Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part Four

In this concluding post of the series, Ganapati Muni’s commentary elucidates the forms of Skanda and Indra which bear the mantra’s sound-wave, Subra Brahman, seeing them realised in his spiritual brother and mentor, Ramana Maharshi of Arunachala.  See also the three preceding posts, and search “Puranas” on this blog for a racy account of the Skanda mythology.

Note: the god Skanda is also known as Kumara, Murugan (or Subrahmanya) and Krtikkai.

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the Muni on tiger skin photo xerox copy

Third Chapter:  The Vedic Mantra of Guha
by Ganapati Muni

We have commented upon the two Tantric Mantras of the master Ramana. Yet his Mantras are found even in the Veda. Amongst them, here is a clear cut Mantra of Bhagavan:

“Vrsa jajana vrsanam ranaya
tamu cinnari naryam sasuva.
Prayah senanir adha nrbhyo astinah
satva gavesanah sa dhrsruh.”

  • The seer is Vasishtha. The Deity is Indra and the metre is Trishtubh.
  • vrsa is “Rudra who is of the form of Sabda Brahman”. He is vrsa because “he pours down (varsati) the special knowledge”;
    vrsanam “the God who showers down flames ranavya for battle”.
    To wage war brings forth the meaning - vrsa jajana - (Rudra)
  • Tamu -  the way God, u, is indeclinable (without inflexions) – suggests the loftiness of the Name with which it is closely associated
  • nari cit is the divine Force: cit is indeclinable, used to denote the indescribable.
    If nari is derived from nara, men, then the word nari (feminine) means the Kundalini sakti hidden in man. (*)
  • sasuva“is produced”. In what way ? Naryam“born amongst men” – are the leaders, or perfected beings.
FOOTNOTE -
* Nari is feminine (nari-kundalini)

SITA 2 of lotuses

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THIS IS THE TRANSLATION IN ESSENCE:

“Kundalini sakti in the body of perfected man produces for ‘battle’
Indra’s form within the fire of astra from Sabda Brahman.”

God, taking birth, “becomes the commander – senanih – of the armies of the Gods”.
The third and fourth lines of the verse conclude:

  • adha nrbhvo asti“and a helper to their leaders”
  • inah (means) svami“the Master”,  
  • satva “is the possessor of sat, of Truth”
  • gavesanah “seeking out”
  • sa “the acclaimed God”
  • dhrsruh, “assailer of all foes.”
Arunachala, inner path

Arunachala, inner path

To read here that Indra is being referred to and not Subrahmanya (Skanda), presents no problem. The ‘ordinary’ name for the fire of astra is Indra, and Kumara (Skanda) is the special name.

In what way ordinary? or special?   For instance, the common name for the sun is Light, but his special or personal name is Surya.

Indra denotes broadly, all ideas of multi-faceted strength.(18)

According to a thing’s true nature, each facet of it has separate specific or ‘special’ names.   In the Veda and the Brahmana it is well-known that Indra is the god of strength. The fire of astra is a powerful and mighty concept, for which, combined with supreme Lordship,  Indra’s name (as the ‘ordinary’) is appropriate. The commanding fire of astra is described specifically as Kumara.   There exists another reason beyond all this, which we shall submit later.

FOOTNOTE:
18 Indra denotes the strong lord, as in Mahendra, Kavindra, 
Munindra, etc.
Sacred India Tarot - Indra and Garuda

Sacred India Tarot – Indra and Garuda

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WHERE ‘ITIHASA’ IS APPROPRIATE

When the world was afflicted by powerful Asuras, the Gods begged and prayed to Brahma the Creative power for relief.   Brahma replied the young Kumara (Skanda) born of Rudra from Gauri would destroy the Asuras. Later Kama the god of lust was sent by the Gods to incline ascetic Rudra towards the idea of progeny. Kama was burnt up (by one look from Rudra’s third eye). Thereupon, the young Gauri did tapas. Attracted to the severity of her tapas (spiritual effort) Rudra married her. Uniting with her, he ejected his seed upwards. The seed took shelter successively in the fire, in the water and in the stalk of sara grass, and finally became the young one, Kumara.

Parvati(Gauri) and Siva with Ganapati and Skanda

Parvati(Gauri) and Siva with Bull Nandi and their children Ganapati and Skanda. Ganapati’s vehicle is the rat, and Skanda’s is the peacock.

In other words:   All human means were futile to conquer the Asura race (of demons) who devastated the world by the strength of their maya.   Here we should take the Asura race as a specific, or special human type; in the world of men the Kingdom of Asuras became perpetual.  (A problem cannot be solved with itself; the higher octave has to be called in.) The Gods gave astra, wisdom (*) to the seers, in order to destroy the Asuras. With the destruction of the Asuras, the Kingdom of the devotees of God became once more established on earth.

Sacred India Tarot Siva Ace of Lotuses

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Sacred India Tarot - Siva tests Parvati with a Mask - Version 3

This story is related by Itihasa in a covert manner. When the jiva does tapas, firstly kama, desire, is burnt by the glory of tapas.   We should not forget the fact, that the state of  tapas is  poised in the effulgence of Sabda Brahman.   Though desire is burnt up in its gross form, it prevails in the seed form, and impels the Kundalini sakti, called Gauri (or Parvati), to perform tapas.   About Kundalini being called Gauri, it is said in the Upanishad: “pita bhasatyanupama.” (19)     Gauri’s form of Kundalini is fairly wellknown in the Tantra. By her tapas, the Sabda Brahman manifests.

The whole purport is that the form of the Supreme Vak (pronunciation, divine speech) becomes capable of experiencing.   When Kundalini herself, reunited with Sabda Brahman, performs tapas, the sound vibration (energy) manifests.   It impels the energised sound in the sky, and becomes the astra.

The seed of Sabda Brahman is cultured in the fire of muladhara (root) and the nectar of the head (sahasrara) - these are said to be its consecutive sojourns in Agni and in Ganga. (20)

The manifestation in the stalk of sara grass has been described in the Second Chapter.

We have to take the Asuras as belonging to all times, not as born in a particular period.   Itihasa’s aim is to propound an all time truth.

FOOTNOTES: 
* - or Awareness

19 - Gauri, lit. "of golden yellow colour." The Narayana 
Upanishad says "Yellow, like an atom, she shines."

20 - In the subtle body, the centre at the base of the spine 
is muladhara and the centre at the top of the head is 
sahasrara. Muladhara is the seat of Fire, while sahasrara 
is the seat of the moon wherefrom the nectar flows.
 
As Ganga is the celestial river, she symbolises the nectar 
in sahasrara while Agni is the element in muladhara. The seed 
of the Sabda Brahman passes from muladhara to sahasrara, and 
has its sojourn in both centres before it manifests. 

This is the meaning of the Puranic story that Skanda is 
born from Agni as well as from the Ganga.
Gauri - Parvati - being pestered by sages

Gauri – Parvati – being pestered by sages

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WHO IS THE ASURA TARAKA?

Well, is it not to destroyTaraka that Skanda is born? Is Taraka a historical personage?

No. Yet, Tarakasura represents a truth. Taraka is death, one who (as the ferryman) takes across -   tarati – all men. (20A)   In both ways, Guha (in heart’s cave) conquers Death. By granting Self knowledge, he conquers death, the lack of awareness which causes samsara.   By the strength of the astra, he conquers death, the desire of his foes.   It is said in the Puranas that the Tripura Asuras are sons of this same Taraka.   The Tripura Asuras are none other than the three bonds. (21) Their father is lack of awareness.   That is, we fall from the Self into the body – into the idea (of being separate), of considering it as the self.

FOOTNOTE:
20A See also tara, goddess of time

21 The Three Bonds are the three pasas from which release is 
sought from Varuna by the Vedic Rishi. In the later Tantra, 
these take the form of the three granthi knots in the subtle 
body: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Asura Lord (Demonic)

Asura Lord (Demonic)

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COMMANDER OF ARMIES

How do the words commander of armies in the Mantra signify ‘commander of armies of the gods?’   Indra, the King of Gods, becomes in this context their commander. This is made clear in another Mantra:

“Indra asem neta brha spatir      Let Indra be the leader. Let Brhaspati
dakshina yajnah pura etu somah           go in front, Dakshina, the sacrifice, and Soma
Devasenanam abhibhanjatinam     Let the Maruts march in the forefront
jayantinam maruto yatvagram.”    of the army of the Gods that demolish and conquer

Rig Veda X.103.8

This Mantra is mentioned in the chapter on astra. Also, the word ina in the Mantra became later on in the common parlance the word svami, (22) Master.

“Vavrajasim anadatir adabdha     He moved all round the seven mighty ones
divo yahvir avasana anagnah     of Heaven; undevouring, inviolate.
Sana yatra yuvatayah, sa yonir        neither were they clothed, nor were they naked;
Ekam garbham dadhire sapta vanih.”   here, young and eternal in one native land
the seven Voices held in their womb the one Child

Rig Veda III.1.6. (Sri Aurobindo’s translation)

Sapta vanih are the Seven metres* in Sanskrit poetry.   The birth of Agni as this Mantra is nothing other than the fire of astra.   This is revealed in the hymn of Agni in the sense of burning: but not with the idea of physical fire.

FOOTNOTES:
22 - Svami is one of the principle names of Skanda.

* - The seven metres represent also seven stars in the 
Pleiades constellation, the 'natural mothers' of the child 
Skanda.

Gauri Siva's bride was the daughter of the Himalaya. She is
also known as Parvati in the Puranic cycle. The river
Ganga, lit by the seven stars and the moon,"poured down"/
descended through Siva's matted dreadlocks in their love-play.
As stated earlier, neither the fire (Agni) nor the water 
(Ganga) could receive his seed. It finally came to rest
in the stalk of the mantric sara grass. From the mythology
we gain some idea of the elemental power of mantra. 
See previous post.

Skanda as Muruganar and Krttikai (pleiades)

Skanda as Muruganar and Krttikai (pleiades

Another version of this tale is Siva's seduction of the 
wives of seven Rishis (seers) in the forest. Entering 
the heart of the fire (Agni) to which the women came to 
warm themselves,Siva impregnated them through their hair 
follicles, causing chaos in the ashram. The seed could
not be held by them, or by fire or by water, until it 
came to rest in the grass; then Gauri's breasts filled,
and the world rejoiced, unknowing as yet where the 
divine child with six heads lay.

skanda_upanishad

Ganapati Muni saw in his spiritual brother Ramana 
Maharshi, the effulgence of Skanda the warrior of light who
delivered us from Taraka. Ramana taught Self-enquiry which 
dismantles the mind and quests consciousness:  the "I ... I".
(J.A.)
 

