Thus for a saint, there is no aim, no food, no clothe, no world --- but only the Self, one without a second.
What is Self-Knowledge???
Realizing one’s own true nature of Self is Self-Knowledge. It is pure knowledge beyond knowledge and ignorance. Self is of the nature of Absolute Existence Consciousness and Bliss. It is the only real thing in the world. The Bliss of the Self is experienced by everyone during deep sleep. That is the reason why everybody from a poor guy to a rich man wants to sleep. But sages always are in that state of Bliss – as for them the distinction of duality has vanished and there exists only pure and non-dual Self.
Lastly, one sloka from Sankaracharya in his voluminous work Vivekachoodamani
“Avijnaate pare tatve Sastradheetesthu nishphalah
Vijnaate api pare tatve sastradheestesthu nishphalah”
Without knowing the Ultimate Truth about “AHAM BRAHMASMI – I am Non-dual Brahman”, all scriptures are of no use.
After knowing the Ultimate Truth also, scriptures are of no use.
Beautiful representation about the experience of Self is given here by Sankara. All scriptures are just texts that point out the nature of the Self. One already is the Self and one just has to realize it. If the Self is not known, then knowledge about everything else is of no use. But even after knowing the Self, one realizes that there is only Self and no second thing, thus here also scriptures are of no use.
Sankara here emphasizes on Self-Realization and Self-Knowledge – and he is not taking the emphasis out of Vedas – but just telling it so that one should not stop by reading and memorizing Vedas but should try to realize the truth propounded in them.
The Self is the ultimate Reality behind all this dual world. Knowing and realizing one’s own real nature of Self will bring an end to all miseries and sorrow of the world and give one eternal Bliss that one is yearning for each moment. And this happiness is inherent in man and this is the natural state of each person. One just needs to remove ignorance by realizing one’s true nature by always trying to reside in the pure “I” that is present in all the three states of waking state, dreaming state and dreamless sleep state.
Let the Almighty guide us to hold on to the Self and realize one’s liberation this very moment.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #92 Can there be darkness before the Sun? Similarly, can there be ignorance before the Self-luminous Self? If you know the Self there will be no darkness, no ignorance and no misery.
-- Ramana Maharshi
The one and only way to end all the misery and sorrow in the world is to realize one’s own true nature of Self – one without a second.
Self is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute. When the Sun of Self-Knowledge is realized by a person, then there is darkness of ignorance.
This is the reason why everyone tells the sloka
“Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya”
Lead Me from darkness of ignorance to light of knowledge.
Self-Knowledge has been described as
“Tarathi shokam AtmaVit”
One who knows the Self overcomes sorrow and misery.
“Tarathi Shokam Tarathi Paapmanam”
He who knows the Self overcomes all misery and all sins.
The Self is the only luminous thing in the world. Self is the Consciousness that is giving light to everything else in the world. But it cannot be illuminated by anything else.
“Na Tad Bhasayathe Suryah Na Sashanko Na pavakah”
There, the abode of Self, the sun doesn’t shine, neither do the moon or fire.
Once the ultimate Reality of “I am THAT Self – one without a second” is completely realized, then there is no one else to love or hate. There exists just the pure and non-dual Self. Thus, the person who knows the Self always enjoys the eternal bliss of the Self.
Sankara says in Bhaja Govindam
“Yoga ratho va Bhoga ratho va
Sanga ratho va sanga viheenah
Yasya Brahmani Ramathe Chittam
Nandhathi nandhati nandhati eva”
He in whose mind Brahman resides, he rejoices at all times, whether he is in Yoga or Bhoga (enjoying sensual pleasures), whether he is attached to sense objects or detached.
The Self can be known through One-pointedness of the mind. This can be achieved either through pure and unconditional devotion to GOD or devotion towards the Realization of the Self.
Ultimately one realizes the eternal Truth of the real nature of one’s own Self – that which is called as GOD by Bhakthas, Brahman by Vedantins, Sakthi by Sakthas, SriMadNarayana by Vaishnavas. At that time, the non-dual nature of the Self is completely known and there ends the misery and sorrow (which doesn’t have any existence at all).
As one does not know the Self, there arises the ignorance and sorrow along with it. As darkness is nothing but absence of light, similarly ignorance is absence of Knowledge.
