the mind, which is the cause of all cognition and
of all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will
8. What is the nature of the mind?
What is called "mind" is a wondrous power residing
in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart
from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind.
Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart
from thoughts, there is no independent entity
called the world. In deep sleep there are no
thoughts, and there is no world. In the states of
waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is
a world also. Just as the spider emits the thread
[of the web] out of itself and again
withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind
projects the world out of itself and again resolves
it into itself. When the mind comes out of the
Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world
appears [to be real], the Self does not
appear; and when the Self appears [shines]
the world does not appear. When one persistently
enquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will
end leaving the Self [as the residue]. What
is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind
always exists only in dependence on something
gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is
called the subtle body or the individual self
9. What is the path of enquiry for understanding
the nature of the mind?
That which rises as "I" in this body is the mind.
If one enquires as to where in the body the thought
"I" rises first, one would discover that it rises
in the Heart. That is the place of the mind's
origin. Even if one thinks constantly "I-I", one
will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that
arise in the mind, the "I"-thought is the first. It
is only after the rise of this that the other
thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the
first personal pronoun that the second and third
personal pronouns appear; without the first
personal pronoun there will not be the second and
10. How will the mind become quiescent?
By the enquiry "Who am I?". The thought "Who am I?"
will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick
used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself
in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise
11. What is the means for constantly holding on
to the thought "Who am I?"
When other 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" [antar-mukha]. Letting
the mind go out of the Heart is known as
"externalisation" [bahir-mukha]. 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
12. Are there no other means for making the mind
Other than enquiry, there are no adequate means. If
through other means it is sought to control the
mind, the mind will appear to be controlled, but
will again go forth. Through the control of breath
also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will
be quiescent only so long as the breath remains
controlled, and when the breath resumes the mind
also will again start moving and will wander as
impelled by residual impressions. The Source is the
same for both mind and breath. Thought, indeed, is
the nature of the mind. The thought "I" is the
first thought of the mind; and that is egoity. It
is from that whence egoity originates that breath
also originates. Therefore, when the mind becomes
quiescent, the breath is controlled, and when the
breath is controlled the mind becomes quiescent.
But in deep sleep, although the mind becomes
quiescent, the breath does not stop. This is
because of the will of God, so that the body may be
preserved and other people may not be under the
impression that it is dead. In the state of waking
and in samadhi [to be fully absorbed in
contemplation], when the mind becomes quiescent
the breath is controlled. Breath is the gross form
of mind. Till the time of death, the mind keeps
breath in the body; and when the body dies the mind
takes the breath along with it. Therefore, the
exercise of breath-control is only an aid for
rendering the mind quiescent [manonigraha];
it will not destroy the mind
Like the practice of breath-control. meditation on
the forms of God, repetition of mantras,
restriction on food, etc., are but aids for
rendering the mind quiescent.
Through meditation on the forms of God and through
repetition of mantras, the mind becomes
one-pointed. The mind will always be wandering.
Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to
hold in its trunk it will go along grasping the
chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is
occupied with a name or form it will grasp that
alone. When the mind expands in the form of
countless thoughts, each thought becomes weak; but
as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes
one-pointed and strong; for such a mind
Self-enquiry will become easy.
Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the
taking of sattvic [pure] food in moderate
quantities is the best; by observing this rule, the
sattvic quality of mind will increase, and that
will be helpful to Self-enquiry.
13. The residual impressions [thoughts]
of objects appear wending like the waves of an
ocean. When will all of them get destroyed?
As the meditation on the Self rises higher
and higher, the thoughts will get destroyed.
14. Is it possible for the residual impressions
of objects that come from beginningless time, as it
were, to be resolved, and for one to remain as the
Without yielding to the doubt "Is it
possible, or not?", one should persistently hold on
to the meditation on the Self. Even if one be a
great sinner, one should not worry and weep "O! I
am a sinner, how can I be saved?"; one should
completely renounce the thought "I am a sinner";
and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self;
then, one would surely succeed. There are not two
minds one good and the other evil; the mind
is only one. It is the residual impressions that
are of two kinds auspicious and
inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence
of auspicious impressions it is called good; and
when it is under the influence of inauspicious
impressions it is regarded as evil.
The mind should not be allowed to wander towards
worldly objects and what concerns other people.
However bad other people may be, one should bear no
hatred for them. Both desire and hatred should be
eschewed. All that one gives to others one gives to
one's self. If this truth is understood who will
not give to others? When one's self arises, all
arises; when one's self becomes quiescent, all
becomes quiescent. To the extent we behave with
humility, to that extent there will result good. If
the mind is rendered quiescent, one may live
15. How long should enquiry be practised?
As long as there are impressions of objects in the
mind, so long the enquiry "Who am I?" is required.
