Guided Meditation: A Wonderful & Joyful Way to Liberation (with devotion to Sri Ramana Maharshi)

A wonderful and joyful way to liberation. With loving devotion to Guru Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Please allow these words to wash over you – if you have difficulty hearing the words please turn the volume up!

Namaste and love to you all

To see all the guided meditations I have created please see the Guided Meditation playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TomDasNonduality/playlist

How to turn within | Self-Enquiry & Samadhi | Ramana Maharshi

Tom answers a question asked by a participant and clarifies what is means to ‘turn within’.

This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das and put together by volunteers.

To attend satsang, see here: https://tomdas.com/events

For guided meditations see the ‘guided meditation’ playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TomDasNonduality/playlists

For recommended reading for liberation see here: https://tomdas.com/2020/10/19/recommended-reading-books-for-enlightenment-liberation-and-self-realisation/

To book a 1 to 1 session with Tom see here: https://tomdas.com/nondual-spiritual-counsellor/

On ‘Cutting the Knot’ | The Nadis, Sushumna and Self-Realisation | Sri Ramana Gita PDF download| Sri Ramana Maharshi

SRI RAMANA GITA

CHAPTER NINE
ON CUTTING THE KNOT

1. On the night of the 14th of August, I put a question to Maharshi regarding granthibheda [severance of the knot] on which even the learned have doubts.

2. The effulgent Bhagavan Sri Ramana Rishi, listened to my question, thought for a while and in his divine way spoke.

3. “The nexus of the body and the Self is called the granthi. It is only by this connection with the Self that one is aware of the body.

4. This body is insentient. The Self is pure awareness. The connection between the two is deduced through the intellect.

5. O child, enveloped by the diffused light of pure awareness, the body functions. Owing to non-apprehension (of the world) in sleep, (swoon) and so on, the location of the Self has to be inferred.

6. Even as the subtle forces like the electric current pass through visible wires, the light of awareness flows through a nadi in the body.

7. The effulgent light of pure awareness, taking hold of a centre, lights up the entire body as the Sun illumines the world.

8. Owing to the diffusion of that light in the body, one has experiences in the body. That centre of radiation the sages say, is the Heart.

9. From the play of forces in the nadis one infers the flow of the light of awareness. The forces course through the body each hugging its special nadi.

10. The particular nadi through which pure awareness flows is called sushumna. It is also called atma nadi, para nadi and amrita nadi.

11. As the light pervades the entire body, one gets attached to the body, mistakes the body for the Self and regards the world as different from oneself.

12. When the discerning one renounces attachment and the identification of himself with the body and pursues one-pointed enquiry, a churning starts in the nadis.

13. With this churning of the nadis, the Self gets separated from the other nadis, and clinging to the amrita nadi alone, shines forth.

14. When the effulgent light of awareness shines in atma nadi alone, nothing else shines except the Self.

15. Anything that appears before (such a jnani) has no separate existence. He knows the Self as clearly as the ignorant one his body.

16. He for whom the atman alone shines, within, without and everywhere, as (clearly as) objects to the ignorant, is called one who has cut the nexus.

17. The nexus is two-fold; one the bond of the nadis, the other mental attachment. The perceiver, though subtle, perceives through the bond of the nadis the entire gross world.

18. When the light, withdrawn from all the other nadis, dwells in one nadi alone, the bond (between awareness and the body) is sundered and the light abides as the Self.

19. As a heated iron-ball appears as a ball of fire, this (body) heated in the fire of Self-enquiry shines as the Self.

20. The old vasanas pertaining to the body, (mind and so on) are destroyed. Being free from body-consciousness one never has the sense of doership.

21. Since such a one has no sense of doership, his karma, it is said, is completely destroyed. As nothing but the Self exists, no doubts arise for him.

22. Once the knot is cut, one is never bound again. This is considered the state of power supreme and peace supreme.”

This is the ninth chapter entitled ‘ON CUTTING THE KNOT’ in Sri Ramana Gita, the Science of Brahman and the Scripture of Yoga, composed by Ramana’s disciple Vasishta Ganapati.

Why is Self-Enquiry sometimes so difficult to practice? | Sadhana | Sri Sadhu Om | Sadhanai Saram

242. When we are lacking in earnestness or faith (sraddha), whatever practice (sadhana) we may take to will appear to be equally difficult. But if our earnestness is firm and one-pointed, no sadhana will be felt to be difficult, and without any aid we will be able to remain firmly established in the state of Self-abidance.

243. Where there is a will, there is a way. That is, if a sincere liking to attain something arises in one’s heart, a path whereby one can attain it will also be found, and because of that liking one’s mind will unceasingly seek the goal until it is attained. Only when the liking to attain that goal does not truly arise in one’s heart, will one experience difficulty in the practice (sadhana) or means adopted to attain it. Know that this is the secret underlying all methods of practice.

