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No. 1


May the Grace of

Sri Ramana Maharshi

be with


The devotional Journal
published from the Asramam

Inserted by the Management


" Arunachala ! T h o u dost

root out the ego of those
w h o meditate o n Thee in
the Heart, Oh
The Marital Garland of
Letters, Verse 1.



T. N.



No. 1

J A N U A R Y 1964

Sri Ramanasramam,







T o Those W i t h Little Dust

Editor ;






" The Mountain Path " M . Bhaktavatsalam



R e m a i n W h e r e Y o u AveNagamma



Outside the ScripturesDr. T, N. Krishnaswami



Is Sufism Islamic ?Abdullah Qutbuddin





A n A g g r e s s i v e TeacherSagittarius


A B e a c o n StillS. P. Mukerji


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" I am not, but the Universe is M y S e l f "

Wei Wu Wei


B u c h m a n and B h a g a v a n B u c h m a n i t e



A s h r a m Bulletin



Book Reviews



The G o l d e n Master















Contributions for publication should be addressed to ' The Editor, THE M O U N T A I N

Sri Ramanasramam,






The Relations b e t w e e n Religion and A r t A r t h u r





Spiritual Traditions of the G r e e k O r t h o d o x

C h u r c h F a t h e r Lazarus
A Visit to A n a n d a s h r a m in the Lifetime of
Swami RamdasUnnamulai





Madras State/


not published

will be


Sharada Peetham of


His Holiness was v e r y glad to k n o w y o u are starting publication of a

quarterly journal entitled " T h e Mountain P a t h ' ' f r o m January 1964 and
that its aims are " to set forth the traditional w i s d o m of all religions a n d
of all ages especially as testified to b y their saints and m y s t i c s . "
His Holiness is pleased to c o n v e y His Blessings for success of y o u r










I am glad to receive your letter and k n o w that f r o m January 1964
y o u are starting a Quarterly Journal " T h e Mountain P a t h " .

. . .

I wish y o u success in y o u r endeavour.

With best wishes.

SRI B I S N U R A M M E D H I , Governor

of Madras,

Raj Bhavan,


I thank y o u for y o u r letter of the 15th October 1963. I a m h a p p y

to k n o w that under the auspices of Sri Ramanasramam, it is proposed to
publish a quarterly journal called " The Mountain Path " . If it preaches
the fundamental unity of all religions and the message of universal l o v e
to mankind, it will have served a useful purpose,

I wish the quarterly

e v e r y success.
SRI V, V . GIRI, Governor

of Kerala,

Raj Bhavan,


It is o n l y in the fitness of things that Sri Ramanasramam has decided

to bring out a quarterly publication " The Mountain Path " to impart the
spiritual k n o w l e d g e and a g e - o l d w i s d o m w h i c h the seekers and seers h a v e
been espousing in all countries and ages. Sri Ramana Maharshi, the Sage
of Arunachala, taught the message of universal brotherhood and g o o d w i l l
among all. T h e realisation of the * B r a h m a n ' is not b e y o n d us. A n a s p i rant yearning to learn, understand and f o l l o w the great truth ' T h o u A r t
T h a t ' b e c o m e s liberated.
I am sure y o u r j o u r n a l w i l l b e doing a distinct service in propagating
the need for inter-religious h a r m o n y and awakening the hidden treasures
of Godliness in e v e r y individual.



D R . C. P. R A M A S W A M I A I Y A R , Vice-Chancellor,
" Delisle ">




Sri Ramana

Maharshi w a s one of the authentic Seers that


appeared f r o m time to time in India w h o s e mission w a s to enable people

to r e c o v e r their mental poise and to give them guidance on the f u n d a mental p r o b l e m s of existence.
I a m v e r y glad that a quarterly journal entitled " The Mountain Path "
is about to b e started and I wish it all success and prosperity.

SRI C. R. P A T T A B H I R A M A N , Union Deputy


and Planning,







I a m glad that the Quarterly " Mountain Path " under the e d i t o r ship of Sri A r t h u r Osborne, is being started.

I wish the endeavour all

A s eternal and ' s a n a t h a n ' as our ancient Dharma, are the writings
about Sri R a m a n a Maharshi because he w a s a realised soul.


w h o comes across R a m a n a literature is b o u n d to b e h a p p y and elevated.

M a y the journal g r o w f r o m strength to strength and m a y it b e given
to you all to c a r r y on y o u r g o o d w o r k for m a n y years to c o m e .

SRI M. B H A K T A V A T S A L A M ,

St. George,






T h e teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi take their rank among the

great scriptures w h i c h , e m b o d y i n g the Truth and the perceptions of seers,

shed light o n the path of earnest aspirants. The advent of a n e w journal
shedding n e w light on the teachings of Sri Maharshi w i l l b e w e l c o m e d
not m e r e l y b y the devotees of Sri Bhagavan, but b y e v e r y one w h o has
faith in the spiritual traditions of India.

SRI L. N. B I R L A , Birla House,



. . . I a m glad
Quarterly journal.

to k n o w

SRI C. R A J A G O P A L A C H A R I , T. Nagar,


that y o u

are shortly going to start a

I have read the aim of the journal that is being inaugurated.

aim deserves the cooperation of all g o o d and w i s e m e n .














P u j y a Mataji got y o u r loving letter of the 15th instant and has noted

that y o u are starting the publication of a quarterly journal " The Mountain
Path " w h i c h will be edited b y Sri A r t h u r O s b o r n e .

. . .

She sends her good wishes and prays for the complete success of
the journal.

M O T H E R R A M A DEVI (OF M A N G A L O R E ) , Camp:


It is heartening to observe that y o u have e m b a r k e d u p o n the p u b l i cation of a religious journal for the furtherance of the cause of spirituality,
Dissemination of ancient w i s d o m through the m e d i u m of a journal
is one of t h e easy and effective means of service available to doers of
Association with elevating thoughts is the avenue to self-purification.
It provides conditions congenial to the awakening of the hidden p o t e n tialities of the h u m a n mind.
Let y o u r journal serve as a path-finder for w e a r y minds in the p i l grimage to the sacred shrine of supreme beatitude.
Blessings and best wishes.



(A Quarterly,

issued from Sri



The Mountain P a t h a quarterly journal, is issued f r o m this A s h r a m

as one means of maintaining the high spiritual and intellectual level that
B h a g a v a n Sri Ramana Maharshi's teaching demands. The aim of this
j o u r n a l w i l l b e to set forth the traditional w i s d o m of all religions and all
ages, especially as testified to b y their saints and mystics, and to clarify
the paths available to seekers in the conditions of our m o d e r n w o r l d .

W e h o p e that devotees of Sri Maharshi and others also w h o are drawn

to the perennial spiritual w i s d o m will lend us their support.
W e also find that m a n y devotees who. are able to c o m e to T i r u v a n n a malai o n l y rarely or not at all, are eager for A s h r a m n e w s . F o r their
benefit w e shall issue an A s h r a m n e w s bulletin as a supplement to e a c h
issue. Usually this w i l l be a small part of the journal ; h o w e v e r , in this
issue, w e w i s h to bring readers u p - t o - d a t e w i t h an account of the
Maharshi's nirvana and of A s h r a m developments since then.
T. N. V E N K A T A R A M A N ,


The Mountain Path


A R T E R L Y )



JANUARY, 1 9 6 4

No, 1


It is related (and the story is no less to it can bring a peace of m i n d and sense
significant w h e t h e r historically true or n o t ) of w e l l being not otherwise attainable.
Mystics h a v e often had unsought glimpses
Buddha's first impulse w a s to abide in the of a higher or the highest state ; those w h o
effulgence of Bliss without turning b a c k to are psychic h a v e o u t - o f - t h e - b o d y and other
c o n v e y the i n c o m m u n i c a b l e to mankind. experiences closed to the ordinary m a n ; but
Then he reflected :
" S o m e there are w h o all this is of little importance in the quest
are clear-sighted and do not need m y t e a c h - for Realization. Such p o w e r s or experiences
ing, and some w h o s e eyes are clouded with m a y be a help at certain stages of certain
dust w h o w i l l not heed it though given, but types of path, but they m a y also b e a h i n d b e t w e e n these t w o there are also some w i t h rance and distraction, like the sirens w h o m
but little dust in their eyes, w h o can b e Odysseus heard but against w h o m he m a d e
helped to see ; and for the sake of these I his c r e w plug their ears. If the pleasures of
will go b a c k among mankind and teach." It the physical w o r l d are seductive, those of
is for those w i t h little dust in their eyes the subtle w o r l d are certainly no less so.
Christ said that if a m a n attains the k i n g that this journal is intended.
Its purpose is to s h o w that there is a m o r e d o m of heaven all else shall b e a d d e d to
satisfactory state than that of ignorant, c o n - him ; but that is after attaining. If he seeks
fused, unguided, frustrated m o d e r n man, and all else beforehand he is not likely to attain.
a higher, m o r e satisfying and m o r e durable It is safer to h a v e one's ears plugged.
alternative for him than any p r o v i d e d b y
wealth or l u x u r y , art o r music, or the l o v e
b e t w e e n m a n and w o m a n ; that such a state
can b e attained in his lifetime, and that the
purpose of all religions has b e e n to lead m e n
towards it, although in m a n y different w a y s .
I say towards ' rather than ' to ' because
e v e n though the supreme state m a y not b e
attained in this lifetime, the m e r e approach

The quest is no shorter and no less a r d u ous for those w h o have such p o w e r s and
experiences than for those w h o h a v e not.
Realization is not something like music, for
w h i c h some are b y nature m o r e gifted than
others ; it is fundamentally different, since
music requires the d e v e l o p m e n t of a faculty
w h i c h is stronger in some and w e a k e r in
others, whereas Realization is the discovery



of and identification with the Self that has

the faculties.
It is v e r y hard, perhaps impossible, to say
w h o can and w i l l understand. It has certainly
nothing in c o m m o n w i t h intellectual ability
as c o m m o n l y understood. Indeed, the s c r i p tures of the various religions agree in w a r n ing that neither intellect nor learning is any
qualification. T h e y also can b e a hindrance.
" It is rather the unlearned w h o are saved
than those w h o s e ego has not yet subsided
in spite of their l e a r n i n g . "
" The h u m b l e k n o w l e d g e of oneself is a surer w a y to
G o d than deep researches after s c i e n c e . "
A scientist can fail to understand spiritual
science, a philosopher b e unreceptive to the
Perennial Philosophy, a psychologist remain
ignorant of what underlines the mind. O n the
other hand, a spiritual Master m a y or m a y
not b e an i n t e l l e c t u a l : Ramana Maharshi
w a s , but Sri Ramakrishna w a s an ecstatic
with the m i n d rather of a peasant than a
philosopher, w h i l e St. Ignatius L o y o l a w a s
temperamentally so averse to study that it
required immense effort for h i m to gain the
degree without w h i c h the Church w o u l d not
a l l o w him to teach, and he w a s m i d d l e - a g e d
before he did so.

1 Collected Works of Ramana

plementary Forty Verses, v. 36.

Maharshi, SupRiders and Sri

2 The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis.



A Master m a y feel w h o are his people and

d r a w them to him, but e v e n that is n o g u a rantee of a good~outcome to the q u e s t : Judas
was among the closest followers of Christ
and Devadatta among those of Buddha, w h i l e
M o h a m m e d is told in the Quran : " Y o u c a n not save those w h o m y o u will but those
w h o m God wills."
W h a t is required is rather willingness to
open one's heart to the truth, to surrender
oneself, give u p one's ego, conceive of the
possibility of its n o n - e x i s t e n c e , g i v e u p one's
life for Christ's sake. That is w h y the Quran
speaks of unbelievers rather as perverse
than ignorant, saying that even if an angel
f r o m heaven came d o w n to explain to them
they w o u l d not listen.
Theoretical understanding is not enough.
Neither is belief in the sense of a conviction
that this or that will happen after death.
W h a t is needed is to set one's hand to the
plough, as Christ put it, to undertake the
true alchemy, transmuting the dross in one's
nature to gold. This is the quest of the S a n graal, the search for the elixir of life, the
eternal y o u t h of the Spirit. It is the p a t h w a y of the heroes, the w a y f r o m trivialities
to grandeur. Its consummation is like w a k ing u p f r o m a dream into the ever-existent

By A R T H U R O S B O R N E
N o argument can pierce the shuttered mind.
L e t truth shine forth resplendent as the sun,
Still, crouched in their dark corner, w i l l they find
S o m e guttering candle till life's day b e done.
E v e n though w e sang like angels in their ear
T h e y w o u l d not hear.
Those only in w h o s e heart some inkling dwells,
G r o w n o v e r though it b e , crushed d o w n , denied,
W i l l greet the pealing of the golden bells
A n d w e l c o m e truth w h e n all around deride.
Y e t sight has laid a debt u p o n their will
Not all fulfil.




F o r e v e n of those w h o see, o n l y a f e w
W i l l h a v e the intrepid w i s d o m to arise
A n d barter time's false values for the true,
Making their life a valiant enterprise
T o vindicate their heritage long lost,
N o r count the cost.
A n d out of that so n o b l e f e l l o w s h i p
Questing the Graal u p o n the m o u n t a i n peaks,
W e l l is it if it m e e t the expectant l i p
Of e v e n one persistently w h o seeks.
Y e t is this quest the g l o r y and the goal
Of the a w a k e n e d soul.

A l l religions postulate the three fundamentals, the w o r l d , the soul

and G o d , but it is o n l y the one Reality that manifests itself as these
three. One can say ' T h e three are really three ' o n l y as long as the e g o
lasts. T h e r e f o r e to inhere in one's o w n Being, w h e r e the ' I ' or e g o is
dead is the perfect state.
Ramana M a h a r s h i F o r t y Verses, v. 2.

T h e entire w o r l d is G o d : This is the c o r e of m y teaching. First

banish egoism ; then y o u w i l l c o m e u p to this test. W o u l d y o u like to
k n o w the core of Divine W i s d o m ? This is m y certain answer. T u k a says :
Rise a b o v e the m i n d to destroy the ego.

T h e result of K n o w l e d g e is identity w i t h all ; the result of ignorance

is identity w i t h the limited being of one's b o d y .
Shankara, Commentary

on the Brihadaranyaka


The A t m a n ( S e l f ) is n e v e r b o r n and n e v e r dies. It is b e y o n d time,

u n b o r n , permanent and everlasting. It does not d i e w h e n the b o d y dies.



By M.





'The Mountain Path' that Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, are publishing deserves to be a great success, since the
quarterly journal aims at setting forth and maintaining the high
spiritual and intellectual level that Bhagavan Sri Ramana
Maharshi's teaching demands.
It is evident that the ' Mountain' in the caption denotes
' Arunachala' and the ' Path' is the Ramana-Path, i.e. the Path
of Self-Enquiry.
The Mountain Arunachala is the achala tattwa, commonly
known as nischala tattwa, upon which, as the screen, runs the
entire panorama of manifestation. Seeing the pictures, forgetting
the screen, he who sees is in delusion. With the realisation that
the screen alone IS, comes the Peace of Being, born out of the
understanding of Truth. This realisation that the nischala tattwa
alone is the ever present Present, is screened off by avidya (ignorance) . This avidya, the knot between chit and achit, is cut asunder by the smruthi (recollection of the highest), also known as
druva smruthi. This smruthi (remembrance) is Arunachalasmruthi, which made the boy Venkataraman into Bhagavan Sri
Ramana Maharshi, who blessed us all with his benign Presence
for over 50 years from Tiruvannamalai.
In his pure Transcendental Existence, he imparted to us the
import of nija mouna bhava of Lord Dakshinamurthi. He was a
living commentary on the Upanishadic Truth and with his plenary
experience, he attracted the elite of all religions and creeds to
him to confirm to them that in realisation of That, as it is, is the
fulfilment of all religions and philosophies.
' The Mountain Path' will help us in this druva smruthi, perpetual recollection of the highest Truth. I trust in course of time
it will become a monthly.
The management of Sri Ramanasramam deserves to be congratulated on launching this journal, as a means of fulfilling Sri
Maharshi's Will, of making Sri Ramanasramam a centre wherefrom will radiate the Light of Sri Maharshi's teaching and also
upon choosing as its Editor Mr. Arthur Osborne who really knows
the Maharshi and his teachings and in addition has very good
experience in the field of journalism.





By N A G A M M A
Nagamma is an Andhra lady who was living here in the lifetime of Bhagavan.

Her brother

also is a great devotee but <could pay only occasional visits here, as he was the Manager of a
Bank in Madras.

Therefore Nagamma formed the habit of writing him reports of the doings

and sayings of Bhagavan.

Some of these letters have been put together as a book and published

by the Ashram,* but what follows has not yet been published in English.

10th Sept., 1947

A t a quarter to ten this morning, just as
Bhagavan w a s getting u p to go f o r his usual
short m i d - m o r n i n g w a l k , an A n d h r a y o u n g
the couch
and said :
" S w a m i , I have c o m e here because I w a n t
to p e r f o r m tapas
(austerities) and don't
k n o w what w o u l d b e a g o o d place for it. I
will go for the p u r p o s e w h e r e v e r y o u tell
Bhagavan did not answer. H e w a s s t o o p ing d o w n rubbing his legs and knees, as he
often does b e f o r e beginning to w a l k , on a c count of the rheumatism in them, and was
smiling quietly to himself. W e , of course,
w e r e waiting eagerly for w h a t he w o u l d
say. A m o m e n t later he t o o k the staff that
h e uses to steady himself in w a l k i n g and,
looking at the y o u n g m a n , said : " H o w can
I tell y o u w h e r e to stay ? It is best to stay
w h e r e y o u a r e . " A n d w i t h a smile he w e n t
The y o u n g m a n was b e w i l d e r e d . " What
, is the meaning of this ? " he exclaimed.
Being an elderly person I thought he w o u l d
tell m e some h o l y place w h e r e I could stay,
but instead of that he tells m e to stay w h e r e
I am. I am n o w near this couch. Does that
m e a n that I should stay here ? W a s it to
-eceive such a r e p l y that I approached him ?
Is this a matter for j o k i n g ? "

some deep meaning in it. W h e r e the feeling

* I ' arises is one's Self. Tapas means k n o w ing w h e r e the Self is and abiding there. For
that one has to k n o w w h o one is ; and w h a t
then does it matter w h e r e one stays ? That
is what he m e a n t . " He thus pacified the
y o u n g m a n and sent him a w a y ,
Similarly, s o m e one asked yesterday :
" S w a m i , h o w can w e find the A t m a ? "
" Y o u are in the A t m a , so h o w can there
be any difficulty in finding it ? " Bhagavan
" Y o u say that I am in the A t m a , but
w h e r e e x a c t l y is that A t m a , " the questioner
" If y o u abide in the heart and
patiently y o u w i l l find i t . "


T h e questioner still seemed unsatisfied and

m a d e the rather curious o b j e c t i o n that there
w a s no r o o m in his heart for him to stay
in it.


One of the devotees took h i m out of the

hall and explained : " E v e n w h e n B h a g a v a n
says something in a light v e i n there is always
1 See the Ashram Book list
' Ashram Bulletin\ in this issue,



Bhagavan turned to one of the devotees

sitting there and said, smiling : " L o o k h o w
he worries about w h e r e A t m a is ! W h a t can
I tell him ? W h a t is A t m a ? It is a l l - p e r vading. W h e n I tell h i m that it is called
' Heart * he says there is n o r o o m in it for
h i m to stay. W h a t can I do ? T o say that
there is no r o o m in the heart after filling it
full of vasanas
(inherent tendencies and
c r a v i n g s ) is like grumbling that there is n o
r o o m to sit d o w n in a house as big as Ceylon.
If all the j u n k is t h r o w n out w o n ' t there b e



r o o m ? T h e b o d y itself is j u n k . These p e o p l e
are like some one w h o fills all the r o o m s of
his house c h o c k full of j u n k w h i c h is not
necessary for his b o d y and then complains
that there is n o r o o m for his b o d y in it. In
the same w a y they fill the mind w i t h all
sorts of vasanas and then say there i s ' n o
r o o m for the Self in it. If all the vasanas



are swept a w a y and t h r o w n out there w i l l

be plenty of r o o m and it w i l l all b e A t m a ,
T h e n there will b e no such thing as a s e p a rate ' I s o w h a t need then for r o o m , or
w h o w o u l d o c c u p y the r o o m ? Instead of
seeking the Self they say ' n o r o o m ! n o
room !
just like shutting y o u r eyes and
saying there is no sun, W h a t can b e d o n e ? "

to one w h o is recognized as a Divine I n c a r nation and is the same as the appellation of
the Buddha w h i c h is c o m m o n l y rendered in
English as ' The Blessed One \ It w a s usual
to address the Maharshi in the third person
as Bhagavan \ He accepted this usage and
sometimes referred to himself so. T h e accent
* S r i p r o n o u n c e d ' S h r e e ' is a Sanskrit
is on the first and last syllables, the second
honorific signifying ' blessed or ' auspicious \
being slurred over.
It has n o w lost m u c h of its meaning and
Various meanings are assigned to ' A r u n a c o m e to b e used b e f o r e names, m u c h like
* Mr.' in English. B e f o r e the name of a S w a m i chala ', the name of the sacred Hill. T h e
or h o l y place, h o w e v e r , it still has its o r i g i - third and last v o w e l s are long, the accent
being m a i n l y on the third.
nal connotation.

