Monday, July 18, 2016

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Sri Nannagaru’s answers to questions posed by Devotee from Israel

Nannagaru: N;
Devotee from Israel: DI

DI: What path (way) I should follow?
N (To an interpreter): Ask him what pathway he has a taste for?
DI: The way of Love
N: You follow the path of devotion. Devotion is the safest path. Love and devotion are safe pathways.

DI: What is the way appropriate for me of doing self-enquiry? What else should I know about my own process of spirituality?
N: You need not follow self-enquiry. Everything will come from devotion that is needed for you. Everything will come. Self-enquiry is only for doubters of God. Self-enquiry is for those who question God’s existence. For those who follow devotion path, self-enquiry is not necessary. There is God, there is Govinda, there is Arunachala – whichever form you like, you put your mind on your favorite God. Self-enquiry is not the only path to realization. There are so many paths to God realization. One of the paths is self-enquiry. (He doesn’t need self-enquiry.) Path of devotion also leads to God realization. For example, the greatest Bhakta Tukaram is the greatest devotee of Panduranga. In the path of devotion he completely eliminated the body bound I. He eliminated the sense of body bound I through devotion.

DI: How can I communicate with you when I am far from you?
N: Through silence. Communication is not necessary; mental contact is enough. Always remember me – that is enough. Mental contact is enough, it is enough.

DI: Will wife and children be a problem for me in spiritual life?
N: (Is he asking about his personal matter?) Wife and children are not the problem to spiritual life. Your ego sense, your body bound I, is the problem. Your ego sense is the problem to get God realization. Obstacles are not outside – not your wife, not your children. Only your ego sense, only your body bound I is an obstacle to get God realization. Difficulties and troubles are in you in the form of ego sense.

DI: How many hours a day should I meditate?
N: Meditation is remembrance of God. What kind of meditation are you doing?
DI: Self enquiry – Who am I?
N: Self enquiry is entirely different from meditation. To put the mind on any form of the God constantly is meditation. Self-enquiry is entirely different from meditation. Meditation is one thing and self-enquiry is another thing. They are two different paths. But these two paths lead to God realization. You always put your mind on any form of God. If you think always of that form, generally, the mind will be reduced, the mind will be destroyed. Mind is the greatest obstacle to realization. If you think of your favorite God constantly, your mind will be automatically destroyed. Then, you realize what you are. (Ask him if he understood.) Meditation is entirely different from self-enquiry.

DI: Now for two years I am doing self-enquiry (Who am I? of Ramana Maharshi). Should I combine together, or should I stop doing self-enquiry? What to do now?
N: Please understand this, in self-enquiry, you repeatedly ask the question “Who am I?” If there is no ‘I’ at all, what is the purpose of “Who am I?” practice?
DI: If there is no ‘I’, so why to ask “Who am I?”?
N: What you think as ‘I’ is only mere thought. It is a mere thought. It is not a true ‘I’, it is not a real ‘I’. If you realize that there is no ‘I’ at all, you need not do self-enquiry “Who am I?”

DI: Chinese movement meditation can be helpful for my path?
N: Not only meditation, any path, if you follow sincerely and devotedly, it will lead to peace of mind – to God realization. Slowly and steadily you get Nirvana state. If you achieve desire less state, then you will get Nirvana state. Then you need not wear another body. Now you are body. If you have no desires of any kind, you need not wear another body. You need not have birth, you have no necessity to be reborn again, if there are no samskaras in you. If body is necessary to you, body will come. If body is not necessary to you, body will not come. To find out, put this question to yourself through introspection (inner enquiry). Anyhow, you asked me all these questions. Basically, you must have purity and concentration. You must have complete faith that there is only God. You must have faith in God without reservations – complete surrender then automatically, your body sense will drop away. In Christian and Muslim religions, they call ego sense as Satan. Satan will not allow you to acquire Jnana (self-knowledge). You asked so many questions, just remember this, don’t do any kind of bad always do good as long as you live, try best of your ability to purify your mind. Do nothing, try to think or see nothing, that would be unworthy of God’s presence. You must earn God’s Grace. You must earn God’s Grace.

