In the beginning of my 89th year
it is quite natural to be reminded of the Grim Reaper.
It was comforting to read Shri Ramana Maharshi’s commentary on a verse of one of his writings in Tamil, his native tongue.
It is so simple, but brings it all down to a single thought, which incidentally aids me on my daily hike.
It was not a beautiful day for hiking. We have had three days of rain and snow, most of which has melted in town.
But here at home, up higher in the mountains, we still had five inches bending the limbs of the pine and junipers.
It’s easy to allow dark thoughts to slip into mind of a muddy, slushy trail and walking with wet snow sliding down the back of my neck.
But surrendering to the moment makes it all beautiful. Really.
Bhagavan’s words remind me to stick with the present – whatever there is of it that I have left.
Here is a bit of Ramana’s commentary:
All of us know that we must die some time or other; but we do not think deeply of the matter.
All of us fear death.
Because of the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea. We are all fully aware of the death of the body.
Birth and death pertain to the body only.
But they are superimposed on the Self, giving rise to the delusion that birth and death relate to the Self.
In an effort to overcome birth and death we look up to the Supreme Being to save us.
Thus are born faith and devotion to the Lord.
How to worship the Creator?
The creature is powerless and the Creator is All-powerful.
How to approach God? Total surrender is the only way.
Therefore one surrenders oneself to God.
Surrender consists in giving up oneself and one’s possessions to the Lord.
Then what is left over for us?
Neither oneself nor our possessions.
The body, liable to be born and to die, having been made over to the Lord, one need no longer worry about it.
Then birth and death cannot strike terror.
The cause of fear is the body. It is no longer ours.
Why should we fear now? Where is the individual to be frightened?
The Self is thus realised and Bliss results.
This is freedom from misery and to gain Happiness.
This is the highest good to be gained.
Surrender is synonymous with Bliss itself.
So why not enjoy the hike!