Posts Tagged ‘Deuteronomy 6:4’
~ Ron’s Memoirs
“You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings.”
“Have love for everyone, no one is other than you.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“One day, it was suddenly revealed to me that everything is pure spirit.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, “God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal; that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep; and that He is beyond all these.” …. “God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
How can the divine Oneness be seen?
In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles?
The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way.
If you are willing to be lived by it, you will see it everywhere,
even in the most ordinary things.
~ Lao Tzu
“True yogis, uniting their consciousness with God, see with equal eye,
all living beings in God and God in all living beings.” . . .
“For those who see me everywhere and see all things in me,
I am never lost, nor are they ever lost to me.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapters 6:29-30, Krishna to Arjuna
“The supreme purpose and goal for human life
is to cultivate love.”
“He is born in vain, who having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.”
“Try to cultivate love of God. You are born as a human being only to attain divine love.”
“Unalloyed love of God is the essential thing. All else is unreal.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa
Ron’s Introduction to “Seeing GOD”
This memoirs posting about “Seeing God” is inspired by the timeless teachings of famed 19th Century Indian holy man and Avatar, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, which have helped me and countless others.
(See key quotations above and at “Sri Ramakrishna’s Timeless Wisdom”)
Sri Ramakrishna often experienced communion with the Divine, and from this rare perspective taught that God is immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE.
Beginning with the following essay-poem about “Seeing God”, this memoirs posting explains why I’ve long experienced great inspiration and felt affinity with Sri Ramakrishna as a Supreme ascetic exemplar of Divine devotion; and it recounts my post-awakening history of gradually perceiving everything as Divine and Holy. The posting includes an attached appendix pdf, about Ramakrishna’s history and his teachings.
Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual Truth teachings have already helped millions of people transcend fearful mental sufferings. And in the current unprecedented post-pandemic polarized and fearful era these teachings can help countless more humans find peace of mind by realizing that everyone and everything is Divine and Holy.
Thus today’s posting about “Seeing God” is deeply dedicated to helping us fearlessly realize – and possibly perceive – that everyone and everything is Divine LOVE!
And so may it be!
Q. What is God?
A. What isn’t God?
Q. Is it possible to see God?
A. Is it possible to not see God?
God is ONE: God is All –
God is immanent in and manifest as
everything and everyone everywhere.
So, everyone sees God everywhere.
But few know it.
Ron’s audio recitation of “Seeing GOD”
Ron’s explanation of “Seeing GOD”
Before my mid-life spiritual awakening I’d never imagined seeing God, nor wondered whether that was possible. But after the awakening (and previously unimagined mystical experiences) I’ve gradually realized that everyone and everything we perceive is pure spirit, Divine and Holy; that God as Universal Awareness is immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE. And because of that realization, though physically limited I’m psychologically happier now than ever before in this almost 90 year lifetime.
Encouraged by my Guruji to share spiritual learning experiences, I’m hereafter chronologically outlining the high-points of my history of gradually finding growing happiness by seeing everything as Divine and Holy.
Beginning during my pre-adult Jewish acculturation, I accepted the core monotheistic Bible proclamation:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is ONE.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4
Whereupon, I instinctively conceived of “God” as formless and invisible, and assumed it impossible to perceive God. And, until after my mid-life awakening, I didn’t understand Jesus’ esoteric pronouncement that “I and the Father are ONE” [John 10:30]. But after the awakening, that gradually happened.
Beginning after midlife.
In summer 1976, while crying for God with total surrender on a Yosemite mountain top, I beheld within (but did not merge with) the previously unimagined Divine light of ten thousand suns. Thereafter I believed I’d inwardly seen God as formless luminescence, but continued to assume it impossible to outwardly perceive God.
Then, following my 1982 ‘trip of a lifetime’ pilgrimage to India, I discovered the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, and began wondering about possibly “seeing God” outwardly. I hadn’t yet learned about Sri Ramakrishna before traveling to India. But that happened when our tour group visited Dakshineshwar, his long-time residence place outside Calcutta (now Kolkata). There – almost a hundred years after Sri Ramakrishna’s mahasamadhi – I experienced his presence as shakti life-force with an amazingly intense feeling of déjà vu, while visiting a room where he had lived; a place which felt so harmoniously familiar to me that it seemed I could happily remain there forever.
On returning from India to the U.S., I began reading with curiosity and fascination about Ramakrishna’s amazing life and his teachings. I learned that like Saint Francis of Assisi, he too was an ascetic mystic who completely renounced worldly pleasures and lived in utter simplicity. Ultimately, of all the saints whose stories I’d reflected on, I came to feel most intuitive affinity with Sri Ramakrishna as well as with Saint Francis of Assisi, both of whom were extraordinary ascetic exemplars of non-dual Divine Love and devotion, blessed with ‘the gift of tears’. Though Francis had lived in a vastly different age and culture seven hundred years before Sri Ramakrishna, they had similar devotional traits with which I’ve felt great rapport.
