''When a room is dark you need a lamp to light it, but
when the sun rises there is no need for a lamp; objects are seen
without one. And to see the sun itself no lamp is needed because it is self-luminous. Similarly with the mind. The reflected light of the mind is necessary to perceive objects, but to see the heart it is enough for the mind to be turned towards it. Then the mind loses itself and the Heart shines forth.
It is a tantric practice to concentrate on one of the chakras or
spiritual centres of the body, very often on the point between
the eyebrows. As will be shown in a later chapter, the heart on
the right side is not one of these chakras; nevertheless, in the
following passage, Bhagavan explains concisely his teaching
that concentration on the heart-centre is more effective than
on any other point but less effective than pure enquiry.
D.: There are said to be six (subtle) organs of different
colours in the chest, of which the spiritual heart is said to be the
one situated two fingers’ breadth, to the right from the centre!
But the heart is also said to be formless. Does that mean that we should imagine it to have a form and meditate on this?
B.: No; only the quest – ‘Who am I?’ is necessary. That
which continues to exist throughout sleep and waking is the same being in both; but while waking there is unhappiness and therefore the effort to remove it. When asked who awakes from sleep, you say ‘I’. Hold fast to this ‘I’. If that is done the Eternal Being reveals itself. The most important thing is the investigation of the ‘I’ and not concentration on the heart centre.
There is no such thing as the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’. Both words mean the same or nothing at all. Nevertheless, there is also the practice of concentration on the heart-centre, which is a form of spiritual exercise. Only he who concentrates on the heart can remain aware when the mind ceases to be active and remains still, with no thoughts, whereas those who concentrate on any other centre cannot retain awareness without thought but only infer that the mind was still after it has become active again.1
In the following passage an English lady remarks on this
awareness without thought and Bhagavan approves.
D.: Thoughts suddenly cease and ‘I-I’ rises up equally
suddenly and continues. It is only a feeling, not a thought. Can
it be right?
B.: Yes, it is quite right. Thoughts have to cease and reason
to disappear for the ‘I-I’ to rise up and be felt. Feeling is the
main thing, not reason.
D.: Moreover, it is not in the head, but at the right side of
B.: That is where it should be, because the heart is there.
D.: When I look outwards it disappears. What should I do?
B.: Hold fast to it.
This does not mean that thought is impossible during the state
of ‘I’ consciousness, as indeed one can see from the example of
Bhagavan himself, who was permanently in that state. For the
ignorant person, thought is like a dense cloud overhead, shutting him off from the illumination of the sun. When the ceiling of cloud has been broken and rolled back, letting in the light, he can use thought without being imprisoned by it. To change the metaphor, Bhagavan sometimes compared the mind of the Realised Man to the moon in the sky in day-time – it is there but its light is not needed – because one can see without it by the direct light of the sun.
One of the problems about which Bhagavan was often asked
was suffering. The questions were usually personal rather than
academic, since it was often the experience of grief which
drove people to seek solace from him. The real solace came as
a silent influence, but he did also answer theoretical questions.
The usual answer was to bid the questioner find out who it is
that suffers, just as he would bid the doubter find who it is
that doubts; for the Self is beyond suffering as it is beyond
doubt. Sometimes, however, on a more contingent level, he
would point out that whatever makes a person dissatisfied
with his state of ignorance and turns him to the quest of the
Self is beneficial and that it is often suffering which is the
means of doing this.
B.: The Bliss of Self is always yours and you will find it if
you seek it earnestly. The cause of your misery is not in your
outer life; it is in you, as your ego. You impose limitations on
yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them. All
unhappiness is due to the ego. With it comes all your trouble.
What does it avail you to attribute the cause of misery to the
happenings of life when that cause is really within you? What
happiness can you get from things extraneous to yourself? When you get it, how long will it last?
If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it,
you would be free. If you accept it, it will impose limitations on
you and throw you into a vain struggle to transcend them.
That was how the ‘thief’ sought to ruin King Janaka.
To be the Self that you really are is the only means to
realise the Bliss that is ever yours.
A very devoted and simple devotee had lost his only son, a
child of three. The next day he arrived at the Asramam with his
family. Referring to them Bhagavan said: “Training of mind
helps one to bear sorrows and bereavements with courage; but
the loss of one’s children is said to be the worst of all griefs.
Grief only exists as long as one considers oneself to have a
definite form; if the form is transcended, one knows the One
Self to be eternal. There is neither death nor birth. What is
born is only the body and this is the creation of the ego. But the
ego is not ordinarily perceived without the body and so is
identified with it. It is thought that matters. Let the sensible
man consider whether he knew his body while in deep sleep.
Why, then, does he feel it in the waking state? Although the
body was not felt in sleep, did not the Self exist? What was his
state when in deep sleep and what is it now when awake? What
is the difference? The ego rises up and that is waking.
Simultaneously thoughts arise. Find out who has the thoughts.
Where do they come from? They must arise from the conscious
self. Apprehending this even vaguely helps towards the extinction of the ego. The realisation of the One Infinite Existence becomes possible. In that state there are no individuals but only Eternal Being. Hence there is no thought of death or grieving.
“If a man thinks that he is born he cannot escape the fear
of death. Let him find out whether he was ever born or whether
the Self takes birth. He will discover that the Self always exists
and that the body which is born resolves itself into thought,
and that the emergence of thought is the root of all mischief.
Find where thought comes from, and then you will abide in the
ever-present inmost Self and be free from the idea of birth and
fear of death.”
D.: If some one we love dies, it causes grief. Should we
avoid such grief by either loving all alike or not loving at all?
B.: If someone we love dies, it causes grief to the one who
continues living. The way to get rid of grief is not to continue
living. Kill the griever, and who will then remain to grieve? The
ego must die. That is the only way. The two alternatives you
suggest amount to the same. When all are realised to be the one Self, who is there to love or hate?''
Ramana Maharshi on Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in own Words by Artur Osborne