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Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

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COMMENTARY CONTINUED: ENQUIRY INTO THE PERSONALITY

Now we must say a word about the individualised Personality of the maya (23) form of Brahman with attributes, which is known as Subrahmanya.

We say that Indra alone is Guha’s form pertaining to the Gods. This is because Agni, the energy of sound-vibration is in the middle region; and Indra is the Lord of the middle region. This is proven in the Aranyaka when, referring to Indra, it closes with the words, Subrahmanyam, Subramanyam.

Indra’s Vedic fame as the War God, lends additional support.

What is Siva’s form among the Gods? It is Indra only. If it is said, that as father and son they are one and the same, this is correct. The only difference to note, is regarding the hidden Sabda Brahman and the manifest sound vibration. The relationship of father and son is mentioned to specify Siva and Subrahmanya.

What is Ganapati’s form among the Gods? It is Indra only. If it is said, that as brothers Ganapati and Subrahmanya are one and the same, this is correct. The only difference to note, is that regarding the perfected mantra within, and the astra Agni impelled by it. The fraternal relationship demonstrates that first the mantra is born from Sabda Brahman; then the astra Agni.     Through the concept of Ganapati, we explain Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati. (24)

What is lightning’s form pertaining to the Gods?   It is Indra only.   Here he has a unique quality. Indra is named as the deity of Lightning.

storm in devon:daily mail

There are other great conceptual facets in the middle region, with Indra as their deity. They are not mentioned here, as we would have to go into a lot of detail.

FOOTNOTES:
23 Maya - form - the form that we measure out of the 
immeasurable

24 Ganapati, Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati - all three names 
denote the same Godhead in the Veda of the famous Rik 
"Gananam tva ganapatim lawamake ..." 

Brishaspati - Lord of the letters; Brahmanaspati - Lord of 
the Mantras. Brahma means both letter and mantra in the veda. 
Ganapati Lord of tantra, and these two names, denote the 
same Godhead.

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doorstep pattern tiru j&d7

Doorstep chalk pattern at dawn in Tiruvannamalai

 

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THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE DIFFERENT DESCENTS

By means of whichever portion of energy the Lord Indra descends into awareness, the descent bears that specific or personal Name.  

Indra’s descent as a portion of the lightning bears his own name. His descent as a portion of Sabda Brahman is named Rudra. His descent as the force of Tantra is known by the name Ganapati, and his descent as a portion of sound vibration is called Skanda. Ganapati and Subrahmanya are brothers, and they are interdependent.

We have briefly interpreted the three great Mantras of the Master. We shall develop the conceptual truth of Skanda in our Devata mimamsa. (25)

FOOTNOTES
25 - Another of Vasishtha Ganapati Muni's works, where he 
unravels the significances of the Deities

Thus Ends the Third Chapter.

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Thus ends the Commentary on the Mantras of the Master,
a work of Ganapati Vasishtha, son of Narasimha
and disciple of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

shankara gives the vedas copy

The Closing Verse

“Munina srimukhe simhe dive suryendusangame
Suryoparagasamaye bhasyam etadudiritam.”

“In the month Sravana of the year Srimukha
on a new Moon day, at the time of Solar eclipse,
this Commentary was given out by the Muni.”

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Muni & family copy 2

APPENDIX TO THE COMMENTARY

1).   Subrahmanya is the one who is born of the auspicious Brahman, that is, Sabda Brahman.

2).   By this we have explained the name Brahma garbha (from the womb of Brahma)

Vide Amara: “Subrahmanya brahma-garbha svami saravanodbhavah”.

3).   Kumara, eternal child. He is born, finishes the work and again vanishes. Again manifests at the time of work. Therefore, he is called the eternal child. In the Veda, in the Hymn to Indra, is mentioned arbhako na kumarakah26 . Also,sadyo jajnano nirinati saturn’.27

4).   By this we have explained the name sanat kumara - sanat always; kumara, young one.

5).   Sanatsujatah also in the same way. sanat, always; sujatah, well born.

6).   Sanandana samanah equal nandanah, son (giver of happiness) to Rudra along with Ganapati.

7).   Sanakeh, eternal.

Thus these four names denote one and the same person. Perhaps because of their different manifestations, it appears they were mentioned as four (28) .

26 The youth like a little child

27 Born at once, he demolishes the foes.

28 The four disciples of Shiva as Dakshinamurti: Sanaka, 
Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. Etymologically they 
have the same meaning and denote one and the same principle.
(See also Sanatanadharma)

Muni on wall copy

Here the Commentary and Appendix by the Muni ends.

We express our grateful thanks to Sri K.Natesan of Ramanasramam for making this rare manuscript available to us, and for his help with the text.   Ganapati Muni’s Commentary on the Mantra of the Master, was recently published by Ramanasramam, along with the first translation into English of Kapali Sastri’s sanskrit Commentary on the Ramana Gita.   Material from this has been utilised for the present work.

For the benefit of English readers, the language and presentation of the Guru Mantra Bhashya text have been slightly adjusted, and translations of Vedic Mantras, that were provided as footnotes, are now incorporated in the text, for easier reference..

J.A. Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK 2002

Arunachala village children

Arunachala village children

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

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Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra: Part Three

by the fire '94 j&d11

CONTINUED FROM PART TWO – the “Guru Mantra Commentary” by Ganapati Muni (see previous post.)

Mantric language is cyclic, rhythmic, primordial. Whether we know any Sanskrit or not, the vibration grows through a commitment of the syllables to archetypal visual images. This passage develops the ASTRAGNI or weapon within the mantra.  In my understanding, only a pure intention may access the metaphysical power of the Word:  otherwise it rebounds.

In Part Two, we bowed to Guru in the heart’s cave. Here in Part Three, the repeated sounding of vacadhbu,  agni, sara, sastra encircle and warm up my path of awe.  I do not know.  Unconfined to the mind, the resonance is received afresh;  I begin again to ascend the mountain at dawn.

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Second Chapter: The Enunciation of the Second Mantra

The Muni continues:
In this second chapter, we shall comment on another Tantric mantra of Bhagavan. Here is its verse of enunciation: (No English translation available)

“Sukham krsanuh kilalam
murdhanyascanunasikah
Nidra vari ca vikhyato
Namo mantro vadadbhuvah.”

The letter sa, Sukham happiness;   the letter ra krsanuh, fire; the letter na kilalam, water; the letter va murdhanyah anunasikah;   the letter na nidra, cerebral nasal;   the letter bha vari, sleep;   the letter va, water.**

1. Happiness sa
2. Fire ra
3. Water va
4. Cerebral nasal  na
5. Sleep bha
6. Water va

6 point star cube

When these six letters are read together they become sa ra va na bha wa. – “One who is born from the forest of sara”. As there are six letters in this Mantra also, like before, we understand by this the six faces of Skanda.*

FOOTNOTES - 
**- Sri Sankaranarayanan’s translation of this paragraph 
was ambiguous, and K.Natesan apparently overlooked my query 
about it. I have arranged it as best I can, and would welcome the 
advice of an educated Sanskrit reader. J.A.
*- The child Skanda (Kumara)- seed of Agni in the wives of Seven 
Rishis who warmed themselves by the fire - could not be carried 
by wives (goddesses of Krttika the Pleiades constellation) or 
Himalaya mountain or Ganga river, so it fell in a bed of reeds 
(grass). Six parts of the seed joined in this birthplace as one
six headed child; Siva's wife Parvati filled with milk and the 
universe rejoiced - for this child of Siva (through the inter-
mediary of Agni) was destined to defeat the demon of the 
reactive mind, Taraka. 
Skanda's older brother was Ganapati.

Note from Wendy O’Flaherty: ‘Siva the Erotic Ascetic’

ramana embryo

ramana embryo

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THE MEANING OF THE SECOND MANTRA:    Saravanabhawa

“One who is born from the forest of sara, a kind of grass”. ASTRAGNI : (astra, missile or weapon invoked with a mantra, agni, sacred fire) – this means “fire of guided missile”. Here, a physical fire born from igniting grass, is not what is meant. If it were, it would not be vacadbhu - born out of the sound vibration (energy). 

The story that the effulgent seed of Rudra placed in the stalk of grass became Kumara, has some deep truth behind it:   Rudra is full of sound. His effulgent seed is the fire born by focussing the perfected astra mantra of a great yogi accomplished in the lore of the astras. It acquires the form of sara, grows, and slays its enemies.

“Vidma sarasya pitaram parjanyam - “We know the father of the SARA,
bhuridhayasam   - Parjanya, liberal nourisher,
Vidmo svasya mataram - we know his mother Prithvi,
prthivim bhurivarpasam. - earth with her manifold designs.

Jyake pari nona masmanam tonvan krdhi - O, Bowstring, bend thyself around us,
Virur variyo ratirapa dvesarasya krdhi.” - make my body stone.
Firm in thy strength, drive far away malignities and hateful things.”    

Aghawa Samkita II. 1. 2.

poppy and wild oat

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visual reference, bow-arrow

Sara described in the above two Mantras is a special kind of grass, not an arrow made of bamboo or metal.   This is indicated by saying that its mother and father are the earth and the rain God.   If we say that bamboo also, being a tree, can deserve to be the son of the earth and the rain God, the fourth Mantra in that same chapter, removes any doubt :

Yatha dyam ca prthivim cantas tiethati tejanam
evarogam casravam cantas tisthatu munja it. 

Just as the sharp point stands
between earth and heaven, 

let the munja grass stand between wellbeing and illness.

For the Rose and the Fire are One

Breaking through – For the Rose and the Fire are One

Here by the word munja he deduces the aforesaid sara.   Munja is a type of grass and not bamboo. How could fragile grass be capable of killing enemies without relating to astra, the fire warming the word which an accomplished Mantra fills ?15

“Isikam jaratim stva
tilpinjam dandanam nadam
Tamindra idhmam
krtva yamasyagvim niradadhan

He sought the grass, Isika
tilpinja, nada and dandana.
He enriched Indra’s fuel
and the fire of Yama.

Athawa Samhita XII.2.54.

sphere of arrows ja

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Isika, Tilpivja, nada are types of grass. Dandanum might be of bamboo. Amongst them isika is a synonym for the sara grass.   Here by the word Indra, the Jiva is meant. As the Veda says: “Rupam Rupam pratirupo babhuva.”16.  He, the perfected Person knows the astra. He bound the isika grass into faggots, and nourished the sages around the fire of Yama, Kala, Time.   This means he expanded and increased that which stood in the sky as the fire of Time.