Ramakrisha’s history and teachings about God and Love.
See: Ramakrisha biography and teachings
Sri Ramakrishna’s amazingly unique spiritual life experiences and his timeless teachings are chronologically summarized in the attached biographical pdf file linked above and here. That biography recounts how his spiritual life-path began as a devotional Hindu bhakta rather than as a wisdom path jnani, like Sri Ramana Maharshi.
At first he scrupulously and successfully practiced traditional Hindu devotional paths. Thereafter, with intense aspiration, he quickly realized the non-dual, transcendental or Brahman aspect of God which is Divine communion beyond human description. Then, with persistent and amazing aspiration, he took initiations into Islam and Christianity. And he assiduously followed their sadhanas, which culminated in his realization of God by each monotheistic religious path. From then on he mostly remained in blissful samadhi.
While continuously existing in states of spiritual ecstasy, Sri Ramakrishna affirmed (to his principal disciple Swami Vivekananda and others) that he had indeed “seen God”. And ultimately he taught that God is All – immanent in all Earth-entities, while Cosmically transcendent as Infinite LOVE.
My Hindu devotional practices before and after “shaktipat”.
Before and after my 1978 “shaktipat” initiation, I instinctively began and later followed only one of the various Hindu devotional paths which Ramakrishna successively practiced; I worshipped God as “Rama”, like my beloved Guruji.
In previous memoirs I have explained the importance of the Rama mantram in my transformational process; how spontaneously I began reciting “Rama” before receiving shaktipat initiation from Guruji, who synchronistically gave me a Ram mantra. And I’ve told why I believe that the power of my Ram mantra helped my miraculous survival and recovery from near death taxicab rundown injuries eight years ago.
Also, I’ve told how Mahatma Gandhi – my hero and first inner spiritual guide – recited “Rama” from childhood until his assassination; that even as Gandhi fell to an assassin’s pistol fired point-blank into his heart, in forgiveness he uttered nothing but “Rama, Rama …” his last words from the eternal depths of his heart.
After my 1978 “shaktipat” initiation, as instructed by Guruji I began worshipping God as “Rama”. And as foreseen by Guruji, I became (and remained) constantly “engrossed in devotion” and blessed with the ‘gift of devotional tears’.
Ultimately I long ago irreversibly accepted Sri Ramakrishna’s timeless teachings, but couldn’t follow the many other devotional paths which Ramakrishna successively practiced, except worshiping God as “Rama”.
As sometimes recommended by Ramakrishna, I daily worshiped God as Rama with the attitude of Hanuman, by repeatedly reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, and Ram mantras for many years. Hanuman became and remains symbolic of my Supreme devotion and Faith in God. And I became instinctively and spontaneously harmonious with “Rama”, as God.
Although, I eventually stopped reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, the Rama mantram has remained as an inherent and autonomic essence of my existence. Like my hero Mahatma Gandhi, the name “Rama” is constantly “in my heart, if not actually on my lips”.
Even now at almost age ninety, I often spontaneously tearfully call out “Rama” gratefully remembering that I’m feeling and seeing God in everyone and everything everywhere.
Dedication of “Seeing GOD”
May the foregoing quotations, verses, and teachings encourage us all to ever remember – and perhaps perceive – that everyone and everything is Divine!
And so may it be!
God is ONE!
“Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29
“There is one Cosmic Essence, all-pervading, all-knowing, all-powerful. This nameless formless essence can be approached by any name, any form, any symbol that suites the taste of the individual. Follow your religion, but try to understand the real purpose behind all of the rituals and traditions, and experience that Oneness.”
~ Swami Satchidananda
“Mind and manifestation are ONE.”
~ Mary Saint-Marie
“There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. The horizontal threads are in space. The vertical threads are in time. At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual. And every individual is a crystal bead. And every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net, but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.”
~ Indra’s Net – from the Vedas of ancient India, 7000 years old
“God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
~ Empedocles (500-430 B.C., Greek Poet)
can dissever our soul!
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
God is ONE!
God is ONE:
God is All – manifest and unmanifest.
God is Infinite Potentiality.
God is ONE:
Divinity ain’t divisible.
Visible and invisible are indivisible;
Perceptible and imperceptible are inseparable;
Material and immaterial are integral.
SELF subsumes ALL.
God is ONE:
God is non-denominational.
So, let us celebrate – not separate – the Whole;
Let us balance our differences on a fulcrum of
< LOVE >.
And may we ever remember that:
can dissever our soul!
