teaching works on the mind to remove its base nature ... which is its wrong conclusions about "I" and "Mine".

Lets stop seeking an experience of Self:

Self Shines. What is this Self ? To put it simply, Self is Me. There is nothing else other than Me that's Self. And this Self, by its nature, Shines. We will understand this clearly now. We are  spending a little time with this verse so that this understanding can simplify our appreciation of the rest of the text.Lets do away with notion that Self is something else. People try to use such words as "Higher Self", "Supreme Self" etc to create confusion. When I say Self is Me, that means Self is available now as Me. I do not have to "Find" it. :). But when I say "Higher Self"... it gives us a feeling that its something not immediately available. People try to manifest it ! This Self which is Me, is sought through experiences. This is where the problem is. 

Sri Annamalai Swami explains it thus : pg 292 , living by the words of Bhagavan:
"Spiritual seekers have a very strange habit: they are always looking for a way to reach, attain,discover,experience, or realize the Self. They try many things because they cannot comprehend that they are already the Self. This is like running around looking for one's eyes with one's own eyes.
Why should you imagine that it is some new experience to be discovered or found ? You are the Self right now, and you are aware of it right now. Do you need a new experience to prove that you exist? The feeling "I am existing" is the Self. You pretend that you are not experiencing it, or cover it up with all kinds of false ideas, and then you run around looking for it as if it were something external to be reached or found."

This is a problem. We first imagine this "Self" is to be obtained through some "Experience". Which means its not here and now.  When its an experience that is required, then obviously we need to "DO" something about it and therefore knowledge becomes subservient to Actions or Karma. This is the problem we discussed above in detail. The point is, Self is Me and we do not need a new experience. When we understand that its our false notions about ourselves that need to be negated, then knowledge becomes more important. Knowledge takes the driver's seat. Its exactly as in the example I have given of a shadow taken to be a ghost. I need to first understand that it is only a shadow and then face it. If I have never heard that it is a shadow, then I may not know its only a shadow. Any practice I do to get rid of the shadow is not going to solve my problems. So first I have to hear. This is called Sravanam. Having heard that its only a shadow, I have to appreciate it thoroughly otherwise I will not be able to gather up enough courage to go and face it. So This process of convincing ourselves is called Mananam. And having got convinced I have to Face it... Go and See for myself. This is called Nidhidhyasanam. So Sravana-Manana-Nidhidhyasana is the means to liberation.

Modern cult makers have tried to say that Ramana's teachings are not Sravana-Manana-Nidhidhyasana. This might help them create a cult out of Ramana's teachings but Ramana himself never claimed that his teachings are different  from the saints or from Shankara's teachings. Lets not forget this. If you have observed the reasoning I have given above ... without knowing clearly that its only a shadow, there is no way to liberate oneself from the fear of ghost. A practice does not help. The logic is clear. So in their attempt to prove that Ramana is different from shankara, modern cult makers have taken a non-holistic approach to Ramana's teachings and have successfully left millions of followers in dark. 

As an example, I was once surprised to know that one of the modern thinkers says that Annamalai Swami talked about "Meditation on Self" as a means because Ramana taught him differently. And he further goes to add that Annamalai Swami had so much faith that any method could work for him so this too worked. This was an attempt to say that Annamalai Swami's teachings on meditation on Self would not work... now this gentleman seems to have forgotten that Ramana himself says in upadesha saram : verse 8, 

bhedabhaavanaat so.ahamityasau |
bhaavanaa.abhidaa paavanii mataa||

भेदभावनात् सोऽहमित्यसौ।
भावनाऽभिदा पावनी मता॥

"Contemplation without duality that He is Me is considered as holy and superior to contemplation with duality "

and yet, these cult makers would approve of prayer and bhakti bhavana towards a god in dualistic mode ! The problem is in incorrect understanding. Annamalai Swami ji is no ordinary person. He understood what he was teaching when he told people to meditate on themselves as the Self. Sravana-Manana-Nidhidhyasanam are not against Ramana's teachings , neither has Ramana taught something different from Shankara and the traditional teachers. Yet many teachers who claim to follow Ramana's teachings want us to believe all this. In their attempt to create a cult, they are actually destroying the teachings of Ramana ... they successfully deviate people from the essential vision conveyed by Ramana. We will clearly see more instances of this kind of cultish behaviour amongst the modern followers of Ramana as we proceed with this text. For now I would like to point out that Ramana's teachings are 100% in agreement with Scriptural teachings and Ramana himself never makes any claim that he has taught something different.

