Sunday, 13 January 2013

upadesha saram sanskrit Text

karturaaGYayaa praapyate phalam |
karma ki.N para.N karma tajjaDam ||
कर्तुराज्ञया प्राप्यते फलम्।
कर्म किँ परँ कर्म तज्जडम्॥

kR^itimahodadhau patanakaaraNam|
phalamashaashvata.N gatinirodhakam||
कृतिमहोदधौ पतनकारणम्।
फलमशाश्वतँ गतिनिरोधकम्॥

iishvaraarpita.N necChaayaa kR^itam |
cittashodhaka.N muktisaadhakam ||
ईश्वरार्पितँ नेच्छाया कृतम्।
चित्तशोधकँ मुक्तिसाधकम्॥

kaayavaa~NamanaH kaaryamuttamam |
puujana.N japashcintana.N kramaat ||
कायवाङमनः कार्यमुत्तमम्।
पूजनँ जपश्चिन्तनँ क्रमात्॥

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Sri Dakshinamurthi Stotram [In Progress]


My Salutations to Lord Dakshinamurthi !
My Salutations to my ishta daivam Lord Hanuman!
My Salutations to Sri Ramakrishna, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi  and my guru Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati ji Who are none other than Lord Dakshinamurthi!
Harih OM!

        Its a great pleasure for me to start this article on Lord Dakshinamurthi. Sri Adi Shankaracharya's Dakshinamurthi stotram is an excellent encomium of both Bhakti and Jnana. To start this in this forum is even more joy because Ramana is a personification of Lord Dakshinamurthi :).  In the prayer verse itself we see how Sri Dakshinamurthi teaches in Silence [Mauna Vyakya].

"In modern times, Bhagvan Ramana Maharshi taught like this", says Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati ji ... he further cautions, "Dont think that teaching means one has to always speak and use a board. Silence can be a very profound teaching" .

So this stotram can also be seen as a prayer to Bhagavan Ramana, or any other god. As the verse says "ishvaro-gurur-atmeti murthi bheda vibhagine, vyomavat vyapta dehaya, dakshinamurthiye namah", the difference between God, guru and Atma is only in the form, its only the Lord Dakshinamurthi present in all those forms like the Space present in all Murthis. We will study the dhyana mantras also and hopefully this will be an excellent discussion. This is also what Ramana says in Upadesha saram: isha jeevayor veshadhi bidhah, sva-svabhavatah vastu kevalam : Between God and Jeeva the difference is only in the "vesham" or Form. In Essence both there is only One. That One Essence is Lord Dakshinamurthi: The Awareness Within.

I am a student of Vedanta and here is only an attempt to meditate on this wonderful poem. I request the forum members or anyone who finds a error to kindly respond here or mail me at: I am open to suggestions and corrections.

First lets start with a few details:

Dakshinamurthi is an avtar of Lord Siva. An Avtar is a manifestation of the Lord with a specific purpose. Like Sri Krishna Lord Dakshinamurthi is a manifestation of the Lord : as Sri Shankara says, Though he is unborn, he is as if born due to Maya which is ever in his control.

Lord Dakshinamurthi is primarily an avtar that has manifest to safegaurd nivritti dharma or the atma-dharma. Dakshinamurthi's arrival is described in Suta Samahita which is a part of Skanda purana. Suta Samahita is said to be an excellent text containing lot of vedantic truths - Sri Adi shankaracharya is said to have read it 18 times before composing the Brahmasutra bhasya.

Now lets get to the meaning of the word Dakshinamurthi. This word is a samasa with two meanings:
1. Bahuvhrihi Samasa: yasya murti dakshiNa abhimukha who is facing the south.
2. Karmadharaya samasa: dakshiNasya asau aamuurtisca iti saH dakshinamurthi: He is the amurthi, the Formless Presence which is Dakshinah, capable [samarthah].

These are the two ways of splitting the compound. With the first way Dakshinamurthi means the Lord who faces the South. Swami Tattvavidananda ji explains it thus: South is considered the direction of "mortals" and North is seen as the direction of "Spiritual Growth/knowledege and immortality" [Ganga flows from north to south too]. So As such The lord if facing south which means when a person moves towards north from south he or she is going towards the Lord!

Perhaps a slightly different way of looking at this is : Awareness is always, as if, looking outwards, from this body. The outwards is south, the world of transient projections from consciousness.

The Second way of splitting this compound means he is the Formless Presence which is the "adhisthana" or the basis upon which all Forms are projected. Being Adhishtana, its the only "Stuff" , its the only "Content" of everything.

In short Lord Dakshinamurthi is the Awareness itself. We worship this Awareness. Every form of God is included in this!


      Before getting into the main text lets understand the purpose of a study of this kind. The aim of vedanta (and all vedantic works) is to help us see our True nature, which is also called jivan mukti. A Jivan Muktha is a fulfilled person who has reached ! A fulfilled person who is relaxed and lives in the present moment alone is a happy person. This has to be lived and seen here and now. A totally relaxed life thats here and now. This is the promise of such works. In order to clearly appreciate how we can discover this truth within ourselves we need to start with the fundamental problem which is the present feeling that "I am a Lacking individual". Different people feel they are lacking individuals for apparently different reasons. One person may feel that he will become fulfilled if only he becomes richer. Another person may feel that he will become fulfileld if he gets a Phd. So basically they see different kinds of lackings, but essentially they all feel that they are lacking individuals. When such a person approaches a Guru who has seen the truth, the guru does not give him with a ritual to get the object of his interest. Instead the guru introduces him to his own true nature. The understanding is that all problems start from not understanding our true nature and that we are already Fulfilled individuals. All these works are simply aids for discovering this Truth about ourselves.

There is this story of a king who took himself to be a beggar. The solution to his problems where in knowing that he is not the beggar but the king. The same thing with a person who takes shadows to be ghosts. To simply know that the shadows are not ghosts and cannot do anything to us is liberation. The one who knows stands free. And the one who does not know but is trying to do a special kind of puja to get rid of those ghosts continues to get tortured by them.

Dakshinamurthi stotram is both a teaching as well as a stuthi [stu=to praise]. Like any other shastra, this also has the one main purpose ... to give a Atma - Darshanam [A vision of Atma, but this vision is not like other visions where the "seen" is an object separate from the subject. We will try to understand this term better as we delve deeper into this text. So basically by learning this text and by using it as a prayer we should be able to see ourselves as we are. An important consequence of this is that our lives become relaxed, calm and a joyous ride in the boat of time. Events keep taking place but none of them really trouble us and make us unhappy.

At the end of this study if the student can say "Ah I get it!" and stand free and satisfied ... it means the vision conveyed by the scripture is got.
If, on the contrary, the student remains "dissatisfied" and without this sense of freedom, that means the message is not conveyed. Here there is nothing to believe. As even the proof that a person has understood the shadows to be shadows is that he is no more troubled by them and lives a comfortable life -- so also the proof that this scripture is got is that the person lives a ever satisfied life full of clarity. The king who took himself to be a beggar, becomes the kings and owns up his kingdom. To own up our kingdom is the true awakening. Thats the proof that this is working.

The kind of inquiry that this is, we need to maintain an absolutely sane mind - not a believing mind but a mind thats exploring the Truth. We need to become like a research student trying to find out whats true and whats not true. Here, our laboratory is our own mind and we need to put it under observation. Its very important to observe our mind and see our own reactions. I do not suggest that we need to continuously watch the mind as I feel its an impractical suggestion and also not required. But we need to have some kind of understanding about the mental climate.  What we try to do here is [before entering the main text] pick some clues and observe the mind in a guided way. These clues are just facts about us and our own thoughts etc. We need to understand these so that we gain some level of control and understanding over the mental climate. These will therefore purify the mind. Observing the mind is a wonderful tool. Lets also see a few things about our mind and the thoughts etc so that we gain a clearer picture. These observations can aid us later as we proceed with the text. So I am just preparing the ground for the understanding to settle immediately.

Lets now make a note of some very important and significant points: Without thoughts one cannot feel insufficient or a sense of lacking(P1) . And whether or not when a thought is there, it definitely creates a sense of lacking , we will investigate.

