Silence Flowing Like A Stream – Ramana Maharshi

portrait in ink – by V.N. O’Key

Silence Flowing Like a Stream
From Paul Brunton’s, Search in Secret India

“Happiness is your nature.It is not wrong to desire it.What is wrong is seeking it outside, when it is inside.” ~ The Maharshi

“We shall now go in the hall of the Maharshi,” announces the holy man
of the yellow robe, bidding me to follow him. I pause outside the
uncovered stone veranda and remove my shoes. I gather up the little
pile of fruits which I have brought as an offering, and pass into an
open doorway. Twenty brown-and-black faces flash their eyes upon us.
Their owners are squatting in half-circles on a red-tiled floor. They
are grouped at a respectful distance from the corner which lies
farthest to the right hand of the door. Apparently everyone has been
facing this corner just prior to our entry. I glance there for a
moment and perceive a seated figure upon a long white divan, but it
suffices to tell me that here indeed is the Maharshi.

The divan is but a few paces away from a broad high window in the end
wall. The light falls clearly upon the Maharshi and I can take in
every detail of his profile, for he is seated gazing rigidly through
the window in the precise direction whence we have come this morning.
His head does not move, so, thinking to catch his eye and greet him as
I offer the fruits, I move quietly over to the window, place the gift
before him, and retreat a pace or two.

A small brass brazier stands before his couch. It is filled with
burning charcoal, and a pleasant odour tells me that some aromatic
powder has been thrown on the glowing embers. Close by is an incense
burner filled with joss sticks. Threads of bluish grey smoke arise and
float in the air. I fold a thin cotton blanket upon the floor and sit
down, gazing expectantly at the silent figure in such a rigid attitude
upon the couch. The Maharshi’s body is almost nude, except for a thin,
narrow loin-cloth, but that is common enough in these parts. His skin
is slightly copper-coloured, yet quite fair in comparison with that of
the average South Indian. I judge him to be a tall man; his age
somewhere in the early fifties. His head, which is covered with
closely cropped grey hair, is well formed. The high and broad expanse
of forehead gives intellectual distinction to his personality. His
features are more European than Indian. Such is my first impression.

Pin-drop silence prevails throughout the long hall. The sage remains
perfectly still, motionless, quite undisturbed at our arrival. I look
full into the eyes of the seated figure in the hope of catching his
notice. They are dark brown, medium-sized and wide open. If he is
aware of my presence, he betrays no hint, gives no sign. His body is
supernaturally quiet, as steady as a statue. Not once does he catch my
gaze, for his eyes continue to look into remote space, and infinitely
remote it seems.

It is an ancient theory of mine that one can take the inventory of a
man’s soul from his eyes. But before those of the Maharshi I hesitate,
puzzled and baffled.

The minutes creep by with unutterable slowness. First they mount up to
a half-hour by the hermitage clock which hangs on a wall; this too
passes by and becomes a whole hour. Yet no one in the hall seems to
stir; certainly no one dares to speak. I reach a point of visual
concentration where I have forgotten the existence of all save this
silent figure on the couch. My offering of fruits remains unregarded
on the small carved table which stands before him.

There is something in this man that holds my attention as steel
filings are held by a magnet. I cannot turn my gaze away from him. My
initial bewilderment, my perplexity at being totally ignored, slowly
fade away as this strange fascination begins to grip me more firmly.
But it is not till the second hour of the uncommon scene that I become
aware of a silent, resistless change which is taking place within my
mind. One by one, the questions which I have prepared in the train
with such meticulous accuracy drop away. For it does not now seem to
matter whether they are asked or not, and it does not seem to matter
whether I solve the problems which have hitherto troubled me. I know
only that a steady river of quietness seems to be flowing near me,
that a great peace is penetrating the inner reaches of my being, and
that my thought-tortured brain is beginning to arrive at some rest.

I surrender myself to the steadily deepening sense of restfulness
until two hours have passed. The passage of time now provokes no
irritation, because I feel that the chains of mind-made problems are
being broken and thrown away.

Comes the first ripple. Someone approaches me and whispers in my ear,
“Did you not wish to question the Maharshi?” The spell is broken. As
if this infelicitous intrusion is a signal, figures rise from the
floor and begin to move about the hall, voices float up to my hearing,
and-wonder of wonders!-the dark brown eyes of the Maharshi flicker
once or twice. Then the head turns, the face moves slowly, very
slowly, and bends downward at an angle. A few more moments, and it has
brought me into the ambit of its vision. For the first time the sage’s
mysterious gaze is directed upon me. It is plain that he has now
awakened from his long trance.

The intruder, thinking perhaps that my lack of response is a sign that
I have not heard him, repeats his question aloud. But in those
lustrous eyes which are gently staring at me, I read another question,
albeit unspoken. “Can it be – is it possible – that you are still
tormented with distracting doubts when you have now glimpsed the deep
mental peace which you – and all men – may attain?”

