The basic tenet of Advaita-Vedanta is that our original nature, the nature of the Self, is Sat-Chit-Ananda-Nityam-Purnum. Sat means Existence. Chit refers to Consciousness. Ananda means Bliss. Nityam mean Eternal. Purnum means whole or complete.
These are not qualities of the Self but its very nature as One monolithic whole. The Self is One without a second, A Mass of Conscious Bliss that is Eternal and Whole. When we experience the Self, we see that the ancient sages were very precise in describing our nature. It is unmistakable and leaves no room for any thought or doubt. Sages teach us that what comes and goes is not our true nature. What is transient has no permanent power or hold on us.
Although we view our personality as made up of mental traits and thoughts, Advaita teaches us that even our mind and thoughts are transient as they are constantly undergoing change. If our identity is based on mental fluctuations, suffering is the natural result.
Sri Ramana, the Sage of Arunachala, taught that through reflection, introspection, and self- inquiry, we can see through our mental conditioning, be free of it, and go beyond it.
Then we see that what comes and goes is not our nature.
Here is a conversation with Sri Ramana and a visitor to illustrate this point.
A visitor said: “I suffer from worries without end; there is no peace for me…” Sri Ramana asked: “Do these worries affect you in sleep?” The visitor admitted that they did not.
Sri Ramana asked him again: “Are you the very same man now, or are you different from him that slept without any worry?”
The visitor said, “Yes, I am the same person.”
Sri Ramana then said: “Then surely those worries do not belong to you. It is your own fault if you assume that they are yours.” (From Maha Yoga by K. Lakshmana Sarma).
Live your life without hurting anyone. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj in “I Am That”
Meet your own self. Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly.
You need no other guide. As long as your urge for truth affects your daily life, all is well with you.
Live your life without hurting anybody.
Harmlessness is a most powerful form of Yoga and it will take you speedily to your goal.
This is what I call nisarga yoga, the Natural yoga.
It is the art of living in peace and harmony, in friendliness and love.
The fruit of it is happiness, uncaused and endless.
Nisargadatta Maharaj in “I Am That”
Ramana Maharshi often spoke about the true nature of solitude. He has explained a number of times that silence, peace, and solitude are not a function of our environment but our mental state. Indeed solitude is in the mind and not to be found somewhere outside.
I have left all my practices,
and words of the wise
now sound like noises
in the city at lunch time.
On entering the heart of awareness,
I saw that
joy is simply the glow of contentment
devoid of longing.
“When the ego rises, all things rise with it. When the ego is not, there is nothing else. Since the ego thus is everything, to question ‘What is this thing?’ is the extinction of all things”.
The quote above from Bhagavan Ramana is from ‘Reality in Forty Verses’ (‘Ulladu Narpadu’), v. 26. It can be found in Bhagavad’s “Collected Works”.
Here Bhagavan eloquently points out that one cannot force oneself to give up the ego. The very attempt to discard the ego, is itself based on the assumption of separation from the whole. In other words, the effort to conquer the ego is based on egotism!
Such forced efforts to overcome the ego end up only reinforcing the notion that we are “separate” from the Universal Existence. With such attempts, the nonexistent phantom of the ego appears real in our imagination.
Hence Bhagavan Ramana says, “Question, what is this thing, this ego which manifests as a sense of separateness from the whole”? Where does it come from?”
This inquiry requires us to simply bring our attention to the sense of identity, the sense of “I AM”. It is only by bringing quiet, nonjudgmental attention on the ego, that the ego can be see through as unreal. The method is simple and yet the mind has to be made pure and subtle to grasp it.
Love to all
Mira Prabhu is one of the most gifted Indian writers who used to live in Manhattan. Her writing is brilliant, eloquent, deeply insightful, and imbued with the authentic flavors of Indian mysticism. I should also add that Mira’s writings are a lot of fun to read and captivate the reader.
As a little girl growing up in the vibrant heart of south India, I overheard my father warn a friend that a certain woman whom he referred to by name—a stranger to me—was so clever she could even “draw blood out of a stone.”
My father—a charismatic and handsome fellow gifted with a silver tongue—caught my attention with his vivid language. How I burned to meet this sorceress who could coax a crimson stream of blood out of ungiving stone! What other supernatural gifts must she possess? I wondered dreamily.
Soon after, the whole family attended a wedding in the community. In the crush of adults milling about, I heard someone greet a formidable woman—dressed in a resplendent peacock-blue silk sari bordered with gold—with the name my father had used for the woman with the magical ability. Greatly excited, I ran up to this wondrous creature on sturdy little legs…
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