“You may go on reading any number of books on Vedanta. They can only tell you ‘Realize the Self’. The Self cannot be found in books. You have to find it for yourself in yourself.” Bhagavan Ramana in Gems ~ Chapter 8.
Sri Ramana here states the truth directly and unmistakably. No matter how many books one reads, one cannot gain Self-Realization.
Reading, thinking, and conceptualizing involve mental activity. Yet, it is this mental activity that distracts us and covers up the pure essence of being.
It is the mind itself that has to subside into the Heart and dissolve in it. Upon the merging of the mind in the Heart, the Self, recognition of our true nature is instantaneous. With the mind absent as the intermediary, the wordless Realization is immediate. One recognizes and says that “It has been Me all along. I am the Self.”
This recognition is beyond thoughts, words, and concepts. We use the words only to indicate that our real Self stands always Self-revealed.
Bhagavan Ramana teaches that once we become conscious of our power of attention to scan its own nature, we should focus on that.
in the classic quote given at the beginning of the article, Bhagavan Ramana emphasizes the role of deliberate and conscious introversion of the mind by shifting our attention from perceptions to the perceiver via self-inquiry.
Note: The featured picture is from Mirela Skerbic on Facebook
“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
The feeling/awareness of one’s existence manifests through the mind as “I”. Hence we say, I do this, I do that, I am a doctor, I am a sanaysi, I am a householder, I am a student, I am a husband, I am a wife, etc.
Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching is to quietly bring attention to this sense of “I” by asking “Kohum”.
We are elated and happy when things go our way.
We are sad and depressed when reality unfolds differently than our expectations.
How pitiful is our lot my friends, thrown about here and there with the changing winds!
Everyday, the world, as perceived via the mind invites us to ride the roller coaster of emotions fueled by fear, anxiety, anger, and hatred.
A Sage centered in the Heart of Love is always indifferent to such an invitation.
How truly fortunate to come into the orbit of Sages who give the purest teachings of Ahimsa (nonviolence) and Self-Realization.
Bhagavan Ramana used to say, “Wise people examine their own minds.”
Sri Ramana’s teaching is that the ego/mind merges in the Heart in two ways.
First, we can investigate the nature of the ego and examine the sense of “I” that we naturally feel and see where it arises. To do this, one needs to still the mind and with a purified and subtle intellect trace the “I” back to its source, the Heart. This is the yogic path of Jnana.
The second approach is to simply surrender the ego/mind without reservation to the Lord and accept that it is never our will but the Lord’s will as to what happens. If this attitude of “not my will but thine my Lord” penetrates deeply into our being, then we become accepting of everything. We see that worries and anxieties associated with ego/mind do not belong to us as we have surrendered our individual identity to the Lord. This is the approach of devotion and leads to the ego/mind merging into the Heart where the Lord sits as Eternal Existence.
“If ego rises, all will rise. If the ego merges, all will merge. The more we are humble, the better it is for us”. ~ Sri Ramana in “Gems”, Chapter XIII.
Photo art in this article is from Andreas Farasitis.