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eternal rest | lion's roar | peace is always everywhere | plunge into eternity | i am eternal self | summa iru | wisdom | here and now in lucknow
ma anandamayi | words | siddharameshwar maharaj | beyond nothing | perfection of material science | master key | non-action | self
nisargadatta maharaj | words | a great maharashtrian jnani | self-knowledge and self-realisation | meet the sage | detachment | awareness | who am I?
life | "i am" | guru and disciple | ranjit maharaj | meeting siddharameshwar | everything is nothing | forget everything | death is not true | real and unreal
u.g. krishnamurti | natural state | words | remembering | no separation | nothing to understand | chief joseph | way of the warrior | old tcheng | sayings
advaita | vedanta | devikalottara | supreme wisdom | atma sakshatkar | direct awareness of the self | vichara mani mala | jewel garland of enquiry
avadhuta gita | ever-free | ashtavakra gita | purest expression of truth | ribhu gita | heart | wisdom | bhagavad gita | essence | the song celestial
adi shankaracharya | atma bodha | aparokshanubhuti | dakshinamurti strotram | dasasloki | nirvana shatkam | drik drisya viveka | vivekachudamani
seng tsan | faith mind | gaudapada | mandukya karika | katha upanishad | death as teacher | yoga vasistha | dispassion | seeker's behaviour | essence
ramakant maharaj | reality has nothing to do with words | lama guendune rinpoché | free and easy | ellam ondre | all is one | william samuel | now

RAMANA  MAHARSHI

WISDOM



Let there be peace and love among all beings of the universe. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

natural state | reality | self | heart | mind | ego | mind control | self-enquiry | meditation | "who am i?" and "whence am i?"
"
i - i" | problems - solutions | practice | satsanga | guru | grace | surrender | states of consciousness | samadhi | illusion
fate, free-will and beyond | reincarnation | food regulation | postures | society | renunciation | miracles | happiness | jnani


AY  all those devotees with great love also live long, who, coming to Sri Ramana, get their desires fulfilled and, planting his feet in their Heart, set all their troubles at rest and attain peace.



NATURAL  STATE


The ever present state is the natural state.

The state in which the awareness is firm, even when objects are sensed, is called the natural state.

When through conscious effort to keep the mind free of thought we are able to stay in that state, that is the natural state.

The mind resting in the Self is its natural condition; but, instead of that, our minds are resting in outward objects.

Without spiritual practice, there cannot be attainment. This is certain. Experience of the natural state during practice is called upasana. When that itself is unswervingly attained, it is called true knowledge.

Transcendental awareness is our natural state if we give up the conditioned mind.

The natural state is simply being oneself, not knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has realised, he is That which alone is, and which alone has always been. He cannot describe that state. He can only be That.

In the firm natural state, through the silence of the mind free of all tendencies, knower knows himself as such without any doubts.

The environment never abandons you according to your desire. Look at me. I have left home. Look at yourselves. You have come here leaving your home environment. What do you find here? Is it different from what you left? That is the reason for Shankara emphasising functioning naturally from the Self in preference to the transcending awareness of the world in his excellent work Vivekachudamani.

The wrong identification with the body rises because one has lost his moorings, and swerved from his original state. He is now advised to give up all these false ideas, to trace the body-mind, or "I"-thought, back to the Source and remain in his natural state.

Forgetfulness of your real nature is the real death; remembrance of it is the true birth. It puts an end to successive births. Eternal life is then yours. How does the desire for Eternal life arise? Because the present state is unbearable. Why? Because, it is not your true nature. Had it been your real nature, there would be no desire to agitate you. How does the present state differ from your real nature? Truly, you are Spirit. Human beings consider themselves limited and that is the root of the trouble. The idea is wrong. In sleep there was no world, no ego and no trouble. Something wakes up from that happy state and says "I". To that ego the world appears. It is the rise of the ego that is the cause of the trouble. But trace the ego to its origin, and you will reach that undifferentiated happy Source, a state which is sleepless sleep. The Self is ever there; wisdom only appears to dawn, though it is natural.

Peace is your nature. Forgetfulness never overtakes the Self. The Self is now being confused for the not-Self, and that makes you speak of forgetfulness of Self and absence of peace.

You do not acquire happiness. Your nature is happiness. Bliss is not newly acquired. All that is done, is to remove unhappiness. These methods do so.

Our real nature is liberation, but we imagine we are bound. We thus make strenuous efforts to become free while, all the while, we are free.


REALITY


There is no greater mystery than this – that being Reality [Brahman] ourselves we seek to gain Reality. We think that there is something hiding our Reality, and that it must be destroyed before the Reality is gained. It is ridiculous. A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your past efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now.

Reality is seen by him who sees the Self. But one who has lost the ego and seen the Self is none other than Reality. To see Him is to be consumed by Him. He alone is. If you give up all else and seek Him alone, He will remain as the "I", the Self.

That in which all these worlds seem to exist steadily, That of which all these worlds are a possession, That from which all these worlds rise, That for which all these exist, That by which all these worlds come into existence and That which is indeed all these – That alone is the existing Reality. Let us cherish that Self, which is the Reality in the Heart.

It is said that Reality is real, and that the world is an illusion; again it is said that the whole universe is an image of Reality. How are these two statements to be reconciled? In the sadhak stage [practice of spiritual discipline], you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way, because when a man forgets that he is Reality, who is real, permanent and Omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because, his vision, which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external material universe and will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external material universe is unreal. When once he realises his own Self, and also that there is nothing other than his own Self, he will come to look upon the whole universe as Reality. There is no universe without his Self. So long as a man does not see his own Self which is the origin of all, but looks upon the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that it is an illusion. You cannot help it. Take a newspaper. We see only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is printed. The paper is there, whether the script on it is there or not. To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the paper and script as one. So also with Reality and the universe.


SELF


In my sight, "I" only am and "you" are not. In your sight, "you" only are and "I" am not. In the sight of the Self, the Self alone exists and nothing else. In truth I, you and all are nothing but the Self.

Only when the Self is gained is permanent, perfect, blissful peace attained. In this Self-sovereignty, non-dual, heaven-like, all-pervasive, no desire and no fear can exist.

Man is always the Self and yet he does not know it. Instead he confounds it with the non-Self, the body, etc. Such confusion is due to ignorance. If ignorance is wiped out the confusion will cease to exist and the true knowledge will be unfolded. By remaining in contact with realised sages the man gradually loses the ignorance until its removal is complete. The Eternal Self is thus revealed.

Gaze at your own real nature. It is immaterial whether the eyes are open or closed. Everywhere there is only the One, so it is all the same whether you keep your eyes open or closed. If you wish to meditate, do so on the "I" that is within you. It is Self. Because it has no eyes, there is no need either to open or close the eyes. When you attain Self-knowledge, there will no longer be any ideas about the world. When you are sitting in a room, whether the windows are open or closed, you are the same person, in the same state. In the same way, if you abide in the state of Reality, it is all the same whether the eyes are open or closed. It matters little whether external activities go on or not.

The Self is pure consciousness in sleep; it evolves as "I" without the "this" [idam] in the transition stage; and manifests as "I" and "this" in the waking state. The individual's experience is by means of "I" only. So he must aim at realisation in the way indicated [i.e., by means of the transitional "I"]. Otherwise the sleep-experience does not matter to him. If the transitional "I" be realised the substratum is found and that leads to the goal.

People think freedom is somewhere yonder and should be sought out. They are wrong. Freedom is only knowing the Self, within yourself. Concentrate, and you will get it.

In my sight "I" only am and "you" are not. In your sight "you" only are and "I" am not. In the sight of the Self the Self alone exists and nothing else. In truth I, you and all are nothing but the Self.

Just as a river does not continue to flow after its discharge into the ocean, so also a person loses all movements after he merges in the Self.

You cannot by any means escape the Self. You want to see Reality in all, but not in yourself? If all is Reality, are you not included in that all?

To abide in the Self, you must love the Self.

The inner Self, primeval Spirit, Eternal, ever effulgent, full and Infinite bliss, single, indivisible, Whole and living, shines in everyone as the witnessing Awareness.

The Self in its splendour, shining in the cavity of the Heart as the subtle, pervasive, yet unmanifest ether, illumines this universe like the sun.

The Self is neither born nor dies, it neither grows nor decays, nor does it suffer any change. When a pot is broken, the space inside it is not; similarly, when the body dies, the Self in it remains Eternal.

To see a light, no other light is needed. So also, the Self, being self-luminous, needs no other means of knowledge. See the Self, and ignorance will be found not to exist.

The Self is the real book. You can glance anywhere in that book; nobody can take it away from you. Whenever you are free, turn towards the Self. Thereafter you may read whatever you like.


HEART


No one denies that the physical organ [heart] is on the left; but the Heart [a synonym for the Self] which I speak of is the seat of consciousness at the right side of the chest. This is my experience and I require no authority for it; still you can find confirmation in a Malayalam Ayurveda book, and in the Sita Upanishad.

In brief, the "I"-thought is the root of all thoughts. The Source of the "I"-thought is the Heart.

The Heart is not the blood circulating organ. Hridayam means, "This is the centre." Thus it stands for the Self.

The location of the Heart is on the right side of the chest and not on the left. The light of consciousness flows from the Heart through the sushumna, or Eternal channel, to the thousand petalled lotus in the crown of the head [sahasrara].

From the sahasrara, consciousness spreads all over the body, and then the experience of the world arises. Viewing themselves as different from that consciousness, human beings get caught in the cycle of births and deaths.

Being-consciousness, which is authentic bliss, and which is shining in the Heart, should be taken to be the target of your attention at all times. Through one-pointed buddi-yoga [merging of the mind] worship it in the Heart, without any forgetfulness and thereby abide steadfastly as That. This alone is the consummation of your life.

Heart is another name for Reality. It is neither inside nor outside the body. There can be no in and out for it, since It alone is. This world is not other than the mind, the mind is not other than the Heart.

Heart is merely another name for the Supreme Spirit, because He is in all hearts. The entire universe is condensed in the body, and the entire body in the Heart. Thus the Heart is the nucleus of the whole universe.

He whose delusive ego completely subsides and becomes one with existence consciousness, will cease from making the effort of starting any action or karma and will shine in the Heart, having attained the natural and peaceful state of bliss.

