Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sri Ramakrishna: A Saint In Two Worlds

"If one analyzes oneself, one doesn't find any such thing as 'I'. Take an onion, for instance. First of all you peel off the red outer skin; then you find thick white skins. Peel these off one after the other and you won't find anything inside."


"All trouble and botheration come to an end when the 'I' dies. You may indulge in thousands of reasonings but still the 'I' does not disappear. For people like you and me it is good to have the feeling, 'I am a lover of God.'"

--Sri Ramakrishna


Sri Ramakrishna was a great jnani (knower) to be able to point to the natural state in all the ways that he did. AND he was also a great bhakta (lover), as he often sang songs and prayed to God as Mother and he would usually guide aspirants to increase their own love for God.


Advaita begins where it ends. It begins by pointing to the simple fact of the natural state of pure being, pure awareness--which is the "not-two" of atman, or being-awareness as a person, and brahman, or being-awareness as infinity, as these are as they are already. And so one quite literally has nothing to attain. You are the you that you already are. And that is that.

This is the way of knowledge.


The way of love takes a different starting point. It is a point A to point B course, as firstly the existence of "I" is presumed and then this "I" sets itself on a trajectory to become more loving. One seeks to, in the words of Christ, "Love God with all of your heart, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself."

And these two ways would seem to be very different from each other.

Only are they?


To love in this way that Jesus points to is itself knowledge and to live "devoid of 'I'" in the way that Ramana Maharshi mentions in Upadesha Saram (The Essence of Instruction) is itself love.

In the absence of "I" there is no one to think or do anything. There is only the thinking and action of God beyond either description or denial.

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