Sunday, July 30, 2017

How to Stop the Mind's Chatter

I have only recently started to watch videos of Sadhuguru Jaggi Vasudev (The Founder of Isha Foundation). In this regard I find his discourses and instruction very helpful and inspirational.

This particular video is how to stop the chatter of the mind. His specific instruction is not to eat bad food. This is particularly interesting for me here at Arunachala because Sri Ramana Maharshi told that the quickest way to a peaceful mind, is to eat good “sattvic” food.

However food is not only what we eat and drink, the Bhagavad Gita explains "food" is anything that feeds the 5 senses. Violent movies, loud music, spicey food, non-vegetarian food etc etc. will all agitate the mind.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Glory of the Ribhu Gita

Many great saints of India, including Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Mahaswamiji (the Sage of Kanchi), Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati Maharaj and Sri Ramana Maharshi, have declared the excellence of the Ribhu Gita and recommended its reading and/or recitation to their devotees.

The Ribhu Gita is an exposition of Advaita (non-duality) by the Sage Ribhu to Nidagha and other sages and is set in the midst of the epic Sivarahasya. The appearance of Ribhu Gita in Sivarahasya has been compared to the appearance of Bhagavad Gita set in the midst of the epic Mahabharata.

Ribhu Gita.

Brahma had a son by name Ribhu. Ribhu, by his very nature, possessed a sound knowledge of Brahman. Nidagha, the son of Maharshi Pulastya, was a disciple of Ribhu. Pleased with the good qualities of Nidagha, Ribhu instructed his disciple fully in the knowledge of the Brahman. Ribhu found out that his disciple, though proficient in all the scriptures, was not steady in the knowledge of the Brahman, because he was not able to cognise the one Reality underlying the various objects of the Universe.

Nidagha went and settled himself in Viranagar on the banks of the river Devika and began to lead an ideal life bearing in mind at all times the duties of a true householder. After the lapse of a long time Ribhu went to Viranagar with the object of seeing his disciple Nidagha. Nidagha was waiting at the gate in expectation of a guest after duly performing his daily sacrificial rites. Nidagha welcomed Ribhu warmly and took him inside the house. Nidagha duly worshipped the noble guest and humbly requested him to take his dinner.

Ribhu said, O Brahmin! Please tell me what kind of food you will serve me today. I do not relish unholy foods. Nidagha said, I have got in my house wheat-flour, maize, fruits, roots and loaves of bread. Of these whichever you like I shall be pleased to serve you with.

Ribhu said, I do not want all these useless food-stuffs. Give me good sweets, rice boiled in milk, curds, molasses and other delicious articles.

Then Nidagha said to his wife, O mistress! Soon make ready a very palatable and savoury meal for our guest today with the best of articles available in the house. According to the wishes of her husband, Nidagha's wife prepared the dinner and he fed Ribhu sumptuously. When Ribhu had just finished his dinner Nidagha humbly requested him thus: O my venerable guest! Was the food tasty? Are you fully satisfied? Where do you live? Where are you proceeding now and wherefrom are you coming?

Ribhu replied, He who is hungry becomes satisfied when he takes a hearty meal. I was never hungry at all and why do you put me this question? When by the constant working of the Jatharagni (digestive fire) the digestive organs get tired, man feels hungry and when the water in the system gets exhausted he feels thirsty. Hunger and thirst are the Dharmas of the body and not mine. Since there is no hunger at all for me, I am always satisfied. Pleasure and satisfaction are the functions of the mind. I am not the mind too. Enquire then about these things whose Dharma is satisfaction, pleasure etc.

Now hearken to me about the other questions 'Where do you live? Where do you go? And wherefrom are you coming?' Atman or the Self is all-pervading like the ether and therefore these questions do not at all apply to It. The questions themselves are without basis. I do not go anywhere. I do not come from any place and I do not remain in any one place. These differences of 'I', 'he' and 'you' are in respect of the different bodies and not in reality. The truth is that you are not you. I am not myself nor is he another different from the other two.

