There is no vessel to ferry man across the ocean of worldliness except Gnana. But what is Gnana? Gnana is the full and firm realization of the self – a realization beyond all doubt, confusion, change and contradiction.
The Gnana will not dawn -neither by control of mind or breath, nor by karma or action, neither by devotion to conceptual god, nor by rituals and penance, nor pilgrimaging nor by surrendering to physical guru nor by glorifying god men, Because all these are part of the ignorance. Whatever is related to sense of ‘I’ is ignorance.
The Gnana dawns only when the self, wakes up to its formless non-dual nature and comes out of the sense of the sense of ‘I’ by realizing ‘I’, which is mind is mere mirage.
The self is ‘I’-less, formless, deathless existence. One has to inquiry in to truth carried on with deeper reasoning, is the chief means of attaining the self-Knowledge. One pointed deeper self –search, receptiveness, sharpness to grasp the truth, inner urge and humility are necessary to attain truth. If a seeker enters upon the life of deeper thinking with all these necessary equipment, he will certainly reach the non-dual destination. Gnana or wisdom is the result of contemplation; it annihilates the ignorance. Until one reaches the climax of Gnana or wisdom he cannot be said to have attained the firm realization of the self.
Sri, Ramana Maharshi’s teaching is helpful to the seeker to remove many obstacles in the pursuit of truth but seeker of truth has to go much deeper and beyond “WHO AM I?, to reach the non-dual destination.
“Arise, awake; and understand the supreme Goal” (Kathopanisad)
Sri, Ramana Maharishi said: scriptural knowledge is conceptual divisions invented by teachers of philosophy by their excessive analysis. Where do all these concepts end? Why should confusion created and then explained away? Fortunate is the man who does not lose himself in the labyrinths of philosophy, but goes straight to the source from which they all arise.
Ramana Maharishi indicated the direct path to the truth, is the source from which the false arises. Thus the source is the soul or Atman, which is the true self. Atman itself is Brahman. Thus it is necessary to view the worldview on the base of the source, which the true self, and formless substance and witness of the experience of diversity. Thus deeper inquiry, analysis and reasoning on the true base, one can acquire the self –knowledge in lesser time and effort. The unity in diversity is possible only through self-knowledge not by mastering the scriptural knowledge.
Ramana Maharishi said:- this self –inquiry is not the critical study of the scriptures. When the source is reached the ego gets merged into it. The result of self-inquiry is the cure for all the sorrows. It is the highest of all the results. There is nothing greater then it. It only indicates there is no necessity to study the scriptures to acquire self-knowledge. [Page-66-practicle guide to know yourself c/e by A.R.N].
Ramana Maharishi said:-
Q by D:- Is not necessary to study the Vedas or at least the Prasthanatraya [the Bhagavad Gita,Dasopanishad and Brahma Sutras, all with commentaries]to ensure firm realization?
Ramana Maharishi:-No. Do you need all that to see yourself? All that is intellectual wealth, useful in explain doubts and difficulties if others rise them or if you yourself encounter them in the course of thinking. But to attain realization, all that is not necessary. You want fresh water to drink, but you do not require all the water of the river Ganges to quench your thirst. [Page 111/112 of Practical guide to know yourself c/e by A.R.N].
This surely indicates Sri, Ramana Maharishi’s path is independent path nothing to do with the religion and scriptures.
I have the highest reverence for Sri, Ramana Maharishi a sage of highest order.
As one goes deeper in self- search he becomes aware of the fact that, the Sri, Ramana Maharishi’s Self-inquiry is not enough to reach the non-dual destination.
In my deeper self-search I became aware the Self-Inquiry prescribed by Sri, Ramana Maharishi is inadequate to reach the ultimate end. This is because he might have prescribed it to the beginners and as they go deep enough they will work it on their own. Most of his followers are of the orthodox back ground.
Sri, Ramana Maharishi's teachings are very valuable for seeking world. But serious seekers have to move much deeper and beyond Who am ‘I’? , to realize the ‘I’ itself is illusion.
Pursuit of truth starts from inquiring “Who am ‘I’? but wisdom dawns only by knowing the mind, which is in the form of universe and the self ,which is in the form of consciousness. Who am ‘I’ inquiry helps to unfold half-truth. To leave out one of these parts is to prevent attainment of non-dual wisdom.
