What is required is Self-Enquiry
Not from any desire, resolve or effort on the part of the rising sun, but merely due to the presence of his rays, the lens emits heat, the lotus blossoms, water evaporates, and people attend to their various duties in life. In the proximity of the magnet the needle moves. Similarly the soul or jiva, subjected to the threefold activity of creation, preservation, and destruction which takes place merely due to the unique Presence of the Supreme Lord, performs acts in accordance with its karma, and subsides to rest after such activity.
But the Lord Himself has no resolve; no act or event touches even the fringe of His Being. This state of immaculate aloofness can be likened to that of the sun, which is untouched by the activities of life, or to that of the all-pervasive ether, which is not affected by the interaction of the complex qualities of the other four elements.
All scriptures without any exception proclaim that for attaining Salvation, the mind should be subdued; and once one knows that control of the mind is their final aim, it is futile to make an interminable study of them.
What is required for such control is actual enquiry into oneself by self-interrogation, ‘Who am I?’ How can this enquiry in quest of the Self be made merely by means of a study of the scriptures?
One should realize the Self by the Eye of Wisdom. Does Rama need a mirror to recognize himself as Rama? That to which the ‘I’ refers is within the five sheaths, whereas the scriptures are outside them. Therefore, it is futile to seek by means of the study of scriptures the Self that has to be realized by summarily rejecting even the five sheaths.
To enquire ‘Who am I that am in bondage?’ and to know one’s real nature is alone Liberation. To keep the mind constantly turned within and to abide thus in the Self, is alone Atma- vichara (Self-enquiry), whereas dhyana (meditation) consists in fervent contemplation of the Self as Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being- Consciousness-Bliss). Indeed, at some time, one will have to forget everything that has been learnt.
Just as it is futile to examine the rubbish that has to be swept up only to be thrown away, so it is futile for him who seeks to know the Self to set to work enumerating the tattvas that envelop the Self and examining them instead of casting them away. He should consider the phenomenal world with reference to himself as merely a dream.
These are the physical, vital, and mental sheaths, and the sheaths of Knowledge-Experience and of Blissful-ignorance. Tattvas are the elements into which phenomenal existence — from the subtle mind to gross matter — is classified.
Except that the wakeful state is long and the dream state short, there is no difference between the two. All the activities of the dream state appear, for the time being, just as real as the activities of the wakeful state seem to be while awake. Only, during the dream state, the mind assumes another form or a different bodily sheath. For thoughts on the one hand and name and form on the other occur simultaneously during both the wakeful and dream states.
Sri Ramana Maharshi
Words of Grace
Who am I ?