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Posts Tagged ‘Sri Ramana Maharshi’

We Are The Universe!

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

~ Albert Einstein
“Objective reality does not exist” ….

“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”

~ David Bohm, Quantum Physicist
“Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.”
~  Mahmud Shabestari, Sufi Mystic, 15th century.
“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
“Reality” isn’t REAL!

“Reality” is a holographic theater of the mind,
where we are microcosmic mirrors of the macrocosm.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following written and recited poetic verses, together with explanatory comments and above quotations, supplement the related “What Is The Universe?” posting.

Both postings propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”. They are intended to help us open our hearts to all beings and all life everywhere.

Please consider them accordingly.

Ron Rattner


We Are The Universe!

The “universe” is like a cosmic hologram:

An ever changing but persistent illusion
appearing in an eternal, immutable,
infinite ocean of Awareness –

Awareness arising from pure potentiality.

Each of us is an integral, pin-point part of the whole picture,
which wouldn’t be complete without us.

But, though we appear as only a speck of the Whole,
we are like parts of a hologram;

Hidden within each of us is the whole cosmic picture,
and the awareness screen
on which we envision and project the picture.

In our Essence, we and the “universe” are ONE.

So, we are the “universe”.



Ron’s audio recitation of “We Are The Universe”

Listen to


Ron’s reflections on Non-dualism and “We Are The Universe”

Dear Friends,

Today’s We Are The Universe! posting together with the related “What Is The Universe?” posting propose that cosmically “We Are The Universe”.

These and many more SillySutras writings pertain to non-dualism – an important philosophy which has inspired many recent Silly Sutras writings about spiritual evolution and the nature of “reality”.

From childhood we have been taught to self-identify only with an illusory and disempowering ego image; with a separate body, name, gender, and story about who and what we are. We are taught that we are each born into Nature as limited mortal beings; but not that Nature is our nature, or that we are Beings of Light sharing limitless immortal cosmic consciousness with all life-forms.

Thus, for countless ages human ignorance of our true identity and immortality, has resulted in our hallucination of separation from Nature, from each other, and from our sole Self and spirit, with consequent destructive selfishness and suffering.

Yet, for millennia sages, seers and mystics have been trying to tell us that we inevitably suffer from radically mistaken self-identity; that our self-identity and reality are not what they appear to be; that it is possible to limit or avoid most suffering of ordinary human existence through experiential self-identification with the unseen Eternal spiritual Source of all space-time causality ‘reality’.

Soon after my mid-life change of life, I began discovering enduring wisdom teachings about the Vedic path of Advaita, the oldest extant school of Indian Philosophy. Advaita means non-dualism, and its teachings are about experiencing non-dual Self Realization via focused self-inquiry – relentlessly asking “Who am I?”.

I first found these teachings in books by or about legendary Indian sages J. Krishnamurti, Swami Vivekananda, and Shri Ramana Maharshi; also in New Dimensions Radio interviews by Michael Toms, and in KPFA radio lectures by Alan Watts, contemporary Western philosopher/teacher of Eastern spiritual wisdom, from which I learned about similar Buddhist and Taoist non-dualist philosophies.

After initial perplexity, I gradually became convinced of the ultimate Truth of non-dualistic teachings, as eloquently explained by Swami Vivekananda that:

“…this separation between man and man, between nation and nation, between earth and moon, between moon and sun . . does not exist, it is not real” ; and that
“Your own will is all that answers prayer, only it appears under the guise of different religious conceptions to each mind. We may call it Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, but it is only the Self, the ‘I’.”
~ Swami Vivekananda – “Jnana Yoga”


Non-dualism has even seemed quite consistent with the primary prayer of my early Jewish acculturation:

“Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29


Yet, while accepting Eastern non-dualism wisdom teachings, I have continuously displayed preponderantly devotional propensities of praying, calling and crying to the Divine. And in reading hagiographies I have most identified with Saint Francis of Assisi and Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa – both extremely ascetic and devotional holy men – more than with the wisdom teachers who introduced me to non-dualism.

Until retirement, while maintaining my busy law practice I found limited time to read and reflect on non-dualism teachings, except on weekends. So I used to jestingly tell spiritual friends that on weekdays I prayed and cried as a devotional bhakta, but that on weekends I became a “Seventh Day Advaitist”.

