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Sri Ramana Maharshi – Quotes


Sri Ramana Maharshi with flowers


Every living being longs always to be happy, untainted by sorrow; and  everyone has the greatest love for himself, which is solely due to the fact that happiness is his real nature. Hence, in order to realize that inherent and untainted happiness, which indeed he daily experiences when the mind is subdued  in deep sleep, it is essential that he should know himself. For obtaining such knowledge the inquiry ‘Who am I?’ in quest of the Self is the best means.

~ Who Am I?

The first and foremost of all the thoughts that arise in the mind is the primal “I”-thought. It is only after the rise or origin of the “I”- thought that innumerable other thoughts arise. In other words, only after the first personal pronoun, “I,” has arisen, do the second and third personal pronouns (you, he, etc.) occur to the mind; and they cannot subsist without the former. For the subsidence of the mind there is no other means more effective and adequate than Self-Inquiry. Even though by other means the mind subsides, that is only apparently so; it will rise again.

~ Who Am I?

Not to desire anything extraneous to oneself constitutes vairagya (dispassion) or nirasa (desirelessness). Not to give up one’s hold on the  Self constitutes jnana (knowledge). But really vairagya and jnana are one and the same. Just as the pearl diver, tying stones to his waist, dives  down into the depths and gets the pearl from the sea bed, so every aspirant  pledged to vairagya can dive deep into himself and realize the precious Atman.

~ Who Am I?

God and the Guru are not really different: they are identical. He that has earned the Grace of the Guru shall undoubtedly be saved and never forsaken, just  as the prey that has fallen into the tiger’s jaws will never be allowed to escape. But the disciple, for his part, should unswervingly follow the path shown by the Master.

~ Who Am I?

Firm and disciplined inherence in the Atman, without giving the least scope  for the rise of any thought other than the deep contemplative thought of the  Self, constitutes self-surrender to the Supreme Lord. Let any amount of burden be laid on Him, He will bear it all. It is, in fact, the indefinable power of  the Lord that ordains, sustains, and controls everything that happens. Why then should we worry, tormented by vexatious thoughts, saying: ‘Shall we act this way? No, that way,’ instead of meekly but happily submitting to that Power?  Knowing that the train carries all the weight, why indeed should we, the  passengers traveling in it, carry our small individual articles of luggage on our laps to our great discomfort, instead of putting them aside and sitting at perfect ease?

~ Who Am I?

That which is Bliss is also the Self. Bliss and the Self are not distinct and  separate but are one and the same. And That alone is real. In no single one of  the countless objects of the mundane world is there anything that can be called happiness. It is through sheer ignorance and unwisdom that we fancy that happiness is obtained from them. On the contrary, when the mind is externalized,  it suffers pain and anguish. The truth is that every time our desires get fulfilled, the mind, turning to its source, experiences only that happiness which is natural to the Self. Similarly in deep sleep, in spiritual trance (samadhi), when fainting, when a desired object is obtained, or when evil befalls an object considered undesirable, the mind turns inwards and enjoys that Bliss of Atman. Thus wandering astray, forsaking the Self, and returning to it again and again is the interminable and wearisome lot of the mind.

It is pleasant under the shade of a tree, and scorching in the heat of the sun outside. A person toiling in the sun seeks the cool shade of the tree and is  happy under it. After staying there for a while, he moves out again but, unable to bear the merciless heat of the sun, he again seeks the shade. In this way he  keeps on moving from shade to sun and sun to shade.

It is an unwise person who acts thus, whereas the wise man never leaves the shade: in the same way the mind of the Enlightened Sage (Jnani) never  exists apart from Brahman, the Absolute. The mind of the ignorant, on the other  hand, entering into the phenomenal world, suffers pain and anguish; and then, turning for a short while towards Brahman, it experiences happiness. Such is the mind of the ignorant.

~ Who Am I?

D.: What is dhyana, or meditation?

