Ego is I-thought. True ‘I’ is the Self.
In reply to Miss Leena Sarabhai, a cultured Indian lady of high rank,
Sri Bhagavan said:
The state of equanimity is the state of bliss. The declaration in the Vedas ‘I am This or That’, is only an aid to gain equanimity of mind.
D.: So, it is wrong to begin with a goal: is it?
M.: If there be a goal to be reached it cannot be permanent. The goal must already be there. We seek to reach the goal with the ego, but the goal exists before the ego. What is in the goal is even prior to our birth, i.e., to the birth of the ego. Because we exist the ego appears to exist too.
If we look on the Self as the ego then we become the ego, if as the mind we become the mind, if as the body we become the body. It is the thought which builds up sheaths in so many ways. The shadow on the water is found to be shaking. Can anyone stop the shaking of the shadow? If it should cease to shake you would not notice the water but only the light. Similarly to take no notice of the ego and its activities, but see only the light behind. The ego is the I-thought. The true ‘I’ is the Self.
D.: It is one step to realization.
M.: Realization is already there. The state free from thoughts is the only real state. There is no such action as Realization. Is there anyone who is not realizing the Self? Does anyone deny his own existence? Speaking of realization, it implies two selves – the one to realize, the other to be realized. What is not already realized, is sought to be realized. Once we admit our existence, how is it that we do not know our Self?
D.: Because of the thoughts – the mind.
M.: Quite so. It is the mind that stands between and veils our happiness. How do we know that we exist? If you say because of the world around us, then how do you know that you existed in deep sleep?
D.: How to get rid of the mind?
M.: Is it the mind that wants to kill itself? The mind cannot kill itself. So your business is to find the real nature of the mind. Then you will know that there is no mind. When the Self is sought, the mind is nowhere. Abiding in the Self, one need not worry about the mind.
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
26th January, 1936