Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi     529 posts


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THE SELF IS ALREADY PERFECT

Q. How can I progress?
A. Why go on pruning the ego? That is just what it wants
— to be the center of attraction!

From "Conscious Immortality"

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HUMILITY
“In fact you must become nothing…”
496 God humbly and enthusiastically worships all beings at all times as though taking upon himself for all time menial service to them. Is it not because of this that he has become privileged to receive the great and pre-eminent forms of worship performed each day by all the beings of all the worlds?
497 As devotees of God see only their own Self in everything, they behave with humility towards all of them. But since God humbles himself even before his devotees, He has attained, as his nature, that state in which there is nothing inferior to him. Is it not because of the supremacy of this extreme humility that He has attained the state of God?
Muruganar: The implication is that the proper way to attain the state of God is to remain subsided, without the ego.
On many occasions Bhagavan told me [Annamalai Swami]:
'Become envious of anyone lower than you. You must become very small. In fact you must become nothing. Only a person who is nobody can abide in the Self Bhagavan often spoke to us about the necessity of humility. On another occasion he told me, 'No one should be our inferior. One who has learned to be the inferior will become superior to all.’
Living by the Words of Bhagavan
GURU VACHAKA KOVAI

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Talk 475.
16th March, 1938
Sri Maharshi read out a news item from a paper to the following effect:
A forest guard armed with a rifle was going in the jungle and noticed two
bright spots in a thicket. On closer approach to find out what they were,
he was face to face with a huge tiger within a few yards of him. He threw
down his gun and assumed a prayerful attitude towards the jungle king.
The tiger stood up and slowly moved away without injuring him.

From "Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi"

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BHAGAVAN IN CONSCIOUS IMMORTALITY

Q: Why is it sometimes I find concentration on the Self so easy and at other times hopelessly difficult?

Bhagavan: Because of vasanas. But really it is easy, since we are the Self. All we have to do is to remember that. We keep on forgetting it, and thus think we are this body, or this ego.

If the will and desire to remember the Self are strong enough, they will eventually overcome vasanas.

There must be a great battle going on inwardly all the time until the Self is realized. This battle is symbolically spoken of in scriptural writings as the fight between God and Satan. In our Sruti, it is the Mahabharata, where the asuras represent our bad thoughts and the devas our elevating ones.

All such thoughts as ‘attainment is hard’ or Self-realization is far from me, or ‘I have many difficulties to overcome to know Reality’, should be given up, as they are the main obstacles, created by the false self, the ego. They are untrue.

Do not doubt that you are the Reality; live in that understanding.

Never question it by referring your realization of it to some future time. It is because people are victimized and hypnotized by such false thoughts that the Gita says that few out of millions realize the Self.

Give yourself up to deep meditation. Throw away all other considerations of life. The calculative life will not be crowned with spiritual success.

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An engineer asked : " The animals seem to conform to
their own natural laws in spite of their environment and
changes. Whereas man flouts social law and is not bound
by any definite system. He seems to be degenerating
whereas the animals are steady. Is it not so ? "

Maharshi : (After a long time). The Upanishads and
scriptures say that human beings are only animals
unless they are realised beings. Possibly they are
worse also.

From Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi Talk 79
29th September, 1935

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Every jiva experiences his own prarabdha,
which is catalysed by the mere Presence of Shiva
as the Witness dwelling in the heart of each one.
Hence, the jiva who does not delude himself
by thinking that he is the experiencer of prarabdha,
but knows that he is mere Existence-Consciousness,
is none but Shiva.

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With great eagerness and wonder you fly to see one Mahatma here and another Mahatma there! If you inquire, attain and know the Maha-Atma [i.e. the Great Self] within your own heart, then every Mahatma is none other than that One [within you].

