Sonntag, 14. September 2008

18.4. Teaching through Silence

Sri Ramana was and is, first and foremost, a master who teaches through silence. His deepest teaching is found neither in his spoken answers to seekers, nor in his written works, but in his powerful silence – because the Truth transcends all words. His method of teaching is often compared to that of Dakshinamurti, who is the young Shiva, seated under a banyan tree. At his feet are his four disciples, whom he taught through silence only. He is seen as the guru of all gurus and represents the ascetic aspect of Shiva. His statue can be found in every temple in Southern Indian.

One evening, devotees asked Sri Ramana to explain the meaning of Shankara’s hymn in praise of Dakshinamurti (Dakshinamurti Stotram). They waited for his answer, but in vain. The Maharshi sat motionless on his seat, in total silence.

The intense power and peace of his presence enveloped all those present to such a degree that they sat through the night, without any of them noticing the passage of time. In this way eight hours passed by. When finally Ramana stood up to go for his morning walk, the others became aware for the first time that it was now morning. For the whole night he had been commenting upon the meaning of Shankara’s verses by his example. The next day he said to his devotees, “True Silence means abiding in the Self.”

On another occasion he explained, “Dakshinamurti, i.e., the great Shiva himself could not express the truth of the one Reality except by silence. But that silence could not be understood except by the very advanced. The others have to be told.”147

How powerful Sri Ramana’s silence was, is illustrated by the following episode, which the cook Shantamma has recorded for us, “One morning a European came in a horse carriage to the Ashram and went straight to Bhagavan. He wrote something on a piece of paper and showed it to Bhagavan. Bhagavan did not answer; instead he gazed at the stranger with unwinking eyes. The stranger was staring back at him. Then Bhagavan closed his eyes and the stranger also closed his. They stayed without moving. At mealtime the meals were served but Bhagavan would not open his eyes. Madhavaswami, the attendant, got Bhagavan`s water pot and stood ready to lead Bhagavan out of the Hall. Bhagavan would not stir. We felt afraid to go near, such was the intensity around him. His face was glowing with a strange light. The guests in the dining hall were waiting and the food before them was getting cold. Chinnaswami was talking loudly to attract Bhagavan’s attention. Even vessels were banged about, but all in vain. When the clock was striking twelve Bhagavan opened his eyes. They were glowing very brightly. Madhavaswami took up the water jug; the European got into the carriage and went away. It was the last we saw of him. We did not even get his name.”148

147 Mudaliar: Day by Day, p. 22
148 Shantamma: Eternal Bhagavan. In: Ramana Smrti, p. [83]

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