THE DIRECT PATH
The great Rishi, Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi - unlike most yogis and many saints of the present day- does not recommend yogic practices as a condition for the highest and perennial spiritual achievement, called by him 'Self-realisation'. He dismisses from that aim, all the cumbersome postures, breathing exercises, control of the pranic-currents (currents of the Prana in the human body and so of Nature itself), and so on. In fact, he seldom even mentioned them in his talks.
So the Direct Path to
spiritual attainment, as shown by the
Now I see clearly that
these things belong to a closed and
But this DIRECT PATH, the Maharshi's way, is possible and is well suited for everyone who is ripe enough to enter on it, no matter whether man or woman, young or old, rich or poor, learned or illiterate. This path can be followed secretly, so that the outer world will never know that a man is engaged in a deep and intensive search. This means that there is a reduction to the minimum of external obstacles allowed by the prarabdha karma of man.
Also there is no question of reading innumerable books. The multiplicity of theories with their countless books, the many sects and religions with their almost invariable hostility to one another -no matter how cleverly this unpleasant quality is disguised all show a lack of unity.
But the Direct Path
immediately gives us a clear view of our
Sri Ramana Maharshi supports the Advaita-Vedanta theory which recognises only one real thing, the Atman, Self or spirit. The Master of the Direct Path, Sri Ramana Maharshi, now sitting on his couch before me, is the greatest destroyer of illusions.
When we realise that there exists an infallible path to the final goal, the joy of that knowledge is overwhelming. This is the water that quenches human thirst. Those who seek will find. But the search must be for the highest and not merely for more or less exalted illusions. The cardinal virtue of discrimination plays an uppermost role in such seeking. For when the Direct Path becomes visible, all the others disappear as if they had never been sought. There is no need for any 'rejection' on the part of the disciple. He simply seems to forget what is best forgotten and remembers only what should be remembered.
Deep in your hearts there lies a source, so often spoken of by the Master,Sri Ramana Maharshi. It can be likened to the centre of a circle, from which we can see in all directions, and then from which no other position can give us such a vantage point. Now I fully realise why the path of Maharshi is also called the Path of Inner Silence.
Go directly to the
source of all truth in your spiritual centre of
Without the knowledge of 'who we are' we remain spiritually immovable.
The Direct Path can be
likened to a mighty river, quietly and majestically flowing to the infinite ocean of
Nirvana , Brahman, the ultimate and unique aim of every being. Yogas, religions, sects,
philosophical systems, occult and spiritual societies, all can be thought of as minor
streams flowing into and yielding up their waters to the same great river, and from then
onwards having the same straight course to the ocean. Whoever knows of the hidden Direct
Path will not waste time following lesser ways. All efforts will be concentrated on the
one idea 'How to enter the great current which flows directly to the ocean'.
The method according to the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi is as follows:
To immerse oneself in
meditation, making a clear impression on the outer mind that the real Self cannot be any
transient thing such as the body, emotions or mind. When this fact is strongly established
without any doubt in consciousness, then I try to fill every possible moment with the
inquiry "WHO AM I?". When any other thought enters the mind one crushes it with
the Vichara. The more determined the perseverance, the better the result. The restless
mind begins to give up the struggle. As I substitute every approaching thought with the
magic Vichara, the periods of absolute quietness become longer. At first it is only for a
few seconds, but with constant practice there come minutes of unruffled peace. The most
important thing is to catch and remember what was most helpful reaching that peace of
mind. I cannot describe that process in my consciousness, because it is above and beyond
the activity of the mind, and therefore, cannot be expressed in words, which belong to the
Wherever I was, Vichara was with me: walking in the street, sitting in trams and trains, in fact all day long when my mind was not immediately engaged in some necessary activity.
During the first months I counted the inquiries putting a number after each one,'Who am I?' (one), 'Who am I?" (two) and so on. When circumstances compelled me to break the work, I noted the number in my memory, or if the break had to be longer, I wrote it on a slip of paper carried in my pocket for the purpose. For the first few days the figure of 1000 was the highest. Later 7000 and more became an easy mark. When I learned to fill every moment with Vichara excepting those of speech and compulsory mental occupation, the counting was discarded as unnecessary, for then the mind had learned to remember Vichara automatically. The important part was not to repeat Vichara with the mind, but to saturate each inquiry with a strong desire (without words) to know 'Who am I?'.
Then the results were : peace of mind, and a power to use it after my own will, as a force apart from the individual ' I '. The average man believes, in his ignorance, that his body , emotions and mind constitute himself. The disciple trained by a Master overcomes this falsehood. And this is the turning point in his spiritual development. Being under the dominance of his mind the man is only a slave, and realisation is not possible for those enslaved by the mind or the senses.
The spiritual aspect of Vichara is also clear. In using it you are seeking your legitimate inheritance, aiming directly at the very source of life.The whole problem of life is wrapped up in the Vichara. Every religion and every spiritual Master affirms that life in its essence is eternal and indestructible; but what is that life?
Maharshi reveals, and the disciple realises, that eternal life is none other than uninterrupted consciousness.
To reach that stage means to reach the immortality of spirit, of reality. That is the goal and the ultimate aim. There is nothing else. Meditate upon this and the truth will be made clear even to the outer mind.
Such are the heavens promised to the righteous and the saints. For them there is no death any more. How clear now are the words of the great teacher of humanity!
When our consciousness reaches the supra-mental realm, the realm of the eternal unchangeable spirit-self, the unchanging reality, then death is simply transcended and does not exist any more. Now can be understood truth of the saying of the Great Rishi, when he denies reincarnation in the realm of spirit, but otherwise speaks about it as an established fact. From his point of view both death and reincarnation are only illusions, and do not affect the real Self, just as body is not affected by a change of dress. The Vichara throws light on every path.
When many religions and
sects were quarrelling with each other, there was need for a presentation of truth which
would transcend all the enclosing walls of particular faiths. This was given by Sri Ramana
Maharshi. His teachings can be accepted by any person sincerely seeking truth and God,
independently of the religion in which a person is reared.
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