‘brahman,’ the Bliss – 1/2

Ha, finally, a gentle streak of relief seems to have descended on to the faces of the assembled august Audience, sitting on the edge of their seats for hours with knotted foreheads, wide-open eyes and mouths, waiting in tension for the next onslaught of verbal missiles. None in the Royal Assembly could answer the final question of the Challenger and that decided what was at stake for the day. The fierce war of words seems to have come to a close when the well-statured Pundit, an embodiment of Knowledge Supreme, just began to take slow and steady steps, along with a horde of his disciples, followers and admirers, towards the exit door of the Royal Court. The gathered experts started to wipe the drops of sweat on their bald pates, foreheads and chest using their upper garment as a hand towel. Rolls of murmurs and exchanges opened up among small groups of the men, cascading into unclear sounds. Some people were talking within themselves or speaking to nobody in particular as they recapitulated the dense moments and the profound depths of the discussions.

The Emperor, along with his retinue has already left the throne and disappeared behind the heavily ornamented silk screens. The servants, in their regal wear befitting the status of the Empire, are furiously busy in leading the departing nobility, placing their respective padukas (wooden slippers) with great humility in front of their feet, as if they were making an offering to the gods. In the meanwhile another battery of Royal attendants busied themselves in readying the one 1000 well-built and healthy unblemished cows whose horns are covered with golden crowns and have pouches filled with tingling gold coins in red silk bags hanging from them. The winner in the debate got them all. It was perhaps equivalent to 10 trillion $ in modern days. There was, however, only one casualty and everyone felt that it was a redemption for that suffering jIva inside that body. So no regrets.

What was the question that nobody could answer and what is the answer? The question was about the “root” from which everything “originates.” The scripture only could provide an answer and Shankara untangles and explicates it for our sake.

(To Continue … Part-2)



6 thoughts on “‘brahman,’ the Bliss – 1/2

  1. Day by Day with Bhagavan
    From the diary of
    A Devaraja Mudaliar


    Bhagavan explained how it is said in books that the highest possible happiness, which a human being can attain or which the ten grades of beings higher than man, ending with gods like Brahma can attain, is like foam in the deluging flood of the bliss of the Self.

    Imagine a man in robust health; of vigorous adult age, endowed with unsurpassed wealth and power, with intellect and all other resources, and married to a fair and faithful wife, and conceive of his happiness.

    Each higher grade of being above man is capable of a hundred-fold greater happiness than that of the grade below.

    But the highest happiness of all the eleven grades of being is only the foam in the flooding ocean of divine bliss.

  2. As if to drive his point home and then some, in Guru Vachaka Kovai (586, 588), under the editors’ heading “Meditations on the Truth”, Ramana expatiates on the ersatz bliss of the married man in robust health:

    “Those ignorant people who have not experienced the bliss of consciousness will esteem the other pleasures, said to begin with the pleasures of the despicable female sexual organ, and will be tossed about by them. Even at the moment of their death they will pine away, lusting after them, and perish. Those worthless people with minds lacking in purity will approach the pit (i.e. female genitals) from which fleshy secretions discharge and, lying trapped in it, will become objects of contempt.”

    Judging from many similar statements, Ramana was obviously repelled by the human body, especially the female version, that “fleshly lump of filth”‘ as he graphically describes it, and in his assessment of it readily dispenses with the dispassion toward sense objects, the benefit of which, he elsewhere asserts, “is the unceasing experience of the natural bliss of the peace of the self.”

  3. Thank you very much, Rick.

    I am trying to locate alternate translations of the verses desperately hoping that there is some hope left for me..(hope for what???).

    I am not a fan of Muruganar; I think he put words into the old gentleman’s mouth.


  4. I understand your dismay Shishya, but Ramana’s attitude toward things corporeal is not out of line with traditional Advaita teaching.

    As for Muruganar putting words in Ramana’s mouth, according to David Godman, Ramana went through a proof copy of Guru Vachaka Kovai and made major revisions to many of the verses. He also added a few verses of his own. After he had completed his editing work, Ramana turned his attention to the introduction that had been written by Sadhu Natanananda. There he found this statement:

    “In summary it can be said that this is a work that has come into existence to explain in great detail and in a pristine form Sri Ramana’s philosophy and its essential nature.”

    Godman says Ramana added one word to this sentence “that makes an enormous difference to its meaning”. After he had edited it, the sentence read, “… this work alone has come into existence to explain in great detail and in a pristine form Sri Ramana’s philosophy and its essential nature.”

    Godman concludes: “This interpolation by Bhagavan himself gives the highest imprimatur to this work. I would regard Guru Vachaka Kovai as the most authoritative collection of Bhagavan’s verbal teachings.”

  5. Thanks, Rick.

    I approach Godman with some caution, because I have noted contradictions and false facts(!) in his output. I am put off by his fascination with HWL Poonja, whom I cannot take seriously. Mimicking something as ill defined/understood as “enlightenment” is, IMHO, not that difficult and it is largely truth by implication or assertion in most cases. Sabda pramana is not my cup of tea.

    Regarding Muruganar and Sri Ramana, I think the very framing of an idea or issue defines and limits its scope. When Muruganar wrote his verses, he coloured the subject with his prejudices. I doubt it would even have occurred to Ramana to talk about the chastity of a prostitute. But we know Muruganar ran away from his wife so he obviously had a strong POV, to say the least.

    Sri Ramana took the verses that M wrote and laboriously polished them until they shone. But neither Godman nor anybody else has any information about the details of this process. Did Sri Ramana, for example, ever reject any of M’s verses? Was Sri Ramana a “nice” person and so accepted most of what M wrote?

    You see, Sri Ramana once “edited” a biography of himself that expanded on his family life with wife and children and DID NOT correct any of it..luckily it was caught by an attendant and scotched. When queried about the matter, Sri Ramana said words to the effect that the world is unreal anyway, so what did it matter ?

    Hope I haven’t offended anyone, not my intention at all. But in this whole business, I keep my own counsel.

    All idols have clay feet, so there.


  6. The Two Percent Solution
    by Matthew Miller

    Believe it or not, even Milton Friedman the Nobel Economist and conservative icon, was a determinist, could not “justify” free will.
    “That’s right,” Friedman said. “But that’s luck, too.”
    Was Friedman saying that character was ultimately a matter of luck—as John Rawls maintained?

    “See, the question is, what you’re really talking about, is determinism versus free will.”

    Now this was getting interesting.

    “I’m not a determinist,” I said.

    “But how can you avoid being one? In a sense we are determinists. In a sense we are and in another sense we can’t let ourselves be. But you can’t really justify free will.”

    Milton Friedman, the author of Free to Choose, isn’t sure about free will? I glanced at my tape recorder to make sure it was working.

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