I hope till here we are in sync. Now I propose one more proposition: Its not the objects but thoughts that affect us (P2). Lets also observe how this is so very true. Whether or not there is a object separate from thoughts, we will investigate a little later.

now lets see these two propositions. I have named them P1 and P2 above. Suppose a person feels he lacks money. Firstly for him to lack money, he needs the thought. So its not really "lack of money" but the presence of the thought thats the problem. isnt it ? IF the thought is not there, whether or not money is there there is no sense of lacking. Now the next conclusion, people generally arive at is: therefore get rid of the thought. As I said I will prove that this need not be the case later. For now we will keep this open: without thought there cannot be lacking, with a thought we do not yet know if there must be lacking.

 P2 is also very interesting. Suppose i really become rich, but I am dreaming that i am poor and am suffering: the sense of lacking is still there. Do we see this ? When I see a sense of insufficiency or lacking in me, and I try to correct the physical situation ... its a error, because its not the physical situation thats affecting us but the mental situation thats affecting us! Please note this.

Here we are following a very rigorous approach. The subject matter of this text is such. I am not really deviating from the subject matter, as we will see when we proceed to the verses. I am just laying down the foundation for a proper understanding of the verses.

 feel that we need to "Practically" see how this knowledge is applied -- by getting into the nuts and bolts of the practical scenarios. Lets take an example and we will use this example for some time. Suppose I am afraid of "Darkness" . :) Many people are afraid of darkness: either because they think of ghosts or may be they get a creepy feeling which they cannot explain. children with accept this, but elders tend to not accept this fact. Its very important to accept such situations. Unless one accepts one cannot correct it. Fear in darkness is basically "wired" into the psyche of people. For this discussion, consider yourself lucky if you have this problem :D ... Because we can work on it practically. And in the process also see some vedantic Truths as they are. so here is one more proposition:
Its important to accept the existence of worry, fear, jealosy etc when its there rather than hiding from the fact. (P3)

We will take this simple example and clearly see various facts, but before that we can directly see P1 and P2 are true in this scenario. If I am in darkness but fast asleep , there is no fear. So Fear is because of the thoughts and not because of the darkness itself.

There is a second kind of question some people raise. Suppose there is a snake or scorpion in darkness -- is not the fear good to have? well, in that case one needs to manage that scenario and this is going out of context of the example. The example i am talking about is not a real danger, but only fear. Some times fear is good because it helps us run faster or save ourselves. This is important. Note however that fear is good when in our hands not when it dominates us. Anyways, what I meant to point out is this argument is dragging the example out of context. Different context gives different explanations, but wont make P1, P2 and P3 wrong. A physical object affects us only when there is a corresponding thought. So a potential physical affect needs to be considered because of its potential to create a troubling thought :). Lets, for now, stick to these examples.

Now lets take a step backwards and see ... we said fear, worry, sorrow etc are all in the mind and not outside. So any attempt to correct it outside is a mistake: a fundamental mistake. Suppose I get angry, where should I look for the cause ? Not outside, but inside. I cannot say, "that fellow did this and so i got angry", the right expression would be "these thoughts arose and anger arose". Even in our vocabulary this vision or way of looking at things should start.
The cause for a sorrow etc is within and not without. We should strictly stop throwing the blame on anything external. This is important.

when an event happens, mind gets into the mode of blaming the external situations and scenarios. We should
re-educate this mind by conveying that an external situation need not gaurantee such a response and we should reeducate the mind to see that there is nothing that can warrant anger etc :).

So this re-education of the mind to not throw blame on an external situation is very important. Anything that disturbs the calmness of the mind --- is only a thought, not the external scenario. So one cannot throw blame on anything external. One cannot say "I have been not getting sleep for 3 days, how to you expect me to he calm?" No! If I do not get sleep for 3 days, there are some sensations. Becoming unhappy, discontented or angry is my reaction to these sensations. So where do I look when I see that ? within. Why am I reacting to these sensations like this ?

Certain reactions are automatic for us, and we need to dig them out and clearly work on them. We have to Face them. Its very important to face the situations and not hide from them. When I have fear, I accept there is fear by P3 and then Face it. Its important not to run away from situations, but to face them. And while facing them I have to discover or maintain the inner tranquility. Thats the game.

Let me rephrase this game: There is fear, I accept there is fear and then do not run away from fear but Face it. And more importantly I need to discover that Fear is not something that can affect me while facing it !! This is true re-education of the mind. Please note that for me Vedanta is not some theory... its here and now a reeducation of the mind. Only mind, I cannot reeducate the body / Self. Only the programming of the mind can be undone to make it see things in the right light. The Vedantic principles, thus become living truths: not mere theories. Before proceeding lets note down (P4): Face the Sitations, dont try to run away from them.. this is not to say one should be foolhardy about it. One simply needs to re-progam this mind so that it remains resolved in the "heart" [as we will see later].

I have also mentioned above that while facing the fear we have to make sure the inner tranquility is undisturbed. Usually there is a definite tendency to lose tranquility, so how to do this I have not yet discussed.

The process of learning a scripture is not just about knowing what the scripture says but to use the statements of scriptures to reeducate the intellect. That is, we have to internalize these teachings and see ourselves as fulfilled individuals.As the scriptures reveal our true nature, we need to look within and see for ourselves as to how we are indeed Free and liberated! We need to discover this truth within for ourselves.

This Dakshinamurthi stotram is both a teaching and a prayer. For a person who is afraid of shadows taking them to be ghosts, the teaching is like conveying that the shadows are not ghosts with proper explanations. And then the prayer is to again and again see them as mere shadows and not ghosts. So it is a very complete text in itself because it contains both the teaching as well as works as an aid for nidhidhyasana.

In Manasollasa [which is a commentary on dakshinamurthi stotram by sri sureshvaracharya], there is an excellent statement:
atma-labhat paro labho nasti iti kavyo viduH |
tat labhartha kavistatauti svatmanam paramesvaram ||

[There is no gain superior to that of Atma is known toe the wise. For the purpose of gaining this Atma, the poet here is praising the glory of supreme lord who abides in the form of his own Atma].

The glory of the Lord who resides as Atma is being praised. Why praise ? God is not someone who constantly needs us to praise him :). The point is that we do a stuti or prayer to the Lord not for the lord but for ourselves. Please see this. However, here the lord is none other than Atma. Atma means "I". "I" is the lord who is being praised. For what ? The benefit of this praise is "Atma-Labham". This atma or "I" is "as if " lost and this stuthi is to discover it! When I feel I am a lacking individual, it means I am missing "Fulfillment". The entire vedantic teaching is only this: You ARE Purna, Ever Fulfilled. So we are "as if" missing this Fulfillment. Which is what I said earlier: We need to discover the tranquility which is unaffected by the happenings or events of life. This is Atma Labham. We can give this text a chance to reveal our true nature! Infact the very first verse of Dakshinamurthi stotram clearly explains the true nature of Self. To Find God, we do not seek outside, but within. We seek within and only clear the "I" of all the dirt that "seems to" surround it. Thats all that needs to be done and then that Atman is known as the God himself.

In yoga Vasishta also Sri Rama asks "How do I know this God? where can I find him" and Vasishta says: "Son, this God is not somewhere else but within in the form of Awareness". [utpatti prakaranam, chapter 7] So this God who is in the form of Awareness, within all of us is the God we pray to in this simple chant called Dakshinamurthi Stotram.
Lord Dakshinamurthi is the Ever Available Presence -- The Awareness. This is the God of Vedantins. This chant clearly reveals to us that our true nature is this Awareness! And thereafter the only prayer is to abide as "I AM".

I started this discussion with various topics related to pleasures, senses and mental agitation etc. This is important, because the "I" is as if hidden amongst all these things ! when I say "I am sad", this "I" is superimposed with "sadness" and that happens at the level of the mind. We have to "separate these out" through the viveka provided by our vedantic texts and then clearly remain as the "I AM" which is untouched by anything whatsoever. That "I AM" is ever devoid of such superimpositions as sadness, worry, anger etc... this needs proper investigation which is what we started out with here.