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BHAGAVAN ON HIMSELF (PERUMAL CASE)
" I have not given sannyas (the status of renunciate) to any one, nor have I taken sannyas from any one. I was living in Skandashram. My mother, who was also living there, passed away in 1922. Her corpse was brought to the foot of the hill and buried here and a samadhi (shrine) was built over it. From that time puja was started here. After a while I left Skandashram and came and stayed here. At no time have I taken any title. At no time have I initiated any disciples with diksha (formal initiation) or in any ritualistic way. I do not impose any restrictions or discipline on those who gather round me. I do not invite any one to come to this place, nor do I tell any one to leave this place. By birth I am a Brahmin.
I was a Brahmachari (celibate student) when I came here (i.e. to Tiruvannamalai). Within an hour of arriving I threw away my sacred thread, clothes, etc.; I shaved my head clean. I had about three rupees and threw it away, and since then I do not touch money. I accept in my hands things that can be eaten. I do not give upadesa (spiritual instruction) or call myself a guru. However, if questions are asked by seekers I answer them. Since 1907 people have called me ' Ramana Rishi'.
I am an 'athyashrami' (beyond the ashrams and castes) not falling within the category of any of the ashrams. This state is recognized in the sastras. It is explained in the Suta Samhita. The athyashrami can own property if necessary. He needs a guru,
but the Self is my guru. The athyashrami is not bound to observe any rites. I have no desire to aquire properties, but things come and I accept them. I agree that to own property is worldly, but I do not hate the world.”

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RAMANA'S TEARS

I may here record that I have noticed on more than one occasion in the past how Bhagavan could not proceed with the reading of any deeply devotional portions of Tamil works such as Thevaram and Thayumanavar. ... when touching songs were recited or read out before him, or when he himself was reading out to us poems or passages from the lives or works of famous saints, he would be moved to tears and find it impossible to restrain them.

He would be reading out and explaining some passage and when he came to a very moving part he would get so choked with emotion that he could not continue but would lay aside the book. To quote a few instances, such a thing happened when he was reading and explaining some incidents in Sundaramurti Nayanar’s life in connection with the Tiruchuzhi Mahatmyam, and also when he was reading out ‘Akarabuvanam-Chidambara Rahasyam’ in Thayumanavar’s works, and came to the twenty-fourth verse:

"Conceiving you as everything from earth to space, I shall record my thoughts on the large page of my mind, and looking at that image ever and again, I shall cry out: ‘Lord of my life, will you not come?’ Repeatedly believing myself to be You, I am unable to fix my attention on anything else. Lamenting in this way, like one whose heart is wounded, dissolving inwardly, so that tears pour down in floods, uttering deep sighs, unaware even of my body, I stand transfixed.

His [Bhagavan’s] eyes were so filled with tears and his throat so choked with emotion [as he read these words] that he had to put aside the book and break off his discourse.

- Day by Day with Bhagavan, 12th December 1945, afternoon session.

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There is no creation,
no destruction,
none bound,
none seeking,
striving,
gaining freedom.

Know that this is
the Truth supreme.

- Collected Works,
Stray verse #9

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BHAGAVAN’S COMPANIONS – THE MONKEYS

Between 1899 and 1922, Bhagavan lived in a variety of caves on the Arunachala hill. The hill abounded in monkeys. Bhagavan would refer to the hill as their kingdom and humans as the intruders. Bhagavan was very intimate with the monkeys. He watched them closely, with love and sympathy. He was a jnani, a sarvajna (the Omniscient). Therefore, the love he had for all beings was natural.
He was a keen observer too. He moved closely with monkeys, understood their cries, their conduct and knew the life story of most of them. He observed that they had their own code of conduct, morals and principles of governance. He found that each tribe had its own recognized district, and if another tribe infringed on this, there would be war. But before starting a war, in order to make peace, an ambassador would be sent from one tribe to the other. Monkeys, as a rule would boycott the one that had been cared for by the humans. However, they made an exception in the case of Bhagavan. He would tell the visitors that the monkeys recognized him as one of their community, and was accepted as an arbitrator in their disputes. Whenever there was a misunderstanding or a quarrel, the monkeys would come to Bhagavan and he would find a solution to pacify them and stop their quarreling. He knew about their way of life, attitudes, priorities and their pranks too!
The people of the town called Bhagavan “Koranguswami” (Master of the monkeys) because, they were aware how much the monkeys respected and accepted him as their own. Bhagavan showed great love and compassion towards the monkeys living on Arunachala.
We have a tendency to look down on monkeys. When we refer to the mind we often compare it to a restless and mischievous monkey. However Bhagavan would always speak positively about monkeys and praise their intelligence and agility.
Bhagavan once remarked:
“I have known something about their organization, their kings, laws, regulations. Everything is so perfect and well-organised. So much intelligence behind it all. I even know that tapas is not unknown to monkeys. A monkey who we used to call ‘Mottaipaiyan’ was once oppressed and ill-treated by a gang. He went away into the forest for a few days, did tapas, acquired strength, and returned. When he came back he sat on a bough and shook it. All the rest of the monkeys, who had previously ill-treated him and of whom he was mortally afraid, were now quaking before him. Yes. I am clear that tapas is well known to monkeys.”
Here are some of the incidents reported by the Ashramites and devotees, which show how lovingly Bhagavan interacted with animals, especially with monkeys that lived on the Arunachala hill and in the Ashram.

