Happy Birthday, Ramana!
By Tasha Friedman
What to say about Ramana Maharshi?
If you have participated in a silent retreat or Hatha Yoga module at Hridaya, you know his story already. The spontaneous recognition of the Self at age 16, his flight from home and family to the caves of Arunachala, those 16 years of silence and constant meditation…
Ramana himself had no interest in biographical details. Life and death mattered little to him; he greeted both with the same unwavering presence, the same warmth and equanimity.
When people came to him with questions about their practice or their lives, he always gave the same answer: Ask, “Who am I?” Drop the question, find the one who asks. Go beyond doing this or that, beyond all relativities. Find the essence and let the rest be as it will.
In honoring this spirit, let’s contemplate some of Ramana’s beautiful statements on Self-Inquiry.
“Your duty is to be and not to be this or that. ‘I am that I am’ sums up the whole truth. The method is summed up in the words ‘Be still.’ What does stillness mean? It means destroy yourself. Because any form or shape is the cause for trouble. Give up the notion that ‘I am so and so.’ All that is required to realize the Self is to be still. What can be easier than that?”
“If you hold this feeling of ‘I’ long enough and strongly enough, the false ‘I’ will vanish, leaving only the unbroken awareness of the real, immanent ‘I,’ consciousness itself.”
“Become conscious of being conscious. Say or think ‘I am,’ and add nothing to it. Be aware of the stillness that follows the ‘I am.’ Sense your presence, the naked, unveiled, unclothed beingness. It is untouched by young or old, rich or poor, good or bad, or any other attributes. It is the spacious womb of all creation, all form.”
“Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The Sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.”
“Eventually, all that one has learnt will have to be forgotten.”
So much gratitude for Ramana Maharshi! Although his teachings are exceptionally simple, they unfold in ever greater depth and beauty the more they are put into practice. He truly is with us at all times, as that timeless presence and infinite love he knew himself to be.
Tasha is a Hridaya Yoga teacher and a frequent contributor to our blog. You can read all of her posts here.