there be peace and love among all beings of the universe. OM
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
those devotees with great love also live long, who,
coming to Sri Ramana, get their desires fulfilled
and, planting his feet in their Heart, set all
their troubles at rest and attain peace.
The ever present
state is the natural state.
The state in which the awareness is firm, even when
objects are sensed, is called the natural
When through conscious effort to keep the mind free
of thought we are able to stay in that state, that
is the natural state.
The mind resting in the Self is its natural
condition; but, instead of that, our minds are
resting in outward objects.
Without spiritual practice, there cannot be
attainment. This is certain. Experience of the
natural state during practice is called upasana.
When that itself is unswervingly attained, it is
called true knowledge.
awareness is our natural state if we give up the
The natural state is simply being oneself, not
knowing anything or becoming anything. If one has
realised, he is That which alone is, and which
alone has always been. He cannot describe that
state. He can only be That.
In the firm natural state, through the silence of
the mind free of all tendencies, knower knows
himself as such without any doubts.
The environment never abandons you according to
your desire. Look at me. I have left home. Look at
yourselves. You have come here leaving your home
environment. What do you find here? Is it different
from what you left? That is the reason for Shankara
emphasising functioning naturally from the Self in
preference to the transcending awareness of the
world in his excellent work
The wrong identification with the body rises
because one has lost his moorings, and swerved from
his original state. He is now advised to give up
all these false ideas, to trace the body-mind, or
"I"-thought, back to the Source and remain in his
Forgetfulness of your real nature is the real
death; remembrance of it is the true birth. It puts
an end to successive births. Eternal life is then
yours. How does the desire for Eternal life arise?
Because the present state is unbearable. Why?
Because, it is not your true nature. Had it been
your real nature, there would be no desire to
agitate you. How does the present state differ from
your real nature? Truly, you are Spirit. Human
beings consider themselves limited and that is the
root of the trouble. The idea is wrong. In sleep
there was no world, no ego and no trouble.
Something wakes up from that happy state and says
"I". To that ego the world appears. It is the rise
of the ego that is the cause of the trouble. But
trace the ego to its origin, and you will reach
that undifferentiated happy Source, a state which
is sleepless sleep. The Self is ever there; wisdom
only appears to dawn, though it is natural.
is your nature. Forgetfulness never overtakes the
Self. The Self is now being confused for the
not-Self, and that makes you speak of forgetfulness
of Self and absence of peace.
You do not acquire happiness. Your nature is
happiness. Bliss is not newly acquired. All that is
done, is to remove unhappiness. These methods do
Our real nature is liberation, but we imagine we
are bound. We thus make strenuous efforts to become
free while, all the while, we are free.
There is no
greater mystery than this that being Reality
[Brahman] ourselves we seek to gain
Reality. We think that there is something hiding
our Reality, and that it must be destroyed before
the Reality is gained. It is ridiculous. A day will
dawn when you will yourself laugh at your past
efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is
also here and now.
Reality is seen by him who sees the Self. But one
who has lost the ego and seen the Self is none
other than Reality. To see Him is to be consumed by
Him. He alone is. If you give up all else and seek
Him alone, He will remain as the "I", the Self.
That in which all these worlds seem to exist
steadily, That of which all these worlds are a
possession, That from which all these worlds rise,
That for which all these exist, That by which all
these worlds come into existence and That which is
indeed all these That alone is the existing
Reality. Let us cherish that Self, which is the
Reality in the Heart.
It is said that Reality is real, and that the world
is an illusion; again it is said that the whole
universe is an image of Reality. How are these two
statements to be reconciled? In the sadhak stage
[practice of spiritual discipline], you
have got to say that the world is an illusion.
There is no other way, because when a man forgets
that he is Reality, who is real, permanent and
Omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that
he is a body in the universe which is filled with
bodies that are transitory, and labours under that
delusion, you have got to remind him that the world
is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because, his vision,
which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the
external material universe and will not turn
inwards into introspection unless you impress on
him that all this external material universe is
unreal. When once he realises his own Self, and
also that there is nothing other than his own Self,
he will come to look upon the whole universe as
Reality. There is no universe without his Self. So
long as a man does not see his own Self which is
the origin of all, but looks upon the external
world as real and permanent, you have to tell him
that it is an illusion. You cannot help it. Take a
newspaper. We see only the script, and nobody
notices the paper on which the script is printed.
The paper is there, whether the script on it is
there or not. To those who look upon the script as
real, you have to say that it is unreal, since it
rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both
the paper and script as one. So also with Reality
and the universe.
In my sight, "I"
only am and "you" are not. In your sight, "you"
only are and "I" am not. In the sight of the Self,
the Self alone exists and nothing else. In truth I,
you and all are nothing but the Self.
Only when the Self is gained is permanent, perfect,
blissful peace attained. In this Self-sovereignty,
non-dual, heaven-like, all-pervasive, no desire and
no fear can exist.
Man is always the Self and yet he does not know it.
Instead he confounds it with the non-Self, the
body, etc. Such confusion is due to ignorance. If
ignorance is wiped out the confusion will cease to
exist and the true knowledge will be unfolded. By
remaining in contact with realised sages the man
gradually loses the ignorance until its removal is
complete. The Eternal Self is thus revealed.
Gaze at your own real nature. It is immaterial
whether the eyes are open or closed. Everywhere
there is only the One, so it is all the same
whether you keep your eyes open or closed. If you
wish to meditate, do so on the "I" that is within
you. It is Self. Because it has no eyes, there is
no need either to open or close the eyes. When you
attain Self-knowledge, there will no longer be any
ideas about the world. When you are sitting in a
room, whether the windows are open or closed, you
are the same person, in the same state. In the same
way, if you abide in the state of Reality, it is
all the same whether the eyes are open or closed.
It matters little whether external activities go on
The Self is pure consciousness in sleep; it evolves
as "I" without the "this" [idam] in the
transition stage; and manifests as "I" and "this"
in the waking state. The individual's experience is
by means of "I" only. So he must aim at realisation
in the way indicated [i.e., by means of the
transitional "I"]. Otherwise the
sleep-experience does not matter to him. If the
transitional "I" be realised the substratum is
found and that leads to the goal.
People think freedom is somewhere yonder and should
be sought out. They are wrong. Freedom is only
knowing the Self, within yourself. Concentrate, and
you will get it.
In my sight "I" only am and "you" are not. In your
sight "you" only are and "I" am not. In the sight
of the Self the Self alone exists and nothing else.
In truth I, you and all are nothing but the
Just as a river does not continue to flow after its
discharge into the ocean, so also a person loses
all movements after he merges in the Self.
You cannot by any means escape the Self. You want
to see Reality in all, but not in yourself? If all
is Reality, are you not included in that all?
To abide in the Self, you must love the Self.
The inner Self, primeval Spirit, Eternal, ever
effulgent, full and Infinite bliss, single,
indivisible, Whole and living, shines in everyone
as the witnessing Awareness.
The Self in its splendour, shining in the cavity of
the Heart as the subtle, pervasive, yet unmanifest
ether, illumines this universe like the sun.
The Self is neither born nor dies, it neither grows
nor decays, nor does it suffer any change. When a
pot is broken, the space inside it is not;
similarly, when the body dies, the Self in it
To see a light, no other light is needed. So also,
the Self, being self-luminous, needs no other means
of knowledge. See the Self, and ignorance will be
found not to exist.
The Self is the real book. You can glance anywhere
in that book; nobody can take it away from you.
Whenever you are free, turn towards the Self.
Thereafter you may read whatever you like.
No one denies
that the physical organ [heart] is on the
left; but the Heart [a synonym for the
Self] which I speak of is the seat of
consciousness at the right side of the chest. This
is my experience and I require no authority for it;
still you can find confirmation in a Malayalam
Ayurveda book, and in the Sita
In brief, the "I"-thought is the root of all
thoughts. The Source of the "I"-thought is the
The Heart is not the blood circulating organ.
Hridayam means, "This is the centre." Thus it
stands for the Self.
The location of the Heart is on the right side of
the chest and not on the left. The light of
consciousness flows from the Heart through the
sushumna, or Eternal channel, to the thousand
petalled lotus in the crown of the head
From the sahasrara, consciousness spreads all over
the body, and then the experience of the world
arises. Viewing themselves as different from that
consciousness, human beings get caught in the cycle
of births and deaths.
Being-consciousness, which is authentic bliss, and
which is shining in the Heart, should be taken to
be the target of your attention at all times.
Through one-pointed buddi-yoga [merging of the
mind] worship it in the Heart, without any
forgetfulness and thereby abide steadfastly as
That. This alone is the consummation of your
Heart is another name for Reality. It is neither
inside nor outside the body. There can be no in and
out for it, since It alone is. This world is not
other than the mind, the mind is not other than the
Heart is merely another name for the Supreme
Spirit, because He is in all hearts. The entire
universe is condensed in the body, and the entire
body in the Heart. Thus the Heart is the nucleus of
the whole universe.
He whose delusive ego completely subsides and
becomes one with existence consciousness, will
cease from making the effort of starting any action
or karma and will shine in the Heart, having
attained the natural and peaceful state of
God, the Transcendental being, resides in the Heart
as "I-I", the Atma-swarupa [the Self which is
one's true nature] as mere being, free of
thought. Amongst the many thousands of Divine names
given to Him in the the many different religions
and languages, no other name is so perfectly apt,
and has such true elegance, as the name "I am".
In the centre of the cavity of the Heart, the sole
Reality shines by itself as the Self in the feeling
of "I-I". Reach the Heart by diving within
yourself, either with control of breath, or with
thought concentrated on the quest of Self. You will
thus get fixed in the Self.
For those whose attention is focused on the Self,
only the name "I-I", among the many known names of
God, will constantly reverberate in the Heart
firmament once the ego has been destroyed. It will
remain, centre-stage, as the silent Transcendental
The entire universe is in the body and the whole
body is in the Heart. Hence, the universe is
contained in the Heart.
The Heart is to the body what the sun is to the
world. Just as the sun gives light to the moon, the
Heart lights the mind.
A mortal absent from the Heart sees only the mind,
just as the light of the moon alone is seen at
night when the sun has set.
The mind of the knower, abiding in the Heart, is
merged in the consciousness of the Heart like the
moonlight in daylight.
Though the verbal meaning of the term prajnana
[intelligence] is the mind, the wise know
its essential meaning to be the Heart. The Supreme
is only the Heart.
The distinction between the seer and the seen is
only in the mind. For those abiding in the Heart
the perception is unitary.