"Who am I” is useful no doubt, it has certainly a value in its place, and gives some knowledge of self as the Witness, but what about the witnessed? The universe still faces us. It must also be looked at. If the universe is ignored, then "Who am I” cannot give the full truth. It is the yogic enquiry; not the spiritualistic; the latter deals with the whole of life whereas the former deals with a part only.
"Who am I" is dualistic, because there, is no person in the realm of truth but only in the illusion the ‘I’ exists. . It should be "What is “I”?" To meditate on the formula “What am I?" can only yield the thought 'I'. I never cease even after long years of practice of “Who am I?” inquiry. The question "Who am I” is an egocentric, not a soul-centric question. It is a based on the physical self. It is on a par with "What shall I be after death?" and "What shall I get if I do good deed in this life?" It is purely ego-cantered: it is an appeal to the interest in egoistic only. Only the soul-centric -minded can lift their thoughts above ego and inquire;-What is this mind? "What is the universe?" “What is the substance of the mind?
All the experiences of the three states put together make the Atman[self], not merely the ego questioning itself ''Who am I.”
Meditation on the whole is the best meditation: meditation on the parts is only steps towards that. The first thing that one sees is the world. The yogis and religionist disregard this in order to think of self because they are unaware of the fact that self is not the ‘I’. They think ‘I’ is the true self and they continue their spiritual pursuit without verifying what ‘I’ is?. The deeper inquiry analysis reveals the fact that, ‘I’ is not the self, but ‘I’ is mind and mind is the universe, which appears as whole waking experience of dream. Thus, people who limit the ‘I’ to the physical entity or ego will never be able to reach their non-dual destination.
Those who jump at once to Atman disregarding the world are yogis or religionists, not seekers of truth. If one don’t see the world, it does not mean he have wisdom. One who looks at objects alone, at the external world, he is wholly ignorant. But he who is able to witness his body and the world together without the physical apparatus is a Gnani.
We have to analyze both mind and its source to get at truth. Two things are necessary in pursuit of truth:-
(1) Knowledge of the object (mind or universe)
(2) Knowledge of the subject [true self].
When one begins inquiry he does it to please himself, not for truth; hence he asks "Who am I?" It is an elementary stage of discipline because ego-bound but aiming at loosening ego. But one has to become aware of the fact that, the body, ego and universe appear together and they disappear together. Therefore just trying to get rid of the ego alone is impossibility.
Those seekers who inquire “Who am I?" may succeed in finding the common factor in all ‘I’s, the I-ness but they have to come back afterwards to the world or duality. Their task is incomplete. They do not know the world also is consciousness.
"What is ‘I’? is " a spiritualistic interrogation. What is the universe? What is mind? What is the whole? One becomes aware of the fact that ‘I’ is the mind and mind is the universe. After having examined deeply; one becomes aware of the fact that the universe is noting to with self that is the experience of birth, life and death has nothing to do with the self, which is in the form of consciousness. The self is the formless and witness of the universe, which is in the form of ‘I’, which comes and goes as waking or dream. The self is the one witness in all and are really ever free. Therefore there is a need to become aware of the fact that ‘I’ is not the self but the formless substance and witness of the ‘I’ is the true self.
When the self is not the body then the inquiry will not go further, it stops there because self is formless, but just by knowing the self is formless the sense of ‘I’ will not vanish. The sense of ‘I’ will prevail. Until sense of ‘I’ prevails, the ignorance prevails. Until ignorance is there, duality is there. Until duality there, the illusion is there. Until illusion is there, the unreality will be experienced as reality. Thus one has to think beyond “Who am “I”? in order to realize Brahman or ultimate truth.
People find self-inquiry is difficult and drop it without going deeper enough.
I admire David Goodman who has done deeper research on Sri, Ramana Maharishi and contributed much information about Sri, Raman Maharishi and Papaji to seeking world :-
In an Interview with David Godman by Rob Sacks:-
It's fashionable nowadays to be very positive about one's spiritual experiences. People like to jump up and down and exclaim, "I'm free! I'm free!" I prefer the refreshing honesty of a devotee, Sivaprakasam Pillai, who, after fifty years of being with Sri Ramana, was still lamenting about his faults and his lack of progress. This is the person who first got Bhagavan to record his teachings on self-enquiry in 1901. I admired his honesty, his humility and his integrity in admitting that he still couldn't control his mind. (An Interview with David Godman by Rob Sacks for Realization.org Page 1)
This proves that even after long years practice of self-inquiry a sincere and serious devotee like Sri, Sivapraksam Pillai, who, after fifty years of being with Sri Ramana, was still lamenting about his faults and his lack of progress. Thus with the practice of self- inquiry, it is difficult to reach the ultimate end. Thus one has to find out on his own what is blocking his realization and remove the blockades on his own.