A sweet thing is not always sweet. When I requested of you sweet rice etc., my intention was simply to know what you would say. For the really hungry man everything is palatable. The same food which is palatable once begins to give the reverse impression the next moment. When man has taken food to his heart's content even the most delicious food causes retching. Thus the tasty food becomes non-tasty and vice versa. Further, is there any such food which is uniformly tasty in the beginning, middle and end? This physical body made of earth is kept up by food which is also earth particles in reality. Just as the wall built out of clay is kept strong by coating it with clay now and then, this body also remains healthy and strong by the atoms of food that we take. Barley, wheat, green dhal, oil, milk, curds, sugar, fruits, etc., are all mere atoms of earth only. Then which of these are we to call tasty and which non-tasty? Knowing thus you should educate your differentiating mind and try to see the one underlying thing in all and you should become serene. Serenity is the most important qualification for the attainment of Moksha.

Hearing these words of wisdom Nidagha prostrated before Ribhu and humbly said, O Revered sir! Be gracious unto me. Please reveal thy identity. I think you have come here to bless me with the true knowledge. by hearing your soul-elevating speech I am free from all delusions.

Ribhu replied, O Brahmin! I am your preceptor Ribhu. I came here to give you the knowledge of the Self by which you will be able to distinguish the real from the unreal. I take leave of you now. That which is true and which is fit to be known, I have already told you. Ever meditating on these truths may you find the whole world indwelt by the one Vasudeva! There is not even a grain of difference or duality in it.

Nidagha paid his due respects, worshipped his Guru and lived happily in the true spirit of the teachings of his Guru.


After a long number of years had rolled on, Maharshi Ribhu, in order to instruct Nidagha in the knowledge of Self, again went to Viranagar City. When he reached the city he saw that the king of the country had entered the city with a big crowd of followers. He found big crowds of men in every nook and corner of the town busily engaged in the reception of the king. Ribhu noticed Nidagha standing in a secluded place far away from the crowds with Kusa and Samidha in his hands. Nidagha was much afflicted by hunger and thirst but he could not proceed further towards his house due to the huge crowd of men obstructing his way.

Ribhu went near Nidagha and questioned him thus: Dear Brahmin! Why are you standing here alone in quite a solitary corner? Nidagha replied, Today the king of this country has come here and there is much crowd waiting upon him and I cannot push my way through the crowd. Hence I am forced to wait here.

Ribhu said, You seem to know all about this place. Please tell me who is the king and who are the others. Nidagha said, He who is seated on the huge elephant which resembles a big mountain, is the king, and the others are his courtiers who have accompanied him.

Ribhu said, Revered sir, you have described both the elephant and the king jointly and of the two I am at a loss to know who is the king and which is the elephant. You did not definitely point out or give me the description of both distinctly. That I would like to know from you. Nidagha said, Of these that which is below is the elephant and one who sits over it is the king. They have the connection of the carrier and the carried. I do not think that there is anyone who cannot understand even this.

Ribhu said, Yes, I understood that. But please tell me what the words 'below' and 'above' mean. How am I to understand which is up and which is down?

Nidagha at once got upon the shoulders of Ribhu and exclaimed, Look here, O Brahmin, hearken to me. I shall reply your query. Now I stand 'up' like the king and you stand 'down' like the elephant. This illustration I have given you practically to make you thoroughly understand what is 'up' and what is 'down'.

Ribhu said, What is 'up' and 'down'? They are relative terms. 'Up' becomes 'down' and 'down' becomes 'up' from different positions or angles of vision. You told me now that you were standing up like the king and that I was standing down like the elephant. Please tell me 'who are you? who am I?' I am very eager to know the truth of this. Hearing these words Nidagha prostrated at Ribhu's feet and said, O Lord! You are none other than Rishi Ribhu, my beloved preceptor. No one else can speak like this. You are very intelligent. You who stand in front of me are no other than Maharshi Ribhu. Pray bless me.

Then Ribhu said, O Nidagha! Once you served me with great faith and devotion and welcomed me in your house. You bestowed on me great honour. So bound by the cords of your affection I, known as Ribhu, have come to you once again to instruct you in the knowledge of the Self. O thou of high intellect! Always behold the one reality of the Self in all objects of the world. May you see oneness everywhere and not duality. Saying thus Ribhu departed.

