Monday, April 09, 2007

Brief Life Sketch of Bhagavan Ramana - 08

Hare Krishna Friends,

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Around 1907, a great Sanskrit poet Ganapati Shastri known also as Ganapati Muni because of the austerities he had been observing came to visit Sri Ramana. He had the title Kavya-kantha (one who had poetry at his throat), and he was also addressed as Nayana (father) by many. He was an ascetic (tapasvi) who had performed many millions of Mantra Japas, but he was still not able to understand what real tapas is. Hence he approached Sri Ramana and said: “I have learnt all the Vedas, performed million of Mantra Japas, undergone fasting and other austerities, yet I still do not know what tapas really is. Please instruct me.” Sri Bhagavan replied “If watched where from the “I” starts, there the mind merges; that is tapas.” However when Ganapathi Shastri further asked, “Is it possible to attain the same state through Japa?”, Sri Ramana replied: “When a Mantram is pronounced, if watched where from the sound starts, there the mind will merge; that is tapas”. To the scholar this came as a revelation; he felt the grace of the sage enveloping him. Sri Kavyakantha Ganapathi Shastri declared: “He is no ordinary Soul. He is the perfect Jnana Guru. Since He ever remains in natural Self-abidance, He is verily Bhagavan Maharshi”, and praised Him in verses as “Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi”. It is only from that day Sri Ramana was known by this name. He composed hymns in Sanskrit in praise of the sage, and also wrote the Ramana-Gita explaining His teachings.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Himself is a unique and divine poet. His poetic genius in Tamil, His mother-tongue, breathes a fresh life into the sacred style of the poets of the yore. Besides being compact and terse, the flow of His sublime Tamil poetry is noble and pregnant with new and rich import. To say the truth, Bhagavan Raman is a Vedic Rishi who has given us Tamil Upanishads. Further, not only was He a poet in Tamil but also in Sanskrit, Malayalam and Telugu. He was the first to have been able to compose Telugu verses in Venba, an extremely difficult Tamil metre.

Mother Tamil has been adorned by Him with ever so many gems of Jnana in the form of verses of unsurpassed worth! However, Bhagavan Ramana was not a merely a writer He never had an intention (Sankalpa) to write anything. Indeed, intentionlessness (Nissankalpa) was the state in which He lived from the day He set foot in Arunachalam. However, then was the world blessed with at least some words of instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. Do we not admit the existence of God, the Supreme power who creates, sustains and destroys the world? It is that same power who, having the prayers, doubts and questions of the devotees as its motive and using Sri Bhagavan’s mind, speech and body as its instruments, gave through Him spiritual instructions for the salvation of humanity. Sometimes, sweet and precious Tamil verses would flow from Him in answer to the question of devotees. The instructions of Sri Bhagavan which we now have are those which escaped from His lips in this manner. Of all of them, when collected and edited, make up His complete works. Among them five stotras (hymns) and three sastras (scriptures) are the important works. The stotras are “Sri Arunachala Stuthi Panchakam” (five hymns of Sri Arunachala) and the sastras are “Upadesha Undhiyar”, “Ulladu Narpadu” and “Guru Vachaka Kovai”.

In response to Sri Muruganar, the foremost devotee of Sri Bhagavan and a great Tamil poet, Sri Bhagavan not only composed in Tamil “Upadesha Undhiyar” but also He compiled “Ulladu Narapadu” which is an unequalled Upanishad, by revising some of His previous verses and composing many new ones. “Guru Vachaka Kovai” is the treasure house of Sri Ramana’s instructions collected and preserved in Tamil verses by Sri Muruganar, all of them being the day to day sayings of Sri Bhagavan from the very early days. These three important works of Sri Bhagavan which have come into existence having Sri Muruganar as the sole motive form “Sri Ramana Prasthana trayam” (the three works of divine authority on Moksha by Sri Ramana).

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We will continue with this the next day.



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