So lets get back to the point. Self is Me and that means we do not need a new experience as Annamalai Swami ji says. So whats the problem really ? Though the experience of Self is there, we miss it. The reason is improper interpretation by mind. A mind that's clouded by "its base nature" [ignorance] is the main problem and the solution to this ignorance is not a new set of actions or practices. The solution to ignorance is Knowledge alone. 

Introduction to Drk-Drshya Vivekam:

This particular verse also has an interesting observations: Self Shines. In Dakshinamurthi Stotram Shankara says : taameva bhati anubhati sarvam , It Shines and everything else shines following it. Like the Sun shines and moon shines following it. The shine of moon is a reflected shine. So Self Shines. I shine. And this entire creation shines following it! Lets initiate a little inquiry here and we will follow this up with a more detail inquiry as we proceed. 

This entire creation can be divided into two : Drk, Drshya. Drk is the Seer. Drshya is the "Seen". We will take this up at an elementary level now, this initiates the process of demolishing some conclusions about ourselves. I see a flower, say. The flower is Drshya, Object thats seen. And the eyes See. 

If the flower is replaced with a pot, then the eyes see a pot now. The drshya changed, drk did not. 

Now again, if eyes are wide open, but mind is not there behind it. Some times I may be seeing outwards, but mind is elsewhere. 

A motion is w.r.t a motionless frame of reference. Otherwise motion is not defined. This is the concept of relative motion. That's why when two trains are moving at the same speed w.r.t each other, one sees them as non-moving! 
So to perceive motion "I have to remain a relatively stationary witness".

Now consider this : I see a bird flying. The eyes "see" and the bird changes position, but eyes remain stationary - atleast not in the same frame of reference as the bird. Simple enough ?

Now again, I observe a thought or a mental mood. And a thought or a mental mood is a movement in the mind. Whats the "Eye" that Sees this ? If we have clarity here, we will be very comfortable in understanding the entire teaching of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. 

A thought is a movement ... it "Arises" and "Dies" ... and this has to be witnessed by "Me".
And I cannot be changing along with the thought, otherwise i cannot see its movement. This is Me, the changeless Presence ... Awareness.

And more importantly ... if I am changing ... then who recognizes that change ? :) That something which recognizes change in "me" ... cannot be changing with respect to my change. So then, that something is "Me" , isn't it ?

I am the changeless Presence which sees all these movements ! Self is "Me". Self means "Me". Not some being sitting on clouds monitoring us. Self is "me" and this Self "Shines". In Dakshinamurthi stotram Shankara says "tameva bhanti anubhati sarvam"... It Shines and everything else shines following it. Because, if a lamp has to shine, I have to "Recognize" its shine. 

If Self is Ever Shining and I am that Self , then where is the problem ? The problem is called "Ignorance". And Ignorance is taking myself to be the object that is "Seen". When I say I am aging, I am the witness of this change called aging, isn't it so ? Thus I cannot be the "one" that's changing. And yet, somehow I seem to take myself to be "That" "Object"... The object that's "Seen". This is ignorance and this is what is said to be the "Base Nature of Mind" ... "This is I". The moment I say "This is Me", I have already taken myself to be the "object" , Seen. "This is Mine" is a consequence of this misunderstanding that "This is me". When I take myself to be this body, all relations are mine. If I do not take myself to be the body, other "bodies" have no relationship with me either!

So Sri Muruganar says that this teaching serves to destroy our ignorance and since it destroys ignorance and having done that what remains is only Self. Self Shines and in its shine all this world "seemingly shines". He further adds that when we long for grace, the grace comes from this Awareness alone.


