TOP =======UNDERSTANDING HINDUISM========
The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
To think whether a certain thing may be eaten is a thought-form of the mind; "It is good. It is not good. It can be eaten. It cannot be eaten", discriminating notions like these constitute the discriminative intellect. Because the mind alone constitutes the root-principle manifesting as the individual, God and the world, its absorption or submergence and dissolution in the Self as pure Consciousness is the final emancipation known as Kaivalya and in the Supreme Spirit, the Brahman.
[Note: just as the fire in the red-hot iron is unaffected by the hammer-blows, which only change the shape of the metal- even so the vicissitudes of life, pleasure and pain, affect only the ego, the Self ever remaining pure and undefiled.]
It is self-luminous in the Heart as pure Consciousness, as the one without a second; and manifesting universally as the same in all individuals, it is known as the Supreme Spirit. Heart is merely another name for the Supreme Spirit, because He is in all Hearts.
Thus the red-hot iron is the individul, the fiery heat is the witnessing Self, the iron is the ego. Pure fire is the all-immanent and all-knowing Supreme Spirit.
[Note: At the back of the neck is the medulla oblongata.]
Although it is variously said that the neck is the seat of the mind, the brain of the intellect, and the Heart or the whole body of the ego, still the scriptures state conclusively that the Heart is the seat of the totality of the interior senses, which is again called the mind.
[Note: Antahkarana, in the original, meaning the mind, intellect and ego collectively.]
The sages, having investigated all the different versions of the innumerable scriptures, rightly and briefly stated the whole truth in the following manner, that it is the experience of every one, that the Heart is primarily the seat of the I.
[Note: i.e. the mistaken view that attributes the Reality of the Self to the material world as existing by itself independent of the conscious principle. This is due to the false identification of the Self with the physical body as a result of which the ignorant person assumes that what is outside and independent of the physical body is also outside and independent of the conscious principle.]
The contaminated mind, that is to say, the pure, uncontaminated mind being absolute Consciousness, on becoming oblivious of its primary nature, is overpowered by the quality of the darkness (tamas) and manifests as the physical world; similarly, overpowered by activity (rajas) it identifies itself with the body and appearing in the manifested world as the I, mistakes it to be real; thus, swayed by love and hatred, performs good and bad actions, and is as the result, caught up in the cycle of births and deaths. Because the quality of purity (sattva) is the real nature of the mind, clearness like that of the sky is the characteristic of the mind-expanse.
Being stirred up by activity (rajas) the mind becomes restless and influenced by darkness (tamas) manifests as the physical world. The mind thus becoming restless on the one hand, and being precipitated as solid matter on the other, the Real is not discerned as such. Just as fine silk threads cannot be woven with the use of a heavy iron shuttle, or the delicate shades of a piece of art be distinguished in the light of a lamp agitated by the wind, so is Realisation of Truth impossible with the mind rendered gross and obtuse by darkness (tamas) and restless and unsteady by activity (rajas), because Truth is exceedingly subtle and serene. Mind will be cleared of its impurities only by a desireless performance of a mans duties during several births, getting a worthy Master, learning from Him and incessantly practising meditation on the Supreme. The metamorphosis of the mind into the world of inert matter due to the quality of darkness (tamas) and its restlessness due to the quality of activity (rajas) will cease. Then the mind regains its subtlety and composure. The Bliss of the pure Self can manifest only in a mind that has become subtle and steady through assiduous practice of meditation. The one who experiences that Bliss is the one who is liberated even while still alive.
[Note: Rama Gita is a Hindu sacred book handed down from antiquity.]
The one who has attained the unbroken eternal State beyond that, transcending mind and speech, is called Videha Mukta; that is, when even the aforesaid subtle mind is destroyed, the experience of Bliss by the individual subject as such also ceases. He is drowned and dissolved in the fathomless Ocean of Bliss, one with it and unaware of anything apart. This is Videha Mukti. There is nothing beyond that State. It is the finality.