Time is not different from sound. The sound resonates subtly in the sky and cultures everything.

FOOTNOTES 
15- ASTRA from the root AS - to throw; a missile, usually of grass
or any fragile material backed up by a powerful Mantra, 
though astra is loosely translated as an arrow.
Sastra(scriptures) is an arrow, while astra is a weapon backed up 
by the Mantra. 
Here the Mantra is significant, and not the material used as a 
weapon.

16- "He put his image in every form."
Frank Humphries, Ramana and the Muni

Frank Humphries, Ramana and the Muni

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That is why we have said in our Indra Gita:

“Sadvyapakasaktim pranam kathayanti
Vyaktetarasabdam kalam ganayanti.” (17) 

“The pervading force of Existence they call Prana ;
and they reckon as Time the unmanifest Sound.”

FOOTNOTE -
17- Indra Gita is one of the compositions of Ganapati Muni
and is included in Gitamala.

 photo of the muni copy

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There itself it has been said that Kala, Time, is known by the name of Yama and Rudra.

“Rudram vidureka netarbahulilam
Prahur yamam anye kayam tava kalam.”

“O, Leader, some know you as Rudra of many sports ;
Others call thy body Time, Yama.”

Rudra who is the Sabda Brahman and Time factor pervades the sky. His effulgence impelled by the fire of Mantra becomes the Agni, named astra in the form of sara. This Agni is the Lord, the Commander-in-Chief of the armies, the destroyer of Asuras, the accomplisher of the Divine Purpose. The word isu is formed only from the word isika. The ancients employ the word isvastra to denote astra.

“Isvastram esam devatvam paritranam satamiva
Bhayam vai manuso bhavah parivado satamiva.”       

“Their astra denoted divinity.
It bore divine protection to good people.
Fear is their human aspect to the wicked.”

SITA ace arrows Bhishma blocks the Ganga - Version 4

By esam* the Kshatriyas (warriors) are covered. Also the primary name for astra is only isikastra. (See Ramayana and Mahabharata). Though the word sara meant astra, later on by derivative significance, it came to denote the arrow. The word sara is a pointer to the other “faggot bundles” (weapons) of astra.   Principally, the usage is the form “from out of the forest of sara”, saravanabhava.

FOOTNOTE - 
esam, a Sanskrit word for prowess (footnote supplied by K.Natesan)

Bhagavan coaxes a devotee

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THE APPROPRIATENESS OF SKANDA AS THE GURU?

If “Skanda” had these attributes alone, he would be a War God, not the Guru Causal. Yet being the God of war does not deter him from being the Guru Causal. In fact, it helps. The one who manifests the fire of astra, destroying foes, is our inner illumination. He burns away the ties that bind, and reveals the shore beyond darkness.

An effulgence  of sound is inner knowing. By this alone, the Brahmin attains a vision of the Divine.

By the effulgence alone, the Kshatriya (warrior) masters the divine astra. The effulgence is the Brahmanhood of Brahman;  the kingship of the Warrior caste.

And thus ends the Second Chapter.

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**

My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part Two

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elephant story copy

My blog includes my “landmarks”, which I archive within the creative process.  As a  western sadhak searching to become more focused, and to plug in to the “dimension”, I am inspired again by Ganapati Muni’s Guru Mantra Bhashyam - it helps to ‘hold my feet on the Path.’

My elder Indian roots go very deep:  the light is in the well.

Adapting the Muni’s mantric analysis (translated from sanskrit by K Natesan) to my understanding, was a landmark about 14 years ago.  It is rather technical; here is (see previous post) the second of four parts - a few readers (including dancing yetis) may find this curious treasure a-musing to mull over.  But if you incline more to neti-neti … then enjoy the pictures!

I am no scholar; but I spent many a lifetime scribing the thoughts of scholars, which I love doing.  My heart caught fire and now dances around it. I found this second part difficult to understand, especially at the beginning, but worth persevering with, as it elucidates the living entities in Mantra, and the salutation to God.  The footnotes include a precise definition of Maya, and Sanskrit “keys” for meditation to nourish the soul.

For some of the Skanda background mythology, search “Puranas” on this blog.

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Ramana and the Muni.  A devotee enquired if it were a fact that they used to swim in Pandava tank.  Bhagavan replied, "Yes.  That also was only in those days" (i.e.the Virupaksha Cave period).  We used to try to excel each other in swimming.  That was great fun." (From Suri Nagamma's Letters from Ramanasramam no.59)

Ramana and the Muni. A devotee enquired if it were a fact that they used to swim in Pandava tank. Bhagavan replied, “Yes. That also was only in those days” (i.e.the Virupaksha Cave period). We used to try to excel each other in swimming. That was great fun.” (From Suri Nagamma’s Letters from Ramanasramam no.59)

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            HOW THE GODHEAD IS OF THE FORM OF BRAHMAN by Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni

The Mantra’s general meaning has been stated. (see Part One).  Now we enquire into its specific meanings.   If Skanda is a distinct Godhead, how can he be of the form of Brahman? for Brahman is That Supreme which transcends all Gods.

Ramana as Skanda Siva's son - Sacred India Tarot Knight of Staves

Ramana as Skanda Siva’s son – Sacred India Tarot Knight of Staves

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(Scroll down a little way for footnotes )

Well then, if we say Brahman is the all, his form as ascribed to Skanda is no contradiction, and the sense of it clarifies.   But this, in worship, is wrong. In worship we should reflect on the object as representing the superior – not confer inferior status onto a superior Subject. That is why Badarayana (7) saysBrahma drstir utkarsat”.  

If you worship Guha(*) in the form of Brahman, you will limit, in the all pervading Brahman, your vision of the pervaded Guha. The misrepresentation will be removed if the following meaning is given: vacadbhuve Om namah - “Salutation to Brahman in the form of Guha.” However, it will then be the mantra of Brahman, not of Guha; and this goes against what we set out to establish.

FOOTNOTES -
7- Badarayana is the author of the Brahma Sutras. This Sutra 
1V.1.5 says that symbols are to be regarded as Brahman, and not 
vice versa. An inferior object has to be looked upon as 
symbolic of the superior.
*- "Guha means literally the cave of the divine, the secret place, 
Heart cavern. However the Guha mentioned here is in the sense of 
personal God, another name of Skanda"- K.Natesan

5 butterlamp - Version 2

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When doubt assails us on both sides, we should clarify the overall meaning as: “Salutation to Guha who in the form of Brahman is Brahmasvarupa”. (i.e. as an image of the immanent and formless Brahman).

Notions of inferior and superior belong to the realm of attributes. In Brahman without attributes or qualities, whence superior or inferior? The notion depends for its existence upon attributes, as also upon differences. If Brahman is the integral Wholeness, then relative to what is His superiority? If He is the all Self, to whom is he superior?   His superior state is experienced through His worldly manifestations, and His inferiority through the ignorant jiva’s limitation (8) .  

Just as Brahman becomes superior by upadhi (9) , so is he also inferior. In the present context, Guha is worshipped, and the worshipper is the jiva. If there is no upadhi, then both (worshipper and worshipped) are of the form of Brahman: therefore they are one. In this undifferentiated reflection, a doubt may arise in the worship as to whether we picture ourself in Guha or Guha in our Self?   It appears logical “to see Guha in our Self”.   The chapter on Worship in the Sutra Brahmadrstir utskarsat (**) relates to Saguna, the God with attributes. There is then no conflict.

FOOTNOTES -
8- Jiva - the soul or strand of ego that experiences incarnations
as "its own" memory base in vasanas (Karmic tendencies).

9- Upadhi, conditioning. "A superimposed thing or attribute that 
veils and gives a coloured view of the substance beneath it;
Or - a limiting adjunct, instrument, vehicle, body, a technical 
term used in Vedanta philosophy for any superimposition that gives 
a limited view of the Absolute and makes it appear as the 
relative.  Jiva's Upadhi is Avidya or ignorance.  Isvara's 
Upadhi is Maya or divine hypnosis."     
(Definition from Yoga Vedanta Dictionary/Swami Sivananda)

**- "Brahmadrstir - the view of Brahman. Utskarsat - on account 
of superiority, i.e. being exalted, all should be seen as the 
Supreme Self" - K.Natesan

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wei wu wei vi

It is established then, that with and through the Mantra, Guha (as a personal god) in the form of Brahman is worshipped. As Brahman is the universal Self, the Guha image in Brahman emerges.

Here another doubt arises.   It is said that a portion of Guha’s effulgent form which is of the Gods, and is gracious to devotees, may enter well deserving individual souls who have destroyed their erratic tendencies.

Is this an image of Brahman (the formless) with attributes? Or a perfected Person of divine origin?   What distinguishes the two?

The former is the Lord whose body is the entire universe, and who, to favour the devotee, took a divine body by his maya. (10) The latter is an exceptional being who individuated amongst the crores of jivas, and attained a divine body by the excellence of his virtues.

If we say ‘let the Lord himself be Skanda’, we will be faced with the postulate of several other Gods, with nothing to mark out Skanda from among their great and glorious galaxy.   And if we say ‘let him be an exceptional being amongst the jivas’, then the problem of inferiority will crop up. Let it then be said: the Lord alone is Skanda – not an exclusive being amongst the crores of jivas. Thus, we do not postulate several Gods. For the sake of the world’s work, Brahman takes forms by maya in the world, and thus conducts the universe. If mere perfected souls have the capacity to take many forms by maya, what can we say about the all powerful God?

FOOTNOTES -
10- MAYA, from ma, to measure, the skill of measuring the
immeasurable, therefore an impossible feat, the intrinsic 
power of the Lord, the marvel.  Later in Vedanta, this word 
came to mean"illusion".  From the same root comes the Mother 
or birthgiver - and also the French word la mer - the ocean.

 ..

Click on image and again on ‘view full size’ in gallery

Amongst those forms of God taken by maya for the sake of the world’s work, Skanda’s form pertaining to the Gods is unique. We shall touch on such authoritative forms taken by God through maya.

The votaries of Vishnu claim that “Narayana alone is the form of the Lord pertaining to the Gods”: “the Supreme Shiva alone”, say the Saivites: “none but Ganapati”, proclaim the followers of Ganesh: “Savitr (the sun as creative godhead) is All”, say the worshippers of the sun. Men of Indra say “He alone”;  and “Jesus alone”, claim the Christians:  Allah is One, say the Mohammadans.  Then “he alone is Subrahmanya”, say followers of Skanda.

