Words of Ramana Maharshi #1 If you make your outlook that of wisdom, you will find the world to be God

Let the Almighty guide us all to realize the Self and abide in the pure blissful and non-dual state


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Let the Almighty guide us all to realize the Self and abide in the pure blissful and non-dual state.


PS: Please send a mail to me, Hariram_Subramonia@infosys, with subject "subscribe quotes" to get these quotes directly in your inbox. Send a mail with subject "unsubscribe quotes" to stop getting quotes in your inbox. 




Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #158
If you are the body why do they bury the corpse after death? The body must refuse to be buried.

-- Ramana Maharshi


Maharshi is here answering one of the questioners on the Self being taken as the body.

There is a school of philosophy which tell that the body is the Self. Such schools are termed as charvakas or materialists. These people claim that the Self or "I" is the body and hence the body is to be taken care of and beautified. They also quote from Gita that Krishna tells that the body is a temple.

Maharshi answers these people through the direct method by asking "Are you the body? The body perishes but I still remain. If "I" am the body then the body should refuse to be buried and should speak up when it is cremated". This doesn't happen because the body is not the Self. The body is inert whereas the Consciousness is not inert and it is existent always, at all points of time whereas the gross body that one possesses during waking state vanishes once the waker goes into the dream and deep sleep state.

Thus, the body is not the Self - the Self is that which is beyond the body, mind and intellect. The body is just an instrument in performing the various actions through the rotary organs or organs of action (Speech, hands, feet, excretory organ, reproductory organ). The body is considered sacred because it helps the Self to perform actions in this phenomenal world.

Thus we find Krishna telling Arjuna in Gita,

"Avajananthi moodah manusheem tanum asritam

Param bhaavam ajanantho mama bhoota maheswaram"

Fools or ignorant people (Moodah) consider me as this perishable body of human form. They dont know my eternal and higher nature of Brahman who is the Lord of all five elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether - that which is the basis for all gross forms in this world.

Vedanta splits the experience of world into two.

1. Drik or Seer or Subject

2. Drishya or Seen or Object

A person, when he gains clear knowledge about these two terms and their import and implication overcomes the illusory ocean of samsara and gains the eternal bliss of the Self - the one without a second. The Seer is the Subject and real entity. The Drishya is dependent on the Drik. When a person realizes that the Drishya are unreal and illusory, he tries to find the Subject through the Subjective science of Vedanta. When he realizes the Subject (himself), he realizes that there was no drishya at all. The Drishya was wrongly superimposed on the Drik. As the desert is wrongly seen as water (water being superimposed on the desert), similarly the drik is superimposed on the drishya. When this superimposition is removed, the reality of Drik alone is realized.

Thus Bharathi Teertha swamigal says in Drik Drishya Viveka,

"Dehaabhimane galithe, jnaanate paramaatmani. Yatra yatra mano yaathi, tatra tatra samaadhayah"

When the wrong notion of "I am the body" is removed and the Brahman is realized through the Vedic dictum of TAT TVAM ASI (That Thou Art) and AHAM BRAHMAASMI (I am Brahman) - at that time, wherever the mind goes, that object becomes an experience of samadhi. Thus the person experiences only Self of nature of pure Consciousness and nothing but the Self alone.

Sankara also says in Laghu Vakya Vritti,

"Dehaatma dhee vad, Brahma atma dhee dardyaye kritakrityata. Yada tada ayam mriyatho muktho na atra samshayah"

When the concept or notion of "I am Brahman" (the real notion) becomes as strong as the wrong notion that one has that "I am the body", at that time, the person is liberated after leaving off this body as he has done whatever is to be done - there is no doubt regarding this.

A Seeker initially has the wrong notion that "I am the body" - this is one of the main hindrance to the path of liberaton or realization. This wrong notion is what Vedanta and Sankara calls as "Adhyaasa" or Superimposition. As in dim light a person sees snake in the rope, similarly due to ignorance or Avidya, a seeker thinks that he is the body and superimposes the body on the Self. Because of this superimposition, whatever happens to this limited and temporary body is superimposed on the Self or "I" and this causes the wrong and illusions of sorrow and temporary happiness. Thus a person says "I got hurt", "I am a brahman" - all this leads to anger, aversion, sorrow and fight over each other.

Thus Brahmins fight over other sects telling that "Only brahmins can teach Brahma Vidya" and only when a person gets initiated from a Brahmin, he will realize the Self!!!!!