When there is a forcible arrest of thoughts, by
swooning, sleep, excessive joy or sorrow, fear and
so on, the mind goes back to the Source, the Heart.
Such a merger is unconscious and the person is
unaware of it. However, when one consciously enters
the Heart, it is termed samadhi. Hence, the
difference in names.
Because you seek true consciousness, where can you
find it? Can you attain it outside of yourself? You
have to find it internally. Therefore, you are
directed inward. The Heart is the seat of
consciousness, or is the consciousness itself.
When the 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,
no lamp is needed for it is self-luminous.
Similarly with the mind. The reflected light of the
mind is necessary to perceive objects [or the
world composed of objects], but to see the
Heart it is enough for the mind to be turned
towards it. Then the mind is lost in it and the
Heart shines forth.
The Heart is the centre of spiritual experience,
according to the testimony of sages. The spiritual
Heart centre is not an organ of the body. All that
you can say is that it is the core of your being,
that with which you are identical, whether you are
awake, asleep or dreaming, whether you are engaged
in work or immersed in Transcendental consciousness
The questioner asking about the Heart's location
accepts his bodily existence. It is from this point
of view that any reference to a physical body comes
to be made. What is indicated is the position of
the Heart in relation to your identify.
When the schoolboy says, "I did the sum correctly",
or when he asks you, "Shall I run and get the book
for you?", would he point to the head that did the
sum correctly, or to his legs that will swiftly get
you that book?
No, in both cases his finger points out quite
naturally towards the right side of his chest, thus
giving innocent expression to the profound Truth
that the Source of "I"-ness in him is there. It is
an unerring intuition that makes him refer to
himself, to the Heart in that way.
The truth of oneself alone is worthy of being
scrutinised and known. Taking it as the target of
one's attention, one should keenly know it in the
The knowledge of oneself will be revealed only to
the consciousness which is silent, clear and free
from activity of the agitated and suffering
Know that consciousness which always shines in the
Heart as the formless Self, "I". It is known by
one's being still, without thinking about anything
as existent or non-existent.
Satsanga [keeping conscious company] will
make the mind sink into the Heart.
If concentration is made with the brain, sensations
of heat and headache ensue. Concentration has to be
made with the Heart, which is cool and
If you practice Self-enquiry your will reach the
Heart, which is the Self. Go to the Source, direct,
and do not depend on borrowed resources. The Source
is the Heart, the Self.
In the centre [interior] of the Heart cave,
Reality alone shines as "I-I" [i.e., it is the
feeling of being oneself experienced as "I-I" in
the Heart]. Enter into the Heart through
Self-enquiry, or by merging the mind with the Self,
or by breath control, and become rooted as
There is no
entity, as such, which we can call "mind". Because
thoughts emerge, we assume that there is something
from which they emerge, and we term that "mind".
"Thinking" or "the discriminating faculty" are mere
names. Whether it is "ego", "mind" or "intellect",
it is the same. Whose mind is it? Whose intellect
is it? It is the ego's. Is the ego real? No. We are
confused by the ego and call it "intellect" or
"mind". When we probe to see what it is, we
discover that there is nothing there. After it has
thus disappeared, Eternal peace remains.
The one that thinks is yourself. Let action occur
of its own accord. Why associate yourself with the
difficulty? When you have to go outdoors you just
lift your feet and go without thinking about it.
Like this, the state becomes automatic, and when
necessary, thinking arises and disappears of its
own accord. Intuition works when there is no
thought, and intuition will guide you. Those who
have made big discoveries, have made them not when
they were anxious about them, but in the stillness,
by intuition rather than by thinking.
What is the mind? If one searches to find out, then
there would be no separate entity as the mind.
The mind is only a bundle of thoughts. They are
dependent on the "I"-thought. Know the "I"-thought
to be the mind.
There is no entity by name of mind. Because of the
emergence of thoughts, we surmise something from
which they start. That we term "mind".
He who thinks, raises troubles. The real "I" is
silent. Thoughts are the enemy. Thoughts amount to
the creation of the universe. In their absence
there is neither world nor God nor creator. Give up
thoughts and you need not give up anything
Thoughts alone make up the mind. Of all thoughts,
the "I"-thought is the root. What is called mind is
but the notion "I". When one turns within and
searches whence this "I"-thought arises, the "I"
vanishes and wisdom's quest begins.
All phenomena consisting of names and forms are of
the nature of mind alone.
The mind turned inward is the Self; turned outward
it becomes the ego and all the world. The mind does
not exist apart from the Self, i.e., it has no
independent existence. The Self exists without the
mind, never the mind without the Self.
Destroy the power of the mind by seeking it. When
the mind is examined, its activities cease. As
thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and
there in the very place of their origin, through
Are you distinct from your thoughts? Do you exist
without them? [Yes.] But, can thoughts
exist without you?
The mind functions on account of a single root
thought, the "I"-thought. It has no existence as a
No thought will go in vain. Every thought will
produce its effect some time or other. Thought
force will never go in vain.
The wavering of the mind is a weakness arising from
the dissipation of its energy in the shape of many
thoughts. When one makes the mind stick to one
thought, the energy is conserved and the mind
becomes strong [capable of remaining poised in
The purified mind alone is capable of grasping a
method and sticking to its practice.
Many fear that with the destruction of the mind,
they themselves will cease to exist. But manonasa
[destruction of the mind] is nothing to be
feared. What we conceive of now as mind is only a
combination of rajas [restlessness] and
tamas [dullness]. By their elimination, the
mind becomes pure. Such a mind is one's own swarupa
[real nature]. The activities of one whose
mind has been purified by Self-attention will
continue to be done. He will even appear to do the
work with greater attention and involvement. Yet he
is unaffected and always stays in the felicity of
Let your standpoint become that of wisdom
[steady abidance in the object of
meditation], then the world will be found to be
Mind is a wonderful force inherent in the Self.
That which arises in this body as "I" is the mind.
When the subtle mind emerges through the brain and
the senses, the gross names and forms are cognized.
When it remains in the Heart, names and forms
disappear. If the mind remains in the Heart, the
"I" or the ego which is the source of all thoughts
will go, and the Self, the real, Eternal "I" alone
will shine. Where there is not the slightest trace
of the ego, there is the Self.
appears and disappears and is transitory, whereas
the real Self is permanent. Though you are the true
Self, you actually identify it with the
Look for it, the ego vanishes; and Self alone
The ego is described as having three bodies, the
gross, subtle and causal; but that is only for the
purpose of analytical exposition. If the method of
enquiry were to depend on ego's form, you may take
it that any enquiry would become altogether
impossible, because the forms the ego may assume
are legion. Therefore, for the purpose of
Self-enquiry, you have to proceed on the basis that
the ego has but one form, namely that of the
limited feeeling of "I"-ness.
Although the concept of "I"-ness, or "I am", is by
usage known as aham-vritti [the
"I"-thought], it is not really a thought like
other thoughts of the mind. Because, unlike other
thoughts which have no essential interconnection,
the "I"-thought is equally and essentially related
to each and every thought of the mind.
The search for the Source of the "I"-thought is not
merely the search for the basis of one of the forms
of ego, but for the very Source from which arises
The enquiry into the Source of the "I"-thought
touches the very existence of the ego. Therefore,
the subtlety of the ego's forms is not a material
From the functional point of view, the ego has one
and only one characteristic. The ego serves as a
knot between the Self, which is pure consciousness,
and the physical body which is inert. The ego is,
therefore, called the knot between consciousness
and the inert body.
In your investigation into the Source of the ego,
you have the essential consciousness aspect of the
ego. For this reason, the enquiry must lead to the
realisation of the pure consciousness of the
Thoughts arise because there is a thinker. The ego
is the root-thought from which all other thoughts
arise. If sought, it will vanish automatically.
Born of forms, rooted in forms, feeding on forms,
ever changing its forms, itself formless, this
ego-ghost takes to its heels on enquiry.
On the rising of the ego, everything else rises.
With its subsidence, all subside. The ego is
therefore all. Tracking it is the way to victory
Discover the real Source of the ego by exploring
within with keen intellect, by regulating breath,
speech and mind, as one would do to recover a thing
which has fallen into a deep well. The ego falls,
crestfallen, when one enquires "Who am I?" and
enters the Heart.
The moment the ego-self tries to know itself, it
changes its character; it begins to partake less
and less of the inert in which it is absorbed, and
more and more of the consciousness of the Self.
To ask for the omission of your name is as much
egoism as to desire its inclusion.
In the enquiry "Who am I?", the "I" is the ego. The
question really means, what is the source or origin
of this ego?
Be what you are. All that is necessary is to lose
the ego. That which is, is always there. Even now
you are that. The blank [which occurs for some
after long practice of the enquiry] is seen by
you. You are there to see the blank. What do you
wait for? You have fallen into the snares of the
ego. Therefore, leave off all this verbiage. Be as
Your duty is to be, and not to be this or that. The
method is summed up in the words, "Be still." What
does stillness mean? It means giving up the notion
that "I am so and so."
Meditation is possible only if the ego is kept up.
There is the ego, and the object meditated upon.
The method is therefore indirect because the Self
is one. Seeking the ego, that is, its Source, the
ego disappears and what is left is the Self. This
method is the direct one.
What is fear? It is only a thought. First the ego
rises and sees the object as external. Anything
external implies the existence of the seer within.
Seeking its Source will eliminate doubt and fear.
Not only fear, all other thoughts centred around
the ego will disappear along with it.
It is the ego that is the cause of all the world;
and, if the ego is dissolved by enquiry, everything
crumbles, and reality of the Self alone
Find out to whom all questions occur. By conducting
this enquiry, fear and anxiety will disappear. They
are impermanent. Do not pay attention to them. When
there is knowledge of duality, fear arises. Fear
only comes when you think that there are others
apart from you. If you direct your mind towards the
Self, fear and anxiety will go away. In your
present state, when your mind is agitated, if you
remove one kind of fear, another will rise up and
there will be no end of them. It is a laborious
task to pluck the leaves off a tree one by one. The
"I" feeling is the root of all thoughts. If you
destroy the root, the leaves and branches will
wither away. Instead of forming bad habits and
taking medicine for them, it is better to see that
such bad habits are not formed.
First find out whether there is an "I" in you or
not. It is this ego "I" [ahankara] that
gets these thoughts and, as a result, you feel
weakness. Therefore find out how identification
with the body takes place. Body consciousness is
the cause of all misery. When you conduct the
enquiry into the ego "I", you will find out its
Source and you will be able to remove it.
Those attached to
objects, and having endless thoughts due to the
strength of latent tendencies, find it difficult to
control the mind.
