Self-awareness and Self-ignorance

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    Aug 25, 2013 5:39 AM GMT
    This is from the book "Be as you are, The teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi" which I'm currently reading now.
    I heard many of you often talk about self realization or use words which are synonymous with it.
    I thought to share some of the teachings about self realization by one of the most revered Indian saints Sri Ramana Maharshi.

    These are the answers given by Ramana Maharshi when his devotees asked him...

    I'll keep updating this, if you're interested...
    I thought of posting this either here or in Mental health & finally decided to let it be here.
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    Aug 25, 2013 5:41 AM GMT
    brief introduction:

    Sri Ramana occasionally indicated that there were three classes of spiritual aspirants. The most advanced realize the Self as soon as they are told about its real nature. Those in the second class need to reflect on it for some time before Self-awareness becomes firmly established. Those in the third category are less fortunate since they usually need many years of intensive spiritual practice to achieve the goal of Self-realization. Sri Ramana sometimes used a metaphor of combustion to describe the three levels: gunpowder ignites with a single spark, charcoal needs the application of heat for a short time, and wet coal needs to dry out and heat up over a long period of time before it will begin to burn.

    For the benefit of those in the top two categories Sri Ramana taught that the Self alone exists and that it can be directly and consciously experienced merely by ceasing to pay attention to the wrong ideas we have about ourselves. These wrong ideas he collectively called the 'not-Self' since they are an imaginary accretion of wrong notions and misperceptions which effectively veil the true experience of thereal Self. The principal misperception is the idea that the Self is limited to the body and the mind. As soon as one ceases to imagine that one is an individual person, inhabiting a particular body, the whole superstructure of wrong ideas collapses and is replaced by a conscious and permanent awareness of the real Self.

    At this level of the teaching there is no question of effort or practice. All that is required is an understanding that the Self is not a goal to be attained, it is merely the awareness that prevails when all the limiting ideas about the not-Self have been discarded.
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    Aug 25, 2013 5:41 AM GMT
    Q: How can I attain Self- realization?
    A: Realization is nothing to be gained afresh; it is already there. All that is necessary is to get rid of the thought `I have not realized'.
    Stillness or peace is realization. There is no moment when the Self is not. So long as there is doubt or the feeling of
    non-realization, the attempt should be made to rid oneself of these thoughts. They are due to the identification of the Self with the not-Self. When the not-Self disappears, the Self alone remains. To make room, it is enough that objects be removed. Room is not brought in from elsewhere.
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    Aug 25, 2013 5:43 AM GMT
    Q: Since realization is not possible without vasana-kshaya [destruction of mental tendencies], how am I to realize that state in which the tendencies are effectively destroyed?
    A: You are in that state now.

    Q: Does it mean that by holding on to the Self, the vasanas [mental tendencies] should be destroyed as and when they emerge?
    A: They will themselves be destroyed if you remain as you are.

    Q: How shall I reach the Self?
    A: There is no reaching the Self. If Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not here and now and that it is yet to be obtained. What is got afresh will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say the Self is not reached. You are the Self, you are already that.
    The fact is, you are ignorant of your blissful state. Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Self which is bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this veil of ignorance which is merely wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge is the false identification of the Self with the body and the mind. This false identification must go, and then the Self alone remains.
    Therefore realization is for everyone; realization makes no difference between the aspirants. This very doubt, whether you can realize, and the notion `I-have-not-realized' are themselves the obstacles. Be free from these obstacles also.
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    Aug 25, 2013 5:45 AM GMT
    Q: How long does it take to reach mukti [liberation]?
    A: Mukti is not to be gained in the future. It is there for ever, here and now.

    Q: I agree, but I do not experience it.
    A: The experience is here and now. One cannot deny one's own Self.

    Q: That means existence and not happiness.
    A: Existence is the same as happiness and happiness is the same as being. The word mukti is so provoking. Why should one seek it? One believes that there is bondage and therefore seeks liberation. But the fact is that there is no bondage but only liberation. Why call it by a name and seek it?