And also in that interview:-
RS: I often wonder whether Westerners misunderstand Ramana Maharshi. What are the most common misconceptions about his teachings?
DG: I am not sure how much understanding there is of Ramana Maharshi and his teachings in the West. He is an iconic figure to a vast number of people who are following some sort of spiritual path. I think that for many people he epitomizes all that is best in the Hindu Guru tradition, but having said that, I think that very few people know much about him, and even fewer have a good grasp of his teachings. Not many people read books about him nowadays � I know that from trying to sell my own �and even fewer would profess themselves to be his devotee. I find there is very little interest in his teachings even among the people who come to visit Ramanasramam. Nowadays, many of the people who come are spiritual tourists, pilgrims who just travel round India, checking out all the various ashrams and teachers.About twenty years ago I met a foreigner here who had come to the ashram for advice on how to do self-inquiry properly. For several days he couldn't find anyone who was practicing it, even in Ramanasramam. The people he asked in the ashram office just told him to buy the ashram's publications and find out from them how to do it. Eventually, he had what he thought was a bright idea. He stood outside the door of the meditation hall at Ramanasramam, the place where Sri Ramana lived for over twenty years, and asked everyone who came out how to do self-inquiry. It transpired that none of the people inside were doing self-inquiry. They came out one by one and said, "I was doing japa," or "I was doing vipassana," or "I was doing Tibetan visualizations."
How can there be misunderstandings among people who have never even bothered to find out the teachings in the first place, or put them into practice?
(An Interview with David Godman by Rob Sacks for Realization.org Page 2)
(An Interview with David Godman by Rob Sacks for Realization.org Page 2)
Until the seeker is serious and sincere in pursuit of truth it is difficult to reach the ultimate end. Seeker has to find what is blocking his realization even after many years of practice of self-inquiry and find out the reason for what is blocking his realization of the self.
One has to find answers for all the doubts and confusion in Sri, Ramana Maharishi's "Who Am I? inquiry
If mind is same as Atman, how can it vanish? How can Atman vanish? [Page 4 Para. 3]
Ramana Mahrshi says: - "Whenever any thought leads you outward" etc. What can you be certain of when you leave the external world? And why leave the world if you say everything is Brahman? [Page 6 –middle]
Mind ceases to struggle" Yes, if I commit suicide I shall also cease to struggle! How can you say the world ceases to exist if you don't look at it? [Page 6]
Who has seen the subtle mind projecting through the brain and the senses? Can you see it? Is not brain also a piece of gross matter? Then how can it come into existence after the world is created, if latter, depends on brain. [Page 6 last Para]
How can you say the world vanishes when you are introspected? The world is still there; whether you see it or not. [Page 7 top]
Heart is an idea created by mind, so how can Mind emerge from it? [Page 7 Line 4]
"One should unquestioningly follow guru"--This is the very reverse of what Sri Ramakrishna taught. What if the guru happens to be a fool or a rascal? Sri Ramakrishna said "Test me![ Page 11, Para 2]
"In deep sleep, trance, swoon, mind turns inwards and enjoys atmasukam." Why should any man study or inquire or practice if in sleep he can easily get the Atman? If sleep gives Brahman why trouble with Vedanta? [Page 12: middle]
Page 16 middle: "If this truth is appreciated who can refrain from being good?" This is opposite of real Vedanta. Vedanta says it is not enough to be good, you must serve the world and relieve suffering. [Page 16 middle]
Page 16 last para. Is the vanishing of ego to be the end of life? [Page 16 last para]
Only after one finds answers for all above doubts and able to clear all his doubts he will be able to move forward in his pursuit of truth.
EGO, I must indeed go but thou must come one must know Brahman is everywhere. It is only half to say ego must vanish. This is only a step, not highest.