One should control the fickle mind by restraint of
breath. Then it would, like a tethered animal,
cease to stray.
Thoughts are controlled by regulation of breath.
Then one abides at their Source.
Watching the flow of breath with the mind is
restraint of it. Such watching, if constant,
steadies the breath.
If the mind lacks the necessary strength for
constant watching of breath, then restriction of
breath by hatha yogic practices is suggested.
Exhaling one unit of time, inhaling one unit of
time, and retaining breath for four units of time
purifies the channels through which breath
Breath control comes gradually when the channels
are purified. When such regulation becomes
permanent, it becomes natural.
The wise regard the giving up of the notion "I am
the body" as exhaling, Self-enquiry as inhaling,
and abidance in the Heart as natural breath
The mind also gets controlled by repetition of
sacred syllables. Then the syllables, the mind, and
breath become one.
The merging of the mind and breath is meditation
and it leads to the natural state when it becomes
deep and firm.
By keeping, daily, the company of great ones
[those enlightened, or sages] always rooted
in consciousness, one's mind gets merged in its
The mind becomes quiescent by regulation of breath,
like a bird caught in a net. This is a means of
Mind and breath, expressing themselves as
consciousness and action, are only two branches of
the same power.
Mind is the rider and the breath is the horse.
Pranayama [breath control] is a check on
the horse. By that check the rider is checked. It
may be done first a little. Watching the breath is
one way to do it. The mind is abstracted from other
activities and engaged in watching the breath. That
controls the breath and in-turns the mind.
Thought and respiration are both different aspects
of the same individual life current upon which both
Breath control is meant for one who cannot directly
control his thoughts. It serves as a brake serves a
A floating body does not readily sink unless some
means are adopted for doing so. Pranayama
[breath control] makes the mind quiescent.
The mind must be alive and meditation pursued
unremittingly even when at peace. It sinks into the
It is necessary
to be aware and alert while controlling thoughts.
Otherwise it will lead to sleep.
one's own Self, which is ever shining as "I", the
one undivided and pure Reality, is the only raft
with which the individual, who is deluded by
thinking "I am the body", can cross the ocean of
Reality is simply the loss of ego. Destroy the ego
by seeking its identity. Because the ego is no
entity, it will automatically vanish and Reality
will shine forth by itself. This is the direct
method, whereas all other methods are done only by
retaining the ego. In those paths there arise so
many doubts and the eternal question "Who am I?"
remains to be tackled finally. But in this method
the final question is the only one and it is raised
from the beginning. No spiritual practices are
necessary for engaging in this quest.
The enquiry into the Self is inclusive of faith,
devotion, knowledge, Yoga and all the traditional
Joy and pain are the attributes of the ego. When,
by Self-enquiry, you realise that you are not that
sheath [the ego], where is the pleasure or
pain for you? Your real nature transcends all such
feelings. So the benefit of Self-enquiry is
tangible in the shape of escape from all the ills
and sorrows of life. What more could one want? One
who is always stationed in the Self will not be
disturbed, even in the midst of a crowd. Such a one
has no need or desire for solitude.
Knowing the Self means being the Self.
Seek your Source. Find out from whence the thought
"I" springs or rises.
Self-enquiry is not the mind's inspection of its
own contents. It is tracing the mind's first mode,
the "I"-thought, to its Source which is the Self.
The very purpose of Self-enquiry is to focus the
entire mind on its Source. Let go the passing
thoughts and hold on to the unchanging Self.
Self-enquiry alone can reveal the truth that
neither the ego nor mind really exists, and enable
one to realise the pure, undifferentiated being of
the Self. Having realised the Self, nothing remains
to be known.
Enquire until there is no one left to enquire.
When thoughts arise, one should not pursue them,
but should enquire: "To whom do they arise?" It
does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each
thought arises, one should enquire with diligence,
"To whom has this thought arisen?" The answer that
would emerge would be "To me." Thereupon if one
enquires "Who am I?", the mind will go back to its
Source; and the thought that arose will become
quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner,
the mind will develop the skill to stay in its
Source. When the mind that is subtle goes out
through the brain and the sense-organs, the gross
names and forms appear; when it stays in the Heart,
the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind
go out, but retaining it in the Heart is what is
called "inwardness". Letting the mind go out of the
Heart is known as "externalisation". Thus, when the
mind stays in the Heart, the "I" which is the
source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which
ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one
should do without the egoity "I". If one acts in
that way, all will appear as of the nature of Shiva
Strenuously endeavor to know the Self. Develop the
introspective attitude. Constantly put before the
mind the query, "Who am I?"
This Self-enquiry is not the critical study of the
scriptures. When the Source is searched for and
found within, the ego gets merged in it.
For all thoughts the Source is the "I"-thought. The
mind will merge only by Self-enquiry.
You are the mind, or rather you think you are the
mind. The mind is nothing but thoughts. Behind
every particular thought there is a general thought
which is "I"; that is yourself. Let us call it the
first thought. Stick to this "I"-thought and
question it to find out what it is.
I do not say that you must go on rejecting every
thought. If you cling to the "I"-thought, when your
interest keeps you to that single idea, other
thoughts get rejected, and automatically they
Self-enquiry is not intellectual. It is the inner
quest that takes you prior to the mind and
Frequently, if not constantly, question and search
If you go the way of your thoughts, you will be
carried away by them, and will find yourself in an
endless maze. Enquire, "For whom is there
distraction?" It will not be difficult after a
little practice. If the attempt is made, it will
eventually be found not so difficult.
All doubts will cease when the doubter and the
Source have been found. There is no use removing
doubts. If we clear one doubt, another doubt will
arise and there will be no end to doubts. But if
the doubter is found, all doubts will cease.
You are told to hold fast to the "I". If that is
done, the Eternal will reveal Itself.
The vichara or enquiry which you are making, that
is, its presence in the life of those who practice
it regularly, is itself the Guru's or God's
You say "I" and yet you say you don't know the "I".
Can anyone be ignorant of himself? Isn't that
ludicrous? In the case of the ever present,
inescapable "I" how can you be ignorant?
The result of Self-enquiry is the cure for all
sorrows. It is the highest of all results.
Self-enquiry itself is most meritorious and
Whatever be the means adopted, you must at last
return to the Self: so why not abide in the Self
here and now? To be a spectator of, or to speculate
about the other world, the Self is necessary;
therefore, they are not different from the Self.
Even the ignorant man when he sees the objects,
sees only the Self.
It is necessary
to practice meditation frequently and regularly
until the condition induced becomes habitual and
permanent throughout the day. Therefore,
You lost sight of the bliss because your meditative
attitude had not become natural and because of the
recurrence of latent tendencies of the mind. When
you become habitually reflective, the enjoyment of
spiritual beatitude becomes a matter of natural
experience. It is not by the single realisation of
"I am not the body" that the goal of Self is
reached. Do we become royalty by seeing a king
once? One must constantly enter samadhi
[absorption in the Self] and realise one's
Self, and completely blot out the old tendencies
and the mind, before one becomes the Self.
Meditation on the Self is our natural state. It is
only because we find it hard that we imagine it to
be an arbitrary and extraordinary state. We are all
unnatural. The mind resting in the Self is its
natural condition, but instead of that, our minds
are resting on outward objects.
Meditation helps to remove the illusion that the
Self must be seen. How do you see the "I" now? Do
you hold a mirror in front of yourself to know your
own being? The awareness is the "I". Realise That:
It is the Truth.
Withdrawing all thoughts from sense objects one
should remain fixed in steady non-objective
See the self by meditation in this manner. Trace
every thought to its origin. Never allow thought to
run on. If you do, it will be unending. Take it
back to its starting place and the mind will die of
inaction. Go back by the question, "Who am I?"
No meditation on any kind of object is helpful. In
meditating on an object, whether concrete or
abstract, you are destroying the sense of Oneness
and creating duality. Meditate on what you are, in
Obviously the seer is more real, true and important
than the seen, since the seen is dependent on it.
So, turn your attention to the Seer, who is the
Source of your "I", and realise That. Up to now,
you have been studying the object, not the subject.
Now, find out what the word "I" stands for.
All kinds of thoughts arise in meditation
unless they rise up, how can they be destroyed?
They rise up spontaneously in order to be
extinguished in due course. The Self is realised
with a mind that is turned inward. When the mind
sees its own Source it becomes That.
WHO AM I
? " AND "
WHENCE AM I
The thought "Who
am I?" will destroy all other thoughts and finally
kill itself also. If other thoughts arise, without
trying to complete them, one must enquire to whom
did this thought arise. What does it matter how
many thoughts arise? As each thought arises one
must be watchful and ask to whom is this thought
occurring. The answer will be "To me." If you
enquire "Who am I?", the mind will return to its
Source. The thought which arose will also submerge.
As you practise like this more and more, the power
of the mind to remain as its Source is
As for the necessity of watching the breath before
enquiring "Who am I?", all depends on a man's
aptitude and his fitness. Those who do not have the
mental strength to concentrate and direct it on the
quest, are advised to watch their breath; since
such watching would, as a matter of course, bring
the mind under control.
"Who am I?" will destroy all other thoughts, and
like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre,
it will itself be destroyed in the end. As long as
there are impressions of objects in the mind, so
long is the enquiry "Who am I?" required. As long
as there are enemies within the fortress, they will
continue to sally forth; but if they are destroyed
as they emerge, the fortress will fall into our
As a matter of fact, in the quest method, which is
more correctly "Whence am I?" and not merely "Who
am I?", we are trying to find whence the
"I"-thought [the ego, the mind] arises
within us. The method contains within itself,
though implicitly, the watching of breath. When we
watch the root of thoughts, we are necessarily
watching the Source of breath also, as the
"I"-thought and breath arise from the same
To enquire "Who am I?" is really trying to find out
the Source of the "I"-thought. You are not to think
of other thoughts, such as "I am not the body,"
etc... Seeking the Source of "I"-thought serves as
a means of getting rid of all other thoughts.
Who is born? It is only he who asks "Whence am I
born?" that is truly born in Brahman, the Prime
Source. He indeed is born eternally; He is the Lord
of saints; He is the ever-new.
We should not give scope for other thoughts, but
keep attention fixed on the "I"-thought. This is
done by asking to whom the thought arises, and if
the answer is "I", get rid of the thought by asking
the question who is this "I" and whence its
The meditation or mantra "Soham" ["I am
That"] is not the same as "Who am I?" They are
different. Why should we go on repeating "Soham"
[or affirming "I am That"]? One must find
the real "I" within. Tracing within to the Source
of "I" we see it [the apparent sense of
"I"] has no separate existence, but merges in
the real "I".
