Ramana Advaita : A Clear Brief

In Maharishi Ramana’s own words …

This is a special post.

Only very pertinent comments will be approved

What is reality ? 
You are the supreme reality to yourself – the Self, the I that remains the same, still and silent, awake and aware, through your wakeful, dream and deep sleep states in life, from birth through death. 

Clearly, it is not the ego-being that waxes and wanes with its happy and miserable experience. 
You are awareness. Awareness is your another name. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it.

Your present knowledge is due to the ego and is only relative. Relative knowledge requires a subject and an object, whereas the awareness of the Self is absolute and requires no object. 

People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light etc. How can it be so ? It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. 

When a man realises the Self, what will he see ? 
There is no seeing. There is only being. The state of Self-realisation, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. 

All that is needed is that you give up taking the not-true as true. All of us are regarding as real that which is not real. We have only to give up this practice on our part.

At one stage you will laugh at yourself for trying to discover the Self which is so self-evident. There is no seer there to see anything. The seer who is seeing all this now ceases to exist and the Self alone remains. 

For those who live in Self as the beauty devoid of thought, there is nothing which should be thought of. That which should be 
adhered to is only the experience of silence, because in that supreme state nothing exists to be attained other than oneself.

It is false to speak of realisation. What is there to realise ? The real is as it always is. We are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before. 

The illustration given in books is this. We dig a well and create a huge pit. The space in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just removed the earth which was filling the space there. The space was there then and is also there now. Similarly we have simply to throw out all the age-long samskaras [innate tendencies] which are inside us. When all of them have been given up, the Self will shine alone. 

Liberation is our very nature. We are that. The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature. It is not to be freshly acquired. All that is necessary is to get rid of the false notion that we are bound. When we achieve that, there will be no desire or thought of any sort. So long as one desires liberation, so long, you may take it, one is in bondage.

If you remain as you are now, you are in the wakeful state; this becomes hidden in the dream state; and the dream state disappears when you are in deep sleep. You were there then, you are there now, and you are there at all times. The three states come and go, but you are always there. 

It is like a cinema. The screen is always there but several types of pictures appear on the screen and then disappear. Nothing sticks to the screen, it remains a screen. Similarly, you remain your own Self in all the three states. If you know that, the three states will not trouble you, just as the pictures which appear on the screen do not stick to it. On the screen, you sometimes see a huge ocean with endless waves; that disappears. Another time, you see fire spreading all around; that too disappears. The screen is there on both occasions. Did the screen get wet with the water or did it get burned by the fire? Nothing affected the screen. In the same way, the things that happen during the wakeful, dream and sleep states do not affect you at all; you remain your own Self. 

There is only one state, that of consciousness or awareness or existence. The three states of waking, dream and sleep cannot be real. They simply come and go. It is the seer who says these come and go. The seer and the seen together constitute the mind. See if there is such a thing as the mind. Then, the mind merges in the Self, and there is neither the seer nor the seen. So the real answer to your question is, `They neither come nor go.' 

What is the difference between the mind and the Self ? 
There is no difference. The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world. Cotton made into various clothes we call by various names. Gold made into various ornaments, we call by various names. But all the clothes are cotton and all the ornaments gold. The one is real, the many are mere names and forms. 

But the mind does not exist apart from the Self, that is, it has no independent existence. The Self exists without the mind, never the mind without the Self. 

Brahman is said to be sat-chit-ananda. What does that mean ? 
Yes. That is so. That which is, is only sat – truth, being. That is called Brahman. The luster of sat is chit – consciousness, knowledge, awareness; and its nature is ananda -- bliss. These are not different from sat. All the three together are known as satchidananda. 

If a man thinks that his happiness is due to external causes and his possessions, it is reasonable to conclude that his happiness must increase with the increase of possessions and diminish in proportion to their diminution. Therefore if he is devoid of possessions, his happiness should be nil. 

What is the real experience of man ? Does it conform to this view ? 
In deep sleep man is devoid of possessions, including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he is quite happy. Everyone desires to sleep soundly. The conclusion is that happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realise the Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness.

Existence is the same as happiness and happiness is the same as being. The word mukti – liberation, freedom -- is so provoking. Why should one seek it ? One believes that there is bondage and therefore seeks liberation. But the fact is that there is no bondage but only liberation.

Parable of ten foolish men ...
The ten foolish men in the parable forded a stream and on reaching the other shore wanted to make sure that all of them had 
in fact safely crossed the stream. One of the ten began to count, but while counting the others left himself out. `I see only nine; sure enough, we have lost one. Who can it be ?' he said. 

`Did you count correctly ?' asked another, and did the counting himself. But he too counted only nine. One after the other, each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself. 

`We are only nine', they all agreed, `but who is the missing one?' they asked themselves. Every effort they made to discover the `missing' individual failed.

`Whoever he is that is drowned', said the most sentimental of the ten fools, `we have lost him.' So saying he burst into tears, and the others followed suit. 

