Thursday, September 11, 2008

THE FAUX PAS OF RAMANA

THE FAUX PAS OF RAMANA
BY
S. MAHESHKUMAR


THE utmost unfortunate incident in my life had been the influence of Ramana and his confusion prone contradictory teachings. I had wasted more than a quarter of a century from 1982 to 2008 in dabbling with the preachings of Ramana. I would have been continuing like that as a Ramana-maniac or shortly Ramaniac but recently I was relieved of the devil as a result of the precarious and vicarious attitudes of the people belonging to Ramana’s younger brother’s family who runs the ashram called Ramanasramam as well as some of the parasites of Ramana’s family ashram along with the past and present Ramaniacs.

I was introduced to Ramana during 1982-83 by my maternal uncle Mr. Shanmuga Sundaram when we were discussing rational philosophy. Later Mr. Illaiyaraja guided me to Ramanasramam when I met him at his residence around 7 a.m. on 26th January 1987 asking about the details as to the availability of the book ‘Arunmozhi Thoguppu’ that he oftentimes quoted as a source of his inspiration. As per Illaiyaraja’s suggestion, I had contacted either by letters the Ramanasramam Book Depot or by visits to Ramanasramam and availed the cited book along with many others in a series ending in April, 2008 when I payed my last visit to Ramanasramam. I had honestly searched for clarity in those books that they always lacked dishonestly.

Why do many ardent devotees leave Ramana? The list includes the maiden English biographer of Ramana, B. V. Narasimha Swami, who later changed camps and popularised Shirdi Sai Baba by founding the All India Shirdi Sai Baba Samaj, even Paul Brunton cast aside Ramana and clung to his original faith during his last days, the Paramacharya of Kanchi who had earlier guided Paul Brunton to Ramana objected later when a miniature Arunachaleswarar shrine was built on the samadhi of Ramana’s mother, … so on.

There were mints of faux pas of Ramana that explain the prevalent collapse of his stature. First, he started as a truant by escaping from his mundane responsibilities to Tiruvannamalai when his elder brother out of concern asked him to concentrate in studies and partake along with him to raise their fatherless family. Just like a person who thought he had escaped successfully forever from his household duties by living in a secluded orphanage was forced not only to look after his mundane needs but also to care for his fellow dwellers in the asylum in a larger scale.

From beggar to bhagavan, Ramana’s career flourished into fame and affluence acquiring an ashram of assets that in the end he even wrote a will of properties in favour of his younger brother’s lineages that led not to Ramanasramam but to Ramana’s family ashramam.

About Ramana’s fake death experiences, which he claimed had burnt his ego completely, there were plenty of incidents that expose his monstrous and mighty ego which had grown untamed to gorgeous proportions. When a dog chased aggressively a squirrel and passed by the side of strolling Ramana in his mid sixties with his attendants, he shouted “dhushta” and threw his walking stick over the dog in defence of the fleeing squirrel and fell down resulting in bone injury. This was one of the innumerable instances revealing Ramana’s undestroyed ego.

To analyse Ramana’s confusions and contradictions, take the case of his repeatedly saying about the location of the Heart that it was in the right side of the chest. The physical heart is situated at the left; if the Heart that he had been referring to was the spiritual heart, let it be for a while. Ramana defended his statement by citing that people usually touch with their right hand fingers at the right side of their chests when they refer to themselves. I had noticed in many instances with the left-handers in similar situations that they point with their left hand fingers at the left side of their chests when they refer to themselves.