"Who am I?" is not to be used as a mantra. If means
you must find out where in you rises the
"I"-thought, which is the source of all other
Perception, memory or any other experience only
comes to the "I". You don't have these experiences
during sleep, and yet you existed during sleep.
And, you exist now too. That shows that "I"
continues while other things come and go.
"Who am I?" means you must concentrate and see
where the "I"-thought arises. Instead of looking
outwards, look inwards and see where the"I"-thought
Never mind whether there are visions or sounds or
anything else, or whether there is a void. Are you
present during all this, or are you not? You must
have been there even during the void, to be able to
say you experienced the void. To be found in that
"you" is the quest for the "I", from start to
Whatever other methods may be chosen, there will
always be the doer. That cannot be escaped. Just
who is that doer is what must be found out. Until
then, the sadhana [practice] cannot be
ended. So, eventually all must come to find out
"Who am I?" You complain that there is nothing
preliminary or positive to start with. You have the
"I" to start with.
Suggestive replies to the enquiry, such as
"Sivoham" ["I am Shiva"], are not to be
given to the mind during this meditation. The true
answer will come by itself. Any answer which the
ego might give cannot be correct. These
affirmations or auto-suggestions may be of help to
those who follow other methods, but not in this
method of enquiry.
The enquiry to know the Self is different from the
method of "Sivoham" or "Soham" ["I am He"].
I rather lay stress upon Self-knowledge; for, you
are first concerned with yourself before you
proceed to know the world and its Lord. The "Soham"
meditation of "I am Brahman" meditation is more or
less a mental thought. But the quest I speak of is
a direct method and indeed superior to other
meditations. For the moment you get into a movement
of quest for the self, and go deeper and deeper,
the real Self is waiting to take you in. Then,
whatever is done is done by something else, and you
have no hand in it.
You gain steadiness in practice, only through more
"Whence does the
"I" arise?" Seek this within. The "I" then
vanishes. This is the pursuit of wisdom. Where
the "I" vanished, there appears an "I-I" by itself.
This is the Infinite.
Though it reveals itself thus, it is not the ego
"I", but the perfect being, the Self Absolute.
Where this "I" vanished and merged in its
Source, there appears spontaneously and
continuously an "I-I". This is the Heart, the
Infinite Supreme Being.
On diving deep upon the quest "Who am I and
from whence?", thoughts disappear and
consciousness of Self then flashes forth as
the "I-I" within the cavity of every seeker's
The "I-I" consciousness is the Absolute. Though it
comes before sahaja [the permanent and
highest level of experiencing the Self], there
is in it as in sahaja itself the subtle
intellect; the difference being that in the latter
the sense of forms disappear, which is not the case
in the former.
Making the corpse-body remain as a corpse, and not
even uttering the word "I", one should enquire
keenly thus: "Now, what is it that rises as "I"?"
Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of
wordless illumination of the form "I-I". That is,
there would shine of its own accord the pure
consciousness which is unlimited and One, the
limited and the many thoughts having disappeared.
If one remains quiescent without abandoning that
experience, the egoity, the individual sense, of
the form "I am the body" will be totally destroyed,
and at the end the final thought, the "I-form" also
will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor.
The great sages and scriptures declare that this
alone is release.
It is the Divine Self that shines in the Heart as
When the mind turns inward seeking "Who am I?" and
merges in the Heart, then the "I" hangs down his
head in shame and the one "I" appears as
Rejoice eternally! The Heart rejoices at the feet
of the Lord, who is the Self, shining within as
"I-I" eternally, so that there is no alternation of
night and day. This will result in removal of
ignorance of the Self.
That realisation of "I" is indeed the Self which is
experienced as "I-I" shining of its own accord, the
Absolute being, the witness of the three states of
waking, dream, and deep sleep, distinct from the
five sheaths, aware of the mental modes in the
waking and dream states, and of their absence in
the state of deep sleep.
experience anything, but you must never rest
content with that; whether you experience pleasure
or pain, ask yourself the question, "Who feels the
pleasure?" and carry on the practice
[sadhana] until pleasure and pain are
transcended, till Reality alone remains.
You say you go to sleep while meditating. Once you
go to sleep, you can do nothing about it. But while
you are awake, try to keep away all thoughts. When
you pass into sleep, the state in which you were
before falling asleep will continue when you wake
up. You will continue from where you left off when
you fell into slumber.
So long as these thoughts of activity are there,
sleep will also be there. Thoughts and sleep are
counterparts of the same thing.
We should not sleep too much or go without it
altogether, but sleep only moderately. To prevent
too much sleep, we must try and have no thoughts.
As an aid in overcoming the tendency to sleep or go
unconscious during meditation eat only sattvic
[pure, not spicy or highly seasoned] food,
and that too in moderate measure; and not indulge
in too much physical activity.
Sleep is the first obstacle. The second is the
sense objects of the world which divert one's
attention. The third is thoughts in the mind about
previous experiences with sense objects. The fourth
is bliss. In that state the thought, "I am the
enjoyer," is still present. The final state of
samadhi is to be reached in which one is the bliss,
or one with Reality.
The more you get fixed in the Self, the more the
thoughts will drop off themselves. Regulation of
life such as getting up at a fixed hour,
bathing, doing mantra, japa [repetition],
observing ritual, all this is for people who
do not feel drawn to Self-enquiry; or, are not
capable of it. But for those who can practice this
method, all rules and disciplines are
Success in turning the mind inward is achieved by
practice [Self-enquiry] and dispassion and
it succeeds only gradually.
Do not regret tamas [inertia,
sluggishness], but when sattva [purity,
harmony] comes into play, hold on to it and
make the best of it.
The thought "I am not able to concentrate" is
itself an obstacle. Why should the thought
There is consciousness along with quietness in the
mind. This is exactly the state to be aimed at.
The word "diving" is only appropriate if one has to
turn the mind within in order to avoid being
distracted by the outgoing tendencies of the mind.
But when deep quietness prevails without
obstructing the consciousness, where is the need to
of the page
necessary up to the stage of realisation. Even
then, the Self should spontaneously become evident,
otherwise happiness will not be complete. Up to the
state of spontaneity, there must be effort in some
form or other.
Divine Grace is essential for realisation. But
Grace is vouchsafed only to him who is a true
devotee, or a yogi [one working to gain union
of the mind and Self]. It is given only to
those who have striven hard and ceaselessly on the
path to freedom.
There is a state beyond effort and effortlessness.
However, until it is realised effort is
That which is, is peace. All that we need do is to
keep quiet. Peace is our real nature. We spoil it.
What is required is that we cease to spoil it.
Grace is always there. But practice is also
necessary. Staying in the Self by one's efforts
[with Self-enquiry] is like training a
roguish bull to remain confined to his stall by
tempting him with luscious grass and preventing him
It is necessary both for you to strive, and for the
Guru to help. The Guru's Grace is indispensable,
but so is one's own effort in putting into practice
the instructions given by the Guru.
Effort must be made in the waking state with alert
consciousness and the Self realised here and
Effortlessness and choiceless awareness is our real
nature. If we can attain that state and abide in
it, it is all right. But, one cannot reach it
without effort, the effort of deliberate
Of course, every master and every book tell the
aspirant to keep quiet, but it is not easy to do
so. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even
it we find somebody who has achieved this Supreme
state of stillness, you may take it that the
necessary effort had already been made in a
See what helped you to keep out thoughts and adopt
that for meditation.
Your effort is meant not to allow yourself to be
distracted by other thoughts than your
Practices are needed as long as one has not
realised. They are for putting an end to obstacles
to abiding in the Self.
As soon as they come here, some want to immediately
be Self-realised beings. They ignore the effort
involved or required.
Is there a short cut to liberation? Is it something
to be purchased in a shop?
What is important is steadfast resolve. It does not
make much difference if you concentrate on the top
of the nose, the centre of the eyebrows [or
sound of the mantra], and so on. The really
important thing is to pay attention to the Source
of [perception or] the mantra, [to the
"I" that hears the mantra or perceives the objects
of concentration]. Keep your attention fixed on
Perseverance alone counts. The more you meditate,
the easier it becomes to meditate. Till at last it
Practice is necessary. Then there is Grace.
Your repeated effort is bound to erase tendencies.
Leave God's job to God. You have to do what is in
When the time is ripe, God's Grace, which is always
operating, will be felt.
The mistake one is prone to make is to abandon
effort under the mistaken impression that God's
Grace is absent.
One should not slacken, for God's Grace is bound to
operate in due time, when you are ripe.
If one gains
association with sadhus, of what use are all the
religious observances? When the excellent cool
southern breeze itself is blowing, what is the use
of holding a hand fan?
Sacred bathing places, that are composed of water,
and images and deities, which are made of stone and
earth, cannot be comparable to those great souls.
Ah, what a wonder! The bathing places and deities
bestow purity of mind after countless days, whereas
such purity is instantly bestowed upon people as
soon as sadhus see them with their eyes.
Heat will be removed by the cool moon, poverty by
the celestial wish-fulfilling tree and sin by the
Ganges. But know that all these, beginning with
heat, will be removed merely by having darshan
[sight] of incomparable sadhus.
The Supreme state which is praised and which is
attained here in this life by clear Self-enquiry,
which arises in the Heart when association with a
sadhu is gained, is impossible to attain by
listening to preachers, by studying and learning
the meaning of the scriptures, by virtuous deeds or
by any other means.
By satsanga the association with the objects of the
world will be removed. When that worldly
association is removed the attachment or tendencies
of the mind will be destroyed. Those who are devoid
of mental attachment will perish in That which is
motionless. Thus they attain liberation. Cherish
Satsanga really means "association with the
unmanifest Sat or Reality." But as very few can do
that they have to do the second best, which is
association with the manifest Truth [Sat]
that is, the Guru. One who knows or has
realised the Truth is also regarded as Truth.
Satsanga will make the mind sink into the Heart.
Such association is both mental and physical. The
extremely visible being of the Guru pushes the mind
inward. He is also in the Heart of the seeker and
so he draws the latter's inward-bent mind into the
Association with sages should be made because
thoughts are so persistent. The sage has already
overcome the mind and remains in peace. Being in
his proximity helps to bring about this condition
in others, otherwise there is no meaning in seeking
his company. The Guru provides the needed strength
for this, unseen by others.
A floating body may be loaded with weights and made
to sink. So also, association with the wise will
make the mind sink in the Heart.
What is the good of mere physical proximity to the
Guru? The mind alone matters. The mind must make
contact, and be contacted.
