The Essence of the Teachings of Ramana Maharshi
The Upadesa (Teachings) Saram (Essence), or “Essence of the Teachings”, of Ramana Maharshi is a comprehensive, practical guide to awakening to the reality that we are.
|breathing||by restraining||is absorbed||the mind|
|in a net||like a bird||for controlling||a means|
Control the breath and you control the mind, like throwing a net over a wild parrot.
If your mind is racing wildly, focus your attention on your breath. Slow and deepen your breathing and your mind will also be slowed, perhaps stilled. Remain conscious of your breath after your mind slows and you will be able to retain that stilled mind. Visualize this controlling of the mind through controlling the breath as if you were throwing a net over an excited bird or grabbing the reins of a chariot being pulled by wild horses.
Jumping branch to branch
Screeching frenzied parrot
Caught, stilled, netted
Breath stilled, mind netted
Monkey, parrot, asleep, quiet
|submergence||destruction||two||forms of control|
Calming of the mind can be either temporary or permanent.
Lasting calm can only be attained if the mind is restructured and absorbed. There are two different approaches to control the mind: a) do some activity or process to temporarily suppress the mind or b) bring about a total restructuring of the mind that dramatically and permanently changes its functioning.
In the first approach, your mind can be lost temporarily in some activity like rock-climbing, sex, chess, surfing, dancing, playing a video game, watching a movie, etc. It can also be brought about through spiritual practices like chanting, breath control, yoga, rituals, etc… Unfortunately, when the activity stops, the mind quickly reemerges and takes up where it left of. Thoughts come up like “That was great? How can I do that again?”… This is “Not it.”
In the second approach,…The “I” leaves center stage and plays a minor role, much like your senses. There is a permanent stillness with great clarity, energy, and a joyful, peaceful awareness. There is no feeling of there being something missing that could be added to improve it, or of it being possible to remove something to make it better. Thoughts fall away naturally out of lack of interest. This restructuring of the “I” does not make you non-functional, a common fear. On the contrary, a functional “i” remains which performs with higher capability. Tasks are accomplished as they emerge without attachment, fear or concern. Because the scattered, random, ceaseless thoughts, biases and agendas that previously filled your consciousness are gone, you are often the only person in the room who shows up 100%.
Mind, thoughts lost in the action
This is great! I’ve done it!
Oh no, #**! , it’s gone!
Where did it go?
How did I do that?
What do I have to do to get it again?
Action, more action, more action
Peace, still, clear, easy
Nowhere to go
Nothing to be added or taken away
No edges, no boundary
Empty fullness, full emptiness
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