Philosophy

Who am I?

“Who am I?”

This question has haunted thinkers and philosophers from the earliest times. It is the question that drove the sixteen-year-old Venkataraman to eventually become Ramana Maharishi. It is the question that pops up every now and then, only to remain unanswered. Once it is answered, the question never recurs, for one would have transcended all questions by answering that one.

So, who are we?

Essence of the Bhagavad Geeta

The Geeta exposition is essentially contained between the words 'अशोच्यान्' (BG 2.11) and 'मा शुच:' (BG 18.66). The central message is quite simply ‘grieve not’; for what really is, is of the nature of pure joy ("नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सत:"). How not to grieve is what Krishna seeks to explain.

The Bhakti Sutras of Narada: Part 4

अभिमानदम्भादिकं त्याज्यम् । ६४
64. Abandon pride, hypocrisy, etc.

तदर्पिताखिलाचारः सन् कामक्रोधाभिमानादिकं तस्मिन्नेव करणीयम् । ६५
65. Having offered all activities (to the Supreme) if (still troubled) by lust, anger, pride, etc. then offer them (to the Supreme) as well.
[The Bhagavad-Gita says, “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in yajna (worship) or give as dana (charity) or give up as tapas (austerity), dedicate that to me.” (BG 9.27)]

The Bhakti Sutras of Narada: Part 3

दुस्सङ्गः सर्वथैव त्याज्यः । ४३
43. Always avoid bad company.

कामक्रोधमोहस्मृतिभ्रंशबुद्धिनाशकारणत्वात् । ४४
44. It (evil company) is the cause for lust, anger, attachment, decline of learning, and the destruction of the intellect.

तरङ्गायिता अपीमे सङ्गात् समुद्रायन्ते । ४५
45. The ripples (of lust, anger, attachment, etc.) take the form of the ocean because of such company.

A Chat with Ramana

Ramana Maharshi (30 December 1879 – 14 April 1950) was an Indian sage. Born Venkataraman Iyer, he left home in 1896 at the age of 16 and landed at Thiruvannamalai. After years of deep tapas, he attained a state of jivanmukti (release from the bindings of the cycle of karma even when alive). An open-minded yet devout person, Ramana primarily focused on Self-inquiry as a means to exhaust ignorance and become one with the atman. Although he mostly remained silent, on occasion, he had discussions with visitors and disciples.

20 Questions with Yudhistira

In their years of exile, the Pandavas lived in the picturesque Dvaitavana abounding in beautiful trees and delicious fruits. One day, a deer carried away – between its antlers – the fire-producing sticks of a poor priest who was performing an important yajña. The priest came to the Pandavas seeking help. The five brothers took up their arms and went looking for the deer. Even after exhausting all their knowledge in hunting and combat, they were unable to catch the deer.

Conversations with a Butcher

In the Vana Parva (Book 3) of the Mahabharata, during the course of Yudhistira’s discussion with sage Markandeya, the latter narrates the story of Kaushika and Dharmavyadha. It is a wonderful episode of how a learned ascetic obtains life-lessons from an unlettered butcher in Mithila.

Following a series of incidents, Kaushika lands up at the shop of Dharmavyadha, who is busy selling deer and buffalo meat. Seeing the ascetic, Dharmavyadha rises from his seat and walks up to him. “Welcome, O holy one! Come, let us go to my house.”