As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and
there in the very place of their origin, through
enquiry. If one resorts to contemplation of the
Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained,
that alone would do. As long as there are enemies
within the fortress, they will continue to sally
forth; if they are destroyed as they emerge, the
fortress will fall into our hands.
16. What is the nature of the Self?
What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world,
the individual soul, and God are appearances in It.
like silver in mother-of-pearl, these three appear
at the same time, and disappear at the same time.
The Self is that where there is absolutely no
"I"-thought. That is called "silence". The Self
itself is the world; the Self itself is "I"; the
Self itself is God; all is Shiva, the Self.
17. Is not everything the work of God?
Without desire, resolve, or effort, the sun rises;
and in its mere presence, the sun-stone emits fire,
the lotus blooms, water evaporates; people perform
their various functions and then rest. Just as in
the presence of the magnet the needle moves, it is
by virtue of the mere presence of God that the
souls governed by the three [cosmic]
functions or the fivefold divine activity perform
their actions and then rest, in accordance with
their respective karmas. God has no resolve; no
karma attaches itself to Him. That is like worldly
actions not affecting the sun, or like the merits
and demerits of the other four elements not
affecting all pervading space.
18. Of the devotees, who is the greatest?
He who gives himself up to the Self that is God is
the most excellent devotee. Giving one's Self up to
God means remaining constantly in the Self without
giving room for the rise of any thoughts other than
that of the Self.
Whatever burdens are thrown on God, He bears them.
Since the Supreme Power of God makes all things
move, why should we, without submitting ourselves
to it, constantly worry ourselves with thoughts as
to what should be done and how, and what should not
be done and how not? We know that the train carries
all loads, so after getting on it why should we
carry our small luggage on our head to our
discomfort, instead of putting it down in the train
and feeling at ease?
19. What is non-attachment?
As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without
any residue in the very place of their origin is
non-attachment. Just as the pearl-diver ties a
stone to his waist, sinks to the bottom of the sea
and there takes the pearls, so each one of us
should be endowed with non-attachment, dive within
oneself and obtain the Self-Pearl.
20. Is it not possible for God and the Guru to
effect the release of a soul?
God and the Guru will only show the way to release;
they will not by themselves take the soul to the
state of release.
In truth, God and the Guru are not different. Just
as the prey which has fallen into the jaws of a
tiger has no escape, so those who have come within
the ambit of the Guru's gracious look will be saved
by the Guru and will not get lost; yet, each one
should by his own effort pursue the path shown by
God or Guru and gain release. One can know oneself
only with one's own eye of knowledge, and not with
somebody else's. Does he who is Rama require the
help of a mirror to know that he is Rama?
21. Is it necessary for one who longs for
release to enquire into the nature of categories
Just as one who wants to throw away garbage has no
need to analyse it and see what it is, so one who
wants to know the Self has no need to count the
number of categories or enquire into their
characteristics; what he has to do is to reject
altogether the categories that hide the Self. The
world should be considered like a dream.
22. Is there no difference between waking and
Waking is long and a dream short; other than this
there is no difference. Just as waking happenings
seem real while awake, so do those in a dream while
dreaming. In dream the mind takes on another body.
In both waking and dream states thoughts. names and
forms occur simultaneously.
23. Is it any use reading books for those who
long for release?
All the texts say that in order to gain release one
should render the mind quiescent; therefore their
conclusive teaching is that the mind should be
rendered quiescent; once this has been understood
there is no need for endless reading. In order to
quieten the mind one has only to enquire within
oneself what one's Self is; how could this search
be done in books? One should know one's Self with
one's own eye of wisdom. The Self is within the
five sheaths [five koshas: food, vital force,
mind, intellect and bliss], but books are
outside them. Since the Self has to be enquired
into by discarding the five sheaths, it is futile
to search for it in books. There will come a time
when one will have to forget all that one has
24. What is 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 the
Supreme Reality [Brahman]. 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.
25. What is wisdom-insight
Remaining quiet is what is called wisdom-insight.
To remain quiet is to resolve the mind in the Self.
Telepathy, knowing past, present and future
happenings and clairvoyance do not constitute
26. What is the relation between desirelessness
Desirelessness is wisdom. The two are not
different; they are the same. Desirelessness is
refraining from turning the mind towards any
object. Wisdom means the appearance of no object.
In other words, not seeking what is other than the
Self is detachment or desirelessness; not leaving
the Self is wisdom.
27. What is the difference between enquiry and
Enquiry consists in retaining the mind in the Self.
Meditation consists in thinking that one's Self is
28. What is release?
Enquiring into the nature of one's Self that is in
bondage, and realising one's true nature is