Arunachala Pancharatna

Five bhakti stoked stanzas richly infused with symbology about Arunachala as Guru, written, by Sri Ramana Maharshi, at the request of the devotee, Ganapati Muni. The Muni embraced qualified advaita philosophy.

|1| Ocean of nectar, full of grace, engulfing the manifold universe with boundless light, 
O Arunacala, Self supreme, be the dawn in order that the lotus of the heart may bloom.

--Arunagiri is considered by many to be a physical embodiment of Sat - i.e. Reality. As such, it stands unmoving, radiating boundless grace. All that is needed is for the outgoing mind, bounced into action by this manifestation, to about turn.

‘By seeing Chidambaram, by being born in Kasi, or merely by thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain liberation.’ (Arunacala Mahatyam)

‘When the mind, having pure sattva as its characteristic remains attending to the aham-sphurana, which is the sign of the forthcoming direct experience of the Self, the downward facing heart becomes upward facing, blossoms and remains in the form of that (the Self); (because of this) the aforesaid attention to the source of the aham-spurana alone is the path. When thus attended to, Self, the reality, alone will remain shining in the centre of the Heart as ‘I am I’. (Sri Bhagavan’s letter to Ganapati Muni, The Mountain Path, April 1982)

As the sun shines at all times even when we cannot see it, so Arunacala, as Self alone, shines in the hearts of all living beings, irrespective of any limited perspective. As the life-giving sun seems to ‘appear’ at dawn, allowing the bud of the Lotus, at last, to burst open, the plant having matured and the murky waters having been left behind, similarly, although the grace of Arunacala is forever radiating, the knot of the heart ‘appears’ to remain tightly bound until the maturing effect of atmavicara [i.e. Self-enquiry] purifies the mind effecting the irresistible pull towards the Heart-centre, its source. Then...the boundless light of the Self shines, as universe complete, as always, as ever, as ‘I am I’. This is the dawn longed for and requested by the devotee. Grace is never conferred. It always is. When the devotee strives hard for realisation, thereby dispersing the cloud of mindstuff, boundless grace remains.

|2| In You , O Arunachala, all this, the phenomenal picture, having been created and sustained, is absorbed. 
By nature, you dance as ‘I’ in the Heart. O Lord, they call you by name ‘Heart’.

--‘Like the spider spreading out its web from its own mouth and then withdrawing it Into itself, the mind puts forth the blossom of the world and ingathers it again.

When the mind turns towards the brain and senses, forms and names are thrust out from within. and when it rests abiding in the Heart, they enter and lie buried there again.’ (Ramana Mandiram; Sri Muruganar)

I am the Self, O Gudakesa, dwelling in the Heart of all beings, I am the beginning, the middle, and also the end of all beings.’ 
(Bhagavad Gita; 10, 20)

For both the ajnani and the jnani, the universe exists. The ajnani sees the visible universe alone, in separation, whereas the Jnani understands the formless truth underlying all things, that is, the circumferenceless centre, the source of ‘I’, the base and support of the visible universe. Understanding the source of his identity, He (the Jnani) calls it ‘Heart’. This is the final goal ... Sat-Chit-Ananda [being consciousness bliss]. As long as one believes in the body/mind complex, so long the myriad universe is seen in separation. Where would the picture be without the canvas on which it is painted?

|3| He, who seeks from where the ‘I’ arises, with pure mind, turned inwards, realising his own nature, O Arunacala, 
merges in you... like the river in the sea.

--‘Do not spread out the mind inquiring “Who may you be?” and “Who he?” Turn it inward questing Steadily, keenly, “Who am I?”

Birds in the sky and fish in water dart and leave no track behind. And none can trace the path by which the sages journeyed to the Self.’ (Ramana Mandiram; Sri Muruganar)

Blazing, Sri Arunachala, a seeming insentient hill, silent, seen as the very embodiment of Siva/Paramatman, the Self of all, stands revealed, in all Its glory, to the one who enters through the purifying fire of Atmavicara [Self-enquiry].

