Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Ramana Maharshi describes the way to know God as formless

Sri Arunachala Ashtakam (Eight verses in praise of Arunachala)Verse 3:

When I approach thinking of You (the Supreme Reality) as a form, You stand as a Hill on earth. If one thinks of (or meditates upon) Your form (Your real nature) as formless, one is like someone who wanders about the world in order to see the sky. Therefore, instead of trying to meditate upon You thus), when without thinking one,thinks of Your (Real) form (the existence-consciousness ‘I am’) (one’s) form (or separate individuaity) will cease to exist like a sugar-form placed in the ocean. When I know myself, what else is my form (but you)? You, who were existing as the great Aruna Hill, (alone) are (and I, the separate individual, am not).

Note : “If oneself is a form (the body), the world and God will also be likewise …….”, says Sri Bhagavan in verse 4 of Ulladu Narpadu. That is, so long as we feel the name and form of a body to be 'I', we cannot know God as anything but a name and form. Since meditation can be done only by the mind, and since the mind is that which feels I am the form of this body’, meditation can be done only upon a form. Since all thoughts are nothing but forms, even the thought that God is formless is itself a form. Therefore it is impossible for the mind to do formless meditation or Nirguna-dhyana. That is why Sri Bhagavan says in the second line of this verse, if one thinks of (or meditates upon) your form as formless, one is like someone who wanders about the world in order to see the sky”.

How then is one to know God as formless, as He really is? Only if we remain without thought - without even the first thought ‘I am this body, I am so-and-so’, can we realize God as formless. How to remain thus without even the first thought ‘I’? The only way is to attend to Self, because when the attention is withdrawn from all second and third person objects and fixed on the mere feeling 'I',no thought can rise. Such self-attention is what is denoted here by the words, "when without thinking one thinks of Your (Real) Form (the existence-consciousness 'I am')". When, by thus attending to 'I', one remains without thought, the form of the mind (the feeling 'I am this body') will cease to exist, and the formless reality of God or Arunachala will then be experienced as it is.

Source: Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam Meaning By Sri Sadhu Om Translation By Michael James

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