In the book, ‘Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’, there is an entry dated 2nd April, 1937, No. 380. This crucial dialogue between a serious aspirant and jesting Ramana testifies the ensnared Ramana:

380. A European gentleman asked: How do you answer the question, “Who are you?”
Maharshi: Ask yourself the question, “Who am I?”
Devotee: Please tell me how you have found it. I shall not be able to find it myself. (The ‘I’ is the result of biological forces. It results in silence. I want to know how the Master finds it.)
M.: Is it found only by logic? The scientific analysis is due to intellect.
D.: According to J. C. Bose, nature does not make any difference between a worm and a man.
M.: What is Nature?
D.: It is that which exists.
M.: How do you know the existence?
D.: By my senses.
M.: ‘My’ implies your existence. But you are speaking of another’s existence. You must exist to speak of “my senses”. There cannot be ‘my’ without ‘I’.
D.: I am a poor creature. I come to ask you, Great Master that you are, what this existence is. There is no special significance in the word existence. He exists, I exist and others exist. What of that?
M.: The existence of any one posited, shows your own existence. “Existence is your name.”
D.: There is nothing strange in anything existing.
M.: How do you know its existence—rather than your own existence?
D.: What is new in the existence of anything? I take up your book and read there that the one question one should ask oneself is “Who am I?” I want to know “Who are you?” I have my own answer. If another says the same, and so too, millions of others, there is the probability of the Self. I want a positive answer for the question and no playing with words.
M.: In this way you are in the region of probabilities at the best.
D.: Yes. There are no certainties. Even God cannot be proved to be absolute certainty.
M.: Leave God alone for the time being. What of yourself?
D.: I want confirmation of the Self.
M.: You seek the confirmation from others. Each one though addressed as ‘you’, styles himself ‘I’. The confirmation is only from ‘I’. There is no ‘you’ at all. All are comprised in ‘I’. The other can be known only when the Self is posited. The others do not exist without the subject.
D.: Again, this is nothing new. When I was with Sir C. V. Raman, he told me that the theory of smell could be explained from his theory of light. Smell need no longer be explained in terms of chemistry. Now, there is something new; it is progress. That is what I mean, when I say that there is nothing new in all the statements I hear now.
M.: ‘I’ is never new. It is eternally the same.
D.: Do you mean to say that there is no progress?
M.: Progress is perceived by the outgoing mind. Everything is still when the mind is introverted and the Self is sought.
D.: The Sciences—what becomes of them?
M.: They all end in the Self. The Self is their finality.
(It was 5 p.m.; Sri Bhagavan left the hall and the gentleman left for the station.)

Throughout his life, Ramana made a fuss with his ‘Who am I?’ arguments. A lady sat before Ramana at his prime and kept on weeping. When she was asked for the reason of her weeping, she replied that saints like Arunagirinathar and Pattinathar had scolded the womenfolk in their poems and she was weeping before Ramana just because of a verse in his Arunachala Aksharamanamalai that similarly yell at the womenfolk. It is the verse No. 20:

“கூர்வாட் கண்ணியர் கொடுமையிற் படாதருள்
கூர்ந்தெனைச் சேர்ந்தரு ளருணாசலா!”


It means: Graciously merge with me evading the tortures of the piercingly sword eyed, Arunachala!

Ramana was embarrassed at the lady devotee’s sadness and consoled her that the person who had written those verses had vanished long ago and added further that the verse was meant only against the bad women.

I had once written a short comparative study of the mathematician-philosopher René Descartes and Ramana. Descartes’ cartesianism was original whereas Ramana’s self-enquiry teachings were extracted from Gnana Vasishtam which is also called Yoga Vasishtam. With his confusions, Ramana presented a corrupted version of the treatise of Sage Vasishta as if he had experienced the essential truth of it. Vasishta was Lord Rama’s maiden guru and the son of Lord Brahma. Vasishta’s teachings to Rama chiefly constitute the theme of Gnana Vasishtam.

Athma Vicharam or self-enquiry graduates into Athma Samarpanam or self-surrender. If the supreme wisdom is attainable by Athma Vicharam alone, what is the use of Athma Samarpanam?

The Id that is the Ego which is the EGOID is the Spent Energy of Brahma. It cannot be destroyed or produced similar to the law of conservation of energy, viz., “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; one form of energy can be converted into another but the total energy remains the same.”

The axiom of indestructibility of Ego is: “Ego can never be created nor destroyed; it can only be shrinked or expanded.”

The course of the Spent Energy of Brahma is to rejuvenate and recharge itself to be able to refine and perfect by the process of life, work and time until it is transformed into the Absolute Brahma Shakthi.