Nidagha contemplated over the nectar-like words of his Guru and attained union with the Para Brahman. He was never again deluded by the charms of Maya. The world of duality entirely vanished and he saw the one homogeneous essence in every object from a blade of grass to the state of the Brahma.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Nature of Consciousness by Rupert Spira

Rupert Spira is one of the most lucid contemporary speakers on advaita. The below video is of his talk on the nature of consciousness. All experience appears in Consciousness, is known by Consciousness and is made of Consciousness. Contemplating experience in this way, we arrive at the inevitable conclusion that Consciousness is the sole reality of all that is. All that remains is to live the implications of this felt understanding in all realms of life.

Rupert Spira has been deeply interested in the nature of Reality from an early age. For twenty years he studied the teachings of Ouspensky, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Shankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta and Robert Adams, until he met his teacher, Francis Lucille, thirteen years ago. Francis introduced Rupert to the teaching of Jean Klein, Parmenides, Wei Wu Wei and Atmananda Krishnamenon and, more importantly, directly indicated to him the true nature of experience.

The Nature of Consciousness by Rupert Spira 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Beware of this Mistake when practicising Self Enquiry

Non-duality teacher Rupert Spira explains what practicing Self-Enquiry is really about and what mistake many people (even  experienced ones) make.

This video is downloaded from You Tube. There was a very nice comment by a reader named John, at the end of the video on that site that I reproduce below:- 

"I struggled for years and I began to practice mindfulness looking at plants, flowers, insects etc and struggled with the endless chatter and labeling of things in my mind as I was doing it but I got to where I can go one minute with just awareness, no thoughts, no labeling and the magic started to happen, just for a few seconds at a time. Only problem is when I tell loved ones and friends who have no desire to seek and understand, they think I’m crazy. Its like a part of you wants you to fail but do what I did, just keep chipping away. 

When you least expect it, it reveals itself. Some days nothing happens and when it does, for me at this stage for only a few seconds at a time but its priceless, cannot be put in words—never let that side of you that wants you to fail (it keeps planting thoughts of doubt in your mind) win. Each time you doubt, it blocks pure awareness. I can now last one minute just being awareness—I struggle with mediation but for me it’s still early days and can’t wait for more revealing. It will come, it took me more than a decade and now I’m reaping. Just keep chipping away." 

Friday, January 27, 2017

John de Ruiter Satsang: Arunachala Live Streaming

If you are not able to visit Tiruvannamalai at this time, and are eager to watch live Satsang, John de Ruiter is holding a Live Stream Satsang Programme from Thursday January 26, 2017 until Wednesday February 8, 2017. 

Live Streams and VODs with John de Ruiter from Tiruvannamalai, India January 26 – February 8, 2017. For more information go to his website at this link here

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Robert Adams Audio Satsang

'During the Fall of 1946, Robert arrived by train to the town of Tiruvannamalai, a few miles from Arunachala Mountain, where lay Ramanashram and his future teacher, Ramana Maharshi. He took a bullock cart to the Ashram, was admitted, and stayed the night. Early the next day while walking back from the mountain, towards the Ashram, he spotted Ramana walking down the path towards him. An electrifying energy coursed through his body, and the last of what men call an ego left him. He felt completely surrendered, completely open. As Ramana got closer, Robert stripped off his clothes, approached Ramana and dropped to his guru's feet. Ramana reached down grabbing Robert by his shoulder, and looked into Robert's eyes with complete love and said, 'I have been waiting for you. Get up! Get up!' Robert said had Ramana asked him to leap over a cliff at that moment, he would have done so gladly. 

Robert stayed at Ramana Ashram for a little over three years, during which time he bought a jeep for the Ashram to bring supplies from town, and helped build a large hospital at the Ashram using money from an inheritance. . . . 

During the late 1940's, Ramana was almost constantly ill with severe arthritis and other ailments, including the cancer that eventually killed him. Few visitors were allowed to stay for more than a few weeks at the Ashram, so Robert lived mostly in the caves above, which also allowed him to avoid the crowds.' 

