When we limit ourselves into the perception of “I am the body” or “I am the mind”, we fall into illusion and fall a prey to the duality of Happiness and Sorrow (or rather seem to fall into it). Knowledge about limited things or the world is of no use. When our perception is limited, the knowledge that we have is also imperfect.
Knowledge about the unlimited or the Self is only perfect. Hence any knowledge other than this is really of no use. Adi Sankara says in his work Vivekachoodami
“Without knowing the Self, all the scriptures are of no use.
Even after knowing the Self, all the scriptures are of no use.” When one knows the unlimited Self, everything else becomes known. Until that Self is known, all the 4 Vedas and sciences are of no use. After knowing the Self, one needs no use of the Vedas as knowing the Self everything else becomes known. Realizing the Self is knowing or finding out that “I am the Self”.
Even if one is unaware of it, he is the Self. No one can reject this statement that “I am the Self” whether one knows it or not.
People who know it say that “I am the Self”. People who don’t know this say “I am the Body or Mind” – but in reality they also are nothing other than the Self. Lastly a story told about Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa about Self-Realiztion.
Once a flock of sheep were passing through a forest. A lioness saw them and pounced on them. While the lioness was pouncing, it gave birth to a lion cub and died. The lion cub started living with the sheep. It used to bleat and eat grass as the sheep.
One day a lion saw this and caught this cub and took it to a river. The cub started bleating. The lion said to the cub “See the water, you are like me. You are not a sheep and should not bleat”. Thus the lion cub realized its reality of being a lion. This is Self-Realization. We are all people bleating like the lion cub, unaware of the Self that we are. When the Self in the form of a Guru or GOD shows us the reality, we Realize the Self and become aware that “I am the Self”. Let the Almighty guide us all to realize and be aware of the reality that “I am the Self”.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #18 The mind always seeks external knowledge, leaving aside its own inner knowledge.
-- Ramana Maharshi
The nature of the mind is that it searches for things external. It is never satisfied. We seek the things outside the Self. We learn knowledge that does not include the Self. We learn Computers, Science, History, Geography, Mathematics and all things. But forget to learn the essential Self-Knowledge. In olden days, the system of Gurukula was prevalent. What was done was when a child attains a certain age, he is sent to a gurukula of a Guru and he learns the truth about the Self & the Universe from the Guru. Until the Guru gives him his blessings and tells him that he has attained knowledge and can go back to his home, he stays with the Guru. Chaturdasa Vidyas were taught to the disciple.
What is Chaturdasa Vidya? The 4 Vedas – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda.
4 Upangaas – Purana, Smriti, Meemansa, Nyaya. The main import of the teaching of the Vedas is the teaching of the Self. This was given high priority in the gurukula.
This is the inner knowledge, the knowledge about the subtlest of subtle, the Self. What is the importance of this Self-Knowledge also called Brahma Vidya?
Upanishads tell that
“Knowing which everything else becomes known – that is the Self”.
“The Knower of the Self or Brahman becomes Self or Brahman”. When one knows this inner knowledge, he realizes the Self. There is nothing unattainable by the Self because only the Self exists here. Everything else is unreal and are superimpositions on the Self. Ramana Maharshi had studied very little only. But he could answer all the questions put up by people. He knew all the Upanishads and wrote great works like Upadesasaram and Sad Darshanam in Sanskrit. There is no limit to the limitless Self. The mind has to be turned inward to know the Self – Self-Knowledge. Once it realizes the Self, everything else becomes known & pure Bliss is attained. Let the Almighty guide us all to get the inner knowledge of the Self.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #19
Realize your pure Be-ing. Let there be no confusion with the body. The body is the result of thoughts. The thoughts will play as usual, but you will not be affected. -- Ramana Maharshi
Throughout our life in this perishable world, there is something that does not change at all. It is the “I” or the “Self”. Even during childhood, youth and old age (not for us now ) – the “I” exists without having any change.
During childhood also we say “I am” & during youth also we say “I am”. This “I” or the Self is the changeless substratum for the changing world. The world & everything here changes each and every minute. But this “I” does not change – It does not decay – It does not become less or more.
This is the pure, ever-liberated Self. This is like the bottom of a sea which is unaffected by the waves on the top or periphereal of the sea. This is not the body – because we have the “I” in dreams also where body does not exist. This exists in waking state, dreaming state and deep sleep state also. Hence this is beyond all the states or AvasthaTheetham. The Self is that which each and every moment of our life, tells “I exist, I exist”. No person can deny his own existence. This is pure Be-ing. There is nothing to attain or renounce in this world, just to be the Self. This is the reason why Vedas tell that Moksha or Liberation is to be gained here & this moment and not after death.
Liberation is knowing that which is liberated and thus getting BLISS devoid of any sorrow.
The “I” in each one of us is ever-liberated. But we are yet to bring the awareness and are not conscious of it. Thus when one becomes conscious each moment that “I am the Self, Nitya Sudha, Budha, Muktha, ever pure, enlightened and liberated” – he becomes the Self and attains Moksha.
How can “I am the Self” be proved or this conviction made strong????