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Your thinking that you have to make an effort to get rid of this dream of the waking state and your making efforts to attain jnana or real awakening are all parts of the dream. When you attain jnana you will see there was neither the dream during sleep, nor the waking state, but only yourself and your real state.

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The Heart is the only Reality. The mind is only a transient phase. To remain as one's Self is to enter the Heart.

Talk 252

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TWENTY-FOUR GURUS

A KING WAS passing through a forest in all pomp and pageantry, with his army and retinue behind him. He came across a man with not even a cod-piece on, lying on the ground, with one leg cocked over the other. He was laughing away, apparently supremely happy, contented with himself and all the world. The king was struck with the man’s happy state and sent for him. But when the king’s men approached the nude ascetic and delivered the king’s message, he took absolutely no notice and continued in his ascetic bliss.

On being told of this, the king himself went to the man and even then the man took no notice. Thereupon it struck the king that this must be no common man, and said, ‘Swami, you are evidently supremely happy. May we know what is the secret of such happiness and from which guru you learnt it?’

Thereupon the ascetic told the king, ‘I have had twenty-four gurus. Everything, this body, the earth, the birds, some instruments, some persons, all have taught me’. All the things in the world may be classed as either good or bad. The good taught him what he must seek. Similarly, the bad taught him what he must avoid. The ascetic was Dattatreya, the avadhuta.

- Spiritual Stories as told by Ramana Maharshi

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Dattatreya is the universal Guru, isn’t he? And he has said that the whole world was his Guru. If you look at evil you feel you should not do it. So he said evil also was his Guru. If you see good, you would wish to do it; so he said that good also was his Guru; both good and evil, he said, were his Gurus. It seems that he asked a hunter which way he should go, but the latter ignored his question, as he was intent upon his aim to shoot a bird above. Dattatreya saluted him, saying, ‘You are my Guru! Though killing the bird is bad, keeping your aim so steadfast in shooting the arrow as to ignore my query is good, thereby teaching me that I should keep my mind steadfast and fixed on Ishwara. You are therefore my Guru.’ In the same way he looked upon everything as his Guru, till in the end he said that his physical body itself was a Guru, as its consciousness does not exist during sleep and the body that does not exist should therefore not be confused with the soul — dehatmabhavana (the feeling that the body is the soul). Therefore that too was a Guru for him. While he looked upon the whole world as his Guru, the whole world worshipped him as its Guru.

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Ramana Maharshi on Mantra Japa

Question : For controlling the mind, which of the two is better, performing japa of the ajapa [unspoken] mantra or of omkar [the sound of `om']?

Ramana Maharshi: What is your idea of unspoken and involuntary japa [ajapa]? Will it be ajapa if you go on repeating with the mouth `soham, soham’ [`I am he, I am he']? Ajapa really means to know that japa which goes on involuntarily without being uttered through the mouth. Without knowing this real meaning people think that it means repeating with the mouth the words `soham, soham’ hundreds of thousands of times, counting them on the fingers or on a string of beads.

Before beginning a japa breath control is prescribed. That means, first do pranayama [regulating of breath] and then begin repeating the mantra. Pranayama means first closing the mouth, doesn’t it? If, by stopping the breath, the five elements in the body are bound down and controlled, what remains is the real Self. That Self will by itself be repeating always `aham, aham’ [`I, I']. That is ajapa.

Knowing this, how could that which is repeated by mouth be ajapa? The vision of the real Self which performs japa of its own accord involuntarily and in a never-ending stream, like the flowing down continuously of oil, is ajapa, gayatri and everything. If you know who it is that is doing japa you will know what japa is. If you search and try to find out who it is that is doing japa, that japa itself becomes the Self.

Question : Is there no benefit at all in doing japa with the mouth?

Ramana Maharshi: Who said there is no benefit? Such japa will be the means for chitta suddhi [purifying the mind]. As the japa is done repeatedly the effort ripens and sooner or later leads to the right path. Good or bad, whatever is done never goes to waste. Only the differences and the merits and demerits of each will have to be told, looking to the stage of development of the person concerned.

Question : Is not mental japa better than oral japa?

Ramana Maharshi: Oral japa consists of sounds. The sounds arise from thoughts, for one must think before one expresses the thoughts in words. The thoughts form the mind. Therefore mental japa is better than oral japa.

