Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer, Author of Aham Sphurana
Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer was a distinguished lawyer and a devotee par excellence of theMaharshi. He came to Ramanasramam in the 1930s. He stayed for perhaps six months and kept meticulous diaries of the meetings in Bhagavan’s hall.
He is the author of the core of the manuscript known as Aham Sphurana. It seems in the 1950s his friend Swami Rajeshwarananda wanted to publish these notebooks. At that time the ashram didn’t have the necessary resources. Now some seventy years later a manuscript has appeared, Aham Sphurana, which appears to contain the material from Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Red Notebooks. It may well be other material has been added. It is a huge text of more than 2000 pages. The whole manuscript is available on Amazon as an ebook and a huge hardback book appearing like an ancient bible.
In December 1948 Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer and his friend Swami Rajeshwarananda took atrunk containing half a dozen notebooks to Ramanashram and it was unpacked in front of Bhagavan.
Gajapathi Aiyyer ran through the books patiently. They are hardbound notebooks, all of the same variety, done in beautiful red rexine. The pages are serially numbered from one to three hundred, in black ink; the pages opening on to the left-hand side have their number inscribed at the top left corner and those on the right-hand side at the top right corner. The pages are lined with bluish lines in narrow spacing, and filled with young Gajapathi’s meticulous note-making competencies, all written in pencil.
When he came to the record of his experiences at the Madurai Meenakshi Temple, “I was like that in Madurai, shedding tears of longing at the Meenakshi Temple, without having the slightest clue why…even the thought, ‘Why am I crying?’ did not occur.”
Bhagavan smiled and said, குழந்தை என்ன சமத்தாக எல்லாவற்றயும் எழுதிவைத்து கொண்டு இருக்கிறது பார்! (See, how nicely the child has written everything!)
Swami Rajeshwarananda remarked: Gajapathi feels that he has committed an offence by chronicling your words without having sought out your permission.
B.: பரவா இல்லை (Does not matter).
Gajapathi: I only wrote for my own recollection; if shown to others, will it not lead toconfusion? Bhagavan gives specific advice to individual persons on spiritual matters; ifshown to an unrelated person will that person not erronously think that the advice isapplicable to his own case also, and thus mislead himself, with unwarrantedconsequences? Yet Swami Rajeshwarananda wants to make it available for all in the Ashram to inspect.
Swami Rajeshwarananda: Bhagavan’s words are more solemn and sacred than the Upanishads even. Why opine they could mislead anyone?
B.: இந்த புத்தகங்களில் பதிவாகியிருக்கும் அதே சந்தேகங்கள் யாருக்குஆவது வரலாம்.(Somebody may have the same doubts as that of the entries in these book)
Gajapathi: But Bhagavan gives different responses to the same question to different persons, depending upon individual temprament!
B.: If the reply found is not satisfactory, the search continues! The earnest Sadhaka does not make himself content with the receipt of a response felt by him to be unsuitable, or only partially satisfactory. An intellect made subtler and subtler by repeated and prolonged submergence in Being, will automatically reject advice that directs it away from the Heart. Practising firm Inherence in the Heart strenghens the faculty of intuition to the extent that it seeks out, time and again, only those words that redirect its course toward the self-resplendant Heart; such discrimination is not a function of the fictitious sense of individual free will; rather, it is automatic and comes by God’s Grace to the sincere seeker.
Gajapathi was about to say something, but it was time for the veda parayanam to begin.
Bhagavan, reaching for his stick, remarked before leaving:-
“There is a destiny guiding the course of events. One need not fret about anything, imagining oneself to be personally responsible for it.”
Now the master is in the body no more, but Swami Rajeshwarananda and myself wish to make the contents of these notebooks available to a wider audience. Swami Rajeshwarananda has discussed the idea with Gajapathi and he agreed to make a combined synopsis out of the notebooks, so that the Master’s teachings shining in them may be published as a convenient teaching reference.