* Bhagavan
M a h a r s h i ' and ' Arunachala ' w i l l occur f r e quently in this journal. W e ^are therefore
inserting a note on their meaning and p r o nunciation for those readers v/ho are not
familiar w i t h them.

A remark m a y also b e in place on the f o r m

Ramanasramam *, w h i c h m a y confuse some
readers. T h e w o r d * a s h r a m ' has f o u n d its
w a y into English dictionaries and is t h e r e ' M a h a r s h i ' is a contraction of
Mahafore the correct English f o r m , whether a c o r R i s h i ' , meaning the Great R i s h i ' or Great
rect transliteration of the Sanskrit o r not ;
S a g e T h e accent is on the second syllable. h o w e v e r , ' a s r a m a m ' is the T a m i l f o r m , and
* B h a g a v a n ' is the w o r d c o m m o n l y used this ashram is registered under that n a m e ,
for * G o d \ It is applied b y c o m m o n consent which is therefore used for its address.

' R a m a n a ' is an abbreviation of the p e r sonal name Venkataramana. T h e accent is

on the first syllable.


By DR. T. N. K R I S H N A S W A M I

A special transmission outside the scriptures;

No dependence upon words or letters;
Direct pointing at the heart of m a n ;
Seeing into one's own nature, and the attainment of Liberation.
These are the reflections of a traveller on
the Mountain P a t h laid d o w n b y the M a h a r shi.
The Maharshi's wordless doctrine is
unlike the usual traditional teachings. T h e r e
are no creeds to be elaborated, so there is
no need for preaching.
There is nothing
for the mind to theorize or philosophize
about. W h a t is needed is immediate, i n t u i tive understanding
of the heart. " The,
intricate maze of philosophy of the various
schools is said to clarify matters and to r e veal the Truth, but in fact it creates c o n fusion w h e r e n o n e need exist.
To understand anything there must b e the Self. The
Self is obvious. So w h y not remain as the
Self ?
What need to explain the n o n self ? "

W h a t the seeker has to clo is rather to

unlearn and let go all his p r e c o n c e i v e d ideas
about the Self.
Indeed, the Maharshi has
b e e n k n o w n to say that in the end even the
scriptures must b e given u p and u n l e a r n ed. " A l l scriptures w i t h o u t e x c e p t i o n p r o claim that for attaining salvation the mind
should b e subdued.
A n d once one k n o w s
that control of the m i n d is their final aim,
it is futile to m a k e an interminable study
of them. W h a t is required for such control
is actual enquiry into oneself b y s e l f - i n t e r rogation :
' W h o am I ? '
H o w can this
enquiry in quest of the Self b e m a d e b y
means of a study of the scriptures ? "

This reminds one of Chuang Tsu's saying

that if one gets rid of small w i s d o m great
w i s d o m comes in.
T h e r e are no precepts for special a u s t e rities, w h i l e at the same time indulgence is
not condoned. T h e question always is : w h o
is it that seeks all this. T o refer a second
time to a Taoist Sage, it is like L e e Tsu's
story of the animal trainer w h o subdued his
tigers (the vasanas)
b y treating them quite
impersonally, neither gratifying their desires
nor p r o v o k i n g their anger.
A l l thinking is out of place as a means
of sadhana. It is not one's true nature. It
creates all errors and, what is w o r s t of all,
creates, as the father of them a false entity,
the ego or individual being.
" Concentration is not thinking of one thing.
O n the
contrary it is excluding all thoughts, since
all thoughts obstruct the sense of one's true
being. A l l efforts are to b e directed simply
to r e m o v i n g the veil of i g n o r a n c e . "

The Maharshi says that the Self is not in

b o o k s ; if it w e r e a n y b o d y might b e c o m e a
Sage b y study. A l s o it is not in any h e r m i tage, and going to live in solitude w i l l not
help. " W h y do y o u think y o u are a h o u s e holder ? T h e similar thought that y o u are
a sannyasin w i l l haunt y o u e v e n if y o u go
forth as one. W h e t h e r y o u continue in the
household or renounce it and go to l i v e in
the forest, y o u r m i n d haunts y o u . T h e e g o
It creates t h e
The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in his own is the source of thought.
\ mis, p. 15, Rider's edition, p. 10, Sri Ramanas- b o d y and the w o r l d and makes y o u think of

: H T i a m edition.

/Old., p. 63/75.

3 Ibid., p. 127/160.



being a householder.
If y o u renounce it
w i l l only substitute the thought of r e n u n c i a tion for that of f a m i l y and the environment
of the forest for that of the household. But
the mental obstacles are always there for
y o u . T h e y e v e n increase greatly in the n e w
surroundings. Change of environment is n o
help. T h e one obstacle is the mind and this
must be o v e r c o m e whether in the h o m e or
in the forest. If y o u can do it in the forest,
w h y not in the h o m e ? So w h y change the
environment ?
Y o u r efforts can b e m a d e
e v e n n o w , w h a t e v e r b e the environment.''
N o r is the Self something to b e attained at
some future date.
" No one is ever a w a y
f r o m his Self, and therefore e v e r y o n e is in
fact Self-realized ; o n l y a n d this is the
great m y s t e r y p e o p l e do not k n o w this and
w a n t to realize the Self.
Realization c o n sists o n l y in getting rid of the false idea
that one is not realized. It is not anything
n e w to b e acquired. It must already exist
or it w o u l d not b e eternal, and only w h a t
is eternal is w o r t h striving f o r . "

A l l doctrines are m a d e b y the ego and for

the ego. The ego flourishes o n them. But
on the Maharshi's path the v e r y existence
of the ego is denied right f r o m the start,
both that of the teacher and that of the
" There is no ego. If there w e r e
y o u w o u l d have to admit of t w o selves in
Therefore there is no ignorance.
y o u enquire into the Self, ignorance, w h i c h
is already n o n - e x i s t e n t , w i l l b e f o u n d not
to exist and y o u w i l l say that it has fled."

Is there anything in the human b o d y that

can b e called ' I ' ? There are mental and
vital processes but investigation reveals no
person there to b e designated as ' 1 '.

The negative process consists of i n t e l l e c tually eliminating the n o t - I so that o n e can

see that he w h o eliminates everything else
cannot eliminate himself.
Such intellectual
investigation m a y prepare the w a y for S e l f e n q u i r y but is n o t the enquiry itself.
4 Ibid,, p. 78/94.
5 Ibid., p. 23/21,
6 Ibid., p, 25/23.
7. It will be observed that this is the same as
the Buddhist doctrine of ' anatta'. (Editor).



" Visitor:
I begin with asking myself
' W h o am I ? ' and eliminate the b o d y as
n o t - I , the breath as n o t - I , the m i n d as n o t - I ,
but then I a m unable to proceed further,
" Bhagavan : W e l l , that is all right so
far as the m i n d goes. Y o u r process is o n l y
T h e Truth cannot be directly
indicated ; that is w h y this mental process
is used. Y o u see, he w h o eliminates all the
n o t - I cannot eliminate the * I \ In order to
b e able to say 1 arn not t h i s ' or ' I am
T h a t ' there must b e the ' I ' to say it. This
' I ' is only the ego or the I-thought. A f t e r
the rising u p of this I-thought all other
thoughts arise.
T h e I-thought is therefore
the root thought. If the root is pulled out
the rest is at the same time uprooted. T h e r e fore seek the root * I ' ; question yourself :
' W h o am I ? ' ; find out the source of the
' I'.
T h e n all these p r o b l e m s will vanish
and the pure Self alone w i l l r e m a i n . "

thought ? W h y was he not satisfied w i t h
mental investigation ? Because it cannot see
b e y o n d itself. It is created b y the ego and
therefore cannot pierce to the Self u n d e r lying the ego. But w i l l its renunciation not
result in a mere blank ?
It can ; that is
what happens in deep sleep.
B u t it can
also result in awakening into pure S a t - C h i t Ananda, Being-Consciousness-Bliss. This is
w h a t is called Realization.
" A b s e n c e of
thought does not m e a n a blank. There must
be some one to b e aware of that blank.
K n o w l e d g e and ignorance pertain o n l y to the
mind and are in duality, but the Self is b e y o n d them both. It is pure Light.
is no need for one Self to see another.
There are no t w o selves. W h a t is not Self
is m e r e n o n - S e l f and cannot see the Self.
The Self has no sight or hearing ; it lies b e y o n d them, all alone, as pure Consciousness."

Then does one

remain absorbed
ousness, oblivious
can ; that is the

w h o has realized the Sell.'

in pure, formless C o n s c i of any outer w o r l d ? He
state of trance k n o w n as

p. 117/146-7.

9 Ibid., p. 25/23,



nirvikalpa samadhi.
But he need not. Full
and complete Realization involves return to
f o r m a l consciousness also, with full p e r c e p tion of the outer w o r l d , not as a s e l f - s u b sistent reality but as a manifestation of the
Self. T h e m i n d and senses can still cognize ;
w h e n one says that the mind is dead, that
means o n l y that it no longer presumes to
imagine, create or originate, as it f o r m e r l y
did. This is the state the Maharshi w a s in.
It is k n o w n as sahaja
" T o those w h o have not realized the Self,
as w e l l as to those w h o h a v e , the w o r d ' I '
refers to the b o d y , but w i t h this difference,
that, for those w h o have not realized, the
' I ' is confined to the b o d y , whereas, f o r
those w h o h a v e realized the Self within the
b o d y , the * I ' shines as the limitless Self.



the final question is the o n l y o n e and is

raised f r o m the v e r y beginning
Because e v e r y kind of path e x c e p t S e l f - e n quiry presupposes the retention of the m i n d
as the instrument for f o l l o w i n g it, and c a n not be f o l l o w e d without the m i n d . The ego
m a y take different and m o r e subtle forms
at different stages of one's practice but it is
n e v e r destroyed. The attempt to destroy the
ego or the m i n d b y methods other than
S e l f - e n q u i r y is like a thief turning p o l i c e m a n to catch the thief that is himself. S e l f e n q u i r y alone can reveal the truth that
neither the ego n o r the m i n d really exists
and enable one to realize the pure, undifferentiated Being of the Self or the A b s o lute."
1 1

M a n y hesitate and find this m e t h o d t o o

harsh, because of all renunciations this
" To those w h o have not realized as w e l l
seems to them the most severe, renouncing
as t o those w h o h a v e , the w o r l d is real. But
not m e r e l y e n j o y m e n t but h i m w h o desires
to those w h o h a v e not realized Truth is
and enjoys it. But this is a w r o n g idea. If
adapted to the measure of the w o r l d , w h e r e it w e r e true, a Self-realized m a n such as
as to those w h o h a v e , Truth shines as the
the Maharshi w o u l d b e the most miserable
Formless Prefection and as the Substratum
of m e n , whereas in fact h e is the most
of the w o r l d . This is all the difference b e t happy, in pure, unbroken, unalloyed h a p p i ween them."
ness, regardless of w h e t h e r outer c i r c u m W h y is the Maharshi so insistent against stances seem f a v o u r a b l e or u n f a v o u r a b l e .
the ego ? Because the ego is the usurper This is because in renouncing the ego one
that claims to b e the Self, the mask that really renounces nothing e x c e p t a w r o n g
conceals the Reality. Its elimination is the conception of ' I ' , an error w h o s e r e m o v a l
o n l y w a y to realization of the true Self that reveals the eternal Truth and unalloyed
" The
underlies it. The seeker has n o alternative. happiness that is one's real nature.
T h e r e can b e no chick unless the e g g - s h e l l individual being w h i c h identifies its e x i s t is b r o k e n . T h e true Self cannot b e realized ence w i t h that of the life in the physical
T h e Self,
until the false is renounced. Therefore, the b o d y as ' I ' is called the ego.
Maharshi says, since this is ultimately n e c e s - w h i c h is pure Consciousness, has n o e g o sary, w h y not start w i t h it straight a w a y ; sense about it. Neither can the physical
since y o u must finally remain as the Self, b o d y , w h i c h is inert in itself, have this e g o w h y not d o so f r o m the start ; since other sense. B e t w e e n the t w o , that is b e t w e e n the
paths w i l l lead y o u roundabout and finally Self or pure Consciousness and the inert
f a c e y o u with the alternative of Self or physical b o d y , there arises mysteriously t h e
pseudo-self, w h y n o t g o direct and face it e g o - s e n s e or 1 ' - n o t i o n , the h y b r i d w h i c h
here and n o w ? " This is the direct method. is neither of them, and this flourishes as an
The ego or individual
A l l other m e t h o d s are practised w h i l e r e - individual being.
of all that is futile and
taining the ego and therefore m a n y doubts'
Therefore it is to b e
arise and the ultimate question still remains undesirable in life.
to b e tackled in the end. B u t in this method destroyed b y any possible means ; then
That w h i c h ever is alone remains r e s p l e n 1 0

1 0 " Forty Verses on Reality", vv. 17-18, from

The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, Riders,
London, and Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.

n The Teachings of Ramana

own Words, P. 112/139-40.


in hi



This is Liberation or
or Self-Realization."


1 2

It is to r e m o v e this error that the M a h a r shi prescribes the enquiry ' W h o am I ? '
f r o m the v e r y start.
H e had no graded
Nor did he grade his disciples
according to seniority.
Progress w a s an
inner state w h i c h only he perceived.
aspirant is e x p e c t e d to understand that h e
does not k n o w his self, to investigate into
it in order t o find out w h a t it really is. H e
must see :
" I a m possessed of a w r o n g
v i e w of ' I ' .
I am a slave of a p s e u d o - I .
I should not take him for the real ' I ' or
lend him that name. This t r a g e d y of w r o n g
thinking has brought on m e the sickness of
a w r o n g ' I T h e Maharshi has prescribed
the right medicine to cure m e . I am under
the spell of the ego w h i c h has hypnotised
and enslaved m e . I myself gave it the p o w e r
to do so b y thoughtlessly bestowing m y I sense o n it. B y doing so I am helping it to
r o b m e of m y v e r y Self."
Indeed, the
Maharshi often referred to the story of
K i n g Janaka w h o , on attaining Realization,
e x c l a i m e d : " N o w I h a v e caught the thief
w h o has been robbing m e all these years ! "
W h y do I thus misplace m y I-sense ? B e cause I take sense-perceptions for true.
h a v e to learn to realize the true ' I ' w h i c h
underlies m i n d and senses and the w h o l e
objective world.
Man's m i n d and senses are used to c o g nize o b j e c t i v e things, but this talent is of
no use for k n o w i n g the Self, in w h i c h there
is no trace of objectivity. One cannot have
a vision of the Self or k n o w the Self as one
k n o w s another, because that w o u l d i m p l y
t w o selves in y o u , one to k n o w the other.
" Y o u speak of a vision of Siva, but a vision
always presumes an object.
That implies
the existence of a subject. T h e value of the
vision is the same as that of the seer. That
is to say the nature of the vision is on the
same plane as that of the seer."
" A vision
of G o d is only a vision of the Self o b j e c t i fied as the G o d of y o u r particular faith.
1 3

12 Ibid., p. 21/18.
13 Ibid., p. 167/213,



W h a t y o u have to do is to k n o w the S e l f . ' '

A n d to k n o w the Self is only to k n o w , to
be aware, to b e .



I seek


' I'


Bhagavan : Y o u say that because y o u are

accustomed to identify yourself with the
b o d y and sight with the eyes, but what is
there to b e seen ?
And by whom ?
h o w ? There is o n l y one Consciousness and
this, w h e n it identifies itself w i t h the b o d y ,
projects itself through the eyes and sees the
limited to the w a k i n g state ; he expects to
see something different and accepts the
authority of his senses. He will not admit
that he w h o sees, the objects seen and the
act of seeing are all manifestations of the
same Consciousnessthe ' I - I ' . S e l f - e n q u i r y
helps to o v e r c o m e the illusion that the Self
is something to see. H o w do y o u recognize
yourself n o w ? D o y o u have to hold a m i r ror u p in front of yourself to recognize y o u r self ? The awareness is itself the ' I \ R e a lize it and that is the truth."
1 5

H o w e v e r the ego is engrossed with seeing,

hearing, feeling and o b j e c t i v e k n o w i n g .
values these functions and considers them
as belonging to the Self.
Blinded b y this
v i e w , one does not experience the brilliance
of the true 1'.
One's attention is to b e
d r a w n a w a y f r o m such o b j e c t i v e perceptions
to That with respect to w h i c h there is u n knowingness.
If That w e r e k n o w n and e x perienced as It is, It w o u l d b e recognized
as one's v e r y Self, and then the false * I '
w o u l d fade out.


T h e outer m a n is unreal and should b e

m a d e passive, a m e r e recipient of i m p r e s sions.
S e l f - e n q u i r y helps to do this.
j o u r n e y is inwards through territory u n k n o w n to the senses.
So long as life remains o n e should strive
to reach one's source. This is the o n l y
w o r t h y aim in life, the o n l y goal w o r t h s e e k 14 Ibid., p. 168/215.
15 Ibid., p. 24/22.
16 This expression recalls the title of the 14th
Century English mystic's guide to aspirants,
' T h e Cloud of U n k n o w i n g ( E d i t o r ) .



ing, the only use of life that can put an

end to suffering and frustration and reveal
the pure Bliss, the radiant Consciousness,
the unruffled Being that one really is. T h e
w e a p o n f o r doing this, on the Maharshi's
path, is concentration on the I-sense.
is not like other thoughts that c o m e and go
and can b e dismissed at will. One's a t t e n tion must be constantly d r a w n to feeling of
pure awareness, pure consciousness of I - a m ness. A t first this can be done only during
concentrated sessions of S e l f - e n q u i r y k n o w n
loosely as ' meditation ' but later the a w a r e ness of I - a m - n e s s b e c o m e s an undercurrent
underlying all one's activities. This I-sense
is the scent b y tracing w h i c h to its source
one reaches the Self, as a dog tracks out its

A m I w o r s e than a dog ? Steadfastly
will I track Thee out and regain Thee*
O h Arunachala.
(First of the
verse 3 9 . )

Five H y m n s to Arunachala,'

1 7

The Maharshi says that if one earnestly

seeks the * I ' , the false * I ' vanishes, leaving
only the true to shine in all its prinstine
glory. H i s teaching is based on his o w n e x perience not on learning or reasoning, and
nothing he says is for the sake of argument.
W h a t can be m o r e heartening to the t r a v e l ler on the Mountain Path ?
H T h e Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi,
Riders, London and Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.

W h e n the ego-sense of the individual m e vanishes there springs up

within m e an endless current of * I - I ' , conferring unique and transcendental bliss w h i c h engulfs all m y k n o w l e d g e and ends in Silence. H o w
then can Silence b e expressed ?

It is o n l y because of ignorance that the Self appears to be finite.

W h e n ignorance is destroyed the Self w h i c h does not admit of any
multiplicity whatsoever, truly reveals Itself b y Itself, like the sun w h e n
the cloud is r e m o v e d .


A l t h o u g h the scriptures proclaim Thou art T h a t ' , it is only a sign

of weakness of mind to meditate ' I am That, not this ', because y o u are
eternally That. W h a t has to b e done is to investigate w h a t one really is
and remain That.
" Forty Verses o n Reality " , v. 32, f r o m The Collected
of Ramana Maharshi, Rider and Sri Ramanasramam.




