the world illusion

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Arunachala and Ramana Maharshi

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Ramana: Tamil parayanaThayumanavar

In all people, as soon as the ego-sense known as ‘I’ arises to afflict them,

the world-illusion, manifesting as multiplicity, follows along behind.

Who might have the power to describe the vastness

of the ocean of misery that grows out of this:

as flesh; as the body; as the intellectual faculties;

as the inner and the outer; as the all-pervasive space;

as earth, water, fire, and air; as mountains and forests;

 

as the multitudinous and mountainous visible scenes;

as that which is invisible, such as remembering and forgetting;

as the joys and sorrows that crash upon us, wave upon wave, in maya’s ocean;

as the deeds that give rise to these;

as the religions of manifold origin that [try to] put an end to them;

as their gods, as their spiritual aspirants, and as the methods

described in many a treatise that bear witness to their practices;

and as the doctrinal wrangling amongst them?

It is like trying to count the fine grains of sand on the seashore.

 

In order to teach me to discern the truth

of how all these woes, impossible to measure –

which spontaneously accumulate, multiplying bundle by bundle –

were insubstantial, like the spectacle of a mountain of camphor

that disappears entirely at the touch of a flame,

he associated with food, sleep, joy, misery, name-and-place,

and wearing a bodily form similar to my own,

he came as the grace-bestowing Mauna Guru

to free me from defilement, in just the same way that a deer

is employed to lure another deer.

 

Coming thus, he claimed my body, my belongings, my very life

as his possessions, and teaching the path of rejection, he declared:

‘The five senses, the five elements, the organs of action, and all the rest,

you are not. You are none of these.

Nor are you any of the qualities that pertain to these.

You are not the body, nor are you knowledge and ignorance.

You are chit, the real, which is like a crystal,

reflecting the qualities of whatever is placed before it,

and yet having no connection with it.

It is my inherent nature to enlighten you

when I find that you are ripe for it.’

 

‘If you desire to gain the vast, supreme reality

that is the temple of refreshing grace,

inseparable from all that is, becoming pure consciousness

and obtaining the indestructible state whose nature is bliss,

listen as I explain to you the proper means:

May you live long, winning in your heart

the reality that is devoid of all qualities!

May you attain the state of bliss-consciousness,

so that all the dense accumulation of ignorance disappears!

May you liberate yourself from bondage!’

 

Through his grace, he imparted to me the state of mauna,

the true knowledge in which bondage is abolished:

‘For that state, there is no thought, no “I” sense,

no space, no time, no directions, no pairs of opposites,

nothing lost, nothing other, no words,

no phenomena of night and day,

no beginning, no end, no middle, no inner or outer.

Nothing is.’

 

‘When I say: “It is not, it is not”, this is not a state of nothingness.

It is pure identity; it is the nature that eternally endures,

a state that cannot be expressed in words.

It is the swarupa which engulfs everything,

so that neither ‘I’ nor anything else appears.

As the day consumes the night, it consumes ignorance entirely.

Easily overcoming and swallowing up your personal consciousness,

it transforms your very self, here and now, into its own Self.

It is the state that distinguishes itself as selfluminous silence.’

 

‘Other than the nature that is its own Self,

it allows nothing else to arise.

Because there is no other consciousness,

should anything attempt to arise there

it will, like a camphor flame, vanish.

The knower, devoid of both knowledge and objects known,

falls away, without falling, since it still remains.

But who can tell of its greatness, and to whom?

By dint of becoming That, one exists only as That.

That alone will speak for itself.’

 

‘If we call it “That”, then the question will arise, “What is That?”

Therefore did Janaka and the other kings

and the rishis, foremost among whom is Suka,

lived happily, like bees intoxicated with honey,

entirely avoiding any mention of “That”.

Remain in this state.’

Thus did he speak.

 

Grant me the abundance of your grace

so that, in the nirvikalpa state of total tranquillity,

I may know and attain the condition of supreme bliss,

in accordance with your rule.

I shall not sleep or take up any other work

until I attain this state.

 

The unique source [tan], fullness [purnam],

prevailed within, in my Heart

so that the ‘I’ which deemed itself

an independent entity

bowed its head in shame.

Conferring matchless bliss,

consuming my whole consciousness

and granting me the state of rapture,

it nurtured in me the condition of mauna.

This being so, what more is there to be said?

When the mind turns inwards seeking ‘Who am I?’ and merges in the Heart, then the ‘I’ hangs down his head in shame and the one ‘I’ appears as itself. Though it appears as ‘I-I’, it is not the ego. It is reality, perfection, the substance of the Self.

source

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