244. To the extent to which one approaches and lives close to true devotees, to that extent will the liking arise in one’s heart to attain salvation, the real goal of human life. By having more and more association with such true devotees, that liking will gradually increase until finally one will attain salvation by abiding firmly in Self.

The above are verses from the wonderfully clarifying text Sadhanai Saram, written by Sri Sadhu Om, a direct devotee of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. You can read the full text here.

I have not written any commentary on the above verses as hopefully the meaning of the verses are self-evident, and any lack of clarity can hopefully be remedied by simply reading the verses more slowly and reflecting upon them.

Using Breath for Self-Attention or Self-Enquiry | Pranayama |Ramana Maharshi | Sadhanai Saram | Sri Sadhu Om

In Satsang this week some people were asking about the relationship between the breath and Self-Enquiry – this prompted me to put the following verses and videos together which hopefully gives the full context for the teachings.

The Breath and Self-Enquiry

229. If one takes to Self-attention, the practice of keenly observing only the consciousness ‘I’, then one need not perform any other practice (sadhana). But let those who cannot take to this practice of Self Attention from the very outset, practice for a short while either repetition of mantras (japa) or watching of the movement of the breath, and then let them give up all such practices and cling only to Self Attention.

231. For those who attend keenly to both the inward-going and the outward-coming movements of the breath, the length of both these movements will decrease, and within a short time the breath will be rising and subsiding only within a very slight manner. If they attain this state, it is a sufficient sign (to show that the agitated activity of the mind has decreased). (Therefore at that stage let them give up attending to the breath, and let them attend instead only to the Self.)

234. Relating to the breath, there are two suitable methods of practice (sadhana): one method is, after watching the movements of the breath for a short while, in order that the raging activity of the wavering mind may subside, to leave that breath attention and to engage in Self-attention. The other method is to attend within oneself to the one power that draws in and pushes out the breath, knowing that that one power is not other than the consciousness ‘I’. For some people these methods are appropriate.

The True Path

230. The path that Sadguru Sri Ramana was for fifty-four years repeatedly teaching to us for our salvation was only this primary practice of Self-Attention. Know that the practice of watching the breath was only one among the hundreds of thousands of other methods that He taught so as to guide on the path towards salvation even those people who were not ready to come to the path of Self-inquiry, which alone was His principle teaching.

236. For those who listen and pay heed to what Sri Ramana Bhagavan has said, the path of Self Inquiry is very easy. Only to those who ask, ‘What is this path? What is that path?’, having already confused their mind by learning so much, does it become necessary to teach all the other superficial and extroverted methods of sadhana saying, ‘First subdue the breath (by practicing pranayama), subdue the tongue (by observing silence), and subdue the mischief of the mind (by practicing meditation).’

Developing One-Pointedness through Self-Attention

238. If the mind practices any one thing incessantly, it will naturally gain one-pointedness in that one thing. However, rather than any external object, the first person consciousness ‘I’ is alone the most worthy thing for the mind to have as the target of its attention, is it not? By taking any second person object, such as the movement of the breath, or the right side of the chest, as the target of its attention, the mind will attain only a state of temporary absorption in that object.

239. The state in which the mind, by the strength of practice (abhyasa-bala), abides or immerses itself in the attention to any second person object, however exalted that object may be, is only a state of temporary absorption of the mind (manolaya). On the other hand, by abiding in the state of Self-attention, the natural state of true awakening, the state of destruction of the mind (mano-nasa) will be attained. Since this natural state of Self Knowledge alone is our goal, cling firmly only to this flawless practice (sadhana), or incessantly thinking ‘I, I’.

240. The one-pointedness of mind, which is gained by the practice of repetition of a mantra (japa) or meditation (dhyana), will also be gained by practicing Self-inquiry; but in a very easy manner without the need of any restriction or restraint, such as those that are to be observed while practicing other methods of practice (sadhana). Rather than the common existence-consciousness ‘I am’, which is always experienced by all people, what more worthy and easy target of attention (dhyana-lakshana) is now needed?

241. Whatever kind of person they may be, everyone says, ‘I am’; so what obstacle can there be for anyone to attend unceasingly to that Self- consciousness ‘I am?’ Therefore, without giving room for even an iota of doubt, attend with love and joy only to your own being.

The above verses are taken from the wonderfully clarifying text Sadhanai Saram by Sri Sadhu Om, a direct devotee of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. You can read the entire text here.

Therefore, without giving room for even an iota of doubt, attend with love and joy only to your own being.

NOT ‘THIS’, ONLY ‘THAT’

Some say that all is One already, All is Divine, so no need to give anything up, no need to do anything. Whilst there is a truth in this, and whilst this type of teaching can provide us some limited time-bound relief (which is good as a start), it is almost always an ego-preservation strategy: the thinking mischief-causing mind is allowed to continue with its ideas and concepts and beliefs about ‘this’, and the genuine thought-free Blissful Realisation of That Which Always Is, is postponed yet again. Suffering and duality continue, apparently, and we remain stuck in illusion, apparently.

