Disciple: What is the purport of the teaching
that one should meditate, through the 'I am He' thought,
on the truth that one is not different from the self-luminous
Reality that shines like a flame?
(a) The purport of teaching that one should cultivate
the idea that one is not different from the self-luminous
Reality is this: Scripture defines meditation in these
words, "In the middle of the eight-petalled heart-lotus
which is of the nature of all, and which is referred
to as Kailasa, Vaikundha, and Parama-pada, there
is the Reality which is of the size of the thumb, which
is dazzling like lightning and which shines like a flame.
By meditating on it, a person gains immortality."
From this we should know that by such meditation one
avoids the defects of (1) the thought of difference,
of the form 'I am different, and that is different,'
(2) the meditation on what is limited, (3) the idea
that the real is limited, and (4) that it is confined
to one place.
(b) The purport of teaching that one should meditate
with the 'I am He' thought is this: sahaham: soham;
sah the supreme Self, aham the Self that
is manifest as 'I'. The jiva which is the Shiva-linga
resides in the heart-lotus which is its seat situated
in the body which is the city of Brahman; the mind which
is of the nature of egoity, goes outward identifying
itself with the body, etc. Now the mind should be resolved
in the heart, i.e. the I-sense that is placed in the
body, etc., should be got rid of; when thus one enquires
'Who am I?', remaining undisturbed, in that state the
Self-nature becomes manifest in a subtle manner as 'I-I';
that self-nature is all and yet none, and is manifest
as the supreme Self everywhere without the distinction
of inner and outer; that shines like a flame, as was
stated above, signifying the truth 'I am Brahman.' If,
without meditating on that as being identical with oneself,
one imagines it to be different, ignorance will not
leave. Hence, the identity-meditation is prescribed.
If one meditates for a long time, without disturbance,
on the Self ceaselessly, with the 'I am He' thought
which is the technique of reflection on the Self, the
darkness of ignorance which is in the heart and all
the impediments which are but the effects of ignorance
will he removed, and the plenary wisdom will be gained.*
Thus, realizing the Reality in the heart-cave which
is in the city (of Brahman), viz. the body, is the same
as realizing the all-perfect God.
In the city with nine gates, which is the body, the
wise one resides at ease.**
The body is the temple; the jiva is God (Shiva).
If one worships him with the 'I am He' thought, one
will gain release.
The body which consists of the five sheaths is the cave,
the supreme that resides there is the lord of the cave.
Thus the scriptures declare.
Since the Self is the reality of all the gods, the meditation
on the Self which is oneself is the greatest of all
meditations. All other meditations are included in this.
It is for gaining this that the other meditations are
prescribed. So, if this is gained, the others are not
necessary. Knowing one's Self is knowing God. Without
knowing one's Self that meditates, imagining that there
is a deity which is different and meditating on it,
is compared by the great ones to the act of measuring
with one's foot one's own shadow, and to the search
for a trivial conch after throwing away a priceless
gem that is already in one's possession.***
If meditation in the form 'I am Shiva' (Shivoham
bhavana), which prevents the thought going outwards,
is practised always, samadhi will come about.--Vallalar.
**In the city that has nine false gates, He resides
in the form of bliss. --Bhagavad gita.
***We shall meditate on that which, existing in the
form of self, is the atma-tattva, is effulgent, and
which residing in all living things always says "I",
"I". To seek for a God outside, leaving the God residing
in the cave of the heart, is like throwing away a priceless
gem and searching for a trivial bead.
Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India.