Mr. Sagarmull, a Marwari gentleman, a cotton merchant from Bombay, seems learned in Srimad Bhagavad Gita. He asked:
Srimad Bhagavad Gita says: mattah parataram nanyat kinchit and later on sutre
manigana iva – “there is nothing different from Me” and later on “like beads
strung on a thread.” If there is nothing but Sri Krishna, how can the world be
said to be like “beads on a string?”
M.: It means that the sutra (string) and the mani (jewel beads) are not apart
from ME. There are no maniganah (row of beads) apart from the string (sutra) and
no string apart from Me. The sloka emphasises unity and not multiplicity which
is only on the surface.
D.: Unity can only be after merging into Bhagavan. True – but till then there
must be diversity. That is samsara.
M.: Where are we now? Are we apart from Bhagavan? The samsara and we are all in
D.: But that is the experience of the jnanis. Differentiation persists until
jnana dawns. So there is samsara for me.
M.: Samskara (predisposition) is samsara (cycle of births and deaths).
D.: Right. “All this is Vasudeva” – this truth has been forgotten by us. So we
cannot identify ourselves with God.
M.: Where is forgetfulness?
D.: Like svapna.
M.: Whose svapna?
M.: Who is jiva?
D.: It is Paramatma’s.
M.: Let Paramatma ask then.
D.: I shall make my doubt clear by means of an illustration.
M.: Whoever wants the doubt to be illustrated and made clear? Direct experience
– pratyaksha – does not require examples for elucidation.
D.: There is pratyaksha and also forgetfulness.
M.: What is forgotten and by whom?
D.: Listen. One dreams; the dream-world disappears on waking.
M.: Wake up similarly from the present dream.
D.: Prakrti (nature) is too powerful.
M.: See the Purusha (lord) also. What can prakrti do then?
D.: There is a granthi (knot) between them.
M.: Whose is that knot? Is it of the Lord or of Nature? or of both?
D.: Due to Brahman.
M.: Then Brahman must ask or must be asked. To whom is svapna? or the knot? You are always saying “I ask.” Who is that ‘I’?
D.: I do not perceive.
M.: ‘I’ is eternal. It would vanish if it were anything particular. It is Perfection. So it is not found as an object.
D.: But I am imperfect.
M.: Why bring in imperfection? Why are you not perfect? Did you feel imperfection in your sleep? Why do you not remain so even now? Bring sleep into the waking state (jagrat sushupti) and you will be all right. Ya nisa sarva bhootanam … pasyato muneh … (That which is night for the ignorant is day for the wise).
D.: Yes, if he is a muni (sage).
M.: Who is a muni? Is he not a man?
D.: Do you not feel a slap if given to you? Is there no differentiation? Is it jnana?
M.: A man under chloroform or under the influence of drink does not feel it. Is he a Jnani? Is jnana inconsistent with that feeling?
D.: There is seer, seen and sight. They are not characteristic of jnana.
M.: In sleep, in trance, in absent-mindedness, there is no differentiation. Do you call it jnana? What has happened in these states? Is that which then was, absent now?
That which is exists for ever. The difference is due to the mind. The mind is sometimes present at other times absent. There is no change in the Reality. Reality is always Bliss – Ananda.
D.: Bliss is the outcome of practice. What is that practice?
M.: Sadhana is the enquiry to find out to whom all these doubts
D.: It is for the ego (ahamkara).
M.: Wherefrom does ahamkara arise?
D.: Guidance is necessary to show me the way.
M.: Go within and find the route. You cannot find it from without; nor should you seek it externally.
D.: I am unable to find the ego by search. I stop there.
M.: How can you get it? It is not apart from you. Leave alone not
finding it. Where are you now? Do you mean to say “I am not”?
D.: What or how am I?
M.: Do not trouble yourself about it. Let it be as it is. Why do you care? Did you care for the whole or part (samashti, vyashti) in your sleep? The same person is present now too. You are the same in sleep and in waking.
D.: Sleep and waking are different states having different effects
…. M.: How does it matter to you? The Self is the same, all through.
D.: The mind is not steady in meditation.
M.: Whenever it wanders, turn it inward again and again.
D.: When duhka (misery) overpowers me, enquiry is impossible.
M.: Because the mind is too weak. Make it strong.
D.: By what means?
M.: Sat-sanga, Isvara Aradhana, Pranayama – (association with the wise, worship of God, breath control).
D.: What happens?
M.: Misery is removed; our aim is removal of misery. You do not acquire happiness. Your very nature is happiness. Bliss is not newly earned. All that is done is to remove unhappiness. These methods do it.
D.: Association with the wise may strengthen the mind. There must also be practice. What practice should be made?
M.: Yes. Practice is necessary too. Practice means removal of predispositions. Practice is not for any fresh gain; it is to kill the predispositions.
D.: Abhyasa (practice) should give me that power.
M.: Practice is power. If thoughts are reduced to a single thought the mind is said to have grown strong. When practice remains unshaken it becomes sahaja (natural).
D.: What is such practice?
M.: Enquiring into the Self. That is all. Atmanyeva vasam nayet …..
Fix the mind on the SELF.
D.: What is the aim to be kept in view? Practice requires an aim.
M.: Atman is the aim. What else can there be? All other aims are for those who are incapable of atmalakshya (having the Self for the aim). They lead you ultimately to atma-vichara (enquiry into the Self). One- pointedness is the fruit of all kinds of practice. One may get it quickly; another after a long time. Everything depends on the practice.
D.: Peace is extolled more than anything else. How shall we gain it?
M.: It is your very nature. Forgetfulness never overtakes the Self. The Self is now confounded with non-self and that makes you speak of forgetfulness of the Self, Peace, etc. Oblivion will never rear up its head if this confusion is put an end to.
D.: How is that done?
M.: Enquiry into the Self. One-pointedness means cessation of mental activities. Forgetfulness must be for the self – well, of what? Of the Self? Are there then two selves? Practice removes the samskaras.
D.: But samskaras are infinite and eternal – from beginningless time. M.: This itself is a samskara. Give up that idea and all samskaras will disappear at once. That is visranti (repose), santi (peace). Peace is ever present. But you hold it down and rise over it and thus disturb it. Then you say, “I want Peace”.
D.: Will Peace be gradual?
M.: Yes. Make the mind gradually still (Sanaissanaih uparamet) says
the Bhagavad Gita.
Link: Sri Ramana Maharshi