In writing this book I have tried to make the meaning clear without using more foreign words than necessary. However, every language contains words, which have no direct equivalent in another, and every science, spiritual as well as physical, has technical terms which scarcely admit of translation. Therefore it was necessary to use a certain number of Sanskrit and other words. These have been explained in the text, but for easy reference and for an approximate idea of their pronunciation, a glossary has been added. Since it is intended to help the general reader in his understanding of the book, I have not given simple dictionary definition but rather an idea of the sense in which a word is used and of the doctrinal implication it carries.
I am glad to write this short foreword to Mr. Osborne's account of the life and teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi. It has a special relevance to our age with it dominant mood of wistful reluctant skepticism. We are given here a religion of the spirit which enables us to liberate ourselves from dogmas and superstitions, rituals and ceremonies and live as free spirits. The essence of all religion is an inner personal experience, an individual relationship with the Divine. It is not worship so much as a quest. It is a way of becoming, of liberation.
The well-known Greek aphorism 'Know thyself' is akin to the Upanishad precept atmanam viddhi, know the Self. By a process of abstraction we get behind the layers of body, mind and intellect and reach the Universal Self, "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world". "To attain the Good, we must ascend to the highest state and fixing our gaze thereon, lay aside the garments we donned when descending here below; just as, in the Mysteries, those who are admitted to penetrate into the inner recesses of the sanctuary, after having purified themselves, lay aside every garment and advance stark naked." We sink into the measureless being that is without limitation or determination. It is pure being in which one thing is not opposed to another. There is no being to which the subject opposes himself. He identifies himself with all things and events as they happen. Reality fills the self as it is no longer barred by preferences or aversions, likes or dislikes. These can no more act as a distorting medium.
The child is much nearer the vision of the Self. We must become as little children before we can enter into the realm of truth. This is why we are required to put aside the sophistication of the learned. The need for being born again is insisted on. It is said that the wisdom of babes is greater than that of scholars.
Sri Ramana Maharshi gives us the outlines of a religion based on the Indian Scriptures which is essentially spiritual without ceasing to be rational and ethical.
Back Of The Book
The author has packed into this small volume all of the essential information relating to the life and teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950).
The life of Sri Ramana Maharshi fills us with wonder. As a teenager, hardly seventeen, he realised the Self through a spontaneous act of Self-enquiry without any conscious effort on his part. Or any training imparted by a teacher.
He left his home (at Madurai) in 1896, came to Arunachala (Tiruvannamalai) where He lived as an all-renouncing sage, in a state of continuous Self-absorption for a period of fifty-four years-until his mahanirvana in 1950.
The instructions given by Sri Ramana to his early devotees like Sivaprakasam Pillai, Frank Humphreys, Natesa Mudaliar and Others are all portrayed here by the author. They have a lasting value.
The author also describes the experiences of Paul Brunton and other (comparatively) later devotees.
Sri Maharshi's message is that Self-knowledge is not something to be acquired afresh. It is only becoming aware of one's own natural state of Pure Being. Through Self-enquiry.
The spirit of this simple but profound message has been captured by the author in his presentation.
Arthur Osborne (1906-70) was an ardent devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi and particularly well known as the founder-editor of The Mountain Path. The spiritual journal of Sri Ramanasramam. An Oxford scholars, he was on the faculty of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Siam, before he came to India in 1945 and had his Darshan of Maharshi.
He is the Editor of The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi and author of Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words and other works.
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