The Prayer Verses:

There are a few prayer verses  that are traditionally chanted before getting into the main text. These verses become wonderful aids for nidhidhyasanam once the Text is understood. However, sticking to the tradition lets first study the prayer verses and then proceed to the main text. So this is a sort of diversion from the perspective of the inquiry we have started out with because as we study these prayer verses we will not be able to use them directly for inquiry. We will return to the main text soon after these prayer verses.

Lets start with the prayer verses:

This first one is by Sri Adi Shankaracharya himself. Though this is itself a prayer, since its also a teaching Shankara starts with a prayer before starting this.

Prayer Verse 1:

maunavyakhyaaprakaTitaparabrahmatatva.N yuvaana.N
varShiShThante vasadruShigaNaiiraavR^ita.N brahmaniShTha.N |
aacaaryendra.N karakalitacinmudramaanandaruupa.N
svaatmaaraama.N muditavadana.N daxiNaamuurtimiiDe ||

मौनव्यख्याप्रकटितपरब्रह्मतत्वँ युवानँ
वर्षिष्ठन्ते वसद्रुषिगणैरावृतँ ब्रह्मनिष्ठँ।
आचार्येन्द्रँ करकलितचिन्मुद्रमानन्दरूपँ
स्वात्मारामँ मुदितवदनँ दक्षिणामूर्तिमीडे॥

maunavyakyaprakatitaparabrahmatatvam : The one who shows us Para-Brahman[or Self] using silent teaching
yuvaanam: who is young in age
varishTante-vasad-rishiganairh : by elderly sages who were students
avrutam: surrounded.
Brahmanishtam: one who abides as Brahman
acaryendram: who is the First Acharya, Guru or the teacher of all teachers.
karakalitacinmudram: with hands configured in chinmudra
anandarupam: Who is of the form of Bliss
Svatmaramam: who revels in his own being
muditavadanam: with a joyous face
Dakshinamurthi: that Lord Dakshinamurthi
Ide: I Praise the Glory of/ I surrender utto him / I pray.

The Young Guru who teaches in Silence, who is surrounded by aged rishis, who is the teacher of teachers, who gestures the chinmudra[which is symbolic], who revels in himself with a joyous face - him, that Lord Dakshinamurthi I worship.

What a prayer verse really :). Lord Dakshinamurthi is desribed as a young Guru who is surrounded by aged rishis [sanaka, sanatana etc - the four rishis who represent the nivritti marga ] . Usually this is a rare sight. The guru is teaching in Silence : mauna-vyakya. This is so Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi like, but we need to be careful to understand this. There are two errors possible.
1. Someone may think Ramana taught in silence some times and at other times he taught using words.
This is incorrect. Bhagavan always taught in Silence alone.
2. There is a chance that people think that Ramana transmitted some divine "light" from his eyes to the devotee's eyes or some such cinematic ideas.
Bhagavan Ramana himself said that there is nothing to transmit. This is also wrong.

Whether its Dakshinamurthi/Ramana or any proper Guru Silence is the essential teaching always. What it means is that even when words are used, the usage of the words was to "resolve" the sense of "I" and leave the person in Silence or Awareness. Some times words may be necessary and at other times the guru may simply demonstrate by being [through the body language or by simply remaining established in silence]. The approach may depend on the student's capability.

Generally when i want to know about a pot, i need to see a pot and know its name. Here the mind takes the form of the pot. This is what is meant by knowing pot. But if I have to know about Brahman, this approach wont work, because Self is not an "object". So all the statements used to explain Brahman are only used as pointers to "resolve" the mind. So The statements used to explain Self should not create an object called "Self" in mind. They simply resolve all objects and leave the person in Silence. Hence Silence is the Being, thats the teaching. So here the teaching is not "direct" because Self cannot be explained in words. The words used are not to show Brahman but to resolve the ego and leave one as Brahman. So the words used are in "implied meaning" [laksya-artha] rather than direct meaning [vakya-artha]. So whether words/simple expression like the chinmudra are used or not the ultimate aim is to introduce the disciple to his true nature by negating the ego in him. Thus, the teaching is always in silence. Dakshinamurthi is the adi guru : the guru of all gurus, and all the gurus that followed him were taught this Silent teaching. So true teaching is always the Silent teaching as explained above: mauna-vyakya.

Dakshinamurthi is Brahma-Nishta, seated in Brahman or Seated as Brahman. and also he is Ananda-Murti, of the Form of Absolute Bliss. when we hold onto Lord Dakshinamurthi and remain seated at his feet, like the elderly disciples that are mentioned in this prayer verse ... we become like him. We too become Ananda-Murthi. We have to discover this aspect of ourselves. Thats the objective of this description.

Dakshinamurthi is Ananda Murthi becoz he revels as his Self. Because he is ever the Self. We too, when we remain seated at his feet gain that same state.

Lord is also described as having a Joyful face which is pleasing to the onlooker. That joyful young teacher of teacher we worship.

We worship this Lord to merge our own ego in Him and discover that Silent Teaching which reveals our nature to be Ananda - Rupam.

This is the prayer verse Sri Adi Shankaracharya himself wrote for this Stotram. We will also consider the other prayer verses that are often chanted before chanting Dakshinamurthi storam.

Now we can clearly see the link between where we started and where we seem to be going. First we said that the sense of unfulfillment is only due to the thoughts and now we are talking about discovering the thought-free-being which cannot be touched by thoughts. This prayer is offered to that Thought-Free-Being who is called Dakshinamurthi.

The teaching is itself said to be "mauna-vyakya" which is to say that it leaves us with the Self which is beyong Mind and mental activities. Thats where the teaching eventually leads us. The teaching does not stop with saying there is such a Dakshinamurthi who is beyond mind. This teaching has to be used to ourselves see that we are that Dakshinamurthi who is beyond mind. As Ribhu Gita says:
Chideva aham ParaBrahma, Cideva Manasah Param ... Cit is manasah Param, awareness is untouched by mind and Cit is Me. The teaching leads us to that.

For person who feels he or she is lacking something and who is faced with fear worries etc ... this teaching gets into the nuts and bolts of their thinking mechanism to clearly demonstrate that their True nature is Dakshinamurthi who is untouched by thoughts. Whats untouched by thoughts cannot lack , because in P1 we said we need thoughts to feel a sense of lacking. And whats untouched by thoughts has to be "Ananda-Rupam". That demonstration is what scriptures do. Thereafter the disciple has to abide thus and see in all situations and all times that one is untouched by thoughts and indeed "manasah param", beyond mind ! This is when the understanding is complete.
vaTaviTapisamiipe bhuumibhaage niShaNNa.N
sakalamunijanaanaa.N GYaanadaataaramaaraat |
tribhuvanagurumiisha.N daxiNaamuurthideva.N
jananamaraNaduHkhacChedadaxa.N namaami ||

वटविटपिसमीपे भूमिभागे निषण्णँ
सकलमुनिजनानाँ ज्ञानदातारमारात्।
त्रिभुवनगुरुमीशँ दक्षिणामूर्थिदेवँ
जननमरणदुःखच्छेददक्षँ नमामि॥

वटविटपिसमीपे : near a banyan tree [vata-banyan,vitapi - tree, sameepe- near]
भूमिभागे : on the ground/raised platform (near banyan tree)
निषण्णँ : seated
सकलमुनिजनानाँ -- all sages who are near him or who approached them.
ज्ञानदातारमारात्: who bestows knowledge upon those that surrender to him. [jnanadataram-one who imparts knowledge, arat means directly/even from a distance]
त्रिभुवनगुरुमीशँ : The guru of the three worlds
दक्षिणामूर्थिदेवँ: Dakshinamurthi the God!
जननमरणदुःखच्छेददक्षँ: The destroyer of miseries of birth and death (chedha: destroy, Daksha: expert)
नमामि: I salute!

The one who is seated under the banyan tree, who imparts knowledge directly to all Saints, the guru of the three words who is expert in destroyinh the sorrow born out of death and birth that Lord Dakshinamurthi I salute!

This is a dhyana sloka. Dhayana slokas are chanted before going into the text itself so that the mind is well prepared to absorb the teaching! In this sloka the guru is described as seated under a banyan tree with the disciples surrounding him. In the tranditional system disciples approach a teacher and both the teacher and the student sit together and study the Vedantic teachings. The Teacher is said to impart "Jnana" and through that jnana the sorrows born of birth & death are destroyed. Here Dakshinamurthi is described as "dakshah", an Expert in destroying the sorrows born of birth and death. How does he do this? Through the Knowledge: Jnana.