By A B D U L L A H Q U T B U D D I N
W h e n a y o u n g Muslim, seeks initiation into
a Sufi order he w i l l b e s h o w n the silsilah,
that is the ' c h a i n ' or genealogical tree of
the order, going b a c k f r o m sheikh to sheikh
in u n b r o k e n line to the Prophet himself.
True, m a n y of these orders bear the names
of the great Sufi saints of the 11th and 12th
centuries of t h e Christian era A b d u ' l
Qadir Jilani, Mu'inuddin Chishti, Ibn A r a b i
and others ; but although these great builders
impressed their o w n character o n them, they
had themselves b e e n initiated into them and
w e r e r e - a d a p t i n g them, n o t creating n e w
If, h o w e v e r , h e then takes a b o o k on I s l a m i c history and culture f r o m the library he
w i l l p r o b a b l y read that Sufism is an a d a p tation of n e o - P l a t o n i s m and came into
Islam several centuries after the Prophet,
These t w o apparently contradictory statements m a y c o m e as a great shock to him.
W h i c h is he to believe ? The armchair h i s torian, w h o p r o b a b l y has an anti-spiritual
bias in any case, w i l l see no p r o b l e m ; he
will simply brush aside the testimony of the
silsilah as f o r g e r y .
But one w h o has felt
the intense f e r v o u r of the Sufi quest for
truth w i l l not b e l i e v e that it is based on
falsehood ; n o r could h e f o l l o w it if h e did.
A c t u a l l y the p r o b l e m melts a w a y as soon
as one r e m e m b e r s that Sufism is n o t a p h i losophy but a path, w h i c h is something
v e r y different.
A philosopher w h o studies
n e o - P l a t o n i c and Sufi philosophy does not
t h e r e b y b e c o m e a Sufi, is not e v e n training
to b e a, Sufi, does not think of himself as a
Sufi, w h i l e on the other hand a Sufi murid
or disciple is not called u p o n to study n e o Platonic or any other philosophy.
He can
if he has a bent that w a y , b u t there is no
obligation. It is important for him to u n d e r stand the basic doctrine of tawhid, Oneness,
w h i c h , as interpreted b y the Sufis, is the

same as Identity or A d v a i t a , but that is all,

After that it is practice not theory that is
philosophers had never f o r m u l a t theories at all, if there w e r e no
"books, no theories, the basic m e a n S
contained in the shahada
Being, no self
It is the same as that t r e t e n d o n s sentence in the B h a g a v a d Gita f
existence of the unreal and no
n o n - e x i s t e n c e of the R e a l , " and according
to Islamic tradition it has b e e n used w i t h
full understanding as a w e a p o n for fighting
the ' greater h o l y w a r ' f r o m the beginning,
Its implications w e r e d e v e l o p e d m o r e s p e cifically laterthe burgeoning into v o l u p t u ous f o r m of w h a t w a s latent is a stage in
the g r o w t h of e v e r y religionphilosophers
w e r e delighted to find its essential truths
elaborated b y the Greeks, poets b e g a n to
write rapturously about it, it b e c a m e w i d e l y
k n o w n w h e r e at first it had eschewed p u b licity, but all this concerns the salik or
spiritual w a y f a r e r v e r y little.
His task is
not to theorise about it but to use it.

t e x t s

i f

i n

i s

i s

0 n e

i s

F r o m another angle also this question m a y

b e asked, w h e t h e r Sufism is Islamic ; for
there are groups in the West t o - d a y w h i c h
p a g a t e , under the n a m e of Sufism, a sort
g u e inter-religious mysticism. T o call
this Sufism is a simple misuse of language.
< S u f i s m ' has always b e e n used,
j j therefore correctly used, to indicate
< tasawwuf \ the traditional esoteric aspect
f M a m transmitted d o w n the centuries in
g u l a r schools b y direct descent f r o m t
h e r to disciple.
S o m e of the Sufi sain
h a v e spoken o r b e h a v e d in a w a y to
shock the o r t h o d o x , but a saint often does
_ _ _
irjh. II, v. 16.

p r 0

v a

a n c

r e


IS S U F I S M I S L A M I C ?

feel that society is too smug and needs shock







their side, m a y h a v e b e e n blind to the e s o teric teachings




but that too

c o m m o n to all religions.

and denied
is a



P l e n t y of C h r i s -

tians are blind to Christian mysticism, and

there h a v e been Hindu

A d v a i t a and

dualists w h o



charya ; but that does not mean that the

via purgativa

is not Christian or



not Hindu or Sufism not Islamic. T h e y m a y

all lead to the same goal, but they are s e p a rate paths till they get there.
A n e w path independent of the religions
has indeed b e e n laid d o w n in our age, but
it required Bhagavan, that is G o d I n c a r nate, to establish it. * That does not mean
that groups of m e n can p r o d u c e a composite
path ; nor does it justify them in calling
w h a t they p r o d u c e b y an Islamic name and
then denying that it is Islamic.

If it is said that Liberation is of three kinds, with f o r m or without

f o r m or w i t h and. without f o r m , then let m e tell y o u that the extinction
of the three forms of Liberation is the o n l y true Liberation.
" F o r t y Verses on Reality " , v. 40, f r o m The Collected
of Ramana Maharshi, Riders and Sri Ramanasramam.

Mind is the B u d d h a , w h i l e the cessation of conceptual thought is the

W a y . Once y o u stop arousing concepts and thinking in terms of existence
and n o n - e x i s t e n c e , long and short, other and self, active and passive, and
suchlike, y o u w i l l find that y o u r m i n d is intrinsically the B u d d h a , that
the B u d d h a is intrinsically Mind, and that Mind resembles a V o i d .
F r o m The Zen Teaching of Huang P o , p. 67,
translated b y John Blofeld, Riders.

Self-Realization does not d e p e n d on any kind of consciousness ; its

v e r y nature is A w a r e n e s s or Consciousness.
Shankara, Introduction to Commentary

on Kena

Tinier than the tiniest atom, T u k a is vast

and spat out the b o d y the v e r y image of
abandoned the triplets ( o f k n o w l e d g e , k n o w e r
lit within the l a m p . T u k a says : I n o w remain


as the sky ! I s w a l l o w e d
w orldly delusion. I h a v e
and k n o w n ) . T h e light is
only for the service of all.








Christ was an aggressive teacher.

Verbally, he hit b a c k hard w h e n attacked. N o
" gentle Jesus m e e k and mild " about him.
His m e t h o d w a s always to counter-attack
and put the attacker on the defensive.
W h e n Buddha c a m e to a rest-house with
a f e w f o l l o w e r s one night and heard a sadhu
there holding forth against h i m and his t e a ching he neither intervened nor allowed his
f o l l o w e r s to. This magnanimity had such an
effect that the attacker b e c a m e a f o l l o w e r .
W h e n abused he answered m i l d l y that since
he refused to accept the abuse it must fall
back on its utterer.
W h e n , on the other
hand, to take one characteristic e x a m p l e
a m o n g m a n y , some Pharisees asked Jesus
w h y his disciples ate without the prescribed
ritualistic washing of hands, he rounded on
them, calling them hypocrites, quoting Isaiah
against them and adding :
" Y o u are so
b u s y holding on to the traditions of m e n
that y o u let go the C o m m a n d m e n t of G o d .
True, of course, but certainly the w a y to
make enemies.

O n c e w h e n he was accusing s o m e P h a r i sees of h y p o c r i s y a doctor of l a w protested :

" Master, w h e n y o u say things like that y o u
are insulting us as w e l l . "
A n d he returned : " Y e s and I do b l a m e
y o u experts in l a w ! For y o u pile u p b a c k breaking burdens for other m e n to bear but
y o u yourselves will not raise a finger to lift
them. Alas for y o u , for y o u build memorial
tombs for the Prophets the very m e n
w h o m y o u r fathers murdered.
Y o u show
clearly enough h o w y o u a p p r o v e of y o u r
1 In these articles my quotations from the Gospels will normally be taken from the translation
Of J. B. Philips, ' The Gospel in Modern English,
fontana paper-back, Collins, as the Authorised
Version is so over-familiar and its wording so
obscure to the ordinary reader that the sharp
edge of the sayings is blunted.
2 St. Mark, ch. VII, v. 6-8.

father's actions. T h e y did the actual killing

and y o u put up a memorial to it.''

M a n y of the l a w y e r s m a y h a v e deserved
r e b u k e for being formalistsmany l a w y e r s
do in all ages ; but they could hardly help
being antagonized b y such an onslaught.
M a n y of the Pharisees m a y h a v e been
hypocrites, but w e k n o w n f r o m surviving
Jewish accounts that some at least of them
w e r e m e n of integrity and devotion sincerely
trying to perpetuate all that was best in
the Jewish tradition.
M o r e o v e r , Christ's saying that all w h o
w e r e not for him w e r e against him implied
that they w e r e deliberately being treated as
enemies. T o recognize the n e w teaching and
Teacher must have required such integrity
and understanding that there w e r e b o u n d to
b e quite a n u m b e r w h o did notpriests,
l a w y e r s , ordinary people and a wholesale
denunciation of them seems unnecessarily
aggressive to those steeped in any Eastern
Buddha rejected the Brahmin
m o n o p o l y of w i s d o m as firmly as Christ did
that of the Pharisees, but he never d e n o u n c ed them ; he simply accepted n o n - B r a h m i n s
into his Order o n the same footing as
It was not only what Christ taught that
was aggressive but the circumstances h e
chose for teaching it in. B u d d h a w a n d e r e d
quietly about the country, teaching those
w h o w o u l d listen.
T h e Maharshi did note v e n do that ; he stayed at his A s h r a m c
Tiruvannamalai and if any c a m e and asked
questions he answered them.
But Jesus
w e n t and taught in the great T e m p l e c
Jerusalem during the most c r o w d e d festiv?
of the J e w i s h year and w h i l e doing i
mingled his o w n teaching w i t h violei
3 St. Luke, ch. X I , v. 46-48.



attacks on the guardians of the J e w i s h t r a dition, warning the p e o p l e not to imitate

their w a y of l i v i n g
and telling t h e m :
" Y o u are like w h i t e - w a s h e d t o m b s , w h i c h
l o o k fine on the outside but inside are full
of. dead men's bones and all kinds of r o t tenness. For y o u appear like g o o d m e n on
the outsidebut inside y o u are a mass of
pretence and w i c k e d n e s s . "
F r o m the social
point of v i e w , the priests and l a w y e r s (and
they w e r e the guardians of the social o r d e r
the m o r e important since political p o w e r
w a s in the hands of an alien c o n q u e r o r )
must h a v e regarded m u c h of this as r a b b l e rousing and the speaker as a dangerous r e volutionary.

A n o t h e r striking feature is that Jesus

constantly demanded belief not only in his
teaching but in himself and denounced those
w h o did not b e l i e v e in him. " The difference
b e t w e e n us is that y o u c o m e f r o m b e l o w and
I am f r o m above. Y o u belong to this w o r l d
4 St. Matthew, ch. X X I I I ,

v. 3.

5 St. Matthew, ch. XXIII,

v. 27-28.



but I do not. That is w h y I told y o u , y o u

will die in y o u r sins. F o r unless y o u b e lieve that I a m W h o I am y o u w i l l die in
y o u r sins."
T h e r e is a similar emphasis in
Islam ; the Quran is full of assertions that
M u h a m m a d is a true P r o p h e t and d e n u n c i a tions of those w h o do not recognize him as
such. In b o t h cases the assertion m a y have
been true, the denunciation justified, but
apart f r o m the truth of a teaching there is
the manner in w h i c h it is delivered to be
The f o r m e r might b e called
' v e r t i c a l ' , the descent f r o m Formless Truth
to the forms of a human w o r l d , the latter
h o r i z o n t a l ' , the permeation of the h u m a n
w o r l d . B e t w e e n the t w o is the impact, the
striking of the vertical on the horizontal,
and the nature of this can v a r y . H o w m u c h
it seems
says : " D o n ' t believe because I tell y o u or
any one else does. T r y it out for yourselves
and see w h e t h e r it w o r k s , and o n l y believe
if y o u find it brings g o o d results."
But Christ's was the aggressive w a y .

6St. John, ch. VIII, v. 23-24.

By S. P. M U K H E R J I

have not seen y o u , Bhagavan ;

W e have not approached y o u r lotus-feet,

Yet do w e


T h e n o w and the then are the same for us,

The b o d y - p r e s e n c e , the presence in the heart,
These are the same.
One thing o n l y do w e k n o w
That Ramanashram is a beacon still,
i The author explains that * w e ' is used instead of 1 ' in order to include his wife, who settled
down,near Sri Ramanasramam with him after the death of the Maharshi. (Editor)




The w o r d O r t h o d o x y * comes f r o m t w o
G r e e k w o r d s meaning ' r i g h t glory.'
O r t h o d o x y means right w o r s h i p , and that
implies right belief and right thinking. W e
are reminded of w h a t our L o r d said to the
Samaritan w o m a n :
" G o d is spirit, and
His worshippers must w o r s h i p H i m in spirit
and in truth." (John 4 : 2 4 ) .

A n illustration : A mother tells her child

that fire hurts, b u t the child does not believe
it. The mother goes a w a y . Left to itself,
the child crawls to the fire and puts its hand
in. It screams, cries and changes its faith,
and consequently changes its conduct.

Our character and conduct depends

on what w e believe, Character is
what w e are. Conduct is w h a t w e
do. W h a t w e are and w h a t w e d o
makes u p the w h o l e of our life. So
our w h o l e life depends on w h a t w e
believe ( G a l . 3 : 1 1 ) .

T h e O r t h o d o x C h u r c h is v e r y rich in
d o g m a , doctrine, dogmatic belief. W h e r e does
this revealed truth c o m e f r o m ?
d o g m a comes f r o m H o l y Tradition and H o l y
Scripture, and is to b e f o u n d largely in the
Church Service b o o k s . I suppose the O r t h o d o x Service b o o k s are the richest in the
w o r l d , and these services are based p r i m a rily o n the twin sources I have just m e n t i o n ed. In a sense there is only o n e source, for
H o l y Scripture is really part of H o l y T r a d i tion. It is a f o r m of written tradition. In
the life of the Church, and in the life of
the individual, tradition comes first.
A d a m for m a n y centuries there w e r e no
books. Religion w a s dependent o n the t r a ditions handed d o w n f r o m father to son.
Even in N e w Testament times, our L o r d
w r o t e nothing.
H o w did t h e Apostles and
early Christians get their faith and k n o w ledge. B y tradition handed o n b y w o r d of
mouth. It was not until 397 A . D . that the
Canon of the N e w Testament w a s fixed as
w e h a v e it today. A n d in the life of the
individual, each of us gets his first k n o w ledge of life and religion n o r m a l l y f r o m his
parents. L o n g b e f o r e w e can read w e learn
f r o m their lives and lips.
So the A p o s t l e
Paul says :. " H o l d the traditions w h i c h y o u
h a v e been taught b y w o r d or l e t t e r " (2
Thess. 2 : 1 5 ; 1 Cor, 1 1 : 2 ) .

* The word Orthodoxy' is used in this article

in a technical sense, as applying to the Greek
Orthodox Church, just as members of the Church
of Rome use ' catholic' in a technical sense, as
applying to their Church.(Editor)

P u b l i c w o r s h i p holds a v e r y large place

in O r t h o d o x life.
T h e centre of O r t h o d o x
w o r s h i p is the H o l y L i t u r g y or H o l y E u c h a rist or H o l y Sacrifice or L o r d ' s Supper, the

P e o p l e sometimes say, " It doesn't matter

what y o u believe as long as y o u live a g o o d
That is a v e r y unthinking remark.
In fact, it isn't true. T h e truth is that it is
of vital importance w h a t w e believe, b e cause :

" Without faith it is impossible to

please G o d , " still less to b e saved
(Heb. 11:6) ;


" The
t r e m b l e , " i.e. they are
having neither h o p e nor l o v e , but
believing that what w e l o v e and h o p e
for v/ill c o m e true (Jas. 2 : 1 9 ) ;

( i i i ) If w e do not believe, in G o d w e c a n not receive His life and p o w e r to

worship, l o v e and glorify Him. Then,
deprived of grace, w e fall into i d o latry and i m m o r a l i t y ( R o m . 1:20-32 ;
W i s d o m , chs. 13 & 14) ;





various names indicating different aspects of

the service. Here w e are reminded of the
nature of the Gospel, of the heart of r e d e m p tion.
For in the L i t u r g y the w h o l e of
Christ's life and Passion is c o m m e m o r a t e d
and r e - e n a c t e d b y w o r d , s y m b o l and action
f r o m His h u m b l e birth in the stable in
Bethlehem to His glorious Resurrection and
Ascension and the sitting at the right hand
of the Father. In addition to all the other
aspects of the service, the L i t u r g y is a deep
sermon in itself. That is w h y in the O r t h o d o x Church it is not such a tragedy as it
is w i t h other Christians if the priest is a
poor preacher or for some reason cannot
preach, for the service in itself is a most
p r o f o u n d and v i v i d sermon.
A t a meeting of Presbyterian ministers,
while discussing the V i r g i n birth of Christ
one minister said, " T h e r e are m a n y in this
Presbytery w h o d o not believe in that p a r ticular fable.
I myself am one w h o does
not accept it."
One of them asked, " T h e n h o w did y o u
b e c o m e a Presbyterian minister ?
He replied, " I did accept it w h e n I w a s
much younger.
But I have since b e c o m e
educated and no longer hold m y previous
O n e asked, " D o y o u mind telling us just
w h y y o u do not believe in the virgin birth ? ''
He said, " I don't b e l i e v e in that doctrine
because it is o n l y f o u n d o n t w o pages of the
N e w Testament. M a t t h e w and L u k e are the
o n l y ones w h o e v e r mention it. In all the
writings of Paul he never introduced the
question of the virgin birth.
Peter n e v e r
mentions it in his writings, and Jesus w a s
utterly ignorant of any such suggestion.
Y o u never find it in a single sentence or
statement uttered b y Jesus Himself."
" T h e n tell u s , " one minister asked, " What
d o y o u teach and preach ? "
" The Sermon on the M o u n t , " was his
instant reply. " That is enough Gospel for
" Not for m e , " answered the other m i n i s ter, " because I don't believe in the S e r m o n
on the M o u n t ! "



If a b o m b had been d r o p p e d , it could not

h a v e created m o r e excitement.
bewildered, the first minister asked, " W h a t
do y o u m e a n w h e n y o u say that y o u don't
believe in the S e r m o n o n the M o u n t ? "
T h e other replied, " I don't b e l i e v e that
Jesus ever uttered the w o r d s that y o u call
the Sermon on the M o u n t . "
not ? "

astonished, h e said, " W h y


" Because it only occurs o n t w o pages of

the N e w Testament, M a t t h e w and L u k e
are the o n l y m e n w h o ever mention it. Paul
never talked of the S e r m o n o n the Mount.
Peter says nothing about it.
James, John
and Jude are equally ignorant of it. N o w ,
f o l l o w i n g y o u r line of reason, if M a t t h e w
and L u k e lied about the virgin birth, w h y
should I b e l i e v e them concerning t h e S e r m o n on the Mount ? "
Of course, it is n o t true that St. Paul
k n e w nothing of the Virgin Birth, for he
never once calls Jesus " S o n of M a n " but
constantly calls H i m the S o n of G o d .
w h e r e did M a t t h e w and L u k e get the i n f o r mation they give us in the Gospels if not
f r o m Jesus and M a r y ?
That, h o w e v e r , is
not m y subject for the m o m e n t . The point
I w i s h to m a k e is this. T h e r e are m a n y
people in the w o r l d t o d a y w h o think that
the S e r m o n o n the Mount is the essence and
heart of the Gospel. " G i v e us m o r e of the
S e r m o n on the M o u n t and less t h e o l o g y , "
they say. E v e n such a great m a n as M a h a t ma Gandhi said :
" T h e message of Jesus
is contained in the S e r m o n on the Mount,
unadulterated and taken as a w h o l e . " It is
one of the popular heresies and it needs to
b e answered.
T h e S e r m o n o n the M o u n t is not the G o s pel that the early Church taught.
St. P a u l w a n t e d to recall t h e Corinthians to
the fundamentals of Christianity, he did not
say :
" Blessed are the peacemakers.
not resist an evil person. L o v e y o u r enemies.
Let t o m o r r o w take care of itself.
D o to
others w h a t y o u w o u l d like them to d o to
Be perfect."
Those are magnificent



principles. T h e y could b e called g o o d advice,

T h e y could not possibly b e called g o o d n e w s .
N o , St. Paul w r o t e something quite different. Here are his w o r d s : " I delivered to
y o u among the fundamentals w h a t I also
received, that Christ died for our sins a c cording to the Scriptures, that He w a s
buried, that He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures, that H e a p p e a r ed to Cephas, then to the t w e l v e , then to
m o r e than 500 brothers at once, then to
James, then to all the Apostles.
Last of
all H e appeared t o m e " (1 Cor. 1 5 : 1 - 9 ) .
A n d here is what St. Peter preached :
" The G o d of our fathers raised Jesus W h o m
y o u killed b y hanging H i m on a tree. It is
this Jesus W h o m G o d has exalted at His
right hand to b e our Leader and Saviour,
to g i v e repentance to Israel and forgiveness
of sins.
A n d w e are witnesses to these
things, and so is the H o l y Spirit W h o m G o d
has g i v e n to those w h o o b e y H i m " (Acts
In any case the original Gospel was not
a sermon, and not. just the Beatitudes.
w a s thrilling n e w s , glad tidings of great j o y
for all the peoples of the w o r l d .
It w a s
Jesus Himself, the divine Saviour, His life,
His death, His Cross, His E m p t y T o m b , His
K i n g d o m , His l o v e and forgiveness, His
p o w e r and His glory. It is this great truth
that our salvation depends on, the act of
G o d , o n what G o d in His great l o v e has
d o n e for us, that O r t h o d o x Spirituality i n sists u p o n and emphasizes in a remarkable
In order to fix in the minds and
hearts of the faithful w h a t G o d has done f o r
us, the O r t h o d o x church, besides the Creed,
has t w e l v e great annual Feasts c o m m e m o rating events in the drama of Redemption.
Y o u m a y b e surprised to learn that Easter
is not one of the t w e l v e .
So great is the
Resurrection in the m i n d of the Church that
it is in a class b y itself and is called " T h e
Feast of Feasts and T r i u m p h of T r i u m p h s . "
Easter is always celebrated at midnight and
the service usually takes till about d a w n .
To attend an O r t h o d o x Easter Service is an