God, the Transcendental being, resides in the Heart as "I-I", the Atma-swarupa [the Self which is one's true nature] as mere being, free of thought. Amongst the many thousands of Divine names given to Him in the the many different religions and languages, no other name is so perfectly apt, and has such true elegance, as the name "I am".

In the centre of the cavity of the Heart, the sole Reality shines by itself as the Self in the feeling of "I-I". Reach the Heart by diving within yourself, either with control of breath, or with thought concentrated on the quest of Self. You will thus get fixed in the Self.

For those whose attention is focused on the Self, only the name "I-I", among the many known names of God, will constantly reverberate in the Heart firmament once the ego has been destroyed. It will remain, centre-stage, as the silent Transcendental speech.

The entire universe is in the body and the whole body is in the Heart. Hence, the universe is contained in the Heart.

The Heart is to the body what the sun is to the world. Just as the sun gives light to the moon, the Heart lights the mind.

A mortal absent from the Heart sees only the mind, just as the light of the moon alone is seen at night when the sun has set.

The mind of the knower, abiding in the Heart, is merged in the consciousness of the Heart like the moonlight in daylight.

Though the verbal meaning of the term prajnana [intelligence] is the mind, the wise know its essential meaning to be the Heart. The Supreme is only the Heart.

The distinction between the seer and the seen is only in the mind. For those abiding in the Heart the perception is unitary.

When there is a forcible arrest of thoughts, by swooning, sleep, excessive joy or sorrow, fear and so on, the mind goes back to the Source, the Heart. Such a merger is unconscious and the person is unaware of it. However, when one consciously enters the Heart, it is termed samadhi. Hence, the difference in names.

Because you seek true consciousness, where can you find it? Can you attain it outside of yourself? You have to find it internally. Therefore, you are directed inward. The Heart is the seat of consciousness, or is the consciousness itself.

When the room is dark you need a lamp to light it, but when the sun rises there is no need for a lamp; objects are seen without one. And to see the sun, no lamp is needed for it is self-luminous. Similarly with the mind. The reflected light of the mind is necessary to perceive objects [or the world composed of objects], but to see the Heart it is enough for the mind to be turned towards it. Then the mind is lost in it and the Heart shines forth.

The Heart is the centre of spiritual experience, according to the testimony of sages. The spiritual Heart centre is not an organ of the body. All that you can say is that it is the core of your being, that with which you are identical, whether you are awake, asleep or dreaming, whether you are engaged in work or immersed in Transcendental consciousness [samadhi].

The questioner asking about the Heart's location accepts his bodily existence. It is from this point of view that any reference to a physical body comes to be made. What is indicated is the position of the Heart in relation to your identify.

When the schoolboy says, "I did the sum correctly", or when he asks you, "Shall I run and get the book for you?", would he point to the head that did the sum correctly, or to his legs that will swiftly get you that book?

No, in both cases his finger points out quite naturally towards the right side of his chest, thus giving innocent expression to the profound Truth that the Source of "I"-ness in him is there. It is an unerring intuition that makes him refer to himself, to the Heart in that way.

The truth of oneself alone is worthy of being scrutinised and known. Taking it as the target of one's attention, one should keenly know it in the Heart.

The knowledge of oneself will be revealed only to the consciousness which is silent, clear and free from activity of the agitated and suffering mind.

Know that consciousness which always shines in the Heart as the formless Self, "I". It is known by one's being still, without thinking about anything as existent or non-existent.

Satsanga [keeping conscious company] will make the mind sink into the Heart.

If concentration is made with the brain, sensations of heat and headache ensue. Concentration has to be made with the Heart, which is cool and refreshing.

If you practice Self-enquiry your will reach the Heart, which is the Self. Go to the Source, direct, and do not depend on borrowed resources. The Source is the Heart, the Self.

In the centre [interior] of the Heart cave, Reality alone shines as "I-I" [i.e., it is the feeling of being oneself experienced as "I-I" in the Heart]. Enter into the Heart through Self-enquiry, or by merging the mind with the Self, or by breath control, and become rooted as That.


MIND


There is no entity, as such, which we can call "mind". Because thoughts emerge, we assume that there is something from which they emerge, and we term that "mind". "Thinking" or "the discriminating faculty" are mere names. Whether it is "ego", "mind" or "intellect", it is the same. Whose mind is it? Whose intellect is it? It is the ego's. Is the ego real? No. We are confused by the ego and call it "intellect" or "mind". When we probe to see what it is, we discover that there is nothing there. After it has thus disappeared, Eternal peace remains.

The one that thinks is yourself. Let action occur of its own accord. Why associate yourself with the difficulty? When you have to go outdoors you just lift your feet and go without thinking about it. Like this, the state becomes automatic, and when necessary, thinking arises and disappears of its own accord. Intuition works when there is no thought, and intuition will guide you. Those who have made big discoveries, have made them not when they were anxious about them, but in the stillness, by intuition rather than by thinking.

What is the mind? If one searches to find out, then there would be no separate entity as the mind.

The mind is only a bundle of thoughts. They are dependent on the "I"-thought. Know the "I"-thought to be the mind.

There is no entity by name of mind. Because of the emergence of thoughts, we surmise something from which they start. That we term "mind".

He who thinks, raises troubles. The real "I" is silent. Thoughts are the enemy. Thoughts amount to the creation of the universe. In their absence there is neither world nor God nor creator. Give up thoughts and you need not give up anything else.

Thoughts alone make up the mind. Of all thoughts, the "I"-thought is the root. What is called mind is but the notion "I". When one turns within and searches whence this "I"-thought arises, the "I" vanishes and wisdom's quest begins.

All phenomena consisting of names and forms are of the nature of mind alone.

The mind turned inward is the Self; turned outward it becomes the ego and all the world. The mind does not exist apart from the Self, i.e., it has no independent existence. The Self exists without the mind, never the mind without the Self.

Destroy the power of the mind by seeking it. When the mind is examined, its activities cease. As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through enquiry.

Are you distinct from your thoughts? Do you exist without them? [Yes.] But, can thoughts exist without you?

The mind functions on account of a single root thought, the "I"-thought. It has no existence as a separate entity.

No thought will go in vain. Every thought will produce its effect some time or other. Thought force will never go in vain.

The wavering of the mind is a weakness arising from the dissipation of its energy in the shape of many thoughts. When one makes the mind stick to one thought, the energy is conserved and the mind becomes strong [capable of remaining poised in one's practice].

The purified mind alone is capable of grasping a method and sticking to its practice.

Many fear that with the destruction of the mind, they themselves will cease to exist. But manonasa [destruction of the mind] is nothing to be feared. What we conceive of now as mind is only a combination of rajas [restlessness] and tamas [dullness]. By their elimination, the mind becomes pure. Such a mind is one's own swarupa [real nature]. The activities of one whose mind has been purified by Self-attention will continue to be done. He will even appear to do the work with greater attention and involvement. Yet he is unaffected and always stays in the felicity of non-dual bliss.

Let your standpoint become that of wisdom [steady abidance in the object of meditation], then the world will be found to be God.

Mind is a wonderful force inherent in the Self. That which arises in this body as "I" is the mind. When the subtle mind emerges through the brain and the senses, the gross names and forms are cognized. When it remains in the Heart, names and forms disappear. If the mind remains in the Heart, the "I" or the ego which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self, the real, Eternal "I" alone will shine. Where there is not the slightest trace of the ego, there is the Self.


EGO


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

Look for it, the ego vanishes; and Self alone remains.

The ego is described as having three bodies, the gross, subtle and causal; but that is only for the purpose of analytical exposition. If the method of enquiry were to depend on ego's form, you may take it that any enquiry would become altogether impossible, because the forms the ego may assume are legion. Therefore, for the purpose of Self-enquiry, you have to proceed on the basis that the ego has but one form, namely that of the limited feeeling of "I"-ness.

Although the concept of "I"-ness, or "I am", is by usage known as aham-vritti [the "I"-thought], it is not really a thought like other thoughts of the mind. Because, unlike other thoughts which have no essential interconnection, the "I"-thought is equally and essentially related to each and every thought of the mind.

The search for the Source of the "I"-thought is not merely the search for the basis of one of the forms of ego, but for the very Source from which arises the "I"-amness.

The enquiry into the Source of the "I"-thought touches the very existence of the ego. Therefore, the subtlety of the ego's forms is not a material consideration.

From the functional point of view, the ego has one and only one characteristic. The ego serves as a knot between the Self, which is pure consciousness, and the physical body which is inert. The ego is, therefore, called the knot between consciousness and the inert body.

In your investigation into the Source of the ego, you have the essential consciousness aspect of the ego. For this reason, the enquiry must lead to the realisation of the pure consciousness of the Self.

Thoughts arise because there is a thinker. The ego is the root-thought from which all other thoughts arise. If sought, it will vanish automatically.

Born of forms, rooted in forms, feeding on forms, ever changing its forms, itself formless, this ego-ghost takes to its heels on enquiry.

On the rising of the ego, everything else rises. With its subsidence, all subside. The ego is therefore all. Tracking it is the way to victory over everything.

Discover the real Source of the ego by exploring within with keen intellect, by regulating breath, speech and mind, as one would do to recover a thing which has fallen into a deep well. The ego falls, crestfallen, when one enquires "Who am I?" and enters the Heart.

The moment the ego-self tries to know itself, it changes its character; it begins to partake less and less of the inert in which it is absorbed, and more and more of the consciousness of the Self.

To ask for the omission of your name is as much egoism as to desire its inclusion.

In the enquiry "Who am I?", the "I" is the ego. The question really means, what is the source or origin of this ego?

Be what you are. All that is necessary is to lose the ego. That which is, is always there. Even now you are that. The blank [which occurs for some after long practice of the enquiry] is seen by you. You are there to see the blank. What do you wait for? You have fallen into the snares of the ego. Therefore, leave off all this verbiage. Be as you are.

Your duty is to be, and not to be this or that. The method is summed up in the words, "Be still." What does stillness mean? It means giving up the notion that "I am so and so."

Meditation is possible only if the ego is kept up. There is the ego, and the object meditated upon. The method is therefore indirect because the Self is one. Seeking the ego, that is, its Source, the ego disappears and what is left is the Self. This method is the direct one.

What is fear? It is only a thought. First the ego rises and sees the object as external. Anything external implies the existence of the seer within. Seeking its Source will eliminate doubt and fear. Not only fear, all other thoughts centred around the ego will disappear along with it.