Ron’s audio recitation of God is ONE
Ron’s comments and explanations about “God is ONE”
Today’s posting “God is ONE!” is a sutra poem composed long ago about post-awakening insights and questions concerning “God”. Please consider it with these explanations and above quotations. It is offered to encourage exploration and recognition of our common inner divinity and state of ONENESS with “God”.
During my early Jewish acculturation as a pre-teen, I learned that the core Hebrew prayer, which was constantly recited and even kept (inside ‘mezuzahs’) at the door posts of observant Jews, was
“Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29
But I never then deeply reflected on the meaning of that prayer. Instead, as I grew into adulthood I began wondering why so many people religiously indoctrinated into Western monotheism – as Jews, Christians or Moslems – seemed to have quite disparate and disharmonious views of their “ONE God”, and often didn’t get along with one other. For example in posted Monistic Musings I raised many philosophical questions about “God” and Divinity, such as:
“If there is just one “God”,
how can that one God
be a different “true God”
for Christians, Muslims, and Jews
and their diverse denominations?”
After my midlife awakening, I learned about Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist non-dualism teachings, which I accepted as valid. And I realized that non-dualism philosophy seemed quite consistent with Western monotheism – but spiritually deeper.
Even before my awakening, I imagined ONE God as formless Universal spirit imminent in everyone and everything, not as a bearded old man in heaven, or other humanoid deity or divine symbol. After awakening I consciously began longing to explore inner divinity in my meditations and prayers, as a metaphoric child of THAT – ONE God.
During my long career as a litigation lawyer I had enjoyed professional fulfillment in helping civil clients get ‘justice’. But by the time I retired, I was so ‘ burned out’ that I didn’t want to spend any more precious time helping people fight over money. Instead, I wanted to pray and meditate and delve deeply within, without worldly distractions.
On retirement in 1992, I made a pilgrimage to India to pay respects to my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas. On meeting with him, I told him:
“Guruji I am retiring from being a lawyer, and I now want to devote the rest of my days to thinking about God.”
His simple encouraging reply was: “Good!”
As always, Guruji spoke little but said much.
Thereafter, on my return to San Francisco, for many years I lived a monk-like life in relative seclusion. Until 2003, I had no TV, computer, or newspaper to connect me to the “real world”, and I spent much time alone in my ‘condominium cloister’ praying, meditating, crying, and experiencing various subtle energies and states of consciousness.
This post-retirement period of seclusion was a wonderfully gratifying life phase. But often I jokingly told others that the best part of my retirement was in not having to deal with lawyers every day.
Many of the SillySutras poems and essays now posted online were composed during that reclusive post-retirement period.
Initially I often used the “God” word. But gradually I began using synonyms and phrases – like “universal intelligence” or “Infinite Potentiality” or “Cosmic Consciousness”, or “Emptiness”, or “the Tao”, or “Nature” – to denote THAT eternally ineffable Divine Power which is the ONE unchanging Source or matrix of our illusory world of fleeting forms and phenomena.
Also, I often began whimsically referring to divinity as “The Lone Arranger” – a term I coined to humorously communicate with skeptics. In recent insanely turbulent times I have metaphorically given “The Lone Arranger” my ‘general power of attorney’ to justly judge, forgive and rule the world, and to be my ‘appointments secretary’.
Thus, paradoxically but necessarily, I have used “God”, “The Lone Arranger” and various other words or phrases to point to THAT divine mystery which is beyond words.
Today’s “God is ONE!” posting is offered to encourage exploration of our common inner divinity – in furtherance of our (conscious or subconscious) universal longing for a state of ONENESS with Divinity – with “God”.
May these writings help hasten our inevitable evolution from wondering about the meaning of “God”, to ultimately BEiNG THAT ineffable Reality.
And so may it be!
The Truth That Sets Us Free
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
“Free at last, free at last.
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last”
~ Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”
~ Albert Einstein ( N. Y. Times , March 29, 1972)
Introduction to “The Truth That Sets Us Free”
The following SillySutras poem reveals that Spiritual freedom is Humanity’s fundamental evolutionary goal and inevitable destiny.
The poem’s title and subject were inspired by Jesus’ teaching
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.
Comments and quotations explaining the poem, include an esoteric interpretation of the biblical Exodus Passover story, that was inspired by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech conclusion: “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
Please deeply reflect upon and enjoy these writings. May they hasten realization of “The Truth That Sets Us Free”.
And so may it be!
The Truth That Sets Us Free
Trapped in earthly domain
of fear, death and pain,
we long for liberty.
Jailed in cages we’ve wrought,
with hoary thought
that mere body/minds are we,
We’re deceived by perceptions,
and caught by conceptions,
of supposed mortality.
