Letters From Ramanashram – GREATNESS OF MAN

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THE GREATNESS OF MAN

2nd May, 1948

After writing to you the gist of yesterday’s discussion about practice of meditation and desirelessness, I wanted to give you the number of the chapter and the number of the Slokas that were quoted but could not locate them easily in the Gita. So I thought the best thing would be to ask Bhagavan himself. I went to the Asramam early in the afternoon by about 230. Not many people were there. I gave Bhagavan my copy of the Gita. Bhagavan was not only pleased to point out the Slokas but also once again explained their meaning to me. While doing so some Andhras came there in a group and sat down. One of them asked, “Swami, what is the easiest way to attain Moksha?”

Bhagavan said with a smile, “That is just what I am explaining now. As and when the mind goes astray, it should be turned inward and made to steady itself in the thought of the Self. That is the only way.”

Another said, “To do so, the repeating of the name of Rama is good, is it not?” “Certainly; it is good,” said Bhagavan. “What could be better? The greatness of the Japa (repeating) of the name of Rama is extraordinary,” and looking at me, he said, “You know the story of Namadeva. He is reported to have told one Devotee, ‘If you want to know the greatness of the name of Rama you must first know what your own name is, (Own name means one’s real nature Swarupa), who you are and how you were born. Unless you know your own origin, you will not know Your Name.’ This idea is found in the Abhangas of Namadeva written in Marathi language. Someone wrote Adhyatma Ramayana in great detail in the Malay alam language. It is stated in that book that when Anjaneya went in search of Sita, he seated himself opposite to Ravana in the Durbar Hall on a high pedestal and fearlessly spoke to him thus: ‘Oh Ravana, I give you a teaching (Upadesa) for attaining liberation (Moksha). Please listen to me carefully. It is certain that the Self (Atma) gets purified by intense devotion to Hari, who is in the lotus of the Heart at all times. The ego gets destroyed and then the sin gets destroyed. Afterwards, in its place, the knowledge of the transcendent Self emerges. With a pure mind and with the Bliss (Ananda) generated by a firm knowledge of the Self, the two letters ‘Ra’ ‘Ma’ which are like Mantras, will repeat themselves within you automatically. What more is required for a person who has this knowledge, however little it might be? Hence worship the lotus feet of Vishnu, which will remove all worldly fears, which are dear to all devotees and which shine as brightly as the light of a crore of Suns. Give up the ignorance of your mind.’ This has been mentioned in two or three Slokas in the Sanskrit Adhyatrna Ramayanam but not as elaborately as in the Malayalam text. Is the greatness of the name of Rama ordinary?

“But one thing. The method of repeating the name (Japa) must be known. In the case of all Japa it is stated ‘Pranayame Viniyogaha’ which means that the breath is to be controlled first, and then Japa should be done. In other words the mind must be controlled. Sambanda is a devotee of Siva. He explained in a verse the way to do the Japa of Panchakshari (five letters) of Lord Siva’s name. Its meaning is that one should close Navadwaras (the nine apertures of the human body, i.e. 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, mouth, anus and the organ of generation), lock them and seal them; otherwise the mind will run away. After sealing the nine doors, do Panchakshari Japa (repeating the five letters). If, by controlling the senses, the mind can be controlled, i.e. submerged, that which remains is the Self. One meditates on one’s Self and the Japa becomes one’s own Self.”

“Is that state called ‘Ajapa’?” asked someone else.

Bhagavan: “That which is repeated inwardly is ‘Ajapa’ but how could the one which is repeated by the mouth be ‘Ajapa’?”

Devotee: “Will it be possible for all people at all times to do Japa like that?”

Bhagavan: “No, it will not be possible. That is why elders have said that you should do Japa for some time, sing for a while, read, write and thus turn the mind to good deeds and prevent it from getting into bad habits. The Gita also says that one should stop the mind from wandering by practice and desirelessness. Even Japa is like that. The mind should gradually be made single-pointed while performing Japa. It is to get that single-pointedness that all the other practices have been prescribed for spiritual practice (Sadhana)”.

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