What an idiotic and chaotic situation the Brahmins have put themselves in - just because of the wrong notion of "I am a Brahmin" - this Brahminhood is not for the "I" but for the body alone as the body only is capable of birth and death whereas the Self has no birth or death. Then how can "I" be a Brahmin, and also how can realization of the Self be hindered due to the birth of body in a particular vamsa or race?????

These are very ignorant people who have still lot to go in terms of realization and the first step towards that is to remove the wrong notion that "I am the limited body".

Thus we find Sankaracharya's followers fighting amongst themselves, claiming to be Advaitins, whereas following the differences of birth and race (purely Dvaitins). Such people should be termed veiled Advaitins, people who claim to be followers of Sankara, but internally itself going against Sankara's principles.

Sankara says in Vivekachoodamani - some slokas for the seeker to contemplate on - which will in turn give one Self-Realization.

"Jaathi neethi kula gotra duragam, naama roopa guna dosha varjitham.

Desha kaala vishayaativartiyat, brahma tattvam asi bhaavayaatmani"

One which is beyond caste, race and all other distinctions, which is beyond the names, forms, qualities (good and bad), and also beyond time, space and causation - "THAT BRAHMAN I AM" thus should a seeker contemplate.

Thus, when a person contemplates in this, by removing the wrong knowledge of "I am the body" - and the real knowledge that "I am the Self, one without a second, the only existing entity, of the nature of Absolute Existence, Consciousness and Bliss".

When thus a person gains the real knowledge of the Self, he realizes that whatever is there in the world is only Drik and the Drishya is only superimposed on the Drik. As in dream, the dreamer himself creates all the dream world, similarly the waker has created the waking world due to ignorance. When the ignorance veil is removed, the world vanishes giving place to the Self. Here vanishing means not going off and not-seen, but the world will be seen as the Self and not as something different from oneself.

Thus when a person realizes the non-dual Self, he gets the eternal bliss of the Self.

Just to quote a sloka from Govindaananda's Bhashya Ratna Prabha Vyakya (which is a sub-commentary on Sankara's commentary of Brahma Sutras of Vyasa)

"Yad ajnaana samudbhootam indrajaalam idam jagat. Satyam jnaanam sukham anantam tadaham brahma nirbhayam"

That which is the illusory world is caused due to ignorance like a city created by a magician, this world is superimposed on the Self of the nature of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss and Infinite - that Brahman of the nature of Fearlessness I am.

Let the Almighty guide us all to realize the Self and abide in the pure blissful and non-dual state.

PS: Please send a mail to me, Hariram_Subramonia@infosys, with subject "subscribe quotes" to get these quotes directly in your inbox. Send a mail with subject "unsubscribe quotes" to stop getting quotes in your inbox.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #159
Whatever you see happening in the waking state happens only to the knower, and since the knower is unreal, nothing in fact ever happens.

                                                                                                                                                        -- Ramana Maharshi


A person experiences three states in this phenomenal world. The clear analysis of these three states and knowing the reality of the Consciousness or Self remaining as a mere witness to these three states will pave the path for Self-Realization or Liberation.

The Three states or Avasthaas are:

1. Waking state or Jagrat - This is the state where a person is waking and he experiences the gross objects in this waking world. He sees all the gross objects and experiences the pain and happiness in this state.

2. Dream state or Swapna - This is the dream state where the seer of Consciousness goes into a dream world. Here the dreamer creates the dream world and himself becomes the experiencer of the pain and pleasure herewith.

3. Deep sleep or Sushupthi - This is the state where a person has deep sleep. The person doesn't see gross objects as in waking state nor does he see subtle objects as in dream. He is not conscious and neither is he unconscious. This is the state of happiness covered with a veil of ignorance. The ignorance veil obstructs the experience of the happiness in that state. But when the person wakes up from the sleep, he says "I slept happily" - Thus happiness was there, unending and continuous, but he was not aware of this happiness. This goes on to show that during this state, there was no body as in waking state, no mind as in dream state - and as everything was absent except the Consciousness and Ignorance veil over it - the person experiences pure Bliss. This state serves to show the eternal Bliss inherent in the Self. When the wrong notions are removed and vikshepa or modifications are absent - then the mind gets merged into the Self and at that time, the seer exists in his natural state of Bliss Absolute. Thus a person comes to know that Happiness is inherent in him, because in this state there is no external influence. This inherent happiness is pure and not tainted with sorrow as in the external sensual pleasures. And also the way to it is to realize one's own real nature and abide in it is shown in this state. When the wrong notions of "I am the body, mind" is negated and only the pure Consciousness remains, eternal Bliss is enjoyed. But after enlightenment there will be no ignorance veil and hence the bliss will be permanent but in this deep sleep state the happiness is temporary and ends when the person wakes up.