unforgettable experience. M a n y people, i n cluding R o m a n Catholic priests and m o n k s ,

h a v e told m e that they have n e v e r seen any
service to c o m p a r e with it.
The singing,
especially as p e r f o r m e d in the Russian
Church, is uplifting in the extreme.
detail : at certain points in the service the
priest greets the* p e o p l e in a loud v o i c e
with the w o r d s , " Christ is Risen," and the
" He
indeed ! "
This is also h o w people greet
one another at Easter time. Instead of s a y ing G o o d D a y or Namaskaram, one says
" Christ is Risen " and the response is " H e
is Risen I n d e e d . " O n Sundays and at Easter
there is a rule that prostrations to the
ground are not to be m a d e , as t h e j o y of
the Resurrection o v e r w h e l m s even the sense
of penitence. A l s o at Easter the psalms are
not used for a w h o l e w e e k , and there is no
No days are blank in the O r t h o d o x c a l e n dar. E v e r y d a y some saints are r e m e m b e r ed.
Saints are of various classes.
G r e e k w o r k Martyr means a witness.
martyrs b o r e witness to Christ with their
blood. It is possible to be a m a r t y r in v a r i ous w a y s . " Feel the tortures of conscience,"
says St. Athanasius, " die to sin, amputate
sinful desires, and y o u w i l l be martyr in
The martyrs struggled w i t h the t o r turers, kings and princes. Y o u have a t o r turer, the devil ; h e is the king of sin. T h e r e
are also prince-persecutors, n a m e l y demons.
If y o u refrain f r o m these passions and f r o m
sinful desires, it v/ill m e a n that y o u h a v e
trampled o n the idols and b e c o m e a m a r t y r . "
So m u c h for St. Athanasius.
Typical of O r t h o d o x y is the group of
saints called ' Fools for Christ's sake.' These
w e r e m e n and w o m e n w h o , f o r the l o v e of
G o d and in response to a special call, p r e tended to b e m a d or mentally abnormal. I
think the earliest was a n u n of Tabenna in
the Egyptian desert, St. Isidora ( 3 8 0 ) . She
was never k n o w n to eat p r o p e r f o o d .
lived o n the scraps the nuns left. It- w a s a
large c o m m u n i t y and she w a s mostly t r e a t ed with disdain and abhorrence. But such





was her humility that she never refused to

serve and o b e y e v e r y o n e in the lowliest tasks.
A n o t h e r F o o l was St. Basil of M o s c o w
w h o died in 1552, aged 88. One of the m o s t
magnificent churches in the w o r l d was built
in his honour and can b e seen in M o s c o w
today. Once the Russian E m p e r o r w a s b u i l d ing a n e w palace on S p a r r o w Mountains.
One day he w e n t to church, but instead of
praying he was thinking about beautifying
the n e w palace. St. Basil w e n t to the same
church and stood in a corner unnoticed. But
he saw what the E m p e r o r w a s doing w i t h
his mind.
A f t e r the Liturgy the E m p e r o r
went h o m e and Basil f o l l o w e d him.
Emperor asked h i m , " W h e r e have y o u
been ? "
" There, w h e r e y o u w e r e , at the
Holy Liturgy."
" H o w was that ? I didn't
see y o u . " " But I saw y o u and I saw w h e r e
y o u really w e r e . "
" I was n o w h e r e else,
only in c h u r c h , " said the Emperor. " Y o u r
w o r d s are not true, O Emperor, for I saw
y o u in spirit on S p a r r o w Mountains building
your palace."
D e e p l y m o v e d , the E m p e r o r
said : " It is true, that is just what h a p p e n ed to m e . " That is typical of the spiritual
insight to w h i c h the saints attained.
Here it m a y be g o o d to m e n t i o n that m o nasticism has always b e e n h i g h l y regarded
in the O r t h o d o x Church.
It is based on
Christ's w o r d s :
" He w h o is able to r e c e i v e it, let him receive it " (Mat. 1 9 : 1 0 - 1 2 ) .
A n d " sell what y o u h a v e and give to t h e
poor, and c o m e and f o l l o w M e " (Mat. 1 9 : 2 1 ) .
A n d the promises to those w h o renounce
everything (Mat. 1 9 : 2 9 ) . M o n k s are p l e d g ed to battle with evil. Monasticism is not
an escape f r o m service.
A great virture in O r t h o d o x Spirituality
is dispassion ( G k . Apatheia),
w h i c h is often
" apathy," " indifference,'' or " insensibility "
in a stoic sense. But true dispassion is f r e e d o m f r o m passion through being filled w i t h
the spirit of G o d as a fruit of divine l o v e .
It is a state of soul in w h i c h a burning
l o v e for G o d and m e n leaves no r o o m f o r
selfish and h u m a n passions. H o w far it is
f r o m the cold stoic conception w e can see




f r o m the fact that St. Diadochus can speak

of " the fire of dispassion."

The thought of deification m a y seem

strange, yet that is a w o r d constantly m e t
with in O r t h o d o x w o r k s . It is based on HolyScripture, of course. St. Peter tells us that
G o d has given us His " great and precious
promises that through them w e m a y b e p a r takers of the divine nature " ( 2 Peter 1 : 4 ) .
A n d St. Athanasius explains that it is
through the Incarnation that " the flesh has
been deified."
This deification. is w o r k e d
out, according to St. M a x i m u s the C o n f e s sor, b y the identification of our h u m a n will
with the divine will.
That prevents all
pantheism. It is u n i o n with the divine life
and activity, not w i t h the divine being and
essence. Iron placed in a fire becomes red
hot and fiery, but it remains iron.

E v e r y o n e is h u n g r y for life and happiness.

That is just w h a t Jesus Christ came to give.
" I have c o m e , "
He said, " that y o u m a y
have life and m a y h a v e it abundantly."
There is nothing w r o n g in being h u n g r y for
life and happiness, because that is the w a y
w e are m a d e . Y e t it is one of life's p a r a d o x e s that the pursuit of happiness, like the
pursuit of pleasure, defeats its o w n purpose.
W e find happiness o n l y w h e n w e d o n o t
directly seek it. So G o d g a v e us the spiritual l a w : " Seek first the K i n g d o m of G o d "
( L k . 1 2 : 3 1 ) . T h e n He promises that all o u r
needs w i l l b e supplied. So O r t h o d o x C h r i s tians have seasons of special seeking b y
penitence, p r a y e r and abstinence that they
m a y partake m o r e fully of that life and
happiness w h i c h constitutes the K i n g d o m of
G o d . P e o p l e think that w e a l t h and honours
mean happiness.
But G o d tells us that a
man's life and happiness does not consist in
the abundance of his possessions ( L k . 1 2 : 1 5 ) .
In the O r t h o d o x v i e w , so great is the human,
heart that nothing less than G o d can satisfy
it. A n d the truth is that G o d is man's h a p 1 It corresponds to the Hindu ' vairagya
could perhaps best be rendered as ' non-attachment ' or ' equal-mindedness \ (Editor).

2 It will

not seem

strange to Hindu




piness. So all m e n are really seeking G o d .

But it is one thing to try to get happiness
for yourself, and quite another to t r y to
establish G o d ' s K i n g d o m of divine p o w e r and
happiness in t h e hearts of all m e n e v e r y where.
W h e n Our L o r d began His public life, the
gist of His message w a s :
" The Kingdom
of G o d is at hand. Repent and believe in
the G o s p e l " (Mark. 1 : 1 5 ) . T o repent means,
according to the G r e e k , to change our mind,
o u r outlook, and consequently our life. I n stead of thinking thoughts of fear, r e v e n g e ,
sickness, it means to live and think in terms
of the h e a v e n l y k i n g d o m w h i c h is all around
us, and in w h i c h w e l i v e and m o v e and h a v e
our being.
M a n is a spirit, housed in a
So he lives at o n c e in T i m e and
Eternity. Eternal life begins h e r e and n o w .
Our business or church is h e a v e n o n earth.
T h e ikons or pictures remind us of things
not of this w o r l d . " Our life, our h o m e is
in H e a v e n " (Philip 3 : 2 0 ) . W e are s u r rounded Saints and A n g e l s and all the h e a v e n l y inhabitants.
A prayer that occurs
daily in L e n t reads :
" Standing in the
temple of T h y glory, w e think that w e are
standing in H e a v e n . "
" The K i n g d o m of
Heaven is within y o u " ( L k . 1 7 : 2 1 ) , so u n less y o u take H e a v e n w i t h y o u in y o u r heart,
y o u w i l l n e v e r go there.



W h o m a d e i t " (Eccles. 4 3 : 1 2 ) . In order to

b e attached to our Creator w e must b e d e tached f r o m creatures.
Detachment is a
virtue w h i c h holds a high place in O r t h o d o x thought. " A small hair disturbs the e y e ,
and a small care prevents detachment," says
St. J o h n of the Ladder. T o l o v e creatures
instead of the Creator is idolatry.
A remarkable feature in the O r t h o d o x
Church is what m a y be called her s a c r a m e n talism. In order to train her children and
teach them to pass through the visible to
the Invisible, she uses pictures, crosses,
O r t h o d o x Church calls sacraments m y s t e ries. A m y s t e r y is not something of w h i c h
y o u can understand nothing,
w h i c h is all darkness ; it is m o r e like a
circle of light surrounded b y darkness.

The H o l y Mysteries or Sacraments are

neither the end nor the essence of the
spiritual life. T h e y are means of grace,
and only means. B u t these means h a v e
a great importance in the life of the
Church. Because
has clothed
spirits in material bodies, He binds H i m self to use material things in c o m m u n i cating w i t h us. A n d so His l a w and p r a c tice in nature and grace is to give us His
Gifts through the hands of His creatures.
In other w o r d s G o d w o r k s through agents.
So our life comes through a h u m a n father
G o d m a d e the w o r l d of T i m e as a school and mother, light through the sun, breath
f o r Eternity.
During this brief spell on through the air, f o o d through the earth. It
earth, w e are meant to b e schooling o u r - is the same with spiritual things. The
selves to l i v e w i t h G o d our Father in p e r - science of the Sacraments is through the
fect j o y for ever.
B u t m a n y p e o p l e find material to the spiritual, through the visible
this w o r l d so beautiful, so attractive, that to the Invisible. T h e y teach us to find G o d
t h e y get attached to it and e v e n do n o t w a n t through His creatures, to find L i f e through
to l e a v e it. So St. J o h n says :
" D o not matter. T h e w o n d e r f u l w o r k s of creation all
l o v e the w o r l d or the things in the w o r l d . tell us of the divine Presence, P o w e r ,
If a n y o n e l o v e s the w o r l d , l o v e for t h e Beauty, and L o v e .
Father is n o t in him. F o r
the w o r l d
passes a w a y and the desire for i t ; b u t h e
w h o does the w i l l of G o d lives for e v e r . "
(1 John 2 : 1 5 ) .
W e are meant to find G o d in His creation,
to pass through the visible to The invisible,
to " l o o k at the r a i n b o w and praise H i m

A s m a n is soul and b o d y , so O r t h o d o x
w o r s h i p requires the h o m a g e of both, an
O l d Testament ideal, of course : " That y o u
m a y w o r s h i p the L o r d our G o d b y e v e r y thing that y o u d o " (Josh. 4 : 2 4 ) .
St. Isaac the S y r i a n :
" E v e r y p r a y e r in
w h i c h the b o d y does not participate and b y





w h i c h the heart is not affected is to b e

reckoned as an abortion without a s o u l " .
So in O r t h o d o x w o r s h i p w e b o w w i t h our
w i l l and w i t h our b o d y as w e l l , that is w e
m a k e prostrations to the ground.
feature is t h e sign of the cross. Just as t h e
N a m e of Jesus is m a d e b y a m o v e m e n t of
the tongue, so the sign of the cross is m a d e
b y a m o v e m e n t of h a n d and arm. T h e cross
is the sign of faith, h o p e and l o v e ; it is the
Christian sign, w hich G o d wants us never




to forget so He puts it e v e r y w h e r e .
tree, e v e r y telegraph pole is a cross. W h a t
a b o o k is to a literate person, a picture is
to an illiterate. It brings him u n d e r s t a n d ing.
A n d w e b e l i e v e in the C o m m u n i o n of the
Saints, because there is n o w n o death and
all are alive to G o d . W e ask the Saints to
p r a y for us, and w e p r a y for those w h o are
not yet saints.

Y o u r true nature is something never lost to y o u e v e n in moments of

delusion, nor is it gained at the m o m e n t of Enlightenment. In it is neither
delusion nor right understanding.

It fills the V o i d e v e r y w h e r e and is

intrinsically of the substance of the O n e Mind.

F r o m The Zen Teaching of Huang P o , p. 93,
translated b y John Blofeld, Rider.

I gave birth to myself ! I w a s c o n c e i v e d within m y o w n b o d y .


all v o w s are fulfilled ; all desire is extinguished. I have b e c o m e w e l l and

strong. I died a w a y that time. I l o o k on both sides. T u k a is what he is.


T h e purpose of A t m a Jnana (spiritual k n o w l e d g e ) is to r e m o v e the

illusory self created b y A v i d y a ( i g n o r a n c e ) .

T h e attainment of Self b y

Divine K n o w l e d g e means only the r e m o v a l of the illusory self created

b y ignorance through the superimposition of the b o d y as the self.
Shankara, Commentary

on the Taittiriya




S o m e friends w e r e going to Anandashram

b y car and, having heard of S w a m i Ramdas
for years past but n e v e r yet visited him, I
invitation to
them. In fact, he was the only living saint
w h o m I had an inclination to see.
A s it
turned out, it was v e r y fortunate that I t o o k
this opportunity because o n l y a f e w months
later h e died suddenly, quite unexpectedly.
W h i l e the car was approaching A n a n d ashram after a long drive through u n d u l a t ing w o o d e d country and was still about t w o
miles a w a y I suddenly had the extraordinary
experience of hearing the invocation of R a m
e v e r y w h e r e : the earth, the trees, the h u m ming of the car, the sound of the w i n d , all
w e r e vibrating with the N a m e of R a m . This
was all the m o r e remarkable as I had n e v e r
been d r a w n to this invocation and had never
used it. 'Later I understood w h y it w a s so.

W e w e r e received v e r y kindly and s h o w n

to our rooms, w h i c h w e r e comfortable and
After washing and changing into a
white sari I w e n t b a c k to Papa's r o o m .
n u m b e r of people w e r e there, sitting on the
floor, ladies against the wall and m e n at the
other side, with Papa in his armchair, his
feet resting 'on a footstool.
P e o p l e kept
and prostrating
before h i m
touching his feet. He explained that a c u r rent of p o w e r flows through a saint and that
there is especial benefit f r o m touching his
That is w h y so m a n y of the sacred
poems and songs refer to the lotus feet of
the Guru.
In his presence one felt e n v e loped in an atmosphere of l o v e and j o y f u l ness.

A t half past seven the bell rang for the

evening meal and w e all w e n t to an a d joining building in w h i c h w e r e the dining
The first thing that struck m e on b e h o l d - hall and kitchen. F o o d was served on staining S w a m i Ramdas, affectionately called less steel -plates o n the floor, in t w o r o w s ,
* P a p a ' b y e v e r y o n e , w a s h o w m u c h nicer one for w o m e n and one for men. W h i l e w e
he l o o k e d in real life than on photos. His waited to be served the dining hall w a s r e face w a s b e a m i n g w i t h joyfulness, goodness, sounding w i t h the chanting of R a m Nam.
liveliness ; his smile w a s so childlike and Outstanding w a s the soprano of a N o r spontaneous that one felt immediately d r a w n wegian trained opera singer, and the p o w e r ful deep v o i c e of a German. T h e f o o d w a s
to h i m .
purely vegetarian, excellent in quality and
I f o u n d that the A s h r a m w a s being run with due consideration for those w h o could
b y Mother Krishna Bai, k n o w n to e v e r y - not eat spiced food.
One could feel the
b o d y as ' Mataji \ W h e n w e w e n t f r o m the l o v i n g care of Mataji behind it.
car straight to the S w a m i ' s r o o m , tired and
unwashed, she w a s there. I had met her
After the meal w e assembled in the main
o n c e b e f o r e briefly, years ago, w h e n she w a s hail w h e r e Papa was already seated.
Peopassing t h r o u g h Madras.
She w a s y o u n g ple asked questions and h e not only gave
then and in g o o d health, but s o m e h o w the replies and upadesa but launched into r e meeting had left no impression, but n o w I miniscences of his o w n sadhana during the
s a w b e f o r e m e a face ravished b y srokness years w h e n he w a s a wandering sadhu.
y e t incredibly beautiful, w i t h a b#a*ty not
of this w o r l d . She is w o r s h i p p e d as a r e a i A sample of these talks is contained in his
lized soul.
book, God-Experience,
reviewed in this issue.



Although most of these can b e f o u n d in his

books, it was quite a different experience
to hear him telling them, sometimes p o i g nant, sometimes full of laughter.
A t 10 o'clock all t o o k l e a v e of Papa and
Mataji and w e n t to their r o o m s , e x c e p t a
f e w w h o just spread their bedding and lay
d o w n to sleep in the hall.
A t 5 in the m o r n i n g some of the devotees
w e n t to Papa's r o o m and sat in silent m e d i tation for about an hour, until 6, w h e n he
got u p . This m o r n i n g hour seems to have
been the only time for silent meditation.
During the d a y it w a s m o r e talking and a s k ing questions. The chanting of the mantra
went on almost uninterruptedly in the big
hall, except w h e n Papa sat there w i t h the
devotees, as he usually did after lunch and
dinner. A s I said, the atmosphere w a s v e r y
lively w h e n he b e g a n his expositions mingled
with reminiscences.
Once I was deeply
m o v e d w h e n he told about his experience
as a sadhu at a r a i l w a y station, h o w cold it
was, and a p o l i c e m a n c a m e and told him to
get up and go s o m e w h e r e else, but at first
he couldn't because his legs w e r e n u m b and
swollen f r o m sitting in the cold.
With a
v o i c e choked with emotion, I asked, " A n d
then ? " .
He immediately saw what I felt
and said reassuringly :
" It w a s all right
afterwards. R a m t o o k g o o d care of R a m d a s
and some friends l o o k e d after h i m . " H e
always did refer to himself in this w a y , in
the third person, as ' R a m d a s ' (meaning
' slave of R a m ' ) .
There was the spontaneity of a child in
him, a carefree, h a p p y child.
W h e n the
mail came in the afternoon he w o u l d read
the letters out w i t h childlike zest, e v e n if
they w e r e private.
It was bhakti at its
purest, though at the same time he s o m e times spoke pure A d v a i t a . Of course, u l t i mately bhakti and jnana m e r g e ; there c a n -


not b e . l o v e without w i s d o m or w i s d o m w i t h out l o v e .

W h e n Papa laughed ( w h i c h was v e r y
often) it used to bring on p r o l o n g e d bouts
of coughing ending in breathlessness.
was v e r y concerned about this and had a
strong foreboding. This p r o v e d o n l y too j u s tified a f e w months later w h e n he suddenly
e x p i r e d in a fit of suffocation, as w e w e r e
told b y an e y e - w i t n e s s . H o w the devotees
must have missed h i m !
H o w e v e r , Mataji
is still there.
W h i l e I was there she w a s
running the A s h r a m firmly but u n o b t r u sively and with loving care.
W h a t struck
m e was her great m o d e s t y and genuine
spirit of loving service, w h i c h she m a n a g e d
to instil into those around her. Ill as she
was, one w o u l d see her folding the laundry
of the visitors and doing endless j o b s , big
and small.
Finally something about R a m N a m , w h i c h
was the v e r y essence of the teaching of R a m das.
P e o p l e w e r e singing it, repeating it
silently, writing it out, for hours together.
Its purpose is to hold the m i n d to one
thought so as to prevent it wandering.
Mantras are not m y w a y , but P a p a e x p l a i n ed that, e v e n f o l l o w i n g some other w a y , the
mantra can b e used as a fan to m a k e the
flame b u r n brighter.
A strange thing happened in this c o n n e c tion. It must have been about the time that
S w a m i Ramdas expired (about w h i c h w e
heard only several days l a t e r ) . I was m a k ing the pilgrimage round Arunachala.
mind w a s unsteady, so I r e m e m b e r e d the
mantra and w h a t Papa had said about it
and used it as a fan. A t that m o m e n t it
came to life for m e . It w a s Papa himself
m e r g e d in the mantra. T h e r e w a s that i n describable feeling of tenderness, nearness,
all his goodness ; he was there, a l l - p e r v a d ing. Papa lives on in the mantra.