DI: How much time should I be here in Jinnuru?
N: It is not a question of time. It is not a question of time. Time and space are not Truth. There is no truth in time and there is no time in Truth. There is no truth in space, and there is no truth in distance also. The question is not where your body is, but the question is where your mind is. Mind is important, not the physical body. Arunachala is a holy place, now why you left the Arunachala?

DI: To see you.
N: Arunachala is God. Arunachaleswara is God. I am also a jiva like you. You are a jiva, I am also a jiva. Why don't you stay more time in Arunachala?
DI: I came to see you but I understand.
N: Your favorite God is Arunachala?
DI: My ... God has no shape, no form, no name.
N: Yes, very good! Nameless and formless. God is both with a form and name, and he is formless and nameless also. But if you want to meditate, there must be an object to your mind. If there is no name and form that path also is good, but for you nameless and formless path is very difficult. God has no form and God has no name; and there is name and form also. If God is without form and without name, you can’t put your mind. You put your mind on one form constantly, and then your restless mind will be destroyed. Although God is nameless and formless, you must give (create) a name and form to God because it is the easiest path to get God realization. Name and form also leads to nameless and formless God.

DI: Yes, I understand. I have a name for God “Elohim” but I don’t know the form.
N: You have a name, God also has a name. If you have a name, God also has a name. If you are formless and nameless, God also is formless and nameless. (As long as he has a name and he is limited to that name, how can he reach the nameless God?)

DI: I have one more question to clarify. Two years I have been practicing self-enquiry (Who am I of Ramana Maharshi). Now what should I do with this path?
N: It helps you to meditation and to devotion. Self-enquiry also will help you in meditation. (Does he understand, tell him what he has done will not be wasted.)

DI: So should I still do self-enquiry small part of the day?
N: First you understand me. One thing you must understand – complete devotion, complete surrender, and complete dedication is not different from self-enquiry. Surrender path is easier than self-enquiry path. Surrender path is devotion path, and is more easy than self-enquiry. Complete devotion also will eliminate/ remove the body bound I.(Let me tell him). Your meditation, your devotion towards any God will remove and eliminate your body bound I. Did you understand?

DI: Yes.
N: You understood the subject now? You need not have any doubts.

(Ask him if all his doubts are cleared.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Abstracts from Vivekachudamani - II

As thoughts multiply, the ego also increases and vice-versa. If you contemplate upon worldly things, the ego will increase. If you contemplate upon Self or God, the ego will subside. The sun gives light equally to the good as well as the bad. However everyone make use of that light as per their nature. Suppose you water an orange tree, a banyan tree and an apple tree. Inspite of watering them, all the three trees will not yield the same fruit. The orange tree will yield oranges only and the apple tree will yield apples only and not any other fruits. Though the water is the same, the fruit is yielded based on the seed. Similarly,after arriving into this world, you act according to your nature. Though God bestows the same amount of opportunities upon everyone, the same amount of light upon everyone, what are they doing? Everyone is acting according to their habits and tendencies. Do you understand this? What does it mean? The Sun God is bestowing the same amount of light upon every one. Some people are utilizing the light for good purposes and some other for bad purposes. The Sun God is not asking the good people to do good and the bad people to do bad. They are acting according to their tendencies. There is no mistake of Sun God here. The same is the case even with God. God resembles a big rain. Several seedlings keep sprouting out according to their nature. Suppose there is a tube light. Some people utilize it for the sake of playing cards and some other people for reading the Gita. However the tube light does not dictate them either to play cards or to read the Gita. Therefore they are playing cards or reading the Gita according to their tendencies. They are in no way related to the tube light.

Similarly God is in no way concerned with your merit or demerit. Therefore if you work for attaining the Grace of God, God will bestow you with that thinking faculty which will facilitate in attaining Him. Remember this forever. Whether you speak any word with your mouth or do any work with your hands or think any thought with your mind, your goal should be to please God. As and when God is pleased, He will bestow you with good thinking faculty. Therefore you should work in order to please God. You may think that you are capable enough to do something. But everything happens according to the will of God. What one needs to understand is this. It is enough if you strive for your entire life and digest this single sentence.