    Q: True - but we are ignorant.
    A: Only remove ignorance. That is all there is to be done. All questions relating to mukti are inadmissible. Mukti means release from bondage which implies the present existence of bondage. There is no bondage and therefore no mukti either.
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    Aug 25, 2013 5:47 AM GMT
    Q: Of what nature is the realization of westerners who relate that they have had flashes of cosmic consciousness?
    A: It came as a flash and disappeared as such. That which has a beginning must also end. Only when the ever-present consciousness is realized will it be permanent. Consciousness is indeed always with us. Everyone knows `I am'. No one can deny his own being. The man in deep sleep is not aware; while awake he seems to be aware. But it is the same person. There is no change in the one who slept and the one who is now awake. In deep sleep he was not aware of his body and so there was no body-consciousness. In the wakeful state he is aware of his body and so there is body-consciousness. Therefore the difference lies in the emergence of body-consciousness and not in any change in the real consciousness.

    The body and body-consciousness arise together and sink together. All this amounts to saying that there are no limitations in deep sleep, whereas there are limitations in the waking state. These limitations are the bondage. The feeling `The body is I' is the error. This false sense of `I' must go. The real `I' is always there. It is here and now. It never appears anew and disappears again. That which is must also persist for ever. That which appears anew will also be lost. Compare deep sleep and waking. The body appears in one state but not in the other. Therefore the body will be lost. The consciousness was pre-existent and will survive the body.

    There is no one who does not say `I am'. The wrong knowledge of `I am the body' is the cause of all the mischief. This wrong knowledge must go. That is realization. Realization is not acquisition of anything new nor is it a new faculty. It is only removal of all camouflage.

    The ultimate truth is so simple. It is nothing more than being in the pristine state. This is all that need be said.
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    Aug 25, 2013 5:50 AM GMT
    Q: Is one nearer to pure consciousness in deep sleep than in the waking state?
    A: The sleep,dream and waking states are mere phenomena
    appearing on the Self which is itself stationary. It is also a state of simple awareness. Can anyone remain away from the Self at any moment ? This question can arise only if that were possible.

    Q: Is it not often said that one is nearer pure consciousness in deep sleep than in the waking state?
    A: The question may as well be `Am I nearer to myself in my sleep than in my waking state?'
    The Self is pure consciousness. No one can ever be away from the Self. The question is possible only if there is duality. But there is no duality in the state of pure consciousness.
    The same person sleeps, dreams and wakes up. The waking state is considered to be full of beautiful and interesting things. The absence of such experience makes one say that the sleep state is dull. Before we proceed further let us make this point clear. Do you not admit that you exist in your sleep?
    Q: Yes, I do.
    A: You are the same person that is now awake. Is it not so?
    Q: Yes.
    A: So there is a continuity in the sleep and the waking states. What is that continuity ? It is only the state of pure being.
    There is a difference in the two states. What is that difference? The incidents, namely, the body, the world and objects appear in the waking state but they disappear in sleep.
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    Aug 25, 2013 5:51 AM GMT
    Q: But I am not aware in my sleep.
    A: True, there is no awareness of the body or of the world. But you must exist in your sleep in order to say now `I was not aware in my sleep'. Who says so now ? It is the wakeful person. The sleeper cannot say so. That is to say, the individual who is now identifying the Self with the body says that such awareness did not exist in sleep.
    Because you identify yourself with the body, you see the world around you and say that the waking state is filled with beautiful and interesting things. The sleep state appears dull because you were not there as an individual and therefore these things were not. But what is the fact? There is the continuity of being in all the three states, but no continuity of the individual and the objects.
    Q: Yes.
    A: That which is continuous is also enduring, that is permanent. That which is discontinuous is transitory.
    Q: Yes.
    A: Therefore the state of being is permanent and the body and
    the world are not. They are fleeting phenomena passing on the screen of being-consciousness which is eternal and stationary.

    Q: Relatively speaking, is not the sleep state nearer to pure
    Consciousness than the waking state ?

