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  CLASSICS
 

Self-Enquiry
By Ramana Maharshi

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QUESTION 10


Disciple:
If the entire universe is of the form of mind, then does it not follow that the universe is an illusion? If that be the case, why is the creation of the universe mentioned in the Veda?

Master: There is no doubt whatsoever that the universe is the merest illusion. The principal purport of the Veda is to make known the true Brahman, after showing the apparent universe to be false. It is for this purpose that the Vedas admit the creation of the world and not for any other reason. Moreover, for the less qualified persons creation is taught, that is the phased evolution of prakriti (primal nature), mahat-tattva (the great intellect), tanmatras (the subtle essences), bhutas (the gross elements), the world, the body, etc., from Brahman: while for the more qualified simultaneous creation is taught, that is, that this world arose like a dream on account of one's own thoughts induced by the defect of not knowing oneself as the Self. Thus, from the fact that the creation of the world has been described in different ways it is clear that the purport of the Vedas rests only in teaching the true nature of Brahman after showing somehow or other the illusory nature of the universe. That the world is illusory, every one can directly know in the state of realization which is in the form of experience of one's bliss-nature.

 

QUESTION 11


Disciple:
Is Self-experience possible for the mind, whose nature is constant change?

Master: Since sattva-guna (the constituent of prakriti which makes for purity, intelligence, etc.) is the nature of mind, and since the mind is pure and undefiled like ether, what is called mind is, in truth, of the nature of knowledge. When it stays in that natural (i.e. pure) state, it has not even the name 'mind'. It is only the erroneous knowledge which mistakes one for another that is called mind. What was (originally) the pure sattva mind, of the nature of pure knowledge, forgets its knowledge-nature on account of nescience, gets transformed into the world under the influence of tamo-guna (i.e. the constituent of prakriti which makes for dullness, inertness, etc.), being under the influence of rajo-guna (i.e. the constituent of prakriti which makes for activity, passions, etc.), imagines "I am the body, etc.; the world is real," it acquires the consequent merit and demerit through attachment, aversion, etc., and, through the residual impressions (vasanas) thereof, attains birth and death. But the mind, which has got rid of its defilement (sin) through action without attachment performed in many past lives, listens to the teaching of scripture from a true guru, reflects on its meaning, and meditates in order to gain the natural state of the mental mode of the form of the Self, i.e. of the form 'I am Brahman' which is the result of the continued contemplation of Brahman. Thus will be removed the mind's transformation into the world in the aspect of tamo-guna, and its roving therein in the aspect of rajo-guna. When this removal takes place the mind becomes subtle and unmoving. It is only by the mind that is impure and is under the influence of rajas and tamas that Reality (i.e. the Self) which is very subtle and unchanging cannot be experienced; just as a piece of fine silk cloth cannot be stitched with a heavy crowbar, or as the details of subtle objects cannot be distinguished by the light of a lamp flame that flickers in the wind. But in the pure mind that has been rendered subtle and unmoving by the meditation described above, the Self-bliss (i.e. Brahman) will become manifest. As without mind there cannot be experience, it is possible for the purified mind endowed with the extremely subtle mode (vritti) to experience the Self-bliss, by remaining in that form (i.e. in the form of Brahman). Then, that one's self is of the nature of Brahman will be clearly experienced.


Copyright Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India.

 

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


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