A Selection of Teachings
Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Unpublished 1936 Journal
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
“Early on October 1st 2021 waking up in a lakeside cottage at our Retreat Center in Ukraine I received an email information. On Amazon I could download an unknown manuscript of Bhagavan’s dialogues from 1936.
The excitement was penetrating deep inside as I struggled with Amazon and my credit card. The manuscript was some 1500 pages and with no formatting, extremely hard to read.
First lots strange drama but going into the middle there were wonderful dialogues between Bhagavan and his visitors. A selection was made, highlighted and put into editing software.”
Now two months later there are forty-eight edited texts of which half are teaching dialogues and the other half give glimpses into his daily life, mostly taken from dialogues made in the hall where Bhagavan would meet visitors to the Ashram. Several more Blogs will be posted. Paul Brunton’s book, ’In Search of Secret India,’ had recently been published attracting western visitors.
Recently our Open Sky Press team has taken over. They have produced the fine Quotation Slideshow and have started work on producing a small book, to give those Bhagavan lovers a taste of the quality of the dialogues in Aham Sphurana, meaning Self Realisation.
Open Sky Press is open to publish the valuable and authentic parts of the manuscript. It would be a huge undertaking and so we are inviting those Ramana lovers who see the value in all the authentic parts being published to get in touch.
If the Ramanashram decide to publish we are ready to contribute and to introduce all who have offered to support us.
Read Passages of the Manuscript, selected and edited by John David:
Q: So, is this state of consciousness steadily remaining merely as Itself, undisturbed by thought, called the Sahajastithi?
B: No. It is called Aham Sphurana.
Q: Then what is the Sahajastithi?
B: No description is possible. The reflected being — consciousness which is localised in a physical body — is destroyed; after this is destroyed, that alone remains which has always been.
Mind is only a notion. Have you ever investigated into what it actually is?
GL.: No… I seem to have taken its existence for granted so long.
B.: That is the mistake. The mind is accepted as being the Self. The Self is always – whereas the mind appears and disappears. Is there any mind in deep slumber? But your Self is always there. The mind, which has deluded itself into imagining that it is a mortal with a physical form living in an objectively real world as its perceiver, is beset with limitations.
On the other hand, pure Subjective Consciousness knows no limitation.
Q.: I have heard that Bhagawan once spoke highly of Schopenhauer.
B.: He has discovered that the world is an inherently and incorrigibly unhappy place; he has also discovered that man’s true purpose is happiness; furthermore, he states correctly that extirpation of one’s personal will leads to Emancipation. However, what seems to be missing is practical technique. How shall the wille-zum-leben, which is the cause for all suffering, be defeated and annihilated?
B.: Is it the mind that wants to kill the mind? The mind cannot kill the mind. Anything that you endeavour to ‘do’ with the mind will only reinforce and perpetuate the notion of mind. Rather than pointlessly wondering, ‘How shall I eradicate the mind?’, go on seeking the mind. Incessant search for what mind is results in its disappearance.
The thing to do is to completely ignore the objects that appear by the reflected light of the mind, and instead seek the source of the mind’s illumination. If the source of the mind is continuously sought for, it begins to subside.
Q: What are the obstacles which hinder Realisation of the Self?
B.: They are habits of mind (vasanas).
Q: What are the aids for Realisation?
B.: Introversion of mind is the one and only aid.
Q.: How can I achieve the same?
B.: By preventing the mind from straying out after thoughts, desires and imagined objects of sensory perception.
Q.: What are vasanas?
B.: Habits of thought, accumulated tendencies of mind, and intellectual proclivities.
Q.: How does one get rid of these hindrances?
B.: Seek the Self through meditation in this manner: trace every thought back to its point of origin
Time and again I have observed that the Maharshi emphasises that Realisation was more the result of Guru’s Grace rather than anything else. I had been in despair of ever again getting the Maharshi alone. It is hard to unburden the soul before a crowd.
