The Siddha’s Lesson

This part is taken from Yoga Vasishtam in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi In the Vasishtam it is stated that Rama, after his return from a pilgrimage, found that the whole world was full of misery and that bearing the body was itself a cause of misery. He, therefore left everything, even things like eating and drinking, and remained motionless. When Viswamitra asked Dasaratha to send Rama to guard his oblations ceremony (yagna), Dasaratha said that Rama was like a mad man and described some of the signs of his madness. On hearing them, Viswamitra said that he was very pleased to hear of those symptoms, that such madness did not come to many people and that he would like to see him and asked for him to be brought. Rama accordingly came, prostrated before all those present and sat down. Viswamitra saw him and asked him the cause of his madness, and addressing Vasishta, said, “Please teach Rama the knowledge of the Self, the knowledge which Brahma taught you and me.” Vasishta agreed to do so. While he was teaching, siddhas from all over came to listen to him and they thought to themselves, “Rama has gained so much knowledge at such a young age. How surprising! How great! What is the use of our living so...

One Pointedness

This part is taken from Yoga Vasishtam in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi A visitor wrote some questions in Tamil and presented them to Bhagavan. Bhagavan said, “He wants to know how to turn the mind from sense enjoyments and realise that bliss which is said to be so much above sense enjoyments. There is only one way – making the mind merge in That which is above sense enjoyments. As you concentrate on that, the sense attractions will fall of their own accord. Again he asked, ‘When can I attain that bliss?’ We are daily enjoying that bliss in sleep. We have not to attain bliss. We are bliss itself. Bliss is another name for us. It is our nature. Merging of the mind alone is necessary. After a pause Bhagavan added, “The story of Indra and Ahalya in Yoga Vasishta clearly illustrates how, by the force of the mind being merged in the one Reality, all other things will cease to affect one.” Ahalya,the wife of a king, falls in love with a rake called Indra. The matter reaches the king’s ears and attains the magnitude of a great public scandal. The king then orders the couple to be put through various cruel tortures. But neither of them is affected by the tortures. Their faces do not even show a twitch of pain but are blissfully smiling at each other. The king, baffled by all this, asks them what the secret of their strength and resistance is. They say, “What! Don’t you know? We are looking at each other, and so engrossed are we with each...

Universal Equality

This part is taken from Yoga Vasishtam in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi In the course of a conversation about Sri Bhagavan’s life in Madurai, Sri Bhagavan recalled, “If my aunt began preparing appalams, or the like, she would call me and ask me to put my hand on it first. She had great faith in me, because I used to do everything according to her wishes and never told lies. I had to tell only one lie and that was when I came here.” A devotee then said, “It means that for doing a great thing, sometimes a lie has to be told!” Sri Bhagavan replied, “Yes. When it is for the welfare of the world and when the situation demands it, it has to be done. It cannot be helped. Where is the question of telling a lie? Some force makes one say so. So long as there is purpose there is need of action. When there is no purpose, we can avoid action in the same way as was done by the sage in the story of the sage and the hunter in Yoga Vasishtam.” Full of curiosity the devotee asked, “What is that story?” In a forest, a sage sat motionless and in silence. His eyes however were open. A hunter hit a deer and as it was running away, he began pursuing it. When he saw the sage he stopped. The deer had run in front of the sage and hidden itself in a bush nearby. The hunter could not see it and so asked the sage “Swami, my deer has come running this way. Please...

Alms for a King

This part is taken from Yoga Vasishtam in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi In Vasishtam,there is a story about Bhagiratha, before he brought the Ganges down to the earth. He was an emperor but the empire seemed to him a great burden because of Atmajignasa (Self-enquiry). In accordance with the advice of his guru and on the pretext of a Yagna (sacrifice), he gave away all his wealth and other possessions. No one would, however take the empire. So he invited the neighbouring king who was an enemy and who was waiting for a suitable opportunity and gifted away the empire to him. The only thing that remained to be done was leaving the country. He left at midnight in disguise, lay in hiding during day time in other countries so as not to be recognised and went about begging at night. Ultimately he felt confident that his mind had matured sufficiently to be free from egoism. Then he decided to go to his native place and there went out begging in all the streets. As he was not recognised by anyone, he went one day to the palace itself. The watchman recognised him, made obeisance and informed the king about it, shivering with fear. The king came in a great hurry and requested him (Bhagiratha) to accept the kingdom back, but Bhagiratha did not agree. “Will you give me alms or not?”, he asked. As there was no other alternative, they gave him alms and he went away highly pleased. Subsequently he became the king of some other country for some reason and when the king...

The Charm of Self-Realisation

This part is taken from Yoga Vasishtam in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi A Swiss lady: Does Self-realisation imply occult powers also? M: The Self is the most intimate and eternal Being whereas the siddhis are foreign. The latter requires effort to acquire while the former does not. The powers are sought by the mind which must be kept alert, whereas the Self is realised when the mind is destroyed. These powers may be sought and gained even after Self-realisation. But then they are used for a definite purpose, i.e. the benefit of others as in the case of Chudala. King Sikidvaja and Queen Chudala ruled the kingdom of Malava. Chudala regularly practised meditation in the silent hours. In due course she realised the Absolute Truth and her face shone brightly and became much more beautiful than before. The king observing this asked her the reason. The queen replied that it was due to her realisation of Truth. The king laughed at her, thinking that realisation was possible only through severe austerities and could never be gained while living in a palace. He wanted to leave the kingdom and practise tapas in the forest so that he could gain Realisation. The queen tried to dissuade him and suggested that he could carry on the tapas in the palace itself and rule the kingdom as well. Refusing to act on her advice, he went to the forest and performed hard penance. The queen was ruling the kingdom in the king’s absence. The queen taking pity on her husband and anxious to rescue him from the mire of delusion, practised siddhis and...