This is the first teaching of Bhagavan Sri Ramana: "The entire Jivas act according to the dictate of God. Whatever is to happen will certainly happen. You are not the doer. God makes you act according to your body's destiny. If you understand this, your entire sorrow will subside and you will experience the Bliss." You should grasp this: ‘I am not the doer. God alone is the doer.’ You can do nothing. The ego cannot do anything. It is because the ego is powerless and the entire power belongs to God.

Without contemplating upon Self and God, if you start contemplating upon sensory objects, what will happen? You would like to enjoy them ie after getting the thought, you would like to enjoy the objects pertaining to that thought. If you don’t get the thought, you will not need enjoyment. Therefore only those who constantly contemplate upon sensory objects will get the desire to enjoy them. Without contemplating upon sensory objects, if you contemplate upon Self or God, your mind will get introverted. What does it imply? It implies that you will get rid of bhoga buddhi (the desire to enjoy sensory objects) and attain yoga buddhi (the desire to attain God). As and when, your contemplation upon sensory objects increases, your bhoga buddhi will also increase. In the same lines, as and when your contemplation upon God or Self increases, your yoga buddhi too increases. Then you will become a yogi. What will happen? You will become a Yogi.

Therefore Sri Acharya says: "Enjoy them and from that comes desire. How do you get the desire? Initially you contemplate upon sensory objects.You will feel a particular thing (sensory object) to be good within your mind.Then you start contemplating upon it. After contemplating upon it, you will get the desire to attain it. Without contemplating upon it, you cannot get the desire to attain it." Sit down calmly at your home. You are reminded of something or the other. You will get the desire to attain it. Without remembering it, without getting a thought to attain it, you will not get the desire to attain it. You will get the desire to attain it only after remembering it and contemplating upon it. If you do not contemplate upon it, you will not even get the thought of attaining it. Once you get the bhoga buddhi, once you get the desire to enjoy the sensory objects with your senses, the desire to earn more and more money keeps increasing within you. Whatever you see, you feel like attaining it. But who is the seer? It is the Jiva.

What is being seen? It is the nature. Therefore the Jiva is watching the world through his senses. As long as the Jiva remains intact, you keep on taking rebirth. That which is being seen is as much false as the seer. Then why are you taking birth again and again? It is because the nature does not get destroyed as long as the mind doesn't get annihilated. The mind does not die when the body dies. The mind remains intact. Therefore what does the mind need? It needs a body. The mind emerges from the heart and the body emerges from the mind. A bodiless person is devoid of the world and a mindless person is devoid of the body. Here you need to understand this: It is only the body which dies. The mind does not die upon the death of the body. It remains intact. The mind will again get the body according to its nature. On getting the body, it will regain the world. Do remember this: ‘As long as the tendencies (pertaining to Jiva) exist, one cannot stop getting rebirth.’ Rebirth which becomes inevitable may be good or bad. A good birth represents a good dream and a bad birth represents a bad dream. Both of them represent dreams only. However a dream will not chase you after waking up from the sleep. Similarly births and deaths, all the matters pertaining to nature, all the matters pertaining to waking state, will not chase you after attaining Self Realization. That desire engages you to possess and that engagement takes you away from your real Self. Then what will you do? Today you enjoy a particular pleasure and tomorrow you will feel like enjoying some other pleasure.

