Self-enquiry – Vichara Sangraham (9)
How can it be said that the Heart is no other than Brahman?
Although the Self enjoys its experiences in the states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, residing respectively in the eyes, throat and heart, however, in reality, it never leaves its principal seat, the Heart. In the Heart-lotus which is of the nature of all, in other words in the mind-ether, the light of that self in the form ‘I’ shines.
As it shines thus in everybody, this very Self is referred to as the Witness (sakshi) and the Transcendent (turiya – literally the fourth state).
The ‘I’-less supreme Brahman (absolute Reality) which shines in all bodies as interior to the light in the form ‘I’, is the Self-ether (or knowledge-ether). That alone is the absolute Reality. This is the super-transcendent (turiyatita).
Therefore, it is stated that what is called the Heart is no other than Brahman (absolute Reality). Moreover, for the reason that Brahman shines in the Hearts of all souls as the Self, the name ‘Heart’ is given to Brahman. *
The meaning of the word hridayam (Heart), when split thus ‘hrit-ayam’, is in fact Brahman (absolute Reality).
The adequate evidence for the fact that Brahman, which shines as the self, resides in the hearts of all is that all people indicate themselves by pointing to the chest when saying ‘I’.
* – “In the hearts of all individual souls that which shines is Brahman and hence is called the Heart” – Brahma Gita.
Self-enquiry (Vichara Sangraham) is the first set of teachings that Ramana Maharshi ever offered. It was offered at about 1901, when he was a young man of about twenty-two. He was already a Jnani (Sage) in perfect Realization of the Self, in the resplendent bliss of Divine Knowledge. At that time he was living in Virupaksha Cave on the hill of Arunachala.
A number of disciples had already gathered round him. Although he had not actually taken a vow of silence, he seldom spoke, and so wrote his replies to certain questions put to him by Sri Gambhiram Seshayya, one of the earliest devotees. Sri Seshayya copied them in his diary. After his passing away, this diary was obtained from his brother. The questions and answers were edited by Sri Natanananda and published with Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi’s approval under the name of Vichara Sangraham, or Self-Enquiry.