How to get rid of fear?
Conversation with Miss Leena Sarabhai, a cultured Indian lady of high rank.
D.: How to get rid of fear?
M.: What is fear? It is only a thought. If there is anything besides the Self there is reason to fear. Who sees the second (anything external)? First the ego arises and sees objects as external. If the ego does not rise, the Self alone exists and there is no second (nothing external). For anything external to oneself implies the seer within. Seeking it there will arise no doubt, no fear – not only fear, all other thoughts centred round the ego will disappear along with it.
D.: This method seems to be quicker than the usual one of cultivating qualities alleged necessary for salvation (sadhana chatushtaya)?
M.: Yes. All bad qualities centre round the ego. When the ego is gone Realisation results by itself. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only. It is beyond quality. If there is unity, there will also be duality. The numeral one gives rise to other numbers. The truth is neither one nor two. IT is as it is.
D.: The difficulty is to be in the thought-free state.
M.: Leave the thought-free state to itself. Do not think of it as pertaining to you. Just as when you walk, you involuntarily take steps, so too in your actions; but the thought-free state is not affected by your actions.
D.: What is it that is discriminative in action?
M.: Discrimination will be automatic, intuitive.
D.: So Intuition alone matters; Intuition develops also.
M.: Those who have discovered great Truths have done so in the still depths of the Self.
The ego is like one’s shadow thrown on the ground. If one attempts to bury it, it will be foolish. The Self is only one. If limited it is the ego. If unlimited it is Infinite and is the Reality.
The bubbles are different from one another and numerous, but the ocean is only one. Similarly the egos are many, whereas the Self is one and only one.
When told that you are not the ego, realize the Reality. Why do you still identify yourself with the ego? It is like saying, “Don’t think of the monkey while taking medicine” – it is impossible. Similarly it happens with common folk. When the Reality is mentioned why do you continue to meditate Sivoham or Aham Brahmasmi? The significance must be traced and understood. It is not enough to repeat the bare words or think of them.
Reality is simply the loss of the ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity. Because the ego is no entity it will automatically vanish and Reality will shine forth by itself. This is the direct method. Whereas all other methods are done, only retaining the ego. In those paths there arise so many doubts and the eternal question remains to be tackled finally. But in this method the final question is the only one and it is raised from the very beginning. No sadhanas are necessary for engaging in this quest.
There is no greater mystery than this – viz., ourselves being the Reality we seek to gain Reality. We think that there is something hiding our Reality and that it must be destroyed before the Reality is gained. It is ridiculous. A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your past efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now.
D.: So it is a great game of pretending?
In Yoga Vasishtha it is said, “What is Real is hidden from us, but what is false, is revealed as true.” We are actually experiencing the Reality only; still, we do not know it. Is it not a wonder of wonders?
The quest “Who am I?” is the axe with which to cut off the ego.
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
26th January, 1936