Jnana alone destroys the sorrows of birth and death because this sorrow is born out of ignorance. There is no real cause for the sorrow. So the cause need not be "eliminated". the cause has to be shown as unreal. Even as in the case where shadows are imagined to be ghosts... one does not make an attempt to eliminate the shadows. One simply has to learn that they are not ghosts but mere shadows.

Sri Annamalai Swami ji calls the mind as a shadow. We have to see this. Jnana is not a statement or a collection of statements available in some book. The book contains certain strokes. The knowledge conveyed through those strokes has to take place in our mind! so books do not contain knowledge. And even when we say knowledge has to take place in the mind, it does not mean its "objective" knowledge. Suppose I have to know a pot, the cognition of the pot takes place in mind. the mind takes the form of pot. And that is seen as knowledge of pot. When the word "Atman" is used, the mind does not take the form of an object, as in the case of a pot. Here, knowledge is merely elimination of all divisions to "Be" one with that Dakshinamurthi himself. Thats the teaching. This teaching includes seeing the mind as shadow and nothing more. This whole learning process is in the presence of Lord Dakshinamurthi has Guru. Guru guides the disciple at each point ... its not that one simply hears once and then the guru is of no more use :). Guru's guidance is whole through. Ultimately the whole world is done away with and the Student remains as one with the Guru -- Lord Dakshinamurthi.

This is how the sorrows are all destroyed once and for all. This storam provides such a teaching and we will make an attempt to see and appreciate this understanding as we study this text with love and devotion.

namah means na me iti namah , not mine, na mama... thats namah.
When one salutes god , one simply has to dissolve the individuality at his feet ... leaving only the Lord.
Thats true namah.

Namaskara means "no me at all... Only God Remains". This has to be seen directly ! And that itself is a wonderful contemplation. Thats why mantras usually have "om, followed by a God's name and then namah". Ofcourse there can be other mantras like simply "OM" or "Arunachala Siva", which are wonderful as they are. But the general mantras that people chant are usually of this format.

when OM is chanted, its anahata mantra... hata means stuck. Ahata , well stuck. And anahata... not at all stuck :) Thats the sound of Stillness. When OM is chanted, one merges the entire visible and mental universe in the Silence of One's own being. Thats the contemplation. So chanting OM, when done with contemplation, that itself is a wonderful sadhana equivalent to Self inquiry in my opinion. So When one merges the entire visible and mental universe in the Silence of being, that being is Self. One Remains as such. In mantras when OM is followed by God's name, the contemplation is that the Silence of Being or Awareness is the God and there is only God and no me!! thats the contemplation. As one contemplates thus, one really develops firm abidance as "I AM". "I AM" is the God ... Lord Dakshinamurthi. We can give that Lord Any name. And so our God vision is here and now : I AM, the Awareness. Being with it is the Sadana. :)

The banyan tree can probably be symbolic of the samsara ... at the root of the samsara tree is "I AM" from whence hte whole samsara was spawned. This "I AM", as Awareness is the Lord seated at the root of the Samsara and all disciples have to remain with that Lord to get that Teaching. This can be a symbolic meaning in the guru's being seated at the foot of the banyan tree.

So this "I AM", I do a namaskara to it means to see the "root" of "I" and remain as "I AM". This is true namaskara of Dakshinamurthi. That being as "I AM" is true Bhakti, because its being with the God who is ever available. That is also True Jnana as there is none else to stand separate. This namaskara is the true namaskara ... doing which we see that there is really no sorrow, no birth and no death in reality. The mind is seen as shadow. And so there is no more a chance for suffering.

So this is basically the direct sadhana.
The aim of the teaching is to reveal our true nature as Awareness that is untouched by mind totally.
And the sadhana is to basically just see taht mind is a shadow that cannot touch us -- as we remain as awareness.

Lets go back to the example of fear. Fear is formed out of a series of thoughts which are centered around the "I". What the vedantic teaching does is to undo the notions of "I" that are there and then the disciple has to take this teaching within and see oneself as untouched by the thoughts. Thus remainign the thoughts are totally incapacitated and one remains established as Self irrespective of what thought patterns arise.

Because to suffer, just the thoughts are not sufficient. Thoughts should be there and then there should be ajnana or ignorance. When both come together there is suffering. Lets see this more clearly. Suppose i have to "hit" a physical object. How will I hit it ? Can I hit it with a thought ? :). Thoughts cannot hit a physical object. IF I have to hit something physically, I have to hit it with a physical object. I need to throw a stone! Similarly if at mental level, I feel "Hit"... it means a thought is hitting me... and that also means I have taken myself to be a thought.
even as a stone cannot hit the space , a thought cannot hit the mental space... the Awareness.
So being as awareness one can clearly see that no thought can hit us!
to hold onto "I AM" is really to be as Awareness... the mental space... which is to not take a "mental role". So no thought or event really can pose a trouble. Because nothing can hit me! Remaining as Awareness, any thoughts that take place are simply suspended ... as even all objects are suspended in the space !! One stands free.

These verses of Dakshinamurthi stotram clearly demonstrate to us that no object or thought can pose a problem to us, as we are the Awareness thats untouched by anything what so ever !!
Thats the beauty of this teaching.

And here we need not believe it. Just see what the teaching is and one automatically finds oneself as the one beyond all this: Free.

citra.N vaTatarormuule vR^iddhaaH shiShyaa gururyuvaa
gurostu mauna.N vyaakhyaana.N shiShyaastu Chinna sa.NshayaaH ||

nidhaye sarvavidhyaanaa.N bhiShaje bhavarogiNaam
gurave sarvalokaanaa.N daxiNaamuurtaye namaH ||

चित्रँ वटतरोर्मूले वृद्धाः शिष्या गुरुर्युवा
गुरोस्तु मौनँ व्याख्यानँ शिष्यास्तु छिन्न सँशयाः॥

निधये सर्वविध्यानाँ भिषजे भवरोगिणाम्
गुरवे सर्वलोकानाँ दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः॥

चित्रँ - Amazing (sight)!
वटतरोर्मूले - under the banyan tree
वृद्धाः शिष्या - Old disciples
गुरुर्युवा - the teacher is young
गुरोस्तु मौनँ व्याख्यानँ - The Guru's teaching is in Silence
शिष्यास्तु छिन्न सँशयाः (but) The disciples doubts are cleared.

निधये - abode
सर्वविध्यानाँ  - of all Wisdom
भिषजे - healer
भवरोगिणाम् - of worldliness
गुरवे - The one who is the guru
सर्वलोकानाँ - of All worlds!
दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः -- that lord Dakshinamurthi I salute!

What a strange sight ! Under the banyan tree, there are old disciples with a young guru, the guru is teaching in Silence but the disciple's doubts are cleared.
The abode of all wisdom, the healer of the worldliness in all, the guru of all worlds, that Lord Dakshinamurthi we Salute!

We are continuing with the prayer verses here. The scene thats described is so beautiful. There is a young guru -- Awareness is Sanatana : sada-eva-nutana, ever fresh. Awareness is ever Young. Coz it is beyond time! The same sanatana can also be taken as very old :). Actually it means ever Fresh, ever Youthful. So Thats Awareness, the young guru. Its at the root of the Banyan tree-- the samsara tree. And the aged disciples are all of us! Actually in the verse it refers to the four disciples : sanaka, sanatana etc. But we are all aged becoz we have a body thats aging: time dependent. It is growing. Thats why there are aged disciples who are all learning from the guru who is seated in Silence. As we already covered the Silent teaching part, lets move on. The student's doubts are destroyed !!

