- Talks with Sri Ramana Maharishi
15th March, 1938 Talk 472.
A large group of Punjabis arrived here in a pilgrim special. They came to the Ramanasramam at about 8-45 a.m. and sat quiet for a long time. At about 9-20 one of them said: "Your reputation has spread in the Punjab. We have travelled a long distance to have your darsan. Kindly tell us something by way of instruction." There was no oral reply. Sri Bhagavan smiled and gazed on. After some time the visitor asked: "Which is the best - the yoga, the bhakti [?] or the jnana path?" Still Sri Bhagavan smiled and gazed as before.
Sri Bhagavan left the hall for a few minutes. The visitors began to disperse. Still a sprinkling of them continued to sit in the hall. A long standing disciple told the visitor that Sri Bhagavan had replied to his questions by His Silence which was even more eloquent than words.
After Sri Bhagavan returned, the visitor began to speak a little. In the course of his speech, he asked:
D.: It is all right for those who believe in God. Others ask - Is there a God?
M.: Are you there?
D.: Quite so. That is the question. I see before my eyes a battalion of sepoys passing. Therefore I am. The world must have been created by God. How shall I see the Creator?
M.: See yourself, who sees these, and the problem is solved.
D.: Is it to sit silent or to read sacred books or to concentrate the mind?
Bhakti [?] helps concentration. People fall at the feet of the bhakta [?]. If it does not happen he feels disappointed and his bhakti [?] fades.
M.: The longing for happiness never fades. That is bhakti [?].
D.: How shall I get it quicker? Suppose I concentrate two hours today.
If I try to lengthen the period the next day, I fall asleep because I get tired of the job.
M.: You do not get tired in sleep. The same person is now present here. Why should you be tired now? Because your mind is restless and wanders, it gets tired, and not you.
D.: I am a business man. How shall I get on with business and get peace of mind also?
M.: This is also a thought. Give up this thought also and remain as your true Self.
D.: It is said: Do your duty without any expectation of results. How shall I get that frame of mind?
M.: You need not aspire for or get any new state. Get rid of your present thoughts, that is all.
D.: How shall I get the bhakti [?] necessary for it?
M.: It is bhakti [?] to get rid of thoughts which are only alien to you (i.e.
D.: What is thought-force, mesmerism, etc.? There was a doctor in Paris called Dr. Coue. He was illiterate, but yet was able to cure many incurable diseases by will-force. He used to say: Generate power to cure yourself. The power is within you.
M.: It is through the same will-power that the seat of all diseases, the body, has risen.
D.: So it is said thoughts manifest as objects.
M.: This thought must be for mukti [?] (liberation).
D.: God must enable us to get rid of the other thoughts.
M.: This is again a thought. Let that which has incarnated raise the question. You are not that because you are free from thoughts.
Another visitor from Rawalpindi asked: The Atman is formless. How shall I concentrate on it?
M.: Leave alone the Atman which you say is formless or intangible.
Mind is tangible to you. Hold the mind and it will do.
D.: Mind itself is very subtle and is also the same as the Atman.
How shall we know the nature of the mind? You have said that all supports are useless. What should be our stand then?
M.: Where does your mind stand?
D.: Where does it stand?
M.: Ask the mind itself.
D.: I ask you now. Should we concentrate on mind then?
D.: But what is the nature of the mind? It is formless. The problem is perplexing.
M.: Why are you perplexed?
D.: The sastras want us to concentrate and I cannot do so.
M.: Through what sastras have we known our existence?
D.: It is a matter of experience. But I want to concentrate.
M.: Be free from thoughts. Do not hold on to anything. They do not hold you. Be yourself.
D.: I do not yet understand as to where I take my stand and concentrate.
Can I meditate on my mind?
M.: Whose mind?
D.: My own mind?
M.: Who are you? The question now resolves itself all right. (All retired for lunch. The visitor returned at 2-30 p.m. and pursued the same question.) He said: Maharshi advises the seeker to get rid of thoughts. On what should I concentrate the mind after all the thoughts are expelled? I do not see where I stand then and on what I should concentrate.
M.: For whom is the concentration?
D.: For the mind.
M.: Then concentrate the mind.
D.: On what?
M.: Answer the question yourself. What is the mind? Why should you concentrate?
D.: I do not know what the mind is. I ask Maharshi.
M.: Maharshi does not seek to know the mind. The questioner must question the mind itself as to what it is.
D.: Maharshi advises that the mind should be divested of thoughts.
M.: This is itself a thought.
D.: When all thoughts disappear what remains over?
M.: Is the mind different from thoughts?
D.: No. The mind is made up of thoughts. My point is this: When all thoughts are got rid of, how shall I concentrate the mind?
M.: Is not this also a thought?
D.: Yes, but I am advised to concentrate.
M.: Why should you concentrate? Why should you not allow your thoughts free play?
D.: The sastras say that the thoughts, thus playing free, lead us astray , that is, to unreal and changeful things.
M.: So then, you want not to be led to unreal and changeful things. Your thoughts are unreal and changeful. You want to hold the Reality. That is exactly what I say. The thoughts are unreal. Get rid of them.
D.: I understand now. Yet there is a doubt. "Not a trice can you remain inactive." How shall I be able to rid myself of thoughts?
M.: The same Gita says: "Although all actions take place, I am not the doer."
It is like the sun towards the world activities. The Self always remains actionless, whereas thoughts arise and subside. The Self is Perfection; it is immutable; the mind is limited and changeful. You need only to cast off your limitations. Your perfection thus stands revealed.
D.: Grace is necessary for it.
M.: Grace is ever present. All that is necessary is that you surrender to It.
D.: I surrender and pray that even if I go wrong I may be forcibly drawn to it.
M.: Is this surrender? Surrender to be complete must be unquestioning.
D.: Yes, I surrender. You say I must dive into the ocean of the Self like a pearl-diver into the sea.
M.: Because you are now thinking that you are out of the ocean of Consciousness.
D.: I practise pranayama [?]. It generates heat in the body. What should I do?
M.: The heat will pass away when the mind gains calm
D.: That is true but most difficult.
M.: This is again a thought which is an obstacle.
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