The Ramana Gita is perhaps the most important part of the heritage bequeathed by the Sage of Arunachala. The next consists of three hundred verses arranged in eighteen chapters. What we have now is the first English commentary and a fresh translation of Ramana Gita. The work not deals only with the philosophical content of the teaching. There is much practical import, the discipline to be adopted to realize the truth for oneself. Sri Natarajan provides both in introduction and his lucid commentary, significant background material for gainful appreciation of the discussions. The presentation should appeal to everyone who is attracted to this Path or even interested in higher values of life.
A special feature of this book is that the Sanskrit are a facsimile of Bhagavan Ramana’s handwriting.
Sri A.R. Natarajan is the President of the Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning and Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharshi Research Center, Bangalore. He is also the vice-President of the Ramana Kendra, Delhi from June 1982 to January ’86 he was the editors of the quarterly published by Sri Ramanasramam, The Mountain Path. A collection of these editorials have been Publication under the title ‘Divinity Here and Now’. His earlier works are the commentaries on Sat-Darussalam. Selection from Ramana Gita and Upadesa Saram, covering the core of the Maharshi’s Teachings. His biographical work is Bhagavan Ramana and Mother.
Silence was the language in which Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi communicated normally. Normally, because there were occasions when he did feel called upon to use verbal means, though they were few. The need of the person seeking help, his sincerity, the importance of the subject or the urge of truth seeking expression whatever the cause, he responded in speech. And these were recorded. We are fortunate that most of them have been recorded by grateful recipients of his Grane and are being made available to a thirsty humanity for peace and security. The Ramana Gita is perhaps the most important of this part of the heritage bequeathed by the sage of Arunachala.
A few disciples some advanced in yoga, some enlightened in the traditional manner, some involved in inner exploration some simply devoted sought answers for intricate questions from the Maharshi between 1913 and 1917. These proceedings were recorded by his premier disciple, Vasishtha Ganapathi Muni in his classical Sanskrit verse, on the mode of the Bhagavad-Gita For, here too the Teacher was one who spoke under a divine inspiration; the questioners were representatives of humanity at different levels; and the subject revolved round the supreme purpose of life i.e. abidance in the Self.
The text consists of three hundred verses arranged in eighteen chapters. A number of translations have appear3ed in various languages. The great work came to be commented upon in Sanskrit in 1941 by Sri Kapali Assyria who had, in earlier years, the inestimable privilege of close association with the Seer and learning many a yogic and occult truth from him. He wrote his commentary in three weeks under an imperative urge and it has since been published. What now we have is the first English commentary and a fresh translation of his Ramana Gita.
As is well known to the readers of Ramana literature, this work does not deal with the philosophical contact of the Teaching alone. There is much of practical import e.g. the discipline and the process to be adopted to reach the goal or realize the truth of oneself; the precise connotations of certain terms and concepts that are commonly wrongly understood by the popular mind. There are besides clear direction on the proactive of age ling social traditions, the position of women, and what is more fundamental, the status of Shakti as a Woman. There are a number of needed clarifications on the difference between the Brahmvidya as has come down in the line of the Upanishads and the Atmavidya as revealed, confirmed in experience, and communicated to the would verification and practice by the Maharshi.
Sri Natarajan provides, both in his introduction and lucid commentary, significant background materials for a gainful appreciation of the discussion. Commenting on the famous verse, hridays kuhara mashye (Chapter 2, verse2), for instance, he narrates an interesting incident which led to the composition of the verse, the first one by Bhagavan in Sanskrit. It appears a devotee (in 1915) wrote on a piece of paper a few words, Hridays Kuhara Madhye, but could not proceed further, however much he tried. He left the paper under the seat of the Sage and went out for a while. Imagine his surprise, on his return, to find that the verse had been completed by Bhagavan. It is now celebrated verse containing the essence of this Teaching. The Reality that glows as Self in the cavern of the Heart is be sought out by self-enquiry or concentrated plunge or using the regulated breath and made the sole base of one’s existence.
Another helpful feature of this commentary is the author’s summoning of help from the other sources of the Bhagavan’s Teachings, citing of supportive passages from scriptural texts. We do hope this publication will help a further spreading of the Message and promote an understanding study of the Sage’s utterance. Written in a simple style without abstruse philosophical and doctrinaire pronouncements, the presentation should appeal to everyone who is attracted to this Path or even interested in the higher values of life.
It is said that in the day of yore, Siva, as Dakshinamurti, the great God, chose to teach a handful of disciples, just four or them, the way to Self-knowledge. The Chandogya Upanishad talks of Sant Kumara, regarded as the knower of the Self, teaching just one hungry seeker, the sage Narada for, what matters is earnestness a total involvement, an exclusive to find out the truth, in this century, such a blessing fell on a small band of the Heart, from Ramana Maharshi. The setting was the Virupaksha Cave and Skandasraman on the Holy Arunachala Hill in the years 1913 to 1917. The questions were Ganapati Muni, Diverts Daivarata, Karshni Yoganatha, Kapali, Visalakshi, Vaidarbha and Amritanatha. Just eight of them but they have placed generations of spiritual seekers in their debt by covering the whole gamut of what matters for those concerned with Self-knowledge. The central figure was the Maharshi, towering and breath-taking in the beauty of his message. The air was thick with the rich aroma of his blissful presence, the ‘Ramana Lahari’.