As one continues to abide as the Self, the experience "I am the Supreme Spirit" grows and becomes natural, the restlessness of the mind and the thought of the world will in due course become extinct. Because experience is not possible without the mind. Realisation happens with the subtle mind. Since Videhamukti connotes the entire dissolution of even the subtle mind in the fathomless Ocean of pure Bliss, this State is beyond experience. It is the transcendental State, "I am not the body. I am the pure Spirit" is the clear and indubitable experience of the Jivanmukta, one who is liberated while yet alive. Nevertheless, if the mind is not totally destroyed, there is the possibility of his being apparently unhappy on account of incidental association with objects according to his destiny.
[Note: Prarabdha, in the original, meaning the accumulated fruits of action of former existence which are now being reaped.]
He would also appear to the onlooker as not
having realised the unbroken eternal Bliss, since his mind is not completely extinct.
However, the Bliss of Liberation in Life is possible only to the mind made subtle and
serene by long continued meditation.
Mind Q & A
Sri Ramana Maharshi:
"What is called mind is a wonderous power residing in the Self. It causes all
thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought
is the nature of mind. Apart from thought, there is no independent entity called the
When the mind comes out of the Self, the
world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self does not appear;
and when the Self appears (shines), the world does not appear.When one persistently
inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self.What is referred
to as the Self is the Atman.The mind always exists always only in dependence on something
gross; it cannot stay alone.It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul
(embodied soul or jiva)."
Like the practice of breath control, meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, restriction on food, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.
Through meditation on the forms of God and
through repetition of mantras, the mind becomes one-pointed. The mind will always be
wandering. Just as when the chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk it will go
along grasping the chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is occupied with a name
or form it will grasp that alone.When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts,
each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes one-pointed and
strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will become easy. Of all the restrictive rules, that
relating to the taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is best; by observing this
rule, the sattvic quality of mind will increase, and that will be helpful to
Sri Ramana: "Because every kind of sadhana except that of Atma Vichara presupposes the retention of the mind as the instrument for carrying on the sadhana, and without the mind it cannot be practised. The ego may take different and subtler forms at the different stages of one's practice, but is itself never destroyed.
When King Janaka exclaimed, "Now I have
discovered the thief who has been ruining me all along. He should be dealt with
summarily," the king was really referring to the ego or the mind."
Sri Ramana: "The
attempt to destroy the ego or the mind through sadhanas other than Atma -Vichara is just
like the thief turning out a policeman to catch the thief, that is, himself. Atma-Vichara
alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists, and enables
one to realise the pure , undifferentiated Being of the Self or the Absolute. Having
realised the Self, nothing remains to be known, because it is perfect Bliss; it is the
"Self-inquiry is certainly not an empty formula; it is more than the repetition of
any mantra. If the inquiry "Who am I?" were a mere mental questioning, it would
not be of much value. The very purpose of Self-inquiry is to focus the entire mind at its
Source. It is not,therefore, a case of one ' I ' searching for another ' I ' ".
Sri Ramana: "There is
no mind to control if the Self is realised. The Self shines forth when the mind vanishes.
In the realised man the mind may be active or inactive; the Self alone exists. For the
mind, body, and world are not separate from the Self; and they cannot remain apart from
the Self. Can they be other than the Self? When aware of the Self, why should one worry
about these shadows? How do they affect the Self?"
Sri Ramana: "All such
thoughts are due to latent tendencies (purva sanskaras). They appear only to the
individual consciousness (jiva) which has forgotten its real nature and becomes
externalised. Whenever particular things are perceived , the inquiry "Who is it that
sees them?" should be made; they will then disappear at once."
Sri Ramana: "The
eternal, unbroken, natural state of abiding in the Self is jnana (knowledge). To abide in
the Self you must love the Self. Since God is verily the Self, love of the Self is love of
God; and that is Bhakti (devotion). Jnana and Bhakti are thus one and the same."
Sri Ramana: "One should
not use the Name of God mechanically and superficially without the feeling of devotion. To
use the Name of God one must call upon Him with yearning and unreservedly surrender
oneself to Him. Only after such surrender is the Name of God constantly with the
Sri Ramana: "Surrender
can take effect only when it is done with full knowledge as to what real surrender means.
Such knowledge comes after inquiry and reflection and ends invariably in self-surrender.
Question: "What is the highest goal of spiritual experience for man?"
Sri Ramana: "Yes, the
mind is the waterproof coat."