The Eternal One graciously took the form of Guru [Ramana] and lovingly claimed me – who was a victim to the delusion ‘I am the body’ – as His own, reforming me with the sense ‘I am not this filthy inert body’. May my head rest beneath the Feet of the Benign, Gracious, Silent Guru.

VERSE 3The perfect Jnana-Guru [Ramana] ably and precisely presents the right meaning in many contradictory statements, and passes apt judgement over various discussions, revealing the One Supreme Truth that lies in harmony among them all. May my head rest beneath his Feet.

Bhagavan Ramana's teachings clarify many subtle points of Vedanta which would have been difficult to appreciate otherwise. His teachings are very crisp and clear. 

1 The Name and Origin of this Work

This clear Light of Supreme Truth was not lit by my innocent, infant mind, which has not seen the Truth. It was lit by the fully ripened Supreme Knowledge of my Master Sri Ramana.

Sri Muruganar is just being very modest in saying that his is an infant mind :). Truth cannot be "Seen" by the mind because anything that's "Seen" is not "me". The Self, that is "Me", is the "Seer". "Seeing Truth" is used figuratively. Wherever we find this in a scriptural text we should replace it with "Remaining as Self" or "Abiding as Self" ... or even better "Just Be". 
This knowledge that's coming down to us is from Ramana himself and Sri Muruganar has done it with the attitude that he is not the doer and its Bhagavan himself who is making getting this done through him. We should also adapt such an attitude here. 

 Many instructions to root out ignorance [i.e. inattention to Self] were given by my Beloved, Eternal, Companion [Sri Ramana] whose Real Form is That [Sat-Chit] which exists, shines, and reveals Itself as ‘I’. I now recount some of those instructions which my mind has grasped and preserved.

Its interesting to note the attitude Sri Muruganar holds towards Ramana. One attitude is I am the Self. Another is Self is my eternal companion ... Self or Awareness is indeed ever With Me, it being non-separate from Me. Everything else can leave, not the Self. So Self IS. These two attitudes are not mutually exclusive. They are just two ways of expressing the same truth. This "Companionship" is very interesting. In Siva temple we see the Bull, Nandi, looking towards Siva in total surrender or looking outwards. Some temples have the Bull looking outwards - the symbolic implication is that our ego is like a bull, having surrendered it to God, it becomes purely functional and therefore it becomes a vehicle for God! Similarly we see a snake around Siva's neck ... it is once again a symbolic way of saying that our ego which is like snake , becomes merely an ornament in Siva's neck.
Total Surrender, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi says, is liberation. Surrender is not possible without knowledge. When i say i surrender my possessions to God, its really arrogance, since I really do not have any possessions to call my own. This body has been given to me, as even all my relations and so called possession. I have borrowed them from this nature and will have to return everything one day ... there is really nothing that is mind. So true surrender is really not of the possessions but the idea that i possess something - rather its the surrender of the idea of a separate individuality. This is not possible without knowledge. That is why Shankara says in Vivekachudamani that Self Abidance is the highest form of Bhakti.

Bhagavan Ramana is not the name of a particular form. When Sri Muruganar says that Ramana is my companion, he is not talking about the form. He is really talking about the Self and that Self is our companion as well ! We need to recognize this fact.


I, being there where Ramana embraced me, will recount a little of the nature of the Supreme Truth which I have come to know in my life of Divine Union with Him, my Master.

:) Ramana embraces us all... by being the omnipresence, he is right now to our left, right, below, above etc. So when he embraces us thus, where do we remain ? We have no place to stand. Its said that sri krishna showed the whole universe to mother yashodha in his mouth. Then where was yashodha standing ? :) There is no place. The entire universe is consumed by God. Long before we even sought him, god has already embraced us and even consumed us ! So this recognition ... is abiding in his presence. That is remaining as the Self or Presence..  in his embrace. And being in this embrace, Sri Muruganar, is recounting here ...