Ultimately, I’ve become an every day – not just a seventh day – Advaitist. So whimsically I sometimes say that I am now a devotionally open-minded “Advaitist-fundamentalist”.

While accepting non-dualism, my primary path seems devotional. Over forty years since beginning to cry for God, I still frequently display devotional tendencies of spontaneously praying, singing, and calling to the Divine. Apparently, my Guruji was quite prescient in naming me Rasik – “one engrossed in devotion”.

As a devotional “Advaitist-Fundamentalist” I have composed many poems and essays encouraging the heartfelt path of ‘non-dualism’ – including today’s “We Are The Universe” quotations and poem.

May these writings help remind, encourage and inspire us to open our hearts with deep empathy and compassion for all people and all Life everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


We Create “Reality”

Embedded below is a helpful 10 minute YouTube video montage titled “We Create “Reality””, previously linked on the related What Is the Universe posting



Subject-Object?

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
“Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
they are modes in which we think”

~ Albert Einstein
“This perception of division between the seer and the object that is seen, is situated in the mind. For those remaining in the heart, the seer becomes one with the sight.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
‘Time, space and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen…In the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation.’
~ Swami Vivekananda [Jnana Yoga]
“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung
“Objectivity is an illusory impossibility.”
“All concepts are mental projections of Cosmic Consciousness.
But for name – subject and object are same.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Essence Of Nondualism:
Consciousness = Subject = Object = Self
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Albert Einstein



Subject-Object?

Q. Where does subject end, and object begin?

A. Nowhere.

E=mc2.

Everything’s energy everywhere.

Energy’s endless,
So everything’s endless.

But we mistakenly believe what we perceive.

Thus, as Einstein observed:

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Subject and object are mere ways of thinking –
perceptual/conceptual projections of Cosmic Consciousness,
which is our true Self.

As twentieth century Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi observed:

“Consciousness is always Self-Consciousness.
If you are conscious of anything,
you are essentially conscious of yourself.”






Ron’s Subject-Object Commentary:

This “Subject-Object?” essay points to our spiritually limiting illusory belief that we are separate “subjects” observing separate “objects” in space/time.  

Cosmically, as Einstein observed, “Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
 
Due to non-locality of space/time ‘reality’, perceived subjects and objects are not separated, but connected.  All perceptions require projected subjective consciousness, which is immeasurable.  So all perceptions are subjective projections of ONE immeasurable consciousness.

Thus everything perceived everywhere is an impermanent holographic energy form of projected consciousness.  Yet we mistakenly believe in objectivity of what we subjectively project and perceive.

Like most Westerners I grew up culturally imbued with mistaken ideas and ideals of “objectivity” of our scientific, academic, journalistic and judicial institutions – of which as an adult I became disabused.
 
And after my midlife spiritual awakening, I began to realize that objectivity is an illusory impossibility; that the idea of objectivity refers only the measurable material world of forms and phenomena, which mistakenly excludes consciousness – the ultimate immeasurable Reality and source of all perceptions.

Despite revolutionary discoveries in relativity and quantum physics, for the past century most materialistic mainstream scientists have remained reluctant to recognize the impossibility of scientifically ‘objective’ accuracy in describing Nature through measurement without reference to immeasurable consciousness. 

Yet more and more visionary scientists have seen and transcended this mistaken materialist view.  As explained by Nobel prize winning physicist Max Planck:


“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature.
 And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


Invocation

May the foregoing quotations and essay
encourage our deep ‘subjective’ reflection and recognition
that Humankind – and all of its institutions –
are part of Nature’s insoluble Mystery,
with which we must mindfully and reverentially be ever harmonious. 

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Questions About Questions

“We never cease to stand like curious children
before the great Mystery into which we were born.”

~ Albert Einstein
“The essence of all wisdom is to know the answers to
‘who am I?’ 
and ‘what will become of me?’ on the Day of Judgment.”

~ Rumi
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates
the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts,

and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre,
it will itself in the end get destroyed.
Then, there will arise Self-realization.”


“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Who am I?
The quest is in the question.

The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Questions are then,
Life is NOW.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings




Questions About Questions

Q. When do questions arise?

A. Always then, never now.
Questions are thoughts, and thoughts are then.

Q. Can there ever be a question without a thought?

A. I don’t think so.

Without a question, there can be a thought.
But without a thought, there can’t be a question.