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad tells the technique of Neti, Neti – Not this, Not this. Thus negating everything in this world by saying that I am not the body, I am not the mind and all – what remains is the pure Self. Even after the realization of the Self, the body exists (because of Maya), but only to normal people and not to Realized Souls. Thus thoughts will come to the mind, the body will do work – but the Self or “I” will not be affected by it. “I is never affected, but this consciousness of I am not affected will be present always”. This is the highest truth or goal obtainable by a Human Being.
The Self is already there – but one needs to realize it and be conscious of it – then comes real BLISS & the unreal world disappears to his eyes. Let the Almighty guide us all to attain Moksha this very moment.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #20
Practice is necessary or association with sadhus should be made. The sadhu has already overcome the mind and remains in Peace. His proximity helps to bring about such condition in others.
-- Ramana Maharshi
The only goal in this world is Self-Realizing – realizing the truth of that “I am Brahman, all pervading, ever existing”. Each and everyone in this world is the Self. Then why don’t everyone realize it???? Because of ignorance or Avidya. Ignorance is the sole cause of the creation of this world & not realizing this world.
As ignorance is the creator of duality and veiling of the Self, the way to realize the Self is by Self-knowledge. How can one gain this Self-knowledge?????
Ramana Maharshi here says that there are two ways of attaining this.
One is through practice – learning scriptures that speak about the Self, contemplating on the teachings told in the scriptures and trying to implement the teachings in life. Through these steps, one realizes the Self. Second and easy method is association with sadhus – often called Satsanga (association with saints).
What can association with saints do?????
When one comes under a superior power, the inferior power surrenders to the superior one. Saints are people who have realized the Self, when one comes in their vicinity – the mind subdues and one is able to experience the BLISS of the Self. A saint helps one to remove the obstructions to the realization of the Self.
The saint if guides one from the beginning to the realization of the Self is called Guru or Satguru. Guru gita says
“Gu means darkness of ignorance, Ru means light of knowledge. Thus Guru is one who removes the darkness of ignorance and sends forth the light of knowledge”. As a lamp can be lit only from another lit-lamp – the Guru imparts the divine power to the disciple thereby making him realize the Self. How to identify a Guru?????
A Guru is one who requires nothing from the disciple other than his open heart & his bad vasanas.
A Guru is one who gives everything from the worldly things to the BLISS of the Self to the disciple.
What is the basic quality of a Guru or Sadhu????
When one sits amidst a person and he feels that he attains peace and the mind subdues at least for some time – that person is a Saint who has realized the Self. A Saint is a living example of the teachings of the scripture. Each and everyone needs to visit saints regularly which will in turn help one to reduce the tendencies of the mind & make it peaceful thereby helping to realize the Self. Let the Almighty guide help us all to visit such saints regularly.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #21
Whether you continue in the household, or renounce it and go to the forest, your mind haunts you. The ego is the source of thoughts. It creates the body and the world and makes you think you are a grihasta or a sanyaasi.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Self-Realization or liberation depends on the mind. Mind filled with thoughts and restless is in Bondage.
Mind that is free of thoughts and resides on the Self is Liberated. Ego is the reflection of the Self on the mirror of mind. This ego creates the thoughts that “I am this body”, “I have a father”, “I like this thing and dislike other things” and so on. When this limited-ego is merged with the Infinite ego or the Self, thoughts cease to exist and there exists only pure existence “I am”. The environment that we live in is not important, but the state of mind with which we live is important.We have Pandu going to do Tapas in the forest, but was unable to control his mind.
But in the same Mahabharata we have Krishna living like a King, but having the mind under his control. Puranas speak of Kings who were Self-Realized souls and had the mind under their control. Examples of this are Manu, Janaka (father of Sita), Ambariksha and all. Fixing the mind unto the Self and seeing the Self everywhere, mind ceases to have any thoughts in it and hence becomes non-mind. The mind and the Ego get merged into their source, the Self. There are two terms used in Vedanta philosophy.
Jeevatma or Atman or Self.
Brahman or Supreme Being.
Brahman is of the nature of Absolute Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. It has no birth, no death. It is pure, undecaying, non-changing, eternal thing. When this Brahman seems to get limited to adjunctions like the body, mind – the world is created. This part of the Brahman that seems to get limited (in reality it is not limited) is called Jeevatma or Atman. Example to bring out this concept is :
We have space that is present everywhere.
When we have a pot – we say that there is space inside this pot. The unlimited-space seems to get limited by the adjunction or upadhi called Pot. But in fact, space is never limited by the pot. Thus when the adjunction of the pot is removed, space becomes unlimited-space. Similarly this Jeevatma (a part of Brahman) is nothing separate from Brahman. But it seems to get limited by upadhis. When these upadhis or adjunctions are removed – the pure Brahman is revealed.This has been brought out in the Mahavakyas like “Tat Tvam Asi” – That Thou Art,
“Aham Brahmaasmi” – I am Brahman
“Prajnaanam Brahma” – Consciousness is Brahman and
“Ayam aatma Brahma” – This Self is Brahman. Thus when one removes the false limited-ego notions of “I am so & so” – it gets merged to the unlimited-Self. This is called Self-Realization. Adi Sankara goes on to say that this Self-Realization is not something to be attained after so-called “Death”. It can be attained here and now. It does not need any money for performing puja, a complete Bath or long-long meditations or practices of Pranayama and all. What is required is just to Be the Self & realize the truth that “This Self is Brahman – all pervading”. Bhakthi or Jnana or Yoga and all are just paths to this truth. These help in reducing latent tendencies and thereby helping to remove the adjunctions. The final goal is the realization that “I am the Self, the Brahman – Nitya suddha Buddha Mukta – ever pure, ever enlightened and ever liberated”. A Question arises here then “What is this world???”
