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Vishwanatha Aiyyer and the Monkey

Aham Sphurana

A Selection of Teachings

From

Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Unpublished 1936 Journal

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Vishwanatha Aiyyer and the Monkey

15th August, 1936

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 wassitting 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 boy sat bolt upright. When he saw what was happening, he burst into tears and caught hold of my feet. ‘Oh! Rama, you have saved me from the great sin of unfairly deserting my delicate mother. If I had done so hell would surely have been my miserable lot. But Oh! compassionate Rama, by showing me this miracle through Lord Hanuman, you have saved me from such a perverse fate! Rama! I will ever remain a bond-slave to your blessed feet! Please bless me! I shall never think of running away again! Oh! Rama, I surrender myself at your holy feet! Please bless me!’ Shabarigirisan went away with a satisfied grimace. The nextmorning the boy returned to town as soon as the sun peeped into the sky, without even tarrying to take any food.


G.: How did Bhagavan get the simian [monkey] to sing?
B.: I have got nothing to do with it. There is some Mysterious Power in this place which defies all possibility of understanding. Each one gets what he deserves here. The mature ones obtain Emancipation.


G.: But then how did he suddenly render the tune? Did he possess any yogic-
siddhis?
B.: He was really an extraordinary fellow in countless ways. Other monkeys would eat the lice on their bodies, but Shabarigirisan would gingerly pick them up and set them on a tree-branch. He was certainly spiritually inclined; there cannot be any doubt about it…

 
G.: When did Bhagavan see the singer-boy again?
B.: Never. They say he has become a regular singer now. But yesterday- where is that Anandha Vigadan?

 

 The master rose from his perch and began to rummage at the contents of the book-case. At length he said, ‘Well, somebody seems to have taken it away.’ and returned to his couch.


G.: Why, did it contain anything on Bhagavan? Shall I go to down and buy a copy for the ashram?
B.: Oh! no. This was an old issue. I was casually skimming through it last night. In one article the humorist Kalki has made fun of a cinematographic- picture released last year called ‘Bhakta Nandanar’…

 
G.: Nandanar is the saint Tirunalaippovar, is that not so?
B.: Yes. But this picture is not based on the traditional account in thePeriyapuranam. Evidently, they have alerted themselves to the likelihood of facing a social backlash if one belonging to the panchamabandham were to be depicted as entering a fire and emerging therefrom as a brahmin.
           So, they have ignored the account in the Periyapuranam and wisely opted to base the script on the  கதாகாலடே்சபம்  Nandanar Saritthiram written by Bharati, which presents an egalitarian version of the story… Otherwise it would be classed as incendiary material and someone might try to stall the exhibition ofthe film, by means of approaching the judiciary or by ‘direct confrontational’means… [laughs]

 
G.: Yes, I have heard that Subrahmanya Bharati was a crusader against untouchability…
B.: [laughs] If you go outside and tell someone that Nandanar Saritthiram waswritten by Subrahmanya Bharati, you will be laughed at! Thank goodness you are showing your all gimmicks only to me, and are reserved with others…!

 
G.: Oh! Bhagavan must pardon me…
B.: The  கதாகாலடே்சபம்  seems to introduce an additional character toNandanar’s story, that of a brahmin in whose fields Nandanar was supposedlyemployed.  ேசக்
character was played by Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Aiyyer. It appears to be the same person whom Shabarigirisan rescued from sannyasa. Kalki pokes fun at his performance in the article…

 
G.: He has found the time to perform for cinematographic-pictures. Why not come to the ashram to pay a Bhagavana visit?
B.: [sternly] Keep quiet.  இ ெராம்ப ்லாம் ெதரிto judge [by external appearances]. This is how men lose their peace of mind.

 
G.: Oh! Sorry, very sorry…
B.: Parava illai. In future do not formulate judgements upon others. We have no right to judge anyone. There is a Supreme Judge for all. Leave the judging to him.

 
G.: Yes… I comply, certainly. Are there any more interesting incidents concerning Shabarigirisan?
B.: Oh! yes, many. We could go on talking throughout the year…

 
G.: Bhagavan has mentioned other monkeys like nondi-payyan that were petted by him whilst he was staying on the Hill-ashram. Did Shabari condescend to mingle with them?
B.: I told you, he was aloof. Other monkeys, whether common ones or langoors, used to avoid him. They seemed to hold him in awe or reverence. Nayana used to say that in many places in the scriptures, it has been mentioned that an advanced tapasvin can be identified by the brilliant tejas on his face. The Bible also mentions it:


‘…Moses wist not that the skin of his face
shone while he talked with him.’ ‘…behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.’

 
G.: Yes, everyone sees it in Bhagavan…
B.: [laughs] Is Bhagavan a tapasvin? For whose Deliverance shall Bhagavan do tapas, since he sees only the bliss of Liberation everywhere?

