To summarize, Vedas tell one that Self-Realization or Liberation is to be realized here & at this moment itself. It is not a new thing to be gained by money or power or practice – but it is to be realized or be conscious of. Let the Almighty help us all to realize the Self this very moment.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #31
In all actions there is the ‘sat’ as the underlying principle. Remember that and act.
Whatever action one does, it is due to one’s own existence. If a person does not exist at all, he cannot do any action. Hence all actions have the ‘sat’ as their substratum. This ‘Sat’ is the Self or the thing that tells to oneself that “I exist, I exist”. Without this ‘Sat’, there is no world or anything else. Hence this ‘Sat’ is required to do all actions. When one remembers the ‘Sat’ and acts – the actions become selfless & pure. This is because when one thinks that “I am the doer” & “I am so and so”, it becomes a selfish act in which you expect the fruit & result of those actions. Whereas when one remembers the ‘Sat’ and acts – then the actions become selfless as one finds out that without the ‘Sat’ there can be no action & results. Also he finds out that ‘Sat’ gives life to the actions and hence it is beyond the actions & their results.This world is a place where one has to do actions. Action is inevitable in this world.
Hence, to escape from the actions & its results (both good & bad) – one needs to remember the ‘Sat’ which is giving life to the actions & hence is True in nature. Remembering the ‘Sat’ and doing one’s actions as if enacting a Drama part – one becomes unaffected by the actions and its results of good and bad. When one rises above good and bad – he enjoys real and permanent Bliss which is devoid of sorrow and is unlimited. Let the Almighty help us all to remember the Self & do all the actions.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #32
As we are not able to help ourselves, so we have to surrender ourselves to the Supreme completely. Then He will take care of us as well as the world.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: We can find people suffering in this world. Some suffer due to poverty, some due to money, some due to mental problems, some others suffer due to official reasons (like no increase in salary, no promotion) and so on. Why is these suffering happening???
This suffering occurs due to the thought that “I am this body with so and so name & form”. This is due to ignorance of the Reality that “I am Brahman, ever-free and liberated”. We are not ignorant of ourselves. Hence we find that we are helpless, we cannot do anything to the suffering and the sorrows. The moment a person gets the intellectual conviction that “I am free from all these things” – that very moment he becomes a sole witness to whatever is happening in this world.Has the consciousness (that which tells to everyone that “I exist, I exist”) changed from your birth to your current age. During wakeful state, dream state, deep sleep state & also during childhood, youth, old age -- it remains without any change. This only shows that this “I” is unaffected by anything. Only the person has to identify himself with this “I” or realize that “I am this consciousness”. This is the only way to remove all the sorrow & sufferings.
For people unable to directly get this intellectual conviction, scriptures tell about surrender or devotion. When one surrenders to a superior power, your mind becomes still & it helps you to realize the Self – your real nature. What is surrender????
Surrender is called Prapatti. Surrender is not just going to temples during sad periods or going to mahatmas once in a while & then forgetting God during all other times. Surrender or Prapatti or Saranagati has 3 main points to be done –
Seeing the Superior Power or GOD everywhere.
Offering all your work & its results to GOD.
Accepting the good effects as His Grace & bad effects or sorrows as His Wish.
This has been told by Sri Krishna in Gita, chapter 12
A true devotee is one who has
1. Mayyaavesha manah – Thinking about me always in the mind
2. Nitya Yukta Upasana – Always Steadfast about me.
3. Sradhaya Paraya Upetha – Making me as the final or Supreme goal. How can surrender help one realize one’s true nature or the Self??? Surrender destroys the Ego which is the cause of all miseries and mis-identification. Surrender purifies the mind. When the mind becomes purified through concentration on a single thing – GOD – then one sees non-duality everywhere. This leads one to a higher plane of consciousness where there is no joy or sorrow because there is only GOD here, and nobody else. This raises one from the level of mind to the intellect. Once a person reaches the intellectual level and with the help of the concentration he has gone through, it becomes easy for him to apprehend the Supreme Truth about Brahman or Self (which is non-apprehendable by the intellect). Thus he realizes the Self ultimately.
