Holy Task: Study of the Teaching
Enquiry must be an intelligent adventure, rather than practised as a mechanical or goal-oriented chore. Be that as it may, for many of us, episodes of suffering or discord in our life point to a hunger for awakening or release. But 'when it comes, it cannot be accepted unless the mind is empty of the "me" and the heart is full of love.' (The Final Truth, Ramesh Balsekar)
Instead of effort from the 'me', trying to attain or achieve, it is wise to wait for a spontaneous welling up of our sense of being, whether in joy, toil or pain. This intuitively leads to silence, to being quiet, and to a natural Self-enquiry and surrender to the unknown.
There are over fifty titles in the Ramana literature, available from Ramanasramam. Suggested titles would be: Talks with Ramana Maharshi; Day by Day with Bhagavan; Collected Works; Garland of Guru's Sayings; and Be As You Are (ed. David Godman). Some intellectual familiarity with the outlines of Advaita Vedanta philosophy is helpful, and there are rich sources in the Upanishads and other mountain peaks of the Indian heritage, such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Vasishta and the basic themes of Shivaic mythology, which appeal to all levels of being. These help to make one more sattvic minded; in this depth of wisdom, obstacles, doubts and attachments can dissolve. A vegetarian diet, gradually giving up alcohol and tobacco, also helps a sattvic mind, essential for contemplation.
There is a great value in satsang – which means keeping company in the Self – and making friends with like-minded devotees and teachers, and invoking Bhagavan's realization together in meditation and discussion. A visit to the Hill, Arunachala, is also warmly recommended!
Finally, Krishna's advice to Arjuna at the end of the Gita was (Arnold translation):
Live in the faith of Me! In faith of Me
All dangers thou shalt vanquish, by My grace.
There lives a Master in the hearts of men
Maketh their deeds, by subtle pulling-strings.
Dance to what tune HE will. With all thy soul
Trust Him, and take Him for thy succour, Prince.
Fly to Me alone!
Make Me thy single refuge! I win free
Thy soul from all its sins. Be of good cheer!
It is as if Bhagavan speaks to us.