The Consciousness or pure "I" remains the same in all these three states. It is the witness of changes in these three states. It is unaffected by whatever happens in these three states. This is the ultimate Reality and this way of showing the Self is called TATASTHA LAKSHANA - as witness to the three states that comprise the total experience of a person in this world.

In deep sleep and dream nobody has any problems - because in deep sleep there are no sorrow and in dream, even if sorrow is there the dreamer knows that it is unreal after waking up. This leaves us with the Waking state where the waker experiences sorrow and pleasure regularly and seems to get affected by it.

Thus the clear knowledge of the Self or pure Consciousness as remaining unaffected even during sorrow in this waking state - is the path to removal of sorrow which is termed as Liberation also known as enjoyment of non-dual and eternal Bliss Absolute.

Thus we find Maharshi explaining the Waking person and his state here. The waker is aware of all the objects in this state. He sees objects and enjoys them. The experience of objects is called being conscious of the objects or knowing the objects.

Thus we have Vedanta splitting this experience of objects into TRIPUTI of KNOWER (Subject), KNOWLEDGE (of the object which is the actions), the ACTION OF KNOWING (the action through which subject and object seem to mix).

Whatever seems to happen to the waker (who can be termed as Ego or the wrong identification of the "I" or Self with non-Self of body and mind - this Ego is different from the Self which is ever pure) is not real because this waker dies each day once he goes to sleep. Thus the waker is not real but only has temporary existence - thus he is not real in the absolute sense. Thus the sorrow and happiness are only for the Ego or waker - but even this waker is not real because the identification with this limited body is not real as this body itself vanishes during sleep as also the waker. Thus when the waker itself is not real, what to speak of the realness of the experiences of the waker (the sorrow and happiness).

Thus a person realizes that the waker itself is unreal and hence the sorrow that the waker is experiencing is also unreal. But even during the state of waking, there is pure Consciousness present which is distinct from the Ego or waker. The waker is one who identifies himself with the body and mind and all the objects in this waking state, but even during this, the "I" remains the same - the "I" who sees things, who experiences the body, who experiences sorrow and happiness remains without any taint and limitations. This "I" is the same "I" who experiences the other two states of dream and deep sleep - whereas the limited and bound waker, dreamer and deep sleeper are temporary and limited aspects of the Ego or "I" associated with the respective states. Thus the "I" that pervades and experiences all these three states but still is unaffected by these three states is the real Self - of the nature of pure Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute.

This Real Self or "I" one already is - but has forgotten. Thus when a person realizes through analysis of these three states that he is pure Consciousness and SAKSHI or witness to the three states - he attains Self-Knowledge which destroys ignorance - the cause of sorrow in this ocean of samsara. This is termed as God-Realization, Self-Realization, Para Bhakthi, Moksha and all.

Sankara says that a person attains happiness only through the ultimate Reality of TAT TVAM ASI or THAT THOU ART - the Identity of the individual Self with the omniscient Brahman or God.

Just to quote a sloka from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad about the three states.

"Tad yatha maha matsya ube koole anusancharathi purvam cha aparam cha, evam eva ayam purushah

etavubhau antau anusancharathi swapnaantham cha buddhantham cha"

As a big fish moves in a wide river (in which if the fish is there in the middle, it cannot see the either shores) and at times it goes nearer to one shore and at times nearer to other shore and at other times in the middle of the river - similarly the Self moves from the different states of dream and wake (compared to the two shores) and the deep sleep (in the middle of the river where neither shore is seen).

When the fish is there near to either shores, it sees the things happening in the shores but is unaffected by it. In one shore it sees good things but is unaffected by it. In the other shore, it sees bad things, murder and other things but still is unaffected by it. Thus these two shores indicate the states of waking and dream - the Self remains pure witness and is never affected by the happenings in these states. In between, the fish moves to the middle of the river where it doesn't see anything in either shores. this is the state of deep sleep where there is no waking nor dream world.