Sri Ramana: "The
meaning of the word heart (hrdayam) is the Self (Atman). As it is denoted by the terms
Existence,Consciousness, Bliss eternal and plenum (sat,Chit, Anandam, Nityam, Puranam) it
has no differences such as exterior and interior or up and down. That tranquil state in
which all thoughts come to an end is called the state of the Self.
Question: What is the difference between the mind and the Self?
Sri Ramana: There is no
difference. The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and
all the world. Cotton made into various clothes we call by various names. Gold made into
various ornaments, we call by various names. But all the clothes are cotton and all the
ornaments gold. The one is real, the many are mere names and forms.
Parsara said: It is the mind that at first inclines the Soul to Yoga. The Soul then merges the mind into itself .
From The Mahabharata
Vyasa said: As the tortoise stretches out its limbs and withdraws them once again within itself, even so the Understanding creates the senses and once again withdraws them into itself. The consciousness of personal identity that arises in respect of that which is above the soles of the feet and below the crown of the head, is principally due to the action of the Understanding.
It is the Understanding that appears under different guises (for different functions) by modification. It is the modification of the Understanding that are called the senses. Over them is placed as their presiding chief or overseer the invisible Soul.
When the Understanding desires for anything, it comes to be called by the name of Mind. The senses again, though apparently different, should all be taken as included within the Understanding.
It is the Understanding that is transformed into the five attributes of taste, scent, vision, sound and touch. It is Understanding also that transformed into the five senses with the mind for the sixth. When the Understanding is absent, where are the attributes?
In man there are five senses. The mind is called the sixth sense. The Understanding is called the seventh. The Soul is the eigth.
The eyes and the other senses are for only receiving impressions of form (and scent etc.). The mind exists for doubting the accuracy of those impressions. The Understanding settles those doubts. The Soul is said to witness every operation without mingling with them.
Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas- these
three- arise from their own counterparts (existing in a previous state of existence or
life. They arise from their respective states as they existed with the Chitta or
Understanding in a previous life). These are called attributes and should be known by the
actions they induce. As regards those actions all such states in which one becomes
conscious of oneself as united with cheerfulness or joy and which are tranquil and pure,
should be known as due to the attribute of Sattwa.
Delight, cheerfulness, joy, equanimity, contentment of heart, due to any known cause or arising otherwise, are all effects of the attribute of Sattwa. Pride, untruthfulness of speech, cupidity, stupefaction, vindictiveness, whether arising from any known cause or otherwise, are indications of the quality of Rajas. Stupefaction of judgement, heedlessness, sleep, lethargy, and indolence, from whatever cause they may arise, are to be known as indications of the quality of Tamas.
All the three states that exist (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas) inhere to these three viz., Mind, Understanding and Consciousness, and like the spokes of a car-wheel acting in consequence of their attachment to the circumference of the wheel, they follow the different objects that exist in Mind, Understanding, and Consciousness.
The mind must make a lamp of the senses for dispelling the darkness that shuts out the knowledge of the Supreme Soul.
The Soul is incapable of being seen with the aid of the senses whose nature is to wander among all earthly objects of desire. When, however, a person, with the aid of his mind, tightly holds their reins, it is then that his soul discovers itself like an object (unseen in darkness) appearing to the view in consequence of the light of a lamp. Indeed, as all things become visible when the darkness that envelops them is dispelled, even the soul becomes visible when the darkness that covers it is removed.
As an acquatic fowl, though moving on the water, is never drenched by that element, after the same manner the Yogi of freed soul is never soiled by the imperfections of the three attributes of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. After the same manner, the man of wisdom, by even enjoying all earthly objects without being attached to any of them, is never soiled by faults of any kind that arise in the case of others from such enjoyment.
The qualities are incapable of
apprehending the Soul. The Soul, however, apprehends them always. The Soul is the witness
that beholds the qualities and duly calls them up into being. Behold, this is the
difference between the understanding and the Soul, both of which are exceedingly subtile.
One of them creates the qualities. The other never creates them. Though they are different
from each other by nature, yet they are always united. The fish living in the water is
different from the element in which it lives. But as the fish and the water forming its
home are always united, after the same manner Sattwa and Kshetrajna exist in a state of
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