It is nothing but a long-dream, a drama. It is nothing but a superimposition on the Brahman, Self. When the Self is forgot due to ignorance, all the things in the world seem to appear. When one merges into the Self during deep-sleep, this world and the dream world disappear and only the Self exists. Only thing is we are unaware of the Self during deep-sleep. When one sees the Self everywhere in this world and the intellectual conviction that there is nothing here other than the Self occurs, he enjoys the Bliss of the Self. Thus the world disappears for him. All action and this world becomes just a mere drama for Self-Realized souls like Ramana Maharshi.
Let the Almighty help us all to achieve this Truth here and now.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #22
Let the man find out his undying Self and die and be immortal and happy.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: The Self is eternal, one without birth, death, changes and decay.
The Self is Consciousness and Awareness. The Consciousness (“I”) in everyone remains without any change from the birth till death. IT doen’t grow or decay or change at all. Gita says
“Ajo Nityah Sashvathoyam purano”
“It is unborn, ever existing, eternal & ever new or unchanging”. Once a man finds out the Self – the Body-Consciousness, Mind-Consciousness all dies off.
Everyone have the feeling that “I am the Body”, “I am the Mind”. Once this wrong consciousness dies off, he becomes the immortal Self. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad explains the “Neti, Neti” – “Not this, Not this” method to realize the Self. When a person goes on negating everything in the world, the Self only remains (the I that experiences the world remains on negation of the world). Removing the Body and the Mind from Body-Consciousness and Mind-Consciousness, what remains is pure Consciousness, the Self.In Reality, the “I am” feeling is that of the Self. The Self is the one that says “I exist”, “I exist”. All other things follow the Self to gain existence. Once a person realizes this Self, all other things lose their existence – as when the Sun comes, all the other stars and moon lose their existence.
Here Maharshi tells the Body-Consciousness to die and to become the pure Consciousness (Chit) of the nature of Bliss (Ananda). The pure consciousness when mixed with the body becomes the Body-Consciousness. This can very much be related to Crucification of Jesus Christ.
Jesus-Christ, the Ego, when crucified on the Cross of Body-Consciousness – the Ego merges with the Supreme Being, Self. Let the Almighty help us all die and become immortal.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #23
Keep an open mind, dive within and find out the Self. The truth will itself dawn upon you. Why should you determine beforehand if the finality is unity absolute or qualified or duality? The ascertainment is now made by logic and by intellect. The intellect derives light from the Self (the Higher Power). How can the reflected and partial light of the intellect envisage the whole and the original light.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: Ramana Maharshi is here mentioning the argument between various Vedanta philosophies. Vedanta philosophy is that philosophy which strict believes in the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras. The people in this philosophy take the final authority as the Upanishads.
There are three sub philosophies in Vedanta system. 1. Advaita Vedanta – That which says that there is only One thing in this world called Self or GOD or Brahman (Ramana Maharshi followed Advaita – Adi Sankaracharya was the main exponent of this philosophy).
2. Visistha Advaita Vedanta (Qualified Non-duality) – This says that there is only One Supreme Being which has two powers, the individual Soul and the World (Ramanuja was one of the main exponent of this philosophy).
3. Dvaita Vedanta (Duality) – This says that the world and the Self both are real. (Madhavacharya – Ananda Tirth – was one of the main exponent of this philosophy). The Difference in these philosophies lie in the reality about the world, whether it exists or temporarily exists or does not exist at all. Upanishads proclaim that “By Knowing Brahman or the Self, one knows everything else – he attains the Supreme abode”. Adi Sankaracharya has gone to state that thinking about the world is futile because it depends on the Self for existence. The Self illumines the Intellect. The Intellect illumines the sense organs & the sense organs illumine the world. Thus even the intellect is nothing but an object of the Subject Self. Thus it is incapable of illumining the Self. Self is the subtlest of all – this world is created or shown by the intellect which is nothing but a reflection of the Self. So, discussion on the world can in no way illumine the Self or lead one to the Self……… Thus Maharshi says that dive deep and find out the Self – find out “Who I am?” – After realizing the Self – one can decide and know whether the world exists or not. Adi Sankaracharya explains the Vedanta Truth in a single sloka called “Eka Sloki”.
“Kim Jothis tava Bhaanumaan ahani me Ratrau Pradeepadikam
Syadevam. Ravi Deepa Darshana Vidau kim jyothih akhyahi me.