Question : Should we not contemplate the japa and repeat it orally also?

Ramana Maharshi: When the japa becomes mental, where is the need for the sounds? Japa, becoming mental, becomes contemplation. Dhyana, contemplation and mental japa are the same. When thoughts cease to be promiscuous and one thought persists to the exclusion of all others, it is said to be contemplation. The object of japa or dhyana is the exclusion of several thoughts and confining oneself to one single thought. Then that thought too vanishes into its source – absolute consciousness. The mind engages in japa and then sinks into its own source.

Question : The mind is said to be from the brain.

Ramana Maharshi: Where is the brain? It is in the body. I say that the body itself is a projection of the mind. You speak of the brain when you think of the body. It is the mind which creates the body, the brain in it and also ascertains that the brain is its seat.

Question : Sri Bhagavan has said that the japa must be traced to its source. Is it not the mind that is meant?

Ramana Maharshi: All these are only the workings of the mind. Japa helps to fix the mind on a single thought. All other thoughts are first subordinated until they disappear. When it becomes mental it is called dhyana. Dhyana is your true nature. It is however called dhyana because it is made with effort. Effort is necessary so long as thoughts are promiscuous. Because you are with other thoughts, you call the continuity of a single thought meditation or dhyana. If that dhyana becomes effortless it will be found to be your real nature.

Question : People give some names to God and say that the name is sacred and that repetitions of the name bestow merit on the individual. Can it be true?

Ramana Maharshi: Why not? You bear a name to which you answer. But your body was not born with that name written on it, nor did it say to anyone that it bore such and such a name. And yet a name is given to you and you answer to that name, because you have identified yourself with the name. Therefore the name signified something and it is not a mere fiction. Similarly, God’s name is effective. Repetition of the name is remembrance of what it signifies. Hence its merit.

Question : While making japa for an hour or more I fall into a state like sleep. On waking up I recollect that my japa has been interrupted. So I try again.

Ramana Maharshi: `Like sleep’, that is right. It is the natural state. Because you are now associated with the ego, you consider that the natural state is something which interrupts your work. So you must have the experience repeated until you realize that it is your natural state. You will then find that japa is extraneous but still it will go on automatically. Your present doubt is due to that false identity, namely of identifying yourself with the mind that does the japa. Japa means clinging to one thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts. That is its purpose. It leads to dhyana which ends in Self-realization or jnana.

Question : How should I carry on japa?

Ramana Maharshi: One should not use the name of God mechanically and superficially without the feeling of devotion.

Question : So mechanical repetition is unproductive?

Ramana Maharshi: Acute diseases will not be cured merely by repeating the name of the medicine but only by drinking the medicine. Similarly, the bonds of birth and death will not cease merely by doing many repetitions of mahavakyas such as `I am Siva’. Instead of wandering about repeating `I am the supreme’, abide as the supreme yourself. The misery of birth and death will not cease by vocally repeating countless times `I am that’, but only by abiding as that.

Source: from David Godman Excellent Book “Be As You are”

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The Nature of Happiness

If a man thinks that his happiness is due to external causes and his possessions, it is reasonable to conclude that his happiness must increase with the increase of possessions and diminish in proportion to their diminution. Therefore if he is devoid of possessions, his happiness should be nil. What is the real experience of man? Does it conform to this view? In deep sleep the man is devoid of possessions, including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he is quite happy. Everyone desires to sleep soundly. The conclusion is that happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realise his Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness.

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THE LOOK OF PEACE

"As children our attitude to Bhagavan was perhaps slightly different from that of the adults. We of course knew that He was God and a wonderful person to be near - truly a magical feeling, but we accepted this quite naturally and without a feeling of awe. However sometimes even children can be awed:

One of these memories i have is rather strange because to this day i recall my amazement and yet nothing actually happened at all. A lady came to Tiruvannamalai from North India; in those days all 'foreigners' whether they were North Indians or Norwegians were sent to our home. I was about ten years old at the time and not an especially sensitive child but even i could not bear to stay in the room with her as she was so tense, nervous and unhappy that it made me most uneasy.
Her story was that she had married a man she loved very much although her parents had not approved as he was of a different caste - however they had overcome all the opposition and they went to the seaside somewhere for their honeymoon. They had a week of great happiness until one day he was killed by a shark right in front of her eyes. All this had happened about 2 years earlier and the distraught widow was traveling through India, going to various ashrams and seeing various holy men. She had a list of questions which she asked at each place - all more or less a demand why such a thing should happen if there was a God of Justice and so on. She was an unhappy and aggressively angry lady and my heart sank when my mother asked me to show her the way to the hall where Bhagavan sat.. I led in silence and she followed me, i showed her the hall and went off to play. A while later i realised it was lunch time and i went to collect her and bring her home - most reluctantly.

