Saturday, May 18, 2024

Teachings of Self Realization: Sri Ramana Maharshi

Q: It is said that there is enlightenment and there is "ignorance." You are said to know about enlightenment. How is one to go from ignorance to enlightenment?

Bhagavan: We have to contend with our age-long conditionings. They will all go. 
We have simply to throw out all the age-long concepts, which are in us. 

Knowledge of "multiplicity" is ignorance. We have regarded as real what is unreal. We have to give up this attitude. That's all that is required for us to attain true knowledge (enlightenment]. 

"Differences" are a consequence of delusion. All knowledge based on differentiation is only ignorance. Perceiving objects as apart from oneself, the ignorant one is deluded. An ignorant person thinks that an individual "I" exists. 

To whom does illusion come? To the mind, or ego, who feels it is a separate entity: who thinks, "I do this"; or "this is mine." 

One suffers because of the idea that the body is "I". Misery is all due to this deluding connection. It is one's ignorant outlook that one should give up. 

It causes you needless grief.

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Q: By “multiplicity” you mean there’s “me,” “others,” the “world,” and so on?  But there does appear to be these things…

One should not think of It as “this” or “that”: can there be greater ignorance than to think of the One in manifold ways?  The ordinary person sees the objects in the universe, but not the Supreme in these forms; It is the Being assuming these forms—and the consciousness seeing them.  

That is to say, It is the background underlying both the subject and the object.  The Supreme alone is the reality; the world and the rest of it are not.

The realized person knows that what he sees is not separate from the One supreme reality.  He is aware of the one Self in all selves, in all things—eternal and immutable or impermanent and mutable.

The ego [“I”] is the basis of all differences; the rising of the ego differentiates Self from oneself.  Objects are only mental creations: they have no substantive being.  The “objective” world is in the subjective consciousness.  

The Self is the only reality, which permeates and also envelopes the world. Since there is no duality, no [divisive] thoughts will arise to disturb your peace.  This is “the realization of the Self” [enlightenment].  

You realize your own Self first, and then see if the world exists independently of 
you. Now you feel that you are in the world. Then you feel that the world is in you

The world is your thought.  Thoughts are your projections: the “I” is first created, and then the world.  But there is no [such] creation in the state of realization. When once you realize your own Self, and that there is nothing other than this Self, you will come to look upon the whole universe as the Self.  Its essence is the same as ours, being One and without form [of its own].  It is immanent in every person and every object, throughout the universe.  

The totality of all things and beings constitute Self. When one clearly knows the truth of oneself, the idea of "knowing objects" departs. 

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Q. So, all that I see is the Self—and that “all” includes me?  What is it that I suppose is a “me,” then?

Give up the idea that you are the body, of such-and-such a description, with such-and-such a name, etc.  Only grief is possible when one thinks of oneself as a body.  The “body” is a creation of the ego.  On waking from sleep, the ego arises; then thoughts.  The real Self is ever-existent; the body is only a thought [“I” am this]—the first of all thoughts, and the root of all mischief.  

In deep sleep, there is no awareness of [you as] a body, nor of the world.  But you exist in sleep, nevertheless. An ignorant person thinks—through the delusion “I am the body”—that an “individual” I exists separate from Self.  But it is available to us to be free from identifying ourselves with the body-if you realise your true nature. The ignorant thinks "only the body is myself", whereas the enlightened knows that all is Self

The body which “dies”: were you aware of it in deep sleep?  The “body” was not, when you slept; but “you existed” even then.  So the body which did not exist in sleep, “exists” now in “waking.”  You exist whether the sense of ego [“I”] is there or not.  If you realize you are without form, that you are unlimited, what is there to be seen apart [a “separate” body]?  There is no connection, during sleep, with the body, the senses, and the mind: on waking up, you identify yourself with them.  All that you have to do, hereafter, is see that you do not identify your self with them. The "universe" exists on the account of the "I"-thought. If that ends, there is an end of misery also. 

