Grace Alone is of Prime Importance | Sadhanai Saram | Sri Sadhu Om | Sri Ramana Maharshi
The following text is taken from the wonderful text Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice) written by Sri Sadhu Om. This text not only gives us the essence of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teaching, but also directs us to the true Vedanta teachings. The notes are written by Sri Sadhu Om himself.
- The ego is only a trivial entity; besides, it is unreal (asat) and powerless (asakta). It is a mere adjunct which rises and subsides. Therefore, what foolishness it is to think, “The spiritual practice (sadhana) done by the strength of this ego will by itself bestow the goal of life; the supreme power of divine Grace is not of any consequence (and is not necessary in order for one to attain the goal)”!
Note: Not believing Grace, but thinking one’s own individual effort alone to be of very great consequence, is mere foolishness.
- Is not the unreal help which one unreal man renders to another unreal man, experienced by everyone in this world as real? Therefore, O Sadguru, the embodiment of Grace, the sole reality, is it impossible for You to save me by dispelling the unreal ego? What doubt or wonder is there in Your being able to help me thus
Note: A man or jiva is merely an unreal appearance, and hence whatever help he may seem to render to another man is also unreal. But when such unreal help rendered by an unreal man is experienced by everyone as real, why should we doubt the ability of the Sadguru, who alone is truly real, to render us the real help of destroying the unreal ego? Such help from the Sadguru will certainly be experienced by us as more real than the help that we feel is rendered to us by others.
- Unless our Lord, Sri Ramana, who is the form of God, Himself bestows His divine Grace, who can by his own effort attain that heroic state of firmly abiding as Self, having clearly known one consciousness other than the body to be the real “I”?
Grace & Liberation | How the ego can use ‘Grace’ as an ego-preservation strategy
For other articles I have written on the role of Grace in liberation please see here.
I have seen that the idea that Liberation is all down to grace is often an ego-preservation strategy and excuse for the mind not to engage with the actual liberating teaching and practice.
Great sages like Sri Ramana always emphasised the need to listen to the Guru’s teaching and do the practice suggested as it is this which leads to liberation. Otherwise suffering continues indefinitely.
Teachings such as ‘no need to practice as all is already one’ and ‘no need to do anything as there is no-one to do anything’ just allow the present ignorance and suffering to continue unabated. These types of teachings give temporary relief at best, with the sense of individuality & suffering reasserting itself as the root ignorance has not been fully destroyed.
Grace is always here. Grace simply means the ever-present unchanging Self. We (the jiva or ego) must turn towards the Self to ‘activate’ Grace. The Self or Grace then does the last part by finally destroying the ego (the illusory sense of individuality), hence it is said ‘Liberation arises through Grace’, but we must turn within towards the Self first.
This is what Bhagavan Sri Ramana said again and again.
Otherwise it is just the ego-mind saying ‘all is one’, etc, etc, whilst the suffering and the sense of duality continues.
Grace of God vs Sadhana (practice) for attaining moksha (liberation)
‘It is mainly through enquiry (vichara) that he who is competent achieves knowledge of the Self; circumstance, time, and the grace of the Lord are but aids to the quest.’
~ Shankara (Vivekachudamani)
Tom: Some say that grace of god is required for liberation and so slacken and shy away from their sadhana. Grace of God is certainly needed, but Grace of God is always here. Shankara reminds us that it is Sadhana ie. Self-enquiry, that is the foremost factor that leads directly to liberation
The Role of Grace
Ultimately, it is all just due to Grace. Hearing the teaching, being interested in it, meeting a teacher… It is all due to Grace. Just be open and receptive to it.
Video: how these teachings work
All spiritual concepts are ultimately illusion – they are more food for the ego, for the apparent separate identity, that actually is not real. Is the seeker willing to go beyond these concepts? This video below explores this.
It is mysterious how these teachings work and result in liberation. There is an ‘X-factor’ about how it happens. We can call it The Grace of God or just say it is a mystery. When liberation comes it is impossible to suffer basically.
Before, you try not to suffer and then it becomes impossible to suffer. There is still a whole range of emotions, but there is no suffering.
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My Love. Faith & Jnana.
Perfection of Faith in God/Guru/Self is the same as Jnana (spiritual ‘knowledge’ or ‘enlightenment’).
You could say that one leads to another – faith and surrender leads to knowledge, or knowledge leads to surrender and faith – and these are both true on one level, but ultimately they are one and the same – where is the difference apart from on the conceptual level?