The fragrance was not of the moment, like the fragrance of a flower or the scent of incense. For, the perfume of Ramana’s teachings is for the ages since the search for truth is as eternal as truth itself. Silence supreme silence, would be broken by the gentle and most apt words from Ramana. Crowds of brilliant ideas would queue up behind his inspired work which came from the depth of his direct experience. Replies would seldom be immediate. The penetrating glance of grace transferring the spiritual force would precede, to enlighten the questioner and through him every nook and corner of a spiritual problem.
Sri Ramana Gita is a scripture containing the teaching the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. The Upanishads set out the vision of truth of Vedic seers. Likewise Raman’s teachings were not the product of logical inference or interrelation of the existing scriptures but were based on the direct experience of self, his Self- Knowledge. Various doubts are expressed, often with surprising persistence perhaps because for the seeker the means everything of value in life. These questions and answers, numbering 300 with the verses of praise were composed by Ganapati Muni exquisite Sanskrit poetry that the parallel of Bhagavasd Gita composed by sage Krishna Dwaipayana to set out the message of Sri Krishna comes to the mind. The other famous Gitas Vitas like Ashtavakra Gita, Avadhoota Gita, Uttara Gita and Ribhu Gita set out the truth of Advaita of oneness of all life. Ramana Gita not only expounds the truth but it also serves as a guide for wise living, a guide for revolutionizing mental attitudes, for letting in the gentle southern breeze of peace and equanimity and for filling one’s being with a natural joy. The parallel with Bhagavad -Gita continues in this respect and also in the form and arrangement of the text. Ramana Gita is also set out in 18chapters in the dialogue from.
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi as he is known since 1907 was the second son of his parents Sudnaram Iyer and Azhagammal. He was born in the Christmas week on the 30th December 1879 and was named Venkataraman. From his birth he was intuitively aware of the glory of Arunachala of Siva though unaware that it had a geographical location in Truvannamali. In his teens when in the tenth standard fear of death gripped him suddenly and totally. This confrontation with death this face to face experience transformed him into the sage of steady wisdom. The sense of identification with the body the body which he could see being burnt and reduced to ashes ended with the simultaneous awareness that he was the deathless spirit This knowledge remained with him unswervingly throughout' the rest of his life like the basic note of music, as a steady under-current For 54 years till Easter Friday, the 14th April 1950, the day of Mahasamadhi, he remained accessible to all, day in and day out The« old hall' where he spent all the time was the scene of the quenching of the spiritual thirst of the vast multitude. The story of this ministration continues. As the guru present within, his guidance on the path is clear as daylight For, he is unsetting sun in the path of Self-knowledge through self-enquiry.
Ganapati Muni, the divinely inspired composer, was the son of Narasimha Sastry. He was born on 17th November 1878 in Kaluvarayi in Andhra Pradesh. At a young age he had mastered the scriptures, meditated on the meaning of many sacred mantras and observed hundreds of austerities. Yet, peace of mind was denied to him till he surrendered to Ramana, and learnt directly from him the truth about tapas, about penance.
Ramana himself has made it clear that the composition is authentic and that it records accurately the conversations. Once he remarked, 'Remembering such talks was child's play for him. He could listen to a long and intricate lecture and produce the gist of it accurately in the form of sutras not omitting anything of importance which had been stated; so remarkable was his power of memory. He must have reproduced Ramana Gita in that way.
Ramana Gita is a path finder in many ways. The matter dealt with covers such core subjects like 'paramount duty' 'science of the Heart', 'mind control', 'self-enquiry' 'cutting the knot' to mention just a few. A bird's eye: view of the contents will help in under- standing the profound significance of the work for a meaningful life.
Ramana emphasises that the purpose of all spiritual practice is to discover the natural state. What is this natural state? It is a state when the mind is silent, when bliss inundates, and the consciousness shines in all its fullness. Why natural? It is termed natural because it is one's own, not given and therefore it cannot be taken away. What hides it? The externalisation of the mind prevents awareness of the natural state. By appropriate spiritual practice the mind must be made to turn within. This is one's paramount duty. The best method for turning the mind within is self-enquiry. What constitutes self-enquiry? It is an enquiry about the subject, about the ‘I’. When attention is so focused on the'!' it would be seen to be the centre of the mind Other thoughts can exist only in relation to it The 'I'-thought and the mind are understood to be identical. Self- enquiry also reveals that what we call the mind is only a phenomenon of the waking state. It is non-existent in deep sleep. It rises on waking and sinks when sleep overtakes. Hence, the necessity for search for its source. This search would lead one to the spiritual Heart from which all thoughts spring. Ramana has explained, in great detail, the working of the spiritual Heart and how its consciousness spreads to the mind and thereafter permeates the whole body. The analogy of the sun and the moon is given.jo bring out the essential relationship between the spiritual Heart and the mind. The Heart is the source of consciousness and the mind only reflects it If the mind consciously merges in the Heart by vigilant self- enquiry a new way of life is thrown open. It is a Heart based life instead of a mind-centred life with all the limitations arising from attachment. Then it does not make any difference if one is in a jungle hermitage or in a London flat For, a steady river of bliss will flow through all actions.
The 'A to Z' of such a free and joyous life has been set out by Ramana so simply and so directly in Ramana Gita that one regrets the wasted years of spiritual wandering at wrong doors. One cannot comprehend how such a spiritual treasure house could have been relegated to the background so far. Perhaps the time has come now for each earnest seeker to savour its sweetness and to discover a lost natural sate of happiness.
There have been six English translations for the Ramana Gita from 1935 to 1977 but the only commentary was by Kapali sastri in Sanskrit in 1941. This book is the first English commentary on the Ramana Gita. A true blessing indeed to be given this opportunity. How can one repay the debt to the Maharshi?
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