Thus with this example is shown that the Self or pure Consciousness remains a mere witness to all the happenings in these states and only the limited and temporary Ego in the corresponding states get affected by the happenings. The Ego is in fact unreal because it is illusory and wrongly perceived notion of "I am the body and mind" concept which are unreal because even in those concepts of "I am so and so and other things" the "I" remains the same without getting affected by the wrong concepts.

Thus when a person realizes these three states and that the Self is unaffected by these three states, he realizes his own true nature which gives him eternal bliss of the Self.


I am eternal, pure, enlightened and liberated - I am the mere witness of the three states of phenomenal existence.

Let the Almighty guide us all to realize the Self and abide in the pure blissful and non-dual state.

PS: Please send a mail to me, Hariram_Subramonia@infosys, with subject "subscribe quotes" to get these quotes directly in your inbox. Send a mail with subject "unsubscribe quotes" to stop getting quotes in your inbox.

Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #160
Hridaya Kuhara Madhye Kevalam Brahma Maatram

Hi Aham Aham ithi sakshaat atma rupena bhaati

That which is of the nature of Absolute Brahman (alone, one without a second), resides in the cave of the heart.

It shines verily as the Self by the experience of ‘I’,’I’ and is experienced by everyone”.

                                                                                                                                                                        -- Ramana Maharshi


This sloka has very much importance to all earnest seekers of Self-Realization because this are the first two lines of the sloka that came out from the great Ramana. This was the first sloka that Maharshi wrote.

Vedanta or the Subjective science of Upanishads deals in pointing to the subject of Self and establishes the reality of the Self (seemingly limited) with the Brahman (the infinite and the unlimited Supreme Being).

These Upanishads are not mere books or statements but are verily the experience of the great seers of ancient times. These seers were not just interested in enjoying the bliss but were compassionate enough to help out the drowning people in the ocean of samsara with their experience of unlimited bliss and the path to it.

The Upanishads speak about the path to ultimate reality which is the non-dual Brahman. This Brahman is one without a second – Ekam eva adviteeyam. It is devoid of Birth and death (Ajam), it is eternal (Nityam), since it is eternal it has no changes and hence is Nirvikaaram. As it is without any changes, hence it is Niravayam or without any parts. It is beyond the objectified world and the sense organs (Agraahyam) and without any qualities of good or bad, light or heavy, colourful or colorless – Nirguna.

Now the student will have the doubt that what is this Brahman which is beyond the mind but makes the mind work, beyond the sense organs but makes the sense organs work, beyond Prana (the vital force that makes one live) but makes the Prana work????

This doubt is cleared by the Upanishadic dictum called Mahavakyas that establish the reality of the Brahman with the Jeevatma or the Self through various statements.

The teacher of Uddalaka says to his son Svetakethu that “TAT TVAM ASI” – O Dear, that Supreme Brahman YOU (the seemingly limited jeevatma) ARE. When the student thus realizes this identity through the intellect and contemplates on the dictum of AHAM BRAHMA ASMI (I am Brahman), slowly the realization dawns through the experience of AYAM ATMA BRAHMA or This Self is verily Brahman.

Brahman is of the nature of SAT CHIT and ANANDA (Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute). The Self or the pure “I” in each person is of the same nature only. How can one prove this????? A person always exists. The existence of “I” is there even beyond time and space – even though the gross world time is not there in dream, still “I” exist. Even though there is no time and space in deep sleep, “I” exist. This “I” exists in day as well as in night. It exists everywhere (even though a person wrongly attributes this body to the “I” and thereby limits to the 6 feet, 70 kg physical body). I am not this body because this body is perishable but even during states of pain of body and injury of body, I am the same (I exist irrespective of whether the body is present or not. In dream, this body is not present as one doesn’t experience it, but still I exist). Thus I am beyond time and space. To say in short terms, I am that which gives time and space its existence. This Existence is of the nature of Knowledge or Consciousness. Since I exist, I am conscious and I am knowledge. This Consciousness or Knowledge is what is seen as various objects. If Consciousness is there, the world is there. If Consciousness is not there, there is no world. But if world is not there, then also Consciousness also exists – hence Consciousness is the ultimate Reality and the world that we see is not real – BRAHMA SATYAM JAGAN MITHYA (Brahman is the ultimate reality and the world is just unreal and illusory as water seen in desert or snake seen in rope). The “I” is not just existence and consciousness, but it is Bliss also.