I will never, never forget the change that had come over her in just an hour or so. She was calm and relaxed and peaceful and happy! I was so awed and intrigued that i hung around anxiously waiting for my mother to ask her what Bhagavan had said to her. Whatever it was it must have been words of the greatest wisdom and power to have such an effect. Eventually my mother did ask and the lady answered that she had gone into the hall and sat down and Bhagavan had just looked at her - just looked -with such infinite compassion that she felt that her questions were of no importance any more. She sat there and felt the peace and no word was spoken ...." (Katya Osborne)

(from 'Moments Remembered, by V. Ganesan)

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~~~ From: Conscious Immortality, Ch.6.
Q.: Why is it sometimes I find concentration on the Self so easy,
and at other times hopelessly difficult?
M.: Because of vasanas.
But really it is easy, since we are the Self.
All we have to do is to remember that.
We keep on forgetting it,
and thus think we are this body, or this ego.
If the will and desire to remember Self are strong enough,
they will eventually overcome vasanas.
There must be a great battle going on inwardly all the time
until Self is realised.
This battle is symbolically spoken of in scriptural writings
as the fight between God and Satan.
In our sruti [revealed scripture] it is a Mahabharata war,
where the asuras represent our bad thoughts
and the devas our elevating ones.
Q.: How can one quicken this coming of realisation?
M.: As one strives to know the true ‘I’ the attachment to objects,
the bad and degrading thoughts gradually drop off.
The more one does not forget the Self,
the more do elevating qualities become ours.
Realisation will come eventually.
Q.: Why does an Upanishad say,
“He whom the Atman chooses,
to him alone does It reveal Itself, not to others”.
Does not this seem arbitrary?
M.: No. It is correct.
It chooses those only who devote themselves to It,
who become Its devotees.
Such It draws them inwards to Itself.
One must turn inward to find the Atman.
He who thinks of It, It will draw to Itself.
All such thoughts as ‘Attainment is hard’
or ‘Self realisation is far from me’,
or ‘I have got many difficulties to overcome to know the Reality’,
should be given up, as they are obstacles;
they are created by this false self, ego.
They are untrue.
Do not doubt that you are the Reality;
live in that understanding.
Never question it by referring your realisation of it to some future time.
It is because people are victimized and hypnotised
by such false thoughts that the Gita says
that few out of millions realise the Self.
The order of asramas [four stages of life]
was established as a general principle,
i.e. to regulate the gradual development of the ordinary run of humanity.
But in the case of one highly mature and fully ripe for Atma vichara
there is no graduated development.
In this case jnana vichara,
i.e. the Self enquiry and the blooming of jnana,
are immediate and quick.

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Q.: How can I get peace?
I do not seem to obtain it through vicara (self-enquiry).

M.: Peace is your natural state.
It is the mind that obstructs the natural state.
If you do not experience peace it means that your vichara
has been made only in the mind.
Investigate what the mind is, and it will disappear.
There is no such thing as mind apart from thought.
Nevertheless, because of the emergence of thought,
you surmise something from which it starts and term that the mind.
When you probe to see what it is,
you find there is really no such thing as mind.
When the mind has thus vanished,
you realize eternal peace.

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You are already the Self. Therefore realization is common to everyone. Realization knows no difference in the aspirants. This very doubt, "Can I realize?" or the feeling, "I have not realized" are the obstacles. Be free from these also.

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The Seeing Self is the Eye, and that Eye is the Eye of Infinity.

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From: The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi:

Atma Bodha (Knowledge of the Self)


After a devotee sent to Sri Bhagavan a Tamil translation of Shankaracharya’s Atma Bodha,
Bhagavan composed a new translation in Tamil.
He did this translation very rapidly, working even at night, using a flashlight..!

‘Can Shankara, the enlightener of the Self,
be different from one’s own Self?
Who but he, does this day,
abiding as the inmost Self in me,
speak this in the Tamil language?’ — Sri Bhagavan.


1. This — Atma Bodha —is meant to fulfil the want of the seekers of liberation who, by their prolonged tapas, have already cleansed themselves of impurities and become mentally peaceful and free from desires.