An American writer said thus: "How do some people enjoy the pleasures? They eat a mango. They first drink the mango juice. Some pulp is left within the mango's nut. They consume even that pulp. They keep on licking the mango's nut with the thought that there is some juice left over. The juice gets finished. They lick the mango's nut to such an extent that it becomes completely white (totally clean) and attains the stature of a dress that is neatly pressed by an iron box. Only then the mango nut is thrown away. Similarly some people neither contemplate upon God nor upon the Self. They keep enjoying the sensual pleasures. They keep on licking the nature and ultimately die.” Even death is of two types. If one is very careful about their food habits, they will die peacefully otherwise they not only trouble themselves but also trouble their family members before their death. Death is inevitable to both ie who take care of their food habits and those who don’t. But those who are careful about their food habits die without causing any suffering to others as well as without undergoing any suffering. However those who are negligent about their food-habits undergo a lot of suffering. Their body also experiences suffering. They ultimately die only after subjecting their family members to a lot of suffering.

Who am I? Who is that Jiva? The bhakti, jnana, Japa, dhyana (meditation), puja (worship) etc prevail only when the Jiva exists. When the Jiva doesn't exist, for whom is the Japa or dhyana or bhakti? The disease exists only when one possesses a body. How can the disease prevail when there is no body? The spiritual practices are needed only when one possesses the tendencies pertaining to Jiva. Why does one require spiritual practices when there are no tendencies? Only the sick need the medicine. Why do the healthy ones need the medicine? Thyagaraja said: "Oh! Rama, Oh! Sri Rama, when one is completely devoid of bad habits and bad tendencies by birth, why do they need any japa or tapas or mantra or tantra? Why do they need any spiritual practices?"

Some people enjoy being praised.Even it is a kind of bhoga buddhi. In order to get ruined, one need not possess a hundred bad habits. One bad habit is enough to get ruined. A single hole is sufficient for leakage of the entire water within a pot. The pot need not possess a hundred holes. Similarly one bad tendency or one bad habit is enough to get ruined. What Sri Acharya wants to convey is: "As long as you possess this bhoga buddhi to enjoy, as long as you consider enjoyment alone as your very goal, you will be distanced away from your very nature ie Self and from the Truth within.” As long as you possess the bhoga buddhi, you get carried away in the vicious cycle of birth and death. No one can protect you then. Recently a Mahatma revealed a secret: "If one can attain Self Knowledge by merely reading books, everyone would have become a Jnani by now. Until and unless one possesses the Grace of a Mahatma or a Sadguru or an incarnation or a good hearted person, one cannot attain Self knowledge.

What can these books do? The Holy Company, the Grace and the Love of an incarnation or a Jnani or a good hearted person or a person with good tendencies only can bring about Self Knowledge. Is Self Knowledge attainable by merely learning few books by heart? Don’t get carried away by such illusions." Bhagavan Ramana has said the same: "A chunk of meat trapped in the mouth of a tiger can never escape. Similarly you will attain Self Knowledge only when you are subject to the Grace, Love and & Compassion of a Mahatma but not merely through your chatting or discussion or book reading." Self Knowledge resembles a lamp. When a lamp exists, another lamp can be lightened using it. Similarly with the Holy Company of a Jnani you can get enlightened (lighten your lamp) through His Knowledge (using His lamp). Books cannot enlighten (lighten your lamp) you. As long as you possess bhoga buddhi, you will be distanced away from the Truth. Externally you may seem to be fine. You may be well honoured (ie you may be garlanded or taken out in processions). However you keep ruining in the source. Ensure that you will not get ruined in the source. These honours & dishonours are as truer as this body (or corpse) is true. Though the names, forms, attributes and colors of everyone are different, the Truth within everyone's Heart is one and the same. Only those who realize this Truth of oneness will become a Jnani, will get liberated and merge within God. Let me tell you a small secret. Don’t reveal it to anyone: Your family may constitute of several people. You may be viewing their bodies on a daily basis. When you view their body, you realize that you are not their body. Suppose you are seeing your husband's body. You realize that his body is different from that of yours. Is there anyone here who would like to say that their husband's body and their body are one and the same? No. Though he represents your husband, his body is different from that of yours. As you are very clear that your husband's body does not belong to you, if you realize that your body also does not belong to you, you will get liberated in this very birth.

