Sri Ramana is as typical a flower of Tamil culture with its rigorous intellectual precision, as Sri Ramakrishna is of Bengali culture with its emotional warmth, and Gandhiji of Gujarati culture with its brisk down-to-earth practicality.
“Religions – whether Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or Theosophy or any other system – can only take us to the one point where all religions meet, and no further. That one point is the understanding of the fact – in no mystical sense but in the most worldly and everyday sense and the more worldly and everyday and practical the better – that God is everything and everything is God.” But this face of the immanence of God is not to be merely intellectually comprehended but realized and experienced through continuous practice.
Paul Brunton thus describes the impact on him of the Maharshi’s silent presence: “I cannot turn my gaze away from him. My initial bewilderment, my perplexity at being totally ignored, slowly fade away as this strange fascination begins to grip me more firmly. But it is not till the second hour of the uncommon scene that I become aware of a silent, resistless change which is taking place within my mind. One by one, the questions which I prepared in the train with such meticulous accuracy drop away. For it does not now seem to matter whether I solve the problems which hitherto troubled me. I know only that a steady river of quietness seems to be flowing near me, that a great peace is penetrating the inner reaches of my being, and that my thought-tortured brain is beginning to arrive at some rest”. The primacy of living personality over doctrine, the experience attested to by the English journalist, is part of the Hindu tradition and has been affirmed recently by the Kanchi Acharya himself, who says: “No religion spreads because of its doctrines. People do not care much for doctrine. When there appears a man of outstanding goodness in life and conduct, filled with compassio0on and tranquility, people trust him the moment they set eyes on him, they accept his teaching because they are convinced that the doctrines upheld by such a man must be sound. On the other hand, a doctrine, however sound or true, has no appeal to common people, if its advocates fail in conduct.”
As long as there are vasanas in the mind, so long the inquiry ‘Who am I?’ is required. As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through inquiry.
The ego-mind, controlled by breath regulation, can be destroyed once for all by ekachintana, aikyanusandhana, one-pointed dwelling on oneness. The mind, turned inward, kept alert and scanning its own form and nature, discovers that there is no such continuous entity as a separate mind, that one’s mind is only made up of thoughts, that all other thoughts spring from the ‘I’ thought, the source and the relentless upholder of the sense of separateness.
Searching for the source of the ‘I’-thought, the mind confronts and is overwhelmed by pure unbroken awareness, which is our true being.
Realizing the Self is only letting go the non-self. “Don’t worry about nadis, kundalinis or the six centres. The intricate maze of philosophy, instead of clarifying matters, only creates endless confusion. The Self is obvious and ever present. Why not remain as the Self? Why explain the non-self?” Religion itself he calls “a great game of pretending“. “The aim of all religions is to take us back to our pristine state of being-awareness-bliss. To teach this simple truth, so many schools, books, creeds, methods have come into being, because people want complexity. They want elaborate and puzzling things that give rise to dispute. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, within your grasp, right in your midst. This is the simple truth. But only a mature mind can grasp it in its nakedness. Instead of being and behaving as the Self and beginning a new life, people want to know all about heaven, hell, reincarnation and other mysteries, and the so-called religions pamper them. After all these wanderings you must return only to the Self. Then why not abide in the Self, right now, here? Leave off all this verbiage and be as you are, See who you are and remain as the Self, as awareness, free from birth, coming, going and returning. Why so many efforts and so much discipline to eradicate the illusory avidya?”
……. “A person who remembers the I within the heart is not concerned with questions of right and wrong. His actions are God’s and therefore are always right.” …….. “The antarmukhi, one whose mind is turned inwards, has no need of Sastra or scriptural authority. The Self is not in books. It is in us.” ……… “One must be ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of truth. The degree of renunciation is the measure of one’s progress. Desires cannot be weakened by yielding to them ……….Self-restraint is needed and it is strengthened by knowledge. Know that you are not the mind and that desires are in the mind. Knowing this helps to control them. Repeated attempts to desist from yielding, will, in due course, weaken the desires. Never forget your true nature as self awareness.”
“Self-reform automatically brings about social reform. Stick to self-reform, social reform will take care of itself. Acquire strength by surrender and you will find your surroundings improve in direct proportion to the strength acquired by you.”
Far from revealing truth,
Words only darken and conceal.
To let the truth shine of itself
Instead of being buried in words,
Merge in the hear both word and thought. (525)
Since one’s own past effort it is
That has ripened into fate,
One can with greater present effort
Change one’s fate. (692)
The boat moves in the water, but
Water should not enter it.
Though we live in the world, the world
Should not occupy our mind. (822)