This guru is the guru of everyone. Every creature... from an ant or an insect to humans ... ever creature seeks happiness. their only "doubt" is "how to get rid of sorrow" and this doubt is really self destructive. It starts as a small ripple, then gathers momentum and becomes a wave and then finally it dissolves in the Stillness of the Ocean that is Self. So the quest to get rid of sorrow leads the creatures from one life to another and from one guru to another and finally the disciple lands himself with Dakshinamurthi, the Lord himself and then the doubt is destroyed. This is so with every creature. Everything is as if moving towards God alone!
The Self is the ultimate Guru, because knowingly or unknowingly everyone is seeking the Self alone! Whenever people seek Ananda, or Freedom from bondage, its really seeking the Self. Like a moth attracted to the fire, this little "self", is ever moving towards the "Self" -- only to fall in it and dissolve for once and all.

That ultimate Self, the Pure Ananada is what everyone seeks -- what ever be their endeavors. People start by seeking this Ananda in the worldly objects and slowly they start to see that no worldly object can give them ananda and move away from them to find the True Source of Ananda which is the Self !

Thus Sri Dakshinamurthi is the ultimate guru for everyone - some know and some do not know. The maya really works towards its own destruction. For example if a person is very proud, one can be certain that the pride is moving towards its own destruction. When a person depends excessively on any object for his or her own gratification, that very object ditches him/her. And eventually via that very object the person realizes the futility of seeking happiness in that object. The problem with dependency on the object is we have superimposed a value upon the object which it does not have. For example, if i say a bed gives comfort, thats fine. But if i say the bed gives sleep ... thats a value I have superimposed on the bed! the bed does not have it to give us! Same way, when we say an object gives us comfort its fine. But objects cannot give us happiness! We need to clearly understand this slight difference between happiness and comforts.

Likewise, every doubt that arises in a student's mind is a sense of missing something. And that doubt implores him to seek someone or some means to get it clarified. Hence the doubt kills itself. First the doubt arises and then propelled by the force generated by that doubt, the person seeks for a solution -- he goes to various gurus and finally gets it destroyed. So its as if the doubt is killing itself!

In Adhyatma Ramayana Ravana says that he does various evil deeds to get Rama to kill him. Ravana was as if seeking his own destruction in the hands of Rama. Likewise Ego really destroys itself. First ego arises and creates a turmoil... and the person finally seeks its destruction. Its ego that I feel I am a lacking person and then go to Ramana to find a solution. And then eventually through Self inquiry the ego gets resolved!

so in the presence of Awareness, though Awareness itself does not speak a single word -- the doubts arise , gain momentum and then finally die ! What a wonder indeed it is that not a word is said by Awareness but in its presence the doubts are all destroyed eventually!!

So though outwardly there seem to be so many people seeking different things everyone is indirectly or directly seeking "SAT-CIT-ANANDA" alone!
And the mystery is, this SAT-CIT-ANANDA is the Atma or Self !
Its like a person searching for his necklace which is in his own neck!
Or the 10th man searching for himself.

This whole struggle for achieving one or the other thing is really a struggle to reach our own nature in an indirect way! Thats why Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi says "Just Be", because you have already reached! Thats the final teaching. Some times the disciples do not have the maturity to just be. First of all one needs to even understand what Just be means. Otherwise people may think that it means one should not work! Ramana himself worked in the kitchen and encouraged everyone to work and not sit idle. So Just be does not mean stopping work, its not being idle.

Some other people think that we should not take care of the body etc. If we see Ramana's life we see that when he had pain in teeth he used tobacco to reduce the pain. One does not become realized by simply not taking care of the body. These are all ideas and beliefs people hold about realization which really keep them "Seeking" SAT-CIT-ANANDA. People invent newer and newer ways to reach this Self. And Ramana said "Just Be".

The purpose of Dakshinamurthi's avtara or incarnation was to teach this Vidhya[Knowledge], which would make one Just Remain. The teaching simply removes all the wrong ideas and leaves one in Just Be. Whether or not it does can be seen by a person by carefully studying these stotrams and teachings and seeing for oneself. This stotram, which Sri Adi Shankaracharya composed, also reveals the Truth and leads us to the same Truth and thats also what Ramana taught through his teachings. Whether scriptures have to be studied or not are really vain discussions. A person who is really interested will try to find out how to "Just Be" from every source. And he sees every clue as important. So then, when someone like Sri Adi shankaracharya himself is teaching this Truth in these simple verses, can a really sincere person afford to ignore ? A sincere person will not leave any stone unturned to find out the Truth. And as sincere students lets see what Shankara is teaching here and see if it works or not!

Friends, When a scripture is studied, they provide a vision. That vision has to be effectively conveyed. The person who has got the vision alone can convey it. I often quote the example of the moon. Suppose someone asks "Where is the moon", and the teacher says "its between those two branches of the tree" , and thats noted down. People may read "Moon is between the two branches of a tree" and keep on searching and yet remain unenlightened. So a Guru who has really seen the moon can use the scripture to "Show the moon" or he may chose an alternative way of showing the Moon. A person who has no seen the moon may continue to see between different branches of different trees and keep inventing newer reasons as to why they do not see the moon! I hope this example is crystal clear! some person will say "Sir you cannot see the moon unless there is grace". The problem is not with grace. Grace is already there. The problem is with the vision, which remained unshared! Scriptures give us that darshan if a proper guru teaches it to us. The guru should have the vision and the means to convey it!
AUM namaH praNavaarthaaya shuddha GYanaiikamuurtaye |
nirmalaaya prashaantaaya daxiNaamuurthaye namaH ||

ॐ नमः प्रणवार्थाय शुद्ध ज्ञनैकमूर्तये।
निर्मलाय प्रशान्ताय दक्षिणामूर्थये नमः॥

Dakshinamurthaye namah --- Salutations to Lord Dakshinamurthi
OM iti Pranava arthaya  --- Who is the meaning of the word OM
[OM is also known as Pranavah]
Suddhajnanaikamurthaye --- who is of the form of Pure Knowledge
Nirmalaya -- one who has no mala/impurities
Prashantaya -- One who is Calm and Composed

My salutations to Lord Dakshinamurthi who is the meaning of the word OM and who is of the form of Pure Knowledge, Ever Calm and without any Impurities.

The Shabda OM is a very important Vedantic word. When we chant OM, we end up in Silence, which is Pure Presence. When we say Pure presence it means the Presence that is "un conditioned" by limited adjuncts. For example, If I have 3 pots. I can talk of pot1 space, pot2 space and pot3 space or I can speak of Space alone which is in and through all the three pots. To see the space thats in and through all the three pots, do I have to destroy the pots ? No, right ? The Space thats in and through all the pots if "Pure Space" and the space "with reference to" the pots is called "limited space". So Pure presence is the Presence in and through all of us ! That Pure Presence is where chanting OM should leave us at.

OM, when seen with direct meaning refers to "Ishvara". One may chant OM as the name of God. Like Krishna/Rama/Siva etc. Thats one way of chanting the word OM.

Another way of chanting the word OM is to use it as a pointer to the "Silent Presence" where it leaves the mind. This is laksyartha or implied meaning of OM, which is nothing by the attributeless Brahman. When we chant OM, we start in Silence, then we start with the sound A.... which then continues into U.... and merges into M. These three represent the waking, dream and deep sleep states. And the word , when it dissolves in the Presence, leaves us there ... as Presence. In OM-kara dhyanam we try to meditate on the meaning of the word OM by using it to dissolve the mental vibrations and abiding as the Presence which is the root from whence the sound started and into which it dissolved.

An elaborate explanation on OMkara and its meaning can be found in mandukya upanishad.

so Dakshinamurthi is the Presence, from which each chant of OM starts and into which it ends. When we chant OM, we try to abide as that Presence. While the sound is in progress and while it ends, both the times we remain as the Presence. This is a sadhana.

So Dakshinamurthi is what the word OM implies.

And this Dakshinamurthi is : shuddajnanaikyamurthi.
Murthi means Form, here it just means the he is of the nature of pure Knowledge.

We have seen what pure Presence is. Presence is "SAT" , being. That is also "CIT" Awareness. How is it "CIT" ? Please see. Can we ever think of an "Existence" thats unknown ? Being and Knowing are non-different. So SAT-CIT are one. Here the usage of "Pure" as in the case of "Pure Presence" [already explained above] is to remove any limitations imposed upon the presence/existence. These limitations are not "real". When we say "POT" space, its merely a matter of usage and nothing more. Its for operational purposes. Space itself has no such limitations. We have superimposed the limitations of the pot on the space for operational purposes. So SAT-CIT is non separable and there are essentially no limitations upon it. But we talk about limitations on it only for operational purposes. When we talk about PURE-SAT-CIT, its really SAT-CIT-ANANTA, Ananta means that which has no limitations. And that is Also SAT-CIT-ANANDA.