But prison’s illusion,
and we suffer confusion
of our true identity.
For we’re beings of Light,
Eternal and bright,
and so shall ever be.
We shall know this Truth,
and it shall forsooth,
release and set us Free.
Ron’s audio recitation of “The Truth That Sets Us Free”
Ron’s explanation of “Truth That Set’s Us Free”
Today’s “The Truth That Sets Us Free” posting of a sutra poem (with voice recitation and quotations) is about Spiritual freedom as our fundamental evolutionary goal. The poem’s title and subject were inspired by Jesus’ teaching “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.
For millennia mystical teachings of all perennial wisdom paths have identified spiritual Freedom or Self realization as our ultimately destined evolutionary objective.
Most people associate “freedom” with personal, political, and economic liberty. But spiritual freedom is an extraordinarily rare state of (freedom from) mind which only can be attained inwardly, even by those who do not enjoy external freedoms, like felons imprisoned for life. Knowingly or unknowingly everyone/everywhere longs for Freedom as our divine birthright and ultimate destiny.
I first deeply reflected on philosophical concepts of “freedom” during the 1950’s when I read “Escape From Freedom” by then prominent author-psychotherapist Erich Fromm. But after becoming a San Francisco civil litigation lawyer I rarely thought about about inner freedom, until after a memorable exchange with my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas.
While residing in my apartment (just prior to his 1980 return to India), Guruji told me:
“Rasik, a yogi’s body is like a baby’s body.
Your body is like a prison.
I am like a jailer with the prison key.
I come and go as I please.”
Thereupon, I became extremely curious about Guruji’s revelation that my body was like a prison. And I wondered how and why ‘I’ was ‘imprisoned’, and how ‘I’ could get out of ‘jail’ – free like Guruji. (See https://sillysutras.com/human-body-a-precious-prison-rons-memoirs/)
So I began exploration of “spiritual freedom”, as distinguished from personal, political, and economic freedoms.
Whereupon, I was reminded of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech’s concluding words “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last”, and wondered why they were so deeply powerful.
I realized that those words were rooted in the biblical Exodus Passover story; and intuited that spiritual “freedom” is the esoteric essence and mythical message of that story. And I concluded that the Passover story symbolizes escape from outer bondage to a Divinely ‘promised land’ within – viz. escape from enslavement by mistaken beliefs in false external Gods or goals to an inner ‘promised land’ of ONE indescribable eternal Divinity immanent in each of us. viz.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE!”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4
Also I felt that Jesus prophetically alluded to such spiritual freedom by teaching:
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
Thus, Jesus was teaching that we find freedom (from mentally self-imposed imprisonment) only when we transcend entity-identity, and self-identify as ONE Divine spirit – the kingdom of heaven within – rather than as supposedly separate embodied personalities.
Ultimately, I concluded that our limited and limiting ego-mind ideas about self-identity and reality confine each of us within a sort of psychological prison in which suffering is inevitable, and which restricts realization of our infinite potentialities.
However, the mystic masters teach and demonstrate that we can psychologically transcend that mental “prison” and emerge “free at last” from our self-woven karmic cocoons, no matter our outer circumstances.
Thus, Rumi reminded us:
“Be empty of worrying,
Think of Who Created Thought!
Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?”
May the above verses and writings
encourage and advance our spiritual evolution
to realization of inner Freedom –
Our precious Divine destiny.
And so may we gratefully and joyously BE –
FREE at last, FREE at last!
And so may it be!
~ Verses, Quotations and Explanations
“Yes, all one’s confusion comes to an end if one only realizes that
it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer,
the good and the bad, the real and the unreal;
that it is He who is present in waking and in sleep;
and that He is beyond all these.” …
”God alone is the Doer. Everything happens by His will.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa
“I don’t try to imagine a personal God;
it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world,
insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
~ Albert Einstein
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself
in the orderly harmony of what exists,
not in a God who concerns himself
with fates and actions of human beings.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Atheism is a disease of the soul,
before it becomes an error of the understanding.”
“There are few people so stubborn in their atheism who,
when danger is pressing in, will not acknowledge the divine power.”
“Small amounts of philosophy lead to atheism,
but larger amounts bring us back to God.”
~ Francis Bacon
“The Atheist is God playing at hide and seek with Himself;
but is the Theist any other?
Well, perhaps; for he has seen the shadow of God and clutched at it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo
The worst moment for the atheist
is when he is really thankful
and has nobody to thank.
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization”
~ George Carlin
“I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.”
~ Albert Camus
“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
“Since no one really knows anything about God,
those who think they do are just troublemakers.”
~ Rabia of Basri (First female Sufi saint)
We reify what we resist.
And as we persist in resisting,
We attract and become what we resist.
So atheists, beware!
