When the rejection of mental activities becomes continuous and automatic, you will begin to have the experience of the Self.
—quoted in David Godman, Living by the Words of Bhagavan, page 263
Bhagavan’s famous instruction summa iru [be still] is often misunderstood. It does not mean that you should be physically still; it means that you should always abide in the Self… In sattva guna [a state of mental quietness and clarity] there is stillness and harmony. If mental activity is necessary while one is in sattva guna it takes place. But for the rest of the time there is stillness… If sattva guna predominates one experiences peace, bliss, clarity and an absence of wandering thoughts. That is the stillness that Bhagavan was prescribing.
—quoted in David Godman, Living by the Words of Bhagavan, page 267.
Meditation must be continuous. The current of meditation must be present in all your activities. With practice, meditation and work can go on simultaneously.
—quoted in David Godman, Living by the Words of Bhagavan, page 274.
When I say, ‘Meditate on the Self’ I am asking you to be the Self, not think about it. Be aware of what remains when thoughts stop. Be aware of the consciousness that is the origin of all your thoughts. Be that consciousness.
—quoted in David Godman, Living by the Words of Bhagavan, page 282.
Go deeply into this feeling of ‘I’. Be aware of it so strongly and so intensely that no other thoughts have the energy to arise and distract you. If you hold this feeling of ‘I’ long enough and strongly enough, the false ‘I’ wll vanish leaving only the unbroken awareness of the real, immanent ‘I’, consciousness itself.
—quoted in David Godman, Living by the Words of Bhagavan, page 299.
The Self is always alert. That is its nature.
—quoted in David Godman, Living by the Words of Bhagavan, page 327.
Continuous attentiveness will only come with long practice. If you are truly watchful, each thought will dissolve at the moment that it appears. But to reach this level of disassociation you must have no attachments at all. If you have the slightest interest in any particular thought, it will evade your attentiveness, connect with other thoughts, and take over your mind for a few seconds. This will happen more easily if you are accustomed to reacting emotionally to a particular thought.
—quoted in David Godman, Living by the Words of Bhagavan, pages 342–43.
Self-inquiry must be done continuously. It doesn’t work if you regard it as a part-time activity.
—David Godman, Annamalai Swami: Final Talks, page 30.
If you can hold on to this knowledge ‘I am Self’ at all times, no further practice is necessary.
—David Godman, Annamalai Swami: Final Talks, page 39.
In the same way, mind is just a Self-inflicted area of darkness in which the light of the Self has been deliberately shut out.
—David Godman, Annamalai Swami: Final Talks, page 57.
In every moment you only have one real choice: to be aware of the Self or to identify with the body and the mind.
—David Godman, Annamalai Swami: Final Talks, page 59.
Your ultimate need is to get established in the changeless peace of the Self. For this you have to give up all thoughts.
—David Godman, Annamalai Swami: Final Talks, page 63.
Tayumanuvar, a Tamil saint whom Bhagavan often quoted, wrote in one of his poems: ‘My Guru merely told me that I am consciousness. Having heard this, I held onto consciousness. What he told me was just one sentence, but I cannot describe the bliss I attained from holding onto that one simple sentence. Through that one sentence I attained a peace and a happiness that can never be explained in words.’
—David Godman, Annamalai Swami: Final Talks, pages 67‒68.
Copyright © 1994, 2000 Sri Annamalai Swami Ashram Trust.
Annamalai Swami was a direct disciple of Ramana Maharshi.
By Annamalai Swami
Our main page on Annamalai Swami: biography, book recommendations, links, videos, etc.
By Annamalai Swami and David Godman
This small book is one of a half dozen that we recommend most strongly to people who want to practice Self-enquiry in order to realize. It contains transcripts of talks that Annamalai Swami held with seekers during the last six months of his life. His advice about how to practice Self-enquiry is unusually valuable because he worked for a long time to become Self-realized. Annamalai Swami spent nearly ten years with Ramana Maharshi, first as his personal attendant and later as construction manager at Sri Ramana’s ashram.
Living by the Words of Bhagavan
By Annamalai Swami and David Godman
This book is an autobiography of Annamalai Swami who became Self-realized after many years of effort and close association with his guru, Ramana Maharshi. It paints an unusually intimate portrait of the Maharshi based on Annamalai Swami’s ten years of interactions with him, first as his personal attendant and then as supervisor of building projects at Sri Ramanasraman. The book is sober and free of the sentimentality that colors many memoirs of this type. This is not a hagiography; Annamalai's Maharshi is a surprising figure who does quirky and sometimes puzzling things. The final section of the book contains transcripts of conversations that Annamalai Swami held with seekers in the 1980s. Annamalai Swami worked hard for many years to realize the Self, making his advice especially useful to seekers for whom Self-realization does not come easily. We think this is a wonderful book, one of the best about Sri Ramana, and we recommend it very highly.
This page was first published on May 15, 2017, last revised on May 22, 2017, and last republished on January 12, 2023.