The peace overwhelms me. I turn to the guide and answer: “No. There is
nothing I care to ask now. Another time.”

This is such a beautiful story, I thought I would share it with you all.


The Sacred Hill – Arunachela

Paul Brunton (October 21, 1898 – July 27, 1981) was probably born as Hermann Hirsch of German Jewish origin. Later he changed his name to Raphael Hurst, and then Brunton Paul and finally Paul Brunton. He was a philosopher, mystic and a  traveler.  He left a journalistic career to live among yogis, mystics, and holy men, and studied Eastern and Western esoteric teachings. Dedicating his life to an inward and spiritual quest, Brunton felt charged to communicate his experiences about what he had learned in the East to others. His works had a major influence on the spread of Eastern yoga and mysticism to the West. Taking pains to express his thoughts in lay person’s terms, Brunton was able to present what he had learned from the Orient and from ancient tradition as a living wisdom. His writings express his view that meditation and the inward quest are not exclusively for monks and hermits, but will also support those living normal, active lives in the Western world.

true teaching is always an epiphany; sometimes a clap of thunder…but often only a whisper, easily missed”

The Lord’s Prayer – Mantra And Meanings

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The High Altar, Canterbury Cathedral

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THE MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

I remember reciting the Lord’s Prayer at school. I was proud to know
the words and often made a point of ‘leading the others’. It seemed
more of a mental exercise, than a heart felt-prayer. Certainly, the
sincerity of the words was lost in the verbal per formance of morning
school assembly.

The Lord’s Prayer is beautiful. There is no doubt that the simple
words portray trust in a compassionate God. However, the prayer seems
to carry a deeper message. The meaning of which is lost in difficult
locution. Why? The Lord’s Prayer, is an important example of Jesus’
teachings. In those few words, He seems to sum up the mystery of our
existence. Surely, it is worthy of more thoughtful examination. Yet,
few Theologians have tried to decipher Jesus’s words and give a
meaningful expla nation to the prayer.

However, there is one shining light who gave much time and thought to
the Lord’s Prayer. He was the journalist and writer Paul Brunton.
Ph.D. His book ‘The Inner Reality’ offers insights into the teachings
of Jesus as understood by the philosopher. Paul Brunton, studied with
masters in the East as well as with masters of Occidental knowledge.
He had the best tutors and first hand experience. What could be
better?

Many of his books are still available but unfortunately not, ‘The
Inner Reality.’

I cannot quote verbatim, Paul’s interpretation of the Lord’s prayer.
My own less inspiring interpretation will have to do.

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Old wooden carved Rood
St Fiacra – Brittany,Fr.

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THE LORD’S PRAYER

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After this manner therefore pray ye:

OUR FATHER, WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BY THEY NAME

Jesus taught, as a guide, the words of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.

He did not mean for the prayer to become a vain repetition of words
uttered respectfully to please God. No, Jesus taught us to pray with
our hearts; that nothing must be set or fixed and formal. Prayer was
to be an outpouring of devotion to our Crea tor.

In prayer, we should utterly forget ourselves. In this self
forgetfulness is the secret of success in all prayer. For we are in
God. There is no time, no place, no state where God is not!

HALLOWED BE THY NAME

God is silent. There is no name we can give to Him. The name of God
is not one we can utter verbally. It is felt rather than addressed.
‘Hallowed be thy name means, ‘Too sacred for utter ance is thy
name’. When our thoughts and feelings have been silenced, if only for
a few seconds, we are hallowing the name of God.

THY KINGDOM COME; THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

The Kingdom of God has already come. Although it was generally
understood that Jesus was referring to a world of perfect peace, this
is not what He meant. Jesus was only interested in spiritu al things.
The world to him, was an illusory one. The Kingdom to come is not of
this earth. It is the Kingdom of Heaven, a purely intangible and
invisible kingdom which everyone must find for himself. It is in one
place alone – in the heart.

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

The ego must surrender to the self. The earth is the body and Heaven
is the peace we find by being at peace with ourselves and others.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

Jesus was not referring to the bread we eat. Most of us have plenty of
that! He was referring to ‘spiritual food,’ for the soul. What will
keep the soul alive? The daily awakening to reality and to truth.
While we remain deluded by external events and material wealth, we are
spiritually starving. To feed our selves properly, we must reflect
deeply and meditate deeply, if only for a few minutes each day.

AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS

Jesus used simple words to explain this illustration of the law of
destiny. The law of karma helps us to understand why we are here and
our duties towards ourselves and others. Karma is dissolved in
non-action. Karma is also dissolved through right action.

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER.

AMEN

We will always be tempted by something or other. We cannot remove
ourselves from temptation unless we join a monastery or convent and
even then, that only removes our body from the world, not our minds.
Jesus wanted us to face our problems with courage and faith. By
overcoming our problems we would grow in power and understanding. To
deliver us from evil, is to take away our ignorance, thereby,
dissolving our guilt. God, once found, is rarely lost again.