In vehemently denying Divinity,
you are reifying and deifying “God”.
And as you opine,
you’re becoming Divine.
Ron’s audio recitation of “Atheists Beware!”
Ron’s explanation of “Atheists Beware!”
The foregoing whimsical “Atheists Beware” verses were composed after I’d begun to sometimes see our space/time ‘reality’ as an ever paradoxical play of Divine ONENESS.
Before my midlife awakening to Self identity as Awareness, I don’t remember thinking about existence (or non-existence) of a creator “God”. However, I tacitly accepted the core Hebrew precept: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Deuteronomy 6:4), and considered “God” as ONE universally immanent, nameless, formless, nonjudgmental Supreme Power. And I rejected ideas of a humanoid, personal or judgmental God. Hence, after childhood I always interpreted Bible legends metaphorically – not as ‘the word of God’ explicitly spoken through special messengers.
Until my midlife awakening, I hadn’t shed tears as an adult. But upon awakening to a new life at age forty three, I cried for twenty four hours. Thereafter, while others were frequent flyers, I became a ‘frequent crier’. And I wondered why I was crying so much, until experientially realizing with utter amazement that I was crying with intense longing for “God”. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.)
Since then, I’ve spent much time reflecting about “God”. And I’ve found that my beliefs and ideas about “God” have evolved as I’ve opened spiritually; that my curiosity about God has emanated from a universal human longing (conscious or subliminal) for a state of ONENESS with THAT.
Curiosity about “God” soon sparked interest in “atheism” and “atheists”. (See Monistic Musings – Reflections and Questions on “God” and Divinity) Also, I soon realized that – as the Bible says – “God” is word – used by different people to designate their different ideas of a transcendent power; that, whether or not the “universe” was created by God, “God” is a concept created by man. (See God is a Word.)
And ultimately I irreversibly accepted and honored the perennial mystery of Divine Reality beyond space/time duality.
(See e.g. Mystery of Divinity)
Thus it paradoxically appeared to me that worldly people who adamantly professed with certainty to be most religious – or atheistic – were usually most intolerant of those with other religious, spiritual or philosophic views; that their professed fundamentalist certainty about superiority of their philosophy – masked deep doubt, ignorance or insecurity about the transcendent Divine mystery.
Ultimately, my reflections about “God” resulted in my living a faith-based life. After years of questioning, I found faith beyond belief, beyond dogmas or theology. I found faith in everything everywhere, and in the impenetrable Mystery beyond every form or phenomenon. I found faith in my Self and in Nature. And faith to devotionally follow my Heart. So I became a non-dualist lover of God – a Bhakta – especially inspired by by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who taught and demonstrated that
“[A]ll one’s confusion (about God) comes to an end if one only realizes that it is God who manifests Himself as the atheist and the believer, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal.”
(See I’ve Found A Faith-Based Life and Discovering and Honoring Devotional “Holy Fools”)
So the foregoing whimsical “Atheists Beware” verses were composed from a faith-based perspective of Divine ONENESS; that “it is God who manifests …. as [both] the atheist and the believer.”
The poem ironically reveals that, in adamantly resisting “God”, worldly atheists are unable to realize their ultimate divinity – that paradoxically they are what they resist; a realization that is transcendentally Knowable only by rare beings, like Ramakrishna.
Dedication and Invocation of “Atheists Beware”
Inspired by deep curiosity, reflection and intuition about “God”,
may we gradually discover and experience our common inner Divine Source,
Until ultimately our ego-minds melt and merge with THAT:
Universal Spirit, Being, Awareness, Bliss;
Eternal Peace, Life, Light, LOVE
And so shall it be!
Discovering Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Non-dual Devotion
~ Ron’s Memoirs
“The end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
“Love is verily the heart of all religions.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Investigation into the Self is nothing other than devotion.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi — Vivekachudamani, verse 32
“On scrutiny, supreme devotion and jnana are in nature one and the same. To say that one of these two is a means to the other is due to not knowing the nature of either of them. Know that the path of jnana and the path of devotion are interrelated. Follow these inseparable two paths without dividing one from the other.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Only if one knows the truth of Love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled [ego] knot of life be untied. Only if one attains the height of Love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only Love, which is seeing only Love, hearing only Love, feeling only Love, tasting only Love and smelling only Love, which is bliss.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Pure knowledge and pure love are one and the same thing.
Both lead the aspirants to the same goal. The path of love is much easier.”
~ Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
“Love is seeing the unity under the imaginary diversity.
“Love says ‘I am everything’. Wisdom says ‘I am nothing’. Between the two, my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“He who loves me is made pure; his heart melts in joy.