That Suddha Jnana, Pure CIT or CIT-ANANDA rupam is Self/Dakshinamurthi. And the verse is a salutation to that Dakshinamurthi.

Nirmalaya ... Malam is impurity. Suppose we are talking about pure milk. If there is anything thats non-milk , that becomes an impurity in milk. So if we have water in milk, its not pure milk becase its has a malam : water.  So when we are talking about the Pure Self, which is pure SAT-CIT-ANANDA. So what is malam ? I am now but will not be later, thats malam... coz I here is not Pure SAT. I "want" something : Likes and Dislikes -- these are malam, coz "I" is no more ANANTA. And Ajnana is malam! So Lord Dakshinamurth is Pure SAT-CIT-ANANTA and there is nothing "Else" there. So he is nirmalam. He has no asat,ajnana,duhkka :). He is nirmala.

And he is Prashanta : calm, coz there is no agitation or ashanti. Ashanti is a malam. This is prashanta Atma. Thats Dakshinamurthi.

So this is the Dakshinamurthi I do namaskaras. As we already discussed namaskara is a form of saying na me iti namah, nothing mine... there is really no me, only That! So this is the discovery towards which this text is going to lead us. Ultimately we have to see that we are nirmala, prashanta, sat-cit-ananda rupa. We have to discover this and its not that we "Become" that. We are already "That" Thats the discovery :). Lets allow these verses to show us this reality about ourselves.

The Shadow - Ghost Problem

Suppose I have taken shadows to be ghosts haunting me.

What are the chances of my seeing them as shadows and not ghosts without knowing, understanding and asserting that they are mere shadows and not ghosts ?

:) What ever be the practise I take.

Right now i am afraid of even going near them... I keep a very big distance ...
first comes what ?
understanding that it is the ghost and asserting . By understanding i mean intellectual assertion.
brute force going to it ?

without understanding how effective will brute force going be ?
And evn if intellectual appreciation is there, i still need to go... no doubt on that.
but without intellectual appreciation how practical is simply going as a suggestion ?

A Fundamental Correction , Not a superficial one

If I come home one day and find that my room is full of rain water. What do I do ? I surely drain out the water from the room, but more importantly I need to block the leackages.
When we say that the mind is agitated, surely I need to work on how to make it calmer.
But more importantly I need to eliminate the leakages that have created agitation.

what are these leaks ?
We can say "Vasanas" and leave it at that.
if we inquire deeper, we shall find that vasanas are essentially the "Seeds" that create a feeling that "I am lacking or unfulfilled". when I get this feeling, I try to escape it by getting objects, possessing new things and thereby hope to become fulfilled. That is the leak. we are trying to be fulfilled, while we already are fulfilled. how do we solve this ?

do we see this ? Please see ... We are already fulfilled and now we are trying to find fulfillment. What to do now ?
It just means I have not understood that I am fulfilled. I see myself as limited person, full of lackings. so how to get out of this ? A practise is not going to help me, because , what should I practise? If i am practising to become fulfilled, I am still seeing myself as lacking person. If I seek to destroy or kill the lacking individual, then again it means i think the lacking individual is real!!
This is the scenario.
Please ponder.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's Self Enquiry and Vedanta

I have discussed this topic in forum and its obviously not well received. But here I try to explain why Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's Self Enquiry alone is not suffice.

Lets first see a logical reason why it wont work. Self enquiry is a technique and it depends on me whether I apply the techinque or not. And I may or may not apply a technqiue in a particular situation in life. Suppose I am addicted to a particular kind of sense enjoyment, I think I am unfulfilled without that enjoyment and if I do self enquiry I may get out of the addiction, but most likely I wont use it there - why ? because without it I feel I am a lacking individual. So Self enquiry , being a technique, suffers from the same disadvantages as any other technique.

Now let me support my reasoning with scriptural evidence:

1. Vasana Kshaya, Vijnanam , Manonashanam -- To Be Practised For Long:       
       Jivan Mukti Viveka, is an exceptional prakarana grantha that takes quotes from yoga vasishta , gita, upanishads etc and systematically explains how one can find liberation. Here is a quote from here:

वासनाक्षयविझानमनोनाशा महामते।
समकालँ चिराभ्यस्ता भवन्ति फलदायिनः॥

                                   --- Laghu yoga vasishta (28.116) [as quoted in Jivan Mukti Viveka]
Simultaneous practice of vasana-kshaya[effacement of latent tendencies] , vijnana (Knowledge / means to knowledge), and manonasha(the annhilation of mind) , for a long time, oh Wise (Rama) , brings about the result.

:) Please note... Its simultaneous practise. While Vasana Kshaya (effacement of latent tedencies) and manonasha (Annihilation) of mind -- as a practise means merging the mind again and again in the heart until it dies :D ... is possible with self enquiry...
Vijnana is Conviction that I am Self. Because some people may give their own meaning to Vijnana here, Here is what Vidhyanarayana Swami says below the above quote:

"इदँ सर्वमात्मैव प्रतीयमानँ तु रूपरसादिकँ जगन्मायामयम् न त्वेतद्वस्तुतोऽस्ति  इति निक्ष्चयस्तत्वझानम्।"

All this is Self, and the apparent world consisting of Form, taste and the like is an illusion and does not exist in Reality", this conviction is Knowledge of Truth .

and as we see, the scriptural view is that all three are simultaneously needed.

2. Not One At a Time But All Three Together

    Jivan Mukti Viveka quotes Yoga Vasishta again and says these have to be together practised, not one at a time. Here is what it  says:

एकैकशो निषेव्यन्ते यद्येते चिरयत्नतः।
तन्न सिद्धिँ प्रयच्चन्ति मन्त्राः सँकलिता एव॥

If they are practised one at a time, even for a long time with arduous effort, they do not yeild result, even as the mantras fail to produce results if muttered piecemeal and at an interval.

So scriptural opinion is that knowledge/Conviction is a Must... without it , practise wont be sufficient.

And more importantly, I was only presenting the scriptural perspective and not doing any disservice :) here.

3. These Three are Interlinked
       Again Jivan Mukti Viveka quotes from Yoga Vasishta as follows:

यावन्न तत्वविझानँ तवच्चित्तशमः कुतः।
यववन्न चित्तोपशमो तावत् तत्ववेदनम्।

Until there is knowledge of reality how can the mind be resolved ? Knowledge of reality cannot be established where the mind does not dissolve.

Please note, previously I have already mentioned the this knowledge of reality is the Conviction that I am Self. Which I mentioned with vidhyanarayana swami's quote on the same. This is not my view again.

Hence, Scriptures are very clear that we need all three. Here is what Annamalai Swami, who is a devotee of Ramana says about the importance of conviction that "I AM SELF" which is obtained by exposing oneself to Scriptures:


pg 274 , of living by the words of bhagavan

The best mantra is "i am the self, everything is my Self. Everything is one" If you keep this in your mind all the time, Self will eventually reveal itself to you.
Dont be statisfied with rituals and other kindergarten techniques. If you are serious, head directly for the self. Hold onto it as tenaciously as you can and dont let anything or anyone loosen your grip.

He calls the techniques "Kindergarten" ... so he is not speaking "lite" of this conviction.
Here again he further states that it is a great aid. He does not say Japa or any thing else is equivalent.


Page 293-294 living by the words of bhagavan
Q: Bhagavan said that repeating 'I am Self' or 'I am not the body' is an aid to enquiry but it does not constitute enquiry itself.

AS: The meditation "I am not the body or the mind, I am the immanent Self" is a great aid as long as one is not able to do self inquiry properly or constantly.
Bhagavan said, 'Keeping the mind in the heart is self-enquiry'. If you cannot do thys by asking "who am I?" or by taking the "I"-thought back to its source, then meditation on the awareness "I am the all pervasive Self" is a great aid.

Bhagavan often siad that we should read and study the Ribhu Gita regularly.

