"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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Enquire into the 'I'

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Mrs. Chenoy (from Bombay) asked Bhagavan this evening (after reading Who am I?) whether it was the proper thing to do if she asked herself “Who am I?” and told herself she was not this body but a spirit, a spark from the divine flame. 

Bhagavan first said, “Yes, you might do that or whatever appeals to you. It will come right in the end.” But, after a little while, he told her: “There is a stage in the beginning, when you identify yourself with the body, when you are still having the bodyconsciousness. At that stage, you have the feeling you are different from the reality or God, and then it is, you think of yourself as a devotee of God or as a servant or lover of God. This is the first stage. The second stage is when you think of yourself as a spark of the divine fire or a ray from the divine Sun. Even then there is still that sense of difference and the body-consciousness. The third stage will come when all such difference ceases to exist, and you realise that the Self alone exists. There is an ‘I’ which comes and goes, and another ‘I’ which always exists and abides. So long as the first ‘I’ exists, the body-consciousness and the sense of diversity or bheda buddhi will persist. Only when that ‘I’ dies, the reality will reveal itself. For instance, in sleep, the first ‘I’ does not exist. You are not then conscious of a body or the world. Only when that ‘I’ again comes up, as soon as you get out of sleep, do you become conscious of the body and this world. But in sleep you alone existed. For, when you wake up, you are able to say ‘I slept soundly.’ You, that wake up and say so, are the same that existed during sleep. You don’t say that the ‘I’ which persisted during sleep was a different ‘I’ from the ‘I’ present in the waking state. That ‘I’ which persists always and does not come and go is the reality. The other ‘I’ which disappears in sleep is not real. One should try and realize in the waking state that state which unconsciously everyone attains in sleep, the state where the small ‘I’ disappears and the real ‘I’ alone is.” 

At this stage, Mrs. C. Asked, “But how is it to be done?” 

Bhagavan replied, “By enquiring from whence and how does this small ‘I’ arise. The root of all bheda buddhi is this ‘I’. It is at the root of all thoughts. If you enquire wherefrom it arises, it disappears.

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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