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Be as You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi (Compass) Paperback – February 1, 1989

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Product Details

  • Series: Compass
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (February 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140190627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140190625
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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117 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Peter Fennessy on May 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Godman has done a great service for those who want an introduction to the (conceptual) teaching of Ramana Maharshi, one of the great Hindu mystics and teachers of the last century. Ramana's recorded teachings are mostly conversations with a variety of people, whom he addressed on numerous topics from different levels of awareness according to each one's ability and understanding. The conversations then, read chronologically, seem disorganized, confusing and even contradictory. Godman has defragmented them, as it were, putting together continuous dialogs on each of twenty-one topics. He arranges the topics in order of importance, giving the central and purest teaching first and the adaptations afterwards. The book is divided into six general sections on the nature and experience of the Self, the practice of self-enquiry that leads to this experience, the role of the guru, the place for meditation and yoga, levels or varieties of religious experience, and theoretical metaphysical concerns (creation, reincarnation, God, suffering, and karma). Each general section contains three to five subordinate topics treated in a unified conversation. Of particular value are Godman's one or two page introductions to each section and topic that read sequentially provide an excellent introduction to and summary of Raman's teaching. While the introduction and composite conversations are sometimes repetitious, Ramana's concepts are sufficiently obscure that repetition is a clarifying desideratum.
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84 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Ganapathy Subramaniam on January 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Ramana Maharishi, was a philosopher, a realized soul and a teacher. A very humble person who lived at the Arunachala Hill in southern India during late 19th and early 20th century period.

His view of the world, and the way he perceived it and lived his life are simply fantastic. Based on the ancient Hindu philosophy of Advaita, or 'non-dualism', he lived the life of a enlightened soul, and helped others approach reality.

Advaita in a nutshell says that `Everything is the same'. You and me and all the things that we perceive and the entire Universe are one and the same. All the things that we perceive, that we imagine, think and so on.., are nothing but illusion, a mere play of the mind.

What was special about Ramana, was not any uniqueness in his definition of reality. He simply said what Advaita says is basically the truth. What he did was he simplified the approach to the realization of the truth. He prescribed very definite and immediate steps that one can follow in order to realize the Self. His simple method was to first go and figure out who the individual really was? To figure out the root of this feeling of `I'. at each and every moment, right at the time of the `I' feeling arises, such as `I am happy', or `I am feeling overwhelmed' or `I have an Idea'. One has to figure out who this I really is. Excluding step by step the physical body, the thoughts, the ideas etc.. until one reaches the ultimate. It is not merely an intellectual exercise, it is a path that leads to the ultimate realization or awareness. Teaching this Direct method is what makes Ramana unique.

This book by David Godman, makes an excellent introduction to the teachings of Ramana.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By cranky old lady on April 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have owned this book for one year now. I bought it because a guru-skeptical friend told me that Ramana Maharshi was enlightened. On the front cover picture, I immediately noticed the pleasant glow in Ramana's eyes that my friend spoke of, but they did not teleport me to instant samadhi. Nor did Ramana's answers to seekers' questions (this book is in Q-and-A format) lead me to what he terms "abidance in the Self." I briefly tried to practice Ramana's self-enquiry, to no avail, and abandoned the book last summer. For some reason, the book sat on my night table for seven months. I really don't know why I didn't just put it back on my bookshelf.

Finally, after a huge life crisis last winter, I picked the book up off the night table. This time, something "clicked" and I figured out what Ramana meant by the "I-feeling." To make a long story short, I'm now planning a visit to Ramana's ashram.

Ramana Maharshi was not just enlightened, he WAS that Light. This is what makes his realization stand out--in a world where gurus and masters rarely do more than "see the light," Ramana somehow... became the light. That is why looking at his photo is as powerful as a thousand pages of his teaching. It is also why some people don't understand the words in this book. Of course the words are nonsense, they are not the point! If you're pondering the conceptual implications of Ramana's teaching of the Self, you might as well be contemplating the "meaning" of the letter "f" in "Self."

Changed my path. I suppose that's worth five stars?
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By JG on September 8, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book would have been a certain 5 stars if language were more readable rather than scholarly in tone.

Also one must read the other fine book Talks With Ramana Maharshi to get a firmer grasp of this man and do not pass up the classic I AM THAT...from another great Maharshi,Nisargadatta.I guess transcription is an issue but this book is still a great read..Much insight and dialogue in the master student question and answer format..i am certain that each time one reads its words a new meaning will arise...Eastern philosopy at its finest in my opinion..wisdom from a truly remarkable man. Still a necessary addition to one's bookshelf.Its lucidity still rings despite the complexity of it's prose.
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