One morning I resolutely made my way into the Hall a few hours earlier than usual and found him there unattended, emanating his usual wonderful stillness and ineffable peace. I asked quietly if I might talk with him. He nodded, smiling, and sent for someone to translate. On the arrival of a devotee, I put my first question.
Q.: Will chanting “A-HAM” [Self] mentally lead to realisation of the Self?
B.: Whilst doing it, fix your attention at the source of the japam[ ] in you. That is, scrutinize where from within yourself the japam arises and retain your faculty of attention exclusively at such source.
Q.: If I stay at the root of the mind or abide as pure consciousness, will I Realise the Self?
B.: The question shows that the arbitrary mental conceptualisation, ‘Realising the Self’, is still present in the mind. Staying in the root of the mind should be a matter of course; it must be the natural state. On the other hand, you are trying to deliberately do it so that you can thereby gain the reward you call ‘Self-Realisation’. Can it work? No.
Q.: I have heard Bhagawan saying “Knowledge of the world is exclusively knowledge of the knower of the world.” What does it mean?
B.: That the world is only in the mind–that the appearance of any world, or the phenomenon of manifestation, is not possible in isolation from your mind.
Q.: Are there as many minds in the world as there are people? Are all these minds emanating from the Self at the same time?
B.: There are not multiple minds. Only your mind emerges from the Self, styles itself “I”.
Q.: Is surrender a means to overcome and vanquish the vasanas [tendancies of the mind], thus resulting in Realisation?
B.: Yes: provided it is unconditional, surrender is a fool proof way to Realise the Self.
Q.: What is the guarantee that I shall Realise the Self if I surrender?
B.: You are missing the point of surrender.
Q.: How so?
B.: To surrender is to let go of everything without anticipating or expecting anything in return.
Q.: How does viveka [discernment] differ from
B.: Mere intellectual discernment of the real from the unreal is not of any great use. The unreal must be totally shunned, that is to say, the mind must be divested of any inclination to pursue it. One’s vasanas [ tendencies of mind] must be incinerated to the point of complete annihilation in the fire of vairagya; otherwise rebirth cannot be successfully avoided. Viveka may stop with intellectualisation and mental contemplation of the truth. But without vairagya Jnana cannot be achieved
Q.: What is the difference between jivanmukti[ and videhamukti?
B.: There is no difference. They say that the jivanmukta attains videhamukti when the body dies. But think can there be anything which he has yet to attain? Such differences are exclusively from the point of view of the onlooker. They do not exist from the Jnani’s point of view. There is no change in the Jnani’s state before or after abandoning the body.
Q.: Bhagavan asserts that ‘Awareness’ is the real nature of “I”. But what exactly is this awareness? Awareness of what?
B.: Do you exist or do you not?
B.: How do you know?
Q.: I don’t understand what Bhagavan is trying to tell me.
B.: Do you need a mirror to be placed in front of your eyes in order so as to enable you to infer that you have eyes?
A sallow-faced gentleman, a foreigner, wearing a pencil moustache approaches Bhagavan after everyone has left the hall. I am instantly reminded of Count Orlok in Nosferatu, played so memorably by Max Schreck. He creeps near the Sofa, his long hands slightly outstreched in Bhagavan’s direction. I am glad he does not notice me, hidden away as I am in the Shadows at the back of the Hall. The attendants are asleep a yard or so away from me, and these prone bodies have also evidently escaped his attention. I want to cry out a warning to Bhagavan, but I am worried for my own safety. I wait with bated breath for the anticipated lines to be spoken.
Q.: If the theological pronouncements of the Christians are to be believed, we are all born mired in sin. Is the doctrine of original sin correct?
B.: What is born is born only in sin. The Unborn is sinless; therefore He is never born. Birth into samsara is the harbringer of agony. In fact you are the one original Absolute.
Q.: Has anyone succeeded in winning the admiration of Maharshi himself?
B.: Oh! yes.
