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Happiness and the Art of Being: A Layman's Introduction to the Philosophy and Practice of the Spiritual Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Paperback – October 31, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael James spent more than eight years studying the original Tamil writings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana and his foremost disciple, Sri Muruganar, in minute detail under the clear guidance of another close disciple, Sri Sadhu Om.

Together with Sri Sadhu Om, Michael translated into English most of the original Tamil writings of Sri Ramana, and also Guru Vācaka Kōvai, which is the most comprehensive and reliable collection of the sayings of Sri Ramana, recorded in 1255 Tamil verses composed by Sri Muruganar, with an additional 42 verses composed by Sri Ramana himself.

In addition to his translations, Michael has written Happiness and the Art of Being, which is a detailed introduction to the philosophy and practice of the spiritual teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, and which contains accurate and carefully worded translations by the author of the whole of Sri Ramana's prose treatise Nāṉ Yār? (Who am I?) and of most of the verses of his philosophical poems such as Upadēśa UndiyārUḷḷadu Nāṟpadu,Ēkātma PañcakamĀṉma-Viddai and Upadēśa Taṉippākkaḷ.

In all his writings on the teachings of Sri Ramana, Michael focuses on their actual practice, which is ātma-vicāra (self-investigation or self-enquiry), a state of simple self-attentiveness - clear and calm contemplation upon our fundamental consciousness of being, 'I am' (which is also sometimes described in more devotional terms as the practice of complete self-surrender). While describing and discussing this practice, Michael also discusses its philosophical basis, explaining the rationale for seeking to experience true self-knowledge - perfectly clear consciousness of what we essentially are.

For more information about Michael's translations and writings on the teachings of Sri Ramana, please visit his website and blog:

happinessofbeing.com
happinessofbeing.blogspot.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 660 pages
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing; 1st edition (October 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1425124658
  • ISBN-13: 978-1425124656
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,267,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael James (or Michael D A James, as he is also known) spent more than eight years studying the original Tamil writings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana and his foremost disciple, Sri Muruganar, in minute detail under the clear guidance of another close disciple, Sri Sadhu Om, and since the passing away of Sri Sadhu Om in 1985 he has continued to study, practise, translate and write about the spiritual teachings of Sri Ramana.

In all his writings on the teachings of Sri Ramana, Michael focuses on their actual practice, which is ātma-vicāra (self-investigation or self-enquiry), a state of simple self-attentiveness -- clear and calm contemplation upon our fundamental consciousness of being, 'I am' (which is also sometimes described in more devotional terms as the practice of complete self-surrender). While describing and discussing this practice, Michael also discusses its philosophical basis, explaining the rationale for seeking to experience true self-knowledge -- perfectly clear consciousness of what we essentially are.

Together with Sri Sadhu Om, Michael translated into English most of the original Tamil writings of Sri Ramana, and also 'Guru Vācaka Kōvai', which is the most comprehensive and reliable collection of the sayings of Sri Ramana, recorded in 1255 Tamil verses composed by Sri Muruganar, with an additional 42 verses composed by Sri Ramana himself. Their translations of these works, which include detailed word-for-word meanings of most of the original verses composed by Sri Ramana, and their translations of many of Sri Sadhu Om's own Tamil verses, have been published in several volumes.

In addition to his translations, Michael has written 'Happiness and the Art of Being', which is a detailed introduction to the philosophy and practice of the spiritual teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, and which contains accurate and carefully worded translations by the author of the whole of Sri Ramana's prose treatise 'Nāṉ Yār?' (Who am I?) and of most of the verses of his philosophical poems such as 'Upadēśa Undiyār', 'Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu', 'Ēkātma Pañcakam', 'Āṉma-Viddai' and 'Upadēśa Taṉippākkaḷ'.