He rises to transcendental consciousness by the rousing of his
higher emotional nature. Tears of joy flow from his eyes; his
hair stands on end; his heart melts in love. The bliss in that
state is so intense that forgetful of himself and his surroundings he sometimes weeps profusely, or laughs or sings, or dances; such a devotee is a purifying influence upon the whole universe.”
~Srimad Bhagavatam 11.8 – supreme devotion (para-bhakti) as described by Sri Krishna to His disciple Uddhave.
“[I]f you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.” … “Devotional practices are necessary only so long as tears of ecstasy do not flow at hearing the name of Hari. He needs no devotional practices whose heart is moved to tears at the mere mention of the name of Hari.”
~ Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
The following stories (about my memorable pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai, South India), illustrate fundamental spiritual Truths about every human being. They tell how I resolved (as illusory) a seeming paradoxical conflict between my deep devotional tendencies (as a “frequent crier”) to spontaneously cry and call out-loud to God, and my irreversible intellectual and intuitive acceptance of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s non-duality wisdom path of constant silent self-enquiry of “who am I?”.
These memorable pilgrimage stories recount how my mental dilemma was resolved, with realization of the following spiritual principles:
Just as every snowflake temporarily manifests a unique crystalline form but shares an enduring watery essence, so too every human (including Self-realized saints, sages, and seers) impermanently manifests a uniquely limited physical form and perspective in each mortal lifetime, but shares ONE immortal and infinitely potential, spiritual Source – non-dual Universal Awareness as LOVE.
The stories also reveal as ultimately illusory any apparent conflict between different spiritual paths, religious rituals, or behaviors – like Sri Ramana Maharshi’s wisdom path of silent self-enquiry and Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s devotional path of praying and crying to God, or between strict priestly conformance with religious rituals and their utter disregard by avadhutas; that all such apparent conflicts are transcended by LOVE; that even Sri Ramana Maharshi declared that “the end of all wisdom is love, love, love.”
Please read, reflect and enjoy these stories.
During my early days as a “born-again Hindu”, I discovered wisdom teachings of legendary twentieth century sage Sri Ramana Maharshi about the Vedic path of Advaita, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism and its teachings are aimed at experiencing non-dual Reality via relentless self-inquiry – incessantly asking “Who am I?”.
Intellectually I soon became convinced of the ultimate Truth of Sri Ramana’s non-dualistic teachings. Non-dualism even seemed quite consistent with my early Jewish acculturation with the fundamental prayer: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29
Yet, seemingly paradoxically, I displayed preponderantly devotional propensities of calling and crying to the Divine. And I identified with Shri Ramakrishna, as a bhakta – a devotional practitioner – more than with Sri Ramana Maharshi, who was an exemplar of the silent inner wisdom path – a jnani.
Until retirement, while maintaining my busy law practice I found only limited time to read and reflect on non-duality and other spiritual wisdom teachings, mostly on weekends. So I used to jokingly tell spiritual friends that I prayed and cried as a bhakta on weekdays but on weekends I became a “Seventh Day Advaitist”
On retirement from law practice in January 1992, I journeyed to India, intending to further explore the Advaita path of non-duality. After planned visits to see my Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, in Ahmedabad and my daughter Jessica at Ammachi’s Kerala ashram, the India trip itinerary concluded with a spiritual sojourn in the Tamil Nadu town of Tiruvannamalai, near sacred Mount Arunachala, where Sri Ramana Maharshi had resided for most of his adult life. This would be an opportunity to me to become an every day – not just a seventh day – advaitist.
Pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai
So, in February 1992, together with my daughter Jessica I traveled by train from Ammachi’s ashram in sultry Kerala to the Ramana ashram at the much more arid Tamil Nadu town of Tiruvannamalai. While I stayed at Ammachi’s ashram, Jessica had been so busy doing her assigned daily tasks (seva) that we had very few opportunities to visit together alone. So, I was hoping to spend ‘quality time’ with her and to have her as my Tiruvannamalai guide, since she had previously visited the Ramana ashram. But that didn’t happen.
Nonetheless, I had a wonderful stay in Tiruvannamalai with memorable experiences on and near Mount Arunachala. And at the Ramana ashram I largely resolved my confusion about the imagined conflict between non-dualism and devotion. Here’s what happened:
On our arrival at the Ramana ashram Jessica and I were assigned a pleasant cottage room with private toilet which, though quite basic, was much more comfortable than my small noisy cell at Ammachi’s ashram. Moreover, I immediately had much more vitality at the Ramana ashram than at the Kerala ashram, where I had experienced diminished energy.
But to my surprise, Jessica informed me that instead of being my guide and companion she wished to dedicate her stay in Tiruvannamalai to solitary spiritual practices. She told me that as a spiritual austerity she had decided to daily circumambulate barefooted sacred Mount Arunachala and its adjoining holy sites – an ancient practice known as giri pradakshina encouraged by Sri Ramana Maharshi and practiced for centuries by him and many other saints and pilgrims.
