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Copyright 2001 Realization.org.

 

 
 
  CLASSICS
 

Self-Enquiry
By Ramana Maharshi

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QUESTION 35


Disciple:
Is it possible to practise at the same time the pranayama belonging to yoga and the pranayama pertaining to knowledge?

Master: So long as the mind has not been made to rest in the heart, either through absolute retention (kevala-kumbhaka) or through enquiry, rechaka, puraka, etc., are needed. Hence, the pranayama of yoga is to be practised during training, and the other pranayama may be practised always. Thus, both may be practised. It is enough if the yogic pranayama is practised till skill is gained in absolute retention.

 

QUESTION 36


Disciple:
Why should the path to release be differently taught? Will it not create confusion in the minds of aspirants?

Master: Several paths are taught in the Vedas to suit the different grades of qualified aspirants. Yet, since release is but the destruction of mind, all efforts have for their aim the control of mind. Although the modes of meditation may appear to be different from one another, in the end all of them become one. There is no need to doubt this. One may adopt that path which suits the maturity of one's mind.

The control of prana which is yoga, and the control of mind which is jnana* -- these are the two principal means for the destruction of mind. To some, the former may appear easy, and to others the latter. Yet, jnana is like subduing a turbulent bull by coaxing it with green grass, while yoga is like controlling through the use of force. Thus the wise ones say: of the three grades of qualified aspirants, the highest reach the goal by making the mind firm in the Self through determining the nature of the real by Vedantic enquiry and by looking upon one's self and all things as of the nature of the real; the mediocre by making the mind stay in the heart through kevala-kumbhaka and meditating for a long time on the real, and the lowest grade, by gaining that state in a gradual manner through breath-control, etc.

The mind should be made to rest in the heart till the destruction of the 'I'-thought which is of the form of ignorance, residing in the heart. This itself is jnana; this alone is dhyana also. The rest are a mere digression of words, digression of the texts. Thus the scriptures proclaim. Therefore, if one gains the skill of retaining the mind in one's Self through some means or other, one need not worry about other matters.

The great teachers also have taught that the devotee is greater than the yogins** and that the means to release is devotion, which is of the nature of reflection on one's own Self.***

Thus, it is the path of realizing Brahman that is variously called Dahara-vidya, Brahma-vidya, Atma-vidya, etc. What more can be said than this? One should understand the rest by inference.

The Scriptures teach in different modes. After analysing all those modes the great ones declare this to be the shortest and the best means.

*Seeing everything as Real according to the Scripture: I am Brahman -- one only without a second.

**Of all Yogins, only he who rests his unwavering mind and love in me is dear to me.--Bhagavad-gita.

***Of the means to release only bhakti
(devotion) may be said to be the highest. For, bhakti is constant reflection on one's own Self. --Vivekachudamani.


Copyright Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India.

 

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


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