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manamenum kurangu

Date: Thu Aug 27 1998 - 11:25:36 PDT

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's stories have a quiet way of communicating

In one he talks about the difficulty a man has with his pet monkey The man
complains to a "sadhu" that the monkey doesn't seem to rest anywhere for a
minute It leaps from here to there to there and back again with no
predictability and no logical path It doesn't seem to stop for a minute
All this wild careering about is driving the man crazy The sadhu recommends
that the man buy the monkey a ladder to play on Then the monkey would have
a fixed domain and path This plan works because the monkey is happy simply
climbing up and down the ladder "Similarly", ends the story, "Ramanama is a
useful ladder on which to peg our thoughts and control the mind" This can
be practised anywhere at any time

Until we sit down for the first time to "practise meditation", we never
realise what foolish and "outta control" beings we really are There we
were, such "sensible, logical minds", and then we sit down saying "oh, you
want me not to have any thoughts? Sure, I'd like a rest myself", and then
the more we try to focus, the more the most unconnected and idiotic thoughts
chase after each other with astonishing pace Then comes the second phase
where we have more patience with the uninvited thoughts and let them come
and go "as if there are windows in the mind and thoughts can float in and
float away without disturbing us" Then we start being able to focus at
last The moments of quiet are so peacful that we get better and better at
focusing and channeling our thoughts During a series of talks on the
"Amrith Bindu Upanishad", Swami Chidananda of the Chinmaya Mission
recommended asking the question "who am I?" again and again into the
darkness and the space I find that it has the same effect as the person who
mentioned experiencing "seeing Lord Krishna as the entire universe as Arjuna
did and oneself as one speck if it"it makes one very quiet after some

Good Thoughts vs Bad Thoughts:
(Another story by Sri Ramakrishna)

A priest and a vaishya lived across the road from each other Every morning
the priest would come out to pluck tulasi from the plant in his courtyard
for his puja He would watch the goings-on outside the door of the vaishya
and sneer to himself, "h'm, such a bad woman, oh look at how she lives, what
she does, while I on the other hand," etc The vaishya would see the
priest and think "what a holy man, look at how he spends his time in prayer,
I wish I was spending all my time thinking of the Lord" At the end of=

their lives, the priest found himself in hell while the woman went to
heaven When the priest asked the Lord for an explanation, he was told their
individual merit was based on what they were thinking about all that

While the above story seems an extreme, recognizing that actions are empty
if thoughts are elsewhere is useful In this age of (mostly
useless)information and "empty noise" overload, switching off the TV is
another easy escape routeI like to think about Dhruva, and "seeing" a=

five-year-old going into the forest and being able to do "dhyanam" is a
powerful and inspiring image

"Mun seidha thavappayane, engaL, mukti tharum Madhavanai,
Bhakti seiyya kidaithadhu, mun seidha thavappayane
Ninaithaalum oru sugame, ninaindhu ninaindhu, manam kasindhu,
Kanneer uruga nanaindhaalum oru sugame"

Viji Raghunathan