Q. Then, when is there never a question?

A. When there is no questioner.



Ron’s Reflections and Questions About Questioning

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations about the Mystery of Divinity and whimsical lines about questionig are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery – which Einstein called “the great Mystery into which we were born”

On birth into new human bodies we experience instant amnesia, forgetting what we knew before we withdrew from dwelling in heavenly domains.   Except for very rare Buddha-like saints and sages, we forget that we are immortal Divine Beings – each experiencing a Divine play of consciousness from a unique perspective.

Whereupon, we experience and suffer from ‘a case of mistaken identity’.  Individually and collectively, we mistakenly self-identify only with our mortal physical forms, their emotions and perceptions, and their stories – and we become like actors playing unique roles in an ever expanding and endless play of consciousness.  
 
As Shakespeare metaphorically observed:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”

~ William Shakespeare ~ As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

But knowingly or unknowingly, we are here to experientially remember what we forgot on incarnation into mortal human bodies. 

So our embodied lives become like spiritual mystery stories.  Instead of a ‘who-done-it?’ detective story, each life becomes a ‘who am I?’ spiritual mystery, which we are born to solve. Yet, the ultimate solution to that mystery is beyond our comprehension, imagination or belief.  So we must find it experientially and intuitively, rather than mentally.

However, spurred by unceasing childlike curiosity, our rational minds can lead us to experiential discovery of our immortal self-identity. So we can begin by reverentially and unceasingly asking “Who am I?”.  

“Ask, and it will be given to you …
For every one who asks receives.”
~ Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10

But ultimately, we discover that

“The question ‘Who am I?’ is not really meant to get an answer,
the question ‘Who am I?’ is meant to dissolve the questioner.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Thus, as observed by twentieth century Indian sage, J. Krishnamurti, only

“When the mind is completely empty – only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.”

“Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still –
only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”

The foregoing writings are offered to inspire and encourage our curiosity and reflection on the ‘Who am I?’ divine spiritual mystery.
 
As spiritual siblings – children of Divine LOVE – may we ever aspire to solve that Mystery.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Let Life Live Us As Love

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5
“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
Love has befriended me so completely
It has turned to ash and freed me
of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.
~ Hafiz
In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?”

~ Buddha
“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion,
and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The identification of pure awareness with the mind and its creations
 causes the [ego] apprehension of both an objective world and a perceiver of it.”
~ Patanjali – Yoga Sutras
“Free of ego, living naturally, working virtuously, you become filled with inexhaustible vitality and are liberated forever from the cycle of death and rebirth.”
~ Lao Tzu
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
 all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi
“Love Is The Law Of Life:

All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. 

Love is therefore the only law of life.

He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. 

Therefore, love for love’s sake,

because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.”

~ Swami Vivekananda
“Let us let go of ego, and
Let Life live us as LOVE!”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Maitreya – The Next Buddha


“Let Life Live Us As Love”

Einstein revolutionized Western science with his groundbreaking theory of relativity establishing equivalence between all matter and energy in the universe, quantifiable by the simple equation e=mc2.

Since then, for over a century, Western science has more and more shown what ancient shamans, seers, and indigenous societies have known for millennia:

That there is a cosmic web of life connecting everything and everyone in Nature from the greatest galaxies to the tiniest sub-atomic particles; that we are each an integral inter-connected part of Nature’s web of life – not separate from it; that as Einstein observed:

“Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.”

Though Einstein’s insights revolutionized quantum physicists’ views of space/time “reality”, most humans haven’t yet changed our way of thinking about such “reality”.  Until now, most people mistakenly keep behaving as if we are separated from each other and from Nature, and not part of it.   This behavior has resulted in continuing selfishness, cruelty, wars and unsustainable exploitation of our precious planet.

But gradually we are awakening.  From seeing everyone and everything as discrete and separated by apparently immutable boundaries, we are more and more realizing that everyone and everything are ever-changing energy phenomena appearing from a common immutable Source of Infinite Universal Awareness, which is LOVE.

All of our selfish, disharmonious and unsustainable behaviors have arisen from human ignorance of the true non-dual nature of the Self and all phenomena as Love; and from consequent mental mis-identification with the illusion of physical separation from each other – called “ego”.

Thus, the ancient Vedic seers told us in the Rig Veda that

“ Ego is the biggest enemy of humans.”

