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deliberate effort is needed to attain that effortless state of stillness

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The Teachings of BhagavanSri Ramana Maharshiin His Own WordsCHAPTER TWOFROM



PRACTICEThis mode of reply is common to spiritual teachers. Iremember once reading the life of a Sufi saint, Abu Said, byProfessor Nicholson, in which the learned author concludedthat he seems to have taught predestination in theory but freewill in practice. Puzzling as it may be for the philosopher, thisis the attitude of all spiritual teachers, just as Christ affirmedthat not even a sparrow can fall without the will of God, andthat the very hairs on one's head are numbered, just as theQuran affirms that all knowledge and power are with Godand that He leads aright whom He will and leads astray whomHe will; and yet both Christ and the Quran exhort men toright effort and condemn sin. Bhagavan was quite categoricalthat effort is necessary. In actual life everyone realises this,whatever theoretical view he may hold. A man makes thephysical effort of putting the food in his mouth and eating;he does not say: What is the use of eating if I am predestinedto die of starvation? He makes the mental effort of earningthe money to buy food to eat. Why should he, then, apply adifferent logic when it comes to spiritual effort?A young man from Colombo, Ceylon, said to Bhagavan:J. Krishnamurthi teaches the method of effortless and choicelessawareness as distinct from that of deliberate concentration.Would Sri Bhagavan be pleased to explain how best to practisemeditation and what form the object of meditation should take?Bhagavan: Effortless and choiceless awareness is our real nature. If wecan attain that state and abide in it, that is all right. But one cannotreach it without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation. All theage-old vasanas (inherent tendencies) turn the mind outwards toexternal objects. All such thoughts have to be given up and themind turned inwards and that, for most people, requires effort. Ofcourse, every teacher and every book tells the aspirant to keepquiet, 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 ofstillness, you may take it that the necessary effort had already beenmade in a previous life. So effortless and choiceless awareness isattained only after deliberate meditation. That meditation can takewhatever form most appeals to you. See what helps you to keepout all other thoughts and adopt that for your meditation.In this connection Bhagavan quoted some verses from thegreat Tamil poet and saint, Thayumanavar, the gist of which isas follows: Bliss will ensue if you keep still, but however muchyou tell your mind this truth, it will not keep still. It is themind 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 andthough we hear it daily from the great ones and even from ourGuru, we are never quiet but stray into the world of Maya(illusion) and sense objects. That is why conscious, deliberateeffort is needed to attain that effortless state of stillness. 11 Day by Day with Bhagavan by A. Devaraja Mudaliar (5th Edition, 2002), p. 104.

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