Furthermore, if one sees the usages in the Veda, like tam i mahe purustutam yahvam pratnabhir utibhih (11) it looks as if another name of Indra is yahva, the Judaeo-Christian Jehovah.  Perhaps ahla da (12) – Allah – is another name for the Person in the orb of the moon.

When such dispute arises among the votaries of various religions, what is the truth? On investigation, the Vedas give us no unanimous answer. Here, as we have hitherto said, we must reconcile distinctions in an overall harmony.

FOOTNOTES -
11- "We praise through new hymns, Him (JahveH) 
Who is hymned by all creatures."

12- Ahlada, delight. Moon is the source of delight.
young ramana

young ramana

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In this context, here is the Vedic Rik:

“Indram mitram varunam agnim ahur         “They call Him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni atho divyah sa suparno garutman.  and he is the divinely beautiful plumed Garutman Ekam sadvipra bahudha vadant –    One Alone existent; sages speak of it differently. Yagnim yamam matarisvanam ahuh”          They call it Agni, Yama and Matarisvan.”  

                                                                                                          Rig Veda 1.164.46  

On enquiry into the meaning of this mantra, some say these are alternative Names for the One God. Others point out that as the forms taken through maya are diverse, different Names are conceived. The latter view is better. Then only will it harmonise with that of other sages. Here even, the view of the followers of Nirukta that there are just three Godheads, is preferable.(13)

FOOTNOTE - 
13- Nirukta, the work of Yaska on Vedic etymology.  The three 
Godheads are Agni, Vayu and Aditya

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Agni - the sacred fire

Agni – the sacred fire

           ..

WHO IS AGNI, THE PRODUCER OF SKANDA?

It is established that Guha’s form, pertaining to the Gods, is specific, amongst the forms taken through maya by Brahman with attributes.

Now in the mantra, the father of Skanda, Agni, is mentioned as vacadbhuh. Who is this? We shall enquire. There are five energies in the world – solar, lunar, electricity, physical fire, and the sound. Sound is not a quality but an energized substance, with the action of movement and the attribute of resonance.

A quality by itself is without action or attribute. The sound caught in a recording instrument is understood as a substance.   When sound is transmitted through an instrument to a great distance, it appears first as energy and then manifests as sound. This illustrates that sound is a vibration, or energized substance. Many Vedic Riks support this view. We shall cite only two mantras as example:

wood grain & cosmic egg

wood grain & cosmic egg

“Ima abhiprano numo vipamagresu dhitayah
Agney socir na didyutah.”
 

“Here we put forth loudly the words,  
in front of illuminations 
luminous like the blaze of fire.”

(Rig Veda VIII.6.7.) (14)

Here dhitayah are said to be luminous like Agni’s flame. Dhitayah are the words.

FOOTNOTE - 
14- Alternative translation by Sri K.Natesan for this Mantra: 
"We bow to the syllables, effulgent as Agni, foremost among
those who protect themselves, and others."

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trinosofia 2 Lions

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“Tam tva marutvati paribhuvadvani sayavari
Naksumana saha dyubhih.”
          

Sound, the divine Omnipresence
is One in Name 
with the Divine splendours”

            (Rig Veda VII.31.8)

Here vani - the word – is said to have a Name (naksamana)through dyubhih, energies.

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Rudra Immerses

Rudra Immerses

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This vibration of pervasive sound is also named as Sabda Brahman; the form pertaining to the physicality of the supreme Siva. Its Vedic name is Rudra. Yaska gives the etymology as one who cries, Rudra.   This same sound vibration known as Rudra is mentioned as vacat in the Mantra. When the sense of speech is spiritualised it becomes the manifestation of Sabda Brahman. Thus there is no difference between this vocalisation and Sabda Brahman.

In this manner, Kumara the young one is born from Agni. Here Agni pertains to sound and not to physical matter. The Mantra does not say agnibhuve but precisely, vacadbhuve in order to clearly indicate the truth. Though the word Agni is used in connection with physical fire, it also denotes any form of subtle energy.

Therefore, in the Name, the ordinary meaning flashes. The word vacadbhuva … flashes forth specifically the meaning of energised sound or Agni.

 

ganapati gives mantra

ganapati gives mantra – into his devotee’s hairy ear, he whispered sabda brahman – the unforgettable sound which never ends

 ..

THE MEANING OF SALUTATION Now we shall touch on the salutation itself, and what it signifies in the course of the japa.

There is a doubt here. Should we when repeating the Mantra imagine some divine form of Guha, to contemplate as our prayer?   or is the meaning of the salutation a simple notion that: “you are superior, I am inferior”?   Neither are proper. In both methods, we would with each repetition of the Mantra, resort to the idea that we are different, and imagine some form which is false and of little glory to the Godhead. The nature of our Self would be lost.

There is however, another, third meaning: the salutation is not to the gross body, but to the subtle body. The subtle body is the mind, its place the head. It bows.

trinosofia inner cave of light

trinosofia inner cave of light

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Bhagavan the Master has said:

“Kirtyate hrdayam pinde             The Heart is said to be in the microcosm
yathande bhanumandalam         as the orb of the Sun in the macrocosm.
Mavah sahasraragatam bimbam           Like Moon’s disk is mind
candramasam Yatha”                 in the thousand petalled Centre.

                                                                                           Ramana Gita Chapter V.verse 13

When the mind bows down to seek the form of Self placed in the Heart, or to plunge itself into the effulgence of its own form placed in the Heart, this is bowing down, salutation. In both cases, we should not forget to see Skanda as the Self.

The japa of the Mantra thus performed, will seek our own realised Truth. It will not be polluted by any diversity.

Brahmana

Brahmana

 ..

Maharshi revealed the whole truth of these two forms of worship in a foot of this verse:  “Hrdi visa manasa svam
cinvata majjata va”           

“Enter into the Heart by the mind which seeks Self 
or which wants to take a plunge.”

                                                                                             Ramana Gita, Chapter II verse 2

trinosofia bird lamp

trinosofia bird lamp

 ..

Thus is revealed the meaning of the Mantra:

Om Vacadbhuve Namah

 “I enter or plunge into Bhagavan the Master,
who is the descent of Skanda,
as the true form of my Self”.

 Thus ends the First Chapter.

Sacred India Tarot - Parvati begins spiritual practice

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**

  My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom. This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/  

Ganapati Muni’s Science of Mantra – Part One

Vedic goddess

Vedic goddess

Here’s a four-part post series for scholars!

I haven’t studied the layered meanings in Sanskrit.  But I learnt a few sacred Names and phrases along the way;  I hear the chanting and smell the sandal paste;  the syllables are long musical frequencies;  from in between them, emerge the tantras.  Tantra is the art of touch throughout the universe.  Needing to touch base with some of my Indian and Vedic threads, I turned to Ganapati Muni’s analysis of his mantric science.  I prepared this text in the 1990s from Sri K Natesan’s translation, for the Ramana Foundation Journal Self Enquiry.  Sri Natesan – a “grandchild” in the Muni’s sacred lineage – checked it for mistakes.

In the text the secret known to knowers of truth is mentioned:  when we truly know that we do not know – we begin.

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“Guru Mantra Bhashyam”   by Ganapati Muni

Introduced and Translated by S.Sankaranarayanan
Adapted for English readers by J.A., with the help of Sri K.Natesan at Ramana Ashram

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The Muni

The Muni

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The eighteenth chapter of Sri Ramana Gita contains a series of verses which describe the characteristics of Ramana Maharshi. Amongst them, the tenth verse enunciates in the style of the Tantra, the Mantra by which the Maharshi has to be invoked.

Ganapati Vasishta Muni valued this Mantra very highly. When disciples approached Ramana Maharshi for elucidation on the Mantra, he directed them to the Muni. So Vasishta Muni decided to write a commentary on the 10th verse of the eighteenth chapter of Sri Ramana Gita for the benefit of aspirants. The Guru-mantra-Bhashyam was written in sanskrit and it was published along with the Text and Sri Kapali Shastriar’s Prakasha Bhashye (Commentary) of Sri Ramana Gita.

Considering the importance of the work and the wealth of spiritual insights it unfolds, a free translation in English of the whole commentary and Appendix to the Commentary is provided here, in four parts. Footnotes explain certain terms and concepts occurring in the commentary.

Meeting

Meeting

Ramana and Ganapati were spiritual brothers – Ramana the silent jnani or Realised One and Ganapati the tantric philosopher and poet.  Ramana was regarded as the embodiment of Skanda or Kumar:  Ganesh and Skanda are the sons born to Siva and Parvati. When the two wild young sages sat together in the caves of Siva’s hill Arunachala, Ramana taught Ganapati that the root of the mantra and of the breath are one and the same, to dissolve into Self enquiry.  Ganapati’s outpouring of verses to the Mother brought their ageless Saivite brotherhood into the 20th century.

Skanda and Ganapati

skanda and ganapati

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Some years ago, Alan Jacobs and I wrote 55 sonnets on the Ramana Gita English version; the sonnet form was chosen, to interact imaginatively with the formal Sanskrit text, and as a spiritual practice. Here below, to provide the setting, is a sonnet based on verses 8 – 11 of Chapter Eighteen, Ramana Gita (see below). It contains our interpretation of the Mantra OM VACADHBUVE RAMANA.

butterlamp - Version 2

In Praise of Ramana:   Three

FROM grasping freed, his peace
in quantum abyss unheeding
restores our alchemy. He pilots the seas.
Ganapati child at breasts of Parvati feeding,
cried “Mother’s mine!” In her lap, Kumar his brother
replied, “Never mind, for mine is Father!
I rest in his right heart, he kisses my head!”

Give glory, elephant child, to He whose lance
in Kumar’s hand pierced hill to the heart, ‘tis said.
Boon bringer, pour poem from His holy glance
by Vedic vessel whence emerges Word
by power of Fire as mystic Sword.

Without a staff, our song you uphold –
ferryman, defend everyman from demon gold!

butterlamp boat

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     THE VERSES FROM ‘RAMANA GITA’ CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

v.8     Free from infatuation, greed, distracting thought and envy, he is ever blissful. He is ever active, helping others to cross the sea of Becoming, regardless of reward.

v.9   When Ganapati saying ‘Mother is mine’ sat on the lap of Parvati, Kumara retorted ‘Never mind, Father is mine,” and got on to Siva’s lap and was kissed by him on the head.   Of this Kumara who pierced (with his lance) the Krauncha Hill, Ramana is a glorious manifestation.

v.10     He is the mystic import of the mantra ‘OM VACHADBHUVE NAMAH.

v.11     An ascetic without danda , yet is he Dandapani.   He is Taraka for crossing the sea of suffering, yet is he the foe of Taraka.