Only rare Buddha-like beings, are said to totally transcend ego identification.  So we all experience some degree of separate self-identification.   But all humans are in various stages of an ultimately irresistible evolutionary process of ego attrition and transcendence.

In this world of cause and effect, Nature – not ego – is in charge and determines everything.   But, while believing ourselves separate from Nature, we exercise apparent free will and seemingly make non-predestined choices.

Depending on whether we are in harmony or disharmony with Nature, these apparent choices hasten or impede our evolution, and create or mitigate crises, sufferings and problems.   So, let us ever aspire to be harmonious with Nature:

Ever mindful of our ONENESS with all Life on our precious planet, as Universal Awareness, let us live with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.

Ever mindful that in space/time Nature is our nature,
let us see and cherish Nature in everything and everyone everywhere.

Ever mindful that Universal Awareness, as Love,
is our ultimate identity and Source:

Let us let go of ego, and
Let Life live us as LOVE!

And So Shall It Be!

 
Ron’s comments and explanation of “Let Life Live Us As Love”

Dear Friends,

On moving from Chicago to San Francisco in 1960, I was ignorant about spiritual subjects, or religions other than Judaism. Growing up in Chicago, I had become familiar with Judaism’s core teachings:


“ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One”;  and
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5

But initially, I had no idea of the supremely profound esoteric importance of those teachings, or of devotional Love as crucial in all enduring religious and spiritual traditions. Not until my 1976 spiritual awakening and rebirth did I begin experientially learning about spirituality.

Whereupon, gradually I became inspired by “love of God” as a key spiritual tradition, with which I had instinctively joined in frequently crying and calling for the Divine. And ultimately I became convinced that our true nature and identity is LOVE.

That in space/time “reality” everyone, everything, everywhere is an ever-changing energy phenomenon appearing from a common immutable Source of Infinite Universal Awareness, which is LOVE.

So as Rumi profoundly tells us we need not “seek for love, but merely .. seek and find all the barriers [we] have built against it.” Those barriers are mistaken ideas about our true identity, which we can only discover and transcend by looking within.

This process of finding and letting go of ego-mind barriers to experiencing ourselves as LOVE is explained in the foregoing profound quotations and essay/poem.

May they remind us of our common Self-identity as Love with all Life on our precious planet.
And may they encourage and inspire us to live with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Cartesian Critique

“If you correct your mind,
the rest of your life will fall into place.”
~ Lao Tzu
“The mind is a bundle of thoughts.
The thoughts arise because there is the thinker.
The thinker is the ego.
The ego and the mind are the same.
The ego is the root-thought from which all other thoughts arise.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”
~ Rig Veda
 “When the mind is completely empty –
only then is it capable of receiving the unknown.” ……
“Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still –
only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“To think or not to think,

that is the question!”

“Thinking and Being can’t coexist.

So stop thinking and start Being.
”

“Forget who you think you are

to Know what you really are.
”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Lau Tzu



Introduction

The following Cartesian Critique essay challenges the well-known philosophical proposition deduced and propounded by influential 17th century French philosopher René Descartes – “I think, therefore I am”.

Descartes’ philosophy, known as Cartesian dualism, assumed separation between the human body and mind. Although it became very influential in Western philosophy, Cartesian dualism ignored contradictory ancient Eastern non-dualist philosophies of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, which were scientifically validated by 20th century physicists.

This essay, with above and following quotations and comments, explains how Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” proposition confuses thinking with being; and the ego/mind with universal thoughtless awareness.

Please reflect on these writings with open and intuitive awareness.

Ron Rattner

Cartesian Critique: On Confusing Thinking With Being.

Descartes deduced his presumed separate existence with thought.
He reasoned: “I think, therefore I am”.

But wasn’t that putting Descartes before his Source?

Isn’t it apparent that we exist when not thinking?

Isn’t thinking optional, while Being is perpetual?

Why are we called human “beings”, and not human “thinkings”?

Isn’t existence much more than just thinking?

Don’t we exist in thoughtless states?

Doesn’t Being encompass conscious and subconscious
phenomena beyond thought – like emotions, feelings, sounds,
tastes, sensations, moods, dreams, autonomic processes, etc.?

Don’t all thoughts comprise and concern past ideas,
whereas life is ever lived in the Now,
never in the past or the future?

