My Experiments in Hinduism
Submitted by: Swatikrish.
Hindu religion is as wide as an Ocean. Like an Ocean accommodates so many living creatures within itself, Hindu religion has so many doctrines and principles. It offers spiritual knowledge to people according to their needs. It depends on the knowledge and level of a man to pick a doctrine of philosophy for himself. This can be understood by the following example. There are so many water mediums available for people who wish to learn swimming. People with no knowledge of swimming will learn first in a swimming pool or in a well, tying themselves with rope. Few will then advance themselves by practicing in a pond. Then, they will try swimming in river, sea and finally ocean. The purpose of swimming is to make one to swim well in ocean, and not to dwell in a pond or pool. On the same line, the purpose of Hinduism is to make one to understand clearly about his real self and to remove the ignorance (avidya) of ego or ‘I’m the body’ thought.
Practicing pooja’s, chanting mantras, singing in bhajans, fasting or worshiping the deity is a primitive level. The real purpose of this level is to keep mind focused, develop kind attitudes (sattvic behavior) and increasing spiritual quest. If someone wants to remain only in this level, then they should use this level to devote or surrender himself completely to God and to forget about his ego. But still this is not Liberation or Self-realization. It is only a route to feel it, not to attain it. One should not stop will this level and should aim for higher. Well or pool is not a medium where you can excel in swimming, but only to learn swimming at initial stage. It is not necessary that you have to learn swimming only in pool or pond. But it is a place for someone who is afraid to learn to swim in ocean. Similarly, being religious is not the way to attain Liberation, but a step to prepare us for the next level.
One should always try or aspire to reach the final goal or to feel the reality “ I-am-the-self” or “I am pure Consciousness”. But this aspiration comes only when people have a chance to know the final goal of Hinduism. This is called Knowledge (jnana). Currently, our religious activities, parents, traditions or the society is making us to transcend this primitive level but not carrying beyond it. To go beyond it, one should be fortunate to know this truth or to believe in this truth. Fortunately, my life had a glimpse of these truths by exposure to some spiritual books. My early experiments so far, have been, practicing religious duties and worships. But this can only eliminate my temporary problems or sometimes give mental peace. The only way to have complete peace is to destroy the mind, because this world is only the projection of our mind. We all are now in a dream state, like our dream in sleep. We identify ourselves with our body and undergoing all worldly sufferings. This is like, worrying about the happenings in dream, which is of course not real. Once we wake up from our dream, we can understand our ignorance of our self.
We all might have practiced different kinds of mediations at different stages. But why we could not concentrate for a long? Why our problems are still not solved? Why we could not advance further. Because each school of philosophy teaches us to meditate mind on a fixed point, or concentrate on mantras like OM, or breath-control or to concentrate mind on six subtle centers or chakras in our body. But we never tried once to meditate, by not concentrating our mind on anything, but destroying the mind completely. Mind is the source of ‘I’ thought, after which arises so many thoughts preventing us from realizing the self. I tried many meditations but each proved futile for me. This is not because the method is a failure but that is not what I seek. I came across a book on Sri Ramana Maharishi by Arthur Osborne titled, “The Teachings of Ramana Maharishi in his own words”. I heard about Ramanar, visited Thiruvannamalai few times but never came across his school of teaching, till I read this book. Since I am a commoner like everyone, my sincere advice to people who have quest to seek real spiritual experience, to go through this book or any other books containing his teachings. (Please look at the end; I have mentioned a few books on this same line).
It would be better if I can quote some phrases from his teachings, which will help the readers to understand better:
Ramanar in his own words, “The scriptures serve to indicate the existence of the Higher Power or Self and to point the way to It. That is their essential purpose. Apart from that they are useless. However, they are voluminous, in order to be adapted to the level of development of every seeker. As a man rises in the scale he finds the stages, until finally the goal is reached. When that happens, the goal alone remains and everything else, including the scriptures, becomes useless.” (The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi in his own words, Edited by Arthur Osborne)
On self – realization, he says, “The man in waking state says that he did not know anything in the state of deep sleep. Now he sees objects and knows that he exists but in deep sleep there were no objects and no spectator. And yet the same person who is speaking now existed in deep sleep also. What is the difference between the two states? There are objects and the play of the senses now, while in deep sleep there were not. A new entity, the ego, has arisen. It acts through the senses, sees objects, confuses itself with the body and claims to be the Self. In reality, what was in deep sleep continues to be now also. The Self is changeless. It is the ego which has come between. That which rises and sets is the ego. That which remains changeless is the Self. (The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi in his own words, Edited by Arthur Osborne)
“The first and the foremost of all the thoughts that arise in the mind is the primal ‘I’ thought. It is only after the rise or origin of the ‘I’ thought that innumerable other thoughts arise. In other words, only after the first personal pronoun, ‘I’, has arisen, do the seconds and third personal pronouns (“you, he”, etc) occur to the mind; and they cannot subsist without the former. Since every other thought can occur only after the rise of the ‘I’-thought and since the mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts, it is only through the enquiry ‘Who am I’ that the mind subsides. Moreover, the integral ‘I’-thought, implicit in such enquiry, having destroyed all other thoughts, gets itself finally destroyed or consumed, just as the stick used for stirring the burning funeral pyre gets consumed.
Even when extraneous thoughts sprout up during such enquiry, do not seek to complete the rising thought, but instead, deeply enquire within, ‘To whom has this thought, but instead, deeply enquire within, ‘To whom has this thought occurred?’. No matter how many thoughts thus occur to you, if you would with acute vigilance enquire immediately as and when each individual thought arises to whom it has occurred, you would find it is to ‘me’. If then you enquire ‘Who am I?’ the mind gets introverted and the rising thought also subsides. In this manner as you persevere more and more in the practice of Self-enquiry, the mind acquires increasing strength and power to abide in its Source” (The collected works of Ramana Maharishi, Edited by Arthur Osborne).
I hope this long narration of quotes from his book will help the readers to understand about Sri Ramanar’s teachings. My idea is not to prove that only this school of thought will help to attain Liberation. I just want the readers to be aware of his teachings and this will be certainly helpful, because you can apply this teachings in your life, whether you are married or single or in any kind of predicaments. I am trying to execute this knowledge and also trying to work out my religious traditions and beliefs. I couldn’t find any contradictions. Because according to Ramanar, to destroy ego, there are only 2 ways, (1) to find out ‘Who am I’? which will help to realize our self (2) or surrender completely to God and feel that he is responsible for all actions, which will destroy our mind in course of time. I am not really successful in what I am trying to do, as this physical world and objects appears more powerful to my weak efforts, but I could feel the awareness and transforming perceptions.
So, find out ‘Who am I?’ or surrender completely to your GOD…
1. The Teachings of Ramana Maharishi in his own words, Edited by Arthur Osborne
2. The collected works of Ramana Maharishi, Edited by Arthur Osborne
3. Vedanta Treatise, Shri Parthasarathy
4. Reflections on talks with Ramana Maharishi, By S.S. Cohen
5. Who am I? – By Ramana Maharishi
6. The Maharishi and His Message – By Paul Brunton
7. Maharishi and the path of Self-knowledge – By Arthur Osborne
This article was submitted by Swatikrish on 05/12/2003.
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