How to find the I
Dr. Popatlal Lohara, a visitor, has studied several books including “Upadesa Sara” and visited several saints, sadhus and yogis, probably 1,500 as he puts their number. A sadhu in Trimbak has told him that he has still debts to pay which, if done, will enable him to have realization. His only debt, as he conceived it, was the marriage of his son. It has since been performed and he now feels himself free from karmic indebtedness. He therefore seeks Sri Bhagavan’s guidance for freedom from ‘mental unhappiness’ which persists in spite of his not being indebted.
M.: Which text of “Upadesa Sara” did you read?
D.: The Sanskrit text.
M.: It contains the answer to your question.
D.: My mind cannot be made steady by any amount of effort. I have been trying it since 1918.
The Master quoted from “Upadesa Sara”: “Merging the mind into the Heart certainly comprises meritorious duty (karma), devotion (bhakti), yoga and supreme wisdom (jnana).” That is the whole truth in a nutshell.
D.: That does not satisfy my search for happiness. I am unable to keep my mind steady.
The Master quoted again from the same book: “Continuous search for what the mind is results in its disappearance. That is the straight path.”
D.: How to search for the mind then?
M.: The mind is only a bundle of thoughts. The thoughts have their root in the ‘I-thought’. He quoted; “Whoever investigates the origin of the ‘I-thought’, for him the ego perishes. This is the true investigation.” The true “I” is then found shining by itself.
D.: This ‘I-thought’ rises from me. But I do not know the Self.
M.: All these are only mental concepts. You are now identifying yourself with a wrong ‘I’, which is the ‘I-thought’. This ‘I-thought’ rises and sinks, whereas the true significance of ‘I’ is beyond both. There cannot be a break in your being. You, who slept, are also now awake. There was not unhappiness in your deep sleep. Whereas it exists now. What is it that has happened now so that this difference is experienced? There was no ‘I-thought’ in your sleep, whereas it is present now. The true ‘I’ is not apparent and the false ‘I’ is parading itself. This false ‘I’ is the obstacle to your right knowledge. Find out wherefrom this false ‘I’ arises. Then it will disappear. You will be only what you are – i.e., absolute Being.
D.: How to do it? I have not succeeded so far.
M.: Search for the source of the ‘I-thought’. That is all that one has to do. The universe exists on account of the ‘I-thought’. If that ends there is an end of misery also. The false ‘I’ will end only when its source is sought.
Dr. Lohara asked for the meaning of one stanza in “Upadesa Sara”.
M.: The one then in sleep is also now awake. There was happiness in sleep; but misery in wakefulness. There was no ‘I’- thought in sleep; but it is now, while awake. The state of happiness and of no ‘I-thought’ in sleep is without effort. The aim should be to bring about that state even now. That requires effort.
|Bring about sleep even in the waking state and that is realization. Effort is directed to extinguishing the ‘I-thought’ and not for ushering the true ‘I’. For the latter is eternal and requires no effort on your part.|
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
2nd July, 1936
Talk 222 and 223.