Seeing them weeping on the river bank, a sympathetic wayfarer enquired about the cause. They related what had happened and said that even after counting themselves several times they could find no more than nine. On hearing the story, but seeing all the ten before him, the wayfarer guessed what had happened. 

In order to make them know for themselves they were really ten, that all of them had survived the crossing, he told them, `Let each of you count for himself but one after the other serially, one, two, three and so on, while I shall give you each a blow so that all of you may be sure of having been included in the count, and included only once. The tenth missing man will then be found.' 

Hearing this they rejoiced at the prospect of finding their `lost' comrade and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer. While the kind wayfarer gave a blow to each of the ten in turn, he that got the blow counted himself aloud. `Ten,' said the last man as he got the last blow in his turn. Bewildered they looked at one another. 

`We are ten,' they said with one voice and thanked the wayfarer for having removed their grief. 

However often Bhagavan * teaches us, we are not able to understand. 
* reverential address, meaning God 

People say that they are not able to know the Self that is all pervading. What can I do ? 
Even the smallest child says, `I exist; I do; this is mine.' 
So, everyone understands that the thing `I' is always existent.

What is the ego-self ? How is it related to the real Self ? 
The ego-Self appears and disappears and is transitory, whereas the real Self is permanent. Though you are actually the true Self you wrongly identify the real Self with the ego-self. 

How does the mistake come about ? 
See if it has come about. 

One has to sublimate the ego-self into the true Self. 
The ego-self does not exist at all. 

Why does it give us trouble ? 
To whom is the trouble ? 
The trouble also is imagined. Trouble and pleasure are only for the ego. 

Why is the world so wrapped up in ignorance ? 
Take care of yourself. Let the world take care of itself. 
See your Self. If you are the body there is the gross world also. If you are spirit all is spirit alone. 

It will hold good for the individual, but what of the rest ? 
Do it first and then see if the question arises afterwards. 

Is there avidya [ignorance] ? 
For whom is it ?  For the ego-self. 
Yes, for the ego. Remove the ego and avidya is gone. Look for it, the ego vanishes and the real Self alone remains. The ego professing avidya is not to be seen. There is no avidya in reality. All sastras [scriptures] are meant to disprove the existence of avidya. 

How did the ego arise ? 
Ego is not. Otherwise do you admit of two selves ?

How has the unreal come ? Can the unreal spring from the real ? 
See if it has sprung. There is no such thing as the unreal, from another standpoint. The Self alone exists. When you try to trace the ego, which is the basis of the perception of the world and everything else, you find the ego does not exist at all and neither does all this creation that you see. 

It is cruel of God's leela (play) to make the knowledge of the Self so hard. 
Knowing the Self is being the Self, and being means existence, one's own existence. No one denies one's existence any more than one denies one's eyes, although one cannot see them. The trouble lies with your desire to objectify the Self, in the same way as you objectify your eyes when you place a mirror before them. You have been so accustomed to objectivity that you have lost the knowledge of yourself, simply because the Self cannot be objectified. 

Who is to know the Self ? Can the insentient body know it ?  All the time you speak and think of your `I', yet when questioned you deny knowledge of it. You are the Self, yet you ask how to know the Self. Where then is God's leela and where is its cruelty ? Because of this denial of the Self by people the sastras speak of maya, leela, etc. 

Does my realisation help others ? 
Yes, certainly. It is the best help possible. But there are no others to be helped. 

That will take some years. 
Why years ? The idea of time is only in your mind. It is not in the Self. There is no time for the Self. Time arises as an idea after the ego arises. But you are the Self beyond time and space. You exist even in the absence of time and space. 

All books say that the guidance of a Guru is necessary. 
The Guru will say only what I am saying now. He will not give you anything you have not already got. It is impossible for anyone to get what he has not got already.

I see you doing things. How can you say that you never perform actions ? 
The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly, my existence is like the space; thou this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as a doer. 

I find this hard to understand. Could you please elaborate on this ? 
Various illustrations are given in books to enable us to understand how the jnani can live and act without the mind, although living and acting require the use of the mind. The potter's wheel goes on turning round even after the potter has ceased to turn it because the pot is finished. In the same way, the electric fan goes on revolving for some minutes after we switch off the current. The prarabdha [predestined karma] which created the body will make it go through whatever activities it was meant for. But the jnani goes through all these activities without the notion that he is the doer of them. 

It is hard to understand how this is possible. The illustration generally given is that the jnani performs actions in some such way as a child that is roused from sleep to eat eats but does not remember next morning that it ate. 

It has to be remembered that all these explanations are not for the jnani. He knows and has no doubts. He knows that he is not the body and he knows that he is not doing anything even though his body may be engaged in some activity. These explanations are for the onlookers who think of the jnani as one with a body and cannot help identifying him with his body. 

You are Bhagavan. So you should know when I shall get jnana. 
Tell me when I shall be a jnani. 

If I am Bhagavan there is no one besides the Self - therefore no jnani or ajnani. If otherwise, I am as good as you are and know as much as yourself. Either way I cannot answer your question. 

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  1. Trackback: I am not this Post | The Middle Pane

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