NOTE - Danda is a "Staff"or wand, yet Dandapani is the staff 
holder - even one who no longer uses it.  
The word Taraka means Deliverer, but "Taraka" was also the 
great demon Taraka who almost destroyed the universe. 
These are typical Sanskrit word-plays.

 ..

Sacred India Tarot - laws of Manu as the Hierophant - Ganapati the scribe near Arunachala

Sacred India Tarot – laws of Manu as the Hierophant – Ganapati the scribe near Arunachala

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THE COMMENTARY ON THE MANTRA OF THE MASTER

“Om Vacadbhuve Namah Nahasyam”-
“Salutation to the Fire of Brahman whence emerges the word”

First Chapter: Pronouncing the Mantra
VERSE TEN, Chapter 18, RAMANA GITA

Vedådi påkadamanottara kacchapesair                 “He is the secret sense
Yuktair dharadhara susuptyamaresvaraisca           of the group of words arrived at
Suksmamrtayug amrtena saha pranatya                 by uttering the following Sampannasabda patalasya nahasyam artham*      Om Va ca dbhu, ve and Namah”

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  • Vedadih “the beginning of the Veda”, or Pranama OMKARA (1)
    –Pakadamanat “from the destroyer of Paka Asura”, that is, Indra bija, whose letter is la
    –Uttarah the letter next to it alphabetically, that is VA ; pakadamanottara kacchapesah –the bija (2) of Rudra in His form as Lord of the tortoise Kurmesa” that is, the letter CA.
    With these letters OM   VA CA,Dharadharah, the bija of the Mountain,
    the letter DA.
    Susuptih   the sakti power of deep sleep, whose bija is the letter BHA.
    –Amare-Isvarah “the Lord (Isvara) of the immortals” (Amara, deathless) – Rudra dwells in this Name, his seed-letter U ; therefore DBHU.   Yuktaih, “union” (at the beginning of the line) joins this with the letter DBHU.
    –Suksmamrta, whose Sakti’s bija is the letter E ;   Yuk joined to amrtena, (nectar) whose seedletter is the watery VA, form the letter VE.
    –Pranatya, (Salutation) unites with the suffix namah (3.) The Sampanna sabda patalasya group of words forms the secret of the mantra OM VACADBHUVE NAMAH NAHASYAM. This can be known only to the knowers of Truth.

 (Sabda is another word for Primordial Sound, Word, the Vedas, Omkara.)

 The secret (Nahasyam) of this Mantra is revealed only to knowers of Truth. To them alone can the artham or full meaning be outwardly expressed; as in the form of the king of ascetics, Bhagavan Ramana (4 ), when questioned by Amrtanatha. (Ch.18, Ramana Gita)

  • Thus   “OM Vacadbhuve Namah” is established as the Mantra of Bhagavan the Guru.

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Sri Kapali Shastri - a disciple of the Muni - in the 1930s

Sri Kapali Shastri – a disciple of the Muni – in the 1930s

Kapali Sastri’s Commentary on this verse in the Ramana Gita, states in brief:

“By joining all these letters we arrive at the group of letters OM VACADBHUVE NAMAH.   This group of letters forms the Mantra. Its secret sense, known to the learned, expresses the meaning   “RAMANA WHO IS THE FORM OF THE DEITY INVOKED BY THIS MANTRA”.

Who is God, expressed in this Mantra ? Subrahmanya.   How so ? ‘Om Vachadbhuve Namah’ – Omkara is the supreme Brahman.   The word is indeclinable, and so it will make sense with all the case endings.   Vacadbhu, the field that creates, releases the Word, the Fire.   The fire became the word and entered the mouth.   So explains the scripture.   Born from the god who presides over speech is Vacadbhu, born from Fire, Kumara. Salutation to Him.

“This is not physical fire, but the effulgence of the word. In order to drive this home, in the Mantra, Agni is denoted by the word ‘vacat’.   It is the tradition of the Tantra Shastra to expound the Mantra by using words of similar sense.   Following this, the Master (Ganapati Muni) has expounded the Mantra of Subrahmanya.   The author of this work, our Master has been praising the Maharshi, as one born out of a portion of Kumara.   And so the essence of the Mantra is said to be Ramana.”

Kapali Shastri

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FOOTNOTES - PRONOUNCING THE MANTRA:
* - Sri K Natesan states: "The literal translation is given here.
In Tantra Shastra (science) the mantras are not mentioned plainly 
and directly. There is a way of symbolic expression for which a 
working knowledge of their terminology is needed."

1 - pranava the letter OM:  the primordial sound from which the 
Veda, the word of revelation, has sprung

2 - The Tantra talkes about bijakshava, SEED LETTERS which contain
in a potential form what they would be manifesting. The SEED LETTER
is fixed for each Deity.  For example Indra's SEED LETTER is la. 
By convention, each SEED LETTER is connoted by one or more names.
The Bhija-nighantu, the Dictionary of seed-letters, 
gives the corresponding names.

3 - Pranati, bowing down, which is expressed by the word namah 

4 - This verse is one of twenty four verses in praise of the
Maharshi, at the end of which the questioner Amrtanatha addresses
him.
K Natesan & Vamadeva Shastri

K Natesan & Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)

 ..

..

The Detailed Commentary by Ganapati Muni now Continues :

If we are asked:   is not this mantra, the famous one of Skanda, mentioned in Tantric works like Saradatilaka? we say it is only the mantra of our guru, Bhagavan. It is known that Bhagavan Ramana, the Master, is avatara, descent of effulgence from the original guru, Skanda the Godhead, another of whose names is Sanat kumara(5)

Ramana sat in silence, then asked the Muni - "Did you write down all I spoke?"

Ramana sat in silence, then asked the Muni – “Did you write down all I spoke?”

THE BODY OF THE MANTRA

This great mantra is originally of six letters as vacadbhuve namah. It becomes a mantra of seven letters with the pranava which is usually employed by certain Tantrics at the beginning of all mantras.   Just as the five-lettered namah shivayah becomes six letters with the Omkara, so also here.   All godheads have four forms. One pertains to the spirit, the other to the physical, another to the gods and the last to the form of the mantra.

Elsewhere we find this vedic piece:

Vacam astapadim aham navasraktim rtasprsam       “Around Indra I create the body
Indrat paritanvam name                            of the Word with eight steps and nine parts
                                                                                 close in touch with the Right Law.”

(Rig Veda VIII 65.12)

By this Rik, the Rishi says that he creates the body of Indra, in the form of mantraThe Tantrics also say this:

Derike manavabhrantim                                   “To inferno he goes who mistakes
pratimasu silamatim                                        the guru for a man,
Mantresvaksarabhuddhim                          the idol in the temple for a piece of stone
ca kurvano nirayam vrajet.                                 and the mantra for a group of letters.”

 

Here the popular parlance that Gayatri is the Deity of the most famous Mantra, Tat Savitah serves as evidence. (6)   Gayatri is the Mantra itself alone,  not ‘a woman’; (this word indicates the name of a metre -  the sakti as the name or vessel).   What does this establish?   that the body of God Guha in the form of mantra has six letters.   In this view that the body is formed by the Mantra, six letters become the six faces of the Lord.

Likewise, the five letters in the Panchakshara Mantra of the Supreme Shiva — NAMAH SHIVAYA — are his five faces. This is the same as the saying of the Mimamsakas:   that the Deity is formed by the Mantra.

vedic vessel

vedic vessel

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 THE GENERAL MEANING OF THE MANTRA

  • Om to the One in the form of Brahman. As the word OM is indeclinable, it keeps the same syntax with all cases. As acclaimed in the Upanishads, the letter OM denotes Brahman.
  • Vacadbhuva – Vacatah “from one who speaks”, creates statements.   This is derived from Agni (god of sacred fire) in whose subtle form is the inner sense of ‘word’.
  • Bhu born, to Him Namah, salutation. It is well known that Skanda was born from Fire, Agni.
Agni

Agni

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TO BE CONTINUED.

FOOTNOTES: GANAPATI'S COMMENTARY CONTINUES ...
5 - Chandogya Upanishad (7:26:2) equates Sanatkumara with Skanda,
and says that he takes ashore across the (ocean of) ignorance, 
the pure soul with constant awareness.

6 - "Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dimah
Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat" -
"We meditate upon that excellent splendour
of the Lord Savitr.  May he activate our thoughts."

7 - Badarayana is the author of the Brahma sutras.  This Sutra
IV.1.5 says that symbols are to be regarded as Brahman, and 
not vice versa.  An inferior object has to be looked upon as
symbolic of the superior.

..

Ramana Maharshi

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..

..

**

My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kabbalah Notes – Companions of the Light

Under Piccadilly circus 1965

Under Piccadilly circus 1965

When the author Susan Howatch is writing her novel, she loves all her characters astray and how they develop, light and shadow, bad and good, as they well to life, and she loves them for their problems, their sexual nature, their honest discoveries, their extravagant delusions, and their (some of them) difficult paradoxical-surprise endings. Bishop Jardine lost his inner truth and died a sad man – she loves him for that authenticity. He is loved for that reality.   He is one of her inner voices.

This is an important insight with how we are in God, and how we are in our Teacher or Magid. I am loved as my teacher loves me; as my higher Self loves the vehicle along the path. And this is the way I should love –  in the difficulties I imagine I and others have.

 ..

Tree of Advaita - jnana marga, the path of Wisdom

Tree of Advaita – jnana marga, the path of Wisdom

Kabbalah group notes – 30 October 2014

Who is the Watcher of my life? Go back in time to an early memory – who looked through my eyes? When did I first sense behind me, my Magid, my inner teacher?   Keep this question open, because although we may seem to make a priori statements about “the watchers” or “the magidim” for convenience, the inner dialogue is a unique and open mystery to each one of us … when touching base with it.   Through it is received the connection:  the collective human eagle, seeing far and wide.

The magidim may not present words, they may present a symbol or shape or pattern of events in our life. Gina took a book to bed -  the seductive intellectual language of a popular atheist undermining God; an enormous black bluebottle suddenly flew in and hit the page, startling her.