Bhagavan Ramana possessed a body and evenwe possess a body. Bhagavan Ramana ate food and even we are eating food. Then how is Bhagavan Ramana different from us? Bhagavan Ramana had the same feeling towards his body that you get while wearing a shirt. That's the only difference. Whose shirt is it? You call it as 'mine; but never declare yourselves to be the shirt. Similarly a Jnani presumes that the bodybelongs to Him. As you are very clear in the heart of your hearts that the shirt belongs to you and you are not the shirt, even a Jnani is very clear in presuming that the body belongs to him and He is not the body.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Abstracts from Vivekachudamani - I

Don't forget your goal of attaining Self Realization. Are you forgetting to take food? No. Are you forgetting to wear clothes? No. Are you forgetting to take bath? No. Are you forgetting to watch movies? No. Similarly don’t forget the goal that needs to be attained. Describing the hardships that approach us on forgetting the goal, Sri Acharya says: " If the mind once forgets its own object, it goes out (& out & out, it goes out & out & out) just as a ball if it falls, rolls down (and down and down) the stairs and does not stop until it reaches the lowest step. Therefore, if you forget your very goal and your very nature ie Self; if you lose the yearning to attain God, the remembrance of God and thereby the goal of attaining God, Sri Acharya describes the hardships that descend upon you. Sri Acharya says: "Suppose the ball in your hand slips down, it will not stay here. Where will it go? It searches for the slope and moves down towards it. Thus it searches for the slope and moves down but does not remain still in the place where it initially fell down. Similarly once you forget your goal of attaining God realization, the eternal bliss, the eternal peace and the ideal of attaining Self Knowledge, you will degrade (in every birth, in every year and on every day) and attain the darker worlds resembling a ball that falls down from the hands and moves down towards the slope.

Look at the water. Suppose you pour down water, it does not stay still. It searches for the slope and travels down towards it. The same is the case even with a ball. You cannot stop the ball. Once you lose the yearning to attain the Supreme, the Self, the Divine, you will not know where it will lead you. You will deteriorate in this very birth. Therefore Sri Acharya says: "It goes, rolls down & down & down and does not stop until it teaches the lowest & lowest step." Sri Acharya implies that when you forget your goal of Self Realization, your life will degrade more in the forthcoming births; further and further in the births thereafter. Your journey will not stop until you get completely degraded. Thus you keep falling down on forgetting your goal.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Extracts from Nachiketanjali

In the verandah of the house nestled among coconut palms, sits an elderly man surrounded by men and women gazing at him silently. His countenance is flooded with peace and love as if from a secret well of joy in his heart. He embraces each with loving glances, showering additional benevolence on men and children with soft caresses. Gracefully accepting offerings from the visitors with the eagerness and joy of a child, he returns a portion to them and distributes the remaining among others sitting around. This is the daily routine of Sadguru Sri Nannagaru. Nannagaru (Nanna - father; garu - respectful title) as he is called endearingly, is the beloved Guru and father-figure for thousands of devotees who throng daily at his home seeking peace and guidance, both spiritual instruction and also advice for dealing with life’s challenges. No one leaves dissatisfied, their doubts cleared and turbulence in their hearts quelled. A look is enough to lighten their hearts, and inspire courage and confidence to face the world and their inner struggles.

Born on 23 September 1934 in Jinnuru village, near Palakollu in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, he had spiritual inclinations since childhood. In his early twenties, he saw an old man in a vivid dream whose overpowering presence remained with him even after waking. His quest to find this old man ended some months later when he saw a picture of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. He immediately surrendered to Ramana and dedicated his life to him. Ramana took him into his fold though they never met in person. Since then his spiritual journey intensified and he remained firmly established in the Self and God Consciousness, while continuing his duties as a householder to perfection, keeping his personal needs simple and to the minimum. Over time, his spiritual radiance attracted seekers, who experience deep peace and joy in his presence. As devotees grew in numbers, he started travelling across Andhra Pradesh and other States reaching out to devotees, while also respecting his family’s privacy. Hundreds attend his discourses regularly in Jinnuru and other places drinking in his every word.