Such association with Truth, or one who knows the
Truth, is absolutely necessary for all. Shankara
has said that in all the three worlds there is no
boat like satsanga to carry one safely across the
ocean of births and deaths.
In the proximity of a great master, the mental
tendencies cease to be active, the mind becomes
still and Transcendental awareness
[samadhi] results. Thus, the disciple gains
true knowledge and right experience in the presence
of the master. To remain unshaken in it further
efforts are necessary. Eventually the disciple will
know it to be his real being and will thus be
liberated even while alive.
By remaining in contact with realised sages, the
man gradually loses the ignorance until its removal
is complete. The Eternal Self is then revealed.
The marks of a
Guru are steady abidance in the Self, looking at
all with an equal eye, unshakable courage at all
times, in all places and circumstances.
He is a proper Guru to who your mind is attuned. He
should be endowed with tranquillity, patience,
forgiveness and other virtues. He should be capable
of attracting others even with his eyes, just as a
magnet attracts iron. He should have a feeling of
equality towards all. He who has these virtues is a
Choose that one where you find you get peace.
If you wish to know what is the nature or real form
[swarupa] of a Guru, you must know your own
nature or real form first. How can one know the
nature of the Guru if one does not know one's own
real nature? If you want to know the real nature of
the Guru you my must first learn to look upon the
whole world as the Guru's form. One must see Guru
in all living beings.
The Guru is the bestower of silence who reveals the
light of Self-knowledge which shines as the
residual Reality. Spoken words are of no use
whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of
Contact with the Guru is necessary.
It is like the elephant, which wakes up on seeing a
lion in its dream. Even as an elephant wakes up at
the mere sight of the lion, so too it is certain
that the disciple wakes up from the deep sleep of
ignorance into wakefulness of true knowledge
through the Guru's benevolent look of Grace.
Work within. The Guru is both within and without,
so He creates conditions to drive you inwards and
prepares the interior to drag you to the centre.
Thus He gives you a push from outside and exerts a
pull from within, so that you will be fixed at the
centre. In sleep you are centred within; on waking
your mind rushes out, simultaneously thinking this,
that and the other. This must be checked. It is
possible only for the agent who can work both
within and without. Can He be identified with a
Because you think you are a body, you think the
Guru also is a body and that He will do something
tangible to you. However, His work lies within, in
the spiritual realm.
He who instructs an ardent seeker to do this or
that is not a true Guru. The seeker is already
afflicted by his activities and wants peace and
rest. In other words, he wants cessation of his
activities. If a "teacher" tells him to do
something in addition to, or in place of, his other
activities, can that be a help to the seeker?
Activity is creation. Activity is the destruction
of one's inherent happiness. If activity is
advocated the adviser is not a Guru but a killer.
In such circumstances either the creator
[Brahma] or death [Yama] may be
said to have come in the guise of a
"master". Such a person cannot liberate the
aspirant, he can only strengthen his fetters.
The Guru is both external and internal. From the
exterior, He gives a push to the mind to turn it
inwards. From the interior, He pulls the mind
towards the Self and helps in guiding the mind.
This is Guru's Grace. There is no difference
between God, Guru and the Self.
God, who is immanent, in his Grace takes pity on
the loving devotee and manifests Himself according
to the devotee's development. The devotee thinks
that he is a man and expects a relationship between
two physical bodies. But the Guru, who is God
incarnate, works from within, helps the man to see
the error of his ways, and guides him on the right
path until he realises the Self within.
The Guru is absolutely necessary. The
Upanishads say that no one but a Guru can
take a man out of the jungle of mind, intellect and
A realised one sends out waves of spiritual
influence which draw many people towards him. Yet
he may sit in a cave and maintain complete silence.
We may listen to lectures upon Truth and come away
with hardly any grasp of the subject, but to come
into contact with a realised one, though he speaks
nothing, will give much more grasp of the subject.
He never needs to go out among the public. If
necessary he can use others as instruments.
The Guru does not bring about Self-realisation. He
simply removes the obstacles to it.
The Guru is always within you. If the disciple
finds the Guru internally, then it does not matter
where he goes. Staying here or elsewhere must be
understood to be the same and to have the same
Peace, the one thing desired by everyone, cannot be
attained in any way, by anyone, at any time or in
any place, unless the stillness of mind is obtained
through the Grace of the Guru. Therefore, always
seek that Grace with a one-pointed mind.
The Guru will go with the disciple in his own path
and then gradually turn him into the Supreme Path
at the ripe moment. Suppose the car is going at top
speed. To stop it at once, or turn it at once,
would be attended by disastrous consequences.
The Guru not being a physical form, His contact
will continue even after His physical form
vanishes. If one enlightened sage exists in the
world, his influence will be felt or benefit all
people and not simply his immediate disciples.
Conquering a thousand elephants is nothing besides
the Guru's power to conquer the rutting elephant of
It is necessary for you to strive, and natural for
the Guru to help.
To annihilate recurrent tendencies and bring to
being knowledge free from dread, delusion and
desire, know that the mantra true is but devotion
to the Guru's feet.
Who meditates on Guru's feet, the flawless flame of
pure Awareness, gains from Grace Supreme the gift
of pure Awareness, clarity of mind that ends all
If you are working with your available Light you
will meet your Guru, as He will be seeking you
The Guru is none other than the Self. Tayumanavar
says that God, the Self, is the Guru appearing as a
man to dispel the ignorance of man, just as a tame
deer is used as a decoy to capture a wild deer. He
has to appear in a body in order to dispel the "I
am the body" notion of the seeker.
If the Guru is silent the seeker's mind gets
purified by itself.
I have not said that a Guru is not necessary. But a
Guru need not always be in human form. First a
person thinks that he is an inferior and that there
is a superior, all-knowing, all powerful God who
controls his own and the world's destiny. So he
worships Him or does devotion to Him. When he
reaches a certain stage and becomes fit for
enlightenment, the same God whom he was worshipping
comes as a Guru and leads him on. That Guru comes
only to tell him that "God is within yourself. Dive
within and realise." God, Guru and the Self are the
Ripened by the matchless power of Self-awareness,
now the Guru stands as transcendent Being Supreme,
He who, penance done, becomes the target of His
glance of Grace, gains greatness that surpasses
Grace is there
all along. Grace is the Self. It is not something
to be acquired. All that is necessary is to know
its existence. In the same way, the sun is pure
brightness. It is ever there and shines and you are
surrounded by sunlight; still, if you want to know
the sun, you must turn your eyes in its direction
and look at it. Similarly, Grace is only to be
found by effort, although it is here and now.
We cannot attain realisation of the Self by our
mind, unaided by God's Grace.
One's ignorance of the Self-revealing immediacy of
Divine Grace is not proof of its absence. If the
owl does not see the sun that illumines the whole
world, is that the fault of the sun? Is it not due
to the ignorance of the bird, or the defectiveness
of it's sight?
Your very desire for Grace is due to the Grace that
is already working in you.
As for Grace, it is ever within you. You are never
out of its operation. Grace is always there.
In full enjoyment of silent bliss, the gift of
Grace that flows from wisdom's Lord, the Lord of
Self, the jiva's nirvana is casting off the
five-fold sheath, attachment to the body.
Grace is always present. You are neck deep in water
and yet cry for water. Dispassion cannot be
acquired, nor realisation of Truth, nor inherence
in the Self, in the absence of the Guru's Grace.
But practice is necessary.
Grace is in the beginning, middle and the end.
God, Grace and Guru are all synonymous and also
Eternal and immanent.
The highest form of Grace is silence. It is also
the highest instruction [upadesa].
Through Divine Grace, one can go beyond the
influences of past actions.
Individually we are incapable because our mind is
weak. Grace is necessary. Sadhu seva [serving a
holy being, one whose life is totally dedicated to
God] will bring it about.
To me there is no distinction. Grace is flowing
like the ocean, ever full. Everyone draws from it
according to his capacity. How can one who brings
only a tumbler complain that he isn't able to take
as much as another who has brought a jar?
It is only by God's Grace that you think of
Why do you cry that there is no mercy from the
Lord, what is there to sob about? Instead of being
poised in the Self, why do you go on wailing?
What is this talk of Guru's Grace? Does the Guru
hold you by the hand and whisper something in your
ear? You imagine him to be what you are yourself.
Because you are identified with the body, you think
that He is also a body, and will do something
tangible to you. But His work lies within. How is a
Guru found? If a devotee prays to God unselfishly,
God who is immanent, in His Grace takes pity on the
loving devotee and manifests Himself as a being
according to the devotee's standard. The devotee
thinks that it is a person and expects a
relationship between them as bodies, but the Guru,
who is God or Self incarnate, works from within,
helps the person to see the error of his ways, and
guides him along the right path until he realises
the Self within. After such a realisation, he
feels, "I was so worried before, I am after all the
Self, the same as before but not affected by
anything. Where is he now who was so miserable? He
is nowhere to be found." What should we do now?
Only live up to the words of the master.
If towards the Lord you take one single step, then
with much more than a mother's love He takes nine
steps towards you to accept you. Such is the Guru's
There are two
ways of achieving surrender. One is looking into
the Source of the "I" and merging into that Source.
The other is feeling "I am helpless myself, God
alone is all powerful, and except by throwing
myself completely on Him, there is no other means
of safety for me", and thus gradually developing
the conviction that God alone exists and the ego
does not count. Both methods lead to the same goal.
Complete surrender is another name for jnana or
Surrender appears easy because people imagine that
once they say, with their lips, "I surrender", that
they can be free to do whatever they like. But, the
fact is, you can have no likes or dislikes after
you surrender. Your will should become completely
non-existent, with the Lord's will taking its
Surrender is complete only when you reach the state
"Thou art All" and "Thy will be done."
You will know in due course that your glory lies
where you cease to exist. In order to gain that
state, you should surrender yourself. Then the
master sees that you are in a fit state to receive
guidance, and He guides you. The master is "within"
and "without". He gives a push from "without" and
exerts a pull from "within", so that you may be
fixed at the Centre. Leave it all to the master.
Surrender to Him without reserve.
All this talk of surrender is like pinching a
jaggery [refined brown sugar] image of Lord
Ganesa and presenting it as a sweets offering to
the same Lord. You say you offer your body, soul
and all possessions to God. Where they yours
[to begin with], that you could offer
You are perfect and complete, so abandon the idea
of incompleteness. There is nothing to be
destroyed. Ahankara, the individual "I", is not a
real thing. It is the mind that makes the effort
and the mind is not real. Just as it is not
necessary to kill a rope that one imagines to be a
snake, so also there is no need to kill the mind.
