"The very first step in understanding what this is all about is giving up the concept of an active, volitional 'I' as a separate entity and accepting the passive role of perceiving and functioning as a process." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Friday, April 19, 2019

Know the Knower

Sri Ramana Maharshi

During the first week of last month, on one morning, an ignorant traveller came to the Ashram and, after staying here for two or three days, and in accordance with the saying “satra bhojanam matha nidra” (eating in choultries, sleeping in mutts) went away to eat and stay elsewhere, but was all the same coming here for some days enjoying the bliss of staying near and having the darshan of Bhagavan. Before leaving this town he approached Bhagavan one day with great hesitation and said, in humble tones, “Swami, the people sitting here always ask you something and you give them some replies. When I see that, I also feel tempted to enquire, but I do not know what to ask you. How then can I get mukti?”

Bhagavan, looking at him endearingly and smiling, said, “How do you know that you do not know anything?” He said, “After I came here and heard the questions asked by all these people and the replies Bhagavan is pleased to give them, the feeling that I do not know anything has come upon me.” “Then it is all right. You have found out that you do not know anything; that itself is enough. What more is required?” said Bhagavan.

“How to attain mukti by that much alone, Swami?” said the questioner. “Why not? There is some one to know that he does not know anything. It is sufficient if you could enquire and find out who that someone is. Ego will develop if one thinks that one knows everything. Instead of that, isn’t it much better to be conscious of the fact that you do not know anything and then enquire how you could gain moksha?”

He felt happy at that and went his way. That questioner might or might not have understood the essence of that Bhagawathvani (the voice of the Lord) but, for us people here, those words were echoing in our heart of hearts like mantraksharas (letters of the gospel).

सर्वभूताधिवासं यद्भूतेषु च वसत्यपि।
सर्वानुग्राहकत्वेन तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवः॥

That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings,
who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being:
I AM THAT. -- Amritabindu Upanishad