Ambivalently, I was pleased that Jessica was prioritizing such spiritual practices, but disappointed at not having anticipated ‘quality time’ with her. So every morning well before sunrise, while I still slept, Jessica left our cottage and each day I was on my own, except in evenings before we retired in our shared cottage.
Most days while Jessica was walking barefooted around Mount Arunachala I walked in sandals up the mountain – from the ashram to Virupaksha cave, a shrine place where Sri Ramana had lived for sixteen years. Though the cave was a public shrine, I was always there in solitude with no other visitors present. As I meditated there, I gratefully experienced and communed with Sri Ramana’s subtle peaceful presence.
One day I departed the cave in a dream-like ‘altered state of awareness’ and began slowly walking down the mountain with a stilled mind. Dressed in white I was so descending the narrow rocky path to the ashram, when – as if in a dream – I beheld coming up the path toward me three very elderly men, with long gray hair and long beards each wearing a white robe or dhoti. Each appeared as an archetypical ‘holy man’.
When we met on the mountain path, as if in a waking dream, each of the old men silently kneeled and kissed my sandaled feet. No word was uttered. After this silent ritual they continued walking up the Arunachala path and I continued descending to the ashram with a perfectly stilled mind.
Though that experience was unforgettable, I can’t specify its significance . However, I felt I had received inexpressible blessings from those holy men; that only in such a spiritually elevated environment could such a boon occur. But, presumably, from Sri Ramana’s non-dual perspective, attachment to any such outer illusionary experience impedes ultimate inner experience of Oneness with All.
Sri Ramana’s samadhi shrine
When not on Mount Arunachala, most of my time spent at the ashram was at the large samadhi shrine hall, where Sri Ramana is entombed. There I continued to often experience the subtle peaceful presence of Sri Ramana, though not as powerfully as at Virupaksha cave.
The samadhi shrine is a memorable place which, since Sri Ramana’s mahasamadhi in 1950, has continued to magnetically attract devotees from all over the world. Sometimes I meditated sitting there, sometimes I meditatively walked around the hall, and sometimes on the porch I read books about Sri Ramana which I obtained at the ashram office.
Reconciling Ron’s Devotion with Sri Ramana’s Non-duality
Another blessing of my stay at the Ramana ashram was that while there I largely resolved the seeming dichotomy between my deep devotional tendencies and non-dual self-identity. I learned that Ramana had taught that “supreme devotion and jnana are in nature one and the same”. And I realized that perception of paradox depends on an illusory ego-mind perspective; while from an elevated perspective ultimate devotion (Divine love, bhakti) and ultimate Self awareness (wisdom, jnana) are “one and the same” – like obverse sides of the same coin.
Though not permanently abiding in a state of elevated awareness, like Sri Ramana or Guruji, I had previously been blessed with unforgettable ‘peek’ experiences of Self-identification as pure Awareness and of seeing everyone and everything as Divine. And at the ashram I read a Sri Ramana biography that sparked the bhakti/jnana insight which helped me reconcile the seeming conflict between my distinct devotional tendencies and my irreversible acceptance of advaita non-duality philosophy.
As I read about Sri Ramana’s “enlightenment” experience I discovered that, contrary to popular belief, which usually associates Sri Ramana only with advaita wisdom, the great Sage also displayed and acknowledged the bhakti emotion of devotion.
At the time of his absorption in the Self, Sri Ramana was in his seventeenth year and living in the Indian city of Madurai. Thereafter he experienced dramatic daily life changes. With the emotion of devotion, Sri Ramana began to regularly visit the renowned Meenakshi temple in Madurai. As much later he recalled for his biographer:
“One of the new features related to the temple of
Meenakshi sundaresvrar. Formerly I would go there rarely with
friends, see the images, put on sacred ashes and sacred
vermillion on the forehead and return home without any
perceptible emotion. After the awakening into the new life, I
would go almost every evening to the temple. I would go alone and stand before Siva or Meenakshi or Nataraja or the sixty-three saints for long periods. I would feel waves of emotion
overcoming me. The former hold (Alambana) on my body had been given up by my spirit, since it ceased to cherish the idea I-am-the-body (Dehatma-buddhi). The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears. This was God’s (Isvara’s) play with the individual spirit. I would stand before Isvara, the Controller of the universe and the destinies of all, the omniscient and omnipresent, and occasionally pray for the descent of His grace upon me so that my devotion might increase and become perpetual like that of the sixty-three saints. Mostly I would not pray at all, but let, the deep within flow on and into the deep without. Tears would mark this overflow of the soul and not betoken any particular feeling of pleasure or pain.”