In Ribhu Gita its said: "That Bhavana "I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am Brahman, I am everything" is to be repeated again and again until it becomes natural state.

Bhagavan sat with us every day while we chanted extracts from Ribhu Gita which affirm the reality of the Self. Its true that he said that these repetitions are only an aid to self-enquiry, but they are very powerful aids.

By practising this way the mind becomes more and more attuned to the reality. When the mind has become purified by this practise its easier to take it back to the source and keep it there. when one is able to abide in the Self directly, one does not need aids like this. But if this is not possible these practises can definitely aid.

So Annamalai Swami ji is presenting this Truth in More or less the Same way as the Jivan Mukta Viveka Text by Vidhyanarayana Swami says. Our Friend Anil says its like anything else ... even pranayama helps ... this is a gross mistake. Not accepted by shastras and not according to the teachigns of Annamalai Swami. This is not to demean him. Here there is no attempt to prove someone wrong. The point is only to see things as they are! We are discussing the Truth ... where is the question of "persons" here ? Plz do not think i am targeting anyone. We are discussing the teachings, not people by any means.

Also note friends,

When I look at what Ramana taught Annamalai Swami ... he has given him 5 or 6  books and asked him to study them:

Kaivalya navaneetam, Yoga Vasishta, Ashtavakra Gita, Ribhu Gita, Ellam ondre

All of which are Speaking about the Conviction " I AM SELF" as of utmost importance and not as "One more sadhana".

So Its clear that Annamalai Swami ji is presenting what these books say.

And Ramana always said there is no point in merely saying "I AM Brahman" ... but I am yet to see a place where he said the Conviction "I AM Brahman" is waste. If he says "CONVICTION" is of little use or not much importance ... he would be going against the scriptural perspective.

Here is what Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi said about study of Scriptures like Ribhu Gita:

Bhagavan often said that we should read and study the Ribhu Gita regularly. In the Ribhu Gita it is said: "That bhavana 'Iam not the body, I am not the mind, I am Brahman, I am Everything' is to be repeated again and again until this becomes the natural state". Bhagavan sat with us every day while we chanted extracts from Ribhu Gita which affirmed the reality of the Self. It is true that he said that these repetitions are only an aid to Self-enquiry, but they are a very powerful aid.

By practising this way the mind becomes more and more attuned with the Reality. When the mind has become purified by this practise, it is easier to take it back to its source and keep it there. When one is able to abide in Self directly [and continuously... all the time], one doesn't need aids like this. But if this is not possible, these practises can definitely help one.
                 ------Annamalai Swami pg 52-53, Mountain Path june 93
Self Enquiry is a Practise or Sadhana and Sadhana is for the purification of mind and not for Liberation. Liberation needs Atma Jnana obtained by exposing oneself to Scriptural Teachings. Self enquiry being a practise, suffers from the limitations of all practises.
 So what are the problems with practises ?

1. So when a person is given a practise... its as useful as the intensity with which he or she uses it.
So when faced with a situation... suppose i am lured into a sense enjoyment... and that moment ...
whether i use the practise or do not use the practise depends upon : my interest levels.
So level of mumukshatvam decides how much I use it. This level of mumukshatvam is increased when I read
the lives of Ramana , Ramakrishna etc. OR when I go for sat sangha etc.

2. Again, no practise can be done continuously. Because Its intense activity.
One has to relax some time or the other. So naturally continuously practising something is not possible
unless it becomes absolutely natural. But if it becomes so natural and the person has such maturity, he would
find liberation anyways. So when that matured mind is not there, its simply too tough to do it continuously.
because its too high an energy level. And when it is the case that its not "Continuous", then
Annamalai Swamiji already said we need a bhavana as aid. plz see above. Naturally one does self inquiry
then relaxes and again does it ... so on... slowly it becomes more natural.

3. A practise cannot bring about a cognitive change about myself. On the contrary, a cognitive change has to be supported by a practise to get a total transformation of mind.

these three points have to be carefully understood. Logically and well understood.

I have a thread called the Shadow-Ghost Problem. That throws a very subtle yet clear reason why a practise is not sufficient.

Manage Thoughts

      Let us take simple situtations and just see things as they are. What ever i say here, can be seen within. We can verify within if this is so or not. There is no question of waiting for some favourable situtation or time. There is no religious affiliation required.
A complicated situtation is made up of some simple situtations... by looking at the simple situtations we shall be able to proceed to complicated and more complex situtations with ease.

Let us take a simple scenario. I am trying to hasten to office. There is an urgent work. But some situtation causes delay. Here, if we see closely, there is a dichotomy. I want to go to office, but something is not allowing. And this simple scenario is sufficient to make us miserable and angry; frustrated.
Frustration, anger, disappointment are "Disagreement" with what IS -- the current Situation. Let us call this situtation of "Disagreement" before it gets converted into Anger as situation 1.

So, when anger arises. I try to shout at someone. Shouting at someone actually makes the mind lighter. It is said that if a person does not shout when he feels angry ... or does not cry when he feels really let down ... it gets supressed and it might turn into something else : disappointment, sadness etc. Let us call the state of anger situtation 2. And the state after shouting out : state 3. And state of disappointment or dejection state 4.

Let us see how these states need to be addressed.

People are taught to do pranayama or japa or some spiritual practise to divert the mind from anger, disagreement etc. But diverting the mind from the problem is not going to solve the problem. These are called, in psychology, altered states of consciousness... they are escape from the current situtation.

What a person needs to do is "SEE" straight at the problem without trying to avoid it. Purely Witness the state of "Anger" without any attempt to "reduce" it  or "Alter the State" .

If a person is ready to "Be" or "Agree" with the presence of state1, state 1 does not get into state 2 or state 3 or state 4.
But most often this happens unconsciously. Automatic, almost. So we first find outselves in state 2!

In state 2 also ... if we witness the anger as a third person ... That is "see the angry man " as a role or a different person ... state 2 dissolves out in no time ! instead of trying to shout and reduce tension by moving to state 3 ... we just witness it.

we do not move into state4 if we do this, coz state 4 requires supression of the state. That is if we try to stop the mind from being angry ... we enter state 4 ... instead ... we just need to allow the mind run as it does and pick out the "I" from the mind ... and just witness...

Fundamentally ... A fictious "I" is created in the mind ... and this "I" is the sum - total of all "resistance" and "desires" ... and this "I" is now trying to "reject" some things or feelings as inappropriate and "want" some feelings / sensations or ideas...

So this "I" is the havoc creator in mind...

So what is to be done is "dismantle" this "I" ... "Resist" not. "Want" not. Simple idea to kill this "I" . The "I" strives on "identity" ... "drop it" .

"Drop all identities" . Everything ... become vacant... empty ... stillness itself ... and look at the resistances , desires, feelings and sensations from that emptiness ... they shall all soon vanish of themselves.

Do not pursue the impulses to resist something or the idea that "i shall be better with this thing"... do not pursue them ... just witness ... Pure Awareness that you are.

The ineffectiveness of attempts to soothe mind and alter mental states can be learnt with the simple example below:

A child who is afraid of darkness... is taught to repeat hanuman chalisa when fear comes in mind. The technique is to make him alter the state of mind ... instead if he is taught to slowly face darkness ... slowly, step by step [:) definitely he should not be left at a burial ground on day one:)]... he shall evolve out to be someone who is no more troubled by the darkness and is not afraid of it.

The simple fact, "you are fearless"... has to be seen ... and the way to see it is , face it slowly. and as one sees oneself as unaffected by the darkness, one begins to see it more and more clearly.

The principle is the same in normal day to day life also . One has to learn to face these feelings, thoughts, ideas, sorrows and pleasures ... everything ... and see how one is "Blemish-less" , pure Awareness.

Sundarakandam - Hanuman's Story [In Progress]

Harih OM!
These are my meditations on the Sundarakandam Story of Adhyatma Ramayana. This thread is very much personal :) -- my own personal musings out of love for my lord. Firstly this will mostly be in English [other than initial references here] and secondly this will be an imaginative sojourn with Hanuman. The idea is to revel in the story in an informal style. I will try not to get inaccurate data anywhere, but at the same time , the description is my meditation and not as it is from the text.