One must realize everything is consciousness. Sri, Ramana Maharishi's teaching is most useful in elementary stages in pursuit of truth, but one has to do his own home work to reach the ultimate end.
Self -inquiry prescribed by Sri,Raman Mahrshi is a good tool in the beginning of the pursuit of truth. But seeker will find it inadequate to in latter stages. However, it creates lots of doubts and confusion. The seeker has to find the answers on his own through deeper reasoning, then all his doubts and confusions will be cleared, and he will be able to move ahead in the path of inquiry, and he will be able to reach his non-dual destination.
The doubts and confusion in Self-Inquiry:-
The seeker has to overcome the doubts and confusion in in later stages in self-inquiry, the seeker finds some doubts and confusion, which cannot be overcome if inquiry practiced on the present format prescribed in self-inquiry book. As per my personal research the self-inquiry in the present format will not yield any fruits.
If mind is same as Atman, how can it vanish--when the mind appears and disappears as Waking or dream?
How can one be certain when one leave the external world--when the person is within the world?
Why leave the external world when everything is Brahman---when everything is Brahman why crate division between the world and its perceiver?
How can the world alone cease to exist if one does not look at it—how can the person remain without the world and where he will exist without the world?
Who has the subtle mind projecting through brain and senses? How can one see his subtle mind?--when the brain also piece of the gross matter? ---then how can the brain come into existence after the world is created if the later depends on the brain.
Heart is idea created by mind, how the mind can emerge from it---when the heart disappear along with the mind and reappears along with the mind, how the mind emerge from it.
In deep sleep, swoon and trance, the mind turns inwards and enjoys its natural state--if so why should one inquire if one gets Atman in sleep. With drug one can get sleep and peace or bliss. If sleep gives Brahman then why trouble with inquiry--better get it through sleeping pills or ganja.
There are many seekers practicing inquiry for many years and waiting for something mystical to happen, why nothing happens and why their inquiry does not yield fruits.
Since Sri, Ramana Maharishi is not present physically to guide us, seeker to overcome these obstacles in the path of inquiry on his own.
In the waking or dream, the objects of experience like sound, touch etc. are varied and different from each other. The one which is aware of the coming and going of the waking or dream is apart from them. The one which is aware of them is consciousness. Thus the experience of diversity [waking or dream] is created out of single stuff, which is consciousness. Thus everything in diversity [waking or dream] is mere mirage created out of consciousness. Thus the form and names within the duality [waking or dream] has no value therefore, everything is one without the division of forms and names.
Man experiences the world within the waking or dream. The world is reality for man within the world. The man and world are unreality for the formless witness of the three states, which is also the formless substance of the three states. Thus the individual experiences such as birth, life, death and the world or pain and pleasure are mere illusion from the ultimate standpoint. Thus basing on the waking entity and judging the truth is erroneous, because the self is neither the waking entity not the dream entity but the self is the formless witness of all the three states.
Thus 'I' and 'I Am' which is limited to the waking experience or dream is not the self, because the consciousness which is the true self pervades all the three states as their formless substance and witness. Thus, all the sense organs belong to the physical entity. And physical entity is reality within the waking experience, but the waking experience itself is unreal from the ultimate standpoint.
The difference within waking or dream does not affect their formless witness in any way. Within the waking or dream the objects may be different from each other. But there is a single witness of them all because the witness witnesses the waking or dream as a whole.
When one says 'I hear', 'I touch', 'I see', etc. the hearing, touching and seeing are experiences within the waking or dream. But all these are experiences experienced by the false self within the false experience, because within the waking or dream the physical apparatus is considered as self, whereas the true self has no physical apparatus. Thus all the experiences are falsehood.
The three states are an object to the subject, which is consciousness. The objects are also different. But the 'consciousness ' that knows them all one and the same in and through all the experiences. Only within the waking or dream one is able to know distinctions like form, time and space and pain and pleasure, etc. But the knower is undivided and undifferentiated in and through all the experiences of the three states.
Formless knower [witness] is not differentiated from the known. It is because the knower and the known are one and the same. Since the experiences are varied when do we know the formless knower, to be undifferentiated?
When self is mentally separated from the three states after realizing the subject object relation. The Consciousness is hidden within the three states as their form less substance. Consciousness is apart from the three states as their formless witness. It is apart because it is neither the waking entity not it is the dream entity but the formless witness of all the three states.