Let the Almighty guide us to attain the Self-luminous Self thereby ending the sorrows and miseries in life.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #93 When ‘dhyana’ is well established it cannot be given up. It will go on automatically even when you are engaged in work, play or enjoyment.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: What is Dhyana???
Dhyana is Meditation or complete concentration where the focus is on just One thing – “object of Meditation”.
In the starting stages of Dhyana, when a seeker starts doing meditation for the first time, concentration becomes a big problem. All diverted thoughts come into his mind – thereby causing obstruction to one-pointed concentration (other name for meditation).
But as the seeker gains concentration, dhyana becomes more effective and the mind easily sticks to the Object of Meditation.
As dhyana gets established and one puts in more effort – it becomes effortless. It becomes like “breathing”. Each second, every person is breathing without even putting in an effort. A lover, at all times, remembers his love without putting an effort to it.
That is what Maharshi is telling here. When dhyana becomes well established -- even while doing any actions, the mind sticks itself to the Object of Meditation.
This of course requires practice and continued effort.
Dhyana supposes a triputi of Meditator, Object of Meditation and meditation (the medium).
When such a well-established dhyana is done on God – it is called Bhakthi or Devotion.
When the same dhyana is done on the Self – it is called Jnaana or Knowledge.
A true bhakta’s mind gets merged to GOD (Object of Meditation). Even when he is doing a work or playing or enjoying good food – his mind is always residing on GOD.
Adi Sankaracharya says in Bhaja Govindam
“Yoga Rato Va Bhoga Rato Va Sanga Rato Va Sanga Viheenah
Yasya Brahmani Ramate Chittam Nandhati Nandhati Nandhati eva” A Jnaani may be doing Yoga or enjoying sensual pleasures, he might be mixing and getting attached to people or he might be fully detached and not mixing with people – but still always his mind rejoices the eternal Bliss of the Self as his mind is always residing in the Ultimate Being of Brahman.
When dhyana progresses, it becomes Samadhi which is pure Consciousness without any impurity or distractions of thoughts. In a such a state, the person is just a witness to whatever is happening. From the Jnaani’s perspective, there is nothing here – no work, no joy, no sorrow but only Pure Existence, Consciousness and Bliss – Brahman. A Bhakta sees only GOD everywhere. Thus he cannot do any work – as work presupposes the differentiation of worker and something different from the worker. But for the Bhakta there is only GOD.
Each and every thing in this world becomes just One thing – this is the ultimate Reality propounded by the Upanishads and given the name of Advaita in the Upanishads and given importance by Adi Sankaracharya.
This Advaita is the result of seeing one-ness everywhere which is due to the effect of meditation. Meditation does not necessarily mean that one should sit in padma asana and close his eyes and concentrate. Meditation can occur with eyes open also. Eyes don’t contribute to meditation. What contributes is the mind and its thoughts. Once the mind gets fully concentrated on One thing, it is meditation whether the person is opening his eyes or not.
When such one-ness is continued, the triads or triputi of Meditator, meditation and object of meditation vanishes and merges into the meditator – the Self. At that moment, one realizes one’s own real nature of pure Bliss, non-dual. This is the natural state of each person, -- eternal Blissful nature. But one is unable to remove the ignorance shackles and the latent tendencies to realize his own real nature. Thus all sadhanas ranging from japa to bhajan to meditation is done in order to remove this veil of ignorance. These sadhanas turns one inward and the person realizes that eternal Bliss of GOD or Brahman that he was searching all these days is, in reality, himself. At that time, he rejoices the eternal and never-ending Bliss of the Self.