Adhyatma Ramayana looks at sri Rama as God. While Valmiki tries to depict the human aspects, in Adhyatma Ramayana Sri Rama is seen to be an avtar of Vishnu. So before I begin this journey a couple of verses to describe Sri Rama's state:
[These verses I have quoted elsewhere also. They are from adhyatma ramayana, yuddha kanda , prathama sarga]

तँ न स्पृशति दुःखदि किमुतानन्दमव्ययम्।

Suffering etc do not touch Him who is of the very form unchangeable Ananda. Sorrow, joys, fear, anger, greed, delusion , pride etc how can they ever touch him ?

अझानलिङ्गन्येतनि कुतः सन्ति चिदात्मनि।
देहाभिमानिनो दुःखँ न देहस्य चिदत्मनः॥

Due to ignorance people attribute sukha , duhka etc to Rama who is of the Form of Pure Consciousness. Sorrow is the characteristic of one who takes himself to be the body, its not present in the one who is not identified with the body and revels as Pure Consciousness.

रामः परात्मा पुरुषः पुराणो नित्योदितो नित्यसुखो निरीहः।
तथापि मायागुणसङ्गतोऽसौ सुखी दुखीव विभाव्यतेऽबुधैः।
Rama is the Supreme Self, all inclusive and ever Shining Being who existed even before the creation. He is eternal and unbroken bliss unaffected by change. People who are ignorant of his real nature superimpose the attributes of maya on him and speak of him as happy or afflicted.

Thats sri Rama ... I firmly believe this is the case as Yoga Vaishsta says that Sri Rama was taught the ultimate truth by vasishta! so there remains no chance that he is bound:)

We will start with kishkinda kanda last portion. Sugriva has started out with his troops and he is on his way to Rama to convey to him the plan. So here goes the story:

From a distance they saw Sri Rama seated on a rock. Hanuman saw him and he noticed how motionless he remained there – as if he were one with the rock itself or as if he were a breathing statue. Even his breathing remained very slow, it went almost unnoticed. Sri Rama was observing the birds and some animals that were around his small hut and as he watched them it appeared as if he was totally there. Absolutely still, motionless and relaxed from both within and without. It appeared as if he was giving a sermon on how to “just see”. Sugriva reached Rama and saluted him. He started to explain the troops and their prowess’s, but Hanuman’s attention was wholly fixed on Sri Rama alone. He was watching how every movement of Sri Rama was filled with an unearthly ease and grace. He hardly even heard what Sugriva was saying. Watching Sri Rama embraced in silence and fully aware to the moment, tears started to well up in Hanuman’s eyes.

After the description, as Sugriva allocated tasks for all of them, Hanuman was supposed to go with angada and jambhavan in the southern direction. And they were leaving the place on their mission, when Sri Rama beckoned Hanuman aside and said “In this task you are the principal agent, I know your capabilities and therefore keep this ring of mine with you. You can show it to mother Sita and she would recognize it as coming from me”.  It was said in a very relaxed way, no trace of eagerness or agitation. Hanuman knew it as Sri Rama’s trademark, what ever he did, he appeared relaxed and well placed - very balanced. Even when there was a need to do things fast, it was as if he was seated in a vehicle called body-mind and driving – he himself remained relaxed. Sri Rama’s words on this occasion were very soft, slow and clear. As they were spoken, Hanuman felt as if it was a sacred chant. Each word seemed like the anahata shabda itself, emerging from deep silence and merging in the same. Every word was as if praising the Silence which was its base. Hanuman listened to the Silence as well as the words in awe.
Hanuman bowed down to Sri Rama, with tears in eyes. He saw that Sri Rama was suffering from bereavement and he wanted to somehow get Sita united with Rama, but just as he bowed to him and lifted his head – he saw in Sri Rama’s face an unearthly grace. The sorrow was as if there and yet not there in some very subtle sense. Was there a sorrow ? Or was it a passing cloud over the Sun, the Sun itself remaining unmoved and Still ? He knew it not. Even as he kept looking into the eyes of Sri Rama, he seemed to be losing his own identity. He was as if falling into a deep abyss of silence at a very fast pace. He felt as if he was drowning in silence and loosing all identification with the body and the mind. And Sri Rama paused. The whole nature seemed to resonate with him. It was like a deep pause after a sacred chant. Sri Rama smiled to him, as if he knew what Hanuman was going through. Hanuman bowed with folded hands and marched ahead.

Hanuman started on the divine mission, with a calm mind. He was now an instrument in Rama’s hands. Rama told him that he would do it, and so it would be. He was just an instrument. Rama himself would guide him. Thus, we marched ahead – will-o-the-wisp.
As they walked away from the place, Hanuman’s mind was still deeply engrossed in the experience of Sri Rama’s presence. He was chanting Sri Rama’s name : Rama , Rama , Rama …Slowly, with Love and deep respect. Sometimes he chanted outwardly, and some times mentally. With each chant his mind was getting subtler and subtler. He experienced a liteness in the mind. He was now able to feel the heart beat, his own breath and was conscious of the air that was touching his body. He was getting more and more stilled and rooted in the present moment as he chanted. He could listen to the fluttering of the leafs of the trees, the chirping of the birds, and all the various sounds of the nature without any effort. Everything started to look more and more beautiful and from within him, he started to feel a welling up of peace and joy. As he chanted the Rama Nama, he also heard it mentally, hearing it mentally made sure that the mind was fully on the name itself. Infact with his devotion there was little scope for the mind to move anywhere else. He chanted with lot of love. As he chanted, thoughts started to reduce and his whole mind was filling with love of Rama and yet he was not unconscious. He was aware of everything. He could distinctly feel the presence of Rama in the form of the Silence that enveloped him from within and without.

As his mind got subtler, he was able to see things more clearly, the perception was very subtle and clear. Without his intention he was noticing every little movement around him and even as he saw all that, he remained rooted in the present moment. The Rama nama, as he chanted it, arose from awareness and merged in awareness. It arose from silence and merged in silence. Every time he chanted Rama nama outwardly, it was as if a calm breeze blew and the whole nature seemed to join in chorus.

The troop wandered around in different forests and areas in the assigned direction. Wandering around thus, they entered the vindhya forests. They were searching there when they found a big hidden cave. They were already tired, exhausted and also thirsty. They observed a few birds coming out of the cave with water on their wings, they thought that the cave may contain some water resources. They wanted to go into the cave which was totally dark. Due to the darkness they did not know where they were heading to. Hanuman was still immersed in the bliss of Sri Rama’s grace. He walked in total awareness, every step that he took, he remained totally aware. There was total darkness all around and some of themwere afraid but Hanuman remained absolutely fearless. In fact there were no emotions at all. He remained like a clear sky – just there, walking silently, conscious of each step and even his breathing. The insects etc in the cave made strange noise and Hanuman heard those noises and how they all merged in silence as well.
The troop penetrated through the dark region and found themselves in a very strange place. There were water reservoirs, trees laden with fruits etc. It appeared like a heaven on earth for them. There was a sigh of relief in the troop. Hanuman looked at it as yet another change, just as the darkness was, this light was too. He just looked at everything as if it were a mirage.
The place was full of natural treasures, they were filled with joy to see the the fruits, the trees and the crystal clear water resources.

Hanuman clearly saw how subtle his mind was getting with each repetition of Sri Rama’s name. He wondered how much calmer it could get. His own body was getting dissolved in that calmness. The moment his eye lids fell, there was no world – as if in deep Samadhi. The moment he opened the eyes the world appeared. He watched a few birds flying in air. It appeared as if they appeared from the vacant sky and vanished into it! Like a mirage or a dream experience. Suddenly here they come and here they vanish. How transitory is this world, he wondered to himself. As even the others were jumping in joy seeing the place, Hanuman observed, “the place is neither good nor bad, all happiness is from within. When I see with openness and observe things as they are, everything brings Happiness, because indeed I am the source of happiness”

Meeting with Svayamprabha

As they walked along, they came across an ascetic woman who was dressed in tree bark clothes and was totally immersed in meditation. She was serene and immersed in depths of meditation.
The monkeys prostrated to her and she enquired for their reason for entering into her cave.
Hanuman started to relate the story of Sri Rama.