It is the ego that is the cause of all the world; and, if the ego is dissolved by enquiry, everything crumbles, and reality of the Self alone remains.

Find out to whom all questions occur. By conducting this enquiry, fear and anxiety will disappear. They are impermanent. Do not pay attention to them. When there is knowledge of duality, fear arises. Fear only comes when you think that there are others apart from you. If you direct your mind towards the Self, fear and anxiety will go away. In your present state, when your mind is agitated, if you remove one kind of fear, another will rise up and there will be no end of them. It is a laborious task to pluck the leaves off a tree one by one. The "I" feeling is the root of all thoughts. If you destroy the root, the leaves and branches will wither away. Instead of forming bad habits and taking medicine for them, it is better to see that such bad habits are not formed.

First find out whether there is an "I" in you or not. It is this ego "I" [ahankara] that gets these thoughts and, as a result, you feel weakness. Therefore find out how identification with the body takes place. Body consciousness is the cause of all misery. When you conduct the enquiry into the ego "I", you will find out its Source and you will be able to remove it.


MIND  CONTROL


Those attached to objects, and having endless thoughts due to the strength of latent tendencies, find it difficult to control the mind.

One should control the fickle mind by restraint of breath. Then it would, like a tethered animal, cease to stray.

Thoughts are controlled by regulation of breath. Then one abides at their Source.

Watching the flow of breath with the mind is restraint of it. Such watching, if constant, steadies the breath.

If the mind lacks the necessary strength for constant watching of breath, then restriction of breath by hatha yogic practices is suggested.

Exhaling one unit of time, inhaling one unit of time, and retaining breath for four units of time purifies the channels through which breath flows.

Breath control comes gradually when the channels are purified. When such regulation becomes permanent, it becomes natural.

The wise regard the giving up of the notion "I am the body" as exhaling, Self-enquiry as inhaling, and abidance in the Heart as natural breath subsidence.

The mind also gets controlled by repetition of sacred syllables. Then the syllables, the mind, and breath become one.

The merging of the mind and breath is meditation and it leads to the natural state when it becomes deep and firm.

By keeping, daily, the company of great ones [those enlightened, or sages] always rooted in consciousness, one's mind gets merged in its Source.

The mind becomes quiescent by regulation of breath, like a bird caught in a net. This is a means of mind control.

Mind and breath, expressing themselves as consciousness and action, are only two branches of the same power.

Mind is the rider and the breath is the horse. Pranayama [breath control] is a check on the horse. By that check the rider is checked. It may be done first a little. Watching the breath is one way to do it. The mind is abstracted from other activities and engaged in watching the breath. That controls the breath and in-turns the mind.

Thought and respiration are both different aspects of the same individual life current upon which both depend.

Breath control is meant for one who cannot directly control his thoughts. It serves as a brake serves a car.

A floating body does not readily sink unless some means are adopted for doing so. Pranayama [breath control] makes the mind quiescent. The mind must be alive and meditation pursued unremittingly even when at peace. It sinks into the Heart.

It is necessary to be aware and alert while controlling thoughts. Otherwise it will lead to sleep.


SELF – ENQUIRY


Attention to one's own Self, which is ever shining as "I", the one undivided and pure Reality, is the only raft with which the individual, who is deluded by thinking "I am the body", can cross the ocean of unending births.

Reality is simply the loss of ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity. Because the ego is no entity, it will automatically vanish and Reality will shine forth by itself. This is the direct method, whereas all other methods are done only by retaining the ego. In those paths there arise so many doubts and the eternal question "Who am I?" remains to be tackled finally. But in this method the final question is the only one and it is raised from the beginning. No spiritual practices are necessary for engaging in this quest.

The enquiry into the Self is inclusive of faith, devotion, knowledge, Yoga and all the traditional paths.

Joy and pain are the attributes of the ego. When, by Self-enquiry, you realise that you are not that sheath [the ego], where is the pleasure or pain for you? Your real nature transcends all such feelings. So the benefit of Self-enquiry is tangible in the shape of escape from all the ills and sorrows of life. What more could one want? One who is always stationed in the Self will not be disturbed, even in the midst of a crowd. Such a one has no need or desire for solitude.

Knowing the Self means being the Self.

Seek your Source. Find out from whence the thought "I" springs or rises.

Self-enquiry is not the mind's inspection of its own contents. It is tracing the mind's first mode, the "I"-thought, to its Source which is the Self. The very purpose of Self-enquiry is to focus the entire mind on its Source. Let go the passing thoughts and hold on to the unchanging Self.

Self-enquiry alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor mind really exists, and enable one to realise the pure, undifferentiated being of the Self. Having realised the Self, nothing remains to be known.

Enquire until there is no one left to enquire.

When thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should enquire: "To whom do they arise?" It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should enquire with diligence, "To whom has this thought arisen?" The answer that would emerge would be "To me." Thereupon if one enquires "Who am I?", the mind will go back to its Source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its Source. When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense-organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the Heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out, but retaining it in the Heart is what is called "inwardness". Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as "externalisation". Thus, when the mind stays in the Heart, the "I" which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one should do without the egoity "I". If one acts in that way, all will appear as of the nature of Shiva [God].

Strenuously endeavor to know the Self. Develop the introspective attitude. Constantly put before the mind the query, "Who am I?"

This Self-enquiry is not the critical study of the scriptures. When the Source is searched for and found within, the ego gets merged in it.

For all thoughts the Source is the "I"-thought. The mind will merge only by Self-enquiry.

You are the mind, or rather you think you are the mind. The mind is nothing but thoughts. Behind every particular thought there is a general thought which is "I"; that is yourself. Let us call it the first thought. Stick to this "I"-thought and question it to find out what it is.

I do not say that you must go on rejecting every thought. If you cling to the "I"-thought, when your interest keeps you to that single idea, other thoughts get rejected, and automatically they vanish.

Self-enquiry is not intellectual. It is the inner quest that takes you prior to the mind and intellect.

Frequently, if not constantly, question and search within.

If you go the way of your thoughts, you will be carried away by them, and will find yourself in an endless maze. Enquire, "For whom is there distraction?" It will not be difficult after a little practice. If the attempt is made, it will eventually be found not so difficult.

All doubts will cease when the doubter and the Source have been found. There is no use removing doubts. If we clear one doubt, another doubt will arise and there will be no end to doubts. But if the doubter is found, all doubts will cease.

You are told to hold fast to the "I". If that is done, the Eternal will reveal Itself.

The vichara or enquiry which you are making, that is, its presence in the life of those who practice it regularly, is itself the Guru's or God's Grace.

You say "I" and yet you say you don't know the "I". Can anyone be ignorant of himself? Isn't that ludicrous? In the case of the ever present, inescapable "I" how can you be ignorant?

The result of Self-enquiry is the cure for all sorrows. It is the highest of all results. Self-enquiry itself is most meritorious and purifying.

Whatever be the means adopted, you must at last return to the Self: so why not abide in the Self here and now? To be a spectator of, or to speculate about the other world, the Self is necessary; therefore, they are not different from the Self. Even the ignorant man when he sees the objects, sees only the Self.


MEDITATION


It is necessary to practice meditation frequently and regularly until the condition induced becomes habitual and permanent throughout the day. Therefore, meditate!

You lost sight of the bliss because your meditative attitude had not become natural and because of the recurrence of latent tendencies of the mind. When you become habitually reflective, the enjoyment of spiritual beatitude becomes a matter of natural experience. It is not by the single realisation of "I am not the body" that the goal of Self is reached. Do we become royalty by seeing a king once? One must constantly enter samadhi [absorption in the Self] and realise one's Self, and completely blot out the old tendencies and the mind, before one becomes the Self.

Meditation on the Self is our natural state. It is only because we find it hard that we imagine it to be an arbitrary and extraordinary state. We are all unnatural. The mind resting in the Self is its natural condition, but instead of that, our minds are resting on outward objects.

Meditation helps to remove the illusion that the Self must be seen. How do you see the "I" now? Do you hold a mirror in front of yourself to know your own being? The awareness is the "I". Realise That: It is the Truth.

Withdrawing all thoughts from sense objects one should remain fixed in steady non-objective enquiry.

See the self by meditation in this manner. Trace every thought to its origin. Never allow thought to run on. If you do, it will be unending. Take it back to its starting place and the mind will die of inaction. Go back by the question, "Who am I?"

No meditation on any kind of object is helpful. In meditating on an object, whether concrete or abstract, you are destroying the sense of Oneness and creating duality. Meditate on what you are, in reality.

Obviously the seer is more real, true and important than the seen, since the seen is dependent on it. So, turn your attention to the Seer, who is the Source of your "I", and realise That. Up to now, you have been studying the object, not the subject. Now, find out what the word "I" stands for.

All kinds of thoughts arise in meditation – unless they rise up, how can they be destroyed? They rise up spontaneously in order to be extinguished in due course. The Self is realised with a mind that is turned inward. When the mind sees its own Source it becomes That.


" WHO  AM  I ? "  AND  " WHENCE  AM  I ? "


The thought "Who am I?" will destroy all other thoughts and finally kill itself also. If other thoughts arise, without trying to complete them, one must enquire to whom did this thought arise. What does it matter how many thoughts arise? As each thought arises one must be watchful and ask to whom is this thought occurring. The answer will be "To me." If you enquire "Who am I?", the mind will return to its Source. The thought which arose will also submerge. As you practise like this more and more, the power of the mind to remain as its Source is increased.

As for the necessity of watching the breath before enquiring "Who am I?", all depends on a man's aptitude and his fitness. Those who do not have the mental strength to concentrate and direct it on the quest, are advised to watch their breath; since such watching would, as a matter of course, bring the mind under control.

"Who am I?" will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself be destroyed in the end. As long as there are impressions of objects in the mind, so long is the enquiry "Who am I?" required. As long as there are enemies within the fortress, they will continue to sally forth; but if they are destroyed as they emerge, the fortress will fall into our hands.

As a matter of fact, in the quest method, which is more correctly "Whence am I?" and not merely "Who am I?", we are trying to find whence the "I"-thought [the ego, the mind] arises within us. The method contains within itself, though implicitly, the watching of breath. When we watch the root of thoughts, we are necessarily watching the Source of breath also, as the "I"-thought and breath arise from the same Source.