Our Guardians manifest in small doses of synchrony and are “visibly distressed” when a promising pilgrim gets caught up in lower-case politics. Some spiritual- journal entries by an old Indian friend were found, written in 1978 –  since then, he became immersed in the Indian political game.   The early notes brought tears to the old man’s eyes. Had he lived his life?

Try to perceive when the Voiceless Voice is shaking his/her head behind you or to one side, or withdrawing energy from your impulse. Keep hearing them silently.  They know your destiny. They only intervene when they absolutely have to; and then you get three warnings.

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Circle Line 1965

Circle Line 1965

Each one of us is a fractal kaleidoscope, giving the childlike Holy One much pleasure.

On healing situations: a practitioner asks sometimes, Is anyone there? If there is, she stops what she’s doing, leaves the room, lets them get on with it.

Operating theatres are filled with the Watchers – those who gather at emergency, at birth and at death:  those whose concern is with this human river of destiny.

Sacred India Tarot - Parvati waters trees

Sacred India Tarot – Parvati waters trees

Discriminate the musical essence from the soul who creates it – discriminate the symphony from the conductor. Schumann said Schubert’s music cleanses and banishes evil. We have these two aspects in our Watchers, to discern - the soul’s essence evolving through light and shadow; and the guiding factor/dialogue with our Magid.

W spoke of portrait painting, and how the connection/contact between artist and sitter over real time and space speaks much more profoundly than a photo. This contact is heart to heart  (a way of love).

tree of life spiral

Warnings cross your path – when Tom was in India, a big python glided by, as thick as a football; yet the person with him didn’t see it.  Julia had a dream: should she take a certain path, or stay with Kabbalah? The dream was Chartres with all the seats turned to face the door, the Rose window. There sat a very old man – Melchisedek – and she melted into him.   He said, keep the path Kabbalistically. All are one.

You can tell the quality of good or bad movies: likewise your inner guidance – its quiet calibre and commitment, rather than drama.

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Confession by the fire - 1963

Confession by the fire – 1963

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The language of visions and of dreams comes from the connective link, and when your path forks, note the atmosphere in the fork before you go down it too far.

Sense the Pre-sence of the Guides. Clarity is a breakthrough of Yetzirah into Beriah. In Mozart’s Magic Flute, water flows to the left and fire on the right, with the air we breathe … the flute … in the centre.

Praying for those who died in holocaust or violence, for their rest, we pause – a dark night of soul – a sadness. The inner Teacher helps us to raise the level. They indicate.

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Evening in the Snowdon hut, 1964

Evening in the Snowdon hut, 1964

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Jacobs Ladder painting

A question was asked whether a Watcher or Magid can exist simultaneously incarnate (as an embodied pilgrim) and discarnate (as source of wisdom – like a lighthouse – to distant pilgrims).

The magidim are not angels, they are human – they are involved in the human condition which the angels cannot perceive. The angels have cosmic functions:  the magidim are the clear dew of our human resonance above the clouds.  They are discarnate in Yetzirah (the World of Formation) and they have a way of orchestrating omens. So look for the pattern of the omens, to see your magid.

On the tandem of magid and embodied soul: while we are discarnate, we can do and be the things in life which we cannot do or be in the physical body – where we have to buy a ticket to get from Finchley Road to Cockfosters. The magid doesn’t buy a ticket or travel – the magid unifies the two places, because the magid stands a little beyond space and time.

Astrology characteristics in our chart, build up an individuated picture over the lifetime.

 ..

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jacobs ladder

Jacobs Ladder showing the Four Worlds in the interlocking Trees: Aziluth, Emanation (names of God); Beriah, Creation (Archangels and magidim); Yetzirah the Formative World (planets, magidim and the psyche) and Assiyah the Physical World (physical organs, the material universe.)

..

I do not see the Watcher as a linear fixture. I guess our Guardians and their quality, proliferate according to the level of third eye in the intelligent perception. Each Guardian is a member of their own School, each Guardian has his or her magid also; and when I lift above the waves, I should see through that face-cloud, receiving the quintessential One behind it – transparency on transparency.   In spiritual lineages the features change but remain constant as the One. Our Guardians blend the bookends of our life together as a distinct and  profound thought form; but we tread the mill.   We walk their scented trail.

My basis for contemplation is the Tree, where these thoughts and ideas come naturally.

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Paths of Awakening

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**

My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

A Resonance between Two Models – Ramesh Balsekar & Leonard Cohen: Part Two

Image

A lesson with Owl

In my previous post, I abridged the full transcript of Ramesh Balsekar’s conversation with Leonard Cohen in early 1999, because it was very long.  Here are the missing bits, including Ramesh’s teaching on Satori.  For the dialogue to run smoothly, I have retained some of the exchanges in Part One.

Ramesh namaste

.. 

Ramesh Balsekar:  But you used the word “resonance”.

Leonard Cohen:  Yes Sir.

RB – Can you explain that a little bit, Leonard?

LC – I found that during some of the rigorous retreats that we’re subjected to, I would find myself opening one of your books, specifically The Final Truth;  and I would find that your writing would illuminate the discourses of our Master, and vice versa.  That resonance became very discernible.  It became urgent that I

RB – A similar thing happened to me.

LC -Yes?

RB – You know Wei Wu Wei?  Have you heard of Wei Wu Wei?  - particularly one book which a friend of mine gave me twenty years ago, which I knew was a treasure, but I couldn’t understand it – I kept it aside. So that was what used to be – what my teacher said, and what was said in the book – amazing. Is that the sort of thing you mean?

LC – Yes Sir, it is.

RB – I see.  And in particular, The Final Truth?

LC – Well, that was the book I happened to have with me in my pack.  I would open it at any free moment, and the words would rise up, illuminating the whole day. 

RB – Yes, I see.  Have you read any other books of mine?

LC – Yes, I have just finished “Pointers”.  I have it with me now.  But I read it very, very slowly.  It seems that one section can occupy me for long, long periods.

RB – Yes.  And then, you’ve been here ten days!  But you’ve been so silent!

LC – I’ve been sipping at the nectar.  It’s very delicious to be here.

leonard and ramesh in sindhula

RB – Yes.  So now, what you have heard these ten days, and what you have read in the book, and your original understanding – how do they resonate?  Can you explain that a little bit?

LC – On the intellectual model, your model becomes clearer and clearer to me – your conceptual presentation – and so does my old Teacher’s.  On the experiential level, I feel the weakening of certain proprietorial feelings of doership … …  You know, over the years, especially anybody who hangs around a Zendo meditation hall, is going to get a lot of ‘free samples’, as you put it.  If you sit for long hours every day and are subjected to sleeplessness and protein deficiency, you’re going to start having experiences that are interesting … … A greed for those kinds of experiences develops.  Which is what happens in monasteries.

Bunny hide and seek

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RB – I see.  You see, what happens is – Wayne and I had a very brief talk a couple of days ago; we were both walking on the roof. He made a point that while certain practices bringing about these free samples, inflate the ego, could these practices also not inflate the ego to an extent where it bursts? Which is one way for the annihilation of the ego.

LC – That is a very excellent characterisation of this kind of practice.

Ramesh and Wayne

RB – That is what it is supposed to do. But I told Wayne, the explosion will happen if that is the will of God, and if it is the will of God, that that bodymind organism follow THAT PATH. This reminded me of the story of Lao Tsu and his disciple, which I’m sure you know, but I will repeat it.  A disciple went to Lao Tsu with his face flushed with the vigour of achievement.  And he told him, “Master!  I’ve got it!”  Lao Tsu compassionately placed his hands on the disciple’s shoulders and told him, “Son, you have NOT got it.”  You’ve heard this story?

LC – No, Sir.

RB – Oh really?  Oh well!  He said, “No my son, you haven’t got it.”  So, dejected, the disciple went away.  Some time later he came back again, fell at the Master’s feet and said “Master, it has happened.”

Angel with Rabbit

Lao Tsu looked into his eyes, knew it, and raised him up saying, “Now tell me what happened.”  The disciple explained, “I was so SURE that I had got what I wanted, all the experiences, all the joy, I knew I had got it;  but when you told me that I had NOT got it, I accepted that as the truth.  But it was also the truth as far as I was concerned, that I had done all I could, and yet you said I had achieved nothing.  So the result was: accepting BOTH as the truth.  I went about my way, not wanting anything, not expecting anything;  and suddenly I noticed that the joyous experiences had gone, but a peace had descended.  And it also struck me then, that this was the peace that I was after – not achieving anything!”

So this is the peace that came when the seeking stopped.  You see?  So, it was the destiny of the mindbody organism of that particular disciple, that the ego be bloated to an extent where it burst;  and the pin that burst it was Lao Tsu telling him “No, you haven’t got it!”

centaur, athene & owl 87

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But again, the danger IS – if it is the will of God and the destiny of that bodymind organism – that the ego will bloat, and stay bloated at a level where the bloated ego considers himself a Master, you see?  and wants and does get hundreds and thousands of disciples!  And the bloated ego stays there.  So it may not get pricked.

But, when the ego gets weaker and weaker and weaker, then it has to ultimately die, finding out “Who is doing anything?  Who is seeking anything?  Who is to get anything? You see?  That is why I said, the only Sadhana I recommend, is to find out at the end of the day, how many actions that I remember having happened today, were MY actions, and how many just happened?

mind thief police

And I dare say that an honest analysis will make the ego come to the conclusion that no actions were HIS actions, or HER actions!  And if this happens day after day –  it may start with the end of the day, but it will be found that this analysis happens many times DURING the day! – until towards the end, an action happens and the analysis that it was not my action, happens almost simultaneously;  so that with the firmest possible conviction, with unconditional acceptance that I do nothing, the question arises, not intellectually “Who am I?” but from the very depths of frustration – it can be said, frustration of the ego – “If I have not been doing, if no act is my action, who is this ME I’ve been so concerned about?”

Ramana Maharshi used the words “Who am I” because in English there is a marvellous distinction between ‘I’ and ‘me’, but in the Tamil language and most other languages I am told, this distinction is not there. So when Ramana Maharshi said, “Find out who am I”, he really meant, “Who is this me I’m so concerned about?”