I now compose and string together all the Supreme Truth that I come to know through the Divine Glance bestowed upon me by my Lord Guru Ramana, who destroyed my delusion caused by the ego sense, leaving me in a state of clarity. 

This is again figurative. Divine Glance here is not  to mean the physical glance :). This teaching is the divine glance. Sri Muruganar has already conveyed that this teaching can destroy our ignorance. So this teaching is the divine glance ... the grace of Ramana... which can knock off our ignorance.
A glance is divine if it acts as a pointer to the Self and aids us be the Truth. It is often said that when someone went to Ramana and looked into his eyes he would discover an amazing peace -- whether or not this is true is not important, let us suppose its true. As long as a person thinks that an external object is a cause for his peace, that is really not spirituality. Otherwise someone thinks that he gets peace by taking some drugs, someone else thinks that he gets peace by going to a movie while the so called spiritual sadhaka thinks he gets peace by going to a particular teacher. 
The point is, as long as i think that an external object gives me peace, i become dependent on that particular object. A guru is supposed to show us that the source of all Happiness is the Self within, not himself become another fountain from which joy springs up! 

Infact peace is really not a measure of spiritual advancement. If i am habituated to smoking, i will feel miserable when i stop doing it and yet I am getting rid of one habit pattern. when a smoker gets to smoke he might feel peaceful but he is really perpetuating his bondage. Same way, when i go to a guru, if i think "he" makes me happy, i am perpetuating bondage... once i declare to myself that in the presence of guru i feel happy, i shall start running after the guru. A true guru never does that. A true guru shows us that we are the source of happiness, thereafter we do not depend on the physical presence of the guru, because the true presence of Guru in the form of Self is ever with us!

2 The Benefit or Fruit of this Work

The benefit of this Light of Supreme Truth is the understanding that there is not the least thing such as ‘attainment’, since the Supreme Self is the Ever-Attained One Whole. Thus the mental wanderings caused by striving towards Dharma, Artha, and Kama are also removed. 

There is nothing to Achieve, this is the understanding :). I have no where to go, nothing to achieve - this understanding is said to be the benefit of this teaching. This does not mean that I shall stop trying to get a degree or a job etc. There is nothing to achieve for the sake of my own happiness or satisfaction, because i am ever fulfilled. What ever i achieve in the outside world gives me comforts not satisfaction. This is very fundamental. So externally i can continue to have ambitions and even involve myself in lot of activities - inside i remain ever satisfied because I have understood the Truth. When I understand that there is really no where to go, what to do ? Just Be. 
Be where ? Here ! Now! Where else ? 

People often try the reverse approach. They sit down in meditation and try to remain in the present moment. Present moment awareness. Now, whats suggested by the above verse is just an inversion. Understand that you need not achieve anything. Understand that you need not "reach anywhere" ... once this understanding settles, the mind automatically remains "Here! Now!"

These 4 :Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are said to be purusharthas. Anyone who seeks anything is after one of these. Scriptures have a systematic way of categorizing all human pursuits. The idea of this categorization is not to encourage any of these as the ultimate goals. Its just to show that these are what people generally seek. There are portions of vedas which provide means to achieve all these but as they move towards the para vidhya or the higher truth ... they discard all this and speak only of Self Knowledge. Self Knowledge is that which removes ignorance that I have to reach somewhere. Moksha is the understanding that I need not go anywhere, I have already reached.

Ashtavakra Gita goes on explaining that this understanding that I have nothing to "Attain" is liberation. Its a very detailed explanation on that. 

Its only due to lack of this understanding that people think that they are yet to "reach" and they need to "Achieve" something. This is all ego's play and nothing more. In fact I have seen that the so called spiritual people have a tendency to drag people back ... even if someone is able to say "I have nothing to achieve", they will pull them down. This is not the aim of Vedanta or Self knowledge. This is not Bhagavan's teaching. We should not use the sayings of Bhagavan to prove that "we have to attain something". This is wrong usage. Sri Muruganar clearly points out that this understanding removes the ignorance that I have to attain something.

