Friday, February 20, 2009

Ramana Maharshi - essential nature of Upadesa or Spiritual instruction

Question : What is the essential nature of upadesa or spiritual instruction given by the Guru?
Ramana Maharshi - The word upadesa literally means ‘restoring an object to its proper place’. The mind of the disciple, having become differentiated from its true and primal state of Pure Being, which is the Self and which is described in the scriptures as Sat-chitananda (Being-Consciousness-Bliss), slips away therefrom and,
assuming the form of thought, constantly pursues objects of sense-gratification.

Therefore it is assailed by the vicissitudes of life and becomes weak and dispirited. Upadesa consists in the Guru restoring it to its primal state and preventing it from slipping away from the state of Pure Being, of absolute identity with the Self or, in other words, the Being of the Guru.

The word can also be understood as meaning ‘to present an apparently distant object to close view’; that is to say, it consists in the Guru showing the disciple what he had considered as distant and different from himself to be immediate and identical with himself.

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