Thus time has to be spent to realize the Self through listening of the scriptures, reflecting the truth in the mind with logic & reasoning & contemplating on the eternal nature of oneself. At that time, the person rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self because there is nothing else to be liked or disliked or any other thing different from the Self. As Sankara says
One whose mind resides in Brahman only, he rejoices, rejoices & verily rejoices. Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize the Self without wasting much time as each moment is uncertain and precious. 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 -- #184
Being now in the world, the world is seen as such. Get beyond it and this will disappear: the Reality alone will shine.
- Ramana Maharshi
The world has been a question of doubt & confusion for seekers.
Various systems in Vedanta have been fighting amongst themselves to explain about the world. On the one side, Dvaitins say that the world is real, on the other side Advaitin says that the world is unreal & the Vishista advaitin says that the world is real only & that the Self & world are not different from Brahman but part of it.
As Krishna explains in Chapter 15
“Na roopam asya iha tatho upalabhyathe na antho na cha adir na samprathisthah” The reality of the world can never be known from here. If a person has to know this world, he has to detach himself from the world & seek the experiencer of the world. Only through this way will the doubt about whether the world is a reality or not will vanish. The first step to realizing is to get intellectual conviction about the Ultimate Reality of ONENESS. Adi Sankara in his Brahma Sutra bhaasya says that “one need not accept whatever a person says, let it even be Patanjali or Vyaasa. Whatever is logical & can be proved to the intellect should be accepted even if it is told by a child”. What is the ultimate logic about this world????
The ultimate reality is BRAHMA SATYAM JAGAN MITHYA – Brahman is the absolute reality & the world is only illusory and unreal.
When a person tries to find out about the world, he realizes that the world is not a separate entity but depends on the Consciousness for its existence. If the Consciousness is not present, then there is no world. But on the contrary, if the world is not there, still Consciousness is present. Thus through logic a person realizes that the world depends on the Self or Consciousness for its existence. Such a thing which has no existence of its own is called MITHYA or illusory or unreal (illusory and unreal might seem of different grades but both are same only. Even if a person says that water seen in desert is unreal or water seen in desert is illusory – the fact remains that there is no water in desert). Thus the world has no absolute reality, it is a long dream. The simple proof of the unreality of the world is its non-existence during sleep & similarity of this waking world with the dream world. In dream world, there is no world, no objects but only the person who is dreaming. The same person who is dreaming creates objects for the dream world & gets deluded by them. The unreality of the dream is not known at the time of dreaming, but only when the dreamer wakes up. Similarly this waking world will remain a reality for the person dreaming in this waking world. But when a person realizes through logic & experience that this world is not real but only seemingly existent on the Consciousness or Self, he doesn’t crave for external sense objects & because of this, his desires are rooted out. He slowly moves higher to learn the higher truth or the substratum of this seemingly existent world. Thus he finds that it is Consciousness which is the substratum for this unreal world – as the rope is the substratum for the illusory snake superimposed on the rope. Slowly he tries to realize the Consciousness.
As long as a person thinks this world to be real, he craves for the objects & thereby gets deluded into the objects getting sorrow & happiness. But the moment a person realizes that this world has no real existence, the thirst ends & whatever comes or happens he remains unaffected by it. Thus, he remains unaffected by all the actions & tries to realize the Supreme & absolute reality. Thus he learns from the scriptures that Brahman is the absolute reality & it is one without a second. Then he reflects in his mind & finds out that the Brahman which is considered the substratum of this seemingly existent world is not different from him, but it is his very own Self. He realizes & gets the intellectual conviction that “I am Brahman of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute”. Thereby he tries to get the experience of this ultimate reality. He again learns and realizes that the Self was always the same, the only thing was that the non-existent mind was creating illusions and making the EGO delve into objects & into delusions and sorrows. Realizing this, he tries to remove the ignorance veil & the thoughts of the mind. Slowly thoughts give way to the ultimate reality of the Self. Thus, he realizes that there is only the Self, the one without a second. At that moment, the world ceases to exist as it is (the world might exist like a dream, but the person will see only Consciousness or Brahman everywhere).
