David Godman is the best "interpreter" of Ramana's teachings (in English), editor of Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi (Penguin paperback). Don't skip the Introduction. Its 244 pages include a glossary and index. A good place to start.
The late Arthur Osborne was a Western student of Ramana, and edited The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi (Weiser Books paperback). Not a lot was written by Ramana himself, and Osborne explains much about what was. Again, don't skip the Preface. The 192 pages include glossary and index. Ramana wrote in Tamil, and many references are to Vedanta.
These are good preparation for Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi,* some 650 brief, transcribed questions-and-answers on many topics (with students or with visitors) over about four years (late 30s). 683 pages, hardbound, with extensive glossary and index, it is best read with the above preparation. A thorough Bibliography, at the back, will lead you to choices of the many other books, of many sorts, to follow with.
The three-volume (paperback) series The Power of the Presence, compiled by David Godman, is a collection of about thirty reminiscences by various devotees of Ramana Maharshi, over a period of about fifty years.†
In a marginal way, it is a testimony to the Indians' generosity to the needy, their endurance of discomfort, their devoted service to a teacher, and their obsession with having--or wanting to have--phenomenal religious experiences (which, when they do have them, they seem to learn little from).
This (latter) is despite their guru Ramana's teachings: "What is perceived by our senses and the mind is never the truth. All 'visions' are mere mental creations. And if you believe in them, your progress ceases!
"Enquire to whom the (experiences) occur. Find out who is their witness....Don't move out of that state."
But the volumes are more directly a discovery of the aspects of Ramana's presence which one might not expect--such as the times when he chastises, cajoles or cries. There are dozens of such examples.
* The major source for his direct teachings.
† Available from Avadhuta Foundation, 1-877-282-3488; www.avadhuta.com.
Getting to know Ramana:
by Robert Wolfe on July 22nd, 2011
Posted in Living Nonduality, Nondual Teachers, Advaita Tagged with Ramana, Godwin, vedanta, books
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