Mind is not steady
A gentleman from Mysore asked:
D:. How is the mind to be kept in the right way?
M.: By practice. Give it good thoughts. The mind must be trained in good ways.
D.: But it is not steady.
M.: The Bhagavad Gita says: Sanaissanair uparamet (The mind must gradually be brought to a standstill); Atma samstham manah kritva (making the mind inhere in the Self); Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam (by practice and dispassion). Practice is necessary. Progress will be slow.
D.: What is the Self referred to in Atma samstham ( fixing it in the Self)?
M.: Do you not know your Self? You certainly exist. Or do you deny your existence? The question may arise “Who is this Self”, only if you do not exist, but you cannot ask anything unless you exist at the same time. Your question shows that you exist. Find out who you are. That is all.
D.: I have read many books. But my mind does not turn to the Self.
M.: Because the Self is not in the books; but it is in you. Reading books makes one learned. That is its purpose and it is fulfilled.
D.: What is Atma sakshatkara (Self-Realisation)?
M.: You are the Atma (Self) and that sakshat (here and now) also. Where is the place for kara (accomplishment) in it? This question shows that you think you are the non-Self. Or you think that there are two selves, the one to realise the other. It is absurd.
That you identify yourself with the gross body lies at the root of this question. Well, this question arises now. Did it arise in your sleep? Did you not exist then? Certainly you did exist in sleep. What is the difference between these two states that the question should arise now but not in sleep? Now you think that you are the body. You see things around you and you want to see the Self in a similar manner. Such is the force of habit.
The senses are mere instruments of perception. You are the seer. Remain as the seer only. What else is there to see? Such is the state in deep sleep. Therefore this question does not arise then.
Atma sakshatkara (Self-Realisation) is thus only anatma nirasana (giving up the non-Self).
D.: Is there only one Self or are there more selves?
M.: This is again due to confusion; you identify the body with the Self. You think: “Here I am; here he is, there is another; and so on”. You find many bodies and think they are so many selves. But did you ask in your sleep “I am sleeping here, how many are there who are awake?” Does any question arise, for the matter of that? Why does it not arise? Because you are only one and there are not many.
D.: What is my tattva (truth)?
M.: You are yourself the tattva. Is there a different one to know the tattva of another? How can you exist apart from the tattva? The very fact of your existence makes you ask this question. Your very existence is the tattva. Give up the habiliments of the tattva and remain in your essential nature. All the Scriptures tell you only not to waste your efforts in non-truth – non-tattva. Give up the non- tattva. Then tattva remains always shining pure and single.
D.: I want to know my tattva and my duties.
M.: Know your tattva first and then you may ask what your duties are. You must exist in order to know and do your duty. Realise your existence and then enquire of your duties.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
23rd to 26th October, 1938