To enquire "Who am I?" is really trying to find out the Source of the "I"-thought. You are not to think of other thoughts, such as "I am not the body," etc... Seeking the Source of "I"-thought serves as a means of getting rid of all other thoughts.

Who is born? It is only he who asks "Whence am I born?" that is truly born in Brahman, the Prime Source. He indeed is born eternally; He is the Lord of saints; He is the ever-new.

We should not give scope for other thoughts, but keep attention fixed on the "I"-thought. This is done by asking to whom the thought arises, and if the answer is "I", get rid of the thought by asking the question who is this "I" and whence its Source?

The meditation or mantra "Soham" ["I am That"] is not the same as "Who am I?" They are different. Why should we go on repeating "Soham" [or affirming "I am That"]? One must find the real "I" within. Tracing within to the Source of "I" we see it [the apparent sense of "I"] has no separate existence, but merges in the real "I".

"Who am I?" is not to be used as a mantra. If means you must find out where in you rises the "I"-thought, which is the source of all other thoughts.

Perception, memory or any other experience only comes to the "I". You don't have these experiences during sleep, and yet you existed during sleep. And, you exist now too. That shows that "I" continues while other things come and go.

"Who am I?" means you must concentrate and see where the "I"-thought arises. Instead of looking outwards, look inwards and see where the"I"-thought arises.

Never mind whether there are visions or sounds or anything else, or whether there is a void. Are you present during all this, or are you not? You must have been there even during the void, to be able to say you experienced the void. To be found in that "you" is the quest for the "I", from start to finish.

Whatever other methods may be chosen, there will always be the doer. That cannot be escaped. Just who is that doer is what must be found out. Until then, the sadhana [practice] cannot be ended. So, eventually all must come to find out "Who am I?" You complain that there is nothing preliminary or positive to start with. You have the "I" to start with.

Suggestive replies to the enquiry, such as "Sivoham" ["I am Shiva"], are not to be given to the mind during this meditation. The true answer will come by itself. Any answer which the ego might give cannot be correct. These affirmations or auto-suggestions may be of help to those who follow other methods, but not in this method of enquiry.

The enquiry to know the Self is different from the method of "Sivoham" or "Soham" ["I am He"]. I rather lay stress upon Self-knowledge; for, you are first concerned with yourself before you proceed to know the world and its Lord. The "Soham" meditation of "I am Brahman" meditation is more or less a mental thought. But the quest I speak of is a direct method and indeed superior to other meditations. For the moment you get into a movement of quest for the self, and go deeper and deeper, the real Self is waiting to take you in. Then, whatever is done is done by something else, and you have no hand in it.

You gain steadiness in practice, only through more practice.


" I -  I "


"Whence does the "I" arise?" Seek this within. The "I" then vanishes. This is the pursuit of wisdom. Where the "I" vanished, there appears an "I-I" by itself. This is the Infinite.

Though it reveals itself thus, it is not the ego "I", but the perfect being, the Self Absolute.

Where this "I" vanished and merged in its Source, there appears spontaneously and continuously an "I-I". This is the Heart, the Infinite Supreme Being.

On diving deep upon the quest "Who am I and from whence?", thoughts disappear and consciousness of Self then flashes forth as the "I-I" within the cavity of every seeker's Heart.

The "I-I" consciousness is the Absolute. Though it comes before sahaja [the permanent and highest level of experiencing the Self], there is in it as in sahaja itself the subtle intellect; the difference being that in the latter the sense of forms disappear, which is not the case in the former. 

Making the corpse-body remain as a corpse, and not even uttering the word "I", one should enquire keenly thus: "Now, what is it that rises as "I"?" Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of the form "I-I". That is, there would shine of its own accord the pure consciousness which is unlimited and One, the limited and the many thoughts having disappeared. If one remains quiescent without abandoning that experience, the egoity, the individual sense, of the form "I am the body" will be totally destroyed, and at the end the final thought, the "I-form" also will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor. The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is release.

It is the Divine Self that shines in the Heart as "I-I".

When the mind turns inward seeking "Who am I?" and merges in the Heart, then the "I" hangs down his head in shame and the one "I" appears as Itself.

Rejoice eternally! The Heart rejoices at the feet of the Lord, who is the Self, shining within as "I-I" eternally, so that there is no alternation of night and day. This will result in removal of ignorance of the Self.

That realisation of "I" is indeed the Self which is experienced as "I-I" shining of its own accord, the Absolute being, the witness of the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, distinct from the five sheaths, aware of the mental modes in the waking and dream states, and of their absence in the state of deep sleep.


PROBLEMS  -  SOLUTIONS


You may experience anything, but you must never rest content with that; whether you experience pleasure or pain, ask yourself the question, "Who feels the pleasure?" and carry on the practice [sadhana] until pleasure and pain are transcended, till Reality alone remains.

You say you go to sleep while meditating. Once you go to sleep, you can do nothing about it. But while you are awake, try to keep away all thoughts. When you pass into sleep, the state in which you were before falling asleep will continue when you wake up. You will continue from where you left off when you fell into slumber.

So long as these thoughts of activity are there, sleep will also be there. Thoughts and sleep are counterparts of the same thing.

We should not sleep too much or go without it altogether, but sleep only moderately. To prevent too much sleep, we must try and have no thoughts. As an aid in overcoming the tendency to sleep or go unconscious during meditation eat only sattvic [pure, not spicy or highly seasoned] food, and that too in moderate measure; and not indulge in too much physical activity.

Sleep is the first obstacle. The second is the sense objects of the world which divert one's attention. The third is thoughts in the mind about previous experiences with sense objects. The fourth is bliss. In that state the thought, "I am the enjoyer," is still present. The final state of samadhi is to be reached in which one is the bliss, or one with Reality.

The more you get fixed in the Self, the more the thoughts will drop off themselves. Regulation of life – such as getting up at a fixed hour, bathing, doing mantra, japa [repetition], observing ritual, all this – is for people who do not feel drawn to Self-enquiry; or, are not capable of it. But for those who can practice this method, all rules and disciplines are unnecessary.

Success in turning the mind inward is achieved by practice [Self-enquiry] and dispassion and it succeeds only gradually.

Do not regret tamas [inertia, sluggishness], but when sattva [purity, harmony] comes into play, hold on to it and make the best of it.

The thought "I am not able to concentrate" is itself an obstacle. Why should the thought arise?

There is consciousness along with quietness in the mind. This is exactly the state to be aimed at.

The word "diving" is only appropriate if one has to turn the mind within in order to avoid being distracted by the outgoing tendencies of the mind. But when deep quietness prevails without obstructing the consciousness, where is the need to dive?


PRACTICE


Effort is necessary up to the stage of realisation. Even then, the Self should spontaneously become evident, otherwise happiness will not be complete. Up to the state of spontaneity, there must be effort in some form or other.

Divine Grace is essential for realisation. But Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is a true devotee, or a yogi [one working to gain union of the mind and Self]. It is given only to those who have striven hard and ceaselessly on the path to freedom.

There is a state beyond effort and effortlessness. However, until it is realised effort is necessary.

That which is, is peace. All that we need do is to keep quiet. Peace is our real nature. We spoil it. What is required is that we cease to spoil it.

Grace is always there. But practice is also necessary. Staying in the Self by one's efforts [with Self-enquiry] is like training a roguish bull to remain confined to his stall by tempting him with luscious grass and preventing him from straying.

It is necessary both for you to strive, and for the Guru to help. The Guru's Grace is indispensable, but so is one's own effort in putting into practice the instructions given by the Guru.

Effort must be made in the waking state with alert consciousness and the Self realised here and now.

Effortlessness and choiceless awareness is our real nature. If we can attain that state and abide in it, it is all right. But, one cannot reach it without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation.

Of course, every master and every book tell the aspirant to keep quiet, but it is not easy to do so. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even it we find somebody who has achieved this Supreme state of stillness, you may take it that the necessary effort had already been made in a previous life.

See what helped you to keep out thoughts and adopt that for meditation.

Your effort is meant not to allow yourself to be distracted by other thoughts than your meditation.

Practices are needed as long as one has not realised. They are for putting an end to obstacles to abiding in the Self.

As soon as they come here, some want to immediately be Self-realised beings. They ignore the effort involved or required.

Is there a short cut to liberation? Is it something to be purchased in a shop?

What is important is steadfast resolve. It does not make much difference if you concentrate on the top of the nose, the centre of the eyebrows [or sound of the mantra], and so on. The really important thing is to pay attention to the Source of [perception or] the mantra, [to the "I" that hears the mantra or perceives the objects of concentration]. Keep your attention fixed on that.

Perseverance alone counts. The more you meditate, the easier it becomes to meditate. Till at last it becomes natural.

Practice is necessary. Then there is Grace.

Your repeated effort is bound to erase tendencies. Leave God's job to God. You have to do what is in your hands.

When the time is ripe, God's Grace, which is always operating, will be felt.

The mistake one is prone to make is to abandon effort under the mistaken impression that God's Grace is absent.

One should not slacken, for God's Grace is bound to operate in due time, when you are ripe.

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SATSANGA


If one gains association with sadhus, of what use are all the religious observances? When the excellent cool southern breeze itself is blowing, what is the use of holding a hand fan?

Sacred bathing places, that are composed of water, and images and deities, which are made of stone and earth, cannot be comparable to those great souls. Ah, what a wonder! The bathing places and deities bestow purity of mind after countless days, whereas such purity is instantly bestowed upon people as soon as sadhus see them with their eyes.

Heat will be removed by the cool moon, poverty by the celestial wish-fulfilling tree and sin by the Ganges. But know that all these, beginning with heat, will be removed merely by having darshan [sight] of incomparable sadhus.

The Supreme state which is praised and which is attained here in this life by clear Self-enquiry, which arises in the Heart when association with a sadhu is gained, is impossible to attain by listening to preachers, by studying and learning the meaning of the scriptures, by virtuous deeds or by any other means.

By satsanga the association with the objects of the world will be removed. When that worldly association is removed the attachment or tendencies of the mind will be destroyed. Those who are devoid of mental attachment will perish in That which is motionless. Thus they attain liberation. Cherish their association.

Satsanga really means "association with the unmanifest Sat or Reality." But as very few can do that they have to do the second best, which is association with the manifest Truth [Sat] – that is, the Guru. One who knows or has realised the Truth is also regarded as Truth.

