This part of Ramana Maharshi's biography deals with His spiritual spiritual sayings on different spiritual aspects.
What the Maharshi taught was pure Advaita with stress on Brahman, the Knower or the Self, than on Maya. He discouraged all philosophical disputations but encouraged practice in place of vain theological wranglings.
Though he himself had scaled the heights of spiritual experience without the aid of a human Guru, the Maharshi emphasized the need for a Guru in spiritual life. He considered Guru, God and the Self as one, and said: “The Guru is both 'external' and 'internal'. From the 'exterior' he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the 'interior' he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in quietening the mind. That is Guru Kripa.
When asked by someone, 'Is God personal?' the Maharshi replied, “Yes, He is always the first person, the 'I, ever standing before you. Because you give preference to worldly things, God appears to have receded to the background. If you give up all else and seek Him alone, He will remain as the 'I', the Self"
On Divine Grace he said, “Divine Grace is essential for Realization, it leads one to God realization. But such a Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is a true devotee or a yogin, who has striven hard and ceaselessly on the path towards freedom"
According to the Maharshi, Surrender can take effect only when it is done with full knowledge as to what real surrender means. Such knowledge comes after enquiry and reflection and ends invariably in self-surrender. There is no difference between Jnana and absolute surrender to the Lord, that is, in thought, word and deed. To be complete, surrender must be unquestioning; the devotee cannot bargain with the Lord or demand favours at His hands. Such entire self-surrender comprises all: it is Jnana and Vairagya, Devotion and Love.
When someone wanted to know about the final states of realization according to Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita, he said: “Why speculate about what will happen sometime in future? All agree that the 'I' exists. To whichever school of thought he may belong, let the earnest seeker first find out what the 'I" is. Then there will be time enough, to know what the final state will be,- whether the 'I" will get merged in the Supreme Being or stand apart from Him. Let us not forestall the conclusion but keep an open mind"
The simplicity and preciseness of the Maharshi's teachings are strikingly evident in the terse reply he gave to one who wanted to know the difference between Dvaita and Advaita: “Identification with the body is Dvaita, Non-identification is Advaita"
To be continued
About the author
Swami Yuktatmananda of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore, is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order. This article is an excerpt from His 'The Holy Beacon of Arunachala,' which is a narration of Ramana Maharshi's biography. In this article he describes about Ramana Maharshi's spiritual sayings on different spiritual aspects.