Sri Ramana Maharshi in his late 60s.
30 December 1879
Tiruchuzhi, Madras Presidency, British India
|Died||14 April 1950
Sri Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai, India
|Literary works||NÄn YÄr? (“Who am I?”)
Five Hymns to Arunachala
|Quotation||Of all the thoughts that rise in the mind, the thought ‘I’ is the first thought.|
All activities and events that a body is to go through are determined at the time of conception.
The Real is ever-present, like the screen on which the cinematographic pictures move. While the picture appears on it, the screen remains invisible. Stop the picture, and the screen will become clear. All thoughts and events are merely pictures moving on the screen of Pure Consciousness, which alone is real.
It is every intelligent man's experience that evildoing recoils on the doer sooner or later.
The mind itself is of the form of all, i.e., of soul, God and world; when it becomes of the form of the Self through knowledge, there is release, which is of the nature of Brahman: this is the teaching.
If you are vigilant and make a stern effort to reject every thought when it rises, you will soon find that you are going deeper and deeper into your own inner self, where there is no need for your effort to reject the thoughts.
Even the structure of the atom has been found by the mind. Therefore the mind is subtler than the atom. That which is behind the mind, namely the individual soul, is subtler than the mind.
When there are thoughts, it is distraction: when there are no thoughts, it is meditation.
You need not aspire for or get any new state. Get rid of your present thoughts, that is all.
Consciousness is indeed always with us. Everyone knows 'I am!' No one can deny his own being.
That which comes and goes, rises and sets, is born and dies is the ego. That which always abides, never changes, and is devoid of qualities is the Self.
Like the practice of breath control, meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, food restrictions, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.
Time and space always change, but there is something which is eternal and changeless. For example, the world and time, past or future, nothing exists for us in sleep. But we exist. Let us try to find out that which is changeless and which always exists.
One must realise his Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness.
The Self is self-luminous without darkness and light, and is the reality which is self-manifest. Therefore, one should not think of it as this or as that. The very thought of thinking will end in bondage.
Every moment there is creation, every moment destruction. There is no absolute creation, no absolute destruction. Both are movement, and that is eternal.
I have never said that there is no need for a guru. All depends on what you call guru. He need not be in a human form.
Without understanding yourself, what is the use of trying to understand the world?
Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.
The body dies, but the spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death.
No one succeeds without effort… Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance.
Concentration of the mind is in a way common to both Knowledge and Yoga. Yoga aims at union of the individual with the universal, the Reality. This Reality cannot be new. It must exist even now, and it does exist.
Time is only an idea. There is only the Reality. Whatever you think it is, it looks like that. If you call it time, it is time. If you call it existence, it is existence, and so on. After calling it time, you divide it into days and nights, months, years, hours, minutes, etc. Time is immaterial for the Path of Knowledge.
Even as one and the same person is called by different names according to the different functions he performs, so also one and the same mind is called by the different names: mind, intellect, memory, and egoity, on account of the difference in the modes – and not because of any real difference.
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.
Think of God; attachments will gradually drop away. If you wait till all desires disappear before starting your devotion and prayer, you will have to wait for a very long time indeed.
There is no doubt that breath control is the means for mind control because the mind, like breath, is a part of air; because the nature of mobility is common to both; because the place of origin is the same for both; and because when one of them is controlled, the other gets controlled.
The greatest error of a man is to think that he is weak by nature, evil by nature. Every man is divine and strong in his real nature. What are weak and evil are his habits, his desires and thoughts, but not himself.
For those who have obtained unobstructed knowledge of Self, the world is seen merely as a bondage causing imagination.
As instruments for knowing the objects, the sense organs are outside, and so they are called outer senses; and the mind is called the inner sense because it is inside. But the distinction between inner and outer is only with reference to the body; in truth, there is neither inner nor outer. The mind's nature is to remain pure like ether.
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.
Who am I? Not the body, because it is decaying; not the mind, because the brain will decay with the body; not the personality, nor the emotions, for these also will vanish with death.
Society is the body; individuals are its members, its limbs. Just as the various limbs help and co-operate with one another and thus are happy, so each must unite with others in being helpful to all in thought, speech and action… One may see to the good of one's own group, i.e., the group that is immediate to him, and then proceed to others.
Experiences such as, 'I went; I came; I was; I did,' come naturally to everyone. From these experiences, does it not appear that the consciousness 'I' is the subject of those various acts? Enquiry into the true nature of that consciousness, and remaining as oneself, is the way to understand, through enquiry, one's true nature.
Doubts never end. If one doubt is removed, another takes its place. It is like removing the leaves of a tree one by one. Even if all the leaves are clipped off, new ones grow. The tree itself must be uprooted.
It is the Higher Power which does everything, and the man is only a tool. If he accepts that position, he is free from troubles; otherwise, he courts them.
The means that make one qualified for enquiry are meditation, yoga, etc. One should gain proficiency in these through graded practice and thus secure a stream of mental modes that is natural and helpful.
The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.