2. Of all the means to liberation, knowledge is the only direct one — as essential as fire to cooking; without it, liberation cannot be gained.

3. Not being opposed to ignorance, karma does not destroy it. On the other hand, knowledge destroys ignorance as surely as light does darkness.

4. Owing to ignorance, the Self now appears to be covered up; on the removal of ignorance, the pure Self will shine forth of Itself, like the sun after the dispersal of clouds.

5. The jiva is mixed up with ignorance. By constant practice of knowledge the jiva becomes pure, because knowledge disappears (along with ignorance), as the cleansing nut with the impurities in the water.

But here is the world, how can the Self alone be real and non-dual?

6. Samsara is full of likes and dislikes and other opposites. Like a dream, it seems real for the time being; but, on waking, it vanishes because it is unreal.

Because the dream is negated on waking, I know it to be unreal; but the world persists and I find it only real.

7. So long as the substratum of all, the non-dual Brahman is not seen, the world seems real — like illusory silver in a piece of mother-of-pearl.

But the world is so diverse; yet, you say there is One only.

8. Like bubbles rising on the surface of the waters of the ocean, all the worlds arise from, stay in and resolve into the Supreme Being (Paramesa) who is the root cause and prop of all.

9. In the Being-Consciousness-Bliss, which is all permeating, eternal Vishnu, all these diverse objects and individuals appear (as phenomena) like various ornaments made of gold.

Yes, but what about the numberless individual souls?

10. Just as the all-pervading akasa (ether) appears fragmented in different objects (as in a pit, a jar, a house, a theatre hall, etc.) but remains undifferentiated on the limitations falling away, similarly with the single, non-dual ruler of the senses (seeming to function as gods, men, cattle, etc.).

But the individuals have different traits and function according to different conditions.

11. The traits, etc., are also superimposed. Pure water (tasteless by itself) tastes sweet, bitter, salty etc., according to the admixture in it (upadhis). Similarly, race, name status, etc., are all superimposed on the non-dual Self of all. What are these upadhis which play such tricks on the Self? They are gross, subtle and very subtle as described here.

12. The gross body made up of the five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) is meant to reap the fruits of past actions in the shape of pleasure and pain.

13. The subtle body consisting of the five airs, the mind, intellect, the ten senses and made up of subtle elements is also meant for enjoyment (as in dreams).

14. Inexpressible and beginningless ignorance is said to be the causal body (as in deep sleep). Know the Self to be other than these three upadhis.

If so, why is the Self not evident to me? On the other hand, Sruti says, ‘ This Purusha is made up of annarasa (essence of food).’

15. Just as a clear crystal (itself colourless) appears red, blue, yellow, etc., according to the background, so also the Self, pure and untainted, seems to be identical with the body, the senses, the mind, intellect or blissful ignorance (panchakosas) when in contact with them.

16. Just as husking the paddy exposes the grain within (the rice), so also should one judiciously separate the pure Atman from the sheaths covering it.

Atman is said to be everywhere. Why should it then be judiciously looked for within the five sheaths?

17. Though always and everywhere present, the Self does not shine forth in all places. Just as light is reflected only in a transparent medium, so also the Self is clearly seen in the intellect only.

18. The Self is realized in the intellect as the witness of the activities of, and yet separate from the body, the senses, the mind, intellect and gross nature (prakriti) as is a king in relation to his subjects.

The Self seems to participate in their activities; so he cannot be different from them, nor be their witness.

19. Just as the moon seems to move when the clouds around her move, so also the Self seems to the indiscriminating to be active, when actually, the senses are active.

To be active, the body etc., must also be intelligent; they are said to be inert. How can they act without the intelligent Self participating in their actions?

20. Just as men do their duties in the light of the sun (but the sun does not participate in them), so also the body, senses, etc., function in the light of the Self without its participating in them.

True, the Self alone is intelligence. I know myself to be born, growing, decaying, happy, or unhappy and so on. Am I right?

21. No. The characteristics (birth, death, etc.) of the body and the senses are superimposed on the Being-Consciousness-Bliss as is the blue in the sky by those who do not discriminate.

22. So also the characteristics of the mind, such as agency, etc., are by ignorance superimposed on the Atman, as are the movements of water on the moon reflected in it.

23. Only when the intellect is manifested, likes and dislikes, pleasure and pain are felt. In deep sleep, the intellect remaining latent, they are not felt. Therefore, they are of the intellect and not of the Atman (the Self). Here is the real nature of the Atman.

