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Ramana Maharshi, born 1879, is considered one of India’s foremost spiritual teachers for his authenticity as a selfless guru here on earth for the divine purpose of bringing others to realization. When Ramana Maharshi was a teenager, a sudden and unmistakable fear of death overcame him. The shock and the fear of his imminent death served to bring Ramana Maharshi to an undying awareness of the Self. Leaving his home and all that was familiar to him soon after, he came to Tiruvannamalai where he worshipped the holy hill of Arunachala as the seat of Shiva. He had the sustained and unremitting knowledge that while the material body dies, the Self cannot be touched by death. Through his practice of self-inquiry, Ramana Maharshi outlines a method of self-inquiry by which one can finally experience the true nature of the Self.
In the book The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi we are treated to a radical foreword by Carl Jung, a man educated in scientific pursuit, acknowledging and inquiring into the radical assertion by Ramana Maharshi that the purpose of spiritual inquiry is the dissolution of the Self. To accomplish this place of realization, Ramana Maharshi offers the simple practice of saying “Who am I?” and in this book he gives in great simplicity and detail, spiritual instruction as to how one is to engage in this practice. The subjects of Practice, Experience, Renunciation, Attainment, Self-Inquiry, etc. are some of the topics written with an eye to a beginning layman’s experience. The words of Ramana Maharshi are at once profound and explanatory.
In The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi edited by his great and brilliant devotee, writer Arthur Osborne, there is gathered together Ramana Maharshi’s original works: Self-Enquiry, Upadesa Saram, Five Hymns to Arunachala and two sets of Forty Verses, together with various other works. Throughout his works, we witness how Ramana Maharshi constantly admonishes his followers to embrace the path of awareness and self-inquiry in their daily lives and not to just reside as a sadhak in meditation. Nearly everything Ramana Maharshi wrote was in response to a request or to meet a need of a devotee. For the interest of the reader, Arthur Osborne gives, in great detail, the genesis of each writing from the remarkable teachings of Ramana Maharshi.
This spiritually significant book entitled Talks With Ramana Maharshi: On Realizing Abiding Peace and Happiness is a series of dialogues between the Master Ramana Maharshi and his devotees from 1935 through 1939. Each dialogue is prefaced by an informative introduction to the particular devotee asking his questions of Ramana Maharshi. We see how Ramana Maharshi constantly points the dialogue back to the inquiry into the self. For example, as one devotee asks, “Do I need to become a sadhu in order to achieve self-realization?” Ramana Maharshi responds, “Who is it that thinks he needs to become the sadhu?” Again directing the questioner back to the Self, Ramana Maharshi instructs the seeker that the true realization of happiness lies in the realization of the Self.
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