Self, which is one’s own true nature, is the substratum of all happiness in this and in other worlds. Therefore, to be firmly established in Self, unshaken by thoughts concerning the various other paths [Karmas, Yogas etc.,] which will lead only to the pleasures of this and of other worlds, is the fruit of this work. 

Non-Seeking would naturally reveal our nature as Pure Bliss. 
Its not a Bliss due to some external circumstances or due to some thought states or mental moods. 
Non-Seeking is not to "Drag" the world onto ourselves and that is Pure Abidance. 
That abidance is a kind of "ease" ... "Simplicity"... 
We need not be concerned whether this is karma yoga or jnana yoga. 
thats all immaterial.
Just Be as such.
No where to go, nothing to do ... and with this understanding as we operate in the world involving in any activities, we are still not the doer ... life becomes a long holiday trip ... ]

3 The Submission to the Assembly 

When scrutinized it will be found that these sweet verses of The Collection of the Guru’s Sayings have not been composed by my dull and deluded thinking mind, but that they have been inspired without thought by the Divine Venkatavan [Sri Ramana].

I just reproduce Michael James's comment here:
Michael James: It was the tradition in ancient days for a writer to submit his work to an Assembly of learned men. He therefore had to compose a verse of ‘Submission’, requesting the Assembly to correct any error found in his work.

 Why should I offer a ‘Submission to the Assembly’ for a work which has not been done with the sense of doership, ‘I’? The whole responsibility for this work belongs to Him, the Supreme Lord [Sri Ramana], whom even the Great Ones can realize only through the Samadhi of Mystic Silence within their hearts.

The understanding that "I have no where to go or achieve anything", leaves one as non-doer, even when involved in activities. One is Just Be, even when one is talking or writing. Hence Muruganar who has thoroughly surrendered himself at Ramana's feet, has nothing to gain or loose from this work. He has nothing to prove nor anything to disprove. So he just presents this teaching. He who gets it, gets it and benefits from it. Such being the case, where is the need to prove this before an assembly. This is not to say that proving before an assembly is not needed. Its just to say that sri Muruganar does not feel the need. 


 4 Dedication

Since it was my mother who helped me [in giving me this birth] to achieve the Attainment [Jnana] dispelling ignorance, I gratefully present this work to Her. “Let this be a dedication to her pure heart which knew not any deceit.” 

[Attainment here is the attainment of the understanding that there is nothing to attain. This is via this knowledge gained from guru Ramana. As pointed out in Verse 8.]

5 The Author 

Kanna Murugan [Sri Muruganar], who through the look of Grace has seen Chit, the grandeur of all wealth, is merely the Divine Feet of his Master [Sri Ramana], strung into a garland some of his Guru’s words and has given it [to the world] as the Supreme 

[This verse is said to be by another devotee. as per the text .]



Benedictory Verses

In response to the great and befitting penance [tapas] performed by the ocean-girdled Mother Earth, the nameless and formless Supreme Brahman Itself took the glorious name and form of Sri Ramana Sadguru. May those spotlessly pure Feet – Sat-Chit [Existence-Consciousness] – be in our hearts.

Michael James: The tapas performed by Mother Earth is a poetic way of referring to the intense longing for Truth of many matured aspirants on Earth. This longing naturally brings forth the Supreme in the form of a Sadguru such as Sri Ramana. These verses are simply fantastic. Please see ... Feet of Ramana refer to where he "Stands" ... the Ground on which he stands. Obviously it does not mean the physical location where he stands, it refers to the Self and that Self is ever in our hearts. All we have to do is recognize it. 

The physical form of Ramana was a blessing because having understood the Truth, he became a light to many. Like the mouse used by Lord Ganesha as a vehicle, his body became a vehicle for God.


Self, that pure Brahman which is Itself the Mono-syllable, shining as the heart of all beings and things, is the excellent and sweet benediction to this Collection of the Guru’s Sayings, which removes the delusion of ignorant ones. 