This is the ultimate reality of the world & the experience around us. Until this reality is realized, there will never be eternal happiness, contentment and satisfaction. The person will be running here & there to get happiness, he will go to temples for doing poojaas and homaas, he will go to mahatmas for eradication of sorrows, he will try to follow different yogas & karmas to get contentment. All this can never lead one to the ultimate reality (this will surely lead one to the knowledge about the ultimate reality but it is upto the seeker whether he wants to take that knowledge or not).
Thus, there is no other path to realization or cessation of sorrow & rejoicing of the eternal bliss inherent in the Self than the path of Knowledge or non-dual Brahman. Thus, only ignorant people will try to fight over the nature of the world & all, the wise will realize that the world is as unreal as water in desert & like the dream world & thereby realize and reside as Brahman (and getting the eternal bliss which is being sought by each and every person). Upanishads proclaim what a saint or a seeker should do to realize the Self
“Atma Va Are Dreshtavyo srothavyo manthavyo nidhidhyaasithavyah”
O Dear One (says the husband of Yajnavalkya to his wife Maitreyi), the Atman is to seen (through direct experience of oneself), heard, reflected upon (the reality that there is nothing but the Self alone), contemplated. “Nimeshaardham na thisthanthi vrittim brahma mayeem vina”
The saints or seekers never remain (not even a second) without having the thought that “I am Brahman”. Maharshi himself tells about this contemplation in his Upadesa Saram
“Bheda bhaavanaat soham ithi aso
Bhaavana abhida paavanee mataa”
It is better to have the non-different attitude that “I am Brahman” than having the meditating thought that “I am meditating on God or Brahman” (difference between the meditator & the object of meditation. Sankara says in Viveka choodamani
Sva sva roopa anusandhaanam bhakthirithi abhidheeyathe”
The easiest path to realization is Devotion. Devotion is contemplating on one’s own real nature.
Unless this real nature of oneself is not known, the world exists, sorrow persists, suffering is there and crying & weeping also occurs. But when the Self or one’s own real nature is known, there is nothing else to be known, there is no other object to get sorrow or happiness from. Such a Self is of the nature of Bliss alone & hence the person rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self. Each person has to take birth again and again – until this truth is realized. Until the reality of rope is known & the superimposed unreality of snake is realized, the fear from the snake persists. Similarly one has to take birth again and again until this ultimate & absolute reality of NO BIRTH is realized. The human birth is the highest form in which one has the capability to realize the Self & thereby cross over the illusory ocean of SAMSAARA or Birth-death. Thus one should not waste this precious life & strive to realize one’s own real nature which makes one realize that “I am of the nature of Bliss – without even a single taint of sorrow”. Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize the Self without wasting much time as each moment is uncertain and precious. 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 -- #185 Bhaava shoonya sadbhaavasusthithih
Bhaavanaa bhalaath bhaktiruttama A state of thoughtlessness (void-like state) & residing in the eternal Reality of the Self (the Subject) – this is achieved only through practice & is the highest form of DEVOTION.
Maharshi here explains Bhakthi or Devotion in a higher sense. There are mainly two types of Bhakthi. One is Apara Bhakthi or Lower devotion in which the devotee sees himself different from God or the object of devotion. The higher form of devotion or Para Bhakthi is one in which the devotee sees no difference between himself & God & he merges into God. As Swami Paramaarthaananda Saraswathi puts it,
In Bhakthi Yoga, the TVAM or “I” gets merged into TAT or “THAT indicating God” – and what remains behind is ASI or Equality of TAT & TVAM (meaning there is no difference between TAT or TVAM but just a SAT or Existence). This is what the path of Knowledge also proclaims wherein the seeker sees himself (the Self) everywhere & thereby what remains is only SELF & nothing else. In Bhakthi (highest form of Bhakthi), there is only GOD present & in Knowledge there is only the SELF present. Both these are not different entities but are one and the same only. Maharshi here says that Bhakthi or Supreme Devotion is a state of thoughtlessness or void-like state. Thoughts are the causes for all the sorrows & miseries because of duality perception. As Yoga Vasistha says
“Samastham kalpanaa maatram idam” – Everything is creation of the mind or thoughts only. How does one know everything is thoughts only???