Q.: [face superciliously lights up with pompous joy, but manages to modestly utter] How can that be? I am a spectacularly worthless creature. Even after years of repeatedly visiting the sacred soil of Tiruvannamalai, I remain an unenlightened person.
B.: That is it.
Chad.: I asked my master if He would mind giving me a detailed explanation concerning the term Samadhi, and its various kinds. The Lord Ramana graciously assented and sweetly spoke the following words:—
B.: The meaning of the word Samadhi is generally given as Union with Reality, but it is not so. Samadhi means the State of non-differentiation from Reality or THAT-WHICH-IS. The following are its kinds:
Q.: What is the guarantee that I shall Realise the Self if I surrender?
B.: You are missing the point of surrender.
Q.: How so?
B.: To surrender is to let go of everything without anticipating or expecting anything in return. Letting go of everything also encompasses abandoning the aspiration to Realise the Self. Suppose you are holding a red-hot iron-ball. Your hand is quivering in unbearable pain. Somebody suggests unto you that you let go.
Q. Is it true that Bhagavan has said, “If a man is destined not to Realise the Self, no matter what manner of aid or assistance is offered unto him or stands available so as to be plunged into ready deployment by him, he will not Realise the Self. On the other hand, if a man is destined to Realise the Self, no matter what manner of hindrance or trammel is placed across his path or is forced to be encountered by him, he will Realise the Self.”?
B.: The statement is correct.
Q.: So, it is the thought ‘I have a body.’ that is responsible for creating the false impression that I have a body, whereas in truth I have none. Am I correct? _
B.: Yes. _
Q.: In that case, if I think, ‘I have no body.’, the body should disappear, but it does not disappear. Why is this so?
B.: Intensely thinking about the disappearance of the body does make it disappear; but accquisition of such worthless siddhis [Psychic Powers] is not our objective.
Q.: After investigating ‘Who am I?’ I find that blankness prevails. What do I
B.: Did you exist or not whilst the blankness mentioned by you prevailed?
It is only because you existed then that you now are able to recollect having experienced something at that time. Is that correct?
B.: So, blanknesses come and go, but YOU always ARE. For YOU there is
neither coming nor going. YOU ARE now as YOU always WERE and YOU
will BE always as YOU ARE now.
Q.: What is the purpose of life?
B.: It is to discover the correct answer to this question.
Q.: What is the correct answer?
Q.:I do not understand?
B.: Life does not question its own purpose. It has no questions to ask. It has no complaint to raise. It has no grudge to bear. Therefore it is in perpetual peace.
Q.: The terms Aham-sphurana [Self-realization] and Sahaja-asamprajnatha-samadhi [oneness with God] are synonymous. Am I correct? _
B.: Sometime after a fire is lit underneath a pot containing water, only an empty pot will be left. Yet, the space inside the pot is always vulnerable to being filled-up again. If the pot is smashed into pieces, it is quite ruined and there can be no scope any more for depositing anything into it.
A curious, altogether ridiculous personality has arrived at the ashram gaudily dressed in a three-piece suit, a beaver hat, and an ascot cravat. In this weather, his skin ought to catch fire; I wonder how it still seems to be intact. He carries an ebony cane mounted with a miniature bronze, roaring lion’s head.
Q.: What are the indicators based on which I shall be enabled to find out for myself whether I am doing vichara [Self enquiry] correctly or not?
B.: If vichara has resulted in a state of mind wherein it abides as identical with pure Subjective Consciousness, then you have done it correctly.
Q.: I am unable to Realise the Self by means of meditation.
B.: Where are you now? Are you in the Self or out of it? Can there be anything apart from the Self?
Q.: I understand that the Self is non-dual. Yet ignorance prevents me from realising the non-dual Self.
B.: Who is ignorant of what? Are there then two selves, so that one of them can be ignorant of the other?
