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Jiva returning to its source


11   Until the jiva knows that its own essential form is matchless bliss, it will, like the musk deer, be confused.


Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 1028: The musk deer carries the fragrant musk within itself. Not knowing this fact, and believing that the fragrance comes from a source outside itself, it wanders everywhere, searching for it. In the same way, only those who are not able to realise that their own swarupa [true nature] is bliss will be bewildered, seeking sense objects, imagining that they are the source of their happiness. But those who are able to realise their swarupa properly will abide in their own state, without pursuing the world.


12   If the jiva parts company with the clarity of consciousness, it will not find intimacy anywhere else.


13   Only the unique truth of oneself can become the haven for the jiva. Other than this, no other truth exists anywhere at any time.


The cause of all misery and evil, beginning with the birth experienced by jivas, is forgetfulness of the way they came. This is illustrated by the following story.


In the hall where Bhagavan used to give darshan there was a chimney. The chimney was closed on all sides with steel mesh, except at the bottom. One day, a beautiful small bird somehow entered it and became trapped inside this chimney. The bird found itself trapped in conditions diametrically opposed to its natural environment: the vast space where it could fly freely. From the moment it entered the chimney, it was frantically struggling to escape, but all its efforts proved futile. Why? Because, forgetting the way it came, it was repeatedly trying to escape through all the closed routes. Sri Bhagavan took this opportunity to reveal a great truth:


'This bird has given up the all-pervasive space, its natural place of residence. It has been caught in this limited space, which is opposed to its nature. Not knowing how to escape from this prison, it is agitated and afraid. Like this bird, jivas have also given up their natural place of residence, the vast space of consciousness. Through the delusion of ignorance they have become trapped in the prison of the body. Without knowing how to escape, they are tormented by various afflictions. The ceaseless efforts of this bird to reach its natural place of residence are unsuccessful because they are directed upwards, the way of bondage, instead of downwards, the way it came. Similarly, the reason why the jiva’s ceaseless effort to attain freedom are unsuccessful is because they too are directed outwards, the way of bondage, instead inwards, the way they came. The natural tendency of the bird to go upwards asserts itself even in its attempt for freedom. Likewise, the natural tendency of jivas to roam outwards asserts itself even in their attempts at liberation. This is the jiva’s natural tendency. If, through true discrimination and awareness, the jiva is made to turn back from outward-directed sight to inward sight, and if it remains fixed there, it is certain that it would attain liberation in an instant.'4


14   For the jiva there is no refuge other than truth. Therefore, enquire and know your own truth, which is extremely close to you.


15   Only when the life of the jiva blossoms into Sivam will it be possible for it to attain the true love that knows no misery.


16   If the jiva is not filled with clarity, which is the prasad of the mind, what can other kinds of prasad do?


17   If the jiva remains without the suttarivu, in that state it will clearly see itself as the immaculate, pure swarupa, free from limitations.


Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 646: The revelation of grace, which does not shine when viewed through suttarivu, shines when that suttarivu perishes: ‘When I stare hard at my beloved, she looks at the ground, but when I do not look at her, she looks at me and smiles.’


The quoted material in the second half of the verse comes from Tirukkural, verse 1094.


18   Wherever the mind may roam, forgetting its own nature, its final destination is only the Self.


Arunachala Ashtakam, verse eight:


The raindrops showered down by the clouds, risen from the sea, cannot rest until they reach, despite all hindrance, once again their ocean home. The embodied soul from you proceeding may through various ways self-chosen wander aimless for a while, but cannot rest till it rejoins you, the source. A bird may hover here and there and cannot in mid-heaven stay. It must come back the way it went to find at last on earth alone its resting place. Even so, the soul must turn to you, O Aruna Hill, and merge again in you alone, ocean of bliss.5


19   The main imperative of the jiva is to absorb into the Self that objective consciousness [suttarivu] that knows the non-Self, so that ignorance is destroyed.


20   Except in mauna, wherein delusion has been completely cleared away, union with the Self is not possible for the jiva.

The slide show comprises photos of Muruganar, the author of Padamalai.

David Godman Books


Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings

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