There are different paths to realization but all must lead to the ultimate and absolute reality that “I am THAT” or pure Being. Unless this reality is realized, all the paths of Knowledge, Devotion, Yoga and Action are all in vain. All these paths just help a person in removing the non-existing veils of ignorance, they can never give enlightenment or realization (because realization is being the Subject & hence it is not subject to any objectification). Whatever path one is following, ultimate reality will be the Advaitic Knowledge of “I am Brahman” – until this is realized, there will problems, sorrows, sufferings, anger, cruelty, murder, attacking, fighting with people and all. One has to realize and understand that whatever actions or thoughts are there, they require a thinker & a doer for their existence. Without the doer or thinker, there will be no thoughts. One may then ask, does the thinker exist without thoughts??? Yes, the real Self seems to become the thinker & the thoughts – when both these are transcended, what remains is pure Consciousness and Bliss. This very bliss is enjoyed during deep sleep because there was no thoughts at that time. Such states are temporary only & helps one is showing the real nature of the Self. When the Self is realized as non-dual, then there remains nothing else, no thoughts, no actions, no people to fight or suffer or getting sad and all. This state is called MOKSHA or Liberation. This is the real nature of each person, but as the person is ignorant of his own real nature, he tends to imagine thoughts & enter into actions thereby increasing ignorance & continuing the vicious circle of enjoying fruits & doing actions.
One needs to discriminate and realize that “I am different from thoughts & actions, why should I get angry, what is it that is creating sorrow in me, why am I sad now & not in deep sleep”. When a person thus investigates, he realizes that anger, sorrow and sufferings are only wrong illusions & thoughts caused due to identification with the body and mind. When this identification is removed, thoughts vanish & that state of thoughtlessness is the real & natural state of the Seer or the person. That state if blissful in nature.
Patanjali says in Yoga Sutras
“Yogah Chitta vritthi nirodah”
Yoga is removing the thoughts of the mind (here ignorance is to be removed because the Self is beyond thoughts & unaffected by thoughts but due to ignorance it seems to get deluded into thoughts & hence this ignorance is to be removed about the real nature of the Self). How is that state without thoughts???
“Tada dresthuh svaroope avasthaanam”
There the Seer remains in his natural state. Vishnu tells Brahma about the absolute reality in Chatushloki Bhagavatham
Anvaya vyatireekaam yad syaad sarvatra sarvada” This alone is required for the sincere seeker of eternal Truth – of finding out what exists always and at all places & time through the logic of Anvaya and Vyatireka Anvaya is co-existence – If what is there, the world is there – If Self or Consciousness is there.
yatireka is co-absence - If Self is not there, no world at all. Thus the Self is the absolute reality or substratum for this seemingly existing & changing world. “Etanmatam samaathistha parameena samaadhina
Bhavaan kalpa vikalpeshu na vimuhyathi karhichit”
This only is required to be known & hence may you enter into Samadhi (natural state of the Self – without thoughts). May you not enter into thoughts & distractions at any time. In Yoga Vasistha, Sukracharya says to Mahabali
“Chit chetya kalitha bandhah tan mukta mukthiruchyathe
chit achetya kilatmethi sarva Vedanta sangrahah” Consciousness when mixed with thoughts is in bondage & when thoughts are not there, it is in liberation. Atman or Self is pure Consciousness without any thoughts – this is in brief Vedanta or the truth in the Upanishads. Thus what is required from a person is to remove the ignorance veils through hearing, reflecting and contemplating on the truth propounded in the Upanishads about one’s own real nature. When these three become very strong, then the ignorance veil is completely removed & what remains is only the blissful Self. Realizing one’s own nature of Bliss & non-dual nature is the aim of the human birth. Until this is realized, man goes from birth to death to birth to death, sorrow to happiness to sorrow & gets deluded into the external sensual pleasures – and he searches hitherto & thitherto for ever-lasting & eternal bliss. Every person is the Self alone – SARVAM BRAHMA MAYAM – everything is Brahman alone. Realizing this eternal reality, man becomes freed from the clutch of sorrow forever & rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self. To put it in Sankara’s words, “Yasya brahmani ramathe chittam, nandhathi nandhathi nandhathi eva – whose heart Brahman resides, he rejoices, rejoices and rejoices. Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize & immerse in the eternal bliss of the Self. 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 -- #177
For a seeker, doubts crop up even after repeated hearing; therefore he must not give up aids until he gains the Samadhi state.
