David Godman, who has written many books about Ramana and his followers, responds to a question about whether effort or no-effort is needed to realise the Self.
Here is a paradox for you. Ramana Maharshi realized the Self without any effort, without being interested in it, and without any practice, and then spent the rest of his life telling people that they must make continuous effort up till the moment of enlightenment. Papaji spent a quarter of a century doing japa and meditation prior to his climactic meetings with Ramana, but when he began teaching, he always insisted that no effort was necessary to realize the Self.
Papaji's attitude to self-inquiry was, "Do it once and do it properly." Ramana's was, "Do it intensively and continuously until realization dawns." Although you could never get Papaji to admit that there were differences between his teachings and those of his Guru, they clearly didn't agree on the question of effort.
With regard to the question of the difference between the effortless state and the state of abiding in the Heart, I would refer to Lakshmana Swamy. He agrees with Ramana that hard, continuous effort is needed up till the moment of realization. He also says that by effort the mind can reach the effortless thought-free state, but no further. If that state has been achieved, and if one has the good fortune to be with a realized Guru, then the power of the Self will pull the mind into the Heart and destroy it. In the effortless state, mind is still there, but when one abides in the Heart it is gone.
Edited by Bindi, 16 February 2017 - 07:20 PM.