Let the Almighty guide us to meditate at all times thereby realizing one’s own real nature of Bliss.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #94
Each one has some method of upasana or japa. If that is pursued in all sincerity with due perseverance, it will automatically lead to the investigation of the Self.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: Vedas proclaim “Ekam Sad Vipra Bahuda Vadanthi” – One Truth or Ultimate Reality, the wise call by different names or in different ways. This is the Ultimate Truth or Reality propounded in the Vedas or the eternal scriptures. Veda is called “Sanathana Dharma” where Sanathana means eternal. The Vedas neither has a beginning nor an end – they are eternal and are “Apaurusheyam” or not written by anyone. The Vedas were the experience of great saints during their ecstasy time of meditation and Samadhi. The Rishis were so compassionate that they wanted other people in the world to have the same Blissful experience that they had. At the same time, they were not at all selfish that they even did not care to put their names to the work. Veda means Knowledge. It is that knowledge knowing which everything else becomes known. It is that knowledge which when gained roots out the ignorance and removes the distinctions of subject, object and medium. This is the Knowledge that is of the nature of pure Bliss. This knowledge is called Brahma Vidya or Atma Vidya which tells about the Self – the eternal nature of each person in life – of Absolute Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.This Ultimate Knowledge is the final goal or aim of all beings, be it human or animals or celestial or Brahma or Vishnu or Siva.
Beings differ in their nature and attitude. Different people have different levels of mind and intellect. Thus the great saints or Rishis have put forth through the Vedas different paths for different people. An intellectual person can easily digest the Ultimate Reality of “I am Brahman or the Self” – He can also easily with the help of his intellectual capability come to the conviction that “the world that one sees is like mirage in desert”. But this is not that easy for a Bhaktha or devoted person whose heart is strong than the intellect. Also the Ultimate Reality is tough to comprehend for a person whose mind is not pure and intellect not strong. Thus for people who have lot of tensions and who can gain mental purity through surrender – the path of Bhakthi or Devotion has been mentioned. There are even others who easily gain control of the mind and can enter into Dhyana and Samadhi very easily – at any point of time. These people can very easily follow the path of Yoga as propounded by Maharshi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. Thus, there are many paths to the one goal of Self-Realization. What is required from a seeker is sincerity in the path and concentration on the path and devotion to the path. All this keeping in mind that the Ultimate Reality or the goal is Realization of one’s own real nature of Bliss. When a seeker thus follows some upasana or method with sincerity and concentration, he is made to turn inward to seek the Self. Ultimately he realizes his own real nature of Self.
Thus a bhaktha when he gains due sincerity and concentration to a GOD (either with form or without), he slowly gains purity of mind. This purity of mind leads him to turn inward and leads to the investigation of the Self which will then give him the Realization that “the GOD I was searching is in my heart and I am THAT”.
GOD is present in the heart of all beings. “Sarvasya Cha Aham Hrideshe Arjuna Thisthathi”
I am present in the heart of all beings. Thus one, even through the path of Devotion, reaches the place of Self-Realization wherein one realizes the unity between the Individual Consciousness and the Infinite Consciousness. This has been told in the Mahavakya in Chandogya Upanishad – which a Guru instructs to a disciple (purified in mind) that
This – represents the Jeevatma or individual “I” or Consciousness.
ASI or ART – shows the equality between TAT(that) and TVAM(this). It is very much futile in spending time to fight over which path is the greatest – which is the best one. There is nothing called best or greatest path. All paths are great until the goal is reached. All paths are waste if the goal of Self is achieved through it. Let the Almighty guide us all to follow just one path and reach the Ultimate goal of the real inherent nature of Self.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #95
For a realized being the Self alone is the Reality, and actions are only phenomenal not affecting the Self. Even when he acts he has no sense of being an agent. His actions are only involuntary and he remains a witness to them without any attachment. -- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: Maharshi is here explaining the state of mind of a Self-Realized being also called Jeevan Mukta (liberated even while being). One may have a serious doubt here that the Self is already realized then isn’t everyone Jeevan Mukta???
Yes, everyone is Self-Realized. In Reality, there is no everyone, only the Self exists – one without a second thing. But due to ignorance of the Self, there arises duality and multitude. All the duality that one sees is not real and is only phenomenal. Great saints have declared in Upanishads and other great works that “this world that one perceives is like water in a mirage.” In Reality, there is only desert even when one sees water in the desert. But one does not realize it. One is already the Self. But one does not realize it. There is two famous story illustrated in the Upanishads to tell about Self-Realization. First story
Ten person will be going to some place, they will have to swim a river in order to reach a place. They crossed the river. After crossing, they wanted to check whether everyone is there or someone is missing. So a person told others to stand in a line and counted. But, he forgot to count himself. Thus his count gave only 9. Similarly all the ten persons did the same and count came to only 9. they started crying. Then a by-passer asked them the reason for crying and when they told it – he understood the problem. He then counted and the count came as 10. He then told the first person to count. The first person counted 9. Then the by-passer told the person that “you are the tenth person. You forgot yourself.”