Why ‘apparently’? Because in Reality there was never any ignorance, any delusion, any duality or any suffering. Only Blissful Being ever really is.

‘This’ never was (referring to objective phenomena/maya).

There is only That (Divine Formless Spirit)…
…and That Thou Art.

To realise this is very simple: (1) Surrender all to the Him (or Her or It), (2) allow the mind to become first happy, then very calm and still, and then (3) enquire into yourself as per instructions of Bhagavan Guru Sri Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan Ramana summarises the teachings using the Biblical phrase ‘Be Still and Know I Am God’

Om Tat Sat
🕉

Swami Sarvapriyananda: Seeing the eternal in daily life not just in samadhi

Also see: Does Swami Sarvapriyananda teach the same as Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna?

Above is a nice presentation from Swami Sarvapriyananda, but this in my view this is actually a distortion of genuine vedanta teachings. I do want to be respectful towards Swamiji as I think he is doing a great job sharing Vedanta teachings – he is raising awareness of and popularising Vedanta in a very accessible and approachable way – and he is also a gifted teacher who is benefitting many – so I hope I will not offend anyone by merely stating an alternative view that I also hope will be of benefit to those seeking liberation (see the link above for more on my view of these types of teachings).

Imho these ‘Vedanta’ teachings are predominantly on the intellectual plane only and the genuinely infinite and blissful nature of the Self is not revealed with this type of teaching. The Jnana (knowledge) of the scriptures is not mere intellectual knowledge, as suggested by Swami Sarvapriyananda, but a synonym for Self-Realisation which is beyond any intellectual comprehension and does not depend on the mind/thought. Jnana is not merely a change in a point of view, but something much more radical and fundamental than this.

eg. there is a direct contrast between Swami S’s teaching in the video and with that of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who I consider to teach the genuine Vedanta teaching, as taught in the Upanishads and by Sri Shankaracharya. The following is taken from Sri Ramana’s text Who Am I? – can the teachings be any clearer? See how it contrasts to the exposition given, eg at around 23:40 mins into the video above where Swami S states the world/’what is seen’ need not be removed:


Questioner. When will the realization of the Self be gained?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer.

Questioner: Will there not be realization of the Self even while the world is there?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: There will not be.


Questioner: When will the world which is the object seen be removed?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition’s and of all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear.

This teaching is given by Sri Ramana as ignorance is only removed when we turn away from Maya and towards the Subject-Self, and thus discover what we truly are beyond the mind and objective phenomena. Sri Ramana is also telling us that the entire world is in fact an illusory projection of the mind, something that he further explains in the text ‘Who am I?’.

Ironically, this teaching given by Swami Sarvapriyananda is also in direct contrast to Swami Vivekananda (the founder of the organisation Swami S is in) who again and again explained the need for Samadhi, eg:


‘The conclusion of the Vedanta is that when there is absolute [ie. nirvikalpa] samadhi and cessation of all modifications, there is no return from that state’

Or contrast this with Sri Shankara, the founder of ‘modern’ Advaita Vedanta, in his commentary on the Katha Upanishad 2.1.1:

‘…The group of sense organs, beginning with the ear, should be turned away from all sense-objects. Such a one, who is purified thus, sees the indwelling self. For it is not possible for the same person to be engaged in the thought of sense-objects and to have the vision of the Self as well

Guru Ramana gives a rather cutting teaching in Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 599:

599.
The innocent girl-bride thinking that
Betrothal is full conjugal union
Is filled with joy. Even so the learned
Who have yet to turn within and taste true bliss
Claim that the verbal wisdom which they prattle
Is advaita jnana.


See here for more many more quotes like this from Sages such as Sri Shankara and the Upanishads: Do we need to turn away from the world of objects to realise the Self? | Advaita Vedanta | Sri Ramana Maharshi | Upanishads | Shankara

There is no knowing or realising the Self | Sri Ramana Maharshi

People speak of knowing the Self, or Self-Realisation, but knowing the Self is just to Be the Self. To Be the Self is just Pure Being devoid of objective phenomena. In this there is no knowing or realising, just Being.

Here are some verses from Sr Ramana Maharshi’s Upadesa Saram (30 verses on the Essence of Spiritual Instruction):

25. Seeing oneself free of all attributes [objects]
Is to see the Lord,
For He shines ever as the pure Self.

26. To know the Self is but to be the Self,
For it is non-dual.
In such knowledge
One abides as that.

27. That is true knowledge which transcends
Both knowledge and ignorance,
For in pure knowledge
Is no object to be known.

28. Having known one’s nature one abides
As being with no beginning and no end
In unbroken consciousness and bliss.


See here for the full 30 verses of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Upadesa Saram which summarises the entire teaching