Removing the thoughts will remove the world & the world will vanish & what will be remaining is pure Consciousness alone, one without a second. This state of thoughtlessness is being experienced by everyone during sleep & times of harmony with nature or music. When there is no thoughts as in deep sleep, there is no duality & only bliss is experienced. But when the mind rises again and delves into thoughts, duality arises and sorrows, miseries come into picture.
Thus, Maharshi tells that the highest devotion is where there are no thoughts and void-like. As the great Buddhist sect of people called SUNYAVAADINS proclaim that voidness is the state of the Self, in order to remove this wrong notion that void is the state of the Self, Maharshi adds that when the mind merges into the Self or the Subject. In this state of pure Consciousness, there is Existence always present & no void is there. Void is mentioned in order to indicate that there will be no thoughts & hence no duality. When this highest devotion is achieved, there remains nothing else to be achieved. Until then the search & sorrows continue. If a person is worshipping a form with God, let’s say Siva. Then if something happens to Siva or if somebody says Vishnu is greater than Siva, then the person gets angry & abuses Vishnu & other Gods. What a person should remember is that a form God is not the ultimate. Supreme God can never have a form because if he has a form, then he is being limited into a 5 feet, 100 kg body & hence he loses his omniscience & such a God is prone to death since the body is prone to decay & death. Thus, the God also dies. Such a God can never be of any use to humans and is very much similar to the human body that every one possesses. Thus we come to the conclusion that God is without form. This doesn’t mean that God cannot have form. The omniscient person can take any form just for the sake of the devotee. As a potter can make any pot as he knows each and everything about the pot, similarly God being the creator of this illusory world, he is capable of taking any form (as he is also the material cause of this world).
Thus, when the devotee sees God everywhere – then he derives concentration and oneness. This oneness removes all the duality & likes and dislikes. Since he doesn’t either like anyone or dislike anyone, there is no desire or anger. As there is no desire or anger, there is no sorrow or sufferings. Hence the person gets the eternal bliss inherent in the Self through the external God whom he is seeing everywhere.
Slowly the gap between himself & God gets reduced & he gets merged into God. At that time, there is no devotee nor God but just ONENESS and pure Existence alone. This is what is termed as Para Bhakthi, Nirvaana, Moksha, Jnaana, Brahma Vid and all. This ultimate state of Oneness is what is to be achieved in human life. It is really tough to apprehend this through knowledge which directly removes all ignorance & duality by telling that the world that one sees is as unreal as the dream world. If the Consciousness is there, then the world is there. If Consciousness is not there, then there is no world at all. It is Consciousness that is being perceived wrongly as the world as the dreamer himself becomes the dream world & the objects of the dream world. This path of Knowledge is thus suited only for intellectual people & are not suited for people who have much of attraction and attachment. But the path of devotion is suited even for the normal individual. Here, the devotee sees only God everywhere. Whatever action he does, he offers it to God. He doesn’t crave for any fruits of the actions, but just does action as a pooja to God. Thus slowly the thought of God remains with him all the time. Lastly he gets merged into God as Thiru Jnaana Sambhandar merged into the Siva temple after his marriage. Thus there remains only God or pure Consciousness. Thus, this path of devotion through seeing a form God everywhere & slowly moving to formless God & removing the differentiation of myself with God is the simplest of paths. But in reality, the highest form of devotion is not different from knowledge. Both are one and the same. Only the lower forms of Bhakthi wherein a devotee is attached to only one form of God & rebukes other forms of God are just the initial steps to the ultimate reality of Oneness.
Thus, as Maharshi puts it, Bhakthi or devotion is not different from Knowledge. Both are one and the same where the mind gets merged into Existence or Consciousness and no duality persists.
Let the Almighty guide each one of us to realize the Self without wasting much time as each moment is uncertain and precious. 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 -- #186 Hritsthale manah svastataa kriya
Bhakthi yoga bhodaascha nischitam Fixing the mind in the spiritual heart or the Self is Action. This itself is called Devotion, Knowledge and Yoga – know this for sure.
