Sanskrit for Heart
Most people, yoga adherents as well, think of the heart as being on the left side. When Mercedes De Acosta met with the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi at his ashram the Maharshi placed his right hand in the form of a fist on her right breast and said:
"Here lies the Heart, the Dynamic, Spiritual Heart. It is called Hridaya and is located on the right side of the chest and is clearly visible to the inner eye of an adept on the Spiritual Path. Through meditation you can learn to find the Self in the cave of this Heart." (see)
A staunch devotee of the Bhagavan sent a letter from England asking for an explanation as to the term Hridaya and its significance. The following is the gist of the reply written by T. K. Sundaresa Iyer and approved by the Bhagavan:
"Just as there is a cosmic center from which the whole universe arises and has its being and functions with the power or the directing energy emanating therefrom, so also is there a center within the frame of the physical body wherein we have our being. This center in the human body is in no way different from the cosmic center. It is this center in us that is called the Hridaya, the seat of Pure Consciousness, realized as Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. This is really what we call the seat of God in us.
"It is this Hridaya that is said to be different from the physical heart, regulating the blood circulation. The Hridaya has its being on the right side and is not commonly known or felt. The primary thought in us arising as 'I,' when traced to its source, ends somewhere in us and this place, where all thoughts die, where the ego has vanished, is the Hridaya. From this center is felt and enjoyed the Pure Consciousness.
"Hridaya described as 'the literal, actual, physical seat of the intuition of the Self' has the meaning explained above. Perhaps the words 'physical seat' may create some confusion. What it really means is that there is a center of Pure Consciousness in the physical body. It is related to the physical, but is not itself physical.
"The word Hridaya is a composite of hrid and ayam - "center, this". It is the center on the right, which we reach as a result of meditation (Samadhi). From the Hridaya, consciousness arises to the sahasrara through the sushumna and from there spreads out to all the parts of the body through the several 'nadis'. Then alone we become conscious of the objects around us. Man, due to the illusion that these have real existence, experiences suffering, as he strays far away from his Self. The seat from where all these arise and manifest is the Hridaya.
"Whether in sleep, joy, sorrow, fear or satisfaction, we return to this heart and that is why we feel lost to all consciousness of things around. If by meditation or Vichara we attain to our centre, the Hridaya, and thus are our real Self, we enjoy unalloyed bliss.
"In the course of tracing ourselves back to our source, when all thoughts have vanished, there arises a throb from the Hridaya on the right, manifesting as 'Aham' 'Aham'. This is the sign that Pure Consciousness is beginning to reveal itself. But that is not the end in itself. Watch wherefrom this sphurana (throbbing) arises and wait attentively and continually for the revelation of the Self. Then comes the awareness, oneness of existence.
"When we steady our breath we feel the steadying of our thoughts. Then the thoughts turn inward and melt away at a point. Watching this point, where the thoughts vanish, will also help us to merge ourselves in the Hridaya."
It is often said that when you truly need a teacher --- or that which will function in lieu of a teacher --- one (or it) will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her like the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience. Or it could be a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker, or maybe no more than a successful sales pitch by a teacher (sincere or not). It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. For whatever the reason, the saying often applies and the coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, can be found most eloquently as they all come together in the following:
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
It should be noted that Adam Osborne, who, as a young boy grew up at the Ramana ashram and the son of one of the foremost Ramana biographers Arthur Osborne, played a prominent role in the Last American Darshan as linked above.
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
AWAKENED TEACHERS FORUM
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
ON THE RAZOR'S
AUSHADHIS: Awakening and the Power of Siddhis Through Herbs
THE TWELVE YEAR RULE: The Unmanifested SAT
BHAGAVAN SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI
Compiled by V. Ganesan
Collection of anecdotes involving the Maharshi and
reminiscences by seekers, from many of which the
reader can derive spiritual lessons.
134 Pages, Paperback