By A R T H U R
Despite the secular spirit w h i c h swept
o v e r Europe at the Renaissance and has
spread to the rest of the w o r l d in the p r e sent century, it w o u l d still b e true to say
that the greater part of the w o r l d ' s art and
poetry has b e e n religious in inspiration and
origin. W h y ?
It has been suggested that the reason is
simply that in past ages the churches h a v e
b e e n the principal or o n l y patrons ; that,
h o w e v e r , is a shallow explanation, looking
at the past through m o d e r n spectacles.
does not explain w h y Hindu life and l i t e r a ture w e r e dominated for centuries b y the
great religious epics (and let us r e m e m b e r
that the Greeks also considered the H o m e ric p o e m s the basis of their religion, although
they s h o w little of the profundity of the
Hindu e p i c s ) .
It does not fit the Taoist
painters, w h o w e r e largely amateurs in no
need of a patron, or the sculptors and p a i n ters of Buddhist c a v e temples, at Ajanta
and elsewhere, w h o w e r e w o r l d - r e n o u n c e r s .
It w o u l d b e laughed at b y the Persian p o e t saints w h o scandalized the o r t h o d o x .
does not e v e n apply to the great temples of
Mediaeval India or the gothic cathedrals of
Christendom, in c o m p l y i n g with w h o s e intricate s y m b o l i s m and shaping w h o s e exquisite
the builders w e r e hammering out
the lineaments of their o w n true nature.
Nor w e r e lay patrons lackingprinces and
feudal lords, not to mention royal courts, in
India, in China, in Japan, in Christendom,
in most parts of the w o r l d .
W o r k s of art
w e r e indeed created for them too and p o e m s
sung in their honour. T o take but one e x ample a m o n g m a n y , there are the exquisite
miniature-like paintings of Rajpu+ana. B u t
always the greatest output, g r e a t e r b o t h in
quality and quantity, w a s for religion. A n d
indeed, h o w m a n y of the Rajput paintings

had the eternal symbolism of the l o v e
Radha and Krishna for their theme !


Before attempting an answer, there is a n other question that interweaves with this.
What- is the attitude of religion to art ? A t
their origin religions seem to agree in either
ignoring or deprecating art. T h e Quran f o r bids representational art and speaks s c o r n fully of poets.
T h e T a o - T e - K i n g declares
that the five senses dull the m i n d and that
the Sage, therefore, is not deluded b y them
but aims at what is of benefit. Both Christ
and Buddha completely ignore art and
poetry in their teaching, as do also their
immediate followers.
In fact all religions
that h a v e a k n o w n historical origin run the
same course :
f r o m an austere, bare p r i mitivism w h e n art is deprecated or ignored
to a gorgeous mediaevalism a f e w centuries
later, w h e n religion burgeons out into a
luxurious g l o w of beauty, even though man's
private life is still hard c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e
comforts and conveniences of our secular
Once again, the obvious answerthat the
religions b e c a m e untrue to their origins
is superficial and does not fit the case. T h e
foremost purpose of a religion is to guide
those w h o will adventure out of the a p p a rent reality of this life to the clear-sighted
bliss or ecstatic rapture of the Sage or Saint,
through w h o m w a v e s of Grace flow d o w n wards and outwards to the less aspiring b e lievers.
So long as this continues to be
done a religion is w e l l rooted in its origins ;
so long as a tree bears g o o d fruit it is a
healthy tree. Religions w h i c h could p r o d u c e
a St. Francis and an Eckhart, an A b d u l
Qadir and an Ibn A r a b i , a Shankara and a
Ramanuja, an Ashvaghosha and a Hui Neng,
were not untrue to their origins ; the paths
w e r e still o p e n and guides w h o had trodden



them still available. M o r e o v e r , it was often

the Masters themselves w h o created or e n couraged art or poetry, a Dante and a R u m i ,
a K a b i r and a Milarepa.
There is another explanation. In the i n candescent white heat of the origin of a r e ligion the energy of those w h o aspire,
strengthened as b y a springboard b y their
rejection of the degenerate w o r l d around
them, shoots straight u p w a r d s .
The sattva
the u p w a r d tendency,
Directing the energy outwards to f o r m s ,
even beautiful forms, w o u l d be a weakness,
almost a betrayal, for h o w e v e r beautiful
forms m a y b e they limit and obscure the
pure beauty of the Formless. A s a poet saw
intuitively long after the certainty of r e l i gion had been lost, e v e n though life b e a
d o m e of m a n y - c o l o u r e d glass, it still " Stains
the white radiance of eternity."
If y o u are climbing a mountain path and
it is a matter of life and death to reach the
summit, if all y o u r alertness is needed to
strength to strive u p w a r d s , y o u do not stop
to pick flowers b y the w a y s i d e , h o w e v e r
beautiful they m a y b e . One w h o has r e a c h ed safety can do that. Even after art and
poetry began to be h o n o u r e d , it was usually
assumed in India (and to a large extent in
Buddhism and Islam also) that it is those
w h o h a v e attained Realization w h o should
write poems. Indeed, their greatest poets are
those, like T u k a r a m in Marathi or T a y u m a navar in Tamil, w h o w r o t e f r o m the f u l ness of spiritual k n o w l e d g e . The Maharshi
himself, although h e did not write m u c h ,
composed in the * F o r t y Verses ' one of the
most profound metaphysical statements and
in the first of the ' F i v e H y m n s to Sri A r u n a c h a l a ' one of the most g l o w i n g s y m b o l i cal l o v e poems of all religions and all ages.
T o sortie extent this is anticipating. C o m ing now to the mediaeval epoch, w e find
that the incandescent white heat has c o o l ed to a m e l l o w golden g l o w . Sattva is c o m 1

See, The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi,

Rilers, London, and Sri Ramanasramam, Tirux^nnarjcialai.


bined n o w with rajas, the u p w a r d - t e n d i n g

with the o u t w a r d - t e n d i n g urge.
paths to Realization begin to be f o l l o w e d :
Tantrism in Hindu and Buddhist India,
Hermetism in Christendom and indeed, with
surprising similarity, in China and Islam
also. It is found necessary first to h a r m o nize a man, redirecting his l o w e r tendencies
and developing his finer qualities, b e f o r e
launching him o n the final quest. Such r e c tification no longer happens automatically,
as a b y - p r o d u c t of the quest, as in the e a r lier stage, but needs to b e planned and
A r t is n o w deliberately e n c o u raged and developed, it is not m e r e l y
allowed as a concession to those w h o are not
o n e - p o i n t e d enough to strive w i t h o u t it, still
less is it indulged in as a l u x u r y ; it is
used as a technique of discipline and d e v e lopment. A p o e m acquires the qualities of
a mantra, a sacred incantation w h o s e v i b r a tions harmonize the m i n d ; a drawing or
architectural plan b e c o m e s a development of
a yantra or a mandala, a shape of inherent

In mediaeval religious art, w h e t h e r poetry

or the plastic arts, whether in Japan or
Europe or a n y w h e r e b e t w e e n , gorgeous e x uberance is c o m b i n e d with strict discipline
of f o r m and precise symbolism. T h e a d a p tation of art to s y m b o l i s m in order to use
it as a m o d e of w o r s h i p or a technique of
training does not in any w a y impair its
value as art. Rather it enhances it, for art
is f o r m - g i v i n g and, even though o n e had
the expertise of a S w i n b u r n e , the f o r m giving w i l l remain trivial if there is n o t h ing great to g i v e f o r m to. T h e r e f o r e w h a t
might b e termed in a b r o a d generic sense
' m e d i a e v a l ' religious art is on the one hand
rigorously formal and on the other superbly
Exact f o r m does not destroy f r e e d o m in
art ; it gives it w i n g s . P o e t r y being f o r m a l
and disciplined language as c o m p a r e d with
prose, w h i c h is c o m p a r a t i v e l y informal and
undisciplined, there is no sense in making
2 See The Theory and Practice of the Mandala
by Prof. Giuseppe Tucci, Riders, London.



it formless ; if it is not going to c o n f o r m t o

the rules of p o e t r y let it b e prose. S o - c a l l e d
' f r e e ' or formless p o e t r y is in fact halfb a k e d poetry.
Either the impulse behind
it had not a h i g h enough temperature to
melt the w o r d s and m a k e them flow into its
mould, o r the creative p o w e r flagged w h e n
the w o r k w a s half d o n e that is w h e n the
idea was h a l f - b a k e d into a p o e m .
I k n o w this f r o m experience and I c o n sider it important e n o u g h to justify an a u t o biographical aside. A s a y o u n g m a n I a s p i r ed to b e a p o e t i n fact I believed I was
one. H o w e v e r , nothing c o m e of it.
came the time w h e n neither prose nor verse
had any v a l u e e x c e p t as a vehicle for spiritual w i s d o m and a signpost on the w a y
( w h i c h , indeed, is w h a t p o e t r y should b e ) .
Then, quite suddenly, p o e m s began to come
almost r e a d y - m a d e .


intricacy and regularity of metre, was m o r e

like 17th than 20th Century verse, and I
discovered that if the impulse is sufficient
the w o r d s w i l l flow to the pattern. If not,
better keep quiet. This was the p o e m :
Disconsolate, to Him in grief 1 cried,
And the Beloved
From my own heart replied.
No radiant form appeared ;
The subtle mist that cleared
Nought new discovered,
No splendid, bridegroom, no expectant bride.
All pageants pass ; whatever comes must go.
Death hath a place
For all the mind can know.
Even the loftiest vision
Time holdeth in derision ;
Divine embrace
From vibrant joy to memory must grow.

See how Grace is fallen on me !
The sudden beauty of my rhymes
A sign made plain for all to see ;
As the Lord wrought in ancient times
With that gaunt patriarch's aged wife.
Sarah, who through all her life
Had been a barren tree.
Had this power come in youthful years,
A bastard brood my rhymes had been,
Begotten of desires and fears,
Or pompous words that little mean.
That shameful wandering denied,
I stayed perforce a faithful bride,
Whose bridgegroom now appears.
To turn m y rhymes to worldly things
Now would be a bitter shame,
Like a worthless wife who brings
Disgrace upon her husband's name.
There is not even the desire ;
No lesser theme can him inspire
Who of the highest sings.

T h e first four p o e m s w e r e almost f o r m less (actually, o n e w a s a l y r i c t h o u g h with

only v a g u e l y f o r m e d verses and one in blank
verse, though I did not realize this at the
t i m e ) ; it had n o t yet occurred to m e that
I w a s professional enough to attempt r h y m e
and metre.
T h e n a p o e m c a m e w h i c h , in

He shed the jewelled robe for my delight,

And I beheld
A Void, no sound, no sight,
Only What IS shall be
Him Me Eternity,
All clouds dispelled,
Seer and seen grown one in radiant sight.

A c c o r d i n g to Hindu doctrine there are

three gunas : sattva, the u p w a r d tendency
w h o s e colour is white, rajas, the outward,
w h o s e colour is red, and tamas, the d o w n w a r d , w h o s e colour in black. A l l things are
held in being b y their c o m b i n e d stress.
After the epoch of rajas in the relations
b e t w e e n religion and art comes that of
That is w h e n art has b r o k e n a w a y
f r o m religion and sunk to utilitarian and
ornamental patterns, w o r l d l y and human
themes. Occasional flashes of intuition m a y
still * inspire the poet, but no steady g l o w
of k n o w l e d g e , no true understanding.
Religion is again devoid of art and poetry, but
b e l o w it n o w , not a b o v e it.
Bad p o e t r y
w e d d e d to bad music forms hymns that can
have only a sentimental value. H o l y p i c tures that cannot be dignified with the name
of art are used to foster emotion. E x c e p t fc
rebels against the epoch, people no iotuv
aspire. The paths are o v e r g r o w n with wee*;



and b l o c k e d b y rockfalls and there are no

guides. The cycle comes round to w h e r e it
started but in an inverted likeness. In the,
pure aspiration of the beginning m e n had
no time for intricate techniques and paths ;
n o w again they have no time, but n o w b e cause they h a v e no aspiration at all.
Krishna says in the B h a g a v a d Gita :
W h e n e v e r h a r m o n y (dharma)
is obscured
and disharmony
triumphs, I
N o w , in this m o d e r n age, w h e n
circumstances m a k e the elaborate disciplines
of an indirect path once m o r e unsuitable, if
not impossible, G o d has appeared on earth
incarnate as Ramana Maharshi and opened
once m o r e a direct path w h i c h , b y his
Grace, is accessible to those w h o turn to
him and on w h i c h art and poetry, yantra
and mantra, are again unnecessary. He did


not encourage those w h o trod the direct

path under his guidance to divert their e n e r gies to poetry or any of the arts.
" All
this is only activity of the mind. The m o r e
y o u exercise the m i n d and the m o r e success
y o u have in composing verses, the less p e a c e
y o u have. A n d w h a t use is it to acquire
such accomplishments if y o u don't acquire
peace. But if y o u tell such p e o p l e this it
doesn't appeal to them ; they can't k e e p
quiet. T h e y must be composing songs."

i Ch. IV, v. 7.

It is significant that w h e n some one asked

him about a technique for developing the
various virtues and combating the vices in
oneself he replied that such techniques m a y
be useful o n an indirect path but on the
direct path of S e l f - e n q u i r y all this happens
T h e t w o go together : e n couragement of art and indirect methods of
training. Conditions in the w o r l d t o - d a y are
suitable for neither.

The Vedantic texts teach that although Brahman is One he is regarded

both as possessing attributes and as free f r o m them. In the f o r m e r sense
He is the o b j e c t of meditation, in the latter of K n o w l e d g e .
Shankara, Commentary

on the Brahma



M y death is dead and gone ! I have been m a d e immortal. A l l sense

of b o d y is w i p e d out root and branch. The deluge came and w e n t . I
clung 'to life with courage. Tuka says : The foundations have been truly




(Shit-t'ou, 700-790)
By W E I W U W E I

Objects are o n l y k n o w n as the result of

reactions of the senses of sentient beings to
a variety of stimuli.
These stimuli appear t o derive f r o m s o u r ces external to the reagent apparatus, but
there is no evidence of this apart f r o m the
reagent apparatus itself.
Objects, therefore, are only a surmise, for
they have no demonstrable existence apart
f r o m the subject that cognises them.
Since that subject itself is not sensorially
cognisable e x c e p t as an object, subject also
is only a surmise.
Since the factual existence of neither s u b ject nor o b j e c t can be demonstrated, e x i s tence is no m o r e than a conceptual a s s u m p tion, w h i c h , metaphysically, is inacceptable.
There is, therefore, no valid evidence for
the existence of a w o r l d external to the
consciousness of sentient beings, w h i c h e x ternal w o r l d is therefore seen to b e nothing
but the cognisers of it, that is sentient
beings themselves.
But there can b e no factual evidence for
the existence of sentient beings, either as
subject or as o b j e c t , w h o therefore are
m e r e l y a conceptual assumption on the part
of the consciousness in w h i c h they are c o g nised.
It f o l l o w s that " c o n s c i o u s n e s s " also can
only b e a conceptual assumption without
demonstrable existence.
W h a t , then, can this assumption of c o n s ciousness denote ? This question can only b e
answered in metaphysical terms, according
to w h i c h consciousness m a y b e regarded as
the manifested aspect of the unmanifested
or non-manifestation, w h i c h is the nearest it
seems possible to go towards expressing in a
concept that w h i c h b y definition is i n c o n ceivable.
W h y should this b e so ? It must be so
because conceptuality cannot h a v e c o n c e p -

t u a l l y for source, but only the n o n - c o n c e p tual, because that w h i c h o b j e c t i v e l y conceives

must necessarily spring f r o m the o b j e c t i v e l y
non-existent, the manifested f r o m
nonmanifestation, for conceptuality cannot c o n ceive or o b j e c t i f y itself as an eye cannot
see itself as an object.
Therefore consciousness can be described
as pure non-conceptuality, w h i c h is " pure "
because unstained either b y the conceptual
or the n o n - c o n c e p t u a l , w h i c h implies that
there is a total absence of both positive and
negative conceptuality.
Not existing as an object, even conceptual,
there can b e no " it " , there is no " thing "
to bear a name, no subject is possible w h e r e
no o b j e c t is, and total absence of being is
inevitably implied.
A l l w e can say about this w h i c h w e are,
w h i c h to us must b e objectified as " i t " in
order that w e m a y speak of it at all, is to
regard " i t " as the n o u m e n o n of phenomena,
but, since neither of these exists objectively,
p h e n o m e n a l l y regarded it m a y be understood
as the ultimate absence f r o m w h i c h all p r e sence comes to appear.
But consciousness, or " M i n d " , does not
" p r o j e c t " the phenomenal universe : " it "
IS the phenomenal universe w h i c h is m a n i fested as its self.
Metaphysics, relying on intuition or direct
perception, says no m o r e than this, and points
out that no w o r d , be it the A b s o l u t e , the
L o g o s , G o d , or Tao, can be other than a
concept w h i c h , as such, has n o factual v a l i dity whatsoever.
T h i s - W h i c h - I s , then, w h i c h cannot be s u b ject or object, w h i c h cannot be n a m e d or
thought, and the realisation of w h i c h is the
ultimate awakening, can o n l y b e indicated
in such a phrase as that quoted a b o v e :
"I am not, but the apparent universe
my Self."




H o w can there be anything in c o m m o n

b e t w e e n Frank Buchman, w h o has been
' mere
m o r a l i s t ' and Ramana Maharshi, the Master
of divine philosophy ? I think there is, and
I am glad of this opportunity to air m y
v i e w s on the subject.
W h y did Frank B u c h m a n launch Moral
Rearmament ? Because, as he put it, the
fences w e r e d o w n and s o m e one had to
repair them. In f o r m e r times only too m a n y
people b r o k e through the m o r a l fences and
trespassed into fields w h e r e they had no
right to b e ; but at least they k n e w they
w e r e trespassing. T h e y k n e w that they had
left the highroad and b r o k e n through a
moral fence and had no right to b e w h e r e
they w e r e . But n o w y o u n g people g r o w u p
recognizing no fences, or considering that it
is the fences that have no right to b e w h e r e
they are. F o r m e r l y if people w e n t b a c k on
their w o r d they k n e w it was w r o n g to do
so ; n o w , w h o cares ? If they fornicated they
k n e w that their religion f o r b a d e i t ; n o w
religion does not c o m e into the question and
they can q u o t e psychologists that it is the
natural thing to do. If hatred and e n v y
poison the air any one w h o speaks against
t h e m is l i k e l y to b e sneered at as a g o o d y g o o d y . A b o v e all, religion no longer means
anything for the vast m a j o r i t y of p e o p l e in
Western countries. A n d the ease with w h i c h
C o m m u n i s m supplanted it in China suggests
that its roots m a y be withered in Eastern
countries too, even though on the surface it
still seems to flourish.
Frank B u c h m a n steadfastly refused to
f o u n d a n e w religion or sect. H e held that
there w e r e too m a n y religions and sects in
the w o r l d already. A n e w one w o u l d soon
g r o w a stiff epidermis, like all the others,
and shut its f o l l o w e r s off f r o m theirs, whereas
what h e w a n t e d was to build bridges b e t -

w e e n men of g o o d will in all religions. H i m self, h e was a devout Christian, but that did
not m e a n that he wanted to m a k e Indians
and Japanese, Buddhists and Muslims, C h r i s tians. He wanted them to b e c o m e g o o d m e n ,
sincere m e n , m e n one could trust w i t h
one's m o n e y , with one's secrets, w i t h one's
daughter, m e n of g o o d will, eager to help
w h e r e help was needed, not bearing malice
or spreading slander, not gloating o v e r a n o ther's misfortune or resenting past injuries.
In m a n y , if not most, cases the best i n s t r u ment for recalling a m a n to a life of right
conduct is the religion he k n e w in childhood
and still sees around him ; therefore Moral
Rearmament can generally achieve better
results b y strengthening a m a n in his o w n
religion than b y coaxing him to another. Its
reluctance to proselytise does not mean that
it is indifferent to religion ; on the contrary,
it values religious faith a b o v e all, but it sees
that in the present urgent w o r k of r e b u i l d ing the dykes and holding b a c k the flood all
religions can help. A f t e r all, h o w e v e r great
the differences b e t w e e n them, all religions
do forbid falsehood and violent pursuit of
one's o w n interests, hatred and e n v y and
self-indulgence, and do sponsor a w a y of
life that could b e called moral and that Moral
Rearmament could a p p r o v e of.
One of the criticisms levelled at M R A is
that it is not intellectual, it has no p h i l o sophy. That is the w h o l e paradox. It is the
inevitable result of its refusal to b e c o m e a
sect or a religion. A s soon as it draws u p
any philosophy or code of beliefs for itself,
h o w e v e r b r o a d and general, it b e c o m e s a
creed and is w a l l e d off f r o m other creeds,
whereas its purpose is to build bridges not
I v e r y m u c h doubt whether Guru Nanak,
the founder of Sikhism, ever intended to
found a religion. The Granth Sahib, the h o l y



b o o k containing his songs, contains also a

n u m b e r that he selected f r o m earlier p o e t saints, some Hindu and others Muslim, and
especially f r o m K a b i r , the great mystic w h o
had both Hindu and Muslim disciples and
refused to belong to either. W h a t Nanak
wanted was not to build a n e w enclosure
between that of the Hindus and that of the
Muslims, but to m a k e a bridge b e t w e e n
those t w o , showing that in essentials they
agreed and that the accidentals w e r e not
w o r t h fighting about. He sang :
The L o r d is the Truth Absolute,
True is His N a m e .
His language is l o v e infinite ;
His creatures ever c r y to H i m :
' Give us more, O L o r d , give m o r e ' ;
The Bounteous One gives u n w e a r y i n g l y .
What then should w e offer
That w e might see His K i n g d o m ?
With what language
Might w e His l o v e attain ?
In the ambrosial hours of fragrant d a w n
Think upon and glorify
His N a m e and greatness.
Our o w n past actions
Have put. this garment on us,
But salvation comes only through His
O Nanak, this alone need w e k n o w ,
That G o d , being Truth, is the o n e Light
of all.