Aren’t we most aware of our existence
when we are thoughtlessly/choicelessly mindful?

What might Descartes say,
if he were here today?



Ron’s Commentary on Confusing Egotistic Thinking With Being.

Dear Friends,

The above “Cartesian Critique” essay is shared to encourage us to transcend harmful egotistic thoughts and behaviors, and to help us live in harmony with each other and Nature.

It questions famous French philosopher René Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” proposition, and explains how it confuses thinking with being; and the ego/mind with universal thoughtless awareness. 



This essay was composed following my midlife spiritual awakening as consciousness. After so awakening, I learned about and accepted Eastern non-duality philosophy which contradicts Descartes’ duality philosophy of body-mind separation. And gradually I realized that “Ego is the biggest enemy of humans”, and that transcending Ego is the ultimate purpose of all enduring spiritual teachings.

So on learning about Descartes’ influential declaration, I questioned it and composed the above critique.

In my view, Descartes mistakenly presumed and deduced his supposed separate existence with egotistic-thought, which paradoxically placed Descartes before his Source, and violated both Eastern and Western wisdom cautioning against reversing the natural order of things.

For example a Western proverb cautions: “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

And ancient Taoist wisdom enjoins us to go with the flow, without mental resistance:

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.

Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow.

Let reality be reality.

Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

“If you correct your mind,

the rest of your life will fall into place.”

~ Lao Tzu

Conclusion

Honoring the natural order of things remains of great importance today, because the vast majority of Humans continue to egoically identify with thought and their mistakenly perceived separate mental mirage projections.

In current critical times, when humans are the only species creating huge ecological and other crises which disrupt and threaten life on our precious planet, it is especially imperative that we bring compassionate awareness of our true collective identity and infinite potentiality into the world.

Dedication.

So these writings are dedicated to reminding us to not confuse thinking with being; and to helping us transcend harmful egotistic thoughts and behaviors, allowing us to live in harmony with each other and Nature in current critical times.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Like A Waterfall

“Just as the strong current of a waterfall cannot be reversed,
so the movement of a human life is also irreversible.”
~ Buddha
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~ Lao-Tzu
“If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you are not afraid of dying,
there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
~ Lao Tzu




Introduction

Dear Friends,

The following “Like a Waterfall” poetic sutra verses are based upon ancient deterministic and non-dualistic philosophies, and reflect an esoteric interpretation of the above Buddha quotation from a book of daily reflections by the Dalai Lama, that: “Just as the strong current of a waterfall cannot be reversed, so the movement of a human life is also irreversible.”

With comments and quotations after the poem, I explain my poetic interpretation of that Buddhist teaching. Also, the poem’s allusions to our predestined life flow are related to other postings about Go with the Flow and Free Will or Fate.

But before considering those comments and quotations, please reflect upon and enjoy “Like a Waterfall”.

Its verses are dedicated to encouraging us to yield and skillfully go with Nature’s predestined flow, to co-create an ever better world, as we intend, intuit, and imagine it to be.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


Like A Waterfall

Like a waterfall
is the course of your life.

Arising mysteriously from
interdependent karmic causes,
its current flows irreversibly and irresistibly –

Out of this impermanent world
of ever changing forms and phenomena,
and into Eternal Mystery.

You have no destination option.

So, choicelessly and unresistingly,
let go, and go with Life’s flow –
Now!.

Inevitably it will carry you
to an infinite ocean of Eternal Awareness.

There – like contents of a time release capsule –
your illusion of separateness from Source
will melt and merge timelessly
in Truth, Existence, Bliss.

There you will BE –
Eternally –
Wholeness, Holiness, SELF.

And so it shall be!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Like a Waterfall”

Listen to

Explanation of “Like a Waterfall”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing “Like a Waterfall” poetic verses are based upon ancient deterministic and non-dualistic philosophies, and reflect my esoteric interpretation of the above Buddha quotation from a book of daily reflections by the Dalai Lama, that: “Just as the strong current of a waterfall cannot be reversed, so the movement of a human life is also irreversible.”

For those curious about this enigmatic teaching (as once I was), I’ll try to briefly elaborate. Poetic passages are consistent with perennial deterministic and non-dualistic philosophies which do not accept supposed separate human “free will”.

Thus this “Like a Waterfall” verse asserts and advises:

“You have no destination option.