24. As light is the very sun, coldness the water, heat the fire, so also the eternal, pure Being-Consciousness-Bliss is the very Self.

At some time or other, every individual experiences, ‘I am happy’, and thus Being-Consciousness-Bliss experience is plain. How can one make the experience permanent and unchanging?

25. Being-Consciousness is of the Self; the ‘I’ mode or modification is of the intellect; these are distinctly two. However, owing to ignorance, the individual mixes them together and thinks ‘I know’ and acts accordingly.

26. Never is there any change (or action) in Atman nor knowledge in the intellect. Only the jiva is deluded into thinking itself to be the knower, doer and seer.

27. Like the snake in the rope, mistaking the jiva for the Self, one is subject to fear. If, on the other hand, one knows oneself not as a jiva but as the supreme Self, one is altogether free from fear.

28. Only the Self illumines the senses, intellect, etc., as a lamp does objects such as pots. The Self is not illumined by them as they are inert.

If the Self cannot be made known by the intellect, there will be no knower to know the Self and the Self cannot be known.

29. To see a light, no other light is needed. So also, the Self being self-effulgent, needs no other means of knowledge. It shines of itself.

If so, every one must be Self-realized, effortlessly, but it is not so.

30. On the strength of the Vedic teaching, ‘Not this, not this’, eliminate all the adjuncts (upadhis) and with the help of the mahavakyas, realize the identity of the jivatman (individual self) with the paramatman (the supreme Self).

31. The whole objective world such as the body, is born of ignorance and transient like a bubble on water. Know the Self to be distinct from it and identical with Brahman (the Supreme).

32. Being distinct from the gross body, birth, death, old age, debility, etc., do not pertain to me. Not being the senses, I have no connection with the objects of the senses such as sound, etc.

33. The srutis declare:`I am not the vital air (prana), not the mind, (but) pure (Being). Not being the mind I am free from likes and dislikes, fear, etc´.

34. `I am free from qualities and actionless, eternal, undifferentiated, untainted, unchanging, formless, ever free and pure´.

35. `Like ether, I am always pervading all, in and out, unswerving, ever equal in all, pure, untainted, clear and unshaken´.

36. `That which remains eternal, pure, ever-free, all alone, unbroken bliss, non-dual, Being-Consciousness-Bliss, transcendent Brahman (the same) am I ´.

37. Long, constant practice of ‘I am Brahman only’ destroys all vasanas (latent tendencies), born of ignorance as an efficacious remedy (rasayana) eradicates a disease.

38. Be dispassionate, keep the senses under control and let the mind not wander; sit in a solitary place and meditate on the Self as infinite and one alone.

39. Keep the mind pure; with keen intellect, resolve all that is objective into the Self and always meditate on the Self as clear and single like ether.

40. Having discarded all names and forms, you are now the knower of the Supreme Being and will remain as perfect Consciousness-Bliss.

41. Being the same as Consciousness-Bliss, there is no longer any differentiation such as the knower and the known; and the Self shines forth as Itself.

42. If in this manner by process of constant meditation, the two pieces of wood, namely the Self and the ego are rubbed together, the flames from the fire of knowledge burn away the whole range of ignorance.

43. On knowledge destroying ignorance in this way, like the light of dawn scattering the darkness of night, the Self will rise like the sun in all its glory.

44. True, the Self is always here and now; yet it is not apparent, owing to ignorance. On ignorance being destroyed the Self seems as if it were gained, like the necklace on one’s own neck.

(The allusion is to the story of a lady wearing a precious necklace, who suddenly forgot where it was, grew anxious, looked for it everywhere and even asked others to help, until a kind friend pointed out that it was round the seeker’s own neck.)

45. Just as in darkness a post is mistaken for a man, so is Brahman in ignorance mistaken for a jiva. If, however, the true nature of a jiva is seen, delusion vanishes.

46. Knowledge arising on the experience of reality immediately destroys the ignorant perception of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, which resemble the delusion of direction in darkness.

47. A jnani who is a perfectly Self-realized yogi, sees by the eye of wisdom all objective phenomena to be in and of the Self and thus the Self to be the sole being.

How does he then act in the world?

48. Just as clay is the only material from which different utensils are formed (such as pots, jars, etc.), so he sees that the Self, too, is the whole universe and there is nothing but the Self.

