Eight Verses on Arunachala
By Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
Ah! What a wonder! It stands as an Insentient Hill made of rocks and stones. But its actions filled with Grace are mysterious, that no one can understand, past human understanding. From the age of innocence as a child, it had shone within my mind that Arunachala was something of surpassing grandeur beyond everything. But even when I came to know through another person that it was the same as Tiruvannamalai, I did not realize its real meaning. When it lured me and drew me up to it, stilling my mind, and I came close to it, I saw this Arunachala standing unmoving in the form of a hill.
When I saw the unmoving form of this Hill, and when I turned within and enquired “Who is the seer?”, I saw the Real Self existing without the ego as the seer. No “I” as the ego arose to say, ‘I saw that’. How then could the thought ‘I did not see’ arise? In the ancient days, You Yourself conveyed Your transcendent state as Dakshinamurti in Silence. Who is there now with the capability to explain this divine state in words? Only to convey this, You stand as a Hill, shining from heaven to earth.
When I approach You, considering You as having a form, You stand in this universe as Arunachala in the form of a Hill. To contemplate on You with the mind, and look for Your essential form as formless, is like one who travels all over the earth to see the ever-present, all-pervading space. While dwelling without thought upon Your Real boundless nature, the mind loses its separate form (identity), like a doll of sugar that wants to see the depth of the ocean, but melts when it comes in contact with the ocean. And when I enquire within and come to realize my Real Self, where is a separate form (identity) for me, Oh You who stands as the towering Arunachala Hill !
To search for God while ignoring You, who is the all-pervading Being-Consciousness, is like going with a lamp searching for darkness. Only to make Yourself known as the illuminating Being-Consciousness, You appear in different religions as the God of those religions. Those who do not realize You who shines like this, they are indeed those who were born blind who cannot see the Sun. Oh unparalleled, self-shining, brilliant gem, Arunachala! Abide and shine as my Self, as one without a second!
As the string in a necklace of gems, it is the non-dual You in Your unity, who penetrates all the diversity of Life in all beings and the God of each religion. Like a gem that it is cut and polished, if the (impure) mind is worked against the wheel of the (pure) mind to free itself of its flaws, it will take on the light of Your Grace and shine like a sparkling gem. A mind that has attained such brilliance will have no attachment to anything else, unaffected by any external object. When once a photographic plate has been exposed to the sun, can it receive impressions afterwards? Oh great, dazzling Aruna Hill! Is there anything apart from You?
You are Yourself the One Being, ever aware as the self-luminous Heart! In You there is a mysterious, wonderful power (shakti) which is not apart from You. From it proceeds the phantom of the mind, emitting its latent subtle dark mists of memories, which illumined by Your light reflected on them, appear within as though whirling in the vortices, or whirlwinds of Prarabdha. Later developing into the psychic worlds and reflected like a mirror within, they are then projected externally as the material world and transformed into concrete objects which are magnified by the outgoing senses and move about like pictures in a cinema show. These pictures, whether they appear or disappear, they are not different from you, Oh Hill of Grace!
When there is no I-thought, then there will be no other thought. Until that time, when other thoughts arise, (asking), ‘To whom?’ (will call forth the reply), ‘To me.’ He who pursues this closely, questioning ‘What is the origin of the I?’ and diving inwards reaches the seat of the mind (within) the Heart, becomes the sovereign Lord of the Universe. O boundless ocean of Grace and effulgence called Arunachala, dancing motionless within the court of the Heart! There is no (longer any) dream of such dualities as in and out, right and wrong, birth and death, pleasure and pain, or light and darkness.
The waters rise up from the sea as clouds, then fall as rain and run back to the sea in streams; nothing can keep them from returning to their source. Likewise the Jiva rising up from You cannot be kept from joining You again, though it may stray many times along the way. A bird which rises from the earth and soars into the sky can find no place of rest except the earth. So indeed must all retrace their path, and when the jiva finds its way back to its source, it will sink and be merged in You, O Arunachala, You the Ocean of Bliss!