In the case of the ignorant, the ego identifies itself with some object—simultaneously with its own rise:  it cannot remain, without such association with objects [e.g. body].  If this tendency to identify itself with objects is destroyed, the ego merges into its Source.  The false identification of oneself with the body—or “I am the body” idea—must go, before desired results can follow.  It is the attention turned towards the body that causes the distinctions between “you” and “I”.  If one realizes that the reality is One, where then is the scope for saying "you" or "I"? Otherwise, the "individual" must be maintained on one hand, and "God" on the other

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Q: What I am considering to be “me”, then—an “individual”—is the Self as one of its appearances.  Recognizing that, what becomes of the idea of “me as this separate person”?

You are now identifying your self with a wrong “I,” which is the I-thought [individuality].  This I-thought rises [on waking] and sinks [on sleeping]—whereas the true I exists always.  The true I is not apparent while the false I is parading itself.  This false I is the obstacle to your realization.  Find the Source of this false I: then it will disappear.  You will then be only what you are now:  Absolute being.  The false I will end only when its Source is known.  As a spark proceeds from fire, “individuality” emanates from the Absolute Self. 

Demolishing the ego-sense, to its very roots, that is realization.  It means “death”—with full awareness.  If one dies thus, one is “born” again simultaneously, as the continuously-experienced Self.  

When will suffering cease?  Not until individuality is lost.

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Q: Viewing things as separate—from the One—is the obstacle to realization.  And that separation will always remain as long as there is the idea of a “separate me” doing the viewing?

An “object” always implies the existence of a “subject” [seen/seer].  There is no moment when the Self, as consciousness, does not exist; nor can the “seer” ever remain apart from consciousness.  There must be a seer, for an object to be seen: but since the Self alone exists, it is both seer and seen.  

Without the seer, there are no objects seen: find the seer.  

When the mind sees [discovers] its own Source, and becomes That, it is not as a “subject” perceiving an “object”.  In the realization, there is neither subject nor object; there is no thing to see, no thing to feel, no thing to know.  
First, one sees the Self as [an] object; then one sees [perceives] the Self as a void; then there is no “seeing.”  Only enlightenment is final where there is no [subject vs. object] seeing: there will be no “seer” [“I”]; “seeing”; or “object” to see.  You must come to recognize the subject and object as one; if not, you are destroying the perception of oneness, and creating duality: realize the undifferentiated being of the Absolute.

There is mischief, or ignorance, as long as there is an object apart from a subject: duality.  There can be no [ego] desire if there is no object.  The state of no-desire is enlightenment.  There is no duality in dreamless sleep—and also no desire.  Whereas, there is duality in the ignorant state—and desire is also there.  Because of duality, a desire arises for the “acquisition” of an object.  But when the Self is gained, all desires are fulfilled.

The sage does not “see” anything, because the seeing “entity” [“me”] in him has “died.”  For those in the Self, there is no [separate] seeing—only being.  

When the sense of separateness is lost—and the object seen, or the subject who sees, is left behind—it is enlightenment.

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Q. So, you’re saying that both viewer and viewed are essentially the same One Self—and this is what is realized in enlightenment.  When the I is recognized, in its essence, to be nothing other than the Self, the “subject” self disappears; all “other-than-I” objects disappear; and the “dualistic” perspective disappears?

Of all thoughts that arise in the mind, the thought “I” is the primal one: it is only after the rise of this thought that other thoughts can arise.  Even to say “I am not this” [or “I do not exist”] there must be the “I”.  The I-thought is therefore the [dualistic] root thought.  If the root is pulled out, all other [divisive] thoughts are at the same time uprooted.  Therefore, question the root-I: “who am I?”—find the Source.  Then all “else” will vanish, and the Self will ever remain, alone.

The Self is all-pervasive; all “else” is absent.  The I is only the Self.  If one investigates “who am I?,” one will discover that there is no such [separate] thing as the I.  It will then be clear that what must remain is one’s real being.  When the mind has reached this state of establishment in the Self, it is abidance—with the [“individual”] I extinguished.

When there is no one to “experience,” where is there a question of an I?  Only that which Is remains.  That is the [ever-present] Self.

The “mind” is nothing but “thoughts”; and behind every thought, there is the primary thought, which is the I-thought.  When the Self is realized, the I-thought disappears; and something else takes hold of you, that is not the I that commenced the quest.  It is the real Self, the source of I and its ego.

The perception of the Absolute, the substratum, will not be obtained until the perception of the relative—which is a superimposition [on the real Self]—is viewed as unreal.  Only the Self is everlastingly real.


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