"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, June 10, 2016

Who is Born and Who Dies?

Sri Ramana Maharshi

A newcomer called Gajendra Mehta asked Bhagavan about the state of the soul after death. He has just returned from Africa. He has been writing to Bhagavan for four years but this is the first time he has come here.

Bhagavan: If you know the present you will know the future. It is strange that people don’t want to know about the present, about whose existence nobody can have any doubt, but are always eager to know about the past or the future, both of which are unknown. What is birth and what is death? And who has birth or death? Why go to birth and death to understand what you daily experience in sleeping and waking? When you sleep, this body and the world do not exist for you, and these questions do not worry you, and yet you exist, the same you that exists now while waking. It is only when you wake up that you have a body and see the world. If you understand waking and sleep properly you will understand life and death. Only waking and sleeping happen daily, so people don’t notice the wonder of it but only want to know about birth and death. 

G. Mehta: Is there a rebirth? 

Bhagavan: If there is birth there must be not only one rebirth but a whole succession of births. Why and how did you get this birth? For the same reason and in the same manner you must have succeeding births. But if you ask who has the birth and whether birth and death are for you or for somebody distinct from you, then you realize the truth and the truth burns up all karma and frees you from all births. The books graphically describe how all sanchita karma, which would take countless lives to exhaust, is burnt up by one little spark of jnana, just as a mountain of gunpowder will be blown up by a single spark of fire. It is the ego that is the cause of all the world and of the countless sciences whose researches are so great as to baffle description, and if the ego is dissolved by enquiry all this immediately crumbles and the Reality or Self alone remains. 

G. Mehta had also asked a personal question: Whether he should remain abroad or return to India, but to that Bhagavan said: “Don’t worry what you should do. Things will happen as they are destined to happen.”

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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