Thus as Maharshi says, the Supreme Power that he surrendered to leads him to the ultimate goal of Self-Realization. Whom can one surrender to???
Surrender can be done to the Supreme being called GOD. It can also be done to the living GODs that we see daily. These are the Sun, Fire, Water, Air and all. Without the help or support of these divine beings, there is life possible for us. Surrender can also be done to a Guru who is a Srotriya (learned in scriptures or knowing the essence of scriptures) & a BrahmaNista (one who always resides in Brahman or the Self & hence able to give Bliss to disciples and devotees). Thus Devotion when done by seeing GOD only everywhere & always thinking of HIM is called Para Bhakti and this is not at all different from Jnana where a Jnani sees the Self or Brahman everywhere. Para Bhakthi & Jnana are hence one and the same. Let the Almighty help us all to surrender to the Supreme Being.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #33
Question : What is reality?
Maharshi : Reality must be always real. It is not with forms and names. That which underlies these is the Reality. It underlies limitations, being itself limitless.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation:Vedas speak about one Reality only called Brahman or the Self. Other than this, everything is unreal. One may have the doubt then how come then we see different things???
This is because of ignorance. There is only one Real thing which seems to have become the world. There is rope. During night, one sees snake in the rope. In reality, there is only rope there and no snake. It is due to ignorance of the reality of the rope that snake is perceived. Similarly when the reality of the Self is known, one comes to find out that it is the Self that has become the world (or rather seems to become the world). This is why Upanishads say “Isaavasyam idam sarvam Yat kincha jagatyaam jagat” – GOD pervades everything in this world, both movable and immovable. In Drig Drishya Viveka, Sankaracharya says
“Asti Bhaati Priyam Roopam Namam cha ithi Amsa Panchakam.
Adya Trayam Brahma Roopam Jagad roopo Tato Dvayam”
“Existence, Consciousness, Bliss – Name and Form – these are five Amsas. The first three denote the Brahman and the next two denote the World”. Whatever we perceive in the world has a Name and Form. Thus this world is nothing but Name and Form. So, what is the underlying Reality of this Name and Form????
It is the Self, the one who sees the world. As in dream, one sees different things – but in Reality, only the Self is there which is seen with different names and forms. Similarly this world is nothing but Self with a name and form. There are gold-chain, gold necklace, gold watch. All these are nothing but GOLD with a name and form. When the name and form are removed, pure GOLD remains.
Thus, when the world is negated by seeing the Self everywhere – what remains is nothing but pure Self.
The Brahman when limited by adjunctions of Three bodies becomes the Self.
What are the three bodies???
First is the gross body formed of the five elements & flesh & fat.
Second is the subtle body formed of the five organs of perception, five organs of perception, intellect and prana (17 elements in all).
Third is the causal body which is nescience – this is ignorance that prevents one from getting the Bliss of the Self during deep sleep. When these limitations or Upadhis are removed, what remains is the Self. It is the Self which is beyond these limitations that gives light to these bodies. How is then Brahman same as Self, because there is a Self for each person???
Brahman by ignorance seems to get limited through adjunctions & hence different Self are perceived or thought of. There is limitless space. There is a pot, a room and a house. The same limitless space seems to get limited by the pot, room & house and called as different Self. When the limitation of pot, room & house are removed, limitless Space remains. Similarly when the bodies are negated, the Self is perceived as the limitless Brahman. Even this example of pot-space & unlimited space cannot be taken fully. Because in reality, there is no pot or room or house here.
When the Self is not known, the mind creates things according to its latent tendencies or Vasanas and that is the world that we see. It is because of this that some person feel that the world is a wonderful place to live & others tell that the world is a hell to live in.
