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‘I’ and ‘mine’


95   Those whose tamasic minds are overspread with the darkness of worldly bondage [pasam], and whose nature is obsessed with ‘I’ and ‘mine’ are said to be stupid people.


96   The thought ‘I’ that rises first in the Heart is the cause of the thoughts ‘mine’ and ‘for me’.


97   The ultimate reality, which is eternal, is just the being that exists devoid of ‘I’ and ‘mine’.


98   Since inner attachment will afflict you like a contagious disease through all the seven births, relinquish it.


In Tamil, ‘inner attachment’ refers to the inner, contracted feeling of being an ‘I’ that is limited to the body, while ‘outer attachment’ corresponds to ‘mine’, the idea that certain things belong to the ‘I’.


99   If the experience of the Self merges with you, the base delusion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ will be dead.



Renunciation of individual identity


100  The best kind of renunciation is remaining in the state in which the mind holds extremely tightly to the swarupa.


101   Knowing one’s real nature, the abiding truth, is merely renouncing one’s infatuation for the triputis that veil it.


102   If you attain perfect mastery of internal renunciation, external renunciation will have no importance.


Internal renunciation is renunciation of the ego whereas external renunciation is giving up possessions. It is the former that results in enlightenment. Bhagavan sometimes illustrated this point by telling the story of King Sikhidhvaja who unnecessarily gave up his kingdom and retired to the forest to seek enlightenment:


Bhagavan: He [the king] had vairagya [non-attachment] even while ruling his kingdom and could have realised the Self if he had only pushed his vairagya to the point of killing the ego. He did not do it but came to the forest, had a timetable of tapas and yet did not improve even after eighteen years of tapas. He had made himself a victim of his own creation. Chudala [his enlightened wife] advised him to give up the ego and realise the Self, which he did and was liberated.


It is clear from Chudala’s story that vairagya accompanied by ego is of no value, whereas all possessions in the absence of ego do not matter.14


103   For those who have abandoned their ego-mind, what other things besides that are left that are worthy of being renounced?


Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 837: For those who have, with great difficulty, accomplished the renunciation of the ego, there is nothing else to renounce.


104   Renunciation, glorious and immaculate, is the total extirpation of the impure ego mind.


105   Only those who have renounced the ego-mind have truly renounced. What have all the others, who may have given up other things, really renounced?


Kartrutva [the feeling of being the performer of actions]


106   The ignoble infatuation kartrutva that associates with you is the confused attitude of mind that regards the instruments [of action and cognition] as ‘you’.


107   Deeds [karma] are not your enemy, only the sense of doership [kartrutva] is. Therefore, live your life, having completely renounced that enemy.


108   If you perform all activities, relying primarily on grace, the delusion, the ego, will be completely destroyed.


 Bhagavan: Only so long as you think that you are the worker are you obliged to reap the fruits of your actions. If, on the other hand, you surrender yourself and recognise your individual self as only a tool of the higher power, that power will take over your affairs along with the fruits of actions. You are no longer affected by them and the work goes on unhampered. Whether you recognise the power or not the scheme of things does not alter. Only there is a change of outlook. Why should you bear your load on the head when you are travelling in a train? It carries you and your load whether the load is on your head or on the floor of the train. You are not lessening the burden of the train by keeping it on your head but only straining yourself unnecessarily. Similar is the sense of doership in the world of the individuals.15


109   The proper course for a sadhaka is to practise sadhana at all times until the sense of being the doer ceases.


110   ‘Only the cessation of the sense of being the doer is self-surrender.’ Padam emphatically declares this, imprinting it upon the mind.


Question: Without the sense of doership – the sense ‘I am doing’ – work cannot be done.


Bhagavan: It can be done. Work without attachment. Work will go on even better than when you worked with the sense that you were the doer.


Question: I don’t understand what work I should do and what not.


Bhagavan: Don’t bother. What is destined as work to be done by you in this life will be done by you, whether you like it or not…


Question: If, as Arjuna was told, there is a certain work destined to be done by each and we shall eventually do it, however much we do not wish to do it or refuse to do it, is there any free will?


Bhagavan: It is true that the work meant to be done by us will be done by us. But it is open to us to be free from the joys or pains, pleasant or unpleasant consequences of the work, by not identifying ourselves with the body or that which does the work. If you realise your true nature and know that it is not you that do any work, you will be unaffected by the consequences of whatever work the body may be engaged in according to destiny or past karma or divine plan, however you may call it. You are always free and there is no limitation of that freedom.16


111   At the very moment that the sense of being the doer ceases one will be redeemed, becoming one who has done all that needs to be done. After this there is no more effort.


Question: It is an established rule that so long as there is the least idea of I-am the-doer, Self-knowledge cannot be attained, but is it possible for an aspirant who is a householder to discharge his duties properly without this sense?


Bhagavan: As there is no rule that action should depend upon a sense of being the doer, it is unnecessary to doubt whether any action will take place without a doer or an act of doing. Although the officer of a government treasury may appear, in the eyes of others, to be doing his duty attentively and responsibly all day long, he will be discharging his duties without attachment, thinking ‘I have no real connection with all this money’ and without a sense of involvement in his mind. In the same manner a wise householder may also discharge without attachment the various household duties which fall to his lot according to his past karma, like a tool in the hands of another. Action and knowledge are not obstacles to each other.17


112   Those who have cast off kartrutva will feel exhilarated within themselves, having done all that needs to be done.



The slide show comprises photos of Muruganar, the author of Padamalai.

David Godman Books


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

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