For me Faith in the Guru, my Beloved, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, overcame me quite spontaneously, without my asking, and clinging to Him and Faith in his Word and dwelling in His Presence became the Way and the Law and my Self.
For me, whilst I like to learn a bit about Ramana’s life and I enjoy reading his teachings, gazing at His Image and feeling His Presence has often been more powerful than all the written teachings and all my efforts put together.
Someone recently approached me at the end of one of my Satsangs/meetings and asked me which book would I recommend as being the best one to understand Ramana’s teachings. I told him that Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi and Be As You Are are two wonderful books, but when you open the book, the most important page is the one which has a photograph of Ramana on it (most of Ramana’s books contain a photograph of him in the first few pages).
Instead of reading all the teachings and trying to figure it all out, just look at His Image, feel His Presence!
We can read and listen to the teachings as much as we like, but I have found there is power in something else, something intangible – the Guru’s grace, the eyes of the Guru, His Divine Grace…
So, cling to the Guru, cling to His Teachings. For me, that means Sri Ramana Maharshi. If it suits you, if you are drawn to Him, Ramana, take Him up as your Guru. Look at His Image, give yourself to Him, if it feels right for you. Of if you have another Guru/God you are drawn to, do the same with him/her. Or if you cannot relate to a Guru or God, try relating to Life or the Universe or Universal Energy or something similar. See what happens and feel free to let me know too!
Ramana said that life often brings us to have faith in God, then God brings us a Guru, and the Guru then directs us back to our Self and we realise all is One. Of course, we do not really realise, rather the ‘we’ or the ‘me’ that is seeking Union disappears or ‘merges into Him’. There was only ever Him/Self/Guru/God/Oneness…use any word that suits you.
Ramana also said that if we are lucky enough to be blessed with faith in something, that is a blessing to us and we should seize that faith and lean on it with loving devotion, and not to allow it to wither away.
So I encourage you to look at His Image, surrender to Him, and let me know how it goes!
‘Perfection of Faith in God/Guru/Self is the same as Jnana’
With love and best wishes
A Non-Duality Teacher’s Perspective
I wanted to share with a bit of my perspective on ‘teaching’ or ‘sharing’ non-duality, if you will permit me to phrase it that way. These are some things I have noticed over past few years that I did not necessarily realise before I started to teach/share.
For those of you who have been following me for a while, you will know my expression does vary a fair bit. This variance seems to depend on who I interact with. The teachings seem to pour out of me spontaneously in response to interactions with seekers and their energy. Sometimes the response is absolute and uncompromising, other times it delves into the body-mind-world-psyche. Both can be deeply transformative, depending on where the seeker is at.
One curiosity is that in many ways I am actually not that interested in sharing this (if you can believe that!) but the sharing continues, for now at least. I find it is the seeking energy and questions that ‘pulls the teachings out of me’ and keeps me turning up to my own meetings. Even this post was written only due to certain interactions with seekers/seeking energy.
Interestingly (to me at least) when people express a simple and pure gratitude and love for ‘my teachings’ and for what ‘I share’ without putting me on a pedestal (please don’t do that!) I have noticed it often energetically impacts my body-mind and draws my body-mind to ‘teach’ more, even though at my core I don’t really care for gratitude or praise. I have often wondered if this is why traditionally gratitude and devotion to a guru is often encouraged. Even though I feel a strong devotion to Ramana Maharshi, devotion to a guru/teachings is something that I am very cautious about in general (and I don’t encourage it for the most part) due to the potential for abuse from the guru. However I never saw this aspect of the interaction until I started to share/teach myself and it is another thing that surprised me, so I thought I’d share it with you.
I must warn you that I have no idea what I am about to say a lot of the time, lol! But the feedback I often get is how I ended up saying the exact right thing at the right time. It’s continually surprising to me that what I express can be so helpful for some. I really don’t know how it all happens but am continually humbled and amazed by it! Often I hear ‘my teachings’ for the first time as I am saying them and think to myself ‘wow – that’s a great teaching!’
In addition to the verbal teachings, I have noticed there seems to be immense benefit that can occur with a direct interaction in the meetings that is beyond the words, irrespective of what is said. There can be a certain transformative energy in the meetings. Again, I’m not really sure how it works – to me it is like magic, a magical mystery! I’m still learning about this and how it all works, watching it unfold in front of me – I don’t think this is something I will ever understand, nor is there a need to understand it really (I’ll let you know if I figure it out). It is just the way things are, just what apparently happens – as I said, it’s a mystery.