Atmavicara is the means and the goal. The ‘I’ that rises and sets is not the real ‘I’. It is nothing more than the meandering cloud, which moves, changes, and finally empties when at last it approaches the mountain. When the mind becomes pure, it, naturally, rushes to its source, like a mountain stream rushing towards the sea, effortlessly overcoming all obstacles in its path. Atmavicara is the purifying process which rids the mind of all impurities (mindstuff). Take up the quest ‘Who am I?’ Seek the impostor (ego-"I"). In the end, he is nowhere to be found!

|4| Having rejected external objects, with breath and mind controlled, meditating on you within, 
the yogi sees the splendour, O Arunacala, and... in you... enjoys bliss.

--‘A floating body does not readily sink unless some means are adopted for making it do so. Breath-control makes the mind quiescent. The mind must be alert and meditation pursued unremittingly even when it is at peace. Then it sinks into the heart. Or the floating body might be loaded with weights and made to sink. So also association with the wise will make the mind sink into the heart. (Talks; 223)

‘Arunachala! Thou dost root out the ego of those who meditate on Thee in the Heart, Oh Arunachala!’ (The Marital Garland of Letters, v.1)

Seeking pleasure the mind floats out to object after object. In this way, it believes it will attain happiness. Having gained a quickly fading, temporary pleasure from one thing, again and again, it urgently flits to another and yet another, ever-seeking elusive happiness. Through meditation on Sri Arunachalaramana [atma vichara], in due course, one learns to abide sufficiently quiet to hold the thinker (ego-"I") and sink, once and for all.  The true nature of happiness (bliss) is Self-revealed.

“There is a space within the heart in which all space is contained within it. Fire, air, sun, moon, lightning and stars - everything exists within. When we pass beyond the mind with its measuring faculties, with its categories of time and space, we find the very ground of the universe. There all things are not dead matter as Western science has told us for so long. They are life and intelligence. Western man has been turning outwards to the world of senses for centuries and losing himself in outer space. The time has now come to turn inwards, to learn to explore the inner space within the heart, and to make that long and exciting journey to the Centre. Compared with this, the exploration of the moon and planets is the play of children.” (Daily Readings with Bede Griffiths. Darton, Longman &Tod. 1990)

|5| With mind surrendered to you, forever seeing all things as your appearance, he worships you with love for no other, 

he is victorious, O Arunachala, in you ... immersed in bliss.

--In the Narada Bhakti Sutras, ‘Narada concurs when he proclaims, ‘now that (Supreme Devotion) comes about when one rejects the visible universe (that separation which validates seeing ‘things’ as objects of the ego) and completely renounces objective attachment.’ (sutra, 35) This Bhakti is synonymous with Self realisation; it is devotion without desire.’ (MWright, Commentary on Upadesa Saram)

Q. : How does one surrender completely to the Supreme (Arunachala)? A. : If the thought arises, ‘I do this’, there is no surrender. Surrender brings an end to all effort. If you feel that you serve the Supreme, there is still no surrender. ‘The karma which takes place without effort, i.e. involuntary action, is not binding. Even a jnani is acting as seen by his bodily movements. There can be no karma without effort or without intentions (sankalpas). Therefore there are sankalpas for all. They are of two kinds (1) one, binding -- bandhu-hetu and the other (2) muktihetu -- not binding. The former must be given up and the latter must be cultivated. There is no fruit without previous karma; no karma without previous sankalpa.’ (Talks; 116)

As long as one hangs on to individuality, so long does the enjoyer and doer hold sway. He, who has truly surrendered, has no sankalpas. Give up ‘I’ and ‘Mine’. ‘Supreme Bhakti is invigorated by the strength of meditation which is facilitated when the meditator and the object of meditation are not differentiated (as in the meditation...so’ham). This Bhakti is not different from AtmavicAra (SelfEnquiry).’ (Wright, Commentary on Upadesa Saram) ‘Bhakti and Self-Enquiry are one and the same. The Self of the Advaitins is the God of the Bhaktas.’ (Talks; 274)

As in the ocean salt Dissolves and disappears, So in the body lost I lay. But now I long to be absorbed In the brightness of your Grace. Eat me as food, O Lord, Digest both Me and Mine. Convert my being wholly Into your true body, Light.’  

(Ramana Mandiram; Sri Muruganar)

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