An introduction to the philosophy and practice of the Spiritual Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana.
An in-depth exploration of both the philosophy and the practice of the spiritual teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, giving detailed guidance on the practice of self-investigation (atma-vicara), 'Who am I?'.
The author's explanations in this book are woven around his own translations of the whole of Sri Ramana's prose treatise Nan Yar? (Who am I?) and of most of the verses of his philosophical poems such as Upadesa Undiyar, Ulladu Narpadu, Ekatma Panchakam, Anma-Viddai and Upadesa Tanippakkal.
Happiness lies deep within us, in the very core of our being. Happiness does not exist in any external object, but only in us, who are the consciousness that experiences happiness. Though we seem to derive happiness from external objects or experiences, the happiness that we thus enjoy in fact arises from within us.
Whatever turmoil our mind may be in, in the centre of our being there always exists a state of perfect peace and joy, like the calm in the eye of a storm. Desire and fear agitate our mind, and obscure from its view the happiness that always exists within it. When a desire is satisfied, or the cause of a fear is removed, the surface agitation of our mind subsides, and in that temporary calm our mind enjoys a taste of its own innate happiness.
Happiness is thus a state of being – a state in which our mind’s habitual agitation is calmed. The activity of our mind disturbs it from its calm state of just being, and causes it to lose sight of its own innermost happiness. To enjoy happiness, therefore, all our mind need do is to cease all activity, returning calmly to its natural state of inactive being, as it does daily in deep sleep.
Therefore to master the art of being happy, we must master the art and science of just being. We must discover what the innermost core of our being is, and we must learn to abide consciously and constantly in that state of pure being, which underlies and supports (but nevertheless remains unaffected by) all the superficial activities of our mind: thinking, feeling and perceiving, remembering and forgetting, and so on.
The art of just being, remaining fully conscious but without any activity of the mind, is not only an art – a practical skill that can be cultivated and applied to produce an experience of inexpressible beauty and joy – but also a science – an attempt to acquire true knowledge by keen observation and rigorous experiment. And this art and science of being is not only the art and science of happiness, but also the art and science of consciousness, and the art and science of self-knowledge.
The science of being is incredibly simple and clear. To the human mind, however, it may appear to be complex and abstruse, not because it is in any way complex in itself, but because the mind which tries to comprehend it is such a complex bundle of thoughts and emotions – desires, fears, anxieties, attachments, long-cherished beliefs and preconceived ideas – that it tends to cloud the pure simplicity and clarity of being, making what is obvious appear to be obscure.
Like any other science, the science of being begins with observation and analysis of something that we already know but do not fully understand, and proceeds by reasoning to formulate a plausible hypothesis that can explain what is observed, and then rigorously tests that hypothesis by precise and critical experiment. However, unlike all other sciences, this science does not study any object of knowledge, but instead studies the very power of knowing itself – the power of consciousness that underlies the mind, the power by which all objects are known.