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Nov 02

Ramana Maharshi’s Example of a Spiritual Life

Portrait of Ramana Maharshi by Deborah Olenev

Portrait of Ramana Maharshi by Deborah Olenev

Ramana Maharshi’s Example of a Spiritual Life

Dear Friends,
We are in the month of Thanksgiving and I would like to thank all of you for sharing your presence with me, teaching me about yourselves, and giving me the opportunity to learn together with you. Thank you. I love you all.

The article I am featuring this month is about Ramana Maharshi and his example of a spiritual life. You may ask what does this have to do with homeopathy. I would have to say that homeopathy for me is about achieving the highest of our human potential not just in physical health, but also in emotional, mental and spiritual health. Ramana teaches us about the spiritual heights human beings are capable of attaining.

Before I start with the article, I would like to prelude with a prayer for everyone we know who is afflicted by illness, poverty, persecution, ignorance and unhappiness. May the light of love, healing and blessing shine upon us all.

Ramana Maharshi’s Example of a Spiritual Life

Something I enjoy doing is reading biographies of people I greatly admire. I have read many biographies of Ramana Maharshi, and I would like to tell you a little bit about this man’s spiritual qualities.

Ramana lived his life from the time of his enlightenment at age 17 completely absorbed in the Self. He held no identitication with his body or personality. That is not who he was. When he ran away from home at age 17, he signed his runaway notice with the word “This,” as from that moment on he was not separate from the source.

Non-identification with the body and personality as being who you are is a quality of spiritual attainment. This feeling stems from firm intuition that who you are is the Self, or the I sense which every one of us shares in common. Another word for it is Pure Beingness.

Equality  Toward All

People came to visit Ramana Maharshi from far and wide. He gave the same treatment to the kings who came as to the monkeys who loved Ramana as their own. He emanated a sense of peace, which everyone present felt enveloped in. He maintained a constant state of samadhi, and whether people liked him, disliked him, understood him, or midunderstood his teachings, he taught them all through his silent darshan, which means sitting in the presence of the divine being, but he was also willing to answer questions to help earnest seekers.

Through this feeling of not being a separate entity, Ramana had no tolerance for favoritism toward himself. If someone brought him a piece of fruit as an offering, he would give it back to the giver unless there was enough of it available to share with everyone present.

Love of Animals and the Poor

At the Ashram the order of service was that the aniimals had to be fed first, followed by the poor and hungry. Only when Ramana was sure that everyone had been fed with equal portions would he accept food for himself.

The feeling underneath that sense of equality and charitableness is a profound sense that there is no separation between himself and others. We are all one.

Simplicity

Ramana exhibited absolute simplicity to a point that we might consider extreme in our culture. He owned absolutely nothing. He wore a loin cloth, and had a towel for his toiletries. An ashram and community grew up around him, but he himself, never touched money from the age of 17 when he took three rupees for train fair to leave home.

Of course we cannot live in this way in our homes, but here is a beautiful moto to live by: The perfect balance is where nothing is wanting and nothing is in excess. This is the holy middle way.

Interiorization of Consciousness

Ramana’s focus was always interiorized regardless of the activity he was engaged in. This means that while he was peeling potatoes or cutting vegetables to help in the kitchen, or correcting and translating spiritual texts his focus was always interiorized on the Self. He taught Paul Brunton, a Western journalist, who wrote a book called, A Search in Secret India, that being a householder was no obstacle to living a spiritual life. He dissuaded people from being Sannyasins and abandoning their families to live as hermits in the forest. He believed that if you can control your mind in the forest, you can also control it in the home. The location did not matter.

Dispassion or Vairagya

Ramana had no desire to build a following, nor did he do anything to prevent it from happening. He had total dispassion, but it was a loving dispassion. He exemplified being even minded in pleasure and in pain. Even when his body was deteriorating and suffering from the cancer in the elbow that afflicted him at the end of his life, he never displayed any outward signs of his suffering or complained about it, because he did not identify with his body.

Contentment

When Ramana came to Tiruvanamalai and the Holy Hill of Arunachala at 17 he never had a desire to travel and explore the world and see anyplace else. He had attained the Self, there was nowhere to go to look for it, it was right there within himself and also in his beloved hill Arunachala.

Acceptance of People from All Religions

People came to Ramana’s Ashram from all walks of life and all faiths, and to all he was a great teacher. It did not matter if the person was Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Jain or any other faith. His message was absolute simplicity. The God you seek is within yourself, and will answer to any name you call it. That God is identical with your very self and insepararable from it. Seek within yourself for the source of your thoughts. Seek for the Thinker, and hold to that. That is the God you seek, That is your very Self. Abide in that place.

Ramana’s Example

Ramana Maharshi sets a very high standard of what is a healthy mind. Even though he had a very powerful intellect and supurb memory, he did not cultivate these things for their own sake, nor did he grow his intellect from the place of his ego. He learned Malayalam, Tamil and Telegu and translated spritiual texts into these languages when asked to do so out of service, but not out of ego. May we all learn from Ramana Maharshi’s example.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

In love and service,

Deborah

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