49. In order to be liberated while yet alive, the sage should completely eschew the adjuncts (upadhis), and thus gain the real nature of Being-Consciousness-Bliss, like the maggot that turns into a wasp.

50. Having crossed the ocean of illusion and having killed the demons of likes and dislikes, the yogi, now united to shanti (peace), finds delight in the Self and so remains in his own glory.

51. The jivanmukta, freed from all desire for transient, external pleasures, delights in his own Self and remains clear and steady a like lamp in a pot.

52. Like the akasa (ether) which remains untainted by the objects contained therein, the muni (sage) remains untainted by the adjuncts (upadhis) covering him. Being the all-knower he remains like one that knows not, and moves about like the air uncontaminated by the objects it touches.

53. On the dissolution of the adjuncts (the body, senses, etc.), the sage now freed from particularities merges in the all-permeating Being (Vishnu), like water in water, ether in ether or fire in fire.

54. There is no gain over and above this gain, no pleasure over and above this bliss, no knowledge over and above this knowledge, know this to be Brahman.

55. That on seeing which nothing remains to see, on becoming which there is no more return to samsara, on knowing which nothing remains to know, know that to be Brahman.

56. What fills everything, above, below and around, itself Being-Consciousness-Bliss, non-dual, infinite, eternal, one only, know that to be Brahman.

57. What remains as immutable, unbroken Bliss, and as one only, that which even the scriptures indirectly denote by the process of elimination as ‘not this, not this’, know the same to be Brahman.

58. Dependent on a fraction of the inexhaustible Bliss of the Atman, all the gods such as Brahma enjoy bliss according to their grades.

59. Like the butter in milk, the objective universe is contained in it; all the activities are based on it alone. Therefore Brahman is all-pervading.

60. What is neither subtle nor gross, short nor long, produced nor spent, what is devoid of form, attribute, caste and name, know it to be Brahman.

61. By whose light the sun and other luminaries shine forth, but which is not itself illumined by them and in whose light all this is seen, know it to be Brahman.

62. Like fire in a piece of red-hot iron, Brahman permeates the whole world in and out and all through, makes it shine and itself also shines by itself.

63. Brahman is distinct from the universe, yet there remains nothing apart from Brahman. Should any other than Brahman appear, it is only an illusion like water in a mirage.

64. Whatever is seen or heard, it cannot be different from Brahman. True knowledge finds Brahman to be Being-Consciousness-Bliss and one without a second.

65. Only the eye of wisdom can see the omnipresent Being-Consciousness-Bliss, but not the eye of ignorance for a blind eye cannot see the sun.

66. Like gold freed from dross, the jiva (sadhaka) has all his impurities burnt away by the fire of knowledge bursting into flames fanned by sravana, manana and nidhidhyasana (hearing, reflection and contemplation) and now he shines forth by himself.

67. Because the sun of knowledge, the chaser of darkness has risen, the Atman shines in the expanse of the Heart as the omnipresent sustainer of all and illumines all.

68. He who bathes in the clear, warm, ever-refreshing waters of the Atman, which being available everywhere, here and now, need not be sought for in special centres and seasons; such a one remains actionless. He is the knower of all; he pervades all and is ever immortal.

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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

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Dealing with desires

Feb 24, 1936

Question: How to root out the sexual impulse?
Ramana: By rooting out the false idea of the body being the Self. There is no sex in the Self.
Question: How to realize it?
Ramana: Because you think you are the body, you see another also as a body. Difference in sex arises. But you are not the body. Be the real Self. Then there is no sex.

January 21, 1937

Question: How will the sexual impulse cease to be?
Ramana: when differentiation ceases.
Question: How can it be effected?
Ramana: The 'opposite' sex, and its relation, are only mental concepts. The Upanishad says that all are dear because the Self is beloved to all. One's happiness is within, the love is of the Self only. It is only within; do not think it to be without. Then differentiation ceases to operate.

October 15, 1938

A person was badly distracted by sexual thoughts. He fought against them. He fasted three days and prayed to god so that he might be free from such thoughts. Finally, he decided to ask Ramana about it.

Sri Ramana listened and remained silent for about two minutes, then he said: Well, the thoughts distract you and you fought against them. That is good. Why do you continue to think of them now? Whenever such thoughts arise, consider to whom they arise and they will flee away from you.

From TALKS with Ramana Maharshi.

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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

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Don't believe your thoughts.
I am the body is a thought.
I am the mind is a thought.
I am the doer is a thought.
Worry is only a thought.
Fear is only a thought.
Death is only a thought.

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