I only know two tools that work for Awakening: self-observation – which is the investigation of the ephemeral nature of the ego, of the temporary and voluble nature of the “I” – and devotion. I would rather say that it is curious to deal with this self-observation, this investigation of the nature of maya, of illusion, of ego, because, in my case, the element which has predominated at the most in this work here (in this body-mind) was devotion.
I have never been interested in knowing the theoretical and theological aspects of this subject. I had never read about it, I had never heard about it, which has proved me to be very worth, because I have always been taken by surprise within this process, this work of Awakening, and it was like this until the end.
The most direct way to realize This is the complete trust in the Guru, it is the maturity of dealing with God in the form of the Guru. But when you have this maturity, you do not argue with the Guru, because you do not doubt Him. You do not question Him, do not question His love for you. I have already seen many of you arguing with me. So, it has to be through the path of self-investigation.
The path of self-inquiry is the path of the mistrust, the doubt, the fear of surrender, the stubbornness, the intellect. The path of devotion is the path of the heart, of surrender, of non-doubt, of the certainty before the Sacred. A path like this is naive for sure. It reminds a child that until a certain age trusts in the father and mother so much.
So, this thing of dealing with the Guru, this might be like this for the devotee. The non-devotee, that disciple “placed in the head” - who tries to capture this via intellect – keeps saying: “Should I go? Should not? I wonder this is it! I wonder this is not! Should I trust? Should I not trust?”
Then, he end up discussing with the Guru. The path of devotion is much more direct, but It is much more risky, It can even lead to death, quick death [of the ego]. My path with my Master did not have many mishaps, but if this trusting code is broken, that password is broken; so there is no longer any way to access it.
Self-inquiry is a very arid, very dry, a very impersonal thing. It is a great tool! Devotion is such a very warm, a very personal thing, a thing more intimate. Ramana even said that the Sage is the real devotee. For you, who is God? Who is this Consciousness? Who is this Presence? Who is the Guru? Do not speak to me from a theoretical, verbal, intellectual point of view expressing advaita concepts. Ramana was a clear example of a Sage (jnani) and a devotee.
[Master starts reading a talk from Robert Adams]
“Ramana Maharshi has always said that devotion, faith and self-inquiry are one and the same thing. You cannot just have dry self-enquiry, you have to feel the love, you have to feel devotion, you have to put God first.”
“Unless you put God first, you will only have dry words. And the words will give you a keen intellect. You will be able to recite all sorts of things, memorize books, listen to speeches and remember that, but you will really never awaken. That is why sometimes Advaita Vedanta can be dangerous for some people. However, if they actually read the books about Advaita Vedanta, they will understand that they have to develop a tremendous faith.
“Think about some teachers you know or have heard about. Nisargadatta... He always prayed. He realized He was Consciousness. He was self-realized, but at the same time He chanted, prayed, had devotion. It seems a contradiction because you may say: “If someone is Self-realized and knows that is everything that exists, to whom does He pray?” Try to remember that the whole spiritual life is a contradiction. It is a contradiction because words cannot explain This. Even when you are the Self, you can pray for the Self, which is you.
“Ramana Maharshi always had chanting at the ashram, prayers, devotional hymns. These things are very important. Many westerners, who profess to be atheists, come to listen to lectures on Advaita Vedanta, and yet nothing ever happens in their lives. As long as you do not have devotion, faith, love, discrimination, dispassion, it will be very difﬁcult to awaken.” [Robert Adams].
Robert Adams attained Self-realization when He was fourteen years old while taking a math test in a classroom. When He was a baby, He saw a pygmy in his crib. When He grew up a little more He found a book on the shelf of a bookstore and recognized the pygmy that used to talk to him on the crib.
That pigmy spoke to him until He was seven years old, and at that moment He saw His picture in the book. Look at the pygmy that appeared to him since He was a baby and "have worked" with him until He was seven years old. [Master points at a photo of Ramana Maharshi]
After the age of 14, Robert Adams went to see Joel Goldsmith, who sent him to Yogananda. When He met Yogananda, Yoganand told him, "I am not your Guru. Go after your Guru, He is in India." Then, at the age of eighteen He went to India and spent three years with Ramana. In the last three years of Ramana's life, He was at His feet.
Learning with the Guru to chant, to pray, to do puja, to give his life to Him, to God is a great tool. When there were no musicians, Robert Adams would put devotional records on a phonograph. One day they asked: Why do you always put these songs for us to listen? He replied: “You must listen to these songs, you are very dry, you need to get a little wetter.” He went on saying: “When a seed is in the soil, it does not bud, it does not germinate. The earth must be moist. It is necessary to make the soil wet. Your hearts are like this. You are very dry, an arid land. No seed can germinate there. So I want you to learn how to pray and to chant.”
* Transcribed from a speech during the retreat of New Year's Eve 2016-2017 at Ramanashram Gualberto in the city of Campos do Jordão, Brazil - Access our agenda and set up to be with us. Visit our website: www.mestregualberto.com – Also take part in our online meetings - download the Paltalk app on your computer or smartphone – and search the room: satsang marcos gualberto. It is always open at 10:00 p.m. (Brazilian time – GMT-3) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.