Dr. Pillai is a multi-faceted personality holding a Doctorate in Economics, a Masters in Psychology and Bachelors in Chemistry and Physics. He is a senior serving bureaucrat and has authored many books and articles on value Added Tax. His first book on rational spirituality entitled, “Mystic Awareness For The Modern Mind” has been widely acclaimed as a “pathfinder to an enriched existence”. His later book, “ Upanishads For the Modern World”, has been complimented as “ a masterly study of a highly complex theme”. It has been recommended to “the inquisitive explores of knowledge interested in understanding more about the meaning and purpose of life”.
Dr. Pillai presents in this book, the rational mode of spirituality of Sri Ramana Maharshi that conforms to the advanced scientific knowledge of reality. He hopes that the scientific worldwide explained here will offer the intelligent youth a new vista of spiritual life that does not entail total renunciation of material comforts and conveniences. Dr. Pillai has been conducting interactive sessions on Stress Management and Spiritual Awareness to restore the moral values that are neglected in our relentless pursuit of material pleasures. This book will also support the cause of spiritual rehabilitation of Aids Victims.
At the very outset, let me tell the reader that this book should not be mistaken as an official biography of the great sage, Shri Ramana Maharshi. It does not even attempt to give an informal account of his life and spirituality; which is discussed extensively in many books. You may then ask, what is it all about? The introduction is to give a brief explanation of the purpose.
Within the limited space of a book, I am trying to outline the unfolding of the mind of the great mystic, Shri Ramana Maharshi. Some incidents in his life are discussed to indicate the stages of evolution of his consciousness from the ordinary to the sublime. But the main objective is to explore the current relevance of his spiritual quest, which relied upon a scientific approach to understand the unknown. He intuitively followed the flawless logic of self enquiry while transcending spontaneously to the stature of a Mahatma or the great soul. After reaching the pinnacle of realization, he continued a normal life in a materialistic milieu as true knowledge had demolished all undesirable egoistic tendencies based on the ignorance of reality What the modern world needs, I am sure, is his scientific attitude to spirituality that can unravel the complex existential issues in a rational perspective. It is high time to reintroduce his compassionate vision, as currently some religious world views are assiduously promoting global terror and destruction. His message can perhaps mitigate unnecessary violence being unleashed all over the world in the guise of defending archaic faiths and practices.
The extraordinary behavior of an enlightened person naturally arouses the curiosity of his contemporaries. Some may find divine presence in such uncommon personages; but many condemn them as eccentrics of little consequence to any one. Faithful followers expect them to perform miracles by invoking divine intervention. They presume that realized persons, who have good connectivity with the almighty, can solve all physical and mental problems of devotees. It is an easy way out of the muddle of life without the arduous mental efforts required for self-realization.
Such wishes are extremely selfish, but are essentially a part of human indulgence. For the majority, spiritual way of life means blind faith in some supernatural person or principle without analyzing the rationality of inherited and acquired convictions. They trust that unwavering and unquestioned adherence to the chosen faith can take care of all problems of life. Sri Ramana Maharshi did not oblige such disciples nor did he encourage seekers of divine favors. His silent gaze, like that of the Chinese mystic Lao Tzu, was all that they got in return to the display of intense obeisance. He occasionally replied to some spiritual queries to clear a genuine doubt; but generally exhorted the followers to search their own minds to reach sustainable solutions. Some thought he was crazy; but truly all sages appear so to our materialistic perception!
I deeply fell in love with this great visionary when I read a book on his life and philosophy. His picture on the cover exuded spiritual radiance and infinite compassion of a transcended soul. I said to myself, “ Here is a truly realized person that I was always eager to identify with as a role model of spirituality.” My mind connected to his fully evolved consciousness instantaneously and in that blissful state of unity, all that I learnt from other great masters was totally forgotten. Even today, I go on gazing at his benign face that reveals to me, albeit silently, all secrets of existence.
In my endeavor to understand the spiritual wisdom, I came across the life and teachings of many great mystics. I found that the initial enlightening experience they received created differential impacts leading to evolution of consciousness in diverse directions. After self-realization, some of them became so spell bound with the revelation of reality, that they totally detached themselves from the material dimensions of existence. They were fully convinced about the utter futility of propagating their vision in one form or the other. The followers were told to seek and experience the same kind of enlightenment through intense meditation and self-enquiry.
Some others like Buddha, reached out to the common people to uplift their wretched existence with appropriate advises. The immense compassion and concern of such great souls created instant rapport with the masses and millions followed their path of serving spiritual succor to the poor and ignorant. They empowered the layman with the fortitude to overcome the vicissitudes of life.
Many institutions were set up by disciples to propagate the spiritual instructions of great sages like Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Prophet Mohammad. Unfortunately, the followers faltered to relate the vision of their masters to the emerging scientific knowledge that undeniably enriched the material world. The insistence of the established institutions of great faith for strict compliance to archaic ideas and practices actually eroded the spiritual interests of the intelligent youth.