- Ramana Maharshi
Maharshi is here explaining one of the obstacles to realization after Knowledge is gained intellectually. Vedanta tells that after getting knowledge but not gaining experience or Vijnaana, there are mainly two types of obstacles.
Samshaya Jnaana or Doubt – a person comes out of the house & locks the door. After walking a furlong, he again comes back to check whether he has locked or not. This is doubts. Doubts arise as to whether Brahman is the reality or not, I don’t know Brahman, is Brahman the Self only & all.
Viparyaya Jnaana or wrong knowledge – a person learns through hearing of Vedanta but still sees the world & doubts I see the world and differences everywhere so how can the absolute reality of Self be non-dual, this is called Wrong knowledge. Sage Patanjali in his yoga sutras tells that wrong knowledge is thinking or conceiving something else for a thing – like rope seen as snake and water seen in desert (where there is no water at all but desert only).
These doubts & confusions arise because of not proceeding after knowing about the absolute reality & due to lack of intellectual conviction about the reality.When a person initially hears about Brahman, he gets an idea that Brahman is the absolute reality & the world is nothing but illusion seen in the substratum of Brahman (as snake is seen in the substratum of rope). At this point of time, the person has not yet got convinced about the absolute reality. When the person reflects the truth propounded in the Upanishads in the intellect, he gets clear intellectual conviction about the reality that “I am Brahman, one without a second”. Still, he has not yet gained complete cessation of the world & always dwelling in Brahman. This is achieved through contemplating on one’s own real nature through the Vedic dictums (AHAM BRAHMA ASMI – I am Brahman).
A seeker should continue these three processes until not even a single moment passes without contemplating on the Brahman. As Upanishads proclaim
“Nimeshaardham na thisthanthi Vrittim Brahma Mayeem vina”
A saint never spends even a single moment without contemplating on the Brahman. A little enquiry into the Upanishadic truth would be useful to everyone. What is the absolute truth???
The absolute truth is BRAHMA SATYAM JAGAN MITHYA or Brahman is the reality & the world is only illusory and therefore unreal. The world is as unreal as the dream world or snake seen in rope or water seen in desert. The world can never be real because the real never changes & ceases to exist. But the world is always changing & transient in nature, hence the world is not real. One may ask the question that the world is not real but still it is not unreal. The answer to this question goes like this: The world as it is changing must have a changeless substratum. That substratum is Brahman or Consciousness (if Consciousness is there, world is there. If Consciousness is not there, then there is no world at all). AS the Brahman is changeless, it cannot have any modifications or birth & death. Then how come the world came about when the substratum can never have any modification or change (because if Brahman is changing, the it will lose its substratum quality). Is the world present in Brahman or Consciousness????
No, not at all. Because during deep sleep there is pure Consciousness but no world at all. The scriptures also proclaim that in Brahman there is no names & forms (the world is only names and forms of absolute Brahman – seemingly existing names and forms). Thus in Brahman there is no world at all but still one perceives it. This can be true only if the world is unreal & seemingly existing. As the dream world is unreal only but in dream state it seems to be real, similarly this waking world is unreal from this relative perspective but from the absolute perspective, the world is unreal only.
Now the question comes as to what is this Brahman???
Upanishads proclaim that whatever is present, is Brahman alone. There is nothing in this world other than Brahman. This Brahman is of the nature of Consciousness (PRAJNAANAM BRAHMA). What is the Consciousness? Consciousness is the Self, it is the real nature of each person, it is also of the nature of Bliss & Existence. Thus the Consciousness which is the real nature of oneself is Brahman. How is Consciousness one’s own real nature???
Because I am not this body as this body is changing daily but I am the same from the first day till today. I am not the mind because the mind is full of thoughts & requires a thinker to exist (a changeless substratum). In dream state, there is the subtle body which I am not because I am present in both the states of dream and waking. I am also present in deep sleep where I enjoy bliss for the whole time of that state. In deep sleep, Consciousness is there & this Consciousness is my real nature. Now the question comes as to why am I not enjoying the Bliss of Consciousness (which is temporarily enjoyed during deep sleep)???