There could hardly be a broader and m o r e

n o n - c o m m i t t a l creed than that that G o d is
Truth and L o v e and bestows His Grace on
us for our salvation ; and y e t Sikhism
hardened into a religion. This serves to
illustrate h o w careful M R A has to b e to
avoid doing so too. It has to d e n y itself a
philosophy and a creed, because t h e y w o u l d
immediately shut out all those w h o f o l l o w
any different philosophy or creed. T h e r e f o r e
M R A has to b e unintellectual but that
does not mean that those w h o f o l l o w and
1 No. 4 of the hymns of Nanak in Selections from
the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs, Allen and Unwin,
UNESCO collection of representative works.


propagate it are necessarily unintellectual.

W h a t is required of them is that they should
b e m e n of g o o d will and initiative, intelligent
enough to see that t o - d a y ' s situation is p e r i lous and dedicated enough to w o r k at m e n d ing the dykes b e f o r e the flood sweeps in. If
they are intellectual as w e l l , so m u c h the
better, but it is good will and initiative that
c o m e first.
In restoring moral barriers philosophy is
not v e r y important. Religion is m u c h m o r e
potent. Then w h y not leave it to religion ?
Simply because the religions t o - d a y h a v e
b e c o m e too enfeebled to do it. If t h e y r e c o v e r e d sufficient vitality to l e a v e n the l u m p
and u p h o l d a m o r a l code not only among a
f e w scattered adherents but in the c o m m u nity as a w h o l e , thus making M R A u n n e c e s sary, that w o u l d be the sign that M R A had
But ethical control, it m a y be said, is only
one aspect of religion, and perhaps not the
highest. Granted, but it is one, and it is not
being done, or not at all adequately.
It could be said that religion has t w o
functions or aspects, one horizontal and the
other vertical. T h e w o r d is said to derive
f r o m a Latin root meaning ' to bind '. H o r i zontally it binds m e n together in a w a y of
living w h e r e each has his rights and duties,
his functions and obligations not o n l y his
rights, as so m a n y m o d e r n idealists seem to
suppose. Rights entail obligations. A s one
w i t t y philosopher is said to have put it, y o u r
right of m o v e m e n t ends w h e r e m y nose
A fully living and nourishing religion
for instance Christianity before the R e f o r m a tion ( a n d b e f o r e the corruption that called
for the R e f o r m a t i o n ) b i n d s the w h o l e of
society together in a living h a r m o n y . It also
organizes each person's life in a pattern or
h a r m o n y . A m a n g r o w s u p with the k n o w ledge w h a t h e can d o and w h a t h e must n o t
do. T h e pattern m a y not b e perfect, there
m a y b e dark smudges in it, social injustices,
but b y and large it w i l l b e f o u n d that sins
and uncharitable actions are listed among



what a man must not do. There m a y be

situations w h e r e he can do them and get
a w a y with it e v e r y h u m a n pattern is
stained b y imperfections and I am far f r o m
wanting to idealise the past but in general
he is liable to the censure of his religion,
and to a large extent this is effective, often
bringing w i t h it social ostracism or legal
condemnation. But t o - d a y there is no valid
condemnation ; the fences are d o w n . W h o
cares ?
The vertical aspect of religion is its b i n d ing m e n to G o d or, perhaps better, providing
a lifeline b y w h i c h a m a n can climb u p to
God. Horizontally a religion produces a h a r monious w a y of life ; vertically it produces
saints. A n d the t w o dimensions constantly
interweave, since the harmonious w a y of
life facilitates a man's g r o w t h to sanctity,
while the saints, b y the radiation of their
influence, harmonise the life of a c o m m u n i t y .
Sainthood doesn't just happen. A saint is
no m o r e a l u c k y freak than is a concert
pianist or an O l y m p i c athlete. There is
doubtless a strong natural disposition in all
three cases, but there is also hard w o r k and
arduous training. H e is something m o r e than
a v e r y g o o d man. H e is also something m o r e
than a mystic. Neither is enough alone. It
might b e said that he is a combination of
the t w o . . A mystic m a y receive spontaneous
visions and experiences like unearned l a r gesse ; but so long as he is i m p u r e his egoism
will cloud or distort his experiences, u l t i mately to frustrate them. W h o l e - h e a r t e d
dedication and severe training are necessary.
There is p o w e r as w e l l as goodness in a
The training m a y take various forms. It
m a y consist m o r e of mortification or l o v i n g
service of one's f e l l o w s or solitary prayer
and meditation, but w h a t e v e r its f o r m s they
have always been p r o v i d e d b y religion. In
Hinduism and Islam this is clear to see.
A m p l e records remain of the gurus, their
ashrams, their m o d e s of training ; and some
of their successors still practise t o - d a y , w h e ther or not with the full p o t e n c y that the
great teachers of the past had. In Christia-



nity it was the same, though m o r e c o n c e a l ed. One a n o n y m o u s 14th century classic,
' T h e Cloud of U n k n o w i n g
even describes
its f o r m of training in some detail. C h a racteristically, the author prefaces it with a
stern warning to those w h o are not pledged
to the training but m e r e l y inquisitive not to
read it.
A n d t o - d a y ? T o - d a y the religions have
g r o w n ineffectual in their vertical training
no less than in their horizontal. That is not
to say that n o b o d y ever obeys the moral
injunctions of his religion or undergoes s p i r i tual training, but b y and large the hedges
are d o w n and the ladders broken, A n d just
as F r a n k B u c h m a n instituted a m o r a l d i s c i p line independent of any religion on the h o r i zontal plane, so did Ramana Maharshi a
spiritual discipline on the vertical. He was
w e l l versed in Hindu philosophy, but in e x plaining to n o n - H i n d u s h e used neither
Sanskrit terminology nor Hindu philosophical
concepts but simply told them to seek the
essential self of them ; just as B u c h m a n w a s
a devout Christian b u t n e v e r tried to thrust
his Christianity on others.
I have no doubt that if some one had c o m e
and told Frank B u c h m a n : " I am f o l l o w i n g
the moral injunctions of m y religion and I
feel that that is enough. I don't feel that I
need Moral R e a r m a m e n t , " he w o u l d h a v e
replied : " S p l e n d i d ! I wish m o r e people
could say that." Similarly, I have no doubt
that if some one w h o was f o l l o w i n g a t r a d i tional discipline under a realized guru in
his o w n religion had told the Maharshi so,
the Maharshi w o u l d have a p p r o v e d just as
fully. But such cases must b e v e r y rare.
W h a t paths are still valid, and w h e r e are the
guides ? There are some w h o t r y to f o l l o w
guides w h o are not realized m e n , but that
c a n t take them far ; it is not m u c h better
than play-acting. S w a m i Brahmananda ( w h o
was the principal successor to Sri R a m a krishna in the training of disciples, as S w a m i
Vivekananda w a s in organization and p r o p a g a n d a ) has expressed this v e r y clearly.
" Ordinary people understand b y the term
' Guru ' a person w h o whispers some mantra



into the ear of the disciple. T h e y do not care

whether he possesses all the qualifications of
a true Master. But t o - d a y such a conception
is losing ground. It is n o w recognized that
none but a realized soul is qualified to b e a
spiritual teacher. He who does not know the
path himself
show it to
(italics a d d e d ) .


p o w e r . It could not, of course, be m a d e c o m pulsory, any m o r e than M R A itself can, for

the Spirit b l o w e t h w h e r e it listeth ; but f o r
those w h o did take it up it w o u l d supply
what m a y be lacking n o w . This w o u l d i m p l y
no change in the injunctions given b y the
Maharshi, since he encouraged his followers
to practise S e l f - e n q u i r y in the life of the
w o r l d and not in solitude and renunciation.

If, then, as this article contends, Frank

B u c h m a n and Ramana Maharshi w e r e p e r forming identical functions in providing a
universal substitute for the fast vanishing
guidance f o r m e r l y offered b y the religions,
the f o r m e r on the horizontal plane and the
latter on the vertical, w o u l d it b e possible
and advantageous for the t w o m o v e m e n t s to
c o m b i n e ? T h e y cannot do so completely. In
the first place, M R A is likely to appeal to
far greater numbers, since m o r e people are
d r a w n b y nature to outer activity than to
inner effort. A t the same time, it does seem
that the Maharshi's path of S e l f - e n q u i r y ,
being b y nature independent of the creed
and ritual of any religion, could supply that
intellectual element w h i c h is so conspicuously
lacking in M R A , without the danger of tying
it d o w n to any one religion and thereby
shutting it off f r o m others. In doing so it
w o u l d r e m o v e its greatest, though perhaps
not most apparent, weakness and increase its

S o far as the opposite influence is c o n c e r n ed, the Maharshi's training does naturally
presume high moral standards. Being a w a r
on the ego, it is ipso facto a w a r on egoism.
Arthur Osborne explains that succinctly in
The Teachings
of Ramana Maharshi in His
Own Words. " Sin and evil of e v e r y kind are
the result of egoism unrestrained b y c o n s i deration for the injury caused to others or
the deleterious effect on the sinner's o w n
character. Religions guard against them b y
moral and disciplinary codes and emotional
appeals, seeking to keep the ego within
bounds and prevent its trespassing into f o r bidden places. H o w e v e r , a spiritual path that
is so radical and direct as to d e n y the ego
itself does not need to attend specifically to
the various excesses of egoism. A l l egoism
has to b e renounced. Therefore n o n - d u a l i t y
turns the attack on the ego itself, not o n its
specific manifestations."

1 Spiritual Instructions by Swami Brahmananda,

quoted in Prabuddha Bharata, Oct. 1963 issue.

2 Pp. 41-2 of the edition by Rider & Co*, London;

pp. 45-6 of the Sri Ramanasramam edition.

A l l that has to be done is to disrealize unreality and Reality will


It is One without a second ; it is not the o b j e c t of perception ; it is

one's v e r y Self. So one can say that it is not to b e expressed or described.
Shankara, Commetnary

on the Gita

X I I I , 2.

' On Friday (April 14th, 1950) the doctors and
attendants knew it was the last day.
In the
morning he again bade them go and meditate.
About noon, when liquid fcod was brought for
him, he asked the time, punctual as ever, but
" But
' Delicately expressing recognition of their long
years of service, he said to the attendants, " The
English have a word * thanks' but we only say

(I am pleased)

' In the morning the long crowd filed past the

open doorway, silent with grief and apprehension,
and again between four and five in the evening.
The disease-racked body they saw there was
shrunken, the ribs protruding, the skin blackened ; it was a pitiable vestige of pain.
And yet
at some time during these last few days each
devotee received a direct, luminous, penetrating
look of recognition which he felt as a parting
infusion of Grace.


darshan that evening the devotees did

i\ot disperse to their homes.

Apprehension held

them there. At about sunset Sri Bhagavan told

the attendants to sit him up. They knew already
that every movement, every touch was painful,
but he told them not to worry about that.
sat with one of the attendants supporting his
head. A doctor began to give him oxygen but
with a wave of his right hand he motioned him
away. There were about a dozen persons in the
small room, doctors and attendants.
' Two of the attendants were fanning him, and
the devotees outside gazed spell-bound at the
moving fans through the window, a sign that
there was still a living body to fan. A reporter
of a large American magazine moved about restlessly, uneasy at having been impressed despite
himself and determined not to write his story
till he got away from Tiruvannamalai to conditions that he considered normal. With him was
a French press-photographer.
' Unexpectedly, a group of devotees sitting on the
veranda outside the hall began singing 'Aruna^
On hearing it, Sri Bhagavan's eyes
opened and shone. He gave a brief smile of indescribable tenderness. From the outer edges of
his eyes tears of bliss rolled down.
One more



deep breath, and no more. There was no struggle, no spasm, no other sign of death : only that
the next breath did not come.
' For a few moments people stood bewildered.
The singing continued. The French press-photographer came up to me (Editor) and asked at what
precise minute it had happened. Resenting it as
journalistic callousness, I replied brusquely that
I did not know, and then I suddenly recalled
Sri Bhagavan's unfailing courtesy and answered
precisely that it was 8.47. He said, and I could
hear now that he was excited, that he had been
pacing the road outside and at that very moment
an enormous star had trailed slowly across the
Many had seen it, even as far as Madras,
and felt what it portended.
It passed to the
north-east towards the peak of Arunachala.
' After the first numbness there was a wild burst
of grief.
The body was carried out on the
veranda in a sitting posture.
Men and women
crowded up to the veranda railing to see.
woman fainted.
Others sobbed aloud.
' The body was placed garlanded upon a couch
in the hall and the devotees thronged there and
sat around it.
One had expected the face to
be rock-like in samadhi, but found it instead so
marked by pain that it gripped one's heart. Only
gradually during the night the air of mysterious
composure returned to it.
' All that night devotees sat in the large hall
and townsfolk passed through in awed silence
Processions streamed from the town and back
' ArunachalaSiva'.
devotees in the hall
sang songs of praise
and grief; others sat
silent. What was most
noticeable was not the
beneath it, for
were men and women
deprived of him whose
Grace had been the
very meaning of their
life. Already that first
night and much mere
during the days that
clear how vital had
been his words :
" I
am not going away.
I go ?


I am here."
The word here' does not imply
any limitation but rather that the Self is, that
there is no going, no changing, for That which
is Universal.
Nevertheless, as devotees felt the
inner Presence of Bhagavan and as they felt the
continued Divine Presence at Tiruvannamalai,
they began to regard it as a promise full of love
and solicitude.

* During the night of vigil a decision had to

be taken as to the burial. It had been thought
that the body might be interred in the new hall,
but many devotees opposed the idea. They felt
that the hall was, in a sense, an adjunct to the
temple and would make the shrine of Sri Bhagavan seem subordinate to that of the Mother,
reversing the true order of things. Next day, by
general agreement, a pit was dug and the body
interred with divine honours in the space between the old hall and the temple.
The crowd,
packed tight, looked on in silent grief. No more
the beloved face, no more the sound of his voice ;
henceforth the lingam of polished black stone,
the symbol of Siva, over the tomb was the outer
sign, and inwardly his footprints in the heart,


' The crowds dispersed and the Ashram seemed an abandoned place, like a grate with the
fire gone out. And yet there was not the wild
grief and despair that has so often followed the
departure of a Spiritual Master from earth. The
normality that had been so pronounced still continued. It began to be apparent with what care
and compassion Sri Bhagavan had prepared his

The last photograph



devotees for this. Nevertheless, during those first

days and weeks of bereavement few cared to
remain at Tiruvannamalai, and some who would
have cared to could not.
' Many years previously a will had been drawn
up stating how the Ashram was to be run when
the Master was no longer bodily present. A group
of devotees had taken this to Sri Bhagavan and
he had read it through very carefully and shown
approval, after which they all signed as witnessss.
Briefly, it stated that puja (ritualistic worship)
should be performed at his tomb and that of the
mother, that the family of Niranjanananda Swami's
son should be supported, and that the spiritual
centre of Sri Ramanasramam should be kept alive.
' Everywhere his Presence is felt, and yet there
are differences of atmosphere. Morning and evening there is parayanam (chanting of the Vedas)
before the tomb, as there used to be before his
bodily presence, and at the same hours. As the
devotees sit there in meditation it is the same
as when they sat before him in the hall, the
same power, the same subtlety of guidance. During parayanam, puja is performed at the tomb and
the 108 names of Bhagavan are recited. But in
the old hall is a softer, mellower atmosphere
breathing the intimacy of his long abidance. Some
months after the Mahasamadhi (leaving the body)
this hall was damaged by a fire that broke cut,
but was fortunately not destroyed.
' There is also the little room where the last
days and hours were spent. A large portrait
which hangs there seems to live and respond to
devotion. Here are the various objects that Sri
Bhagavan used or touched his staff and water
vessel, a peacock fan, the revolving book-case,
many little objects. And the couch now forever
empty. There is something infinitely poignant,
inexpressibly gracious about the room.
In the new hall a statue of Sri Bhagavan has
been installed. It was one of the terms of the
will that a statue should be set up, but no sculptor has yet been found to make one adequate. He
would have to feel the mystery of Sri Bhagavan,
to be inspired by him, for it is not a question of
rendering human features but the divine power
and beauty that shone through them.

' Not only the Ashram premises are hallowed

but all the neighbourhood around. The peace that
abides there encompasses and permeates : no passive peace but a vibrant exhilaration. The very
air is redolent with his Presence.



The Managing Committee of SRI R A M A N A S R A M A M has now resolved to open a
roll of Donors and Life Members, the contribution being Rs. 1,000/- and upwards for
the former and Rs. 100/- and upwards for
the latter ( 100 & $300 and 10 & $ 30).
Such contributions will be deposited
Bank and the interest realised thereon
lised for the upkeep of the Ashram
for providing facilities for its members

in a

The Members who so contribute will have

the satisfaction of helping the Ashram
build up a capital fund and also of forwarding its activities by enabling it to avail
itself of the interest thereon.
The Management request you kindly to
enrol yourself as a Donor or Life Member
and also to recommend such of your friends
to do so as may feel an urge.
May the Grace of Sri Maharshi be ever
with you and yours.
T. N. V E N K A T A R A M A N ,
B. S. R A N G A N A T H A M ,

' True, his Presence is not confined to Tiruvannamalai. It never was. The devotees, wherever
they may be, find his Grace and support, his
inner Presence, not merely as potent but even
more potent now than before. And yet, now as
before, the solace of a visit to Tiruvannamalai
sinks into the soul and residence there has a
beauty hard to describe.
' There have been Saints who have promised to
return to earth for the renewed guidance of their
devotees in life after life, but Sri Bhagavan was
the complete Jnani in whom there is not even
that vestige of an ego that may indicate rebirth,
and the devotees understood this. His promise was
different. " I am not going away. Where could I
go ? I am here." Not even " I shall be here " but
" I am here ", for to the Jnani there is no change,
no time, no difference of past and future, no going
away, only the eternal " Now " in which the whole
of time is poised, the universal, spaceless " Here ".




What he affirmed was his continued, uninterrupted Presence, his continued guidance. Long ago he
had told Sivaprakasam Pillai, " H e who has won
the Grace of the Guru shall undoubtedly be saved
and never forsaken," and when devotees spoke
during the last sickness as though he was forsaking them and pleaded their weakness and continued need of him he retorted, as already mentioned, " You attach too much importance to the
' They quickly discovered how true this was.
More than ever he has become the Inner Guru.
Those who depended on him feel his guidance
mere actively, more potently, now. Their thoughts
are riveted on him more constantly. The vichara,
leading to the Inner Guru, has grown easier and
more accessible. Meditation brings a more immediate flow of Grace. The repercussion of actions,
good and bad alike, is more swift and strong.

dancy to have some person there as a guru.

Instructions for meditation are given in his writings and sayings; spiritual support comes direct
from him ; all that is needed is practice.' 2
During the lifetime of the Maharshi the
Ashram had been run by his younger brother
Sri Niranjanananda Swami, known also as Chinnaswamy or 'the Little S w a m i ' and entitled the
Sarvadhikari or Governor. He took sannyasa after
the early death of his wife, while the Maharshi
was still living in a cave on Arunachala; and
when the Maharshi came down to the foot of the
hill after his mother's death and took up his abode
there, it was he who organized the Ashram that
we now know. After the death of the Maharshi
a Committee of devotees was formed to advise him
but he continued the Ashram management.