Satsanga will make the mind sink into the Heart. Such association is both mental and physical. The extremely visible being of the Guru pushes the mind inward. He is also in the Heart of the seeker and so he draws the latter's inward-bent mind into the Heart.

Association with sages should be made because thoughts are so persistent. The sage has already overcome the mind and remains in peace. Being in his proximity helps to bring about this condition in others, otherwise there is no meaning in seeking his company. The Guru provides the needed strength for this, unseen by others.

A floating body may be loaded with weights and made to sink. So also, association with the wise will make the mind sink in the Heart.

What is the good of mere physical proximity to the Guru? The mind alone matters. The mind must make contact, and be contacted.

Such association with Truth, or one who knows the Truth, is absolutely necessary for all. Shankara has said that in all the three worlds there is no boat like satsanga to carry one safely across the ocean of births and deaths.

In the proximity of a great master, the mental tendencies cease to be active, the mind becomes still and Transcendental awareness [samadhi] results. Thus, the disciple gains true knowledge and right experience in the presence of the master. To remain unshaken in it further efforts are necessary. Eventually the disciple will know it to be his real being and will thus be liberated even while alive.

By remaining in contact with realised sages, the man gradually loses the ignorance until its removal is complete. The Eternal Self is then revealed.


GURU


The marks of a Guru are steady abidance in the Self, looking at all with an equal eye, unshakable courage at all times, in all places and circumstances.

He is a proper Guru to who your mind is attuned. He should be endowed with tranquillity, patience, forgiveness and other virtues. He should be capable of attracting others even with his eyes, just as a magnet attracts iron. He should have a feeling of equality towards all. He who has these virtues is a true Guru.

Choose that one where you find you get peace.

If you wish to know what is the nature or real form [swarupa] of a Guru, you must know your own nature or real form first. How can one know the nature of the Guru if one does not know one's own real nature? If you want to know the real nature of the Guru you my must first learn to look upon the whole world as the Guru's form. One must see Guru in all living beings.

The Guru is the bestower of silence who reveals the light of Self-knowledge which shines as the residual Reality. Spoken words are of no use whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of the disciple.

Contact with the Guru is necessary.

It is like the elephant, which wakes up on seeing a lion in its dream. Even as an elephant wakes up at the mere sight of the lion, so too it is certain that the disciple wakes up from the deep sleep of ignorance into wakefulness of true knowledge through the Guru's benevolent look of Grace.

Work within. The Guru is both within and without, so He creates conditions to drive you inwards and prepares the interior to drag you to the centre. Thus He gives you a push from outside and exerts a pull from within, so that you will be fixed at the centre. In sleep you are centred within; on waking your mind rushes out, simultaneously thinking this, that and the other. This must be checked. It is possible only for the agent who can work both within and without. Can He be identified with a body?

Because you think you are a body, you think the Guru also is a body and that He will do something tangible to you. However, His work lies within, in the spiritual realm.

He who instructs an ardent seeker to do this or that is not a true Guru. The seeker is already afflicted by his activities and wants peace and rest. In other words, he wants cessation of his activities. If a "teacher" tells him to do something in addition to, or in place of, his other activities, can that be a help to the seeker? Activity is creation. Activity is the destruction of one's inherent happiness. If activity is advocated the adviser is not a Guru but a killer. In such circumstances either the creator [Brahma] or death [Yama] may be said to have come in the guise of a "master". Such a person cannot liberate the aspirant, he can only strengthen his fetters.

The Guru is both external and internal. From the exterior, He gives a push to the mind to turn it inwards. From the interior, He pulls the mind towards the Self and helps in guiding the mind. This is Guru's Grace. There is no difference between God, Guru and the Self.

God, who is immanent, in his Grace takes pity on the loving devotee and manifests Himself according to the devotee's development. The devotee thinks that he is a man and expects a relationship between two physical bodies. But the Guru, who is God incarnate, works from within, helps the man to see the error of his ways, and guides him on the right path until he realises the Self within.

The Guru is absolutely necessary. The Upanishads say that no one but a Guru can take a man out of the jungle of mind, intellect and sense perceptions.

A realised one sends out waves of spiritual influence which draw many people towards him. Yet he may sit in a cave and maintain complete silence. We may listen to lectures upon Truth and come away with hardly any grasp of the subject, but to come into contact with a realised one, though he speaks nothing, will give much more grasp of the subject. He never needs to go out among the public. If necessary he can use others as instruments.

The Guru does not bring about Self-realisation. He simply removes the obstacles to it.

The Guru is always within you. If the disciple finds the Guru internally, then it does not matter where he goes. Staying here or elsewhere must be understood to be the same and to have the same effect.

Peace, the one thing desired by everyone, cannot be attained in any way, by anyone, at any time or in any place, unless the stillness of mind is obtained through the Grace of the Guru. Therefore, always seek that Grace with a one-pointed mind.

The Guru will go with the disciple in his own path and then gradually turn him into the Supreme Path at the ripe moment. Suppose the car is going at top speed. To stop it at once, or turn it at once, would be attended by disastrous consequences.

The Guru not being a physical form, His contact will continue even after His physical form vanishes. If one enlightened sage exists in the world, his influence will be felt or benefit all people and not simply his immediate disciples.

Conquering a thousand elephants is nothing besides the Guru's power to conquer the rutting elephant of the ego.

It is necessary for you to strive, and natural for the Guru to help.

To annihilate recurrent tendencies and bring to being knowledge free from dread, delusion and desire, know that the mantra true is but devotion to the Guru's feet.

Who meditates on Guru's feet, the flawless flame of pure Awareness, gains from Grace Supreme the gift of pure Awareness, clarity of mind that ends all sorrow.

If you are working with your available Light you will meet your Guru, as He will be seeking you Himself.

The Guru is none other than the Self. Tayumanavar says that God, the Self, is the Guru appearing as a man to dispel the ignorance of man, just as a tame deer is used as a decoy to capture a wild deer. He has to appear in a body in order to dispel the "I am the body" notion of the seeker.

If the Guru is silent the seeker's mind gets purified by itself.

I have not said that a Guru is not necessary. But a Guru need not always be in human form. First a person thinks that he is an inferior and that there is a superior, all-knowing, all powerful God who controls his own and the world's destiny. So he worships Him or does devotion to Him. When he reaches a certain stage and becomes fit for enlightenment, the same God whom he was worshipping comes as a Guru and leads him on. That Guru comes only to tell him that "God is within yourself. Dive within and realise." God, Guru and the Self are the same.

Ripened by the matchless power of Self-awareness, now the Guru stands as transcendent Being Supreme, He who, penance done, becomes the target of His glance of Grace, gains greatness that surpasses speech.


GRACE


Grace is there all along. Grace is the Self. It is not something to be acquired. All that is necessary is to know its existence. In the same way, the sun is pure brightness. It is ever there and shines and you are surrounded by sunlight; still, if you want to know the sun, you must turn your eyes in its direction and look at it. Similarly, Grace is only to be found by effort, although it is here and now.

We cannot attain realisation of the Self by our mind, unaided by God's Grace.

One's ignorance of the Self-revealing immediacy of Divine Grace is not proof of its absence. If the owl does not see the sun that illumines the whole world, is that the fault of the sun? Is it not due to the ignorance of the bird, or the defectiveness of it's sight?

Your very desire for Grace is due to the Grace that is already working in you.

As for Grace, it is ever within you. You are never out of its operation. Grace is always there.

In full enjoyment of silent bliss, the gift of Grace that flows from wisdom's Lord, the Lord of Self, the jiva's nirvana is casting off the five-fold sheath, attachment to the body.

Grace is always present. You are neck deep in water and yet cry for water. Dispassion cannot be acquired, nor realisation of Truth, nor inherence in the Self, in the absence of the Guru's Grace. But practice is necessary.

Grace is in the beginning, middle and the end.

God, Grace and Guru are all synonymous and also Eternal and immanent.

The highest form of Grace is silence. It is also the highest instruction [upadesa].

Through Divine Grace, one can go beyond the influences of past actions.

Individually we are incapable because our mind is weak. Grace is necessary. Sadhu seva [serving a holy being, one whose life is totally dedicated to God] will bring it about.

To me there is no distinction. Grace is flowing like the ocean, ever full. Everyone draws from it according to his capacity. How can one who brings only a tumbler complain that he isn't able to take as much as another who has brought a jar?

It is only by God's Grace that you think of God.

Why do you cry that there is no mercy from the Lord, what is there to sob about? Instead of being poised in the Self, why do you go on wailing?

What is this talk of Guru's Grace? Does the Guru hold you by the hand and whisper something in your ear? You imagine him to be what you are yourself. Because you are identified with the body, you think that He is also a body, and will do something tangible to you. But His work lies within. How is a Guru found? If a devotee prays to God unselfishly, God who is immanent, in His Grace takes pity on the loving devotee and manifests Himself as a being according to the devotee's standard. The devotee thinks that it is a person and expects a relationship between them as bodies, but the Guru, who is God or Self incarnate, works from within, helps the person to see the error of his ways, and guides him along the right path until he realises the Self within. After such a realisation, he feels, "I was so worried before, I am after all the Self, the same as before but not affected by anything. Where is he now who was so miserable? He is nowhere to be found." What should we do now? Only live up to the words of the master.

If towards the Lord you take one single step, then with much more than a mother's love He takes nine steps towards you to accept you. Such is the Guru's Grace.


SURRENDER


There are two ways of achieving surrender. One is looking into the Source of the "I" and merging into that Source. The other is feeling "I am helpless myself, God alone is all powerful, and except by throwing myself completely on Him, there is no other means of safety for me", and thus gradually developing the conviction that God alone exists and the ego does not count. Both methods lead to the same goal. Complete surrender is another name for jnana or liberation.

Surrender appears easy because people imagine that once they say, with their lips, "I surrender", that they can be free to do whatever they like. But, the fact is, you can have no likes or dislikes after you surrender. Your will should become completely non-existent, with the Lord's will taking its place.

Surrender is complete only when you reach the state "Thou art All" and "Thy will be done."

You will know in due course that your glory lies where you cease to exist. In order to gain that state, you should surrender yourself. Then the master sees that you are in a fit state to receive guidance, and He guides you. The master is "within" and "without". He gives a push from "without" and exerts a pull from "within", so that you may be fixed at the Centre. Leave it all to the master. Surrender to Him without reserve.

