"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

Monday, October 26, 2015

Brahman Exists As 'I'

Sri Ramana Maharshi
22-3-1946 Afternoon

The Swami then asked whether a jnani could remain with his body after attaining Self-realisation. He said, “It is said that the impact of Self-realisation is so forceful that the weak physical body cannot bear it for more than twenty-one days at the longest.” 

Bhagavan said, “What is your idea of a jnani? Is he the body or something different? If he is something apart from the body, how could he be affected by the body? The books talk of different kinds of mukti, videha mukti (without body), and jivan mukti (with body). There may be different stages in the sadhana. But in realisation there are no degrees.”

The Swami then asked, “What is the best means for Self-realisation?”

Bhagavan: ‘I exist’ is the only permanent, self-evident experience of everyone. Nothing else is so self-evident (pratyaksha) as ‘I am’. What people call ‘self-evident’ viz., the experience they get through the senses, is far from selfevident. The Self alone is that. Pratyaksha is another name for the Self. So, to do Self-analysis and be ‘I am’ is the only thing to do. ‘I am’ is reality. I am this or that is unreal. ‘I am’ is truth, another name for Self. ‘I am God’ is not true. 

The Swami thereupon said, “The Upanishads themselves have said ‘I am Brahman’.” 

Bhagavan replied, “That is not how the text is to be understood. It simply means, “Brahman exists as ‘I’ and not ‘I am Brahman’. It is not to be supposed that a man is advised to contemplate ‘I am Brahman’, ‘I am Brahman’. Does a man keep on thinking ‘I am a man’ ‘I am a man’? He is that, and except when a doubt arises as to whether he is an animal or a tree, there is no need for him to assert, ‘I am a man.’ Similarly the Self is Self, Brahman exists as ‘I am’, in every thing and every being.”

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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