Knowing the form of the mind makes the mind
disappear. That which is forever non-existent is
If you have surrendered, you must be able to abide
by the will of God and not make a grievance of what
may not please you. Things may turn out differently
from [what you wish or] what they look
What is destiny? There is no destiny. Surrender,
and all will be well. Throw the responsibility on
God. Do no bear the burden yourself. What can
destiny do to you then?
During worldly activity, if your attention is fixed
on the fundamental Reality, there is no difficulty.
But ordinary people forget the Reality and take the
name alone to be real. The different "I"s are not
real. There is only one "I". The separate "I" is
like a watchman in a fort. He is like the protector
of the body. The real owner in everybody is only
the one real "I". So, when the separate "I"
surrenders to the real "I", then "I" and "mine" are
eliminated. The true state comes into existence
when, after sorting out what belongs to whom, the
ego "I" surrenders itself to the real owner.
The Grace of God is obtained, practically, by
If you have surrendered but still doubt God's
Grace, where does the fault lie? Grace is constant.
Your judgment is variable. Surrender will make one
understand His Grace.
You say you have surrendered but still do not feel
the Grace of God. Sincerity is wanting. Surrender
should not be verbal or conditional. Surrender
unreservedly and the higher power will reveal
The disciple surrenders to his master. That means
that there is no vestige of individuality retained
by the disciple. If surrender is complete, all
sense of individuality is lost and there is no
cause for misery. The Eternal Being is only
happiness, and that is revealed.
You ask if Grace cannot hasten competence for the
search. Leave it to God. Surrender to him
unreservedly. He never forsakes the one who has
surrendered. One of two things must be done. Either
surrender, because you admit your inability and
require the higher power to help you; or
investigate the cause of misery, go into the Source
and merge in the Self. Either way, you will be free
The ego submits only when it recognises the higher
power. Such a recognition is surrender or
submission. Otherwise, ego remains stuck up like an
image carved on a temple tower, making a pretense
by it strained look and posture that it is
supporting the tower on its shoulders. The ego
cannot exist without the power, but thinks that it
acts of its own accord.
Surrender to God and await his pleasure. If you ask
him to do as you please, it is not surrender but
demand of him. You cannot have him obey you and yet
think you have surrendered. He knows what is best
and when and how to do it. Leave everything
entirely to him. His is the burden, you have no
longer any cares.
All your cares are for him. Such is surrender.
Surrender can take effect when done with full
knowledge. Such knowledge comes after enquiry. It
ends in surrender.
If one has surrendered himself to God or Guru, the
power to which he has surrendered will take him on
the right course. One need no longer concern
himself about the course. The doubt will arise only
if he fails to obey the master in all details.
Surrender consists in giving up oneself and one's
possessions to the Lord of Mercy. Then what is left
over for the man? Nothing. Neither himself nor his
possessions. The body is liable to be born and to
die, but having made over to the Lord, mind need no
longer worry about it. Birth and death cannot
strike terror. For where is the identity of the
individual to be frightened?
It is true that the Divine will prevails at all
times and under all circumstances. The individuals
cannot act on their own accord. Recognise the force
of Divine will and keep quiet.
Surrender itself is a mighty prayer. If you believe
that God will do all the things that you want him
to do, then surrender yourself to him. Otherwise,
let God alone and know yourself.
Whose fault is it if the traveler, instead of
putting his luggage in the conveyance which bears
his load anyway, carries it on this head or in his
lap to his own inconvenience.
If full responsibility is thrown on the higher
power, things will go on of their own accord.
We walk on this ground. While doing so, do we
usually consider each step as to whether we should
raise one leg after the other, or stop at some
stage? Isn't walking done automatically? The same
is the case of inhaling and exhaling. No special
effort is made to inhale or exhale. The case is the
same with life also. Quite a number of things are
done automatically without our being conscious of
If actions of the mind, speech and body are merged
with God, all the burdens of life are on him.
When one has completely surrendered oneself at the
feet of Shiva, thereby becoming the nature of the
Self, the resulting abundant peace, in which there
is not the least room within the Heart for one to
make any complaint, alone is the nature of Supreme
If one surrenders completely, there will be no one
left to ask questions or to be considered. Either
the thoughts are eliminated by holding on to the
root thought, "I", or one surrenders
unconditionally to the higher power. These are the
only two ways to realisation. Self-enquiry
dissolves the ego by looking for it and finding it
to be non-existent, whereas devotion surrenders it;
therefore both come to the same ego-free goal,
which is all that is required.
True surrender is the melting of the ego in its
Source, the Heart. God is not deceived by outward
acts. What he sees in the worshipper is how much of
the ego remains in full control and how much is on
the verge of destruction.
It is legitimate to pray as long as you feel that
you are different from the higher power. But better
still, attain the state of self-surrender, and
entrust your entire burden to the Lord, who will
then take the burden off your back and give you the
feeling that you are in him and are one with
If your surrender is total and complete, you need
not ask anything. Try to get rid of the thought "I"
and "mine". Don't feel anything is yours. It is all
consciousness, is the only Reality. Consciousness
plus waking we call waking. Consciousness plus
sleep we call sleep. Consciousness plus dream, we
call dream. Consciousness is the screen on which
all the pictures come and go. The screen is real,
the pictures are mere shadows on it.
There is only one state, that of consciousness or
awareness in existence. The three states waking,
dream and sleep cannot be real. They come and go.
The real will always exist. By long habit we have
been regarding the three states as real. We call
the state of mere awareness, the fourth,
Vidyaranya, in the tenth chapter of the
Panchadasi, gives an example of the light
kept on the stage of the theater. When a drama is
being played, the light is there without any
distinction on all the actors, whether kings,
servants, dancers, etc. The light will be there
before the drama begins, during the performance,
and also after the performance is over. Similarly,
the light of consciousness within gives light to
the mind without itself being subject to
[alteration, alternation] or the process of
It is not correct to say that one is nearer to pure
consciousness in deep sleep than in the waking
state. The sleep, dream and waking state are mere
phenomena appearing on the Self. It is also the
state of simple awareness. Can one remain away from
his Self at any moment?
There is no difference between the dream and the
waking states except that the dream is short and
the waking long. Both are the result of the mind.
Our real state, called the fourth [Turiya],
is beyond the waking, dream and sleep states.
You might have eaten heartily before going to
sleep. You dream, and in the dream feel hungry.
You, yourself, feel the hunger. So long as the
dream lasts, the suffering is real. It is only when
you wake up that you find the problem to be unreal.
The hunger in the dream has to be appeased by dream
food. You can never mix up the two states
dream and waking. Similarly, till you attain the
state of realisation, and wake out of the illusory
phenomenal world, it will appear real.
If some good man says, "Let all the people in the
world get realisation. It does not matter if I
don't, if I can just help others to get it." That
is like a dreamer saying, "Let all the people in
the dream wake up before I do." He would be no more
absurd than this amiable philosopher.
The obstacles to Self-abidance are distractions by
things of the world [including sense objects,
desires and tendencies] on the one hand and
sleep on the other. Sleep is also mentioned in some
books as the first obstacle to samadhi and various
means are prescribed for overcoming it.
I don't understand why people should be afraid of
the state in which all thoughts cease to exist.
They daily experience it in sleep. There is no mind
or thought in sleep. Yet, when one rises from sleep
he says, "I slept well."
Limitation is only in the mind. Did you feel it in
deep sleep? The differences between waking and
sleeping are due to the mind. There is no mind in
sleep, whereas it is now active.
What we have to do is to bring deep sleep into the
waking state, to get conscious sleep.
The states of deep sleep, waking and dream are of
the ego; the Self is the witness of all. The Self
transcends them all. This consciousness should be
Holding on to
Reality is samadhi [absorption in the
Self]. Holding to samadhi with effort is
savikalpa samadhi. Merging in Reality and remaining
unaware of the world is nirvikalpa samadhi. Merging
unconsciously and remaining unaware of the world is
sleep. Remaining in the primal, pure, natural state
without effor is sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.
In yoga there are various kinds of samadhi. But the
samadhi I speak about is different. It is sahaja
samadhi. In this state you remain calm and composed
during activity. You realise that you are moved by
a larger real Self and are unaffected by what you
do or say or think. You have no worries, anxieties
or cares, for you realise that there is nothing
which belongs to you as ego, and that everything is
being done by something with which you are in
The final obstacle to meditation is ecstasy; when
you feel great bliss and happiness, the tendency is
to stay in that ecstasy. Do not yield to this, but
pass onto the sixth stage, which is great calm. The
calm is higher than ecstasy and it merges into
samadhi. Successful samadhi causes a waking sleep
state to encompass you, when you are always
consciousness, for consciousness is your nature.
Hence a person is always in samadhi, only they do
not know it. All one has to do is to remove the
obstacles I have just mentioned.
When we have tendencies we are trying to give up,
that is to say, when we are still imperfect and
have to make conscious effort to keep the mind free
of thought, the thought-free state we thus attain
is nirvikalpa samadhi. When through practice we are
constantly in that state, not going into samadhi
and coming out of it again, that is the "sahaja"
[natural] state. In the sahaja state, one
sees only the Self, and one sees the world as the
form assumed by the Self.
The state in which the unbroken experience of
existence-consciousness is attained by the still
mind, alone is samadhi.
The nirvikalpa samadhi of Raja Yoga may have its
use. But in Jnana Yoga, this natural state, or
sahaja nishta [abidance in the natural
state] itself is the nirvikalpa state. In this
natural state the mind is free from doubts. It has
no need to swing between the alternatives of
possibilities and probabilities. It sees no
differences of any kind. It is sure because it
feels the presence of the Real. Even when it is
active, it knows it is active in the Reality, the
In deep sleep the mind is merged, not destroyed.
That which is merged reappears. It may happen in
meditation also. But the mind which is destroyed
cannot reappear. The yogi's aim must be to destroy
it and not to sink into a state of
One who accustoms himself naturally to meditation
and enjoys the bliss of meditation will not lose
his samadhi state, whatever external work he does,
whatever thoughts may come to him. That is sahaja
One's abidance in one's own nature, as a flame of
knowledge, after completely discarding sense
objects, is called the natural state.
We talk of
attaining the Self, or of reaching God, in time.
But there is nothing to attain. We are already
Self-existent. Nor will there ever be a time when
we shall be nearer to God than now. We are
ever-blissful, Self-existent, the Infinite now. Our
consciousness is unbroken, continuous and Eternal.