All this talk of surrender is like pinching a jaggery [refined brown sugar] image of Lord Ganesa and presenting it as a sweets offering to the same Lord. You say you offer your body, soul and all possessions to God. Where they yours [to begin with], that you could offer them?

You are perfect and complete, so abandon the idea of incompleteness. There is nothing to be destroyed. Ahankara, the individual "I", is not a real thing. It is the mind that makes the effort and the mind is not real. Just as it is not necessary to kill a rope that one imagines to be a snake, so also there is no need to kill the mind. Knowing the form of the mind makes the mind disappear. That which is forever non-existent is already removed.

If you have surrendered, you must be able to abide by the will of God and not make a grievance of what may not please you. Things may turn out differently from [what you wish or] what they look apparently.

What is destiny? There is no destiny. Surrender, and all will be well. Throw the responsibility on God. Do no bear the burden yourself. What can destiny do to you then?

During worldly activity, if your attention is fixed on the fundamental Reality, there is no difficulty. But ordinary people forget the Reality and take the name alone to be real. The different "I"s are not real. There is only one "I". The separate "I" is like a watchman in a fort. He is like the protector of the body. The real owner in everybody is only the one real "I". So, when the separate "I" surrenders to the real "I", then "I" and "mine" are eliminated. The true state comes into existence when, after sorting out what belongs to whom, the ego "I" surrenders itself to the real owner.

The Grace of God is obtained, practically, by self-surrender.

If you have surrendered but still doubt God's Grace, where does the fault lie? Grace is constant. Your judgment is variable. Surrender will make one understand His Grace.

You say you have surrendered but still do not feel the Grace of God. Sincerity is wanting. Surrender should not be verbal or conditional. Surrender unreservedly and the higher power will reveal itself.

The disciple surrenders to his master. That means that there is no vestige of individuality retained by the disciple. If surrender is complete, all sense of individuality is lost and there is no cause for misery. The Eternal Being is only happiness, and that is revealed.

You ask if Grace cannot hasten competence for the search. Leave it to God. Surrender to him unreservedly. He never forsakes the one who has surrendered. One of two things must be done. Either surrender, because you admit your inability and require the higher power to help you; or investigate the cause of misery, go into the Source and merge in the Self. Either way, you will be free from misery.

The ego submits only when it recognises the higher power. Such a recognition is surrender or submission. Otherwise, ego remains stuck up like an image carved on a temple tower, making a pretense by it strained look and posture that it is supporting the tower on its shoulders. The ego cannot exist without the power, but thinks that it acts of its own accord.

Surrender to God and await his pleasure. If you ask him to do as you please, it is not surrender but demand of him. You cannot have him obey you and yet think you have surrendered. He knows what is best and when and how to do it. Leave everything entirely to him. His is the burden, you have no longer any cares.

All your cares are for him. Such is surrender.

Surrender can take effect when done with full knowledge. Such knowledge comes after enquiry. It ends in surrender.

If one has surrendered himself to God or Guru, the power to which he has surrendered will take him on the right course. One need no longer concern himself about the course. The doubt will arise only if he fails to obey the master in all details.

Surrender consists in giving up oneself and one's possessions to the Lord of Mercy. Then what is left over for the man? Nothing. Neither himself nor his possessions. The body is liable to be born and to die, but having made over to the Lord, mind need no longer worry about it. Birth and death cannot strike terror. For where is the identity of the individual to be frightened?

It is true that the Divine will prevails at all times and under all circumstances. The individuals cannot act on their own accord. Recognise the force of Divine will and keep quiet.

Surrender itself is a mighty prayer. If you believe that God will do all the things that you want him to do, then surrender yourself to him. Otherwise, let God alone and know yourself.

Whose fault is it if the traveler, instead of putting his luggage in the conveyance which bears his load anyway, carries it on this head or in his lap to his own inconvenience.

If full responsibility is thrown on the higher power, things will go on of their own accord.

We walk on this ground. While doing so, do we usually consider each step as to whether we should raise one leg after the other, or stop at some stage? Isn't walking done automatically? The same is the case of inhaling and exhaling. No special effort is made to inhale or exhale. The case is the same with life also. Quite a number of things are done automatically without our being conscious of it.

If actions of the mind, speech and body are merged with God, all the burdens of life are on him.

When one has completely surrendered oneself at the feet of Shiva, thereby becoming the nature of the Self, the resulting abundant peace, in which there is not the least room within the Heart for one to make any complaint, alone is the nature of Supreme devotion.

If one surrenders completely, there will be no one left to ask questions or to be considered. Either the thoughts are eliminated by holding on to the root thought, "I", or one surrenders unconditionally to the higher power. These are the only two ways to realisation. Self-enquiry dissolves the ego by looking for it and finding it to be non-existent, whereas devotion surrenders it; therefore both come to the same ego-free goal, which is all that is required.

True surrender is the melting of the ego in its Source, the Heart. God is not deceived by outward acts. What he sees in the worshipper is how much of the ego remains in full control and how much is on the verge of destruction.

It is legitimate to pray as long as you feel that you are different from the higher power. But better still, attain the state of self-surrender, and entrust your entire burden to the Lord, who will then take the burden off your back and give you the feeling that you are in him and are one with him.

If your surrender is total and complete, you need not ask anything. Try to get rid of the thought "I" and "mine". Don't feel anything is yours. It is all God's.


STATES  OF  CONSCIOUSNESS


Existence, or consciousness, is the only Reality. Consciousness plus waking we call waking. Consciousness plus sleep we call sleep. Consciousness plus dream, we call dream. Consciousness is the screen on which all the pictures come and go. The screen is real, the pictures are mere shadows on it.

There is only one state, that of consciousness or awareness in existence. The three states waking, dream and sleep cannot be real. They come and go. The real will always exist. By long habit we have been regarding the three states as real. We call the state of mere awareness, the fourth, Turiya.

Vidyaranya, in the tenth chapter of the Panchadasi, gives an example of the light kept on the stage of the theater. When a drama is being played, the light is there without any distinction on all the actors, whether kings, servants, dancers, etc. The light will be there before the drama begins, during the performance, and also after the performance is over. Similarly, the light of consciousness within gives light to the mind without itself being subject to [alteration, alternation] or the process of decay.

It is not correct to say that one is nearer to pure consciousness in deep sleep than in the waking state. The sleep, dream and waking state are mere phenomena appearing on the Self. It is also the state of simple awareness. Can one remain away from his Self at any moment?

There is no difference between the dream and the waking states except that the dream is short and the waking long. Both are the result of the mind. Our real state, called the fourth [Turiya], is beyond the waking, dream and sleep states.

You might have eaten heartily before going to sleep. You dream, and in the dream feel hungry. You, yourself, feel the hunger. So long as the dream lasts, the suffering is real. It is only when you wake up that you find the problem to be unreal. The hunger in the dream has to be appeased by dream food. You can never mix up the two states – dream and waking. Similarly, till you attain the state of realisation, and wake out of the illusory phenomenal world, it will appear real.

If some good man says, "Let all the people in the world get realisation. It does not matter if I don't, if I can just help others to get it." That is like a dreamer saying, "Let all the people in the dream wake up before I do." He would be no more absurd than this amiable philosopher.

The obstacles to Self-abidance are distractions by things of the world [including sense objects, desires and tendencies] on the one hand and sleep on the other. Sleep is also mentioned in some books as the first obstacle to samadhi and various means are prescribed for overcoming it.

I don't understand why people should be afraid of the state in which all thoughts cease to exist. They daily experience it in sleep. There is no mind or thought in sleep. Yet, when one rises from sleep he says, "I slept well."

Limitation is only in the mind. Did you feel it in deep sleep? The differences between waking and sleeping are due to the mind. There is no mind in sleep, whereas it is now active.

What we have to do is to bring deep sleep into the waking state, to get conscious sleep.

The states of deep sleep, waking and dream are of the ego; the Self is the witness of all. The Self transcends them all. This consciousness should be found.


SAMADHI


Holding on to Reality is samadhi [absorption in the Self]. Holding to samadhi with effort is savikalpa samadhi. Merging in Reality and remaining unaware of the world is nirvikalpa samadhi. Merging unconsciously and remaining unaware of the world is sleep. Remaining in the primal, pure, natural state without effor is sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

In yoga there are various kinds of samadhi. But the samadhi I speak about is different. It is sahaja samadhi. In this state you remain calm and composed during activity. You realise that you are moved by a larger real Self and are unaffected by what you do or say or think. You have no worries, anxieties or cares, for you realise that there is nothing which belongs to you as ego, and that everything is being done by something with which you are in conscious union.

The final obstacle to meditation is ecstasy; when you feel great bliss and happiness, the tendency is to stay in that ecstasy. Do not yield to this, but pass onto the sixth stage, which is great calm. The calm is higher than ecstasy and it merges into samadhi. Successful samadhi causes a waking sleep state to encompass you, when you are always consciousness, for consciousness is your nature. Hence a person is always in samadhi, only they do not know it. All one has to do is to remove the obstacles I have just mentioned.

When we have tendencies we are trying to give up, that is to say, when we are still imperfect and have to make conscious effort to keep the mind free of thought, the thought-free state we thus attain is nirvikalpa samadhi. When through practice we are constantly in that state, not going into samadhi and coming out of it again, that is the "sahaja" [natural] state. In the sahaja state, one sees only the Self, and one sees the world as the form assumed by the Self.

The state in which the unbroken experience of existence-consciousness is attained by the still mind, alone is samadhi.

The nirvikalpa samadhi of Raja Yoga may have its use. But in Jnana Yoga, this natural state, or sahaja nishta [abidance in the natural state] itself is the nirvikalpa state. In this natural state the mind is free from doubts. It has no need to swing between the alternatives of possibilities and probabilities. It sees no differences of any kind. It is sure because it feels the presence of the Real. Even when it is active, it knows it is active in the Reality, the Self.

In deep sleep the mind is merged, not destroyed. That which is merged reappears. It may happen in meditation also. But the mind which is destroyed cannot reappear. The yogi's aim must be to destroy it and not to sink into a state of unconsciousness.

One who accustoms himself naturally to meditation and enjoys the bliss of meditation will not lose his samadhi state, whatever external work he does, whatever thoughts may come to him. That is sahaja nirvikalpa.

One's abidance in one's own nature, as a flame of knowledge, after completely discarding sense objects, is called the natural state.