Mono-syllable that represents Brahman is "I".
As we already discussed, Self is "I".
Anything thats objectified is mithya. 

The "I" ... Awareness Shines and everything else shines following it. This I, the Self ... is in the heart of all. 
Heart here is not the physical heart. Neither is it the one on "Right Hand Side" :). Even if it is on the right hand side its physical only. A position is given only to physical things. :).

Heart is that into which everything dissolves ... the Awareness. Siva. 
This word heart occurs very often in vedantic literature also. Swami Tattvavidananda ji says that The words like hara, hari, hrim, and hrt [for heart : hrdaya] all have the same etymology, harati iti , the culmination of all. 

In Ramana's teachings we some times find him saying that heart is on the right side, but there are also innumerable sayings where he said that this heart is the Awareness itself. We take the second position. 

VERSE 16: 
 The experience of our own Existence, which is the Supreme Reality, Jnana Itself, shines as the Mystic Silence and is the True Self behind the fictitious first person ‘I’. May that Absolute Supreme Self, [known as] the Feet, be upon our heads.

People always think that they lack the experience of God or Self. This is a fundamental problem.

What we need is not an experience. We are actually experiencing ourselves 24 7... but due to our ignorance , we are seeing ourselves wrongly. This is where the problem is. I am suffering... I AM is there as the substratum. The experience of I AM is there. Suffering is wrong superimposition of the "Drshya" or "Seen" object on "I AM", which is the Presence that sees the movement called suffering. 

The silence thats talked about there is not the silence due to mouna or not talking. Ramana talked and yet remained silent. So its silence in-spite of all talk. Its the silence of one's being. 


For those who turn within, the perfect asset is the Grace of Guru Ramana, whose true form is the sleepless-sleep [Turiya]; it is the sweet Fruit whose juice is the supremely pure Bliss that creates in the aspirant an ever-increasing taste, free from aversion, and It is the beautiful Lamp which, without need of kindling, leads one to the Heart 

Turning within what? Please see. This body and mind are also "External". Keep the External things External is the suggestion sri krishna gives in Gita and that is a very significant suggestion. Turning within is to leave the external objects as "External" and start moving away from them. We live in an external world ... to start with, lets leave our office, house, relations etc and dive within and then we see that what we think as within ... the body and mind ... are also external ... so we leave them where they are ... and we remain as we are! 

Bhagavan says : Sleepless - Sleep: Jagrat -Sushupti , this is a common usage by Sri Ramana. 
Jagrat Sushupti is not a state to be "achieved". Its our svarupa.
One has to turn within know this. Turn within means, leave all our identifications with the "Drshya Jagat". Stop believing that I am the Drshya. Anything Drshya has nothing to do with me --- with this, I do not identify with anything seen. I stop believing that  I am this mind. So naturally I stop agreeing or disagreeing with the mental moods and ideas. Mind therefore becomes external. Due to my non-participation, the mind is no more "Driven". It no more has a "destination to reach"... slowly it settles down and when it settles down, some times its likely to get sleepy. when it does not get sleepy, nor is it agitated ... it remains alert and still ... its jagrat sushupti.
Turning within means inquire. When I sincerely desire to know the truth... it means I am not totally satisfied with the world that I see.
If I am totally satisfied, I can leave this search.
The very fact that I desire to know the truth is a proof that I am not satisfied with this world. 

when this inquiry starts, that inquiry is "Looking within", coz I am distancing myself from that which is "Outside" ! That "Outside" cannot fulfill me ... this is the basic understanding. If this is not there, the person has not yet started his spiritual journey.

But having understood this, one has to finally arrive at the understanding that my Svarupam is Turiya or the Self itself. IT need not be "achieved". So its already me. This is understanding. This understanding has to be gained. So how do I gain it ? 
Where is the gap ? The gap is in lack of clarity ... teaching is required and thats what we have here. 

We will illustrate clearly that the problem is only this lack of clarity or lack of sufficient desire to abide as Self and we will also see that Ramana has given very explicit pointers towards this]

[To be Continued ...]