It is all illusion, self-hypnotism, to imagine that
now we are otherwise. De-hypnotize yourself! It is
ego which deludes itself that there are two selves,
one which we are conscious of now [the
person] and the other, the higher, the Divine,
of which we shall one day become conscious. This is
false. There is only one Self and it is fully
conscious now and forever: there is neither past,
present nor future for It, since It is out of
The illusion created by the mind must be destroyed
by the mind itself.
[Brahma], remaining everywhere, makes each
one play his or her role according to his or her
fate. That which is not destined will not happen
despite every effort. What is destined is bound to
happen. This is certain. Therefore, the best course
is to remain silent.
All the activities that the body is to go through
are determined when it comes into existence. It
does not rest with you to accept or reject them.
The only freedom you have is to turn your mind
inward and renounce activities there. Everything is
Why does the body come into existence? It is
designed for the various things that are marked out
for it in this life. As for freedom, a man is
always free not to identify himself with the body
and not to be affected by the pleasures and pains
consequent on its activities.
Those who know that what is to be experienced by
them in this life is only what is already destined
in their prarabdha [karma to be worked out in
this lifetime] will never feel perturbed about
what is to be experienced. Know that all experience
will be thrust upon one whether one wills them or
If the agent, upon whom the karma depends, namely
the ego, which has come into existence between the
body and the Self, merges in its Source and loses
its form, how can the karma, which depends upon it,
survive? When there is no "I" there is no
To say that prarabdha remains for the wise as well
is only in reply to the question put by the
ignorant. Realise that just as after the husband is
dead no unwidowed wife would remain, even so when
the doer is gone, the three-fold karma [1.
destiny, arising as a result of actions | 2. the
consequence of actions, the law of cause and effect
| 3. action, hence karma yoga, the yoga of
action] would also go.
The truth is the enlightened sage has transcended
all karmas including prarabdha karma and he is not
bound by the body or its karmas.
If one enquires who is the doer and enters the
Heart, the doership idea will end and the triple
karma is destroyed. This is indeed liberation.
Not even an iota of prarabdha exists for those who
attend to the space of consciousness, which always
shines as "I am", which pervades everywhere without
limitations. Such alone is the meaning of the
ancient saying, "There is no fate for those who
experience the heavens."
So long as the feeling "I am doing" is there, one
must experience the result of one's acts, whether
they are good or bad.
Free-will exists together with the individuality.
As long as the individuality lasts, so long is
there free-will. All the scriptures are based on
this fact and advise directing the free-will in the
Find out who it is who has free-will or
predestination and abide in that state. Then both
are transcended. That is the only purpose in
discussing these questions. To whom do such
questions present themselves? Discover that and be
at peace. As long as a man is the doer he also
reaps the fruits of his deeds, but as soon as he
realises the Self through enquiry as to who the
doer is, his sense of being the doer falls away and
the triple karma is ended. This is the state of
The controversy whether fate is stronger than
free-will or vice-versa is only for those who do
not know the Source. Those who know that individual
to whom they pertain remain untouched by them.
Free-will is implied in the spiritual injunctions
to be good. It implies overcoming fate. It is done
by wisdom. Wisdom is acquired by association with
Free-will and destiny are ever existent. Destiny is
the result of past action; it concerns the body.
Let the body act as may suit it. Why are you
concerned about it? Why do you pay attention to it?
Free-will and destiny last as long as the body
lasts. But true knowledge of the Self
[jnana] transcends both.
The Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance.
Whatever happens, happens as the result of one's
past actions, of Divine will and of other
factors. There are only two ways to conquer
destiny or be independent of it. One is to enquire
for whom is this destiny and discover that only the
ego is bound by destiny and not the Self and that
the ego is non-existent. The other way is to
kill the ego by completely surrendering to the
Lord, by realising one's helplessness and saying
all the time, "Not I, but Thou, oh Lord" and giving
up all sense of "I" and "mine", and leaving it to
the Lord to do what he likes with you. Complete
effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer
destiny, whether you achieve this effacement
through Self-enquiry or the path of devotion.
There are only two ways in which to conquer destiny
or be independent of it. One is to enquire who
undergoes the destiny and discover that Self is not
bound by it. The other way is to completely
surrender to the Lord by realising one's
You doubt the statement that the realised man has
no further karma. Why should you bother about what
the he does or why he does anything. Look after
If there is birth
there must be not only one rebirth but a whole
succession of the birth. Why and how did you get
this birth? For the same reason and in the same
manner you must have succeeding births.
You do not know what you were before birth. Yet you
want to know what you will be after death. Do you
know what you are now? Birth and rebirth pertain to
the body. Birth and rebirth are mentioned only to
make you investigate the question and find out that
there is neither death nor birth. They relate to
the body not to the Self. Know your real being and
these questions will not arise.
Whatever is born must die; whatever is acquired
must be lost; but were you born? You are eternally
existing. The Self can never be lost.
The interval between death and rebirth may be long
or short but a realised person undergoes no such
change; he merges into the Infinite being. Some say
that those, who, after death, take the path of
light are not re-born.... If a man's merits and
demerits are equal, he is born immediately on
earth; if merits outweigh the demerits, his subtle
body goes first to heaven, while if demerits
outweigh merits he goes to hell. But in either case
he is reborn later on earth. All this is described
in the scriptures, but in fact there is neither
birth nor death if one simply remains as what one
The birth of a person and the death of a person
appear real because one wrongly identifies himself
with the body and thinks of the other also as a
body. However, the birth of the "I"-thought is a
person's birth and its death is his death. For it
is only after the "I"-thought has arisen, that the
wrong identification arises. Identifying yourself
with the body makes you falsely identify others
also with their bodies. But if you cease to
identify yourself with the body and realise the
true Self, this confusion will vanish.
You ask what happens to a person after death.
Engage yourself in the living present. The future
will take care of itself. Don't worry about the
There is neither past nor future. There is only the
present. Yesterday was present when you experienced
it, and tomorrow will also be present when you
experience it. Therefore, experience takes place
only in the present.
In whatever plane the mind happens to act, it
creates a body for itself; in the physical world a
physical body, and in the dream-world a dream-body
which becomes wet with dream-rain and sick with
dream-disease. After the death of the physical
body, the mind remains inactive for sometime, as in
dreamless sleep when it remains bodiless. But soon
it becomes active again in a new body the
astral till it assumes another body in what
is called "rebirth". But a jnani, the Self-realised
person whose mind has already ceased to act,
remains unaffected by death. The chain of illusions
have snapped for him.
It should be clear that there is neither real birth
nor real death. It is the mind which creates and
maintains the illusion of reality in this process,
till it is destroyed by Self-realisation.
When one begins to die, hard breathing sets in;
that means that one has become unconscious of the
dying body. The mind at once takes hold of another
body, and it swings to and fro between the two
until attachment is fully transferred to the new
body. Meanwhile there are occasional violent
breaths and that means that mind is swinging back
to the dying body. The transitional state of the
mind is somewhat like a dream.
You are incarnated now aren't you? Then you will be
so again. As the body is illusion then the illusion
will repeat itself until you find the real
When the ego leaves the body it must immediately
grasp another body. It cannot exist without a
The "I"- thought, the ego will recur again, only,
each time you identify it with a different body and
different surroundings around the body. It is karma
which has placed you in this particular body and
placed it in a particular family, race, sex,
Fasting should be
chiefly mental [abstention from thoughts].
Mere abstinence from food will do no good, it will
even upset the mind. Spiritual unfoldment would
come rather by regulating eating.
The Vedantic texts, particularly "Vichara
Sangraha", which strongly recommend fasting do not
mean that one should abstain from eating food, or
drinking water. All that is meant is that without
causing hardship to the body one should eat limited
quantities of food conducive to meditation.
Sattvic food, like bread, fruit, vegetables, milk
in moderate quantities is suitable for a person
engaged in spiritual practice.
The quality of one's food influences the mind. The
mind feeds on the food consumed.
The necessary food value is obtainable in
vegetarian food; only the mind desires the sort of
food that it is used to and which it considers
The realised sage is stabilised in the Self and is
not influenced by the food he takes.
It is mental fasting that is the real aid. Fasting
is not an end in itself. There must be spiritual
development at the same time. Absolute fasting
weakens the mind too and leaves you without
sufficient strength for spiritual quest. Therefore
eat in moderation and continue the quest.
There are subtle essences in all food; it is that
which affects the mind. Hence for those who are
endeavouring to practice meditation to find the
Self, there have been dietic rules laid down which
are advisible to follow. Sattvic food promotes
meditation whereas rajasic and tamasic food hinder
Regulation of diet, restricting it to sattvic food,
taken in moderate quantities, is the best of all
rules of conduct and most conducive to the
development of sattvic [pure] qualities of
the mind. These in turn help one to practice
For sadhana what is needed is sattvic food and
satsang. Meat-eating should be avoided. There are
no other rules.
As for the rules of conduct which an aspirant
should follow, it is moderation in food, moderation
in sleep and moderation in speech.
[asana] or seat in the Heart is peaceful
and gives happiness. There is no need for any other
asana for those seated in that One. That is called
"sukhasana", the asana of happiness.
Any posture, possibly the "easy" or "half Buddha"
posture, is all right. But that is immaterial for
The properties and effects of a tiger's skin, or
wool or deer's skin as a seat are described in
books on Yoga. They correspond to conductors and
non-conductors of magnetism and so on. But all this
is not of importance on the path of knowledge.
Posture really means steadfastness in the Self and
it is inward.
One-pointedness of the mind is the best
Many postures and their effects are mentioned in
the Yoga Shastras. The postures are "lotus
posture", "easy posture"and so on. Why all this
only to know oneself? The truth is that the ego
rises from the Self, confuses itself with the body
and then it thinks wildly and looks for answers.
When covered by egoistic conceit a person does not
understand that he himself is the centre of all and
thus forms the basis for all.
Remaining firm in one's real state is the real
posture. Attaining the steadiness of not swerving
from the knowledge of the base, the Self alone is
the firm and motionless posture for excellent
In a society
comprising of followers of different ways of life,
society is like the body and individuals are like
its limbs. An individual prospers by working for
the good of society like a limb being useful for
One should build up one's own inner circle and make
it prosper so that it may serve the interests of
society and make it also prosper. Brotherhood based
on equality is the Supreme goal of human
Through brotherhood peace and amity will prevail
among mankind and the world will flourish like a
Self-reform automatically results in social reform.
Attend to self-reform and social reform will take
care of itself.
To engage oneself in doing good to others will
develop the idea of good in the Heart. That is
enough. Good, God and love are all the same thing.
If a person keeps continuously thinking of any of
these, it will be enough.