Glimpses of Bhagavan's Life
B.: Why all these fancy items? You yourself have family-members who are suffering from asthma: is that not so? Is this body more important than or in any way superior to those bodies? How is it that ignoring them you have brought this medicine over to me? If you give this to those who truly need it, they will feel happy. I have no use for such things. I cannot think “Oh! we are taking medicine for our good health.” and feel elated. [smiling, in demure fashion saying—] I hope you are not angry with me…!
I was told that the Maharshi had his finger on the pulse of the whole ashram, although he appeared prima facie totally unconcerned with all mundane affairs. For instance, when in the Hall, he was supposed to know what was going on even in the kitchen — and incidentally I was surprised to find that he himself assisted in the cutting up of vegetables for the daily meal.
I was also told that he knows what is passing in the minds of people. Of this latter ability, I had a small personal experience.
B.: Did you notice what your son said? What was his request? He would stop playing with his pambaram [Spinning top], but the present session of rotation must come to a close naturally. You, of course, paid no attention to his imploration, but stopped the pambaram then and there.
However, Ishwara is not like this. The prarabdha which is attached to the Jnani’s body will have to exhaust itself inevitably.
A certain man who, I learn, puts on juggling performances every year during the Karthigai Deepam festival, has come to the Hall; he has questions to ask of the master—
Q.: Does Sri Maharshi possess the power to turn his body invisible at will? Does Sri Maharshi possess the power to materialise objects out of nothing or thin-air?
B.: Sri Maharshi does not even possess a will.
For the most part of today I was unable to go to the Ashram. Since Sri Cycle-Pillai seemed to be indisposed for the time-being with one of his occasional abdominal ailments, and was thus not in a position to do his usual chores for the Ashram. The sarvadhikari [manager] has asked me to purchase roots of the shathavari [Asparagus racemosus] plant from a herbs-dealer who put up his wares in different parts of the town on different days.
A scene took place in the Hall, wherein the master upbraided the sarvadhikari [manager] in front of all the attendees. Seeing the dilapidated condition of the Draupadiamman-temple near the Ashram, Mr. Knowles had donated a sum of 75 rupees toward its upkeep and maintenance, with a view to prevent at least further incremental damage to the somewhat neglected ancient shrine on account of efflux of time; he had donated the sum to Sri Sadai Chettiar, the temple’s manager. The sarvadhikari had come to know about this, and had wrested away the sum in part from the poor man, telling him,
Much of the content presented here, showing Bhagavan reeling off verses from the Bible and other texts, are done so with the implicit assumption that the reader would naturally give himself to understand that Bhagavan was reading out from a book; certainly Bhagavan did not burst out with these lines of prose or, as the case may be, poetry, from extempore memory – at least, not in a majority of the cases.
Oh! Master of the Formidable Mountain! I was earlier like a filthy pig, consuming with eager relish the turds excreted by the sensory – organs. I came with a restless mind to impudently scrutinise your authenticity, but the moment your eyes fell on me, I became motionless like you, for you graciously annihilated my maleficent faculty of assertion – manufacture which arrogantly asseverated “I”, and immersed me in my own intrinsic inner state of Absolute Being, which in truth is only You.
I kiss the dust of your sacred feet everyday, for by drowning me once and for all in the unfathomable ocean of exultation which is verily You, you have devoured my traitorous mind forever.
During the Master’s lifetime, the practise existed in the Ashram for devotees to send in letters asking for all manners and varieties of things. Most begged for Bhagavan’s blessings in their endeavours, and specifically would mention that the sheet carrying the reply be sanctified by his hallowed touch.
Many wrote wanting their prayers or wishes to be fulfilled. Others solicited clarification on doctrinal points. Yet other epistles carried doubts raised regarding practice.
Late in the evening today, the sarvadhikari [manager] requested the master to formally oversee and approve of the preparations the Ashram has made, for the celebrations arranged for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the day on which the master is said to have attained Eternal Union with Arunachala: 1st September, 1896.
Many devotees, Indians as well as Caucasians, have gathered together here now, and the place is overflowing with people.
