S.S. Cohen sat before the Master at the time 'Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi' was recorded. He listened intently to the teachings he heard and dedicated his life to their fulfillment, under the guidance of his Guru.
In 'Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi', S.S. Cohen has plucked out the gems from this compendious volume that comprehensively represent the salient teachings of the Master and classified them in separate chapters under subjects most pertinent to the earnest seeker of Truth.
The notes that follow the text are full of insights and practical guidance to the sincere aspirant who wishes to tread the path taught and lived by Sri Ramana Maharshi.
To write a commentary on Sri Ramana Bhagavan's words, which are deemed to be lucidity itself, may seem to be a superfluous labour; yet there are thousands of studious seekers who have not had the privilege of hearing the teaching direct from the Master's lips, who would feel benefited and, indeed, happy to receive an exposition of it from those who have. For the sake of these I have culled from the com-pendious work, now the well-reputed Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, such gems and in such numbers as in my humble opinion can fairly and comprehensively represent the teaching, adding my own reflections, as "Notes", to each quotation which I have named "Text", to indicate its origin. I have, moreover, sifted and classified them in separate chapters so as to facilitate the study of each individual subject. I deem it essential to give here a brief biography of the book in question. It is named "Talks" from being a record in the form of a diary of some of the conversations which the visitors and disciples have had with the Master on Spiritual matters for almost exactly four years — April 1935 to May 1939. In those years it used to be called "The Journal". For roughly half of this period it was written in the Darshan Hall itself by the diarist, or recorder, Sri M. Venkataramiah, the late Swami Ramananda Saraswati, at the end of each particular conversation at which he was present. Sri Bhagavan scarcely ever answered in English, but invari-ably in Tamil, which very often the diarist himself translated into English to the questioner within the hearing of the whole audience. But questions in Telugu and Malayalam, iv Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi Bhagavan answered in the same languages, and the answers in the latter language may be said to have been lost to the diarist, who did not understand Malayalam. Therefore the language of this diary is of the recorder, more often it is a paraphrase of the Master's answers, occasionally His very words, rendered into English, for it was impossible to write down afterwards all He had said, or to keep pace with Him even if the answers were to be taken down verbatim on the spot. What we want is the Truth as expounded by Bhagavan, and this Truth is all here, which is all that matters.
As for the teaching of Sri Bhagavan, it has by now acquired a worldwide recognition, and has attracted earnest seekers from all the five Continents, as much for its fresh simplicity as for its sturdy rationality, which appeal both to the head and the heart. It can, however, be summed up in the ancient dictum "Know thyself ", or "Seek the seeker", which the Master dins in one form or another in practically every answer he gives. Find out the questioner, he insists, and you will know the truth, which will solve all your problems and remove all your doubts. Peace, by whatever name and in whatever guise it goes — happiness, knowledge, liberation, truth, etc. — is the conscious and unconscious aim and object of all human endeavour; for, the Master tells us, it is the very nature of our being, our very Self, so that self-seeking in the last analysis turns out to be a quest for Peace, from which there is no escape. There is no feeling, no thought, no action which does not stand on the foundation of Self. Self-preservation, or self-love is the dominant instinct in all life. When the Lord God commanded the Children of Israel in the wilderness to love their neighbour as themselves (Leviticus, XIX, 18), He meant that the maximum good that one man can do to another is to love him as much as he loves himself, self-love being the strongest of all passions, and the substratum of all emotions. We have no doubt heard of the self-immolation of many a mother for her child in cases of extreme danger, and of a patriot for his country, but the gratification derived from this immolation is to the Self. My child, my country, clearly denote the 'I', or Self, and what is immolated is only the body, and not the Self, which, being pure knowledge, pure spirit, can never be destroyed to be immolated.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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