For more information about Michael's translations and writings on the teachings of Sri Ramana, please visit his website and blog:

www.happinessofbeing.com
www.happinessofbeing.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Umesh Prabhu on January 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was blown away by David Godman's "Be as you are". It provided all the answers to the basics on man's apparent problems & solutions. However I could not find a single book that explained all the nitty, gritty of Advaita Vedanta direct from a master like Sri Nisargatta. They were all scattered in a zillion books on Sri Ramana & other Saints from India. Michael James has done an excellent job of consolidating all the relevant teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana in his magnum opus must have book for a spiritual aspirant at any stage of his apparent journey.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mary Dettmers on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm loving this book. I read the introduction and last chapter and am now re-reading a page-a-day and making notes. If your intention is to just "be", author Michael James analyzes everything Bhagavan Sri Ramana (an adept at existence) ever said, wrote or did, repeating over and over in every conceivable way, that happiness IS our essential being. To attain true and eternal happiness, we must attain the experience of true SELF-KNOWLEDGE--absolutely clear consciousness of our own essential being.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Based on what i read from the website [...] about this book, I immediately ordered and have begun reading it.

I'm very much attracted to this book due to the science/practicality of how to know one's Self and that is enough for me.

My recommendation? Check the site first and if you're open minded enough to understand and accept what is there, you will not have a second thought to invest in this book.

And if you want to quickly get started, get this book first:
THE MOST DIRECT AND RAPID MEANS TO ETERNAL BLISS - Michael Langford

Thanks Michael James!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By xvgh on August 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the lifechanging teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Of all the books I have read on, and by, Sri Ramana, I have found this the most useful.

It is extremely well-written and it explains ideas clearly and logically. I found it immensely helpful, explaining clearly and simply concepts that I hadn't understood from reading other books. I also found it very inspiring, written with great love and care.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dean on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have to agree with all the reviews here- this is one of the best books I've read related to the teachings of Sri Ramana, and the nondual path in general. Clears up much of the previously mistranslated (or literally translated) words of Ramana and Advaita sages, and also sets the student on the clear and straight path of nondual contemplation. No "neo-advaita" 'nothing do to' platitudes here, just consistent practice and a workable path. Thanks Michael.

DP.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve on July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
A truly amazing book. Page after page, paragraph after paragraph leads to nowhere but "I am", explaining what we call life along the way. Reading Michael's book while practicing Self Inquiry is like practicing Self Inquiry while practicing Self Inquiry.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Phil Calandra on April 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
An excellent spiritual book which draws very close parallels to several forms of religion including Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism in its discussion of non-dualism. This book was easily read and understood although somewhat repetitive in areas. I feel that I have a much better understanding of Advaita Vedanta. I understand that the author will be writing two additional books on the teachings of Sri Ramana. I look forward to reading them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Halifax Student Account on May 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Michael James is amazing! Here we have the most articulate spiritual man in our language who doesn't claim to be enlightened. This is a first. Imagine a business-man who admitted that he wasn't really an entrepreneur. Being rich isn't the same thing as being an entrepreneur, you see, but people mix up the two (especially the rich).
An entrepreneur is a rare state indeed. Only a few special people achieve entrepreneur-hood. From the outside, an entrepreneur looks like a business-man and this is how the rich get away with it.
The guru industry is the same. The world 'enlightenment' is used by almost all people who have published a book to describe themselves. Or the modest are merely 'awakened'.
I listen to the excellent podcast called Buddha at the Gas Pump and I have noticed a pattern. Almost all the guests claim to be there already and most of these guests say that is was a 'park'... An obvious cliché because Goethe loved nature, as did Terence McKenna, and all genius' rave on about nature, so its an obvious meme that you will use when you want to convince yourself. Personally, I enjoy grand architecture.
People claiming to have had a glimpse and are indeed enlightened because they can talk the talk are two a penny these days. But Michael James is one of those very clever people who really understands all those Sanskrit words and Tamil worlds, but he is honest and humble enough not to anoint himself semi-devine, like a mad emperor from Roman times.
This book is big and all you need to know is in these pages. James lived in India for years and he really knows a thing or two.
One worrying thing that I'm sure others have noticed. Michael James is so so articulate and nice but he admits to not getting anywhere near this stuff! What chance do you and I have?
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