M.: Dhyana consists in abiding firmly and unswervingly as identical with one’s pure Being—in whichever of the three states of the mind, wakeful, sleeping, and dreaming, one may be— without harboring the thought that one is in meditation. Such a person is not even remotely conscious of the distinction between the three states of the mind. Consequently, the apparent sleep in profound meditation should also be considered dhyana. In short, meditation essentially consists in transcending one’s awareness of the idea, or notion, “I am in meditation.”

In sadhana, one should pay particular attention to the following points:

(a) If the aspirant would only devote every minute spent in vain thinking about objects, which constitute the not-Self, in earnest inquiry in quest of the Self, he would, in a very short time, attain Self-Realization.

(b) Until the mind obtains a firm and steady hold on the state of pure Being, practice of profound meditation tinged with religious emotion (bhavana) (Bhavana, besides being a keen imaginative contemplation on the deity of one’s choice, is tinged with deep, religious emotion, which runs to the very core of one’s being. In that attitude, which involves a high pitch of concentration, the mind is wide awake yet is free from wayward thoughts.) is essential, for, otherwise, the mind becomes an easy prey to wayward thoughts or is overcome by sleep.

(c) The aspirant must not waste his time in an endless and vain repetition of such scriptural dicta as “Sivo’ham” (the Supreme Lord am I) or “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am Brahman), which is considered characteristic of nirgunopasana. (i.e., any sadhana practised for realizing the Nirguna Brahman, or the Supreme beyond attributes, as distinguished from the worship of the Supreme with attributes, or sagunopasana.) Instead, the aspirant should, with the strength of mind he gains by such devout repetition, or upasana, practise Atmavicara, or investigation in quest of the Self even as he is, without the superimposition of such ideas as “I am Brahman,” etc.

(d) The excellence of the sadhana, or the method of practice adopted, consists essentially in not yielding, by every possible means, any scope for obsessing thoughts of any kind to enter into the mind.

~ Origin of Spiritual Instruction

“There are only two ways to conquer destiny or to be independent of it. One is to inquire whose this destiny is and discover that only the ego is bound by it and not the Self and that the ego is nonexistent. The other way is to kill the ego by completely surrendering to the Lord, realizing one’s helplessness and saying all the time: ‘Not I, but Thou, oh Lord,’ giving up all sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and leaving it to the Lord to do what He likes with you.”

~ Self-Realization pamphlet

“It is false to speak of Realisation.What is there to realise? The real is as it is, always. How to realise it? All that is required is this. We have realised the unreal, i.e., regarded as the real that which is unreal. We have to give up this attitude. That is all that is required for us to attain Jnana. We are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before. We dig a well and create a pit. The akasa (space) in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just removed the earth which was filling the akasa there. The akasa was there then and is also there now. Similarly we have simply to throw out all the age-long samskaras which are inside us; and when all of them have been given up, the Self will shine, alone.

There is no greater mystery than this, that being the Reality ourselves, we seek to gain Reality. We think that there is something binding our Reality and that it must be destroyed before the Reality is gained. It is ridiculous. A day will dawn when we will ourselves laugh at our efforts. That which is on the day of laughter is also now.”

~ Erase the Ego

D: How is the Guru found?

M: 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 as between two physical bodies. But the Guru, who is God or the Self incarnate, works from within, helps the man to see the error of his ways and guides him in the right path until he realizes the Self within.

D: What should the devotee do then?

M: He has only to act up to the words of the Master and work within. The Master is both “within” and “without,” so He creates conditions to drive you inward and at the same time prepares the “interior” to drag you to the Center. Thus He gives a push from “without” and exerts a pull from “within,” so that you may be fixed at the Center.

~ Maharshi’s Gospel

The ego is like a very powerful elephant which cannot be brought under control by any less powerful than a lion, which, in this instance, is no other than the Guru, whose very look makes the elephant-like ego tremble and die. 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.

~ Maharshi’s Gospel

“…Samsara means samsara of the mind. If you leave that samsara, it will be the same thing wherever you are. Nothing troubles you.”

~ Letters from Sri Ramanasramam

The Self alone exists; and the Self alone is real. Verily the Self alone is the world, the “I” and God. All that exists is but the manifestation of the Supreme Being.

Self is only Being – not being this or that. It is Simple Being. BE, and there is the end of ignorance.