When the three states, which are mere object to the formless subject is dropped mentally, then the Consciousness alone prevails in its formless non-dual true nature.
It is just like one and the same water becoming snow, and cloud. The substance is one and the same. If it is not cloud or snow it remains as water. In the same way, without the three states consciousness alone prevails because all the three states are mere mirage created out of consciousness.
The three states come and go in succession but the knowing principle, the Awareness, remains one and the same in all the three states. The formless, witness, who is in the form of consciousness, remains same through all the experiences.
The dream is parallel waking and waking is parallel dream. The formless knower that knows the coming and going of the three states is one. Thus on the base of the formless knower, the three states are mere mirage. When the mirage is mentally dropped after realization of their unreal nature, than the duality will never be experienced as reality again.
The unreal nature of the experience of form, space, time & objects within the dream becomes unreal when waking takes place. The reality of the unreal nature of form time and space of the waking experience is exposed, when the waking entity becomes aware of the fact that, it itself is not the self, but the true self is that which sees all the three states without the physical apparatus as passing show.
The form, time and space are reality within the waking or dream. But from the standpoint of the formless source, from where waking or dream arise and subside the three states are non-existent. The formless source is consciousness. The consciousness is the true self. Waking or dream or mere mirage created out of the consciousness. The nature of the Consciousness is oneness. Thus, the waking or dream not differs from each other because they are mere mirage created out of consciousness. Thus they are both are one in essence.
The witness, the Consciousness, in the waking is not different from the one in the dream. The waking objects are varied but their witness is one and the same. The dream objects are varied but their witness is one and the same. In other words the witness of the waking and the dream is one and the same.
In deep sleep state there is a continuity of the Consciousness. In the deep sleep state, the witness is in its formless non-dual true nature, that is, it is in self-awareness. In waking or dream it is ignorant of its true nature. Thus there is emptiness in the deep sleep. This cognition is recollected by when it is again enters in to state of ignorance and wakes up as waking or. Dream entity .thus it is erroneous to view and judge the worldview on the waking entity because the witness is present in all the three states.
To overcome all the doubts and confusions, one has to mentally trace the existence of the formless witness, which sees all the three states, which comes and goes in succession. Without that witness the three states are non-existent because it is also the formless substance of the three states. When the waking entity becomes aware of the fact that, it is not the self but the self is the witness of the three states in the midst of waking experience, then the form, time and space within the waking experience ceases to be real. Thus the waking entity realizes the fact that, form, time and space are mere division created out of consciousness. Thus the form, time and space are mere mirage created out of consciousness. Thus there is no division in consciousness. The divisions are mere mirage without the division there is only oneness.
The confusion arises when one says, 'During deep sleep there was neither waking nor dream. The whole waking or dream experiences were absent. But the formless witness was present. The witness was present without the waking or dream. In waking it was witnessing the waking as whole and in dream it was witnessing the dream as whole. The individual happenings within the waking or dream are nothing to do with the formless witness. Thus judging the truth on the base of individual happening within the waking or dream is erroneous, because the witness is neither the waking entity nor the dream entity but the one that witnesses the waking or dream as a whole without the physical apparatus.
Man experiences the world within the waking or dream. The dream is an experience. Similarly the waking also is an experience. The dream becomes unreal when waking takes place. The waking and dream becomes unreal in deep sleep. The one which is aware of the three states is hidden within the three states but it is without the three states. It is hidden within the three states as their formless substance and it is without the three states as their formless witness. Thus mentally tracing the formless substance and witness of the three states is necessary, in order to realize the substance and witness are one in essence. And that essence is consciousness.
Thus it is very necessary to investigate “What is it that, becomes waking or dream?” and “What is it that becomes deep sleep?” rather than finding answers for the meaning of life or inquiring “Who am I?”, What am I?’, “Whence am I?” which are helpful only in preliminary stages in pursuit of truth.
The pursuit of truth is to know the truth of the whole not the part. Birth, life and death takes place within the world. The world is reality within the waking experience but the waking experience itself is mere mirage. By knowing and realizing, with what this mirage, which is in the form of mind or universe came into existence; one becomes aware of the ultimate truth, which consciousness. Thus consciousness alone is real and all else [universe or mind] is false created out of consciousness.