Annamalai Swami recorded conversations with Bhagavan in the late 1930s.
The following questions were asked by an aristocratic- looking American lady. Bhagavan's answers are a succinct summery of his practical teachings.
Q.: What is the truth that I have to attain? Please explain it and show it to me.
Bhagavan: What we have to attain and what is desired by everyone is endless happiness. Although we seek to attain it in various ways, it is not something to be sought or attained as a new experience. Our real nature is the 'I' feeling which is always experienced by everyone. It is within us and nowhere else. Although we are always experiencing it, our minds are wandering, always seeking it, thinking in ignorance it is something apart from us. This is like a person saying with his own tongue that he has no tongue.
Q.: If that is so, why did so many sadhanas come to be created?
Bhagavan: The sadhanas came to be formed only to get rid of the thought that the Self is something to be newly attained. The root of the illusion is the thought which ignores the Self and thinks instead, 'I am this body'. After this thought rises it expands in a moment into several thousand thoughts and conceals the Self. The reality of the Self will only shine if all these thoughts are removed. Afterwards, what remains is only Brahmananda, the bliss of Brahman.
Q.: I am now sitting peacefully without the thought 'I am this body'. Is this the state of reality?
Bhagavan: This state must remain as it is without any change. If it changes after a while you will know that other thoughts have not gone.
Q.: What is the way to get rid of other thoughts?
Bhagavan: They can only be removed through the powerful effect of the enquiry, 'To whom have these thoughts come'