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Bhagawan Ramana's answers to Pooja and rituals

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This is an extract from the book "Letters from Ramanasramam" written Bhagawan Ramana Telegu devotee Smt. Suri Nagamma

"Not only in regard to himself but even in regard to​
puja to the deities Bhagavan mildly rebukes devotees about
using leaves and flowers. I have already written to you inone of my previous letters about laksha patri puja (pujawith one lakh of leaves) of Echamma. There is anotherinstance. During the days when Bhagavan used to go roundthe hill with devotees in stages, they camped one morningat Gowtama Ashram. After the men and women had cooked,eaten and rested, and were getting ready to go so as toreach the Ashram before sunset, a lady devotee by nameLakshmamma, who was born in Tiruchuli and was achildhood friend of Bhagavan and who used to talk to himfamiliarly, was plucking and putting in a basket the jasmine and tangedu flowers that had grown luxuriantly on the trees
in and around the cremation ground there. Bhagavan noticed it and asked smilingly,
“Lakshmamma, what are you doing?”
She said, “I am plucking flowers.”
“I see. Is that your job? It is all right but why so many flowers?”asked Bhagavan.
“For puja,” she said.
“Oh! It won’t be a puja unless you worship with so many flowers, is that it?” said Bhagavan.
“I don’t know. These trees have abundance
of flowers. So I am plucking them,” she said.
“I see. As in your opinion it will not be nice if there is a luxuriant growth of flowers, you are making them naked. You have seen the beauty of that growth and you do not like others to see it. You have watered them and helped them in their growth, haven’t you? So you can take the liberty of plucking all the flowers and making them naked so that no one else can see that beauty. It is only then that you will get the full benefit of your puja, is it?” said Bhagavan.
According to Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, "there is no use removing doubts one by one.
If one clears a doubt, another doubt will arise and there will be no end of doubts. But
if by seeking the doubter, the doubter is found to be really non-existent , then all doubts
will cease".

dear bala !
kindly ellaborate
if by seeking the doubter, the doubter is found to be really non-existent , then all doubts
will cease".

Dear Guruvayurappan

Let me reproduce the sayings of Bhagawan Ramana
'All doubts willl cease only when the doubter and his source have been found. There is no use removing doubts one by one. If we clear one doubt, another doubt will arise and there will be no end of doubts. But if, by seeking the source of the doubter, the doubter is found to be really non-existent, then all doubts will cease'.

For getting clarity you can also read the following questiong and answers.

Ramana Maharshi Self Inquiry Meditation Method
Question : You say one can realize the Self by a search for it. What is the character of this search?
Ramana Maharshi : You are the mind or think that you are the mind. The mind is nothing but thoughts. Now behind every particular thought there is a general thought, which is the `I', that is yourself. Let us call this `I' the first thought. Stick to this `I'-thought and Question it to find out what it is. When this Question takes strong hold on you, you cannot think of other thoughts.

Question : When I do this and cling to my self, that is, the `I'-thought, other thoughts come and go, but I say to myself `Who am I ?' and there is no answer forthcoming. To be in this condition is the practice. Is it so?
Ramana Maharshi : This is a mistake that people often make. What happens when you make a serious quest for the Self is that the `I'-thought disappears and something else from the depths takes hold of you and that is not the `I' which commenced the quest.

Question : What is this something else?
Ramana Maharshi : That is the real Self, the import of `I'. It is not the ego. It is the Supreme Being itself.

Question : But you have often said that one must reject other thoughts when one begins the quest but the thoughts are endless. If one thought is rejected, another comes and there seems to be no end at all.
Ramana Maharshi : I do not say that you must go on rejecting thoughts. Cling to yourself, that is, to the `I'-thought. When your interest keeps you to that single idea, other thoughts will automatically get rejected and they will vanish.

Question : And so rejection of thoughts is not necessary?
Ramana Maharshi : No. It may be necessary for a time or for some. You fancy that there is no end if one goes on rejecting every thought when it rises. It is not true, there is an end. If you are vigilant and make a stern effort to reject every thought when it rises you will soon find that you are going deeper and deeper into your own inner self. At that level it is not necessary to make an effort to reject thoughts.

Question : Then it is possible to be without effort, without strain.
Ramana Maharshi : Not only that, it is impossible for you to make an effort beyond a certain extent.

Question : I want to be further enlightened. Should I try to make no effort at all?
Ramana Maharshi : Here it is impossible for you to be without effort. When you go deeper, it is impossible for you to make any effort. If the mind becomes introverted through enquiry into the source of aham-vritti, the vasanas become extinct. The light of the Self falls on the vasanas and produces the phenomenon of reflection we call the mind. Thus, when the vasanas become extinct the mind also disappears, being absorbed into the light of the one reality, the Heart. This is the sum and substance of all that an aspirant needs to know. What is imperatively required of him is an earnest and onepointed enquiry into the source of the aham-vritti.

Question : How should a beginner start this practice?
Ramana Maharshi : The mind will subside only by means of the enquiry `Who am I?' The thought 'Who am I?', destroying all other thoughts, will itself finally be destroyed like the stick used for stirring the funeral pyre. If other thoughts rise one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire `To whom did they rise?' What does it matter however many thoughts rise? At the very moment that each thought rises, if one vigilantly enquires `To whom did this rise?', it will be known `To me'. If one then enquires `Who am I?', the mind will turn back to its source [the Self] and the thought which had risen will also subside. By repeatedly practising thus, the power of the mind to abide in its source increases.

Although tendencies towards sense-objects [vishaya vasanas], which have been recurring down the ages, rise in countless numbers like the waves of the ocean, they will all perish as meditation on one's nature becomes more and more intense. Without giving room even to the doubting thought, `Is it possible to destroy all these tendencies [vasanas] and to remain as Self alone?', one should persistently cling fast to self-attention.
As long as there are tendencies towards sense-objects in the mind, the enquiry `Who am I ?' is necessary. As and when thoughts rise, one should annihilate all of them through enquiry then and there in their very place of origin. Not attending to what-is-other [anya] is non-attachment [vairagya] or desirelessness [nirasa]. Not leaving Self is knowledge [jnana]. In truth, these two [desirelessness and knowledge] are one and the same. Just as a pearl-diver, tying a stone to his waist, dives into the sea and takes the pearl lying at the bottom, so everyone, diving deep within himself with non-attachment, can attain the pearl of Self. If one resorts uninterruptedly to remembrance of one's real nature [swarupasmarana] until one attains Self, that alone will be sufficient.
Enquiring `Who am I that is in bondage?' and knowing one's real nature [swarupa] alone is liberation. Always keeping the mind fixed in Self alone is called 'self-enquiry', whereas meditation [dhyana] is thinking oneself to be the absolute [Brahman], which is existence-consciousness-bliss [sat-chit-ananda].

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