Another common malaise is the mourning about disturbance of meditation by thoughts. Without putting in the necessary inputs, without working hard and vigilantly at self-enquiry we want our minds to be under control. We ‘run with the running mind, keep the company of our thoughts, endlessly seek our worldly goals and then, have the temerity to make a grievance of the slow progress.’ The gentle master would simply say that one wants to become a jnani instantaneously. ‘They overlook the effort involved’. One should ask oneself ‘Have I used the weapons given by Ramana, the enquiries ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Whence am I?’ Have I shifted my attention from thoughts to the thinker?’ These razor sharp instruments are allowed to be blunted and rusted. Conceptualization is never nipped in the bud for attention is seldom paid in the beginning to the movement of thought, to be externalization of the mind. We also have the other side of the coin being made a grievance of, namely sleep overcoming and eating into the meditation time. One old devotee who was practically an inmate of the Ashram once complained, ‘Look Bhagavan, the others are so lost in meditation. But whenever I sit for meditation I am overcome by sleep’. Ramana’s salutary remark went home, ‘Let them sleep or snore or meditate. You look to yourself’. Sleep may be because of non-moderation, lack of balance in food, speech and sleep. Or it may be due to boredom which comes from listless, and directionless spiritual practice. Whatever be the cause, faith in Ramana’s words and the path of self-enquiry would help to make full and proper use of the ‘time allotted’ for meditation.
Then there are the spells of self-pity and self-condemnation. When thought vacuum is created all that lies hidden seems to surface, frightening one with the extent of impurities in us. Generally Ramana would console, ’When you keep water on a stove for heating, it will boil and spill over, will it not?’ But here again all these thoughts are only ego’s tricks for its perpetuation. Our essential nature is pure. It is only our habits and thoughts which have become contaminated. We have to remember our true nature and get over the encrustation by questioning the reality of the one to whom it relates.
All this is said to highlight the constant seepage of energy which we allow to take place. After all, life itself is pretty short. The time is which the goal is to be achieved is so limited that we just cannot afford any loss of energy or any wastage of time, So we need a constant check - list of attainment, of the progress we are making. In our worldly pursuits are we not keeping a watch over what is happening? Do we not keep the goals clear and keep measuring performance? Why should we allow so much blurring of goals in the spiritual field? Should we not be sure that we are working towards the discovery of our innate happiness; towards the discovery of the state where we are free from chattering and pestering demands of the mind? True, it is easy to measure progress in things of the mind, in worldly gains and losses. There seems to be no certain yardstick of progress in things of the mind, in worldly gains and losses. There seems to be no certain yardstick of progress in sadhana, in spiritual effort. At the same time has not Ramana himself taught us how to find where we stand in terms of attainment? The signs of progress are to be found in not being anxious about action or its results, in not seeking action. There is also the growing detachment to ideas, to possessions. This is also the growing detachment to ideas, to possessions. This is not to be mistaken for indifference, for simultaneously the warmth of a loving heart keeps glowing.
Then there is also the capacity to relax, to let events happen in their ordained course. Intangible hallmarks no doubt. But they are as we blossom spiritually, as we lose ourselves in that bliss of Ramana.
A.R.Natarajan Founder President, Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning, Bangalore