A Devotee asks Sri Ramana Maharshi: How to overcome regrets?
Maharshi replies: By practice. D.: What kind of practice?
Maharshi: Meditation. D.: Mind is not steady while meditating.
M.: It will be all right by practice. D.: Shall we add prayers, etc.?
Maharshi: Yes. (from Talks #377 p. 356, 22nd March 1937)
"O Pure Virgin" in adoration of the Mother of God
by St. Nectarios, who received in a vision
from an angel of the Lord this hymn,
where the angel declared:
“This is how we praise the Most Holy Mother of God.”
Refrain: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
O Virgin pure, immaculate/ O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all/ and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun/ and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses/ superior to Angels.
Much brighter than the firmament/ and purer than the sun's light
More holy than the multitude/ of all the heav'nly armies.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and Queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon'rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim/ and greater than angelic thrones.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
Rejoice, O song of Cherubim/ Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim/ the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word/ flow'r of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise/ of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life/ the fount of immortality.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all/ I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one/ O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently/ O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me/ protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!
“Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation,
O sacred chamber of the Word, flower of incorruption.
Assist me and deliver me, protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor of blessed life eternal.”
O Pure Virgin Mary
Master: “This second view is held in the Devi Purana. According to it, Kali Herself has become Krishna; but what difference does it make? God is infinite, and infinite are the ways to find Him.”
M. remained silent with wonder for a few moments and then said: “Oh, now I understand. As you say, the important thing is to climb to the roof. Our goal will be achieved if we can accomplish it by following any of the means - a rope or a pole.”
Master: “It is through the grace of God that you have understood that. Without His grace doubt is never cleared up. The important thing is somehow to cultivate devotion to God and love for Him. What is the use of knowing many things? It is enough to cultivate love for God by following any of the paths. When you have this love, you are sure to attain God. Afterwards, if it is necessary, God will explain everything to you and tell you about the other paths as well. It is enough for you to develop love for God. You have no need of many opinions and discussions. You have come to the orchard to eat mangoes. Enjoy them to your heart’s content. You don’t need to count the branches and leaves on the trees. It is wise to follow the attitude of Hanuman: ‘I do not know the day of the week, the phase of the moon, or the position of the stars; I only contemplate Rama.’”
"A devotee can know everything when God's grace descends on him. If you but realize Him, you will be able to know all about Him. You should somehow meet the master of the house and become acquainted with him; then he himself will tell you how many houses he owns and all about his gardens and government securities."
Devotee: "How does one receive the grace of God?"
Master: "Constantly you have to chant the name and glories of God and give up worldly thoughts as much as you can. With the greatest effort you may try to bring water into your field for your crops, but it may all leak out through holes in the ridges. Then all your efforts to bring water by digging a canal will be futile."
"You will feel restless for God when your heart becomes pure and your mind free from attachment to the things of the world. Then alone will your prayer reach God. A telegraph wire cannot carry messages if it has a break or some other defect."
"One must not cherish any desire whatever. The devotion of a man who has any desire is selfish. But desireless devotion is love for its own sake. You may love me or not, but I love You. This is love for its own sake.”
From the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
Grace of God Alone Clears up All Doubt
Love of God for its Own Sake
“Sri Bhagavan spoke and wrote most about the vichara or Self-enquiry,
and therefore the opinion arose that He prescribed only jnana-marga, the Path of Knowledge, which most people find too sheer in this age.
But in fact He was universal
and provided guidance for every temperament,
by the path of Devotion no less than of Knowledge.
Love and devotion to Him are a bridge across the abyss to salvation.
He had many devotees for whom he prescribed no other path.”
(Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, Arthur Osborne, page 174.)
Though it is true that the path of bhakti (devotion) does not suit the temperament of all spiritual aspirants, it is undeniable that thinking of God, thinking of the “feet of the Lord”, does attract His grace. Whether devotion is achieved through bhakti or jnana, when the grace of God dawns upon us, our devotion deepens into love of Him. The love of God is the key that opens for us all knowledge, peace and purity.
