Tuesday, January 8, 2013

B.: There is no principle that actions can be performed only on the basis of the ‘I-am-the-doer’ idea, and therefore there is no reason to ask whether they can be performed and the duties discharged without that idea.To take a common example, an accountant working all day in his office and scrupulously attending to his duties might seem to the spectator to be shouldering all the financial responsibilities of the institution. But, knowing that he is not personally affected by the intake or outgoings, he remains unattached and free from the ‘I-am-the- doer’ feeling in doing his work, while at the same time he does it perfectly well. In the same way, it is quite possible for the wise householder who earnestly seeks liberation to discharge his duties in life (which, after all, are his destiny) without any attachment, regarding himself merely as an instrument for the purpose. Such activity is not an obstacle on the path of Knowledge nor does Knowledge prevent a man from discharging his duties in life. Knowledge and activity are never mutually antagonistic and the realisation of one does not impede performance of the other, nor performance of one the realisation of the other.

D.: What is the significance of the life of a spiritually- minded householder who has to devote all his time merely to earning a living and supporting his family and what mutual benefit do they get?

B.: The discharge of his duties by a householder such as this, who works for the support of his family, quite unmindful of his own physical comforts in life, should be regarded as selfless service rendered to his family, whose needs it is his destiny to meet. It may, however, be asked what benefit such a householder derives from the family.

The answer is that there is no benefit for him from the family as such, since he has made the discharge of his duties to them a means of spiritual training and since he finally obtains perfect contentment by realising the supreme Bliss of Liberation, which is the ultimate goal of every path and the supreme reward.
He therefore stands in need of nothing from the members of his family or from his family life.

D.: How can a householder who is constantly engaged in the active discharge of his domestic duties, which should naturally impel him to still greater activity, obtain the supreme peace of withdrawal and freedom from the urge to such activity even while thus busily engaged?

B.: It is only to the spectator that the enlightened householder seems to be occupied with his domestic duties; for even though apparently engaged in domestic duties, he is not really engaged in any activity at all. His outer activity does not prevent him from realising the perfect peace of withdrawal, and he is free from the restless urge to activity even in the midst of his activities.

Visitor: Should I retire from business and take to reading books on Vedanta?
B.: If objects have an independent existence, that is if they exist somewhere apart from you, then it may be possible for you to retire from them. But they do not. They owe their existence to you, to your thought, so where can you retire from them? As for reading books on Vedanta, you can go on reading any number but they can only tell you to realise the Self within you. The Self cannot be found in books. You have to find it for yourself, in yourself.

from: 'The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in his own Words'.

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