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and the Maharshi

From "Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts"

In Shri Ramana Maharshi one meets again ancient and eternal India. The Vedantic truth – the truth of the Upanishads – is brought back to its simplest expression but without any kind of betrayal. It is the simplicity inherent in the Real, not the denial of that complexity which it likewise contains, nor the artificial and altogether outward simplification that springs from ignorance.

That spiritual function which can be described as "action of presence" found in the Maharshi its most rigorous expression. Shri Ramana was as it were the incarnation, in these latter days and in the face of the modern activist fever, of what is primordial and incorruptible in India. He manifested the nobility of contemplative non-action in the face of an ethic of utilitarian agitation, and he showed the implacable beauty of pure truth in the face of passions, weaknesses and betrayals.

The great question "Who am I?" appears, with him, as a concrete expression of a reality that is lived, if one may so put it, and this authenticity gives to each word of the sage a flavor of inimitable freshness – the flavor of Truth when it is embodied in the most immediate way.

The whole Vedanta is contained in the Maharshi's question "Who am I"? The answer is: the Inexpressible.

In "The Enigma of Diversified Subjectivity"

If "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me," it is because this "me" as such possesses a saving and unitive virtuality; every subjectivity as such is in principle a door towards its own transpersonal

6. It is in this sense that a Ramana Maharshi could reduce the whole problem of spirituality to the single question: “Who am I?” Which does not mean — as some imagine — that this question can constitute a path; on the one hand, it indicates the incommunicable state of the Maharshi, and on the other the principle of spiritual subjectivity, of the progressive participation in the pure Subject at once immanent and transcendent.

The German Poems of Frithjof Schuon

Volume 23 (Not yet published )
Someone said to the Maharshi: thou art full of illusion —
Thou art no master. The Maharshi laughed and said:
If there were no false masters in the world,
False disciples would not have their teachers.

The Vedanta

Intellection, inspiration, revelation. These three realities are essential for man and for the
human collectivity. They are distinct one from another, but none can be reduced simply to a question of realization. The realized man can have inspirations that are – as to their production – distinct from his state of knowledge, (11) but he could not add one syllable to the Veda. Moreover inspirations may depend on a spiritual function, for instance on that of a pontiff, just as they may also result from a mystical degree. As mind without the collaboration of his will.

11. There are very many instances of this: thus Shri Ramana Maharshi said that his stanzas (Ulladu Narpadu or Sad-Vidya) came to him as if "from outside." And he even described how they became fixed in his will.

Man is at once subject and object: he is subject in relation to the world that he perceives and the Invisible that he conceives of, but he is object in relation to his “own Self”; the empirical ego is really a content, hence an object, of the pure subject or of the ego-principle, and all the more so in relation to the immanent Divine Subject which, in final analysis, is our true “One-Self”. This brings us to the Advaitin inquiry “Who am I?”, made famous by Shri Ramana Maharshi; I am neither this body, nor this soul, nor this intelligence; what alone remains is Âtmâ.

Sometimes the concept of “image” can be understood in a larger sense, going beyond the question of works of art: it may be acknowledged that in the case of Shri Ramana Maharshi, for example, it is the sacred mountain of Shiva, Arunâchala, that serves as a permanent symbol of the Principle that was concurrently “incarnated” in the sage, and which was thus his true body; inversely, one might say that the body of the Maharshi was a manifestation of Arunâchala, of the earthly lingam of Paramashiva, in human mode. In an analogous way, the disciples of Ma Ananda Moyi might consider her as a human manifestation of the Ganges in its aspect of “Mother,” which is to say that worship in the environment of this saint could coincide, in the absence of other supports, with the traditional worship of Mother Ganga. In the case of Ramakrishna, there is no doubt that the image which represents him adequately, and for purposes of worship, is that of the Shakti, not under the terrible aspect alone but rather, indeed, as she appeared to the saint, under the aspect of beauty and maternal love.

Moreover it must not be forgotten that the ego, as a natural factor, has a positive side like any other phenomenon of nature; the injunction "love thy neighbor as thyself" implies that it is permissible and even necessary — and in any case inevitable — to love oneself; it would be the height of hypocrisy for social theorists to deny the existence of this self-love. This complex of attitudes, so easily reducible to the absurd, is left behind only in Nirvana, where there is no self left to love, nor indeed any "neighbor"; it was in this sense that Sri Ramana Maharshi was able to say: "Is the dreamer, when he awakens, supposed to wake all those of whom he was dreaming?"