Brahma’s perspiration is the Ego and Ego’s perspiration is the Brahma. They are connected by this eternal equation. Why is it that Brahma exerts by spending his energy? We all work to tend to equilibrium, to maintain harmony, and likewise, Brahma uses the inconsistent energies that accumulate within his enterprise, by spending to build the cosmos, by expansion and contraction simultaneously causing reverberations resulting in a state of taut. The infinitesimal Ego interacts with the infinite Brahma and this phenomena animates everywhere in the universe for good!

Athma Vicharam is completed when the Vichari or enquirer learns that the Ego cannot be destroyed and as a result of that wisdom, the Vichari tames the Ego to finally transform into the Absolute Brahmmam and this is done by Athma Samarpanam. Athma Vicharam matures into Athma Samarpanam! Ego is the relentless master and true guru that is notoriously misunderstood like Brahma but by its tasks for refinements and perfections, it is destined to succeed in reaping the benefits of its transformation into the Absolute Brahmmam!

Muruganar was the Tamil influence and literary ghost of Ramana. He ruthlessly abandoned his devoted wife in order to fall prey to Ramana. He authored several confused doctrines, many a second rate adaptations like Thiruvachakam reworked into Ramana Sannidhi Murai, etc. Most of his poems boast that Ramana was not the body, but when Ramana passed away, he was really upset till his own passing away contradicting the message he intended for others in his confused poems.

Sadhu Om was infected with vicarious feelings that were the chief by product of his Ramana pursuit. By vicariousness is meant the second hand feeling, the false thinking of associating oneself with heroic deeds or any other thing that one cannot actually attain or achieve, for example. He answered to his followers as if he was possessed by Ramana. Like the miniature Arunachaleswarar shrine over the samadhi of Ramana’s mother, Sadhu Om’s followers had built one such upon his mortal remains. It is like a confusion causing multiple confusions around it!

Preaching and practice differed in Ramana’s deeds and thinking that could be ascribed to the false premises that he had started with. This was the root cause of the confusions and contradictions in his teachings paving ruin not only to his dogma but also to the ignorant followers. However, serious pursuers might resolve the Ramana perplexities of their own due to their deepest seriousness.

Mahatma Gandhi preached non-violence only to get killed violently in the end. Buddha taught vegetarianism only to consume decomposed pork in the end and die due to food poisoning. Ramana kept on saying that he had conquered death vicariously and died very elaborately in the end suffering from malignant tumor only to get exposed to what real death experience would be!

Sri Aurobindo’s tomes elucidate immortal life but when he died on 5th December 1950, it was a terrible blow not only to the mortal that he ever was but to his followers who persisted by the side of his corpse waiting for few more days in hope that their master might re-enter his body again and prove the validity of his statements.

It was reported that just at the time of Ramana’s passing away, a comet or shooting star had been seen flying upwards which disappeared beside the summit of the Arunachala Hill. This has been the usual case near hilly regions and I myself had seen one during the midnight at 1.05.09 a.m. on 13th December 1989, when a shooting star appeared descending from above the summit of the Arunachala Hill. These observations were associated sentimentally with end or start of good or bad. The same upward flying shooting star associated with Ramana’s death when observed from the other side of the Arunachala Hill would have appeared like the descending of the shooting star from the summit of Arunachala!

Any theory imperfectly founded on false premises would certainly end up in ignorance and darkness! Be it Aurobindo or Ramana, Mozart or Beethoven, Galois or Ramanujan and Russell or Wittgenstein, their works bear incompleteness even though they seem to be sparkling with dots of brilliance here and there in the sense that they were merely disjointed independent poetical, musical, mathematical and philosophical outpourings respectively and not an amalgamation of all the four called poemusimathesophy.

A soul has to be poetically inspired, musically matured, philosophically refined and mathematically perfected in order to transform itself into Godhood. The mind, the intermediary between the soul and the body has to pronounce in unison with the spiritualistic quest of the soul and the materialistic lust of the body but its ultimate preference should be in the direction of ascending the ladders of liberation along with the soul. If the human mind joins with the cravings of the body only and corrupts itself and descend to the level below that of animals, then it should carve a permanent niche for the body in the doom of materialism.

