Talks 34 – 40. Self-Realization, Karma, Actions, Seeing the Dead
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
February 4, 1935
A devotee, Yogi Ramaiya, shared his experiences that he had by following Maharshi’s teachings.
Yogi Ramaiah said: Sitting in Maharshi’s presence brings peace of mind. I used to sit in samadhi (perfect bliss) for three or four hours together. Then I felt my mind took a form and came out from within. By constant practice and meditation it entered the Heart and was merged into it. I conclude that the Heart is the resting place of mind. The result is peace. When the mind is absorbed in the Heart, the Self is realized. This could be felt even at the stage of concentration (dharana). I asked Maharshi about contemplation. Maharshi taught me as follows :
“When a man dies and his body is gone, what remains thereafter? The mind. The question arises, ‘How many are there in this body – one or two?’ If there are two, why do people say ‘I’ and not ‘we’? There is therefore only one.
From where is it born? What is its nature (swaroopa)? Enquiring thus the mind also disappears. Then what remains over is seen to be ‘I’. The next question is ‘Who am I?’ The Self alone. This is contemplation. It is how I did it. By this process attachment to the body (dehavasana) is destroyed. The ego vanishes. Self alone shines. This is Self-Realization.
One method of getting mind-dissolution (manolaya) is association with great ones – the yoga adepts (Yoga arudhas). They are perfect Masters in samadhi (perfect bliss). Self-Realization has been easy, natural, and perpetual to them. Those moving with them closely and in sympathetic contact gradually absorb the samadhi habit from them.“
An educated visitor asked Bhagavan : What is dvaita (duality) and what is advaita (non-duality)?
M.: Identification with the body is dvaita. Non-identification is advaita.
An aristocratic and distinguished lady visitor from the North accompanied by her Private Secretary arrived at noon, waited a few minutes and asked Maharshi soon after he returned to the hall after lunch:
D.: Maharajji, can we see the dead?
D.: Can the yogis show them to us?
M.: Yes. They may. But do not ask me to show them to you. For I cannot.
D.: Do you see them?
M.: Yes, in dreams.
D.: Can we realize the goal through yoga?
D.: Have you written on yoga? Are there books on the subject by you?
After she left the Master observed: “Did we know our relatives before their birth that we should know them after their death?”
A visitor asked : “What is Karma?”
M.: That which has already begun to bear fruit is classified as prarabdha Karma (past action). That which is in store and will later bear fruit is classified as sanchita Karma (accumulated action). This is multifarious, diverse, like the grain obtained by villagers as barter for greens. Such bartered grain consists of rice, ragi, barley etc., some floating on the water, others sinking in water. They may be good, bad or mediocre. When the most potent of the multifarious accumulated Karma begins to bear fruit in the next birth, it is called the prarabdha of that birth.
One of the present attendants asked Bhagavan, “What is the way for liberation?”
Maharshi replied: “The way already taken leads to liberation.”
September 22, 1936
Conversing with a visitor, Maharshi remarked as follows:
A Self-Realized sage (Atma Jnani) alone can be a good Karma yogi. After the sense of doership has gone, let us see what happens. Sri Sankara advised inaction. But did he not write commentaries and take part in disputations?
Do not trouble yourself about doing action or otherwise. Know Yourself. Then let us see whose action it is. Whose is it?
Let action complete itself. So long as there is the doer he must reap the fruits of his action. If he does not think himself the doer there is no action for him. He is an ascetic who has mentally renounced worldly life (sanyasin).
D.: How did the ego arise?
M.: It is not necessary to know it. Know the present. Not knowing that, why do you worry about other times?
Maharshi later said in reply to a question: “Is the world within you or outside of you? Does it exist apart from you? Does the world come and tell you ‘I exist’?”
The questioner resumed: “How do we know that action is ours or not?
M.: If the fruits of actions do not affect the person he is free from action.
D.: Is intellectual knowledge enough?
M.: Unless intellectually known, how to practice it? Learn it intellectually first, then do not stop with that. Practise it.
Maharshi then made certain general remarks: “When you adhere to one philosophical system (siddhanta) you are obliged to condemn the others. That is the case with the heads of monasteries (matadhipatis)”.
All people cannot be expected to do the same kind of action. Each one acts according to his temperament and past lives. Wisdom, Devotion, Action (jnana, bhakti, karma) are all interlocked. Meditation on forms is according to one’s own mind. It is meant for ridding oneself of other forms and confining oneself to one form. It leads to the goal. It is impossible to fix the mind in the Heart to start with. So these aids are necessary. Krishna says that there is no birth (janma) for you, me etc., and later says he was born before Aditya (Sun) etc. Arjuna disputes it. Therefore it is certain that each one thinks of God according to his own degree of advancement.
You say you are the body in wakeful state; not the body in sleep. Bodies being several-fold for an individual, should not there be infinite capacities for God? Whichever method one follows, that method is encouraged by the Sages. For it leads to the goal like any other method.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
February 4, 1935
22nd September, 1936
Talks 34 – 40.