After the first shock of bereavement devotees

began to be drawn back to Tiruvannamalai. The
mystery of Arunachala Hill also has become more
accessible. There were many formerly who felt
nothing of its power, for whom it was just a hill
of rock and earth and shrubs like any other. But
from the time when the Spirit left the body and
a bright star trailed towards the Hill devotees
have felt more directly that it is holy ground ;
they have felt in it the mystery of Bhagavan.* i

Naturally, there are not the same crowds at
the Maharshi's Ashram at Tiruvannamalai that
there were during his lifetime. Many of these
were visitors eager to have a sight of the holy
man. Many also, especially from Western countries, were intellectuals, students of philosophy or
psychology, who came to pose academic questions.
It is possible that a higher percentage of these
who come now are genuine seekers or true devotees.

' The tomb of the Maharshi was made just outside the old meditation hall where he sat with his
devotees for so many years. The beginnings have
been made of a shrine over it of beautiful polished black and grey stone from Arunachala, but
funds are awaited to complete it.
' There is no spiritual head of the Ashram in
human form. The Presence of the Maharshi is so
powerful and pervading that it would be a redun1 Ramana Maharshi and the Path of
Self-Knowledge, pp. 185-192, by Arthur Osborne, Rider & Co.



The Sarvadhikari did not long outlive the

Maharshi. He died on January 29, 1953. By the
general wish of the devotees he was buried in
2 Sri Ramanasramam, Yesterday
5-6. Sri Ramanasramam.

and Today, pp,



the Ashram precincts and a small shrine erected

where he lay. He was succeeded by his son, T. N.
Venkataraman, who is the present President of
the Ashram. Even before becoming the President,
he had been serving in the Ashram from 1938.
He is fondly addressed by fellow-devotees as
' Venkatoo'.
' T h e premises are kept clean and tidy, meals
are served punctually, all are free to sit and meditate, and apart from that the Ashram management is of little concern to visitors. It is better,
to write to the President
coming because now also, as in the lifetime of the
Maharshi, there is often difficulty in finding accommodation. As a reflection of the informality
of the Maharshi's teaching and method of training, the Ashram has never undertaken precise
or ample arrangements for visitors. Even for those
who stay in its guest-house there is no tariff of
charges. They are expected to make a donation
when they leave, but it is up to them.
' I t is no accident that the Maharshi made
and its sacred mountain
Arunachala his home. Each of the spiritual centres of India has its own character and its own
line of tradition ; and among them all it is Tiruvannamalai (or Arunachala) that represents the
highest and most direct, the most formless and
least ritualistic, of paths, that is the path of SelfEnquiry, the gateway to which is the silent initiation. This is expressed in the old Tamil saying :
" To see Chidambaram, to be born at Tiruvarur,
to die at Banaras or even to think of Arunachala
is to be assured of Liberation." " E v e n to think
of" because in the case of the direct path physical contact is not necessary.
' Tiruvannamalai is a medium sized South Indian
town, 120 miles south-west of Madras. There is
railway connection but journey by bus is more
direct and convenient, taking less than five hours.
There are very good buses, including one State
Government Express bus, plying between Madras
and Tiruvannamalai. The prefix ' T i m ' means
* blessed ' or auspicious ', like the prefix Sri* in
the names of North Indian towns. ' Malai' means
'.mountain' and 'Anna*
'supreme', so that the
name signifies, ' T h e auspicious supreme mountain '. It is an ancient town with a large and
splendid temple. There are certain yearly festivals when it is crowded with pilgrims from all
over South India. Especially is this so at Karthigai
(known also as Deepam),
falling usually in


November (It is impossible to give the exact date

of an Indian festival, as they vary with the phases
of the moon, like the Christian Easter). On this
occasion a beacon of clarified butter contributed
by devotees and pilgrims is lit at nightfall on the
summit of the mountain and burns the whole
night, often indeed the whole of the following day
and, night also. A t the Ashram itself, of course,
the greatest festivals are the anniversaries of the
birth and death of the Maharshi (Jayanti and
Aradhana), falling respectively at the winter solstice and the spring equinox.'3
During his lifetime the Maharshi showed great
interest in Ashram publications and himself
revised proofs and made revisions. One of the
signs of the continued vitality of the Ashram
since his death is the number of its books that
have needed new editions and the number of new
books it has published. Below is a complete list
of books published by the Ashram.
Translated into
English for the first time from an ancient classic
at the instance of Sri Maharshi.





A Sketch of Maharshi's


Teachings and
Talks of Sri Maharshi Reprinted after 20
years Gives useful hints in understanding
Maharshi's teachings.
From the
Diary of A. Devaraja Mudaliara recording of
the enchanting talks by the Maharshi with
numerous devotees from far and near, covering
a period of two years (1945 & 1946).
Vol. I,
covering May to July 1946.
Volume II covering the rest of the above
period, 1945-46.
FIVE H Y M N S TO SRI A R U N A C H A L A : English
translation of the five famous Hymns composed by the Maharshi, four in Tamil and one in
OF R A M A N A M A H A R S H I :
The earliest European to meet
Bhagavan, in 1911, now reprinted after 36 years.
Commemorating the 50th year of the Maharshi's advent
articles of permanent interest by eminent d e votees and admirers, both Eastern and Western,
A necklet of sayings of Guru Ramana by " WHO " , the
author of M A H A Y O G A .
Fit for study and
3 Ibid.,






Translated from the Telugu original of Soori
Nagamma, a lady devotee:
Delightful pen
pictures of day-to-day life of the Maharshi.
bringing out His humour, humanity and Universal love.
M A H A R S H I ' S GOSPEL ; Books I and I I : Talks
with the Maharshi by several disciples on many
important problems of Sadhaks.
Practical advice throughout.
By " WHO " . A treatise of supreme interest to every student of Advaita,
Sri Ramana
teachings in the light of Upanishadic lore.
the author of " Day by Day with Bhagavan
A delightful and instructive book describing
the Magic of Bhagavan's Personality and Grace.
into English by Sadhu Arunachala (Maj. A. W .







D R . T.




Translation with commentary on ' Ulladu Narpadu*

(Reality in Forty Verses)
and The
Forty Verses ' with a sketch of
Bhagavan's Life and Reflections of the Author.

author of " G U R U
various important points raised during the
T A L K S with the Maharshi.
A helpful guide
to Sadhaks.





the title "

teaching given to his disciple NataPublished originally in Tamil with
Upadesa Manjari" in the form of a
Revised translation.

A brief Sketch of the Sage's
life with 1 1 7 illustrations of the Master in different periods of life, various personalities who
came into touch with him, the different spots
he lived in etc. A valuable album to treasure.
SRI R A M A N A , the SAGE OF A R U N A G I R I :
subjective study of the Maharshi's Life, by
" Aksharajna"
with a supplement containing
valuable extracts from the Maharshi's teachings.
Containing the teachings
of the Maharshi composed into 3 0 0 Sanskrit
( 1 8 Chapters)
by Sri Kavyakanta
GANAPATI M U N I with English translation by
Prof. G. V . Subbaramayya. Contains very useful hints on Bhakti, Yoga and Jnana Mar gas
with special stress on the Maharshi's unique
method of " Self-Enquiry " .
faithful record of talks with the Maharshi by
numerous devotees, some of them from far-off
lands, on their personal spiritual problems.
The records cover a period of about four years.
1 9 3 5 to 1 9 3 9 .
A handy and
practical guide to Sadhaks treading the Path of
Self-Enquiry, written from the personal experience by N. R. NARAYANA

the sayings of Bhagavan.


Selected Gems from

(Second Edition).




A. W . Chadwick), who came to see Bhagavan

in 1935 and never went back.
By " K " (T. V.
Kapali Sastri) :
Sanskrit rendering of Maharshi's Tamil " Ulladu Narpadu " (Reality in Forty
Verses) with English translation and commentary, a detailed introduction to the Subject and
also a record of Talks with the Maharshi.
Instructions given to G a m bhiram Seshayya by the Maharshi in his days
of Silence about the year 1901. Translated from
the Tamil original.
SELF-REALISATION or Life and Teachings of
Sri Ramana Maharshi by B. V. NARASIMHA
with an epilogue by S . S. COHEN :
Graphically describes the fascinating life of the
Maharshi from his birth in 1879 to his Mahanirvana in April 1950.
42 Verses selected by the
Maharshi from the Bhagavad Gita:
text with English translation, with an Explanatory Note giving the significance of the verses
in this selection.

TRIPURA R A H A S Y A or The Mystery Beyond

the Trinity :
An ancient Sanskrit work translated into English at the instance of Bhagavan
by the Recorder of " Talks with Sri Ramana
Maharshi" explaining the mystic Doctrine and
Practice of Advaita Sadhana.
Lucid, interesting and instructive.
Maharshi's Forty Verses " Ulladu
and the Forty Supplementary Verses, and containing a Synopsis of the " Ulladu Narpadu"
and a preface by Grant Duff.
The quintessence of Maharshi's philosophy.
English translation of the
Maharshi's THIRTY VERSES, a detailed commentary and also a translation of the Thirty
Verses in Sanskrit by the Maharshi himself,
and in English by Major A. W. Chadwick
(Sadhu Arunachala).
W H O A M I ? : Translation from the Tamil of
the Maharshi's teachings given in writing to
one of his earliest disciples, Sivaprakasam Pillay,
about the years 1 9 0 1 - 1 9 0 2 . Contains the essence
of the Maharshi's teaching which is the path
of Self-Enquiry.




Apart from our own publications, the following

books also are available :
reminiscences and delightful notes of chats of
Sri Bhagavan recorded by the writer on various
dates from 1938 to 1950, and also excerpts from
the author's diary graphically describing the
last two years of the Master's life.
Thirty Verses of Sri R a m a n a : Freely rendered into English with an Introduction and Commentary by M. Anantanarayanan, I. C. S., and
with a Foreword by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan,
President of India.





(Rider & Co., London

House, Bombay).

and Jaico








Edited by ARTHUR OSBORNE. (Rider & Co.,


and Sri Ramanasramam,








(Rider & Co., London and Sri Ramanasramam,



the Sarvadhikari

but a number of

other devotees also have been snatched away by

death since the Maharshi left the Ramana body
he had worn.

In particular we must mention Major Alan

Ohadwick, widely known as Sadhu Arunachala.
He was not the first European to come here but
he was the first to settle down and make the
Ashram his home. He came as far back as
1935 and was here together with Paul Brunton.
The difference was that he stayed on, obtaining
permission from the Sarvadhikari to build himself a small house in the Ashram premises, incidentally the first private room to be built within4 the Ashram.
He became a familiar figure in the Ashram
and a comfort to many, especially to visitors who
had never seen Bhagavan in the body.
It seemed at first that the chanting of the Vedas
which had been practised morning and evening
in Bhagavan's lifetime might come to an end
simply because there was no one to carry it on.
People regretted this, since it had been and still
was a welcome occasion for meditation, the
chanting itself helping to still the mind. It was
Mr. Chadwick who averted the danger by organising a Patasala, that is a traditional boarding




school where the boys learn Vedic chanting as

well as Sanskrit, English and some general education, with tuition, board, clothing, all provided.
It was an expense, but Mr. Chadwick collected
donations for it so that it should not be a burden
on the Ashram. Since his death it has been
ably carried on by Mrs. F. Taleyarkhan.
tions for its upkeep are always welcome.
Remarkably enough, it was also Mr. Chadwick,
a European, who started the Sri. Chakra Poojas
These are beautiful and impressive services anr?
are widely appreciated. They are held every
Friday and full moon day and on the 1st of e v e r y
Tamil month. Devotees who wish a special prayer
to be made on their behalf write to the President
to be included in one of them, enclosing a fee
of Rs. 10.
Another prominent devotee whc has left us is
Swami Ramanananda Saraswatbi.
During Bhagavan's lifetime, it was he who, while still a
householder under the name of Sri Munagala
Venkataramiah, compiled the " Talks with Sri


Ramana M a h a r s h i t h e largest record of Bhagavan's teachings. Since then also he has added
several valuable titles, like, ' Tripura Rahasya'
and ' Advaita Bodha D e e p i k a t o cur book list.
His profound knowledge of scriptures and western
philosophy and his austere life, and childlike
ways made others revere him as a gem among
the disciples of Bhagavan. His death caused, outwardly, a vacuum in the Asramam.


his privilege to sign on behalf of Sri Maharshi

(actually Maharshi drew a line and Sambasiva
Rao signed on his behalf, since Bhagavan had no
name to sign). After the Mahanirvana of Sri
Maharshi he was made secretary of the Ashram
managing committee and he continued to serve
the Ashram with the same whole-hearted zeal
till his death on. Nov. 5th, 1962, The loss was a
personal one to many of the inmates of the
Ashram. His devotion to Sri Maharshi was complete. May he rest in peace at the feet of Bhagavan !
Sama Iyer was a deaf old man, who had
served Bhagavan for a long time until, due to
old age and physical debility, he asked Bhagavan to let him go, since he could no longer physically serve him.
Bhagavan, laughing, .said:
For such long service you deserve a pension
which will be in the form of eating and keeping quiet."
He also has passed away and our
very old devotees still miss him in the Ashram.




Gridalur Sambasiva Rao of Nellore, a lawyer,

first came to Sri Maharshi as early as 1923, with
his brother Sri Narayana Rao and his siter Smt.
Lakshammal. The power and grace of Bhagavan's
look overwhelmed him at one stroke, as it were.
All his worries vanished and devotion surged up
in him. He remained a staunch devotee till his
last days. Not only that, but through him numerous families from Andhra Pradesh came to know
of Sri Maharshi and received his blessings. He
was a great support to the Ashram management
in all its various activities. One particularly great
honour was that when Sri Maharshi accepted the
terms of a will drawn up for him in 1938, it was




Narayanaswami Iyer,


Iyer \



popularly known






(incidentally, he is also related to the Maharshi)



who served the Ashram for 17 years, also passed away this year.
A number of new people have come and new
houses been built to add to our small colony.
There is also a constant flow of visitors from
India and abroad, the majority of whom nowadays are people who never saw Bhagavan in his
Apart from private residences, two new guest
houses have also been put up, thanks to the
donations of Sri K. Padmanabhan and Sri H. C.
Khanna. This is particularly useful for lady visitors, as they are not allowed to stay in the
Ashram premises.
For single-men a number'
of self-contained rooms have been built.
Work is proceeding with a shrine and meditation-hall over the Maharshi's Samadhi Shrine.
The plan is ambitious but the work has to keep
pace with available funds.


H. C. Khanna, Kanpur.
D. Subbanna, Bangalore.
K. S. N. Rao, New Delhi.
M. Sadasiva Setty, Chikmagalur.
A. R. Narayana Rao, Madras.
V. Venkatakrishniah, Nellore.
C. Padmanabha Rao, Tirupathi.
G. Sesha Reddi, Nellore.
Y. Ramakrishna Prasad, Madras.
Narendra C . Amin, Man galore.
A. R. Natarajan, Bangalore.
Vegi Venkateswara Rao, Visakhapatnam.
G. V. Subbaramayya, Nidubrolu.
Penmacha Jegannatha Raju, Jirmur.
* A. K. Ramachandra Iyer, Madras.
Bh. Venkata Lakshmi Narasimha Raju, Jinnur.
Rayavarapu Sankarayya, Nellore.
A . Dasaradha Rami Reddi, Nellore.
M. Suryanarayana Iyer, Nellore.
R. V. Raghavan, Calcutta.
S. Krishnamurthy, Neyveli.
T. R. G. Krishnan, Bangalore.
Tupili Ramana Reddy, Nellore.
Mr. & Mrs. Suresh Chandra Khanna, Kanpur.
A short note might be added on the genesis of
' The Mountain Pathsince
this also is Ashram
news. It had been felt long back, even in the
lifetime of Bhagavan, that there should be
an Ashram journal.
It was even suggested to
him, but he did not respond; his face showed
no interest, so the matter was allowed to drop.



Bhagavan very seldom said no, but so tremendous was the power of his presence that if he
did not show interest and encouragement none
would presume to undertake a project.
After he left the body the idea was again considered but again came to nothing. It was mentioned to the present editor who replied, as he
then felt, that he had neither the ability nor
the interest to undertake such a task.
As late as September 1963 it occurred independently to both the editor and the managing editor that there should be an Ashram news bulletin
published annually at the time of Sri Bhagayan's
Jayanti (birth anniversary) and distributed free
to devotees, as so many who were not able to
come here liked to be kept in touch with developments.
A preliminary draught of this was
written and shown to a member of the Ashram
managing committee, and he immediately suggested that it should be not an annual but a quarterly and should contain articles also. That, of
course, raised questions of writing, organization
and finance.
In a clear intuition from Bhagavan it occurred
to those concerned that this was the solution,
that the time had now come and an Ashram
journal was now appropriate, and before the end
of September the project of ' The Mountain Path'
was agreed upon. There are times when nothing
goes right, the wheels are not greased, a project
cannot move forward,; this was just the opposite.
From the very beginning every one cooperated, and gladly, not grudgingly.
and messages of goodwill flowed in the immediate financial problems were surmounted, the
printer took the work up in a spirit of service
to Bhagavan, with a short but impressive puja
a newly constructed office was opened for the
journal at the Ashram, people contributed articles,
encouragement came from all sides, hundreds of
people took out advance subscriptions, purely
on trust, so that in December, a bare three
months from its first conception, it is already a
full grown reality.
If we feel confidence now
that it is due to come before the public, it is not
confidence in our own work or powers but in the
Grace of Bhagavan which we feel so strongly to
be on this venture.
V. Subramanian, Durgapur.
B. S. Ranganathan, Nellore.
Dr. T. N. Krishnaswami, Madras.
Miss Elezabeth Merston, Sri Ramananagar.
K. K. Nambiar, Bombay.




Dwarakanatha Reddy, Chittoor.

A. S. K. R. Trust, Madras.
Satyanarayan Tandon, Kanpur.
M. A . Chidambaram, Madras.
M. M. Varma, Jaipur.
S. S. V. S. Muthiah Chettiar, Tiruvannamalai.
A . R. Narayana Rao, Madras.
D. S. Sastri, Madras.
Mukund M. Thakore, Ahmedabad.
N. Balarama Reddi, Vutukuru.
Ashok Pal Singh, Bombay.
Rani Padmawati Devi, Bhopal.
Miss Mahalakshmi, Madras.


K. Gopalrao, Bombay.
V. Seshadri, Calcutta.
Lieut. D. Subbanna, Bangalore.
Bhupen Champaklal, Bombay.
G. J. Yorke, Gloucester, England.
Mrs. Banoo J. H. Ruttonjee, Hong Kong.
Dinshaw S. Paowalla, Hong Kong.
Miss Gertrude Fugert, Mum h, Germany.
Trudel Elasaesser, Waldhof, Germany.
Prof. Dr. Friedrich W . Funke, Seelscheid, Germany.
Louise Trachsler, Coppet, Switzerland.
Henri Hartung, Paris.




" SRI R A M A N A S R A M A M C H A R I T I E S , T I R U V A N N A M A L A I " is a n e w l y registered
b o d y under the Societies Registration A c t X X I of 1860 w i t h the f o l l o w i n g objects :
1. To construct an A u d i t o r i u m and L i b r a r y and a Reading R o o m .
2. T o h o l d discourses periodically, sometimes daily, on Indian Philosophy
Culture including those relating to B h a g a v a n Sri Ramana Maharshi.

T o b e a centre for the diffusion of Spiritual



4. T o house b o o k s and periodicals on Eastern and Western Philosophy and d e p i c t ing different cultural aspects of life in India and other countries.

T o run a school w h e r e the students are taught Sanskrit, English, Tamil, Vedas
and Upanishads and Mathematics etc. and lodging.

6. T o r u n a dispensary w h e r e medical attention is given free of charge.

In carrying out the a b o v e objects of general public utility, the Association shall
not undertake the carrying on of any activity for profit.
T h e benefits of the Association will be open to all without any disqualifications
b y reason o n l y of religion, c o m m u n i t y , caste, creed, race or sex.
O n this b o d y being registered on 28-10-1963, the Central B o a r d of R e v e n u e , G o v ernment of India, N e w Delhi, in their Notification, F. N o . 6 8 / 1 7 / 6 3 - I . T . dated- 19th
N o v e m b e r 1963, h a v e decided that donations m a d e to SRI R A M A N A S R A M A M C H A R I T I E S , T I R U V A N N A M A L A I , M A D R A S S T A T E , w o u l d be entitled to the benefit of the
under Sec. 88 of the Income-tax
Act, 1961 in the hands of donors, subject to
the limits specified therein and the donations w i l l also b e exempted
from Gift
T h e M a n a g e m e n t of Sri R a m a n a s r a m a m appeal to the public in general and to
the devotees of B h a g a v a n Sri Ramana Maharshi to contribute liberally to the " SRI
R A M A N A S R A M A M C H A R I T I E S , T I R U V A N N A M A L A I " so as to enable t h e m to carry
on the objects specified a b o v e , particularly i t e m ( 1 ) , the construction of w h i c h is on hand.
It m a y please b e noted that all remittances to Sri R a m a n a s r a m a m Charities b y
Cheques, Drafts or M o n e y Orders should b e m a d e payable to SRI R A M A N A S R A M A M
C H A R I T I E S only.
T. N V E N K A T A R A M A N ,



By Swami Ramdas





Rs. 2 ; 3s. 6 d . ; $ 0.90.)