The indestructible ego might converge into perfect being by constantly abiding in itself. This is the meaning of the following triplet in Tamil:

“அழியா அகமே ஆகுமே
சித்தம் நிலைநிற்று உந்தீபற
பரம் பொருளாகவே உந்தீபற”


—S. Maheshkumar.

{Composed on 11th & 12th September 2008 at 4.21 PM & 1.11 PM respectively, Indian Standard Time.}

12 comments:

Jerome said...

Dear Mahesh,
I had the time to go through your treatise on the faux pas committed by Ramana as observed by you on the basis of the contradictions in his teachings as observed by you. To me as Hermann Hesse says in Siddhartha, enlightenment does not come to a person from outside. There can be no complete Guru. The explanation of the intangible arises from within oneself. To strive for this enlightenment "the meaning of life" should be our personal endeavour. It is impossible therefore to find solace in the teachings of other mortals, however profound they may be or influence one's life. The solace that they produce is temporary. Hence please spend time on exploring your relationship to the world around you. Enjoy the world. Live as today would be your last day on earth and then every day will bring you pleasure and your life will be source of inspiration to others.
jerome rajan

S. Maheshkumar said...

Respected Sir,

Thanks for your insightful comments. As you quote Hermann Hesse saying that enlightenment never comes to a person from outside to mean that it comes only from within, it contradicts the fact that the external is a projection of the internal.

“…Ego is the relentless master and true guru that is notoriously misunderstood like Brahma but by its tasks for refinements and perfections, it is destined to succeed in reaping the benefits of its transformation into the Absolute Brahmmam!”

—S. Maheshkumar.

Santhana ganesan said...

Mr. Mahesh kumar! You said you have wasted a quarter of century. Everyone's life will be a waste one day. So your quarter century is only part of that waste. Once a teacher said that if you put a worm in Alcohol it would die. One student understood that drinking would damage one's health. The other said that alcohol would kill the worms in the stomach. The teaching is same to all. But we come to conclusions depending on our taste.
-S. Santana Ganesan

S. Maheshkumar said...

Mr. Santana ganesan! There is no teaching that is generalised. There are lots of conclusions independent of our tastes. There is concurrence only in similarity. Nobody’s life is waste one day only if it is not wasted by yielding to irrelevant relativism of the sort you say!!

Khurram said...

Thank you so much for presenting your insightful analysis of Ramana and his error, confirming something that I have already known to be true in my own experience after an overly long sojourn in Ramana's Advaitistan and basically arriving at the same conclusion after suffering chronic and severe detriment to all aspects of my life which is thankfully now being relieved.

I salute you for having the courage to promulgate your decidedly alternative spiritual vision which imho many indians and westerners might benefit from hearing about.

Here's a tip: Have you ever thought of writing a book proclaiming the Return of Brahma that unites the truly Univeral Nature of this Origin-AL Creator God of the Universe as He reveals Himself throughout the spiritual and secular traditions of the ancient and modern global human culture ? Not only might that pull the wool away from the eyes of navel-staring westerners hypnotized by the prevalent mood of monistic non-dualist zeitgeist but may even be a service to the further necessary and truly fruitful evolution of the largest democracy in the world that is your home country of Bharat India.

I seriously believe with your erudition and knowledge of Tamil spiritual traditions and texts you could help alot of deluded people especially westerners come to their senses and right mind and perhaps help relieve the world of the bane of advaitic monistic hot air salesmen ( from Ramana to J.K to the absolute nadir of U.G.K and their many and various - though in fairness perhaps not all - nefarious offshoots) who have corrupted the world's spiritual and secular traditions with their various brands of mediocrity, confusion, falsehood and even downright skulduggery & terrorism.

May the Creator Heavenly Father-Mother OM Brahma-Saraswati YHWH-Sophia Most High and Living God Here and Now Who Is Love AND Intelligence All-In-All and Whose Origin-AL Name is I AM THAT I AM or the One bless you in your endeavours to spread your unique and most interesting vision even though as someone born and raised in the West I cannot agree with all you say Thank God ;-)

Khurram said...