In Dream, there is only the Self, but one sees different-different things. But when one awakes from dream, he realizes that there was nothing other than the Self there. Similarly, there is only Self here. The world is nothing but the Self. This can be realized only when one awakes from the ignorance of the Self & realizes the True nature of Self or Brahman. Mundaka Upanishad says about Brahman
“Brahma eva idam Amritam Purastaat Brahma Paschaat Brahma Dakshinatasha Uttaram.
Adah cha Urdhvam prasritam Brahma eva idam viswam idam varishtam” Brahman is Purastaat or front
Brahman is Paschaat or back
Brahman is Dakshina or Right
Brahman is Uttaram or Left
Brahman is Adah or Up
Brahman is Urdhvam or Down Thus this world is nothing but Brahman.
The word Viswam means “to enter or one who has become” – Brahman has entered into everything or Brahman has become this world. Thus, Reality is only Brahman and all other things are just illusions on Brahman. Let the Almighty help us all to realize this Reality.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #34 Wandering hither and thither you must return to the Self only. Then why not abide in the Self even here and now.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation:The Substratum of this world is the “I” or the Consciousness. Without this Consciousness, there is nothing at all. When a person thinks about something, it is only due to his Consciousness that he is thinking. After the thought is over, he has to come back to Consciousness. Because this is that which repeats to oneself “I exist, I exist”.
Adi Sankara says that many thoughts come to our mind. When one tries to stay in the gap between these thoughts, he experiences the Bliss of the Self and by practice when one tries to increase the period of this gap, that is called Samadhi. Without the Substratum, there is nothing at all. Everything else is just false illusion superimposed on the Self. Maharshi says that one has to come to the Self anyway because he is the Self (but just ignorant about his own Real nature), so why not realize it this very moment? The ultimate goal or aim of human life is, as said by various religions, attainment of the highest abode – GOD – reaching where one never returns. This GOD is the Self in us. One day or the other, this birth or after many births, one has to realize the Self. That is the final goal to be achieved by all beings. Realization is not something to be gained after death. It is to be achieved here and now itself. All the suffering in this world is due to ignorance of the Self & due to not realizing the Self.
We can see people struggling everywhere, fighting amongst themselves, killing one another. All this is due to not realizing the Self. Isavasya Upanishad says
“Once the Self is realized, the person sees the Self in all beings & all beings in the Self – hence he has no delusion or sorrow, no anger or hatred.” Adi Sankaracharya says in his work Upadesha Sahasri about Self-Realization
“Aham iti Aatma Dheerya cha Mama iti Atmeeya Dheera api
Artha Shoonye Yada Yasya Sa aatmajno bavet tada”
“The moment “I” and “Mine” (attachment due to identification of “I” with body) is removed – that very moment the person becomes a knower of the Self – he becomes the Self.”
Let the Almighty help us all to be the Self – our true nature.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #35
Solitude amounts to making the mind still. This can be done in a crowd too. Solitude cannot efface one’s thoughts. Practice does it. The same practice can be made here too.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: Solitude comes when the mind becomes still.
The mind is full of thoughts. When one removes all these thoughts, then the mind becomes still. Can there a mind without thoughts????
Yes, there can be. But at that point, it becomes as still as water. This means that the mind merges with the consciousness or the Self. Deep beneath the roaring waves of the sea, there is the substratum which is still. This substratum is the Self. The waves are the different thoughts and the water at the top is the Mind. When one reaches the bottom of ocean, there the mind gets merged with the Self & there are no waves at all. Sage Patanjali explains in his Yoga Sutra that
“Yogah chitta vritti nirodhah”
Yoga is removing the vrittis or modifications of the mind-stuff (which includes mind, intellect & Ego). Whatever the mind thinks, that a person becomes. When the mind concentrates on the Self, then the mind gets merged into the Self & hence becomes still as an ocean without waves.As Maharshi says, there is no particular place where this solitude can be practiced. A person may renounce this world externally and go to a forest for meditating, but still he may not be in solitude. It is not external renouncing that brings about Solitude, but mentally renouncing everything. This is called detached Attachment wherein one has attachment, but in a detached way.