I hope this post doesn’t come across as me being arrogant in anyway. I am not saying how great I am, but rather that these teachings I share are not really mine at all. They are magic! I’m sure I’m not that special in this regard, and perhaps many of you have also had similar experiences in sharing this or similar things? I’d be interested to hear from you about this. Yet I cannot deny the apparent value of what I share for one apparently stuck in illusion of duality and for the one who appears to be suffering.
On one level, no teaching is needed at all, as we are already whole and complete, lacking nothing, and the ‘I’ that is seeking is an illusion, as is the teacher and teaching. On another level, many have seemingly benefited from interacting with me – at least that’s the feedback I get – I am frequently told that peace comes forth, suffering and egotism drops away and liberation is realised, slowly slowly, wonderfully wonderfully. Often people approach me having had awakenings and spiritual experiences but remain deeply troubled or have seemingly endless doubts, but in just a few exchanges during meetings or 1 to 1s doubts are cleared and insight and illumination springs forth. What may have taken months or years of scraping around in books, YouTube videos and Facebook posts can sometimes be cleared directly in a relatively brief direct personal interaction. Amazing!
So, if you resonate with what I share, I do encourage you to come along and join me in one of my meetings. And if you do resonate, I encourage you to keep on coming back for as long as you need to and not turn away when the ego-mind says ‘I’ve got it now and so I don’t need to attend any more’. I try to make myself available through online meetings twice a month (the next one is this Thursday at 8pm UK time – see my timeline for details which I will post shortly), and also through online 1 to 1 sessions and in-person meetings in London twice a month.
That said, I am also sure there are many who probably gain very little from what I share and feel very little resonance. I guess this is just the way of things, and different (apparent) people resonate with different (apparent) teachers. So I make no promises – you were warned! And I trust that you will be discerning enough to find the teacher/teaching/path (or non-teacher/non-path!) that is right for you at any point in time – listen to your heart – the quiet unspoken voice-feeling in your heart – it will guide you – it is always guiding you
I wish you well whatever your path and journey, and invite you to attend a meeting with me, but only if you are drawn to do so. The hope is what I share is of benefit to you in reducing suffering and inviting and actualising Liberation.
Wishing you Love beyond love and Peace beyond peace
(ie. what you already are in Truth)
Namaste and with thanks
Oh Arunachala! Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Guru. Bhakti.
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi was often said to have had no guru, but he himself considered the mountain-hill Arunachala to be his Guru.
Ramana considered the actual form of Arunachala to be the divine Self, the Pure Consciousness dwelling in the Heart. This is a very strange notion for the rational Western mind, but for those who have tasted Bhakti, or devotional love, it makes complete sense.
Maybe some of you have experienced this: the Guru grips you, magnetically pulls you towards Him (or Her or It) and showers you with His Grace – you have no choice but to Obey. You somehow become convinced that the Guru’s form is itself the Absolute, the Pure Consciousness that Alone Is, and have no choice but to fall at His feet in Loving Devotion.
Ramana wrote very little himself, but of his written works he did write several devotional poetic works effusively praising and thanking Arunachala, his Guru, for bestowing the Guru’s Grace and swallowing him whole.
Grant us the good fortune to fall in Love with Thee!
To experience your Grace!
I am blessed with knowledge of your form!
May I spend my days contemplating your form!
May your Grace continue to pull me towards you and consume me in Divine Love!
May I attain that Great Peace, my Own Very Self, in your Loving Embrace!
You are Arunachala!
You are the True Guru!
You Dwell in me as Me,
Unchanging Pure Consciousness Love!
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya Om
Here is a video in which the above post is read by a devotee:
Divine grace flow ceaselessly
Divine grace flows ceaselessly in silence, when the ego-mind is quiet and inactive.
When thoughts quieten, and the identification as being a body-mind is no longer active, that is BEING: waves of bliss-peace-grace emanate from the spiritual heart, all consuming, all healing, all purifying, self-enlightening.
When it is deeply realised that true peace does not come from worldly things including experiences and knowledge, and that our very essence is pure unalloyed happiness, the seeking mind naturally quietens as it no longer is seeking happiness outside of itself. Then what else shall we do but remain but as our Self, BEING, pure consciousness, overflowing in bliss?
Seeking pleasure ‘outside’, that is seeking pleasure and fulfilment in objects, including subtle objects such as experiences and knowledge, only means you have not realised that happiness, love and grace are your essential nature and naturally manifest when the mind is still.