Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 17

Maanasam tu kim maargane krithe
Naiva maanasam marge arjavaath

Word meaning
Kim maargane Krithe – What is the source of
Maanasam tu – the mind (enquire this way)
Naiva maanasam – (thus when one enquires one finds that) there is no mind.
Marge arjavaath – this is the direct path to reality

Sloka meaning
When a person enquires “What is the source of the mind”, he finds out that there is no mind. This is the direct path to reality.

The path that Maharshi told people to follow (when questioned) was the path of Self-Enquiry. This path of Self-Enquiry is called Vichara. This is not a new path propounded by Maharshi but this is one of the oldest path put forth in Yoga Vasistha as well as mentioned by Adi Sankaracharya also.

As mentioned earlier, all sorrow and sufferings are due to ignorance alone, ignorance about one’s own reality of Absolute Bliss. As a result of this ignorance, a person thinks himself to be imperfect & strives to become perfect. Thus, he goes on searching for God as well as Bliss in the external world which is only an illusion seen in the reality of Consciousness which is his very nature. God and Bliss are not separate from the seeker but they are the very essence of the seeker. When this absolute reality about one’s own perfect nature is known, all thirst for happiness and knowledge ends. At that time, there remains only the Self or Consciousness – one without a second. This reality of Consciousness is the only thing present even when the seeker considers himself as ignorant & in bondage. Bondage and ignorance are themselves illusions created by the mind in the Self alone. These all arise because of ignorance of the real nature of oneself as the pure Consciousness.

A story is popularly told about the place where God stays!!!!

In ancient times, the various deities or Gods had a meeting to solve a problem (as we have frequent meetings in worldly as well as religious issues whenever some problems arise). Humans had started disturbing Gods a lot. First, Gods used to stay in Vaikunta and Himalayas where normal humans could not reach. But due to siddhis and other reasons, humans started reaching even those places & hence they were disturbing Gods too frequently (as we do even today – whenever something goes wrong, we remember God J not to tell him to solve the problem but to accuse him of giving the devotees - that we claim to be – sorrow and suffering). Thus, Gods wanted an immediate solution for the same. Suddenly one young God suggested a solution. That solution was implemented. And to this day, we all are still searching for God – unable to find him (here Gods is mentioned just to bring out the import of the story properly. As the ancient Rig Vedic hymn tells Ekam Sad Vipraa Bahudaa Vadanthi – One Truth or God is being called differently by different people).

The hiding place where God is staying is the heart of the humans. It is pretty obvious that police will search the robber in external places except in his house. Similarly, everyone is trying to find out God in the external world or assuming that he is staying in Vaikunta ready to absorb the person after shedding this mortal coil J Isn’t it foolish enough to think that God is someone staying in heaven and who can be realized only after death of this mortal body??? The scriptures as well as Lord Krishna again and again stress that God is present in the heart of human beings & he has to be realized here in this birth itself and not after death or after reaching Vaikunta/Kailaas.

Thus, the one and only way to realize the God or the Self is to enquire into one’s own real nature. The heart represents the real nature or the place where Consciousness starts the various modifications of mind, ego etc. Therefore, to find out God, one has to enquiry into the real nature of “I” or Consciousness that we all already are. This reality is being obstructed due to ignorance about the real place of God, about the reality that “I am God, I am Consciousness, I am Brahman of the nature of Absolute Existence, Consciousness and Bliss”.

Hence the only way to remove this ignorance is to enquire into one’s own nature. Enquiry is inevitable because it is forgetfulness of one’s own nature which has caused illusory sufferings and sorrows. Enquiry is nothing but trying to find out the answer to the question “Who am I?”.

As Ramana Maharshi points out in this sloka, when the source of the mind is searched, the mind itself vanishes (the mind which itself is an illusion seen in the Self or Consciousness alone). The mind is nothing but collection of thoughts or simply thoughts. When these thoughts are removed, what remains behind is the THINKER. The thinker of the thoughts is Consciousness or the Self alone. Thus, when thoughts or mind is removed, Self alone remains. As explained in the previous posting, the objects or thoughts (here the objects for the THINKER are thoughts) are nothing but illusions seen in the Subject or the Thinker.

One may ask are the objects an illusion in subject – how is this right????
Any reality can be known through the logic of Anvaya – Vyatireka.

