"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, May 12, 2017

Atma Vidya - Easiest of Attainments

Sri Ramana Maharshi

One Tirumalpad of Nilambur, a Malayali gentleman, asked Sri Bhagavan for an explanation of Atma Vidya. (Knowledge of the Self.)

M.: Sri Bhagavan explained this short piece of 5 stanzas as follows: 

Chidambaram is the famous place of pilgrimage associated with Nandanar who sang that Atma Vidya is most difficult of attainment. Muruganar (a long-standing devotee of Sri Bhagavan) began however that Atma Vidya is the easiest of attainments. Ayye atisulabham is the burden of the song. 

In explanation of this extraordinary statement, he argued that Atma being the Self is eternally obvious even to the least of men. The original statement and the subsequent reasoning are incompatible because there need be no attainment if the Self is the substratum of all selves and so obvious too. Naturally he could not pursue the theme further and laid the first four lines composed by him before Sri Bhagavan for completion. Sri Bhagavan admitted the truth of the disciple’s statement and pointed out why the Self, though obvious, is yet hidden. It is the wrong identity of the Self with the body, etc. 

D.: How did the wrong identity arise? 

M.: Due to thoughts. If these thoughts are put an end to, the real Self should shine forth of itself. 

D.: How are these thoughts to be ended?

M.: Find out their basis. All of them are strung on the single ‘I-thought’. Quell it; all others are quashed. Moreover there is no use knowing all except the Self. If the Self is known all others become known. Hence is Self-Realisation the primary and sole duty of man

D.: How to quell the ‘I-thought’? 

M.: If its source is sought it does not arise, and thus it is quelled. 

D.: Where and how to find it? 

M.: It is in fact the consciousness which enables the individuals to function in different ways. Pure Consciousness is the Self. All that is required to realise the Self is to “Be Still.” 

D.: What can be easier than that? 

M.: So Atma Vidya is the easiest of attainment.

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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