Examples of people going to forest and trying to meditate, but not getting solitude is mentioned in Puranas and Mahabharata. King Pandu could not find solitude in the kingdom, hence he went to forest with his wives. But still he could not get solitude and had to die in the forest itself. Sage Viswamitra tried to meditate in a lonely place, but the damsel Menaka was able to divert his attention from meditation & hence he fell off from solitude. But we have King Janaka (father of Sita Devi, who taught Brahma Vidya to Suka, son of Veda Vyasa) who got solitude even in the midst of ruling the kingdom. A very good example is stated by all great Mahatmas about solitude.
There is air everywhere. It is the same everywhere. But still we get cool breeze & feel happiness when we sit on the shelter of a big tree. This we don’t get when we stand on the open space. This is the initial stage where one is affected by environment. But once a person gains the ultimate truth of the Self, then he feels the same happiness while standing below the hot noon sun. This is accomplished by practice through intellectual conviction that these environmental conditions only affect the mind and they cannot, in any way, affect the Self beyond the mind. Krishna says in Gita that a person can control his mind only through Abhyaasa and Vairagya. Abhyaasa is practice of concentration on the Supreme Being.
Vairagya is dispassionate towards anything and everything in this world. This dispassion comes when one knows that there is nothing that is constant in the world & all the things just lead one to sorrow.
Thus Solitude is the state of mind when it merges with the Self & it is not affected by the surroundings or environment.
Let the Almighty help us all attain Solitude.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #36
Question: What is Renunciation?
Maharshi: Giving up of the ego.
Question: Is it not giving up possessions?
Maharshi: The possessor too.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: Renunciation is called as Sanyaas.
Samyak Nyaasam iti Sanyaas – “detaching everything fully is called Sanyaas”. What is Attachment???
Attachement is liking one object greater than another. This also causes detachment or dislike to other objects. Why does this attachment and detachment occur???
This occurs because of identification of oneself with certain things. This is mainly due to Ego which identifies itself with a name and a form. We say that “I am X. Because of this, I am attached to X’s relatives and dislike X’s enemies”. When one leaves aside all attachments, then he becomes fully renunciated. Renunciation is not just giving up possessions. Because even though one may give up possessions physically, they may be there at the mental level. Even if one gives up possessions fully at the mental and physical levels today, they may reappear again the next day. This is due to the persistence of Ego which is limited to a name and form.When this Ego is renounced, it becomes unlimited. Thus one identifies himself as the Self all-pervading and present everywhere. At this moment, there is nothing to get attached or detached to – because attachment & detachments occur when you have two things. When one renounces the Ego & becomes the unlimited Self – there are no two things to get attached or detached to.
Thus, in reality, Renunciation is making the limited Ego – unlimited. Expansion of this limited Self to unlimited Brahman or GOD. This has been explained in the scriptures with the help of Gataakasha (pot space), Mahaakasha (unlimited space). The space inside a pot is the same as the unlimited space outside it. But when the space inside the pot identifies itself as limited and takes the pot as the form, it seems to become different from the unlimited space. When the pot-form is renounced, then the pot-space becomes one with the unlimited space. Thus when the Ego that identifies itself with this body and mind – identification with a name and form – it leads to likes and dislikes which in turn lead one to sorrow and joy. When this Ego is renunciated & the differentiation between the possessor, possession and possessed objects is removed – there is only ONE thing present. Thus the limited-Ego becomes the unlimited Self or Brahman.
Let the Almighty help us all renunciate the Ego & likes and dislikes to become the all-pervading Self.
Words of Ramana Maharshi -- #37
If you do not make ‘Atma Vichara’, then ‘loka Vichara’ creeps in.
-- Ramana Maharshi
Explanation: The mind is by nature like a drunken monkey. When the mind becomes pure, the Self shines & reveals itself. To make the mind pure, it should be made to stick to pure thing.As the thoughts, so the mind. Hence when one thinks of pure object, the mind becomes pure.