Free will and Might of Almighty
D.: What is the relation between my free-will and the overwhelming might of the Omnipotent?
(a) Is omniscience of God consistent with ego’s freewill?
(b) Is omnipotence of God consistent with ego’s freewill?
(c) Are the natural laws consistent with God’s free-will?
M.: Yes. Free-will is the present appearing to a limited faculty of sight and will. The same ego sees its past activity as falling into a course of ‘law’ or rules – its own free-will being one of the links in that course of law.
Omnipotence and omniscience of God are then seen by the ego to have acted through the appearance of his own free-will. So he comes to the conclusion that the ego must go by appearances. Natural laws are manifestations of God’s will and they have been laid down.
D.: Is the study of science, psychology, physiology, philosophy, etc. helpful for :
(1) this art of yoga-liberation.
(2) the intuitive grasp of the unity of the Real?
M.: Very little. Some knowledge is needed for yoga and it may be found in books. But practical application is the thing needed, and personal example, personal touch and personal instructions are the most helpful aids. As for the other, a person may laboriously convince himself of the truth to be intuited, i.e., its function and nature, but the actual intuition is akin to feeling and requires practice and personal contact. Mere book learning is not of any great use. After realisation all intellectual loads are useless burdens and are thrown overboard as jetsam. Jettisoning the ego is necessary and natural.
D.: How does dream differ from waking?
M.: In dreams one takes on different bodies, and they re-enter this body when one dreams of sense-contacts.
D.: What is happiness? Is it inhering in the Atman or in the object, or in the contact between the subject and the object? But we do not see happiness in our affairs. When does It actually arise?
M.: When there is contact of a desirable sort or memory thereof, and when there is freedom from undesirable contacts or memory thereof, we say there is happiness. Such happiness is relative and is better called pleasure.
But men want absolute and permanent happiness. This does not reside in objects, but in the Absolute. It is Peace free from pain and pleasure – it is a neutral state.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
4th February, 1935