ILLUSION


We talk of attaining the Self, or of reaching God, in time. But there is nothing to attain. We are already Self-existent. Nor will there ever be a time when we shall be nearer to God than now. We are ever-blissful, Self-existent, the Infinite now. Our consciousness is unbroken, continuous and Eternal. It is all illusion, self-hypnotism, to imagine that now we are otherwise. De-hypnotize yourself! It is ego which deludes itself that there are two selves, one which we are conscious of now [the person] and the other, the higher, the Divine, of which we shall one day become conscious. This is false. There is only one Self and it is fully conscious now and forever: there is neither past, present nor future for It, since It is out of time.

The illusion created by the mind must be destroyed by the mind itself.


FATE ,  FREE – WILL  AND  BEYOND


The creator [Brahma], remaining everywhere, makes each one play his or her role according to his or her fate. That which is not destined will not happen despite every effort. What is destined is bound to happen. This is certain. Therefore, the best course is to remain silent.

All the activities that the body is to go through are determined when it comes into existence. It does not rest with you to accept or reject them. The only freedom you have is to turn your mind inward and renounce activities there. Everything is predetermined.

Why does the body come into existence? It is designed for the various things that are marked out for it in this life. As for freedom, a man is always free not to identify himself with the body and not to be affected by the pleasures and pains consequent on its activities.

Those who know that what is to be experienced by them in this life is only what is already destined in their prarabdha [karma to be worked out in this lifetime] will never feel perturbed about what is to be experienced. Know that all experience will be thrust upon one whether one wills them or not.

If the agent, upon whom the karma depends, namely the ego, which has come into existence between the body and the Self, merges in its Source and loses its form, how can the karma, which depends upon it, survive? When there is no "I" there is no karma.

To say that prarabdha remains for the wise as well is only in reply to the question put by the ignorant. Realise that just as after the husband is dead no unwidowed wife would remain, even so when the doer is gone, the three-fold karma [1. destiny, arising as a result of actions | 2. the consequence of actions, the law of cause and effect | 3. action, hence karma yoga, the yoga of action] would also go.

The truth is the enlightened sage has transcended all karmas including prarabdha karma and he is not bound by the body or its karmas.

If one enquires who is the doer and enters the Heart, the doership idea will end and the triple karma is destroyed. This is indeed liberation.

Not even an iota of prarabdha exists for those who attend to the space of consciousness, which always shines as "I am", which pervades everywhere without limitations. Such alone is the meaning of the ancient saying, "There is no fate for those who experience the heavens."

So long as the feeling "I am doing" is there, one must experience the result of one's acts, whether they are good or bad.

Free-will exists together with the individuality. As long as the individuality lasts, so long is there free-will. All the scriptures are based on this fact and advise directing the free-will in the right channel.

Find out who it is who has free-will or predestination and abide in that state. Then both are transcended. That is the only purpose in discussing these questions. To whom do such questions present themselves? Discover that and be at peace. As long as a man is the doer he also reaps the fruits of his deeds, but as soon as he realises the Self through enquiry as to who the doer is, his sense of being the doer falls away and the triple karma is ended. This is the state of Eternal liberation.

The controversy whether fate is stronger than free-will or vice-versa is only for those who do not know the Source. Those who know that individual to whom they pertain remain untouched by them.

Free-will is implied in the spiritual injunctions to be good. It implies overcoming fate. It is done by wisdom. Wisdom is acquired by association with the wise.

Free-will and destiny are ever existent. Destiny is the result of past action; it concerns the body. Let the body act as may suit it. Why are you concerned about it? Why do you pay attention to it? Free-will and destiny last as long as the body lasts. But true knowledge of the Self [jnana] transcends both.

The Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance. Whatever happens, happens as the result of one's past actions, of Divine will and of other factors. There are only two ways to conquer destiny or be independent of it. One is to enquire for whom is this destiny and discover that only the ego is bound by destiny and not the Self and that the ego is non-existent. The other way is to kill the ego by completely surrendering to the Lord, by realising one's helplessness and saying all the time, "Not I, but Thou, oh Lord" and giving up all sense of "I" and "mine", and leaving it to the Lord to do what he likes with you. Complete effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer destiny, whether you achieve this effacement through Self-enquiry or the path of devotion.

There are only two ways in which to conquer destiny or be independent of it. One is to enquire who undergoes the destiny and discover that Self is not bound by it. The other way is to completely surrender to the Lord by realising one's helplessness.

You doubt the statement that the realised man has no further karma. Why should you bother about what the he does or why he does anything. Look after yourself.


REINCARNATION


If there is birth there must be not only one rebirth but a whole succession of the birth. Why and how did you get this birth? For the same reason and in the same manner you must have succeeding births.

You do not know what you were before birth. Yet you want to know what you will be after death. Do you know what you are now? Birth and rebirth pertain to the body. Birth and rebirth are mentioned only to make you investigate the question and find out that there is neither death nor birth. They relate to the body not to the Self. Know your real being and these questions will not arise.

Whatever is born must die; whatever is acquired must be lost; but were you born? You are eternally existing. The Self can never be lost.

The interval between death and rebirth may be long or short but a realised person undergoes no such change; he merges into the Infinite being. Some say that those, who, after death, take the path of light are not re-born.... If a man's merits and demerits are equal, he is born immediately on earth; if merits outweigh the demerits, his subtle body goes first to heaven, while if demerits outweigh merits he goes to hell. But in either case he is reborn later on earth. All this is described in the scriptures, but in fact there is neither birth nor death if one simply remains as what one really is.

The birth of a person and the death of a person appear real because one wrongly identifies himself with the body and thinks of the other also as a body. However, the birth of the "I"-thought is a person's birth and its death is his death. For it is only after the "I"-thought has arisen, that the wrong identification arises. Identifying yourself with the body makes you falsely identify others also with their bodies. But if you cease to identify yourself with the body and realise the true Self, this confusion will vanish.

You ask what happens to a person after death. Engage yourself in the living present. The future will take care of itself. Don't worry about the future.

There is neither past nor future. There is only the present. Yesterday was present when you experienced it, and tomorrow will also be present when you experience it. Therefore, experience takes place only in the present.

In whatever plane the mind happens to act, it creates a body for itself; in the physical world a physical body, and in the dream-world a dream-body which becomes wet with dream-rain and sick with dream-disease. After the death of the physical body, the mind remains inactive for sometime, as in dreamless sleep when it remains bodiless. But soon it becomes active again in a new body – the astral – till it assumes another body in what is called "rebirth". But a jnani, the Self-realised person whose mind has already ceased to act, remains unaffected by death. The chain of illusions have snapped for him.

It should be clear that there is neither real birth nor real death. It is the mind which creates and maintains the illusion of reality in this process, till it is destroyed by Self-realisation.

When one begins to die, hard breathing sets in; that means that one has become unconscious of the dying body. The mind at once takes hold of another body, and it swings to and fro between the two until attachment is fully transferred to the new body. Meanwhile there are occasional violent breaths and that means that mind is swinging back to the dying body. The transitional state of the mind is somewhat like a dream.

You are incarnated now aren't you? Then you will be so again. As the body is illusion then the illusion will repeat itself until you find the real Self.

When the ego leaves the body it must immediately grasp another body. It cannot exist without a body.

The "I"- thought, the ego will recur again, only, each time you identify it with a different body and different surroundings around the body. It is karma which has placed you in this particular body and placed it in a particular family, race, sex, etc.


FOOD  REGULATION


Fasting should be chiefly mental [abstention from thoughts]. Mere abstinence from food will do no good, it will even upset the mind. Spiritual unfoldment would come rather by regulating eating.

The Vedantic texts, particularly "Vichara Sangraha", which strongly recommend fasting do not mean that one should abstain from eating food, or drinking water. All that is meant is that without causing hardship to the body one should eat limited quantities of food conducive to meditation.

Sattvic food, like bread, fruit, vegetables, milk in moderate quantities is suitable for a person engaged in spiritual practice.

The quality of one's food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.

The necessary food value is obtainable in vegetarian food; only the mind desires the sort of food that it is used to and which it considers palatable.

The realised sage is stabilised in the Self and is not influenced by the food he takes.

It is mental fasting that is the real aid. Fasting is not an end in itself. There must be spiritual development at the same time. Absolute fasting weakens the mind too and leaves you without sufficient strength for spiritual quest. Therefore eat in moderation and continue the quest.

There are subtle essences in all food; it is that which affects the mind. Hence for those who are endeavouring to practice meditation to find the Self, there have been dietic rules laid down which are advisible to follow. Sattvic food promotes meditation whereas rajasic and tamasic food hinder it.

Regulation of diet, restricting it to sattvic food, taken in moderate quantities, is the best of all rules of conduct and most conducive to the development of sattvic [pure] qualities of the mind. These in turn help one to practice Self-enquiry.

For sadhana what is needed is sattvic food and satsang. Meat-eating should be avoided. There are no other rules.

As for the rules of conduct which an aspirant should follow, it is moderation in food, moderation in sleep and moderation in speech.


POSTURES


The posture [asana] or seat in the Heart is peaceful and gives happiness. There is no need for any other asana for those seated in that One. That is called "sukhasana", the asana of happiness.

Any posture, possibly the "easy" or "half Buddha" posture, is all right. But that is immaterial for Self-realisation.

The properties and effects of a tiger's skin, or wool or deer's skin as a seat are described in books on Yoga. They correspond to conductors and non-conductors of magnetism and so on. But all this is not of importance on the path of knowledge.

Posture really means steadfastness in the Self and it is inward.

One-pointedness of the mind is the best posture.

Many postures and their effects are mentioned in the Yoga Shastras. The postures are "lotus posture", "easy posture"and so on. Why all this only to know oneself? The truth is that the ego rises from the Self, confuses itself with the body and then it thinks wildly and looks for answers. When covered by egoistic conceit a person does not understand that he himself is the centre of all and thus forms the basis for all.

Remaining firm in one's real state is the real posture. Attaining the steadiness of not swerving from the knowledge of the base, the Self alone is the firm and motionless posture for excellent samadhi.


SOCIETY


In a society comprising of followers of different ways of life, society is like the body and individuals are like its limbs. An individual prospers by working for the good of society like a limb being useful for the body.

One should build up one's own inner circle and make it prosper so that it may serve the interests of society and make it also prosper. Brotherhood based on equality is the Supreme goal of human society.