The new age wizards of technology are naturally drawn towards more rewarding material pleasures and competitive activities. Science cannot be blamed for the loss of spiritual awareness in the modern world; the basic cause is the irrational interpretation of life by the multitude of faiths. Mythology and folklore cannot explain the complexity of natural phenomena that science has accurately unveiled for our comprehension. No wonder, the modern youth do not find any worthwhile moral instructions or value system in their inherited faiths set in an ambience unknown to their rational perspective. The mind that perceives lot of pleasurable experiences in material life does not find any moral compulsion to follow the inherited faith that is miserably out of time with the Scientific knowledge.
The spiritual experience of the great Chinese mystic Lao Tzu, who is endearingly called the grand old master, is similar to Sri Ramana Maharshi’s transcendence. Taoism, which originated in China in circa 500 BC, probably contains a modified version of his spiritual thoughts. His personal contribution was about 5000 Chinese characters titled “Tao Teh Ching,” which means the way and its power. One can finish reading it in an hour or so and still go on wondering what it all meant. The old master never bothered o reveal the exact import of his mystic thoughts and no organization was created to elucidate or promote his, philosophy. But Chinese culture still bears the profound impact of the great vision of Lao Tzu.
In contrast, we find that Confucius, another great Chinese contemporary of the old master, tried to enlist the support of the mighty and powerful rulers to propagate his wisdom. I mentioned the differences in their approach to underline the fact that spiritual awakening may at times induce reticence that prevents propagation of the vision among the masses. We shall try to understand the detached attitude of some mystics who felt no urge to popularize their realization for the benefit of common man.
For about 45 years, the great Buddha relentlessly tried to teach the righteous way of life and founded a religion based on rational spirituality without invoking the concept f God. It was definitely a difficult task to convey true spirituality to his followers, who always looked forward to miracle cures and sooth saying from their divine icons. In the olden days, some super natural credentials were essential to introduce any kind of spirituality to people predominantly driven by the basic instinct of survival. The innumerable divisions in Buddhism and the legends on his superhuman deeds totally conceal the great secular spirituality of his vision and compassionate mission. The relentless efforts of a great mystic got mired in ritualistic practices of monks, who keep aloof from the ignorant masses in pursuit of spiritual wisdom.
After self-realisation, Shri Ramana Maharshi mentally abandoned the phenomenal world including his personal identity. His detachment was so complete that he even shed his clothes and wore a mere codpiece just for the sake of modesty. He lived a normal life allowing even his mother and brother to stay with him, and unlike many other mystics, took personal care to ensure that his followers were comfortable. We do not know whether the legends on the life and spirituality of great masters of the past were facts or mere fiction created by credulous and overzealous followers. But the life of Shri Ramana Maharshi being very recent is an open book that can be verified by anyone.
That is why I have ventured into a scientific analysis on the amazing evolution of his awareness. After enlightenment, his consciousness seemed to have taken a quantum jump, which took him far beyond the human tendency to spread newly acquired thoughts. The fact that he remained in the same place throughout his lifetime indicates how his mind overleapt the barriers of space and time. His intuitive vision of reality made redundant any further pursuits, as his mind settled comfortably in the goal of all spiritual quests.
However, even in total detachment, he was fully accessible to any person at any time. He identified himself with the eternal existence of universal consciousness and suggested that others could also reach the kind of spiritual experience through the path of self-enquiry. No short cut was prescribed to achieve spiritual wisdom. His advises, which were mostly in reply to the queries of devotees, reveal the highest level of rational wisdom on a vast variety of subjects.
From various incidents described in his biographies, we come across several instances that indicate his extreme compassion to all forms of life. They reveal the underlying kindness in his attitude rather than aloofness from all affairs of the world. It is true that his intuitive awareness far exceeded the level reached by many mystics of the past, but all the same, he did not feel the compulsion to convey his convictions or ask the public to emulate his experience of realization. We will find towards the end of the book, the act mental processes that harmoniously held his vision I mortal life together in a continuous state of bliss.
I wish to clarify here that the purpose of my mission to ore the evolution of the mind of a Mahatma is not to make the reader his ardent disciple or admirer. I am trying to give a scientific perspective of the great mystic to inspire the modern youth to follow the path of self-enquiry that can easily uplift mundane existence to an exciting spiritual experience. More than anything else, I wish to point out the possibility of harmonious blending of spiritual enlightenment with a normal life in the modern world, which many people believe is an impossible target. Fro the more advanced seekers. I have also presented the rational approach of two great ancient mystics that more or less prescribe the same path for realization. It is only to demonstrate that true realization is beyond the constraints of space-time and that the ultimate goal is unalterable even if the approaches are different.
In spite of our almost complete scientific knowledge on the physical world, utter confusion still prevails on the origin, destiny and the purpose of life. The obvious irrationally of religious worldviews does not help us in any way to resolve the conundrum. Sri Ramana Maharshi’s simple and rational approach towards self – realization may appeal to the modern youth for its contemporary relevance and scientific interpretation of existence. I hope my analysis of his transition will help them appreciate the need for upgrading the quality of material life with spiritual values that can create a compassionate perspective.
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