Rise of the ego cause of trouble
The Malayalam version of Ulladu Narpadu (Forty Verses on Reality) was read out by a devotee for the benefit of the visitor.
After hearing it, he asked: What about the reference to duality in practice and unity at the end?
Maharshi: Some people think that one must begin practice with dualistic idea. It refers to them. They say that there is God; the man must worship and meditate; ultimately the jiva merges into God. Others say that the Supreme Being and the jiva are always apart and never merge into each other. Howsoever it may be at the end, let us not trouble ourselves about it now. All are agreed that the jiva IS. Let the man find out the jiva, i.e., his Self. Then there will be time to find out if the Self should merge in the Supreme, is a part thereof, or remains different from it. Let us not forestall the conclusion.
Keep an open mind, dive within and find out the Self. The truth will itself dawn upon you. Why should you determine beforehand if the finality is unity absolute or qualified, or duality? There is no meaning in it. The ascertainment is now made by logic and by intellect. The intellect derives light from the Self (the Higher Power). How can the reflected and partial light of the intellect envisage the whole and the original Light? The intellect cannot reach the Self and how can it ascertain its nature? Such is the significance of the reference.
D.: One of the stanzas says that the scriptures so scrupulously studied in the earlier stages are ultimately of no use. At what stage do they become useless?
M.: When their essence is realised. The scriptures are useful to indicate the existence of the Higher Power (the Self) and the way to gain it. Their essence is that much only. When that is assimilated the rest is useless. But they are voluminous, adapted to the development of the seeker. As one rising up in the scale finds the regions one has passed to be only steps to the higher stage, and so on, the steps ascended become purvapaksha successively until the goal is gained. When the goal is reached it remains alone, and all the rest becomes useless. That is how the sastras become useless.
We read so much. Do we remember all that we read? But have we forgotten the essentials? The essential soaks in the mind and the rest is forgotten. So it is with the sastras.
The fact is that the man considers himself limited and there arises the trouble. The idea is wrong. He can see it for himself. In sleep there was no world, no ego (no limited self), and no trouble. Something wakes up from that happy state and says ‘I’. To that ego the world appears. Being a speck in the world he wants more and gets into trouble.
How happy he was before the rising of the ego! Only the rise of the ego is the cause of the present trouble. Let him trace the ego to its source and he will reach that undifferentiated happy state which is sleepless sleep. The Self remains ever the same, here and now. There is nothing more to be gained. Because the limitations have wrongly been assumed there is the need to transcend them.
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
6th July, 1935