I was e-book-hopping on Amazon, you know, in one of those "How did I get here?" kind of mode that you often find yourself in when you are led from one YouTube video to another, and you are so far away from your where you started that you don't remember where you parked your car.
I think I was looking for a quote by Nisargadatta Maharaj on the 'now', and found myself reading reviews. I like reviews and comments more than the original article and what is being commented on as it sheds a huge beam of understanding on the mindset of people. And once you are bored with that, there's always YouTube.
I was more intrigued by the one and two stars. So I scanned through a few. Some people didn't get what Maharishi was saying (I followed a link to Bhagwan Ramana, stay with me will you?) and some guy was ranting and raving about how the book 'Who am I' was not actually a book. It was only 16 pages long, he raved.
Which makes you wonder, what is the price of Self Realisation? A few thousand dollar Self Discovery spa like treatment? A pilgrimage round the world to all the holy places only to come back as ignorant as you were when you left? A series of books (with at least a 1000 pages, you know, for value?) with quotes and made up stories and examples backed by "research"? Maybe a series of very expensive lectures where you are enthralled by the speakers who can talk about silence for hours?
Or a booklet which brings to people the answers by a sage whose presence has wakened many a wandering but sincere souls. A flame of Self Realisation that shines even today from the Holy Hill of Arunachala.
Ramana Maharishi had Self Realisation when he was seventeen during an episode of near death experience. The Eternal Truth flashed through him in a microsecond. He didn't attend endless lectures nor did he study the scriptures. But later He mentioned that his experience tallied with the texts in the Upanishads explaining the state of a realised being. He was silent for eleven years. And when He spoke it was not to preach, but to answer the questions of wondering minds, and bring them back to the simple yet powerful source of it all: Who am I? The booklet is a compilation of sixteen questions put forth by Sivaparakasam Pillai in 1902. It is a difficult book to get through. You need to be at a certain level of receptivity to understand what is being said. The same essential teaching can be made into a series of books and videos and be syndicated to newspapers. But that won't answer the basic question: 'who am I?'
When a detractor was spreading all kinds of untruths about Maharishi, his followers were upset to whom he said, "I have given him permission to do that". When asked why, He said that the lies would make sure only the sincere seekers will come to Him. And if people were going to believe a bunch of lies and not come, good riddance being the implied message. To end this with another of His sayings: "You understand according to your capacity."