This is due to wrong identification. When a person is ignorant about one’s own nature of Bliss & Consciousness, one without a second – then he creates differences. He thinks that I am this body & mind, so and so are my territory & other things are not my territory, these are my people & others are my enemies. All these wrong notions cause sorrow because when I have the wrong identification with the body, if the body gets a burn, then I superimpose the body on the Self & the sorrows of the body as my sorrows!!!!
First of all, a person needs to realize that for the body to exist “I” must be there, but “I” exist even if my body doesn’t exist (as in dream & deep sleep). Therefore “I” am not this body.
This is what is called VYAVRITTHI LAKSHANA of the Self – describing the Self through NOT THIS, NOT THIS (told in Upanishads as Neti, Neti). All the things that can be objectified are negated & what remains is the pure Self. The next level is TATASTHA LAKSHANA – I am that which is present in all the three states, I am Seer of all that is seen, I am the experiencer of all experiences (As a house is pointed out as the house on which the crow is sitting, similarly the Self is shown by telling that it is present during all the three states). Uptil this state, there was duality of the Subject and the Object (this duality is the cause of sorrow but when this duality is clearly known & the Subject is separated from the Object, the Subject remains unaffected by whatever happens & this leads to the next state of non-duality). The final level is SVAROOPA LAKSHANA (all this time, things were told relative to the objects) Now the Self is told as having clear nature. The Self is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Absolute (Sat Chit Ananda Kevala). This is the state of ultimate reality wherein there is no subject and object but only the pure Subject (without object), the pure Consciousness exists. This is the state that is the real and natural state of each person (the Self the person is). Until this state is realized- that I am Brahman or Self of the nature of Consciousness & one without a second), sorrows & sufferings will continue & the search for the elimination of this sorrow also will continue. A seeker needs to put effort in order to remove the wrong notions & ascertain that I am the Self as a person who has forgotten where he has kept the glasses has to be told & ascertained that the glasses are in my eyes only!!!!
This realization is not something new to be gained but realizing WHO I AM. All the other knowledge without this ultimate and absolute knowledge is waste & will lead only to Ego, Sorrow and sufferings. But this ultimate knowledge when known there remains nothing else to be known, nothing else to be done & the person rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self.
As Mundaka Upanishad says
“Sa yo ha vai tat paramam brahma veda brahmaiva bhavathi
Tarathi shokam tarathi paapmaanam guhagranthibhyoh vimukto amritam bhavathi” He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. He crosses over sorrow & sins & attains the state of immortality & resides in the intellect cave of all beings. Thus the ultimate aim & goal of life should be to realize the Self through removal of ignorance veils. One may be doing BHOGA or one may be in professional work or maybe in jungle, one may ask for wealth, good partner or fame – but just one has to remember that the ultimate goal of my life is REALIZATION of my own very nature. As Sankara says
“Chidananda ropah sivoham sivoham” – I am Siva (auspicious being or Self) of the nature of Consciousness, I am that Siva. Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize & immerse in the eternal bliss of the Self. 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 -- #178 There is reality. It is not affected by any discussions. Let us abide as Reality and not engage in futile discussions as to its nature, etc.
- Ramana Maharshi
Maharshi is here answering to a seeker’s question as to the nature of the Reality or Brahman – whether the Self is one with it as in Advaita or whether the Self is near to God (and can never become God) as in Vishishta Advaita or the Self is entirely different from God as in Dvaita.
The Reality has to be without birth & death. This is because if the Reality has birth, then it will have changes & will die – such a reality has only relative experience or existence. Such a relative reality cannot be the Absolute Reality but only changing reality. Hence Reality is without birth & death. Such a reality which is without birth & death is referred as Brahman in the Upanishads. The Upanishads also proclaim that the individual Self or Atman is same as Brahman. Is the Atman same as Brahman???? Brahman or the reality is one without changes. Hence it cannot have any parts (because an object with parts is liable to changes). Therefore Brahman is without parts. There cannot be anything different from Brahman because if there is a second thing then there will be another third thing which will be the substratum for these two things & thereby Brahman loses its Absolute Reality qualification. Therefore Brahman is one without a second. Thus one comes to the conclusion that there is only BRAHMAN here – of the nature of pure Consciousness, Bliss Absolute. Then how has the world & duality come???