~ Self Realization, The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, by B.V. Narasimha Swami pp. 23-24.1
Thus, even after his Self Realization, Sri Ramana had prayed for devotion. And his prayers were often accompanied by, and answered with, copious tears. Sri Ramana’s experience shows that highest knowledge is the same as the highest devotion; that jnana and Para bhakti are the same.
On reading Sri Ramana’s dramatic experience I was reminded that devotional tears are the ‘language of the heart’; that tears can express our ineffable joy in ephemerally becoming one with THAT, while also they may betoken our ceaseless longing to be merged forever as THAT.
As Mother Meera has observed:
“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. …..Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236
Thus, intense feelings of the heart, which are otherwise inexpressible, are communicated by tears; and, as we soulfully pray to the Beloved with love and longing, our tears may say what words can not say; and our Heart of Hearts may answer us with tears more eloquent than any other language.
When I visited Tiruvannamalai I was already aware that – like each snowflake – every human is absolutely unique; that thus each supposedly Self-realized spiritual teacher, seer, saint, guru, yogi, or even avatar uniquely manifests and expresses different aspects of our infinitely potential common Cosmic consciousness. While in Tiruvannamalai I was unforgettably reminded of the uniqueness of each supposedly enlightened teacher on meeting a respected local living saint, Yogi Ramsuratkumar.
People at the Ramana ashram urged me to visit this Yogi, saying that he was was an avadhuta, a mystic living simply beyond worldly social standards. I was told that he was giving morning darshans at his small house near the great Annamalaiyar temple in the center of town.
So one morning, instead of communing with Sri Ramana, I walked into town, bought fruit to offer as prasad [a divine gift] to Ramsuratkumar, and came to his house where already standing outside there was a line of devotees awaiting admittance, each also holding food or flowers to offer him. Especially noteworthy was a richly attired middle aged Indian woman, who was holding a large round silver tray laden with an elaborate array of beautiful fruits and flowers.
I took my place at the end of the line and waited with curiosity in the hot sun. Ultimately, when there were about twenty or more people standing in line, the door opened and Yogi Ramsuratkumar appeared with an attendant to greet each devotee, one by one. With most people he exchanged a few words, accepted their offering and sent them on. Only occasionally did he invite a devotee to enter his house for darshan.
Amazingly, when the woman with the silver tray proffered her elaborate offering, he not only rejected it but seemed to sternly chastise her in Telegu and peremptorily sent her away. (Whereupon I surmised that Ramsuratkumar had determined from her subtle field that the woman was an unworthy aspirant with defiled motives.)
When I reached the head of the line, the Yogi kindly accepted my modest offering and invited me to enter his house parlor with only a few others – an Indian family of mother and father with two young children and a young western woman. Each of us was invited to sit in the parlor on a plain folding chair facing the swami who was standing in front of us.
To my surprise, the house appeared to be very dusty and dirty, and the Yogi looked as if he hadn’t bathed or washed his clothes for a while. Notwithstanding his unkempt appearance and environment my subtle ‘radar’ detected this yogi’s inner purity and I began softly weeping. Later, I concluded that while an attitude of “cleanliness is next to Godliness” might be appropriate for most people, Ramsuratkumar demonstrated that in spirituality it is inner purity rather than outer appearance that is crucial.
After we were seated in his parlor, and offered tea, the yogi enquired of each guest our origins and reasons for visiting him. Thus, he asked me in English from whence and why I had come to India. With tears still seeping I explained that I had come as a spiritual pilgrim to honor my beloved Guruji in Gujurat; and that I was in Tiruvannamalai to honor Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Thereupon, while standing before me the Yogi raised his right hand in blessing pose and in English he intermittently and repeatedly decared “my Father blesses you”. While so blessing me with his raised right hand, the yogi held between the fingers of his left hand and puffed alternately on three lighted bidis (Indian hand-rolled cigarettes, like those sold and smoked by Nisargadatta Maharaj).
Though it didn’t surprise me to see a smoking saint, never before had I imagined a holy man smoking three cigarettes concurrently. So it was apparent – as I had been informed – that Ramsuratkumar was an avadhuta, who lived simply and unconventionally without concern for social standards. In all events, I was and remain ever grateful for his blessings.
Since my 1992 pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai (and more than ever before as an octogenarian), I have remained unspeakably grateful for my continuing “gift of tears” as a supreme devotional blessing ultimately consistent with highest wisdom of non-duality Self-identity. (See e.g. https://sillysutras.com/crying-for-god-and-other-kundalini-kriyas-rons-memoirs/ ) And especially since darshan with Yogi Ramsuratkumar I have gratefully appreciated the infinite human manifestations of non-duality Reality as LOVE.