The even bigger faux pas of Ramana was admitting in no uncertain terms that YHWH the Heavenly Father or Creator of The Bible is the Original and Supreme God whose first and original Name is I AM as revealed in the Book of Exodus to Moshe-Moses in the form of a burning bush.Ramana often liked to state especially to westerners that God should be remembered in this form regardless and to the exclusion of all else.

He placed it on a parallel with or slightly inferior to his own brand of atma vichara or self enquiry using the eternal question "Who am I?"

By so doing he had unwittingly opened the gates to the inexorable proselytization of India in future generations, which let us pray turns out for the highest good of all concerned and not just the partisan interests of an unscrupulous bunch of missionaries with their own incomplete and faulty partial message of evangelical revelation of Christ's message with all the attendant ills and few of the real benefits thereof, nor recalcitrant tamil hindu nationalists who wish to hold back Indian society's material and spiritual progress, of whose Mr.Venkatarman Iyer covertly but undeniably was one.

I read only yesterday of the horrendous fruits of their missionary activities in India over the past ten or so years in part due to the background support of Sonia Gandhi an Italian Catholic of origin.

Khurram said...

Once again Mahesh, thank you for writing this piece as it corroborates my own experiences in many ways, even though I have experienced of the so elusive "heart on the right side of the chest" through contact with his teachings (and other so-called adepts influenced by him who started new religious movements in the west) on more than one occasions along with an array of climactic altered states realizations and mini-maxi samadhis over the course of the years, interspersed with long periods of isolation, alienation from form and pathological dissociation from society at large, manifesting phenomenally in my mind body and soul as confusion, loss of self esteem, lack of proper time awareness and taking care of my essential physical and bodily needs together with prolonged depression with attendant loss of creativity and inexplicable moodiness loneliness brooding & solipsism -- in great part imo the result of vicarious and mainly unconscious identification with his personality.
I am now stronger and much smarter as a result.

S. Maheshkumar said...

Strength and smartness attained as a result of serious pursuit should derive peace; otherwise, agitation! May Peace be bestowed on serious pursuers of Truth!

Nath Yogi said...

Knowledge and wisdom cannot be obtained without serving a Guru.
Sri Ramana Maharshi never searched for a Guru and was content with his experience which occured on its (not his or no efforts from him) own. He started sharing and spreading the same.
I read that he was asked by Lord Shiva to share the same with those who came in contact with him. If this is the case he was a devotee of Lord Shiva.
Lord pleases when we serve His devotees and in turn our material wishes will be fulfilled but knowledge and wisdom cannot be got.
(www.nathyogi.com)

mark newton said...

Sri Aurobindo never said that he would be physically immortal in that life. Many false words and ideas are attributed to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother which they never said. He said that physical immortality will not be possible until human beings have reached the stage in evolution where this is possible. He said he will not incarnate again until the supramental human is on earth. Please do your research properly. You are robbing yourself of wonderful blessings by not reading his actual works. Such a great loss.

Nic M said...

For most people, the heart is situated physically in the center of the chest. The spiritual heart might be construed as a metaphor - This is poetry to describe the indescribable. Throwing stones at RM is an interesting pastime, is it not? All teachers are human first.

S. Maheshkumar said...

If all teachers are humans first, what about Sri Ekalavya's teacher, Sri Dhrona, who was inhumnan at last? If one seriously and continuously study and meditate, for example, on Sri Ramana, Sri Aurobindo, et al., and their books, sayings, gospels, etc., the real blessings bestowed upon the unerring Seekers are clarity from bundles of confusions and contradictions which are traits of erring humans! To term oneself a guru or a teacher or a maharshi is the primal error and there is only and humbly a Seeker who culminates into THE SEEKER, even after the seeking is accomplished, be it God or beyond, it is the Seeker's infinite quest for divinity and gloriously everlasting as It, in It, ..., BE IT, that is, SRI BRAHMMAM!