Q.: How did Bhagavan finally persuade that boy, Vishwanatha Aiyyer, to return home?
B.: I did not. On that night when he was sleeping outside the ashram, I was sitting some distance away from the boy when I noticed that Shabarigirisan was sitting blissfully alone on the roof of the ashram, staring at the full moon in great contentment. When I looked at him, the languor [monkey] leaped down, pressed some ginger shoots into my hands and took them back; then he climbed back and was for sometime ingesting them. Then he did something nobody will believe. He came near us, poised himself on the floor in the Bakāsanam, and softly began whistling [or screeching], perfectly, the tune corresponding to ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu…’.
The master laughs like a child and says softly,
“The redeeming power of Love alone makes one worthy of Grace. If you have a heart that knows to truly Love, be assured that you have the instrument in your hands with which to win over Emancipation. Love alone is the கடப்பாைர with which to prise open the terrifically strong knot of the Heart.”
The words make the hairs all over my body stand on end; a thrill of sheer, ecstatic joy runs up my spine, and I shudder involuntarily.
Q.: Can then an animal Realise the Self?
B.: It is not unheard of.
B. now looked at Chadwick, who was present in the Hall, squarely in the eye, and said:
When you came here first, you asked [me] how the Guru’s help is useful in bringing about Realisation. You were told that it makes the poisonous fangs of samsara ineffective. Now do you see?
Chad. merely looked uncomprehendingly vacant.
B.: Whilst the monkey was seated on this [pointing to his body], it was quite beyond the reach of the dog.
I had visited India on several occasions prior to this trip, but this was
my maiden venture off the beaten track.
I was told of Sri Ramana Maharshi, and even from the little I heard, I knew I would travel anywhere and put up with any inconvenience in order to meet him and experience the sanctity of his presence. The friend who gave me the welcome news of the Maharshi’s existence offered to take me to him, and so we arrived at Tiruvannamalai late one afternoon.
A strange, decrepit old sadhu, who claims he is a centenarian, has arrived at the ashram. When asked for his name he gives the response, ‘Purampoekku chamiyar’. He claims to have first met Sai Baba in 1898; ever since leaving the saint, according to him, he has never lowered his right hand; it remains pointing up towards the sky, index finger unfolded and outstreched straight but the other fingers folded in. The arm seems covererd with greyish-white dust or fungus and the
long fingernails have become an intertwined mass reaching down to the elbow.
Q.: Sometimes I feel thought stopping and the feeling of beingness underneath is exposed and revealed. At the same time a pulsating sensation is felt on the right-hand side of the chest. Is it right?
B.: Yes. Thoughts must cease and reason disappear for ‘I-I’ to rise up and be felt. Feeling is the prime factor and not reason.
Q.: Why should it be felt in the chest but not in the head?
M.: Because body-consciousness is located there.
Q.: When I see outside the sensation disappears. What is to be done?
M.: It must be held on to incessantly.
B.: The genuine state of Self is the non-dual Sahaja-stithi [ ]. This cannot be experienced because in that state there is no experiencer. Whatever is experienced is only unreal and illusory. The fact that an experiencer is available to assert ‘I experience.’ shows that all experiences are futile and worthless. ‘Who is the experiencer?’ is what we must find out. Some think experiencing bliss means that the Self is Realised. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bliss is a dangerous distraction.
7th August, 1936
Early in the morning as usual the sarvadhikari [manager] arrives with wet dhoti [cotton wrap] and prostrates in front of Bhagavan whose eyes are closed. The meditating Aghori and myself are the only others in the Hall. Observing the master in a meditative inflection of comportment, I have, as always on such instances, closed my eyes. The sarvadhikari rises; he lingers for a fraction-of-a-second longer than usual. Then he moves toward the door.
Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer was a distinguished lawyer and a devotee par excellence of the Maharshi. He came to Ramanasramam in the 1930s. He stayed for perhaps six months and kept meticulous diaries of the meetings in Bhagavan’s hall.