How can you say “I” is bliss alone as “I” experience happiness and sorrow???

The pure “I” is bliss alone. This bliss is got in the state of deep sleep where there is no dream world and no waking world also. The sorrow that one seems to get is not enjoyed by the Self or pure “I” but is enjoyed by the unreal I called Ego. The Ego when it forgets its real nature of non-dual Self and gets bound by the body and mind – seems to enjoy the dualities of happiness and sorrow. The happiness and sorrow are not real but illusory and superimposed on the non-dual Self.

Where come this superimposition and wrong identification comes???

This wrong identification is called ADHYAASA (superimposition) or ADHYAAROPA. This is like seeing snake in rope. This occurs due to ignorance of the real nature of Self. When the real nature of rope is not seen or perceived, the snake is superimposed on it due to previous recollection of the snake. Thus AVIDYA is the cause for this wrong identification and hence the cause for sorrow in the unreal world (which is in itself dependent on Self or Consciousness as proved earlier). This AVIDYA is removed by negation called APAVAADA. The negation of everything other than the Self (which is imperceptible by the sense organs) by the method of NETI NETI (not this, not this) leads one to the remaining Self which cannot be pointed out as THIS as it is the Subject that perceives these objects of THIS.

Thus Maharshi says that this Self is that which shines as “I”, “I” – the changeless I which remains the same during all changes of time, space, body, ages, character, sorrow and happiness, cold and heat etc.

Where is this Self located????

The sincere disciple then asks where is this Self located. This question in itself is invalid because the Self is omni-present and if it is limited to a body, then it will lose its omni-presence and be limited by space and hence will become transitory and will have birth and death also. Thus the Self is the Subject – it is present everywhere – to tell the truth, it is the only thing present – it is that which is wrongly perceived as the dual world of objects.

NEHA NAANA ASTHI KINCHANA – here there is not even a single stance of duality – whatever is there is only the non-dual Self.

MRITYOR SA MRITYUM AAPNOTHI YA IHA NAANA IVA PASCHYATHI – he who sees duality here goes through the circle of death and death (infinite and never ending circle of birth-death).

The place where the Self is present is called HRIDAYAM – spiritual heart which is in the right side of the body (unlike the physical heart). Even though the Self is omni-present, but when limited into the body, the pure “I” sprouts from this right side of the body indicated as CAVE HEART of intellect by Upanishads and Maharshi here. It is said that people could feel the pulsation in the right side of Maharshi’s body when they touched that part of the body!!!!

Thus, even though the Self is omni-present, the “I” thought sprouts from the spiritual heart.

The Self is not something new to be attained, but it is always present – what is to be removed is the ignorance veil of the Self which can be done only through the realization of the Upanishadic dictum of identity of Brahman and the Self (TAT TVAM ASI and all). Thus one needs to learn Upanishads in order to find out about one’s own real nature like a person who has lost memory needs to be told who he is and all. Thus Vedanta or Advaita Vedanta says that there are three steps to this reality.

  1. Sravana or listening of this reality from a Guru with clear understanding and gaining intellectual conviction

  2. Manana or reflecting in the mind the reality that one has learnt through sravana logically refuting other rival theories of “I am body” and all.

  3. Nidhidhyaasana or contemplating on the reality that has good great conviction through reflection

When these three are followed, it leads a person to the eternal and ultimate bliss of the Self – that is the only thing present in this world.

Adi Sankara beautifully brings out the theory of Adhyaasa or Superimposition (that which causes wrong knowledge and ignorance of the Self thereby causing sorrow) in his Adhyaasa Bhashya (introductory chapter to his commentary on Brahma Sutraas of Bhagavan Vyaasa).

To an earnest seeker, the Upanishads, Gita and brama sutras along with the commentary and other works of Sankara will completely root out ignorance and thereby grant the inherent bliss of the Self. Hope the earnest seekers would try to get hold of books of these works and logically assert oneself through the work that has been given to us from the great acharyas (who were Self-Realization and had nothing to do in this world) who have done this out of mere compassion to other suffering people. Let me pray to the mighty Siva who came in the form of Sankara to revive the Upanishadic tradition, that he may show the path of the Upanishads to each one of us – the only path to eternal reality of absolute Bliss.

To end with Sankara bhagavad paada’s words in Vivekachoodamani

Na Sankhyena Na yogena, na karmanaa no na vidhyaya.

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