Ramana & Rabbit

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If this process starts, it is the will of God. And if this process reaches a certain depth – every step is God’s will and the destiny of that body-mind organism – the actual arising of this question is there a me, out of DEEPEST FRUSTRATION, is what is perhaps called THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

In the time lag between the arising of the question and the arising of an answer, the deepest frustration is the dark night of the soul. And the dark night of the soul awakens you into the answer: “There never has been a ‘me’. There is thinking, but no thinker. There is doing, but no doer.”   The thinker, the doer, the experiencer, comes later, and becomes proud, or has a feeling of guilt.   Thinking happens. A thought arises and leads to some action. And later on, the individual ego doer comes in and says “I had a brilliant idea which I put into practice, and now I am Bill Gates, making five hundred dollars every second.” That is how thought occurs. But the one who says ‘I thought’ comes later. And it was God’s will and the destiny of the mindbody organism that that should happen. Albert Einstein in his total humility, has gone on record as saying the equation came to him from outside.

LC – I think that’s the experience of every artist and mind worker.

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guitar sketch leonard cohen

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RB – Yes. Nureyev the ballet dancer has said, “Nureyev dances best when Nureyev isn’t there.”   And the same thing is said by I suppose, any artist in whatever field.   So, proceeding this way, even that depends on the will of God and the destiny of the organism.

There’s a tiny book, an abridged edition of the Bhagavad Gita.  Have you read it?

LC – This edition, no.

RB – Bhagavad Gita is seven hundred verses.  Someone told me that Ramana Maharshi had condensed it into forty-three or forty-eight verses.  This friend of mine who used to come regularly, had a copy, so I said, “Would you give me that copy?”  He said “Yes, yes, I’ll bring it next time.”  And four times he came, and four times he forgot.  So I said, “Ramana Maharshi’s answer to me is clear.  Do it on your own!” – (Laughter.)  “Don’t read MY collection!”

And so I started doing it:  so mine came to sixty-six verses.  And one of those verses is this:  “Out of thousands of people there is one seeker. Out of the many seekers, there is ONLY ONE who knows me in principle.”   You see?  So the many seekers who don’t reach this ultimate end, obviously have to be following paths which are not supposed to lead them to the end, during the process of that bodymind organism anyway.

So the misconception “What is the best path?  Which is the best Spiritual path?” – there is no “best spiritual path”.  There is only a particular spiritual path for you, or for this particular bodymind organism, at that moment of its development.  So the Source will send this bodymind organism to that Guru who is appropriate for him or her at the time;  all the bodymind organism can do, is to follow that Guru to whom he has been sent.

But my only point is this:  many Gurus, unfortunately, tie down their disciples, saying “Now you have come to me. You wanted to be initiated. Now our relationship is life-long.” You see? But to me, that is ridiculous. You initiated him, but who sent him to you?   That Source certainly has the right to send that disciple somewhere else!   Who is this Guru, to bind him for life?   Therefore the word “Guru hopping” is used in a sort of derogatory way.

russian dolls

LC – Guru …?

RB – Guru Hopping.  (Laughter).  It’s used in a derogatory way.  To me, it is perfectly logical and acceptable.

LC – In the Zen tradition as you know, monks went from one Master to another, in search of different aspects of the teaching. I don’t feel I am betraying my Teacher by being here.

RB – Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. In fact, Wayne told me, you told your Teacher.

LC – Yes.

RB – And he didn’t ask for …?

LC – Yes. He asked me to cook him one last meal. Because I’m his cook.

cloud colloquy

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RB – I see.  So, Leonard, is he likely to ask you when you go back, what did you learn?

LC – My understanding, he will discern exactly. I think the issue more urgent, is whether I stay there or not.

RB – Yes. But if he does ask you – which is not impossible, is it? – what would you say, Leonard?

LC – Well, we have – I would try to convey to him in the terms that – but he doesn’t speak English … …  I would probably gasho to him. (Bows deeply)  

RB – This is gasho?

LC – Yes, and depending on the truth of the moment, whether I could step aside from the understanding and let the understanding communicate itself …

RB – The answer is, “I don’t know”.   Is that what you meant?

LC – It’s correct.

RB – Then that is absolutely correct: “I don’t know what answer will come out.”

LC – He has, you know, the Japanese rigour.   So he would question, he would listen carefully to my saying “I don’t know”. Because “I don’t know” is the answer to many koans.

RB – No no. What I’m saying is: “I don’t know” is your answer to me.

LC – Ah Yes.  Yes, Sir.

RB – That I DON’T know what will come out of my lips if such a question were asked.  That’s what I meant.   When I said “I don’t know”, what I mean is – that would be your answer to my question about what you should say.

leonard and ramesh 1999_0001

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You see? So some experience happens.  Then people want more experiences.  This greed as you quite rightly said, for the experience.  Wanting – ananda means ‘bliss’.  But the word ‘calm’ or ‘cool’ – deep down, that is how the word has come – cool, or calm.  At one stage Ramana Maharshi uses the word ‘bliss’ because it has come down – not Ramana Maharshi, but in the translation.  One point I came across, which I have triple underlined – he said: “Calm is superior to bliss.”  The word I prefer is “peace”.

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Each unto each other

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**

My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

A Resonance between Two Models – Leonard Cohen & Ramesh Balsekar

Ramesh 1

During my visit to Ramesh in Mumbai, in early 1999, I witnessed the following conversation with Leonard Cohen, and bought the tape.
After I got home, I made this transcript:

Ramesh – You live in a Zen monastery, I am told?

Leonard – That’s correct, yes.

For how long, three or four years?

I’ve been associated with this institution for about thirty years – and about four and a half years ago, I was ordained as a monk.

I see. I see. Would you say it is a pretty stiff discipline?

It’s – very rigorous.

But you like it?

Not particularly, no.

Well that is honest. So what I would like to ask is this: the understanding before you came here, and what I talk about – how does it compare?

It was the resonance between the two models, yours and my teachers’, that led me to study your books with some diligence. And because of the experiences I received from your books, and because of the advanced stage of my Teacher and yourself, I felt it would be appropriate to come and sit with you.

leonard cohen 1

I see. But you used the word ‘resonance’. Can you explain that a little bit, Leonard?

I found that during some of the rigorous retreats that we’re subjected to, I would find myself opening one of your books, specifically The Final Truth; and I would find that your writing would illuminate the discourses of our Master, and vice versa. It became urgent that I …

A similar thing happened to me. When I was with my – Nisargadatta Maharaj. You know Wei Wu Wei?

Yes, Sir.

..

..

Particularly one book which a friend of mine gave me twenty years ago, which I knew was a treasure, but I couldn’t understand it – I kept it aside. So that was what used to be – what Maharaj said, and what was said in the book – amazing. …   You’ve been here for ten days!

Yes, Sir.

But you’ve been so silent!

Ramesh talks at home

I’ve been sipping at the nectar. It’s very delicious to be here.   On the intellectual level, your model becomes clearer and clear to me – your conceptual presentation – and so does my old Teacher’s. On the experiential level, I feel the weakening of certain proprietorial feelings about doership.

That is a very good word!   Proprietorial – me, mine!   I see. Now, this weakening – how do you mean this weakening, when did it start?   Did it start thirty years ago? Is that what you are saying?

I couldn’t characterize this seeking as spiritual. It was a kind of urgent …

You mean what started thirty years ago was not really spiritual?

No Sir.

I see. I see.

I don’t know if it is today. The description seems to pale in the urgency of the actual search, which is for peace.

Yes. Yes.

And you know, over the years, especially anyone who hangs around a Zendo meditation hall, is going to get a lot of free samples, as you put it. If you sit for long hours every day, and are subjected to sleeplessness and protein deficiency, you’re going to start having experiences that are interesting. It was a hunger for those experiences that kept me around, because I NEEDED those experiences.

YES! The HUNGER for those experiences. Yes! So?

leonard cohen 2

I forget where we were. I’m sorry.

You said, experiences happened, and there was a hunger for those experiences.

There was a hunger to maximize, to continue, a greed to … a greed for those kinds of experiences develops. Which is what happens in monasteries.

I entirely agree, yes. There is a greed for those experiences.

Very much so. And I must say that my old Teacher puts little value on those experiences.

I see. In fact, did he WARN you against them?

Warns you, and BEATS YOU, against them!

With his stick? On your shoulder?

Yes Sir. We are not encouraged to take these hallucinations seriously.

But how effective are those beatings, Leonard?

Not effective at all. I’ve seen them more effective in the case of other monks than they were in this case. So I respect the system; it’s a rigorous system based on a very useable model, but it wortks for some and does not work for others.

Quite right. I see. And what you’ve been hearing for ten days, has it made some difference, do you think?

Sweet!

leonard cohen 3

Some difference in this greed?   Can you explain that a little bit, please Leonard?

Your emphasis on the disidentification with the sense of doership, is crucial to the weakening of – the modification of that greed.   And by the grace of this activity, I have experienced …

You have tried it, during the last ten days?   I see.

Yes. Of course, greed arises. The hunger arises, legitimately, and without my bidding. The greed for peace, for equanimity, for balance, arises spontaneously. But I feel that somehow I don’t have any leverage on the apparatus. Somehow there is a sweetening of the whole experience.

I see. You see, what happens is – Wayne and I had a very brief talk a couple of days ago; we were both walking on the roof. He made a point that while certain practices bringing about these free samples, inflate the ego, could these practices also not inflate the ego to an extent where it bursts? Which is one way for the annihilation of the ego.

..

That is a very excellent characterisation of this kind of practice.

I see. That is what it is supposed to do. But I told Wayne, the explosion will happen if that is the will of God, and if it is the will of God, that that bodymind organism follow THAT PATH. … … Ramana Maharshi used the words “Who am I” because in English there is a marvellous distinction between ‘I’ and ‘me’, but in the Tamil language and most other languages I am told, this distinction is not there. So when Ramana Maharshi said, “Find out who am I”, he really meant, “Who is this me I’m so concerned about?”

Ramana Arunachala III

 ..

If this process starts, it is the will of God. And if this process reaches a certain depth – every step is God’s will and the destiny of that body-mind organism – the actual arising of this question is there a me, out of DEEPEST FRUSTRATION, is what is perhaps called THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL   In the time lag between the arising of the question and the arising of an answer, the deepest frustration is the dark night of the soul. And the dark night of the soul awakens you into the answer: “There never has been a ‘me’. There is thinking, but no thinker. There is doing, but no doer.”   The thinker, the doer, the experiencer, comes later, and becomes proud, or has a feeling of guilt.   Thinking happens. A thought arises and leads to some action. And later on, the individual ego doer comes in and says “I had a brilliant idea which I put into practice, and now I am Bill Gates, making five hundred dollars every second.” That is how thought occurs. But the one who says ‘I thought’ comes later. And it was God’s will and the destiny of the mindbody organism that that should happen. Albert Einstein in his total humility, has gone on record as saying the equation came to him from outside.

