Ramana is the trail blazer of a simple and direct path to Self-knowledge. In 1907, the great sage Ganapati Muni learnt the secret of penance from Ramana. At that time the Muni had a large following. He at once wrote to each of them that he had found his guru in Ramana, not only his guru but a universal guru. For, his teaching had the timeless character of the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. Hence he christened Ramana as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, meaning God, the one who revels in the Self, and sage among sages. Ganapati Muni is not alone in his praise. The world renowned psychologist Carl Jung says “We find that the life and teaching of Sri Ramana is the purest of India. It is the chant of millenniums”. We find the Dalai Lama writing that “Ramana Maharshi’s spiritual greatness is guiding millions of people”. Swami Sivananda, Swami Tapovan Maharaj, Swami Chinmayananda, Dr. Radhakrishnan, Swami Ramdas, Swami Muktananda, to mention a few, declare in one voice the uniqueness of Ramana’s life and teachings. This raises the question, ‘What is so special about Ramana’s teaching?’
This is the jet age. People are steeped in hectic activity, pushed and motivated by the competitive spirit to forge ahead towards materialistic goals. Old values of living the life of a monk or a sannyasi for the exclusive purpose of finding out the truth have by and large crumbled. One does not care enough to sacrifice everything for the ultimate. The fascination of the immediate, the sensate attractions are blown up in a mind exposed to the media explosion. In such a situation it is imperative to restore the balance, to find a way which can combine work and wisdom. Can the two go hand in hand? ‘Yes’ says Ramana. In fact he labels as mere ignorance the idea that the two are separate and opposite. For meditation, the silence of the mind alone is enough.
Work too is meditation! Can one believe this? But it is true. For if one’s mind is understood, the busiest hour is also the quietest hour. Then the mind is not identified with the work, with the action in which it is engaged. It is alert, like a panther stalking its prey, yet totally detached from the action. The present binding character of action, attachment to its fruits, is not there. There is joy in it. If one job is over, it is fine. One does not have to seek another job quaking with fear about idleness or boredom. ‘No work’ is as welcome as ‘work’. For the mind has been freed from its addiction to work, to thought. It experiences the joy of a thought – free mind. The steps are clear.

Step One

Doubt the assumption that there is a separate entity called the mind. Is it not a mere series of thoughts which keep moving at a fast pace creating an illusion of continuity? If it exists what could have happened to it in deep sleep when thoughts too go to sleep?

Step Two

Even though there are innumerable thoughts is there any common link between them? Is there a basic thought which alone links the disparate thoughts? Such questions will show that there is only one common thought, the individual ‘I’ thought. All thoughts are for me, for the ‘I’. So why not call the ‘I’, the subject, itself the mind?

Step Three

Since the subject itself is the mind, its core, to understand the mind one must pay attention to it should one not? Are we doing so now? No. Why? Because we are taken in by the other thoughts, the unimportant, changing innumerable ones. Wisdom demands, does it not, that attention should be shifted to the subject from the objects?

Step Four

How is this switching of attention to take place? The very recognition of the importance of the subject would have been a major step towards it. Next when thoughts arise, question as to whom they arise for and leave it at that. Such questioning will silence the thoughts. Steadfast attention to each thought, as it arises, would gradually reduce the number of thoughts and the distraction by way of intrusion of thought would cease.

Step Five

If you are subject–focused, the separate subject would also merge into its source, the Self, into consciousness. This needs a little explaining. All that exists is the fullness of consciousness. The enquiry aforesaid is necessary till the conceptual superimposition of a separate mind lasts. When this idea is uprooted by self-enquiry consciousness alone exists.


How does guru Ramana’s grace operate? It is seen and unseen, a steady undercurrent which each one on his path would be feeling and experiencing. It may come from his works, from counsel of other earnest practitioners or just out of the blue. But it comes.
The question would still remain as to whether this firm grip of Ramana on our egos till the journey’s end is continuing even after his Maha Nirvana in 1950. The ever growing number of earnest seekers who swear by the efficacy of this path is there for everyone to see and bears more than ample testimony to Ramana’s continued guidance. It may not be an exaggeration to say that there are more Ramana disciples and devotees now than when he was in the body. For this there are many reasons. Identification of a guru with his body is a mistake of the gravest order. It follows from our identification with our body. We superimpose it on the guru’s body also. Consequently when he drops his body, when there is a physical ending of it, the delusion that he is no longer living would follow. But a ‘jnani’ who is ever abiding in the Self is not different from God. His body too is the temple of God. Hence the scriptures elaborately set out the modalities of how his body should be interred in the Samadhi and worshipped. For several decades the magazine ‘The Mountain Path’ has covered in each of its issues, individual, first person  accounts  of  those    who
have written how exactly Ramana’s guidance is being received. It is through dreams, visions, words or other seekers, and sometimes even by a strong physical presence.
Then of course we have his ‘Collected Works’. The appropriate passage becomes pregnant with meaning at the right juncture. Words which one would have slurred over acquire a new meaning when Ramana’s guidance is to be given through them. The inspiring and continuing presence of guru Ramana is felt through his words. The jnani’s words are not really his. He simply puts them down under a divine compulsion. Hence their perennial power.

Teachings of Ramana Maharshi

Assorted books on the teachings of Ramana Maharshi

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