Nannagaru frequently visits the holy town of Tiruvannamalai, where Ramana Ashram is located. Over the years his devotees established two ashrams to provide for seekers visiting this holy town – Andhra Ashram and Sri Nannagaru Ashram.

A glimpse of his teachings and Grace

Nannagaru stresses on the purification of mind. Change should come from within to attain the higher states and real happiness. Your behaviour pattern in daily life is what really matters, he advises. Results are determined by the motive behind actions, and not the action itself. Our fundamental aim should be to overcome likes and dislikes. These are the cause of fear;and fear results in pain and grief. True happiness comes when we overcome likes and dislikes and accept every incident in life with calmness, equanimity, and a positive outlook. The course of life, including birth and death, are pre-determined but we have the freedom to choose how we handle each incident in life – with a positive or negative attitude – and use these as opportunities for self-purification and spiritual upliftment; while also achieving worldly success in the bargain! But then he says our destiny is made by us! Our fate is a consequence of past deeds. One should be alert and careful of every thought, word and action. You have to bear the consequences of not only what you say and do but of every thought that comes to you.

The world he says is neither good nor bad; it is the way you see it based on your attitude. It serves as a mirror to show your faults and shortcomings; you have to make the effort and overcome them. True revolution does not happen from upheavals in society; it happens when each person strives to overcome his shortcomings and becomes pure and simple. Only that person can truly serve society. Good and bad deeds merely determine the course your life will take now and in future births. Good deeds however show you the right direction, while bad deeds distract you from the goal. To reach the final destination of Supreme Bliss and Awareness one has to rise above both good and bad.

He extols holy company as they aid your spiritual practice and under their influence your path is made smooth and easy. He cautions against friendships that can ruin you and divert you from the right path. He gives equal importance to Jnanamarga (path of self enquiry) and Bhaktimarga (path of devotion). Bhakti is Jnanamatha (mother of jnana) he quotes. Jnana without bhakti (knowledge without devotion) is dry and tasteless. Only a true bhakta (devotee) can attain jnana. Courage is required to be a true devotee and constantly contemplate on God without a single thought about worldly matters. Like a leaf that trembles at the slightest breeze, if the mind is even slightly disturbed by one thought, true devotion is not possible. True bhakti ripens into Universal love. Only he with universal love blended with compassion, can truly serve God and humanity.

While he focuses on Ramana Maharshi’s path of Self Enquiry and Bhagavat Gita, his spiritual instruction expands to include teachings of great Masters of all religions and faiths; including role models among social leaders and scientists. He gives us a deep insight into their greatness and contributions, inspiring us to reach the heights achieved by the great Masters and Leaders. He speaks the language of common man; the most profound philosophy and intricate spiritual concepts are made easy and followed even by the simple uneducated housewives in villages. The clarity of his instruction shows the depth of his understanding and wisdom.

A true father to his devotees, he takes keen interest in their personal well-being and shares in their joys and sorrows. He guides them like any responsible head of a family - applauds their achievements, corrects their faults, and shows the right direction, expecting nothing in return. Nannagaru’s silence is however more eloquent than his words, and his eyes have the power to teach and reform. While his followers have an unquenched thirst for his talks, they hold his silence even more precious. Many have experienced the miracle of his silence when they found total peace in his presence, their sorrows dissolved and mind driven inwards, as exemplified by an incident witnessed by a western seeker.

An old lady came to Nannagaru sobbing pitifully; totally devastated having lost her son. Nannagaru sat quietly through her outpourings of grief with a compassionate look. Gradually she calmed down, as he spoke a few words softly. In less than 15 minutes, she was totally relaxed and left with a smile - a miraculous transformation coming to terms with the worst tragedy for any parent. The immediate burning pain was soothed in Nannagaru’s presence, as naturally as a soft breeze blowing away a flame, giving strength and courage to overcome the deeper attachment and sorrow. He does not have to do anything, but just be there; and He has this effect on anyone who comes to him with a yearning – an automatic Divine action!

Courtesy - Sreedevi P