As a snake is superimposed on the rope, similarly the Brahman is wrongly perceived as the world. As the dream world is nothing but the dreamer alone, similarly the world that one perceives and the perceiver are all Brahman alone. Thus, the world that one sees is nothing but Brahman alone. The pure Consciousness or the Self can thus not be different from Brahman. When the Brahman seems to get transformed into this world, it gets split into two distinct parts – the world & the experiencer of the world.
With little thinking & discrimination one will come to the conclusion that the world depends on Consciousness or the Self for its existence. Therefore the world is illusory and not real whereas the Consciousness is real.
When the Consciousness or the Subject remains without any Object or world, there remains nothing but pure Brahman alone. At that time, all discriminations vanish, all doubts perish, all duality ends & the pure Consciousness remains as the one without a second. Thus ultimately each person comes to this state that there is only Brahman or Consciousness which is the same as one’s own inner Self or one’s own true nature. The Upanishads proclaim that Brahman is beyond words & thoughts & is that which gives light to all the sense organs and the mind & the intellect. One may have the doubt as to what is the use of knowing Brahman??? The Upanishads start with the disciple asking the Guru
“Kasmin u bhagavo vijnaate sarvam idam vijnaatam bhavathi”
O Lord, tell me that thing by knowing which everything else becomes known. “Ekam vijnaatam sarva vid bhavathi”
By knowing which one thing, everything else becomes known. The Guru answers that as by knowing mud or the atomic particle of mud, the entire world consisting of mud is known, similarly by knowing Brahman everything else is known. Guru says
“Sa yo ha vai tad paramam brahma veda brahmaiva bhavathi
He who knows the Brahman becomes Brahman. He crosses over sorrow & sins & after cutting off the knots of the heart, he attains immortality. “Tameva viditva ati mrityum atyethi
Na anya pantha vidhyathe anaaya”
After knowing Brahman or getting Atma Vidya – a person attains immortality. There is no other way than this.
Immortality is going to Heaven or Vaikunta – but immortality is cessation of sorrow here and now itself. When the Self is known, one becomes immortal because the Self is without birth & death. Until one realizes that I have no birth & death & that I am of the nature of Bliss Absolute, he struggles & runs hitherto & thitherto in search of happiness and immortality!!!! Ha!!! Wonderful is the illusory power of God called Maya which pulls down even the greatest of learned people into the traps of attachment & aversion. As Krishna says in Gita
“Deivi hi esha guna mayi mama maaya duratyaya
Mam eva ye prapadhyanthe mayaam etaam taranthi te”
My Maya is of the divine form & it is tough indeed to cross over.
But, they who take refugee in Me as the innermost Self & one without a second, they cross over this ocean easily. Thus, one should never indulge in fights or discussions over the nature of Reality or the Self because once a person knows or realizes the Self, then only he can know the real nature of the Self.
In Gita, Krishna says that the world’s real nature of Brahman cannot be known as such from here – because we are trying to discuss about the Self which is beyond words & thoughts!!!! Thus what one should do is – follow the path propounded in the Upanishads of Sravana (listening to the scriptures that propound about the Self), Manana (reflecting in the mind & getting clear intellectual conviction that I am the Self, one without a second) and Nidhidhyaasana (contemplating on one’s own real nature) & thereby one realizes that “I am the Self, there was nothing but the Self alone & whatever form or objects that I saw was the Self alone (Consciousness alone makes thing shine or exist & hence the things are nothing but Consciousness alone).
Ksheeyanthe cha asya karmaani tasmin drishte para avare”
That person who sees the innermost Self as the All-pervading Brahman (realizes the ultimate reality of I am Brahman, one without a second), his knots or desires of the heart are broken, all doubts vanish for him, all actions lose their effects & he rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self. Mundaka Upanishad says
“Na ayam atma pravachanena labhyah na medhaya na bahoona sruthena
Yam eva esha vrinuthe tena labhyah tasya esha atma vivrunuthe tanoom svaam”
The Self cannot be known through discourses, or through hearing of discourses, or through the intellect. The Self can be known only by the person who sincerely desires to realize the Self because it is realizing one’s own real nature & this can be known only through knowing that “I am the Brahman, the one without a second”.