Through brotherhood peace and amity will prevail among mankind and the world will flourish like a single household.

Self-reform automatically results in social reform. Attend to self-reform and social reform will take care of itself.

To engage oneself in doing good to others will develop the idea of good in the Heart. That is enough. Good, God and love are all the same thing. If a person keeps continuously thinking of any of these, it will be enough.

When you seek to reduce the suffering of any fellow-man or fellow-creature, whether your efforts succeed or not, you yourself are evolving spiritually especially if such service is rendered with detachment, not with the egoistic feeling "I am doing this service." The feeling should be, "God is making me the channel of this service, He is the doer, I am the instrument." You must love all and help all because it is only in that way you can help yourself.


RENUNCIATION


Renunciation is always in the mind, not in going to forests or solitary places or giving up one's duties. The main thing is to see that the mind does not turn outward but inward.

Renunciation does not imply apparent divesting of costumes, family ties, home, etc., but renunciation of desires, affection and attachment. There is no need to resign your job, only resign to God.

Expression of love and affection would be a far better form for a true devotee of God than renunciation. When this expression comes one does not feel he is running away from home, instead one drops from it like a ripe fruit from a tree.

Renunciation and realisation are the same. They are different aspects of the same state. Giving up non-self is renunciation. Inhering in the Self is jnana. One is the negative and the other the positive aspect of the same single Truth.

Renunciation is the giving up of the ego. It is not only the giving up of possessions but the possessor too. The only freedom you have is to turn the mind inwards and renounce activities there.

Asked "How does a householder fare in the scheme of liberation?" Bhagavan said, "Why do you think you are a householder? If you go out as a ascetic [sannyasi], a similar thought that you are a ascetic will haunt you. Whether you continue in the household or renounce it and go to the forest, your mind goes with you. The ego is the source of all thought. It creates the body and the world and makes you think you are a householder. If you renounce the world it will only substitute the thought "ascetic" for "householder" and the environment of the forest for that of the household. But the mental obstacles will still be there. They even increase in the new surroundings. There is no help in change of environment. The obstacle is the mind. It must be got over whether at home or in the forest. If you can do it in the forest, why not at home? Therefore, why change your environment? Your efforts can be made even now – in whatever environment you are now. The environment will never change according to your desire.


MIRACLES


Self-abidance alone is a miracle [siddhi]. The other miracles are like dreams which last till waking. Can those firmly rooted in the Real relapse into illusion?

Although powers appear wonderful to those who do not possess them, yet they are only transient. It is useless to aspire for the transient. All these wonders are contained in the changeless Self.

Miracles, wonders, clairvoyance, clairaudience – what are these? The greatest miracle is to realise the Self. All these are sidetracks. The realised man is above them.

Charles Webster Leadbeater describes hundreds of former lives seen by clairvoyance. Of what use is this? Does it help him or others to know the Self? What are these lives but body's births? The true birth is in the Self.

You could be in England now [astrally] but would you be better off? You will not be a bit nearer to realisation.

What good will supernatural powers [siddhis] do? Suppose you exercise all these wonderful powers. Have you tossed worry out of your mind? If happiness is your real goal you must ultimately come back from your diversion with siddhis and try to find your Self, by enquiring who it is that wants the happiness.

People who desire powers are inclined to neglect the Supreme happiness of realisation for the sake of powers. In search of these they follow by-lanes instead of the highroad and so risk losing their way. In order to guide them aright and keep them on the highroad, they are told that powers accompany realisation. Let people first get reaslisation and then seek power if they want to.

In order to display powers, there must be others to recognise them. That means there is no jnana in the one who displays them. Therefore powers are not worth a thought. Self-realisation alone is to be aimed at and got.

Whether powers are high or low, whether of the mind or of supermind, they exist only with reference to the one who has the power. Find out who that is.

What difference does it make to see or hear anyone in close proximity or over enormous distance? The organs of sight and hearing are used in both cases and so the mind also is required. There is dependence one way or the other. Moreover, what is acquired will also be lost in due course. These powers can never be permanent.

Greedily begging for worthless occult powers from God who will readily give himself, who is everything, is like begging for worthless stale gruel from a generous minded philanthropist who will readily give everything.

The conduct of those who say, "We shall gain all supernormal powers", not realising that they are moved by Divine power, is like the story of a lame man who said, "If I am helped to stand where will these enemies be?"

There are different kinds of siddhis. They are the manifestations of power and knowledge which is quite natural when you realise the Self. They come of their own accord. They are God given. When you are in the state of realisation you will know what these powers are.

To remain unchanged in the state of Self is the eternal siddhi, the greatest of all siddhis. All other siddhis are only the prarabdha [completed karma] of the jnani who has realised the Truth. These other siddhis are trivial.

Practicing of siddhis will only fatten the ego still more. The greatest siddhi is not to see anything other than the Self. All the siddhis will come and wait upon the perfected jnani.

To realise the Self which is always present, and to remain as That is the real siddhi. All other siddhis are like those which appear in a dream. Are they real when one awakes? Will those who have got rid of delusion and are established in their true state be deluded again?


HAPPINESS


Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self. Similarly, in the states of sleep, samadhi and fainting, and when the object desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self-happiness. Thus the mind moves without rest alternately going out of the Self and returning to it. Under the tree the shade is pleasant; out in the open the heat is scorching. A person who has been going about in the sun feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone who keeps on going from the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man stays permanently in the shade. Similarly, the mind of the one who knows the Truth does not leave Reality. The mind of the ignorant, on the contrary, revolves in the world, feeling miserable, and for a little time returns to Reality to experience happiness. In fact, what is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, i.e. when there is no thought, the mind experiences happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery.

All beings desire happiness always, happiness without a tinge of sorrow. At the same time everybody loves himself best. The cause for this love is only happiness. So, that happiness must lie in one self. Further, that happiness is daily experienced by everyone in sleep, when there is no mind. To attain that natural happiness one must know oneself. For that, Self-enquiry is the chief means. Happiness is the nature of the Self. Self is not other than perfect happiness. Knowing that fact and abiding as the Self, enjoy bliss eternally.

If a man thinks 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 its 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 happy. The conclusion is that happiness is inherent in man and not due to external causes.

Know then that true knowledge does not create anything new for you, it only removes your ignorance. Bliss is not added to your nature, it is merely revealed as your true natural state, Eternal and Imperishable.

Every being in the world yearns to be happy. Yet, due to ignorance of the real nature of their own being, which is happiness itself, people flounder in the vast ocean of material existence.

Bliss is something which is always there both when the blissful feeling was experienced and when it was not. It is not something which comes and goes. That which comes and goes is the creation of the mind and you should not worry about it.

When you leave this place you say you are unhappy. Therefore this peace is not permanent. It is mixed with the unhappiness felt in another place. It follows that you cannot find bliss in places and in periods of time. It must be permanent in order that it may be useful. It is your own being that is permanent. Be the Self and that is bliss. You are always that.


JNANI


A jnani [Self-realised being] is in the ever-waking state, because he is awake to the Eternal Self; he is in the ever-dreaming state because to him the world is no better than a repeatedly presented dream phenomenon; he is in the ever-sleeping state, because he is at all times without the "body" and "I"-consciousness.

One who knows the Self has nothing more to do, nor has he any more thoughts. From then on, the Infinite power will carry out all further actions that may be necessary for him.

The body itself is a disease. To wish for a long stay of that disease is not the aim of the jnani. Anyhow, one has to give up identification with the body. Just as the "I am the body" consciousness prevents one from attaining Self-knowledge, in the same way, one who has got the conviction that he is not the body will become liberated even if he doesn’t desire it.

The jnani has attained liberation even while alive, here and now. It is immaterial to him as to how, where and when he leaves the body. Some jnanis may appear to suffer, others may be in samadhi; still others may disappear from sight before death. But that makes no difference to their realisation. Such suffering is apparent, seems real to the onlooker, but is not felt by the jnani, for he has already transcended the mistaken identity of the Self with the body.

The jnani does not think he is the body. He does not even see the body. He sees only the Self in the body. If the body is not there, but only the Self, the question of its disappearing in any form does not arise.

As the porter hired to carry luggage puts it down at journey's end, the sage is happy at the time he has to shed the body's burden.

The jnani is the unmoving non-dual One without any desire.

The jnani does dream, in the same way as he knows his waking state to be a dream. You may call them dream No. 1 and dream No. 2. The jnani being established in the fourth state, turiya, detachedly witnesses the three other states, waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep as pictures imposed on it.

Who can understand the state of one who has dissolved the ego and is abiding, always in the Self? For him the Self alone is. What remains for him to do?

The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly my existence is like the space; though this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as the doer.

I have said that equality is the true sign of Self-realisation. The very term equality implies the existence of differences. It is a unity that the jnani perceives in all differences which I call equality.

True, a jnani appreciates the distinctions based on sound, taste, form, smell, etc., but he always perceives and experiences the one Reality in all of them. That is why he has no preferences. Whether he moves about or talks, or acts, it is all the one Reality in which he acts or moves or talks.

Beyond the reach of words extends the sage's greatness. None but he can know his state of Being, vaster than the sky and than the mountain firmer. To experience It yourself, you should first shed your own body-consciousness.

The peace of mind which permeates the saint's atmosphere is the only means by which the seeker understands the greatness of the saint.

The child and a jnani are similar in a way. Incidents interest the child only so long as they last. It ceases to think of them after they have passed away. It is apparent that they do not leave any impression on the child and it is not affected by them mentally. So it is with a jnani.

In liberation and Self-knowledge there is no difference between men and women. The body of a woman liberated while alive is not to be cremated as it is a temple of God.

Withdrawal from all activity, from all thoughts, is not what is meant by true realisation [jnana]. If so, what is the difference between this state and sleep? Great men are said to be very active and are indeed active.

The jnani is never dependent on the laws of dharma which however depend on him for their validity and proof. His activities constitute the source and support of dharma. He remains aloof, a mere spectator of his own activity, and is never lost in it.

To judge by miracles and greatness of a seer Self-realised is like measuring the sun's intense brightness by the pretty pattern wrought by a stray, pink beam that shines through a tiny hole in the roof.

The great ones, free from the mind's movements, are truly happy, never leaving the Mother's lap and playing there, fed amply with milk of bliss.

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