So, choicelessly and unresistingly,
let go, and go with Life’s flow –
Now!.” 


Other verses are similarly consistent with determinist non-duality philosophy (as now confirmed by quantum physics).

They accept that our supposed material world is a mental illusion, like a mirage; that there is no matter, or free will, and that our perceived separation from other apparent forms and phenomena is “an optical illusion of consciousness.” And that beyond our illusory reality, is ONE indescribable and transcendent Source – to which we are irreversibly destined to return.

Also, here are key quotations which may help us understand verses suggesting that the course of each human’s life is irreversibly predetermined, ‘like a waterfall’.

“God alone is the Doer.

Everything happens by His will.”

~ Ramakrishna Paramahansa

Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end,

by forces over which we have no control.

It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star.

Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust,

we all dance to a mysterious tune,

intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” . . . .

“Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free
but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”

~ Albert Einstein

“The assumption of an absolute determinism
is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.”

~ Max Planck

“The only difference between a human being
and a stone rolling down a hill,
is that the human being
thinks he is in charge of his own destiny.”

~ Baruch Spinoza

Q. “Are only the important events in a man’s life,

such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined,

or are trifling acts also,
such as taking a cup of water or

moving from one part of the room to another?”
A.  “Everything is predetermined.”

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi 


Dedication

These “Like a Waterfall” verses are dedicated
to encouraging us to yield and skillfully go
with Nature’s predestined flow,
to co-create an ever better world,
as we intend, intuit, and imagine it to be.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Is Earth-life Purposeful?

“One great question underlies our experience,
whether we think about it or not:
what is the purpose of life?”
~ Dalai Lama
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“What are we here for?
We are here for freedom, for knowledge.
We want to know in order to make us free.
That is our life; one universal cry for freedom.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self.
Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self.
Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self.
The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it,
he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi
“Our purpose is process –
evolutionary process.

Gleaning meaning in matter,
we learn all that matters –

we learn all that matters is LOVE!”

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. 

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

~ Richard Bach





Is Earth-life Purposeful?

Q. Is Earth-life purposeful?

A. Yes! We are here to learn and evolve.

Though some Eastern mystics may call this ever changing “reality” a dream, maya, samsara,or illusion, it is a marvelous and miraculous mental creation.

So how can anyone ever imagine Earth-life to be without purpose?

Our purpose is process – evolutionary process.

Like unique facets of an infinitely faceted jewel,
each Earth being has a unique perspective, but a common Source [*see Footnote] – which transcends this world, while everywhere immanent herein.

So, our purpose is harmoniously to realize and experience,
and to actualize from infinite perspectives,
our ONE transcendent Self identity.

As long as we believe ourselves to be seemingly circumscribed
and separated from each other the rest of our reality,

We incarnate to realize and to actualize
our common spiritual Self identity.

We learn until we leave.

But, we don’t leave until we learn –

LOVE!


Footnote.

*Innumerable names – God, Love, Nature, etc. – may be used to signify that Source or any of its infinite aspects. Or as in the Jewish tradition it may be acknowledged that no name can denominate “That” which is beyond conception or expression – since naming limits the illimitable and ineffable Infinite Reality.




Ron’s Comments on Life’s Purpose

Dear Friends,

Have you ever reflected on whether human life is purposeful – individually or collectively?

Or have you wondered:
“Why was I born? Why am I living?”
Or “What is the meaning of life?”

According to the Dalai Lama “What is the purpose of life?”  is the “one great question [which] underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not”.  And since my midlife change of life, I’ve found that reflecting about our life’s purpose, if any, has sparked a very helpful process of finding ever expanding happiness. 

So today I’m sharing the foregoing quotations and essay/poem to help us consider perennial  questions about ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ of life.

Background  

Not until my midlife awakening did I ever wonder whether Earth-life is purposeful.  
But since then I’ve continued to reflect and write about it.

Tentatively, I’ve hypothesized that, as students matriculating on the ‘Earth branch of the great cosmic University’, we’re learning to let life live us as LOVE, until ultimately we realize that LOVE is our common Self-identity and Universal Reality; that beyond this conceptual space/time relative reality, there are no philosophical questions or concepts or purposes, just infinitely potential Cosmic Consciousness as a ‘maha-matrix’ Source of all samsaric illusory mirage-like ‘realities’.

