February 2013

To derive a sense of lasting joy, give the mind a new direction. Change the direction of your thoughts; make them divine. – Chinmaya

Man is constantly seeking lasting joy – beyond the sky, beneath the ocean, within the earth, within the atom… But alas, nowhere is lasting joy found.

The one who has searched everywhere, has experimented with everything life can offer, and has been disappointed completely, is considered the fit student of spirituality, says Mundakopanishad. The world can allure him no more, as this matured seeker of Truth comes to these following conclusions about the pleasures that life can promise:

1) Worldly joy is uncertain:

This is so because the results are uncertain. The one who depends on the results for happiness will surely have to go through fear, anxiety, worry, stress etc. If you connect happiness with something uncertain, your happiness also becomes uncertain, says the laws of nature!

2) Worldly joy is finite:

What we seek is infinite happiness.

3) Worldly joy is impermanent: Even if we gain the object of desire, the happiness can last as long as the sense object remains in contact with the senses. Both of them being impermanent, the happiness derived cannot be the reverse.

4) Worldly joy drains out the physical vitalities:

No gain, no pain. For every pleasure enjoyed, there is a price to be paid in terms of weakened body and the senses.

5) Worldly joy makes us a slave of the mind:

Every time one goes through indulgence, the vasanas become strong. The cravings of the mind increase. A mind filled with intense cravings compels us to yield to all temptations.

6) Worldly joy makes the intellect dull and inefficient:

Intellect is the faculty which helps us take the right decisions in life. Intense attachments cloud the intellect, making us incapable of discriminating between right and wrong.

7) The belief that joy comes from the world is a myth:

True, though difficult to accept! When we get what we desired, the anxious, worrying, doubting mind becomes quiet. The happiness is experienced, not because of object, but because of the quietened mind! The source of joy is not the outer world but our own mind. Once a person comes to this conclusion in life, the extroverted worldly man in him dies, and the inward-looking spiritual seeker is born.

This story is about a silent sage, Tinnai Swami, an ardent devotee of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. His birth centenary was observed recently on 12-12-2012.

Sri Tinnai Swami was born in Coimbatore on 12th December 1912 in a family of lawyers and doctors belonging to a Telugu Brahmin community. As a young man, he was employed as a biochemist in Madras Medical College, during which time he married and had four children.

In the mid– 1940’s, he came to Tiruvannamalai on three occasions to have darshan of Bhagavan.

One day, he approached Sri Bhagavan and asked permission to leave for Pondicherry to apply for a job, to which Bhagavan replied, “Iru”(Stay/Wait/Be).

Sri Tinnai Swami obeyed both colloquial meaning (i.e Stay) and the literal meaning (Be) of the word uttered by Bhagavan. From that moment till his death, for more than five decades, he never left his place in Tiruvannamalai, and remained firmly fixed in the eternal state of Self-abidance.

Sri Tinnai Swami’s inward transformation was reflected in a complete transformation in his outward life. He remained away from the eyes of the public. He seldom spoke, and when he did his words were usually enigmatic, often allegorical, and at times, appeared meaningless. He neglected his appearance, allowing his hair to grow long and matted. He lived by begging his food, usually just one meal a day,and sometimes not even that.

His finger and toenails grew long, thickened and curled, which grew back into the flesh, causing bleeding and obviously painful wounds which were sometimes invaded by the small red variety of ants, whose bite stings sharply. From the occasional words, he uttered it was clear that he knew many things, including things which he had no means of knowing through the usual channel of the five senses, but he was simply unaffected and untouched by anything.

Towards the end of 1985, Sri Tinnai Swami lost his eye-sight, apparently due to cataract, but he never allowed the doctors to check his eyes. He remained unaffected by and totally unconcerned with the failing strength and health of his body. His state remained unshakable as ever.

Finally, a few days before his 91st birthday, on Deepam Day, 6th December 2003, he left his body as quietly as he had lived in it, in the early hours of the morning when everyone in the compound was asleep.

In the eyes of the world, which attaches importance only to doing, there may appear to be little greatness in the extraordinary life of Sri TinnaiSwami. He did not speak, write or teach anything, nor did he perform any other “useful” function.

But whether we are able to recognize it or not, his mere being was a great blessing bestowed upon the whole world by Sri Bhagavan, the effect of which cannot be known or measured by our finite intellects.

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Posted in: Chintana

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