 
G.: So, according to Bhagavan, there are no ajnanis [persons] anywhere?
B.: The Jnani sees no one as ajnani. All are only Jnanis in his sight. Why? Because the Self is pure Jnana and nothing else. The Jnani cannot know anything apart from the Self.

 
G.: But the langoor has a black face. Can it shine?
B.: [laughing] Charcoal is black. Does it not glow red when incandescent?
Tejas is not physical. It is the feeling of peace; it is freedom from thought-waves, that the man on the Clapham omnibus finds himself continually harangued by.

 
G.: It must be on account of Bhagavan‘s positive influence that the langoor developedsuch an exalted spiritual status… Did Bhagavan, teach him Aathma-vidya?
B.: He was no stranger to it himself. Once he came there whilst
as “I” be allowed to flourish within the mind or does that also occludeRealisation?’. I said, ‘If the discovery that there is no such thing as “I” is to bemade, the mind must be made nude. So, all vrittis [mind structures], including the belief you have mentioned, must be relinquished.’
          Apparently on hearing this Shabarigirisan made his spine erect, closed his eyes and lapsed into kevala kumbhaka [breath retention] for some time. Perumal remarked, ‘See, he has gone into samadhi! This monkey is the Ramana Maharshi amongst monkeys!’ and we all laughed. Those days we would have good fun everyday. There was no ashram, sofa, etc.. Now all this property has come in and I am trapped…! [laughs]

 

Edited by John David Oct 2021

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Obstacles which Hinder Realisation of the Self.

Aham Sphurana

A Selection of Teachings

From

Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Unpublished 1936 Journal

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Obstacles which Hinder
Realisation of the Self.

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, which is only the mind. Never allow thought to run on. If you do so, it will be unending. Take it back to its starting place: the mind’s essence of pure consciousness- again and again, and thought and thinker will both die of inaction eventually.
           The mind only exists by reason of thought. Stop thought and there is no mind. As each doubt or depressing thought arises, ask yourself, “Who is it that doubts? What is it that is depressed?” Go back constantly to the question, ‘Who or what is this thing called ‘I’? Where is the source of the mind?’ Tear everything out and go on discarding until there is nothing but the Source of all left. And then live always in That and only in it. There is no past or future, save in the mind. Only present exists. Yes, even the present is mere imagination. It IS. That is all. Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. [I am That I am]

 

Edited by John David Oct 2021

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Aham Sphurana

The Play Around Bhagavan

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.

Aham Sphurana

Libelling Bhagavan

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.

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An Open Heart Is Beautiful – be a Knower,a Jnani

We all know it’s beautiful when the heart opens and the tears flow, and the love is gushing out. What more could we want at that time? Because when we are in that type of love – which is devotion itself – there’s almost no mind. The mind just disappears in that love and in that devotion, but as one teacher said to me, “And in that place no one wants to enquire.”

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Sunrise

SUDDENLY THE SOUND OF
SINGING BIRDS AT SUNRISE
PENETRATES MY BEING

AWARENESS
OF A SUBTLE POWER
THE EARLY MORNING SUN…

Aham Sphurana

Samadhi

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:

Aham Sphurana

What is the Purpose of Life?

Q.: What is the purpose of life?
B.: It is to discover the correct answer to this question.
Q.: What is the correct answer?
B.: Life.
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.

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Guru Purnima Day

When I was living with Papaji I still had very strong issues with my father, and sometimes I was looking to Papa to come and tell me I was a good boy. I guess he knew that.

It was a special day; it was Guru Purnima day when everybody gives a garland to the Guru. We all came in a long line, each holding a garland, and slowly we came closer to Papaji.

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War and Peace

There will be War until you find Inner Peace which is your Essential Nature.

Peace is your essential nature. Therefore there is nothing to do to be at Peace. We arrive on this planet in tremendous Peace with an invitation to enjoy, play and have fun! Then our parents raise us to be adults and without knowing better, they condition us to be nearly constantly at war.

Aham Sphurana

Destiny

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.

Aham Sphurana

Vichara, Self Enquiry

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.

Aham Sphurana

The Count

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.

Ramana Maharshi in ramanashram
Aham Sphurana

Guru’s Grace

Q.: The terms Aham-sphurana [Self-realization] and Sahaja-asamprajnatha-samadhi [oneness with God] are synonymous. Am I correct? _
B.: No.

Q.:Why not?
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.

Aham Sphurana

Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer, Author of Aham Spraruna

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.

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Third Chinese Patriarch of Zen

The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When not attached to love or hate,
all is clear and undisguised.
Separate by the smallest amount, howe
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.

Aham Sphurana

Non-Doing

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.