Bhagavan: These questions [about seeing Siva in visions] arise because you have limited the Self to the body; only then the ideas of within and without, of the subject and the object, arise. The objective visions have no intrinsic value. Even if they are everlasting, they cannot satisfy the person. Uma has Siva always with Her. Both together form Ardhanariswara. Yet she wanted to know Siva in His true nature. She made tapas. In her dhyana she saw a bright light. She thought, ‘This cannot be Siva for it is within the compass of my vision. I am greater than this light.’ So she resumed her tapas. Stillness prevailed. She then realised the BE-ing is Siva in His true nature.
Muruganar cited Appar’s stanza: ‘To remove my darkness and give me light, Thy grace must work through ME only.’
Sri Bhagavan mentioned Sri Manikkavachagar’s: ‘We do bhajans and the rest. But we have not seen nor heard of those who had seen Thee.’
‘One cannot see God and yet retain individuality. The seer and the seen unite into one Being. There is no cogniser nor cognition, nor the cognised. All merge into one Supreme Siva only!’ (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 450)
Apart from the claims of the learned ones
who say: ‘In all the elements You dwell!’
who dance and sing: ‘You come not, neither do You go!’,
we have neither known nor heard of anyone
who has seen You or has known You.
King of Perunturai, that cool rice fields surround!
You whom even thought is powerless to reach!
You who come before us, abolishing our flaws,
subjecting us to Your compassion’s rule, our Lord,
Arise from Your couch, in grace, come forth! (‘Tirupalliezhuchi’, verse 5)
Devaraja Mudaliar: Bhagavan would frequently refer to the seventh stanza [of ‘Koyil Tirupatikam’], especially to the line, ‘Approaching and approaching, getting reduced into an atom, and finally becoming one [with the Absolute,]’ and also to the tenth stanza. (My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, p. 52)
Muruganar used the same image to describe the way that Bhagavan eroded his own ego: ‘Radiant Padam [Bhagavan] destroyed my ego, demolishing it over and over again. It wore it down and down, smaller and smaller, to the size of an atom, until it became one with itself.’ (Padamalai, p. 349) Bhagavan also mentioned the first part of this Tiruvachakam verse when he was speaking to G. V. Subbaramayya. (Sri Ramana Reminiscences, 1967 ed., p. 96)
There you stood, Your nature manifest,
granting me this day Your grace,
rising like a sun within my heart,
driving out the darkness of ignorance.
My thoughts upon that nature dwelt
till thoughts there were no more.
There is nothing else other than You.
Approaching and approaching,
I became worn down to an atom,
then worn away till I was one with Him.
Hail Siva, dwelling in Holy Perunturai!
There is nothing that You are,
yet without You nothing is!
Who indeed can know You? (‘Koyil Tirupatikam’, verse 7)
The tenth verse that Devaraja Mudaliar referred to will appear later in this article. The sentiments expressed in the last verse (‘Koyil Tirupatikam’, verse 7) were also mentioned in the following discussion:
Bhagavan continued to speak of the dvaitism of the Vaishnavites and quoted the Nammalvar song beginning ‘Yaane ennai …,’ the gist of which is: ‘Not knowing myself, I went about saying “I” and “mine”. Then I discovered that “I” is “You” and “mine” was “Yours,” O God.’
He [Bhagavan] said, ‘This is clear advaita but these Vaishnavites would give it some interpretation to make it accord with their feeling of duality. They hold that they must exist and God must exist, but how is that possible? It seems that they must all remain forever doing service in Vaikunta, but how many of them are to do service, and where would there be room for all the Vaishnavites?’
Bhagavan said this laughing, and then after a pause he added, ‘On the other hand advaita does not mean that a man must always sit in samadhi and never engage in action. Many things are necessary to keep up the life of the body, and action can never be avoided. Nor is bhakti ruled out in advaita. Sankara is rightly regarded as the foremost exponent of advaita, and yet look at the number of shrines he visited (action) and the devotional songs he wrote.’
Bhagavan then gave further quotations from the eighth ‘Decad’ of Thiruvoymozhi to show that some of the Vaishnavite Alwars had clearly endorsed advaita. He particularly emphasised the third stanza where it says: ‘I was lost in Him or in That,’ and the fifth which is very like the Tiruvachakam stanza that says the ego got attenuated more and more and was extinguished in the Self. (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 27th June 1946)
To attain through His grace, He who is unique among those who are elevated in jnana, I established Him in my consciousness. That too was due to His sweet grace. To gain the jnana that the mind, the prana, the body and the rest of the [apparently] indestructible entities are flawed, I crawled strenuously to the very end, till my ego was extinguished in Him.
Having realised myself the one enduring [reality], there is nothing in its attribute-free subtle nature for anyone to know in an objective way as ‘this’ or ‘that’. Even to see it is impossible. Impossible to know as either good or evil, it totally transcends objective knowledge. Approaching and approaching It, and being worn away more and more, I was destroyed without any residue. (Thiruvoymozhi, by Nammalvar, 8.8.3 and 8.8.5)