Question: Why is concentration ineffective?

 

Bhagavan: To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So you must turn inward and see from where the mind rises and then it will cease to exist.

 

Question: In turning the mind inwards, are we not still employing the mind?

 

Bhagavan: Of course we are employing the mind. It is well known and admitted that only with the help of the mind can the mind be killed. But instead of setting about saying there is a mind, and I want to kill it, you begin to seek the source of the mind, and you find the mind does not exist at all. The mind, turned outwards, results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards, it becomes itself the Self.

 

Question: Even so, I do not understand. ‘I’, you say, is the wrong ‘I’ now. How to eliminate the wrong ‘I’?

 

Bhagavan: You need not eliminate the wrong ‘I’. How can ‘I’ eliminate itself? All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it.

 

Question: If ‘I’ am always, here and now, why do I not feel so?

 

Bhagavan: That is it. Who says it is not felt? Does the real ‘I’ say it or the false ‘I’? Examine it. You will find it is the wrong ‘I’. The wrong ‘I’ is the obstruction. It has to be removed in order that the true ‘I’ may not be hidden. The feeling that I have not realised is the obstruction to realisation. In fact it is already realised and there is nothing more to be realised. Otherwise, the realisation will be new. If it has not existed so far, it must take place hereafter. What is born will also die. If realisation is not eternal it is not worth having. Therefore what we seek is not that which must happen afresh. It is only that which is eternal but not now known due to obstructions. It is that which we seek. All that we need do is remove the obstruction. That which is eternal is not known to be so because of ignorance. Ignorance is the obstruction. Get over the ignorance and all will be well.

 

The ignorance is identical with the ‘I’-thought. Find its source and it will vanish.

 

The ‘I’-thought is like a spirit which, although not palpable, rises up simultaneously with the body, flourishes and disappears with it. The body-consciousness is the wrong ‘I’. Give up this body-consciousness. It is done by seeking the source of the ‘I’. The body does not say ‘I am’. It is you who say, ‘I am the body’. Find out who this ‘I’ is. Seeking its source it will vanish.

 

Question: How long can the mind stay or be kept in the Heart?

 

Bhagavan: The period extends by practice.

 

Question: What happens at the end of the period?

 

Bhagavan: The mind returns to the present normal state. Unity in the Heart is replaced by a variety of perceived phenomena. This is called the outgoing mind. The Heart-going mind is called the resting mind. When one daily practises more and more in this manner, the mind will become extremely pure due to the removal of its defects and the practice will become so easy that the purified mind will plunge into the Heart as soon as the enquiry is commenced.

 

Question: Is it possible for a person who once has had the experience of sat-chit-ananda in meditation to identify himself with the body when out of meditation?

 

Bhagavan: Yes, it is possible, but he gradually loses the identification in the course of his practice. In the floodlight of the Self the darkness of illusion dissipates for ever. Experience gained without rooting out all the vasanas cannot remain steady. Efforts must be made to eradicate the vasanas; knowledge can only remain unshaken after all the vasanas are rooted out. We have to contend against age-long mental tendencies. They will all go. Only they go comparatively soon in the case of those who have made sadhana in the past and later in the case of others.

 

Question: Do these tendencies go gradually or will they suddenly all disappear one day? I ask this because although I have remained here for a long time I do not perceive any gradual change in me.

 

Bhagavan: When the sun rises, does the darkness go gradually or all at once?

 

Question: How can I tell if I am making progress with my enquiry?

 

Bhagavan: The degree of the absence of thoughts is the measure of your progress towards Self-realisation. But Self-realisation itself does not admit of progress, it is ever the same. The Self remains always in realisation. The obstacles are thoughts. Progress is measured by the degree of removal of the obstacles to understanding that the Self is always realised. So thoughts must be checked by seeking to whom they arise. So you go to their source, where they do not arise.

 

Question: Doubts are always arising. Hence my question.

 

Bhagavan: A doubt arises and is cleared. Another arises and that is cleared, making way for yet another; and so it goes on. So there is no possibility of clearing away all doubts. See to whom the doubts arise. Go to their source and abide in it. Then they cease to arise. That is how doubts are to be cleared.

 

Question: Should I go on asking ‘Who am I?’ without answering? Who asks whom? Which bhavana [attitude] should be in the mind at the time of enquiry? What is ‘I’, the Self or the ego?

 

Bhagavan: In the enquiry ‘Who am I?’, ‘I’ is the ego. The question really means, what is the source or origin of this ego? You need not have any bhavana [attitude] in the mind. All that is required is that you must give up the bhavana that you are the body, of such and such a description, with such and such a name, etc. There is no need to have a bhavana about your real nature. It exists as it always does. It is real and no bhavana.

 

Question: But is it not funny that the ‘I’ should be searching for the ‘I’? Does not the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ turn out in the end to be an empty formula? Or, am I to put the question to myself endlessly, repeating it like some mantra?

 

Bhagavan: Self-enquiry is certainly not an empty formula and it is more than the repetition of any mantra. If the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ were a mere mental questioning, it would not be of much value. The very purpose of self-enquiry is to focus the entire mind at its source. It is not, therefore, a case of one ‘I’ searching for another ‘I’. Much less is self-enquiry an empty formula, for it involves an intense activity of the entire mind to keep it steadily poised in pure Self-awareness.

 

David Godman Books

 

Books by David Godman on Ramana Maharshi, his devotees and his teachings