When you seek to reduce the suffering of any
fellow-man or fellow-creature, whether your efforts
succeed or not, you yourself are evolving
spiritually especially if such service is rendered
with detachment, not with the egoistic feeling "I
am doing this service." The feeling should be, "God
is making me the channel of this service, He is the
doer, I am the instrument." You must love all and
help all because it is only in that way you can
always in the mind, not in going to forests or
solitary places or giving up one's duties. The main
thing is to see that the mind does not turn outward
Renunciation does not imply apparent divesting of
costumes, family ties, home, etc., but renunciation
of desires, affection and attachment. There is no
need to resign your job, only resign to God.
Expression of love and affection would be a far
better form for a true devotee of God than
renunciation. When this expression comes one does
not feel he is running away from home, instead one
drops from it like a ripe fruit from a tree.
Renunciation and realisation are the same. They are
different aspects of the same state. Giving up
non-self is renunciation. Inhering in the Self is
jnana. One is the negative and the other the
positive aspect of the same single Truth.
Renunciation is the giving up of the ego. It is not
only the giving up of possessions but the possessor
too. The only freedom you have is to turn the mind
inwards and renounce activities there.
Asked "How does a householder fare in the scheme of
liberation?" Bhagavan said, "Why do you think you
are a householder? If you go out as a ascetic
[sannyasi], a similar thought that you are
a ascetic will haunt you. Whether you continue in
the household or renounce it and go to the forest,
your mind goes with you. The ego is the source of
all thought. It creates the body and the world and
makes you think you are a householder. If you
renounce the world it will only substitute the
thought "ascetic" for "householder" and the
environment of the forest for that of the
household. But the mental obstacles will still be
there. They even increase in the new surroundings.
There is no help in change of environment. The
obstacle is the mind. It must be got over whether
at home or in the forest. If you can do it in the
forest, why not at home? Therefore, why change your
environment? Your efforts can be made even now
in whatever environment you are now. The
environment will never change according to your
alone is a miracle [siddhi]. The other
miracles are like dreams which last till waking.
Can those firmly rooted in the Real relapse into
Although powers appear wonderful to those who do
not possess them, yet they are only transient. It
is useless to aspire for the transient. All these
wonders are contained in the changeless Self.
Miracles, wonders, clairvoyance, clairaudience
what are these? The greatest miracle is to
realise the Self. All these are sidetracks. The
realised man is above them.
Charles Webster Leadbeater describes hundreds of
former lives seen by clairvoyance. Of what use is
this? Does it help him or others to know the Self?
What are these lives but body's births? The true
birth is in the Self.
You could be in England now [astrally] but
would you be better off? You will not be a bit
nearer to realisation.
What good will supernatural powers
[siddhis] do? Suppose you exercise all
these wonderful powers. Have you tossed worry out
of your mind? If happiness is your real goal you
must ultimately come back from your diversion with
siddhis and try to find your Self, by enquiring who
it is that wants the happiness.
People who desire powers are inclined to neglect
the Supreme happiness of realisation for the sake
of powers. In search of these they follow by-lanes
instead of the highroad and so risk losing their
way. In order to guide them aright and keep them on
the highroad, they are told that powers accompany
realisation. Let people first get reaslisation and
then seek power if they want to.
In order to display powers, there must be others to
recognise them. That means there is no jnana in the
one who displays them. Therefore powers are not
worth a thought. Self-realisation alone is to be
aimed at and got.
Whether powers are high or low, whether of the mind
or of supermind, they exist only with reference to
the one who has the power. Find out who that
What difference does it make to see or hear anyone
in close proximity or over enormous distance? The
organs of sight and hearing are used in both cases
and so the mind also is required. There is
dependence one way or the other. Moreover, what is
acquired will also be lost in due course. These
powers can never be permanent.
Greedily begging for worthless occult powers from
God who will readily give himself, who is
everything, is like begging for worthless stale
gruel from a generous minded philanthropist who
will readily give everything.
The conduct of those who say, "We shall gain all
supernormal powers", not realising that they are
moved by Divine power, is like the story of a lame
man who said, "If I am helped to stand where will
these enemies be?"
There are different kinds of siddhis. They are the
manifestations of power and knowledge which is
quite natural when you realise the Self. They come
of their own accord. They are God given. When you
are in the state of realisation you will know what
these powers are.
To remain unchanged in the state of Self is the
eternal siddhi, the greatest of all siddhis. All
other siddhis are only the prarabdha [completed
karma] of the jnani who has realised the Truth.
These other siddhis are trivial.
Practicing of siddhis will only fatten the ego
still more. The greatest siddhi is not to see
anything other than the Self. All the siddhis will
come and wait upon the perfected jnani.
To realise the Self which is always present, and to
remain as That is the real siddhi. All other
siddhis are like those which appear in a dream. Are
they real when one awakes? Will those who have got
rid of delusion and are established in their true
state be deluded again?
Happiness is the
very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are
not different. There is no happiness in any object
of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that
we derive happiness from objects. When the mind
goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its
desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place
and enjoys the happiness that is the Self.
Similarly, in the states of sleep, samadhi and
fainting, and when the object desired is obtained
or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes
inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self-happiness. Thus
the mind moves without rest alternately going out
of the Self and returning to it. Under the tree the
shade is pleasant; out in the open the heat is
scorching. A person who has been going about in the
sun feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone
who keeps on going from the shade into the sun and
then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man
stays permanently in the shade. Similarly, the mind
of the one who knows the Truth does not leave
Reality. The mind of the ignorant, on the contrary,
revolves in the world, feeling miserable, and for a
little time returns to Reality to experience
happiness. In fact, what is called the world is
only thought. When the world disappears, i.e. when
there is no thought, the mind experiences
happiness; and when the world appears, it goes
All beings desire happiness always, happiness
without a tinge of sorrow. At the same time
everybody loves himself best. The cause for this
love is only happiness. So, that happiness must lie
in one self. Further, that happiness is daily
experienced by everyone in sleep, when there is no
mind. To attain that natural happiness one must
know oneself. For that, Self-enquiry is the chief
means. Happiness is the nature of the Self. Self is
not other than perfect happiness. Knowing that fact
and abiding as the Self, enjoy bliss eternally.
If a man thinks 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 its 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
In deep sleep man is devoid of possessions,
including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he
is happy. The conclusion is that happiness is
inherent in man and not due to external causes.
Know then that true knowledge does not create
anything new for you, it only removes your
ignorance. Bliss is not added to your nature, it is
merely revealed as your true natural state, Eternal
Every being in the world yearns to be happy. Yet,
due to ignorance of the real nature of their own
being, which is happiness itself, people flounder
in the vast ocean of material existence.
Bliss is something which is always there both when
the blissful feeling was experienced and when it
was not. It is not something which comes and goes.
That which comes and goes is the creation of the
mind and you should not worry about it.
When you leave this place you say you are unhappy.
Therefore this peace is not permanent. It is mixed
with the unhappiness felt in another place. It
follows that you cannot find bliss in places and in
periods of time. It must be permanent in order that
it may be useful. It is your own being that is
permanent. Be the Self and that is bliss. You are
of the page
[Self-realised being] is in the ever-waking
state, because he is awake to the Eternal Self; he
is in the ever-dreaming state because to him the
world is no better than a repeatedly presented
dream phenomenon; he is in the ever-sleeping state,
because he is at all times without the "body" and
One who knows the Self has nothing more to do, nor
has he any more thoughts. From then on, the
Infinite power will carry out all further actions
that may be necessary for him.
The body itself is a disease. To wish for a long
stay of that disease is not the aim of the jnani.
Anyhow, one has to give up identification with the
body. Just as the "I am the body" consciousness
prevents one from attaining Self-knowledge, in the
same way, one who has got the conviction that he is
not the body will become liberated even if he
doesnt desire it.
The jnani has attained liberation even while alive,
here and now. It is immaterial to him as to how,
where and when he leaves the body. Some jnanis may
appear to suffer, others may be in samadhi; still
others may disappear from sight before death. But
that makes no difference to their realisation. Such
suffering is apparent, seems real to the onlooker,
but is not felt by the jnani, for he has already
transcended the mistaken identity of the Self with
The jnani does not think he is the body. He does
not even see the body. He sees only the Self in the
body. If the body is not there, but only the Self,
the question of its disappearing in any form does
As the porter hired to carry luggage puts it down
at journey's end, the sage is happy at the time he
has to shed the body's burden.
The jnani is the unmoving non-dual One without any
The jnani does dream, in the same way as he knows
his waking state to be a dream. You may call them
dream No. 1 and dream No. 2. The jnani being
established in the fourth state, turiya, detachedly
witnesses the three other states, waking, dreaming
and dreamless sleep as pictures imposed on it.
Who can understand the state of one who has
dissolved the ego and is abiding, always in the
Self? For him the Self alone is. What remains for
him to do?
The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you
will find no one inside. Similarly my existence is
like the space; though this body speaks like the
radio, there is no one inside as the doer.
I have said that equality is the true sign of
Self-realisation. The very term equality implies
the existence of differences. It is a unity that
the jnani perceives in all differences which I call
True, a jnani appreciates the distinctions based on
sound, taste, form, smell, etc., but he always
perceives and experiences the one Reality in all of
them. That is why he has no preferences. Whether he
moves about or talks, or acts, it is all the one
Reality in which he acts or moves or talks.
Beyond the reach of words extends the sage's
greatness. None but he can know his state of Being,
vaster than the sky and than the mountain firmer.
To experience It yourself, you should first shed
your own body-consciousness.
The peace of mind which permeates the saint's
atmosphere is the only means by which the seeker
understands the greatness of the saint.
The child and a jnani are similar in a way.
Incidents interest the child only so long as they
last. It ceases to think of them after they have
passed away. It is apparent that they do not leave
any impression on the child and it is not affected
by them mentally. So it is with a jnani.
In liberation and Self-knowledge there is no
difference between men and women. The body of a
woman liberated while alive is not to be cremated
as it is a temple of God.
Withdrawal from all activity, from all thoughts, is
not what is meant by true realisation
[jnana]. If so, what is the difference
between this state and sleep? Great men are said to
be very active and are indeed active.
The jnani is never dependent on the laws of dharma
which however depend on him for their validity and
proof. His activities constitute the source and
support of dharma. He remains aloof, a mere
spectator of his own activity, and is never lost in
To judge by miracles and greatness of a seer
Self-realised is like measuring the sun's intense
brightness by the pretty pattern wrought by a
stray, pink beam that shines through a tiny hole in
The great ones, free from the mind's movements, are
truly happy, never leaving the Mother's lap and
playing there, fed amply with milk of bliss.
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