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Copyright 2001 Realization.org.

 

 
 
  CLASSICS
 

Self-Enquiry
By Ramana Maharshi

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QUESTION 37


Disciple:
By practising the disciplines taught above, one may get rid of the obstacles that are in the mind, viz. ignorance, doubt, error, etc., and thereby attain quiescence of mind. Yet, there is one last doubt. After the mind has been resolved in the heart, there is only consciousness shining as the plenary reality. When thus the mind has assumed the form of the Self, who is there to enquire? Such enquiry would result in self-worship. It would be like the story of the shepherd searching for the sheep that was all the time on his shoulders!

Master: The jiva itself is Shiva; Shiva Himself is the jiva. It is true that the jiva is no other than Shiva. When the grain is hidden inside the husk, it is called paddy; when it is de-husked, it is called rice. Similarly, so long as one is bound by karma one remains a jiva; when the bond of ignorance is broken, one shines as Shiva, the Deity. Thus declares a scriptural text. Accordingly, the jiva which is mind is in reality the pure Self; but, forgetting this truth, it imagines itself to be an individual soul and gets bound in the shape of mind. So its search for the Self, which is itself, is like the search for the sheep by the shepherd. But still, the jiva which has forgotten its self will not become the Self through mere mediate knowledge. By the impediment caused by the residual impressions gathered in previous births, the jiva forgets again and again its identity with the Self, and gets deceived, identifying itself with the body, etc. Will a person become a high officer by merely looking at him? Is it not by steady effort in that direction that he could become a highly placed officer? Similarly, the jiva, which is in bondage through mental identification with the body, etc., should put forth effort in the form of reflection on the Self, in a gradual and sustained manner; and when thus the mind gets destroyed, the jiva would become the Self.*

The reflection on the Self which is thus practised constantly will destroy the mind, and thereafter will destroy itself like the stick that is used to kindle the cinders burning a corpse. It is this state that is called release.

*Though the obstacles which cause the bondage of birth may be many, the root-cause for all such changes is ahankara. This root-cause must be destroyed for ever. --Vivekachudamani.

 

QUESTION 38

Disciple: If the jiva is by nature identical with the Self, what is it that prevents the jiva from realizing its true nature?

Master: It is forgetfulness of the jiva's true nature; this is known as the power of veiling.


Copyright Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India.

 

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This page was published on Realization.org on June 9, 2000.


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