I think that’s the experience of every artist and mind worker.

Yes. Nureyev the ballet dancer has said, “Nureyev dances best when Nureyev isn’t there.”   And the same thing is said by I suppose, any artist in whatever field … …   Bhagavad Gita says this: “Out of thousands of people there is one seeker. Out of the many seekers, there is ONLY ONE who knows me in principle.” … … Many Gurus, unfortunately, tie down their disciples, saying “Now you have come to me. You wanted to be initiated. Now our relationship is life-long.” You see? But to me, that is ridiculous. You initiated him, but who sent him to you?   That Source certainly has the right to send that disciple somewhere else!   Who is this Guru, to bind him for life?

In the Zen tradition as you know, monks went from one Master to another, in search of different aspects of the teaching. I don’t feel I am betraying my Teacher by being here.

leonard cohen 4

Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. In fact, Wayne told me, you told your Teacher.

Yes. He asked me to cook him one last meal. Because I’m his cook.

And what is his favourite dish?

Uh – salmon teriyaki.

Oh. Well, that’s – that’s my favourite dish too. I mean, the particular dish you mention, I don’t know what it is, but … salmon.

It’s just marinated in soy sauce and saki, ginger, pepper, for a certain period of time, and then battered.

So is cooking one of your talents?

It’s not a talent, it’s a duty. I cook for the old man.

So it is your duty to cook salmon for your Guru.

That is correct.

And it is the Guru’s duty to eat it, whatever way you cook it!

He is very cavalier with his duties.

I see. Yes. YES. So, Leonard, is he likely to ask you when you go back, what did you learn?

My understanding, he will discern exactly. I think the issue more urgent, is whether I stay there or not.

Yes. But if he does ask you – which is not impossible, is it? – what would you say, Leonard?

Well, we have – I would try to convey to him in the terms that – but he doesn’t speak English.

Ramesh Balsekar 14 feb 13_0001

So you speak Japanese?

No. He speaks very very little English. I speak very little Japanese. But we’ve been studying together and drinking together for a long time.

What is his favourite drink?

I tried to introduce him to vintage French wine, which I consider a refined beverage, but he insists on drinking saki.

If you ask me, I’d prefer Scotch or sherry.

I agree with you. He did – he was very discerning about cognac.

Yes.

He liked cognac, and he established masculine and feminine qualities to the different brands. For instance he thought Remy Martin had a feminine expression, while Courvoisier had a masculine expression. None of these designations were taken too seriously after the third or fourth drink.

You see, that is the whole point, Leonard. The whole business is taken far too seriously. That is the ridiculous thing about it. There’s nothing serious about it, because there’s no seeker!   And who is serious about it? – the seeker!   You see? The seeking goes on, on its own course. So, if this question were asked you Leonard, is there a specific point which you learned from Ramesh – which is NOT what you had earlier – what would you say?   I don’t want to suggest an answer …

I would probably gasho to him. (Bows deeply)   And depending on the truth of the moment, whether I could step aside from the understanding and let the understanding communicate itself …

The answer is, “I don’t know”.   Is that what you meant?

It’s correct.

Then that is absolutely correct: “I don’t know what answer will come out.”

ramesh listening

He has, you know, the Japanese rigour.   So he would question, he would listen carefully to my saying “I don’t know”. Because “I don’t know” is the answer to many koans.

No no. What I’m saying is: “I don’t know” is your answer to me. … …   Must be a pretty hard life there?

I’m given many privileges that the younger monks don’t have, because I have a family and obligations, so although I’m not free from the general form, which is very early waking up and long hours in the meditation hall and lots of work, I’m allowed to go down, into the city from time to time, to take care of my affairs and see my children.

Yes. I see. Yes. You have a family?

I have two children.

Two children. I see. And a wife?

I never married.

I see. So the two children are grown up?

They’re in their middle twenties.

Oh I see. But they’re on their own then, yes? – You have to help them?

They’re on their own, but I feel I can be of use to them. It’s difficult raising children in America. It’s a difficult manoevring and navigating through a lot of dangerous waters. So I’ve tried to stay close to them through some very difficult periods. A child growing up in America with money.

They have their own money?

No, I mean, in a comfortable surrounding.

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monkeys 2

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Yes. What is your relationship with your children? What advice do you give them – depending on the circumstances? The point is, how does one raise one’s children with the total acceptance that each child has its own destiny? Each child is programmed in a unique way. And yet you have to do your duty, as a father. What has been your experience, Leonard? Was it interesting?

My experience is to rely on instinct at the moment, and discard principles I myself received from my own parents, which were quite effective in their own way. I find for instance, that that the way I did it, or the way it was revealed to me –

Do they live on their own?

My daughter lives in my apartment, and I live on the mountain, and my son lives around the corner.

And you provide the money for them, or do they work?

They work. They work hard.

And they earn their own living then?

Yes, Sir.   But they grew up in a privileged environment. They didn’t have to work. They didn’t have to struggle.

They didn’t have to earn and learn?

No, they didn’t have to earn and learn, and not only that, but  they were exposed to things very early in their lives, as many American kids are. I had been through that myself. So I was able to react in a way that was unconventional. But having understood something  …

From personal experience?

From personal experience, I established a connection with the child on the basis of that common experience, rather than on a principle of right or wrong.

wei wu wei vi

Quite right. Yes. It worked?

And fortunately, it seemed to work.

Oh? I see. In other words, you talked to your children not like a father to a son or daughter, but as one person who has experience of what they are experiencing.

Yes Sir, that’s correct; not only that, but having taken that course, it’s enabled a real usable friendship to develop.

Yes! Yes! In fact the relationship itself must have taken a beautiful turn.

It has! My daughter says, like “You’re really cool, Dad.”

That is the highest compliment, isn’t it. Cool. And the curious part of it is, this word is really the definition of the traditional word ananda. The traditional word ananda is translated as “bliss”. But my objection to the word “bliss” is, it raises expectations in the seeker.

It’s a tyranny.

Calm. Cool. Well, this is a great compliment from your daughter!

It was, it was.

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Wei wu wei ii

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You are cool, Dad. And what about your son? What do they do?

My daughter runs a store for antique deco furniture. She goes to England and buys furniture and brings it back and sells it. She got a job with an antique dealer two years ago, who apprenticed her. And my son has just put out his first record with a big record company.

Oh well! So he inherited your talent for music?

Well, I don’t have much talent for music, but he has. People who know my work will, er … I have a kind of croaking delivery. But he actually is very musical.

What you are saying is, your son is better than you are – were.

He has strengths that are much more apparent!

And you have told him that?   So he must ALSO have said “Dad, you’re cool.”

He has.

The son being praised by the father. So you have a very good relationship with your children!

Thank God, I do.

wei wu wei v

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Again, God’s grace. You know what I say about God’s grace and God’s will? We use the word God’s grace when something nice happens. When something not so nice happens, and we know we can do nothing about it, we put our head down and say God’s will. So now, if somebody asks you Leonard, “how do you live your life?” – you are about sixtyish?

Getting to be sixty-five.

I see. How do you live your life? Does living your life present a problem? What would be your answer, from personal experience? Is living your life now, with this understanding, a difficult thing?

Well, if it is – and it’s been the experience of this being, that things come with difficulty rather than with ease – so I think the perspective on that programming is changing.

I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that. Things come difficult?

Yes, for instance I’m a song writer by profession …

You still write?

Yes Sir. And I’ve always found that I write one word at a time. With sweat and difficulty.

Like pulling out teeth.

It’s like pulling teeth, and it takes a great effort. I’ve written some decent songs, and people ask me about song writing, you know, they say “How do you write a good song?” And I always say, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I would go there more often.” I don’t know where they come from. I know that I have to sit at my desk or in my café or wherever it is, and sweat over it. Other song writers greater than I – and I’ve had this conversation with them – will give me completely different information. They’ll say, like “I wrote it in the back of the taxi cab” – you know, a great song. So it seems to be my experience, that things are difficult in just the way this programming works.

That is correct.

ramesh for cover

So the understanding now is, that this programming, unless it is the will of God to change the programming, is going to be as it is, but I don’t have to get involved in the programming. I can work at my desk as I’ve always done, but without that additional tyranny of disapproval of the method; because this is the method that …

… is supposed to be for you

… is supposed to be for me.

I tell you how I understand it. What you are saying is this: writing a song comes easy for some people. They can write one in a taxicab. For you it becomes much more difficult. But what you are saying, I think, is, that there is no wish that you could do what that other fellow is doing. Isn’t that right?

No. There is no wish.

Wei wu wei iii

That’s the whole point. You have accepted the way YOU write your songs, and you have accepted the way someone else is able to write the songs.

And deeper than that, Sir, there is – I’ve always had a sense of this – this perception of this bodymind orgasm – organism … !

The American pronunciation!

… has been that there is a background of anguish, of mental anguish, that does not seem to respond to any methods that I impose on it. So as that understanding deepens, I try less to impose any methods; and although the chatter and the activity of the mind continues, it doesn’t seem to have its poisonous sting.

Say that again, please? The chattering of the mind goes on?

The chattering of the mind, and the alleged anguish of the mind continues to operate sometimes in degrees of intensity that make one gasp or cry for help …

YES!

But with this understanding that is dawning, it seems that I am less willing to criticize or impose.

I see. Again, the same thing. You write the songs the way YOU are programmed to write, but there is no wishing that YOU could do what some others can. Doesn’t the same thing apply here? Isn’t that what you are saying?

Yes Sir. (Bows deeply). Yes, Sir.

Exactly the same thing. The chattering of the mind happens, but there is no wish that the chattering of the mind should become less. Isn’t that what you are saying? So whatever happens is accepted. Alright, there IS the chattering of the mind! It is the nature of the mind to chatter. It is the nature of the monkey to moan. So you let the monkey moan – the way he wants to! Therefore, the chattering of the mind may be there, but there’s no anguish. Is that what you are saying – as I think you are?

play monkeys

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It is. But even if there is anguish …

You mean, accept even that anguish is acceptance? Quite correct. Even if the anguish does happen, even if the involvement does happen, acceptance of it means “the cutting off of the involvement, when it is accepted.”

Correct.

So, even the involvement has to be accepted. Involvement happens – oh, alright, so it is happening …   Thank you very much, Leonard. That is exactly what I was hoping I’d get from you. (Obeisance).

First published in Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK Journal
“Self Enquiry”, summer 1999

ravens

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

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