-Upadesa Saram of Ramana Maharshi
Maharshi here explains the final & ultimate step to realization. The final & ultimate goal of human life is to realize the inherent bliss in the Self & realize that “I am the infinite and abundant Self of the nature of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss Absolute. I am the Self, one without a second”. Upanishads proclaim that the Self is situated in the spiritual heart which is also called the cave of intellect. As the thoughts arise from desires & desires are routed in the heart, similarly the source of all the thoughts & everything in this world is the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart is described as the seat of the Self. It should not be taken that spiritual heart has a location and is inside this physical body. The spiritual heart has no inside or outside, but it is mentioned as the inner heart in order to get concentration on that point & focus on the point for meditation and absorption.
The spiritual heart is neither inside nor outside because it is the source of everything in this world. The source of the world & its objects are nothing but thoughts which again trace their source to pure Consciousness or the Self. Thus the Self is situated in the spiritual heart which is all-pervading.
As the dream world & the objects of the dream world are not outside but are just illusions created in the mind & shown as outside due to ignorance, similarly this world of waking state is not outside but just illusions created by the mind & thereby in the mind. The world is only an illusion superimposed on the reality of the Self as the illusion of snake is superimposed on the rope & as the illusion of water is superimposed on the desert (in the experience of a mirage). All the different paths of Yoga, Action, Knowledge, Devotion all leads to the ultimate reality of Onenesss, of the pure Self (one without a second). Thus all these paths have the final step as merging of the mind into its source of spiritual heart or the Self. The mind is full of thoughts & hence mind is synonymous with thoughts. When there are no thoughts, then there is no mind at all. Thoughts arise because the reality of oneness is not known. When the reality is not known, due to ignorance other things are superimposed & desires creep up which lead to thoughts. The rise of thoughts is the starting of bondage (so-called bondage because if bondage is real then there can never be a liberation from such bondage & hence the so-called bondage & so-called liberation are only for the illusion & removal of ignorance and not for the Self which is ever-realized). Krishna says in lots of places in Gita that
God resides in the heart of all beings – here one should remember that the heart that Krishna mentions is not the physical heart but the spiritual heart which is present everywhere & neither has any inside nor outside. Katha Upanishad proclaims
“Anor aneeyaan mahatho maheeyaan
Atma asya janthor nihitam guhaayaam”
The Self is the subtlest of the subtle & biggest of the big. It resides in the intellect cave of all beings. What is meant here by intellect cave is the spiritual heart which is realized with the help of a discriminative faculty called intellect (which when used in the right way serves to realize the reality of the illusory world). Whatever be the path one follows, one has to reach this state where the Self is realized, all thoughts merge into the spiritual heart or the Self & what remains is only pure Existence, Consciousness and eternal bliss. As the dream world & its thoughts (which are creations of the mind of the dreamer) merge into the Self or Consciousness of the dreamer – all the dream world and its problems and sorrows vanish – similarly when the waker realizes his own reality about ONENESS in this illusory world, the world vanishes & its problems, sufferings vanish. That state is the state of perfect peace because fights, sorrows, problems all occur due to duality & at that state there is nothing other than the Self, hence no sorrow, delusion or problems. The path of Yoga proclaims
“Yogah chitta vritthi nirodhah”
Yoga is the removal of thoughts from the mind-stuff (consisting of the mind, intellect, chitta or memory and Ego). When the thoughts are removed, the mind merges into the Self & only pure Self remains. Thus the path of Yoga also proclaims that realization or cessation of sorrow is by realization of the Self through removal of all thoughts(by merging them into their source of Self).
Path of Karma says that one needs to do action without any craving for the results of those actions. When a person does action in that way, he becomes completely detached to the action and its fruits. All the problems and sufferings occur when attachment to action & craving for the fruits occur. Hence here complete cessation occurs as the doership is lost. When a person does all actions without being attached to it & takes the fruits as it comes – no thoughts are present. Thoughts are present only when a doer is there, but when the doer is not there, then where is action or the thoughts that propel the actions. Hence the path of Karma also ultimately leads to the merging of the thoughts into the Self & realization of one’s own real nature of Self. Path of devotion tells that there is no Me, but only God. Whatever is seen, whatever is heard is only HIM. There is nothing apart from HIM. Thoughts are there only when there is duality, but for the devotee there is nothing but God alone & hence there are no thoughts & what remains behind is pure Consciousness (which is termed as God by the devotee) and the eternal bliss of the Self.