While growing up in 20th century America – like millions of others – I greatly enjoyed popular New York musical theater songs.  Many of my favorite lyrics were composed by Master lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, mostly in collaboration with great musical talents like Richard Rodgers with whom he wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.   

Until midlife I understood Hammerstein’s lyrics to encompass only worldly subjects, like romantic love.  But, after spiritually awakening, I began to realize that Hammerstein’s lyrics often esoterically encompassed mystical perspectives. And I started referring to him as “Sri Oscar Hammerstein”.  

When I was born in 1932, one the “top ten” popular songs was “Why Was I Born”, for which Hammerstein (with composer Jerome Kern) had written lyrics in 1929, beginning with these perennial questions: “Why was I born? Why am I living?” “What do I get? What am I giving?” And Hammerstein’s lyrics concluded with this enduring answer: “Why I was born? To love you!”  

Fifty years after Hammerstein’s composition of the “Why Was I Born”  lyrics, I began to realize that as an ultimate goal of Human life Hammerstein’s lyrics esoterically could refer to Divine LOVE, beyond just romantic love – e.g. to the ecstatic devotional spiritual path exemplified by Sufi-Persian Mystic Masters Rumi and Hafiz.  

So with poetic license I pluralized Hammerstein’s lyric questions and edited his answer to suggest our true Earth-life purpose: 

Q.  Why were we born? Why are we living? 
What do we get? What are we giving?  

A.  Why were we born? To love THEE!  

Thus I’ve learned that reflecting on life’s purpose, can help us gradually realize that we are not who or what we were taught or ‘labeled’ to be by society, or by our mistaken mental reification of our projected-perceptions: 

That we are not merely our mortal bodies – their genders, features, colors, religions, beliefs, emotions, habits or stories, or the ‘voices in our heads’.  We are non-dual immortal spirit experiencing fleeting Earth lives from infinite perspectives in transitory physical vehicles.  But ultimately ‘under the hood’ we’re all the same Cosmic Consciousness. We are all Eternal LOVE. 

Invocation

May we help transform and transcend this world of suffering,
by realizing and compassionately actualizing our common spiritual identity, as LOVE. 

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Pursuit of Happiness
~ Quotations

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

~ Chuang-Tzu
“All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy.”
~ Shantideva
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,

which is within.”

~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21





Introduction.

Dear Friends,

Everyone wants lasting happiness; no-one wants to suffer. For millennia great mystics have revealed that ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our Self. So how do we discover and experience such Happiness?

This posting is a carefully selected collection of wisdom quotations about the Pursuit of Happiness which reveal perennial insights to the fundamental happiness goal of every human being – whether or not they knowingly follow an enduring religious, spiritual, or ethical path or principle.

These Pursuit of Happiness quotations follow my recent posting about why everyone wants happiness, which suggested that incarnation is limitation and that lasting happiness can only be found in transcendence of ego and merger with Source, after eons of inner evolution with ever elevated heart levels of awareness.

Today’s quotations provide pragmatic insights into ways which can help everyone experience increasing happiness as we evolve beyond ego to Self-identification as Eternal spirit, rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. They can help each of us from our unique perspectives find our most suitable path to lasting happiness.

Because we’re each unique with ever fluctuating enegies and unique evolutionary perspectives, different ‘pursuit of happiness’ quotations may apply to different people, concurrently or at different times. Therefore, as you carefully consider these quotations, please follow your heart to determine which ones and when they may apply to your unique perspectives.

Namasté!

Ron Rattner


Pursuit of Happiness ~ Quotations


We hold these truths to be self evident:

that all men are created equal:

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;

that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Declaration of Independence


“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”

~ Dalai Lama


“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

~ Dalai Lama

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Material progress and a higher standard of living bring us greater comfort and health, but do not lead to a transformation of the mind, which is the only thing capable of providing lasting peace. Profound happiness, unlike fleeting pleasures, is spiritual in nature. It depends on the happiness of others and it is based on love and affection.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Those who are not looking for happiness
are the most likely to find it,
because those who are searching forget that
the surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King,Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!”
~ Rumi

“There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will.”
~ Epictetus

“The people have a right to the truth
as they have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
~ Epictetus

“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy.
But if you make up your mind to be happy,
no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you,

and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank

“Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.
You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature.
Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain.
Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase;

if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”

~ C. P. Snow



“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is, rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being  and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,

the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things,
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
~ Lao Tzu

“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu


“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?

Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.

What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



“I am happy even before I have a reason.”

~ Hafiz


The word “happiness” would lose its meaning

if it were not balanced by sadness.

~ Carl Jung



“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast



Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
~ Aristotle
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ Dalai Lama
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi.
“The purpose of religious lectures and sermons is to awaken in you that irresistible soul-longing for Him.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The desire to be one with God is the greatest of all.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The soul of man has been separated from its source, wandering in exile in a strange land – “I am stranger on earth” (Psalm 119:19-20) – ever yearning to return to that from which it first sprang, and cleave to the Soul of all souls.”
~ Ba’al Shem Tov, Hasidic master
“O God, you are my God – for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless and without water.”
~ Psalm 63:1
“The longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time that it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance.”
~ Meyer Baba




Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?

Q. Why do all people want to be happy?

A. In seeking happiness, everyone is really seeking Self.

Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with It.

No matter how spiritually evolved we may become, all incarnate human life-forms experience limitation and separation from Source. Though rare beings in deep meditation may transcend this state of seeming separation and limitation, it recurs when they are impelled to return to physicality or subtle form.

Thus great devotional beings like Rumi and Hafiz constantly yearned to return to the Beloved; ever longed for eternal transcendence of the inevitable limitations and sufferings of physical existence.

Rumi said:

From my first breath I have longed for Him –
This longing has become my life.
This longing has seen me grow old. . . .

Hafiz expressed his endless longing thusly:

“My soul endures a magnificent longing. … My pen does not have the ability to describe my condition of intense longing due to separation.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi, renowned twentieth century non-dualist sage, even after attaining self realization, reported regularly shedding tears of longing and devotion during visits to the ancient Meenakshi temple in Madurai. In recounting his experience, Maharshi explained that:

“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 phenomenon of infinite longing of even “enlightened” beings was explained by Mother Meera in dialogue with spiritual author and teacher Andrew Harvey, and recounted as follows:

“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, incarnation is limitation, and knowingly or unknowingly all beings – even sages – long for transcendence of that limitation. For most humans longing for transcendence is subliminal and experienced as wanting worldly contentment. But what we really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness beyond any state of mind, beyond conception or imagination.

So, in seeking happiness, what we really seek is Source or Self.


Ron’s Explanation of “Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing quotations and essay help explain why (knowingly or unknowingly) everyone wants lasting happiness.

For millennia wisdom teachers have counseled that
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy” (Dalai Lama). 
 
And to find timeless happiness they tell us e.g. to 
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which is within.”  (Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21)

Most incarnate humans perceive and project their self-identity reality only as impermanent mortal beings supposedly separate from Nature and eternally indivisible inner Self-awareness.  And thus we futilely seek – but cannot find – lasting happiness through ever passing worldly pleasures and satisfactions, rather than through inner Self-identity as immortal spirit.  

“Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?” suggests that all beings at least subliminally long for eternal happiness and transcendence of inevitable earthly limitations; that knowingly or unknowingly what we all really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness as LOVE – beyond mental description, conception or imagination.
 
Thus, even elevated mystics like supreme Sufi poet masters Rumi and Hafiz reveal (in above quotations) their life-long tearful yearnings and longings for return to God.

Perhaps such life-long yearnings, by even the most elevated mystics or sages, can help us understand why inevitably incarnation is limitation.  

And, perhaps our inevitable longings will inspire a new earthly era, as envisioned by Indian Sage Sri Aurobindo, who said:

“The goal is not to lose oneself in the Divine Consciousness.
 The goal is to let the Divine Consciousness penetrate into Matter and transform it.”

~ Sri Aurobindo – The Mother 15: p.191

Invocation

As each of us is drawn by irresistible inner longing toward Oneness with Eternal Light,
may we become instruments of Divine Consciousness on Earth.

And, let us thereby envision and exemplify an era of lasting peace of mind and happiness
for everyone everywhere.

And so may it be! 

Ron Rattner

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


Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Introduction

Dear Friends,

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.

Ron Rattner

Discovering Non-dualism

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:

Ramana ashram

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.

Virupaksha cave

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.


Yogi Ramsuratkumar

Yogi Ramsuratkumar


Yogi Ramsuratkumar

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.

Conclusion

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.