Arunachala Shiva
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R e v i e w s ( B o o k )


Janet A. Day "skylark"

I picked up this book on impulse and couldn't put it down. It is the most readable and informative book I have seen on Ramana Maharshi. It gives you a real insight into what he was like, how he taught, how he lived and it shows all the sides of his life, not just the intellectual. Some of the stories about him are wonderfully funny and insightful.

The variety of sections also makes the book very readable. There are interviews, interpretations from various people who lived with him for a long time, discussions about his teachings, stories about him and his devotees. This book is a delight and would make a wonderful present for anyone who has any interest in Ramana Maharshi. It also beautifully presented and lovely to hold in your hands. It's a gem. Worth every penny.



Vitoria:

To start with: this book is very carefully designed beautiful book! It attracted me especially because of its wonderful graphics and its many photos of Ramana and his family. There is a lovely map of the Arunachala area in the book as well as a pre-view DVD of the film.

I think for everyone who really wants to dive deep into nondual teachings like the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, this book is an important source.

Three nondual teachers give a detailed introduction into Sri Ramana's life and his teachings and provide practical guidance on how to do self-enquiry.

It contains also the original text of Sri Ramana's "Nan har?", "Wer bin ich?" and a lot of original Sri Ramana quotes. Especially fascinating was to me the life stories of the three teachers, all have lived a long time in India and with their masters, and all have been writing about and teaching Advaita Vedanta for some time now.

I will take it with me when I travel to Arunachala mountain in January, it's the perfect inner and outer travel guide!



D. Waite:

If you want a modern commentary on Ramana Maharshi's `Nan Yar' (`Who am I?'), this is it.

If you want an intelligent re-interpretation of the words, rather than a simple and literal translation, read James Swartz's crystal-clear explanations of some knotty problems (such as the manonAsha - death of the mind concept).

If you enjoy reading fascinating, previously unpublished anecdotes about Ramana's life, read some of the reminiscences that David Godman learned from speaking with those who actually lived in Ramana's presence and experienced his frequent `human' side.

There are also chapters containing the autobiographies of the three contributors themselves. David Godman tells of his experiences with Nisargadatta and his curious relationship with Papaji. James Swartz relates the story of his colorful path from reprobate to close associate of Swami Chinmayananda. Premananda tells the story of his travels around the world, by way of Osho and Papaji, to his present community in Germany.

And, if you just want a beautiful book, with lots of wonderful, glossy, full-color photographs of Ramana, his disciples, Arunachala and Ramanashramam, Premananda has put together exactly the book for you. His insightful interviewing elicits some marvelous material, both biographical and spiritual. There is even a pull-out, diagrammatic map, showing the key features around the mountain and a preview DVD of the companion film of Ramana's life and teaching.

I cannot recommend this superb book too highly if you are at all interested in the teaching of Ramana Maharshi or the stories of seekers who found what they were looking for.



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R e v i e w s ( D V D )


Bodhi Heeren:

Ramana Maharshi may embody all our typical 'fantasies' about the perfect master: the gentle saint lying on his couch, eyes brimmming of love.

In this film by Premananda we fortunately get a lot more nuanced view. Based on interviews with David Godman, James Swartz and Premanada a lot more varied picture emerges. Where we hear about his irrational anger and agressiveness, his demands on absolut surrender from devotees and his actually very active life where he parttook in the daily run of affairs, not least in the kitchen.

The interviews are interspersed with footage from Ramana's ashram today and with rare archive films of the man himself. All very professional. The only thing that seems a bit out of place are the small portraits of famous disciples which seems un-integrated with the main story.

The movie also makes it abundantly clear that Ramana advocated search and sadhana, especially self inquiry. What it doesn't mentiion is that he also recommended activities like pranayama (breath control) and japa (mantra repetion). In high contrast to the way spiritual dilletants like Tony Parsons and Nathan Gill misuse Ramana.

All in all a indispensable movie for anyone interested in Advaita and the famous Arunachala Shiva saint.



Atmana:

This film is a wide and varied investigation and homage to the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi, it examines his life, his teachings and his legacy. I particularly liked hearing about his life from two western men who now live near the Ashram where Ramana lived. For me, it is always useful to see the often mystical Indian tradition through Western minds. In this DVD you can see just this, while not taking away from the beautiful presence of Ramana Maharshi and the power of his life.

The director shows many clips of Ramana sivved from the archives of the Ashram, so you really get a great chance to see the saint as he was in his daily life.

The film doesn't idolize Ramana or try to paint an unjust picture, but tries to capture his essence and to let that speak for itself.

Most of all I really appreciated the stories about Ramana that various people tell, especially David Godman and James Schwartz. They paint a very different picture of him that is perhaps harder to see when looking just at his devotional legacy. He seems so real, so down-to-earth, and yet totally seeing through it all. The film really allowed me to see this, which touched me much more than just focusing on how saintly he was, or how serene!

A beautiful homage to a beautiful man.



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