Anvaya means co-existence – if the Thinker is there, thoughts are there.
Vyatireka means co-absence – if the Thinker is not there, thoughts are not there.

Therefore, one can conclude that the thoughts are only illusions seen in the thinker because there are no thoughts distinct from the thinker & separate from the thinker.

Any illusion has a substratum which is real. The illusion vanishes when its source or the substratum is searched and found out.

A person sees snake in the rope. When the person tries to find out the source of the snake, he finds that there is no snake but only rope. Similarly when the source of the mind or the Ego is found out, the mind which is an illusion vanishes & the reality of Consciousness or the Self alone remains.

Let us now try to analyze the question “Who am I”. As Maharshi mentions in this sloka, the answer to this question is the direct path to reality.

Adi Sankara tells about Vichara in Vivekachoodamani
Chittasya suddhaye karma ta vasthu upalabdhaye
Vasthu siddhir vicharena na kinchit karma kotibhih

Actions are meant for purification of mind and not for realization the reality (Vasthu is that which is real – reality is one alone & there are not many realities). Reality can be known only through Self-Enquiry and not through crores of actions.

Yoga Vasistha speaks about Vichara
Moksha dvaare dvaarapaalah chatvaari kathithaani maneeshibhi
Samo vicharah santhoshah chaturthah sadhu sangamah

The door of liberation is guarded by four sentries of Sama or mental calmness, Enquiry, contentment and mixing with realized people.

Thus, Vedanta stresses the importance of Vichara as the path to realization. The thoughts are illusions on the thinker. Mind is nothing but thoughts alone. Hence mind itself is an illusion seen in the reality of Consciousness. When reality is known, the illusion vanishes. The illusion has its source in the Consciousness (even though the illusion itself is unreal but since it is temporarily perceived and to overcome it, one has to search for its so-called source). Thus, when the source of the illusion is searched for, the illusion vanishes and Consciousness alone remains.

The path of Enquiry is trying to find out where the thoughts come from. One finds that thoughts come from “I”. What is this “I”? Let us try to analyze this.

I cannot be the body because the body keeps changing. And the body is not present in dream state but still I am present. Therefore I am not this body. Also I state – my hands are good, my face is beautiful – this shows that I am not the hands or face or the body.

I am not the sense organs also. Yesterday I saw a pot. Today I touch that pot. Hence, I who saw the pot yesterday am touching the pot today. This means that I am different from sight and touch both since these both depend upon me. Therefore I am not the five sense organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. I am also not the five organs of action of hands, feet, mouth, reproductory organ and excretory organ.

I am not the mind also because mind is always full of thoughts which are changing each moment. These changing thoughts are thought by ME. Hence I cannot be the mind also.

I am not the intellect because today the intellect is determining something and tomorrow it will determine something else. But these both determinations are performed by ME alone.

I am not the Ego also. Because today I call Shiva my God, but tomorrow I call Vishnu as my God. Therefore, the mineness which is seen in both the cases “I” am the constant factor. The Ego is an identification of “I” with some objects. This means today the Ego is attachment to a person, tomorrow it might be attachment to another person. But this attachment is not ME because I am without any attachments as in deep sleep state.

Therefore, I am Consciousness – that which is conscious of all objects. I am the Self of the nature of Existence because I am the only thing which can experience existence of its own – as I have the pulsation “I exist, I exist” each and every moment. I am that Existence which makes other things exists. I am the only thing which is of the nature of Existence and Consciousness – existence as experience of existence is there & consciousness as conscious of the existence of itself and other objects. And I am Bliss also because in deep sleep, there is only ME and there is bliss enjoyed in that state. And in this waking state also, he who realizes this ultimate reality that “I am the Self, distinct from body, mind, ego etc” can enjoy the eternal bliss inherent in the Self.

Thus, from the external illusory body to the innermost Self – thus enquiring is termed as Vichara or Self-Enquiry. This is the direct path to realization as this direct leads one to the Consciousness, one without a second & which is the ultimate reality of this illusory and seemingly existent world.

Maharshi in the next sloka mentions that thoughts have their source in “I-thought” and therefore “I-thought” is the mind. This “I-thought” or the first thought of “I-I” which is called Ego has its source in the Self or pure Consciousness alone.


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