The late Swami Ramdas was that rare phenomenon of a bhakta or devotee who won through
by sheer force of devotion to at least glimpses of
There was a spirit of love and purity
and an all-pervading happiness in his ashram.
Fittingly was it called * Anandashram'.
appreciated particularly the evening hours when
he would sit amid his disciples, talking to them
(in English), laughing and joking, mingling r e miniscence with upadesa (spiritual instruction).
Fortunately a disciple took down these talks
over a period and made a book of them which
was published under the name of ' God-Experience.' just about the time the Swami left us.
He taught a path of devotion expressed in
invocation of the Divine Name, and into this he
initiated aspirants, Hindu and Western alike, indifferent to the outer forms of orthodoxy.
reading his instructions, however, it must be r e membered that he considered, this initiation
necessary and that without it the invocation has
not the same potency that he gave it. And he
did give potency.
There was no doubting his
power as a guru.
Sometimes he speaks as a pure bhakta : " U n less you have a burning aspiration for God, the
mind cannot be fixed on Him. Where your love
is, there your mind is. Just as a miser constantly thinks of money and money alone, so a
devotee has exclusive devotion to God
you have intense love for God, everything else is

Then you will realise God."

Sometimes again he speaks from the point of

view of Identity and shows how devotion can
lead to it by its very intensity.
" Your search
for God is your search for the Atman or Self.
At the end of your search you will realize that
you are He. You start with duality and end in
non-duality. Then you know that you have been
seeking your own Self, thinking that the Self was
i All unsigned Reviews are by the


different from you.

are that Self itself.

Ultimately you know you

There ends your quest."

This is a book full of love and understanding,

the outpourings of a true saint.
Aspirants are
recommended to keep it by them and dip into it
again and again for solace in moods of depression and for invigoration when the way seems
There is very little in it that is technically Hindu, so Jewish, Christian and Muslim
seekers will also find it helpful.


By Ramanananda
Tiruvannamalai. Re. 1.)
Crumbs from His T a b l e ' is the first book of
reminiscences about the Maharshi ever written.
The author, who is now unfortunately no longer
with us, came to him as early as 1934. In 1936
he published this record for free distribution to
any of the then limited number of devotees who
cared to ask for it.
Next year a second free
edition was issued and then it was allowed to
go out of print. The Asramam is certainly well
advised in reviving a little work which will have
a strong appeal to devotees of Bhagavan and
students of his teaching.
It contains a number
pf characteristic incidents showing how Bhagavan's devotees were drawn to him and a number
of useful expositions.
In particular, there is a
fuller and clearer exposition of the danger of
manolaya than is to be found in any of the
other books.

In editing the new edition, the Ashram has

respected the author's aversion to the use of the
first person singular pronoun, although at times
it makes the style rather involved. It is not uncommon to meet an aspirant who refuses to refer
to himself as ' I b u t Bhagavan did not encourage any such eccentricity.
It is also characteristic of him that he did not forbid it. He liked
his devotees to be normal in speech, as in dress
and behaviour, but the urge had to come from
within; as a general rule he avoided giving
orders. Actually, if there is no ' I ' there can be
no * y o u ' or * h e ' , so intercourse would be pretty
One has to play the game of individual beings, so one might as well use its language.



By T. V . Kapali Sastri.

(Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, Rs. 8.)







Muni,2 and both of them were devotees of

Ramana Maharshi.

sible for ' Sri Ramana




Ganapati Muni was respon-



the Maharshi,




Sastri composed ' Sat Darshana Bhashya' a commentary

on the Maharshi's

' Forty Verses' pre-

ceded by a very informative series of talks.







also appealed to a far wider public.





(in Marathi




In parti-



literature, in Kannada

literature and in Hindi literature, all three published in a uniform edition with this life of him)
giving accounts of the lives, experiences and teachings of the saints.
More than all this, however, he was a lifelong








Both master and disciple, however, were inte-

eminent guru Sri Bhausaheb Maharaj, who pres-

rested rather in the Divine Mother and the inter-

cribed the discipline of meditation on the Divine

mediary worlds with the powers and experiences





than in

the direct

Advaita taught by the Maharshi.








throughto m y




Kapali Sastri


marrow I was a

I know the Tantra Sadhana in a

Using this, he grew in sanctity and enmany





declared that in his ' Pathway to G o d ' books he

had described no experience of the saints which
he himself had not known.

In later years, after

the death of Sri Maharaj and of the latter's i m -

very familiar way and can utilise my knowledge


of the World-Power in an effective manner."

prescribing the same path of meditation on the


is natural, therefore, that on the death of Gana-


he himself


a guru,

Divine Name.

pati Muni he found the sadhana of Sri Aurobindo

and the Mother more congenial and transferred

to their Ashram

at Pondicherry.

he could hear statements such a s :


" By occult

It is on this last phase of his life that his disciple, M. S. Deshpande, most concentrates, referring to him reverentially as Gurudev.

training one can enter the Psychic world and e x plore it as one does a country " instead of being

" To have powers there must be others to






whom to display t h e m ; therefore the wise man

exerted on his disciples.

does not

er of the direct path laid






a thought,"




" Even if

should be r e -

They are like ropes to tether a beast;




Dr. Ranade or about the beneficent influence he



Nevertheless, a followdown by



but wonder

pre-occupation with experiences.



What do they

sooner or later they drag a man back from his

matter ?

pursuit of Moksha

through the senses or subtle ones coming inde-







and more








others, and notably to M. P. Pandit, the compiler

and editor of this book, while at the same time
himself remaining a devoted disciple.

made up

of fragments

of diary

This book

There is. much to be

found in it that is interesting and significant.






Chaupatty, Bombay-7.


pendent of them, they are alike on the individual




That is not the way to Liberation





By M.



Rs. 2 ; 3s. 6 d . ; $0.90.)



into the Reality of Oneness, the








By Swami Prabuddhananda.



that one less

Rs. 5.50).

greater publicity.


(the two are

is impelled


Bramagna Ma was a Bengali

woman saint of the highest Realization, teaching







of years head of the department


2 For whom see chapter X of my ' Ramana

Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge,' Riders
and Jaico.


of every saint to be well known.

He was esteemed in the world



It is not the nature or destiny

the same)

of professional philosophers, being for a number



Co., Park St., Calcutta-16.

Dr. Rambhau Ranade's long life ended as r e cently as 1957.


and corres-

pondence, advice, obiter dicta and tributes to Sri

Aurobindo and the Mother.

Whether physical experiences







to accept more than about half





her or make her known.

tiny, she said.





a dozen



That was not her des-




After her death in 1935 her disciple and

attendant, Swami Prabuddhnanda, came to live
for' some time at Sri Ramanasramam.
Chadwick was interested to learn about her life
and teaching, so, as the Swami was at the time
maintaining silence and could not give an oral
account, he wrote one out.
It is this which,
preserved in typescript for many years, forms
the nucleus of the present book. It has a quiet
certitude and pure beauty which will captivate
true seekers. So will the frontispiece photograph of Bramagna Ma.

ter of His Life.


A Forgotten


B y Beni Shanker Sharma.





Rs. 10).
Even before setting forth for America and fame,
Swami Vivekananda was already a dominating
He travelled, often on foot, the l e n g h
and breadth of India, impressing high and low
alike with his eloquence and magnetism.
of his first friends and staunchest disciples was
the Raja of Khetri. Mr. Sharma has discovered
and edited a considerable correspondence between them in the archives of the former princely state. This will be a welcome addition to the
libraries of all students of the Swami.

Dr. T. M. P. Mahadevan on his Fiftieth Birthday. (Ganesh, Madras. Rs. 25).
Prof. Mahadevan, Head of the Philosophy D e partment of Madras University, is an Advaitin
among the Advaitins. While a profound student
of Sanskrit and of classical Indian philosophy, he
is also thoroughly at home with Western philosophy, with whose exponents he can argue on
their own terms. He is, however, grounded in
the Eastern concept that philosophy is to be not
merely learned but lived.
Therefore he is not
only a professor of philosophy but also a devotee of Ramana Maharshi.
The 52 essays, contributed by as many writers,

this presentation





Buddhist philosophy.









D U MONDE: fr. 350; L A GRANDE T R I A D E :
fr. 590: all three by Rne Gunon, Published
by Gallimard, Paris.
It was a very different world into which Bene
Gunon burst in the early decades of this century, a world which still believed in progress, and
where there seemed no escape from materialism
and superficiality.
With vast erudition, dazzling
lucidity, ruthless logic and scathing sarcasm for
any who differed, he challenged the whole edifice of modern civilization.
In book after Ibook,
article after article, he exposed the brittle shams
of our world and in contrast pointed to the profound symbolism and traditional wisdom of the
past and the East.
For the individual also he
showed how tawdry are all modern ideals compared with the traditional striving for Realization.
His campaign was not mere theory. If it had
been it would have remained impotent.
to it was the proclamation that Being is one ;
therefore you cannot be other than the One, b e cause there is no other ; therefore to realize your
true Self is to realize the Supreme Identity;
and this can be done. To many, includirijg the
writer of this review, he showed the possibility
of escape from the suffocating frustrations of
modern life to the deep inner contentment of the
Spirit. He had his limitations and blind spots,
none knows it better ; but in spite of that Lt was
through him that my feet were set on the mountain path and that Grace became abundant.
If there are many in the West to-day, dlespite
the still accelerating superficiality and materialism, who understand that there is a meaning and
purpose to life and' set forth upon its quest by one
path or another, it is to a very large extent
due to his influence, direct or indirect. Even the
direct influence is still working, as w e see here
at Arunachala from the many who owe their
first awakening to him out of those who turn to
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.
He himself, unfortunately, never understood that Bhagavain had
opened a new path for mankind, free fr-o:m the
outer forms of orthodoxy, but remained "to the
end like those who failed to recognize Christ
because he had not come in the form they expected.

They also branch out to

Out of print for some years, his books are now

cover a religious thinker such as Simone Weil, a

being reprinted and new ones compiled from the

social idealist such as Gandhi, and a mystic such

articles he wrote.

as Tayumanavar.

notice points out the esoteric symbolism

The first of those here under

of the










" Karma is an apparent cause that produces an

Divine Comedy to be an allegory of the indirect

apparent effect

spiritual path of Hermetism, struggling upwards


in the

apparent world of


stage by stage.
The second tries to avoid being too explicit on
a concealed topic:

the world.

the secret spiritual guidance

Those interested in cosmic


book is






Ch'an Masters from whom Japanese Zen derives.

Also on the Maharshi.


Really, like every book


it is based on the
For^ author's own perception.
those, however, who follow the Jnana-marga
He calls it ' The Negative W a y ' because it pro(Path of Knowledge), seeing the whole universe
ceeds not by asserting what is but what, includas a projection of the mind, the same applies that

mundane organization will find it fascinating.

Bhagavan said about studying the subtle aspects

ing his phenomenal

of the individual:

tion, is not.

" Just as it is futile to e x -


that makes the asser-

It is a way characterised by Hindu

amine the rubbish that has to be swept up only


to be thrown away, so it is futile for him who

you peel off,

seeks to know the Self to set to work enume-

when you get there, there is nothing.

rating the tattvas that envelop the Self and e x amining them instead of casting them away.


should consider the phenomenal world with r e ference to himself merely as a dream."3

It may be asked how reading about the






a man towards Liberation.


the pyramid,

and the three-dimensional

that constant
the universe



away at the


tears a man's


away from the crude materialism to which it had








sense of values, thus enabling him eventually to

rise beyond symbolism to That which is symbolised.

Happy are those who need no such wean-


By Wei W u Wei. (Routledge and Kegan Paul,



Towards the Moon '


' Fingers


and ' W h y Lazarus Laughed '.

It is written in the same style, that is the ancient form of sutras rather than the modern form
of logical deduction.
Examples :



book is the







Constantly he

jective reality:

there just IS.







(Michael Joseph, 16 s.)

How many Christians there are who no longer









Lammastide ?



Thursday commemorate ?



Candlemas ?



What is the feast of

Michaelmas at the autumn equinox ?

W h y are

pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday ?

Who was


Christmas ?







W h y does Whitsuntide bear its pre-

sent name, and what was it formerly known as ?




to strive




the way



Nevertheless, for a member of a Christian community they give a warmth and colour and sense
of belonging.

Contingent though they' may be,

they add a richness to the Christian way of life.

They also carry echoes of earlier literature which
are otherwise lost on modern readers a ballad,

" Form is the seeing of form :



comes back to the assertion that there is no ob-

It is quite

Ask the Awakened' forms a trilogy with the



because Advaita is not anything.




promise with duality, to accept anything at all

meaning of symbolism and the symbolical nature





cross, helps

The answer perhaps




to see what is in the centre, and

apart from Advaitawhich means anything at all,

The third is a compilation of articles on symbolism.

as stripping





object of seeing is inexistent. The thought itself

of form is the seeing of form."
3 The Collected
of Ramana
p. 41, Sri Ramanasramam edition, p. 47 Rider's




" It




In this book

the festivals

are described in a

pleasant style, informative but without unnecessary


and with

sense of


The book has also a useful glossary of ritualistic

and theological terminology now strange to many



It is not confined to the viewpoint

of any one church or sect.








(Allen and Unwin, 45s.).

The condensation of Swami Nikhilananda's

four-volume annotated translation of the 11 principal Upanishads into the present single volume
will probably increase its attraction for the
Western general reader, for whom it is primarily
The translation is in clear, straightforward English, though it is a pity that the
absolete word verily
is dragged in, to give it
a pseudo-biblical flavour. A number of technical
Sanskrit terms which have no exact English
equivalent are very wisely left in Sanskrit and
explained in a glossary. A 50-page introduction
gives a very good outline of Upanishadic teaching for the Western reader, without getting Involved in the complexities of Sanskrit terminology and philosophical viewpoints.


By Alfred Guillaume. (Cassell, 15 s.)

It is surprising how much information about

Islam the author manages to pack into this 200page book, and without any sacrifice of clarity.
No trace remains of the animosity common to
Western writers on Islam of an earlier generation. On the contrary, the new tendency to interreligious appreciation is well exemplified. The
early chapters on Muhamad, the Quran, the foundation of Islam present a very fair picture which,
indeed, makes it seem remarkable that the author
continues to use the prejudicial and inaccurate
terms ' Muhammadan ' and ' Muhammadanism '
instead of what he must know to be the correct
designations : ' Muslim' and Islam \

There is an appreciative survey of the great

age of Islamic culture and civilization and also
a satisfactory chapter on Sufism.
As in most modern works on Islam, a great
part of the book is devoted to the question of
adaptation to modernism.
In 'Buddhism and
Christianity in the Light of Hinduism', Arthur
Osborne points out a very significant distinction
between ' world-renouncing' and * world-sanctifying ' religions. Islam is an example of the latter
type. It does not tell a man to give his property
to the poor and become a religious mendicant
but to do business honestly, how much to give
in charity and who to, who to leave his property


to when he dies, and a host of other matters

which a world-renouncing religion at its origin,
dismisses as * the things that are Caesar's'. Therefore it set forth on its career with a divinely
sponsored code of civil and criminal law. In some
ways this may be an advantage, but it gravely
complicates the question of adaptation to the
changed circumstances of a new age. To mention
only one point, a Buddhist or Christian may see
no harm in taking interest on capital in modern
financial conditions, but a Muslim is forbidden
to do so by the Quran. A s the present book shows,
questions of law, faith, theology, the infallibility
of the Quran, the status of the hadiths, are so
interwoven that the question of degrees and
modes of modernisation is almost insoluble. He
also describes very sympathetically what is being
done to solve it in various Islamic countries and
by various Islamic writers to-day.


V A S I S H T A : Translated by S. V. Ganapathi.
Published by the translator at 9-D, Edward
Elliotts Road, Madras-4.
This is the translator's second volume on Nirvana. The first volume was published in Tamil
in 1948. Sage Vasishta presents to Sri Rama the
state of Nirvana through many illustrations and
anecdotes. Typical of them is the following :
" T h e r e is no trace of the sprout in the seed.
The essence of seed pervades the seed ; likewise
the world phenomena are not experienced in
Brahman. Brahman is without substance, form or
activity. Hence the world cannot be derived from
Brahman. Expecting to see the world in Brahman
is like expecting Mount Meru within the Atom.
The wise as well as the ignorant perceive the
world phenomena. The wise know they are all
subject to constant changes and dissolution. They
are dependent upon our imagination and are mere
percepts. Hence we cannot call them Real or u n real. They appear before us like dreams and
disappear when wisdom dawns." " Discard all
doubts and with a courage bordering on recklessness, be a Great Doer, a Great Enjoyer and a
Great Renouncer. Then one is established in great
It may be a useful book for those on the Path
of Knowledge as taught by Bhagavan Sri Ramana
Maharshi. The English is passable.
T. K. S.



By Arthur O s -

(Orient Longmans, Calcutta, Rs. 5.00



By Arthur O s borne. (Orient Longmans. Rs. 2.75)

and Riders, London, 12s. 6d.)

Sai Baba has become a legend. It is now nearly
fifty years since he shed the physical sheath but
his name and Samadhi continue to be an irresistible Power in the circle of his devotees. Many
have claimed to be incarnations of Sai and developed rituals and practices which were unknown
to the Baba of Shirdi. What was Baba really
like ? What was his teaching ? What was his
upasana, practice ? These are some of the questions that have been answered in a satisfactory
manner by Mr. Osborne in this interesting biography of the saint.

In this revealing study of the rise and fall of

civilizations during the last two millenniums and
a half, the author shows how there is a pattern
in history on a global scale. Historians are not
all agreed on the precise significance of this pattern and Mr. Osborne is content to note that it
only implies that there is a divine or cosmic
harmony shaping the affairs of man and that the
ambitions of the great and the bungling of the
unwise are merely instrumental, not causal.' (p.

Apart from the many biographical details the

author has assembled together from various accounts, this book gives an intimate glimpse into
the saint's personality and the ways of working
which were peculiarly his own. He used his supernatural powers in profusion and gave his devotees
all they desired. He continues to do so even now
in a spectacular way.

Learned men who shake

their heads at these ' miracles' have something to

ponder over in a remark of his on the matter :
' I give people what they want in the hope that
they will begin to want what I want to


them.' (p. 100)

Sai Baba had no elaborate philosophy to teach,
no intricate yogic discipline to prescribe. All that
he asked for, as the author points out, was devotion to the Guru, self-surrender to the Guru who
thereupon took charge of the aspirant and did
what was needed to lead him to the Goal. In a
brief analysis of the Teachings of three of the
modern spiritual teachers, viz. Sri Ramakrishna,
Sai Baba, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Mr. Osborne
draws attention to certain common features which
are significant: All three upheld the ecmal validity of all religions; provided for simple and
direct paths that can be pursued in the conditions
of modern life without formal renunciation of life
in the world; and laid stress on utter devotion
and surrender to the Guru as the main process,
(pp. 92-93)
The book is both absorbing and instructive.



Beginning his survey with the founders of great

Religious Systems about the fifth century B.C.,
e.g. Buddha, Confucius, Pythagoras, he records the
rise of classical Empires all over Asia and Europe
followed by their decline culminating in what is
known as the Dark Age ; another curve of rise
of civilizations through the Ages' of Medievalism
and the Renaissance was again followed by a
downward movement which may be said to have
reached its apogee in the last century. What is
the likely outcome of all this mighty effort of
Nature ? How far have the East and the West,
which seemed to have diverged from each other
at one stage, come closer ? These are some of the
questions that are taken up for discussion in these

While it may not be possible to agree with the

writer in all his conclusions, it is certainly true
as he says that
the present materialistic
civilization is not the final answer because it has
no inherent stability ; it is plundering the earth's
resources too recklessly to endure, and the current of history has already begun to swing away
from it.' (p. 130) What then is to replace this
civilization ? A New Order which has been foreseen in all the traditions of the world and whose
advent is very close to our present age.

An able work persuasively written.




in the





had claimed




the body


on the

of Sri




Grief hath grown silent with its own excess

And will not weep lest it betray his trust;
Even in this dark hour of dire distress
He lights the flame of knowledge through our dust.
Illumining its blindness wide and far
He glitters from his heaven of deathless grace.
In every speck and stone, in every star
We see the lonely wonder of his Face.
Ignorance rumours that our King departs;
Where can he go, O where ? the being moans,
He who has made rich kingdoms of our hearts
And of our thoughts his countless jewelled thrones ?
May he forgive our wavering faith, forgive
The folly of our doubts whose eyes are dim ;
How dare we move or breathe except through him ?
How could we live if he should cease to live ?