Internet: Poet-writer Alan Jacobs quotes Ramana Maharishi to say, the mental state free from thoughts is the real state

It is a film by Jean Raphael Dedieu with still black and white photographs of Ramana Maharishi while Lucinda Mason Brown does the voiceover. Alan Jacobs reads ‘Talk 146’ of the great sage of Arunachala. This is a talk worth hearing/watching because in less than 14 minutes, it gets you asking the question which Ramana said was, “… the axe to kill ego…” Who am I?

Alan Jacobs, poet and writer, begins his reading with, “If there be a goal to be reached it cannot be permanent. The goal must already be there. We seek to reach the goal with the ego, but the goal exists before the ego…even prior to our birth, that is, to the birth of the ego. Because we exist the ego appears to exist too. If we look on the Self as the ego then we become the ego, if as the mind we become the mind, if as the body we become the body.

It is the thought which builds up sheaths in so many ways. The shadow on the water is found to be shaking. Can anyone stop the shaking of the shadow? If it should cease to shake you would not notice the water but only the light.” So suggests Ramana that one should take no notice of the ego and its activities, but see only the light behind. The ego is the I-thought. The true ‘I’ is the Self.

The most important point he makes is, “Realisation is already there. The state free from thoughts is the only real state. There is no such action as Realisation. Is there anyone who is not realising the Self? Does anyone deny his own existence? Speaking of realisation, it implies two selves — the one to realise, the other to be realised. What is not already realised, is sought to be realised. Once we admit our existence, how is it that we do not know our Self?

…It is the mind that stands between and veils our happiness. How do we know that we exist? If you say because of the world around us, then how do you know that you existed in deep sleep? Is it the mind that wants to kill itself? The mind cannot kill itself. So your business is to find the real nature of the mind. Then you will know that there is no mind. When the Self is sought, the mind is nowhere. Abiding in the Self, one need not worry about the mind.”

The question that follows is an oft-asked one in every school of thought… about fear. Says Ramana, “…It is only a thought. If there is anything besides the Self there is reason to fear? Who sees the second? First the ego arises and sees objects as external. If the ego does not rise, the Self alone exists and there is no second… All bad qualities centre round the ego. When the ego is gone Realisation results by itself. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only. It is beyond quality. If there is unity, there will also be duality. The numeral one gives rise to other numbers. The truth is neither one nor two. IT is as it is.”

Giving this simple but explosive understanding of “nirguna”, Alan Jacobs reads, “…The Self is only one. If limited it is the ego. If unlimited it is Infinite and is the Reality…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…”

When asked if he can show God, Ramana refuses, “…because God is not an object that can be seen. He is the seer.” The documentary also quotes Somerset Maugham’s meeting with Ramana…a stark yet enigmatic report of how, for most of the time, the sage looked beyond the shoulder of the author and said, his famous line once again, “Silence is also conversation.”

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Can you practice what you preach?October 24, 2013