Talk 43. How to get over afflictions; Mind Control; Real “I”, False “I”
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
The following devotees visited the Asramam. They were Mr. S. Ranganathan, I.C.S., Collector of Vellore, Mr. S. V. Ramamurthi, I.C.S. and Mr. T. Raghaviah, late Diwan of Pudukottai State.
Mr. Ranganathan asked, “Kindly instruct me as to how the mind may be controlled.”
M.: There are two methods. The one is to see what the mind is; then it subsides. The second is to fix your attention on something; then the mind remains quiet.
The questioner repeated the question for further elucidation. The same answer was returned with a little more added. The questioner did not look satisfied.
Mr. Raghaviah: Men of the world that we are, we have some kind of grief or another and do not know how to get over it. We pray to God and still are not satisfied. What can we do?
M.: Trust God.
D.: We surrender; but still there is no help.
M.: Yes. If you have surrendered, you must be able to abide by the will of God and not make a grievance of what may not please you. Things may turn out differently from what they look apparently. Distress often leads men to faith in God.
D.: But we are worldly. There is the wife, there are the children, friends and relatives. We cannot ignore their existence and resign ourselves to Divine Will, without retaining some little of the personality in us.
M.: That means you have not surrendered as professed by you. You must only trust God.
Mr. Ramamurthi: Swamiji, I have read Brunton’s book A Search in Secret India, and was much impressed by the last chapter, where he says that it is possible to be conscious without thinking. I know that one can think, remaining forgetful of the physical body. Can one think without the mind? Is it possible to gain that consciousness which is beyond thoughts?
M.: Yes. There is only one consciousness, which subsists in the waking, dream and sleep states. In sleep there is no ‘I’. The ‘I-thought’ arises on waking and then the world appears. Where was this ‘I’ in sleep? Was it there or was it not? It must have been there also, but not in the way that you feel now. The present is only the ‘I-thought’, whereas the sleeping ‘I’ is the real ‘I’. It subsists all through. It is consciousness. If it is known you will see that it is beyond thoughts.
D.: Can we think without the mind?
M.: Thoughts may be like any other activities, not disturbing to the Supreme consciousness.
D.: Can one read others’ minds?
The Master as usual told him to find his Self before worrying about others. “Where are others apart from one’s own Self?” asked the Master.
Mr. Raghaviah: How shall we correlate the higher experience with the lower experience (meaning spiritual experience with mundane affairs)?
M.: There is only one experience. What are the worldly experiences but those built up on the false ‘I’? Ask the most successful man of the world if he knows his Self. He will say “No”. What can anyone know without knowing the Self? All worldly knowledge is built upon such a flimsy foundation.
Mr. Ramamurthi: How to know the ‘Real I’ as distinct from the ‘false I’.
M.: Is there anyone who is not aware of himself? Each one knows, but yet does not know, the Self. A strange paradox.
The Master added later, “If the enquiry is made whether mind exists, it will be found that mind does not exist. That is control of mind. Otherwise, if the mind is taken to exist and one seeks to control it, it amounts to mind controlling the mind, just like a thief turning out to be a policeman to catch the thief, i.e., himself. Mind persists in that way alone, but eludes itself.”