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  CLASSICS
 

Self-Enquiry
By Ramana Maharshi

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QUESTION 29


Disciple: What is the purport of the teaching that one should meditate, through the 'I am He' thought, on the truth that one is not different from the self-luminous Reality that shines like a flame?

Master: (a) The purport of teaching that one should cultivate the idea that one is not different from the self-luminous Reality is this: Scripture defines meditation in these words, "In the middle of the eight-petalled heart-lotus which is of the nature of all, and which is referred to as Kailasa, Vaikundha, and Parama-pada, there is the Reality which is of the size of the thumb, which is dazzling like lightning and which shines like a flame. By meditating on it, a person gains immortality." From this we should know that by such meditation one avoids the defects of (1) the thought of difference, of the form 'I am different, and that is different,' (2) the meditation on what is limited, (3) the idea that the real is limited, and (4) that it is confined to one place.

(b) The purport of teaching that one should meditate with the 'I am He' thought is this: sahaham: soham; sah the supreme Self, aham the Self that is manifest as 'I'. The jiva which is the Shiva-linga resides in the heart-lotus which is its seat situated in the body which is the city of Brahman; the mind which is of the nature of egoity, goes outward identifying itself with the body, etc. Now the mind should be resolved in the heart, i.e. the I-sense that is placed in the body, etc., should be got rid of; when thus one enquires 'Who am I?', remaining undisturbed, in that state the Self-nature becomes manifest in a subtle manner as 'I-I'; that self-nature is all and yet none, and is manifest as the supreme Self everywhere without the distinction of inner and outer; that shines like a flame, as was stated above, signifying the truth 'I am Brahman.' If, without meditating on that as being identical with oneself, one imagines it to be different, ignorance will not leave. Hence, the identity-meditation is prescribed.

If one meditates for a long time, without disturbance, on the Self ceaselessly, with the 'I am He' thought which is the technique of reflection on the Self, the darkness of ignorance which is in the heart and all the impediments which are but the effects of ignorance will he removed, and the plenary wisdom will be gained.*

Thus, realizing the Reality in the heart-cave which is in the city (of Brahman), viz. the body, is the same as realizing the all-perfect God.

In the city with nine gates, which is the body, the wise one resides at ease.**

The body is the temple; the jiva is God (Shiva). If one worships him with the 'I am He' thought, one will gain release.

The body which consists of the five sheaths is the cave, the supreme that resides there is the lord of the cave. Thus the scriptures declare.

Since the Self is the reality of all the gods, the meditation on the Self which is oneself is the greatest of all meditations. All other meditations are included in this. It is for gaining this that the other meditations are prescribed. So, if this is gained, the others are not necessary. Knowing one's Self is knowing God. Without knowing one's Self that meditates, imagining that there is a deity which is different and meditating on it, is compared by the great ones to the act of measuring with one's foot one's own shadow, and to the search for a trivial conch after throwing away a priceless gem that is already in one's possession.***

* If meditation in the form 'I am Shiva' (Shivoham bhavana), which prevents the thought going outwards, is practised always, samadhi will come about.--Vallalar.

**In the city that has nine false gates, He resides in the form of bliss. --Bhagavad gita.

***We shall meditate on that which, existing in the form of self, is the atma-tattva, is effulgent, and which residing in all living things always says "I", "I". To seek for a God outside, leaving the God residing in the cave of the heart, is like throwing away a priceless gem and searching for a trivial bead.


Copyright Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India.

 

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This page was published on Realization.org on June 9, 2000.


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