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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]

Michael James

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Book Description

Oct. 31 2007 1425124658 978-1425124656
Happiness is our essential being. The transient happiness that we seem to derive from external experiences actually arises from within ourself, and is experienced by us due to the temporary calming of our mind that occurs whenever any of our desires are fulfilled. So long as our mind attends to anything other than our own essential self-conscious being, we can never experience unqualified happiness. To experience infinite happiness, we must experience true self-knowledge — absolutely clear consciousness of our essential being. Such is the truth revealed by Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

The philosophy of Sri Ramana derives solely from his experience of self-knowledge, an experience that transcends all thought. However, because we imagine the existence of duality, we seem to lack the non-dual knowledge of our essential self-conscious being that Sri Ramana experienced as his natural state. Therefore to enable us to be firmly convinced of the absolute reality that underlies the finite consciousness that we now mistake to be ourself, he presented his philosophy to us in terms of an analysis of our present experience of ourself.

However, the spiritual teachings of Sri Ramana are not just a rational philosophy, but are also a precise science and art. He intended his philosophy to serve only as the theoretical foundation upon which we should practice the empirical science of self-investigation, which is the art of keenly self-attentive and therefore perfectly thought-free being.

This book is an in-depth exploration of both the philosophy and the practice of the spiritual teachings of Sri Ramana.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 660 pages
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing (Oct. 31 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1425124658
  • ISBN-13: 978-1425124656
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.6 x 4.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #697,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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, 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 atma-vicara (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 Vacaka Kovai', 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 'Nan Yar?' (Who am I?) and of most of the verses of his philosophical poems such as 'Upadesa Undiyar', 'Ulladu Narpadu', 'Ekatma Pancakam', 'Anma-Viddai' and 'Upadesa Tanippakkal'. 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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource on Advaita Vedanta as explained by Bhagavan Jan. 8 2008
By Umesh Prabhu - Published on Amazon.com
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.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The art and science of "being" June 17 2010
By Mary Dettmers - Published on Amazon.com
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the source ... Aug. 29 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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:

Thanks Michael James!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book Aug. 16 2012
By xvgh - Published on Amazon.com
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended. Nov. 6 2012
By Dionysius - Published on Amazon.com
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.


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