Introduction to see through words
Recently I had the pleasure of coming across Ravish Mani’s book titled “see through words”.
As I flicked through the kindle pages, I came across the first bunch of sentences in the book. Surprisingly I took time to go through the Copyright text (you know the boring part you always skip on the initial pages of any book).
It started like this :
“Though this piece of work is copyrighted, no permission is needed to use any content of this book”.
One might think, ‘Oh, yes, another marketing gimmick for better exposure”.
Then came the best part of that page.
“As I see morality cannot be forced. It comes from within. For being moral, introspection is needed. No law can make you morally right. It can only instill fear of punishment in you”.
When I read it, I knew that this person is not just about the talks whatever it might be in the coming pages, but he does walk the talk.
After reading the whole book, I can see that Ravish Mani is standing at one of the high mountains to show us a better view of the spiritual valley that he had walked.
About “see through words” by Ravish Mani
This book is divided into 6 chapters and walks you through various concepts of Zen philosophies and finally gives you something practical to practice, if you wish to do so.
After reading the book, I never thought any book review can really do a lot of justice because all will be mostly someone else’s interpretation of what the author might have in his mind. But like the girl who was going to give regular answers at school (once you read the book, you will understand the reference), I am going to try and share the knowledge that I think I received from this book.
The first chapter begins with introducing the word ‘Zen’ and how it derived that name after going through many transformations through many countries from the original word ‘Dhyan’.
The language used is very simple and easy to understand. Hence for quick readers, they can finish it very fast while for deep readers, they can take as much time as they want since you can find many layers of ideas in a seemingly simple sentence if you look carefully.
For example, Ravish says,
“Zen dhyana is nothing but the experience of non-doing in doing. The experience of non-doing is a state of no-mind.”
You can very well skim through those lines or decide to dissect each word and ponder over it for many hours.
The girl who was mentioned earlier in the introduction comes in this chapter. She asks a question and the Zen Master answers her. After many attempts, she seems to understand the concept the master was trying to convey.
You might wonder if you have really understood it. Throughout the book, you will find quite a few instances like that, where you will wonder if you really understood it or not. But the beauty of the book comes when the author connects these concepts again with other lessons and explain it to you on a later part of the book.
The concepts in this book are interconnected and the author makes it a point to address almost all loose ends and brings closure. Only a person who can see the bigger picture can weave these ideas seamlessly and create a grand design, especially when the topic in focus is not pure fiction but deep philosophies.
With these interconnections, you can actually see the progress of these concepts and growth in your understanding of these very concepts.
Spiritual diarrhea, if that is what I call the content, you might have already formed certain ideas in your mind. Instead, if I said spiritual effervescence, you might create a different picture of this book.
That is because we are conditioned to associate things with duality, just like Ravish says
“Everything we observe in the cosmos appears to us in pairs: good-bad, light-dark” and so on.
With this chapter, he explains the paradox of existence. Even after reading this chapter if you consider my examples as extreme, we are just being ourselves because of our hardwired conditioning. Hence we are not able to see the paradox of existence.
Also, another idea – why the mind fears death and hence distract you from awareness is really a thought-provoking concept. If we dwell on those lines that talks about these concepts long enough, I think it can have life-altering influences.
We all have heard about the phrase, “Be in the present” and we might have thought that probably very experienced yogis might be able to do that on a consistent basis. But you will be in for a surprise to understand that the number of times you might have experienced the state of no-thought and stayed in that moment even without you knowing it.
Well, that is the beauty of being in the moment!
Through many examples and techniques, the author teaches us about the art of being in the present and opens a door to eternity.
While I was reading ‘Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse, I was wondering how was it possible for the author to talk about enlightenment of a monk unless he himself had experienced it. Then I realised that either he might have experienced it or he just has a brilliant mind to understand it.
Whenever you read spiritual books, I’m sure such questions might come to your mind. When Ravish says, “You cannot achieve enlightenment. It isn’t an achievement but an emptiness”, I understand about enlightenment and more about the person who wrote this.
He confirms his mastery over the subject with this.
“Enlightnment is not a matter of mind but a mystery beyond the mind. The mind has limitations. So with the words generated out of mind”.
This is the final and shortest chapter. (See, I haven’t quite learned yet. I am seeing it as ‘final’, and ‘short’ chapter!)
Since the author understood that I haven’t learned, he gives a very simple and practical dhyana exercise to try. It can be done while walking and it helps you to be in that moment and finally to see through the illusions!
This is definitely a book worth reading and re-reading many multiple times to go deeper and find many of the different layers of truth hidden between those lines.
Since one can find so many layers, your experience will be different from someone else’s. So please definitely give it a read and create your own experience.
And the simple exercise given at the end might help you to see that ever-elusive present moment!