He is the author of the core of the manuscript known as Aham Sphurana. It seems in 1950’s his friend Swami Rajeshwarananda wanted to publish these notebooks. At that time the ashram didn’t have the necessary resources. Now some 70 years later a manuscript has appeared, Aham Sphurana, which appears to contain the material from Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Red Notebooks.
‘When coming into the presence of the Jnani, some sensitive minds might alacritously plunge into instantaneous introversion. Then, their vasanas would- suddenly- put up a great clamour for attention. Caught between the desire to remain in the newly-discovered blissful thought- free state and the urge to satisfy demands imposed by the vasanas, such persons might, for a time, exhibit abnormal behaviour. But soon God’s Grace would set everything aright, provided there is a sincere determination to escape from samsara…’
Once upon a time there was an ascetic known as Kaushika. He always felt greatly proud of himself, since he felt he knew the intricacies of Vedanta in and out. He had left home to pursue study of the Scriptures and now he could confidently boast that he had mastered them all. One day, Kaushika was sitting under a tree, plunged in samadhi. Suddenly he found his concentration disturbed by a loud noise and he awoke from his samadhi.
I flinched, for when Bhagavan is angry- an extremely rare occurrence- waves of ire are felt by his devotees to be radiating everywhere in the ether. The sarvadhikari, however, seemed to be too pre-occupied with the contents of his head to pay any attention to what he must have surmised to be a coversation going on between Bhagavan and a devotee. He rose from his prostration and went to the door.
Chad.: How had she come to know about Bhagawan? Paul Brunton’s Secret India was not published then.
B.: She had read about me in the International Psychic Gazette, but that article had not motivated her visit. Reading that article, she had become briefly fascinated with the ‘Hindoo-saint’ described therein; later on she forgot all about him. One day, she seems to have heard a knock on the door of her apartment, situated near Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. On opening it, who should be standing there but Sri Ramana Maharshi himself! [laughing]
Q.: I cannot so easily let go of everything as suggested by Bhagavan, because my family will raise objections if I try to renounce the world.
B.: There is no need to leave home. Discard the contents of the mind and thus throw the faculty of mind away. That is real renunciation. Physical renunciation will make you think, ‘I have renounced everything.’ Nothing could be more dangerous. Here we practise only mental renunciation.
Recently a previously unpublished manuscript about the life and teachings of the Indian spiritual master Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) has been made public. The manuscript called Aham Sphurana is based on the handwritten notes of a devotee who stayed with the master in Ramanashram in 1936.
This is groundbreaking news as a fresh firsthand account of the life of Ramana Maharshi has not been published for many years. However, the manuscript is unedited, unformatted and 1200 pages long. Additionally, certain fabrications from the original author makes it difficult to distinguish between what is a true account of what actually happened in the ashram and what is simply creative story-telling.
This creates a daunting challenge for any reader who is not intimately familiar with the life and teachings of Ramana Maharshi. Naturally, Open Sky Press which has previously published two books about this spiritual master, Nan Yar and Arunachala Shiva, is interested in making the new manuscript accessible to a wider audience.
Together with several Ramana Maharshi experts Open Sky Press is now in the process of authenticating the contents of the manuscript. Based on this process we are already pretty certain that parts of the text indeed are genuine first hand accounts of the day to day life in Ramanashram in 1936. In particular it records the dialogues Ramana Maharshi had with his visitors. Thus, we are now starting a careful selection and editing of what we consider the spiritual gems of the manuscript. Some first selections, formatting and edits are available here: https://johndavidsatsang.international/blog.
Open Sky Press realises that this will be a time-consuming project and potentially a great source for shedding light on the life and teachings of Ramana Maharshi. If you are familiar with Ramana Maharshi and his teachings and have basic editing skills, we would like to invite you to be part of the team we are gathering to develop a project to publish a selection of these dialogues. Contact Rajen at email@example.com.