Thus “TAT TVAM ASI – YOU ARE THAT”. In this case, there was no new person created, but only forgotten and then realized. Similarly the Self one already is – but one has forgotten it and has to just realize his own real nature and reality.
A pregnant Lioness will be pouncing upon a flock of sheep. While pouncing, it will give birth to a lion cub and then die. Thus the cub started living with the sheep. It forgot its own real nature of Lion and behaved like a sheep – bleating and eating grass. Then one day a Lion saw this cub and it was surprised. It then caught hold of the cub. The cub started bleating!!! Then the lion took the cub to a river and told to it “See you are a lion. See the reflection in the water, you are like me. You should not bleat. You should Roar”. Thus the cub realized its being and started behaving like a lion. We all are like this cub, forgetting our own real nature of Self and getting identified wrongly with the body and its limitations of name and form. One just needs a Guru to tell him that “You are that” and then one realizes one’s own true nature and enjoys the eternal Blissful state of the Self- the state where there is only oneness everywhere. Maharshi here is telling the state of a self-realized being – one who has realized that “He is the eternal Self”. Actions are all phenomenal – these are things have no reality. Action causes an effect. Effect in turn creates more action. Action again creates another effect. This vicious circle continues without a beginning or end. That which has no beginning or end and which is always changing is not real. Such a thing is called Maya or illusion in Vedanta. Maya is that which has no logic and no reasoning can be given for it.
A Self-Realized person never gets attached to work or action. He has no action or work to be done. He never has the feeling of doership. For him, whatever is only the Self and nothing else. Thus he just is a witness to the unreal, changing things in this world. He sees the Self or God or Brahman as the substratum behind all these changes. Thus for a normal person, he might be doing action. But for him, there is no duality and action and doership arises out of duality only.
He is like the Sun. Sun witnesses everything from the good to the bad, but is never affected by it. A person may use the Sun to teach good things. Another person may use the Sun to kill a person or do theft. But the Sun is not at all affected by it. The Jnaani is never affected by anything – because he has shed the thought of doership and for him there is only One thing – Self or God or Brahman. In Reality, this vision occurs only after realizing one’s own true nature of Self. The Self is just a witness to whatever is happening. The “I” Consciousness is a witness at all times – even during sorrow and happiness, the same “I” exists – only sorrow and happiness are felt by the mind. But when one realizes this eternal Truth – then he becomes a mere witness to this long and huge dream of Waking World and he laughs at whatever is happening in this long and seemingly eternal waking world. Let the Almighty guide us all to realize the Self and hence be in eternal Bliss always in this long dream of waking world.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #96
We are reading the printed characters on paper but ignore the paper which is the background. Similarly you are taken up by the manifestations of the mind and let go the background.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: Maharshi is here explaining indirectly the concepts of Vedanta. Vedanta splits the experiences into two parts or things.
1) Drik or Seer – Subject that experiences different things
2) Drishya or Seen – Object or the various things that the Seer sees.Here it is worthwhile to find out which one is the Real thing and which one not real.
Any person can know or realize that the Subject is the substratum for the objects and that objects depend on the Subject for their existence. Thus one, through logic, finds out that Subject is Real and Objects are not real. Nyaya Sastra, or one of the six Indian philosophies speaks about Anvaya-Vyatireka to find out Real and Unreal. Anvaya means – co-existence
Vyatireka means – co-absence Anvaya means “If what is there, the world or objects are there – the Self or Consciousness”. If Consciousness is there, then the world is there.
Vyatireka means “If what is not there, then the world is not there.” If the Consciousness is not there, then the world is not there. Thus, one logically comes to the intellectual conviction that “If the Self is there, everything is there and if the Self is not there, nothing is there”. Thus the Self is the Real thing and objects are not real. (Objects are nothing but things superimposed on the Subject as in dream where the different multitudes are superimposed on the dreamer).
Maharshi here gives an example about this. We read newspaper or any other paper daily and regularly. But still, we concentrate on the printed characters rather than the paper which is the substratum for the printed characters. Thus we fail to find out the Subject and instead go behind the Objects and suffer due to them.