Robert Adams

"Do not debate, discuss, interpret nor pronounce your spiritual Path; simply devote yourself heart and soul to it, day and night, with humility. One who is progressing has no desire to pronounce it. Choose one Path and take it all the way. The point is to have a Direct Experience of God. Of the Unimaginable Beauty Within . . . . Utilize this time to transcend identification with your human-hood of personal suffering completely, and the Bliss, the love of True Reality, will come shining forth. There is a world of beauty, Supernal love, compassion, bliss indescribable. With which do you identify?" 
[Robert Adams]

To view more audios go to this link here

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How to Practice Self Enquiry by Rupert Spira

Many devotees who visit Arunachala wish to learn more about Self Enquiry and how to practice it. Probably one of the most popular works available at the Ramana Ashram bookstore explaining the method of Self Enquiry is by Sri Sadhu Om. 

Nowadays there are many videos on the internet by modern day teachers and gurus talking about “techniques” of Self Enquiry. 

Probably one of the most lucid and helpful contemporary teachers of advaitism and Self Enquiry is Rupert Spira. Below is a short narrative of his life. 

Rupert lives in Oxford, U.K., where he works as a a ceramic potter whilst also holding satsang meetings and spiritual retreats worldwide.

Rupert Spira

Rupert Spira is a spiritual writer and teacher of Advaita (non duality). His first teacher was Dr. Francis Roles, and under his guidance he learnt mantra meditation and was introduced to advaitism. Concurrently he studied the works of P.D. Ouspensky and learnt about the Movements of Gurdjieff. He also attended meetings of Dr. Krishnamurti which were highly influential in his spiritual development. Throughout his spiritual endeavours he studied the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj. A meeting with Robert Adams (shortly before Adams’ death) was to lead him to his next teacher Francis Lucille. Over the next 12 years Rupert Spira immersed himself in spirituality under the guidance of Francis Lucille. Spira was later to say: 

 “I do not know what it is about the words, actions or presence of the teacher or teaching that seem to awaken this recognition of our essential nautre as it truly is and its subsequent realisation in our lives but I am eternally grateful to Francis for our friendship.” 

Rupert Spira at Satsang

There is an excellent question and answer narrative on Rupert Spira at this link. One of the questions posed to Rupert Spira is: 

Question: What do you think about Ramana’s practice of Self-enquiry? 

Answer: The natural state is simply to be, without resisting what is by inverting upon an inward self or trying to replace what is by pursuing objects in the world. However, if we think and feel that we are a separate entity, resisting and searching are unavoidable. In other words, we will be searching for the Happiness we believe is missing, rather than simply being. As such, having deeply tasted the futility of the search for Peace or Happiness in the objects of the body, mind and world, the very best we can do as this apparent entity is to explore the entity we consider ourselves to be, the one who is in search. This enquiry resolves itself in the abidance of our own Being. Thus, Self-enquiry is the highest activity that a mind that is still in search can undertake. However, Self-enquiry doesn’t end with the discovery that we are impersonal, ever-present Awareness. It continues as an impersonal activity that facilitates the realignment of the mind, body and world with the experiential understanding of ourselves as impersonal Awareness. 

Question: Would you say that a time frame is required for the teaching to mature (as in traditional Advaita and the teacher-guru relationship) or would you say some kind of understanding could arise at any time (as in Neo Advaita and the satsang formula)? 

Answer: Both! Enlightenment is always instantaneous. In fact, it is timeless, although it may or may not be preceded by a period of investigation. 

After the non-objective recognition of our own Being, a process takes place in time that re-orchestrates, as it were, the mind, body and world with this new experiential understanding. 

If there has been a long period of investigating and exploring these matters prior to the recognition of Being, the body and mind may already be well aligned with this experiential understanding so that when this recognition occurs not much adaptation is necessary. 

However, if this recognition takes place spontaneously with little or no preparation, the mind and the body may be utterly disorientated by this recognition and may, as a result, require longer to become realigned with it. 

However, there are no rules or formulas. Anything is possible. 

----- oOo -----

Below is a video of Rupert Spira answering the question. “How to practice Self Enquiry?” during one his spiritual retreats.