This key is the keen and lively awareness and our patient endurance, while waiting on the Lord, which we have developed by persistently weathering out the storms of thought that mercilessly attempted to turn our attention outwards.*
* Practical Sadhana, from the Teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Page 83.
"Love and devotion to Him are a bridge
across the abyss to salvation."
A young man from Colombo, Ceylon, said to Bhagavan: J. Krishnamurthi teaches the method of effortless and choiceless awareness as distinct from that of deliberate concentration. Would Sri Bhagavan be pleased to explain how best to practise meditation and what form the object of meditation should take?
B.: Effortless and choiceless awareness is our real nature. If we can attain that state and abide in it, that is all right. But one cannot reach it without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation. All the age-old vasanas (inherent tendencies) turn the mind outwards to external objects. All such thoughts have to be given up and the mind turned inwards and that, for most people, requires effort. Of course, every teacher and every book tells the aspirant to keep quiet, but it is not easy to do so. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if we find somebody who has achieved this supreme state of stillness, you may take it that the necessary effort had already been made in a previous life. So effortless and choiceless awareness is attained only after deliberate meditation. That meditation can take whatever form most appeals to you. See what helps you to keep out all other thoughts and adopt that for your meditation.
In this connection Bhagavan quoted some verses from the great Tamil poet and saint, Thayumanavar, the gist of which is as follows: Bliss will ensue if you keep still, but however much you tell your mind this truth, it will not keep still. It is the mind that tells the mind to be still in order for it to attain bliss, but it will not do it. Though all the scriptures have said it and though we hear it daily from the great ones and even from our Guru, we are never quiet but stray into the world of Maya (illusion) and sense objects. That is why conscious, deliberate effort is needed to attain that effortless state of stillness.
Indeed, until the supreme, effortless state is attained, it is impossible for a man not to make effort. His own nature compels him to, just as Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita told Arjuna that his own nature would compel him to fight.
D.: I want to be further enlightened. Should I try to make no effort at all?
B.: Now it is impossible for you to be without effort. When you go deeper, it is impossible for you to make effort.
D.: What is the difference between meditation and samadhi or absorption in the Self?
B.: Meditation is initiated and sustained by a conscious effort of the mind. When such effort entirely subsides, it is called samadhi.
B.: If you can keep still without engaging in any other pursuits, well and good. But if that cannot be done, what is the use of remaining inactive only with regard to realisation? So long as you are obliged to be active, do not give up the attempt to realize the Self."
"Meditation is a fight. As soon as you begin meditation, other thoughts will crowd together, gather force and try to overwhelm the single thought to which you try to hold. This thought must gradually gain strength by repeated practice. When it has grown strong, the other thoughts will be put to flight. This is the battle always going on in meditation.
"So long as the ego lasts, effort is necessary. When the ego ceases to exist, actions become spontaneous.
"No one succeeds without effort. Mind control is not your birthright. The few who succeed owe their success to their perseverance."
Bhagavan: "So effortless and choiceless awareness is attained only after deliberate meditation. That meditation can take whatever form most appeals to you. See what helps you to keep out all other thoughts and adopt that for your meditation."
Devotee: It is said that only those who are chosen for Self- realisation obtain it. That is rather discouraging.
Bhagavan: That only means that we cannot attain realisation of the Self by our own mind, unaided by God’s grace.
from Sri Ramana Maharshi in The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words by Arthur Osborne pp. 64-66
Meditation is a Fight!
"No one succeeds without effort. Mind control is not your birthright. The few who succeed owe their success to their perseverance" Sri Ramana Maharshi
As St. Therese of Lisieux was embracing her final illness,
the infirmarian found her awake, gazing toward Heaven.
"What are you doing? You ought to be trying to sleep."
"I can't, Sister, I am suffering too much for that, so I pray."
"What do you say to Jesus?"
"Nothing, I just love Him."
At half past two on September 30, she told Mother Agnes,
“The chalice, Mother, is full to overflowing.
I could not have believed one could bear so much and can explain it only by my great desire to save souls.
Thy will be done, My God, but have mercy on me;
sweet Virgin Mary, aid me.”
The Story of a Soul