    A: Yes, in this sense: when passing from sleep to waking the `I'-thought [individual self] must start and the mind must come into play. Then thoughts arise and the functions of the body come into operation. All these together make us say that we are awake. The absence of all this evolution is the characteristic of sleep and therefore it is nearer to pure consciousness than the waking state.
    But one should not therefore desire to be always in sleep. In the first place it is impossible, for it will necessarily alternate with the other states. Secondly it cannot be the state of bliss in which the jnani is, for his state is permanent and not alternating. Moreover, the sleep state is not recognized to be one of awareness by people, but the sage is always aware. Thus the sleep state differs from the state in which the sage is established.
    Still more, the sleep state is free from thoughts and their impression on the individual. It cannot be altered by one's will because effort is impossible in that condition. Although nearer to pure consciousness, it is not fit for efforts to realize the Self.
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    Aug 25, 2013 12:42 PM GMT
    Q: Is not the realization of one's absolute being, that is, Brahma-jnana, something quite unattainable for a layman like me?
    A: Brahma-jnana is not a knowledge to be acquired, so that acquiring it one may obtain happiness. It is one's ignorant outlook that one should give up. The Self you seek to know is truly yourself. Your supposed ignorance causes you needless grief like that of the ten foolish men who grieved at the loss of the tenth man who was never lost.
    The ten foolish men in the parable forded a stream and on reaching the other shore wanted to make sure that all of them had in fact safely crossed the stream. One of the ten began to count, but while counting the others left himself out. `I see only nine; sure enough, we have lost one. Who can it be?' he said. `Did you count correctly?' asked another, and did the counting himself. But he too counted only nine. One after the other each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself. `We are only nine', they all agreed, `but who is the missing one?' they asked themselves. Every effort they made to discover the `missing' individual failed. `Whoever he is that is drowned', said the most sentimental of the ten fools, `we have lost him.' So saying he burst into tears, and the others followed suit.
    Seeing them weeping on the river bank, a sympathetic wayfarer enquired about the cause. They related what had happened and said that even after counting themselves several times they could find no more than nine. On hearing the story, but seeing all the ten before him, the wayfarer guessed what had happened. In order to make them know for themselves they were really ten, that all of them had survived the crossing, he told them, `Let each of you count for himself but one after the other serially, one, two, three and so on, while I shall give you each a blow so that all of you may be sure of having been included in the count, and included only once. The tenth missing man will then be found.' Hearing this they rejoiced at the prospect of finding their `lost' comrade and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer.
    While the kind wayfarer gave a blow to each of the ten in turn, he that got the blow counted himself aloud. `Ten,' said the last man as he got the last blow in his turn. Bewildered they looked at one another, `We are ten,' they said with one voice and thanked the wayfarer for having removed their grief.
    That is the parable. From where was the tenth man brought in ? Was he ever lost ? By knowing that he had been there all the while, did they learn anything new ? The cause of their grief was not the real loss of anyone, it was their own ignorance, or rather, their mere supposition that one of them was lost.
    Such is the case with you. Truly there is no cause for you to be miserable and unhappy. You yourself impose limitations on your true nature of infinite being, and then weep that you are but a finite creature. Then you take up this or that spiritual practice to transcend the non-existent limitations. But if your spiritual practice itself assumes the existence of the limitations, how can it help you to transcend them ?
    Hence I say know that you are really the infinite pure being, the Self. You are always that Self and nothing but that Self. Therefore, you can never be really ignorant of the Self. Your ignorance is merely an imaginary ignorance, like the ignorance of the ten fools about the lost tenth man. It is this ignorance that caused them grief.
    Know then that true knowledge does not create a new being for you, it only removes your ignorant ignorance. Bliss is not added to your nature, it is merely revealed as your true natural state, eternal
    and imperishable. The only way to be rid of your grief is to know and be the Self. How can this be unattainable ?
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    Aug 25, 2013 12:44 PM GMT
    Q: However often Bhagavan teaches us, we are not able to understand.
    A: People say that they are not able to know the Self that is all pervading. What can I do ? Even the smallest child says, `I exist; I do; this is mine.' So, everyone understands that the thing `I' is always existent. It is only when that `I' is there that there is the feeling that you are the body, he is Venkanna, this is Ramanna and so on. To know that the one that is always visible is one's own Self, is it necessary to search with a candle ? To say that we do not know the atma swarupa [the real nature of the Self] which is not different but which is in one's own Self is like saying, `I do not know myself.`

    Q: But how is one to reach this state?
    A: There is no goal to be reached. There is nothing to be attained. You are the Self. You exist always. Nothing more can be predicated of the Self than that it exists. Seeing God or the Self is only being the Self or yourself. Seeing is being. You, being the Self, want to know how to attain the Self. It is something like a man being at Ramanasramam asking how many ways there are to reach Ramanasramam and which is the best way for him. All that is required of you is to give up the thought that you are this body and to give up all thoughts of the external things or the not-Self.
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    Aug 25, 2013 12:46 PM GMT
    Q: What is the ego-self ? How is it related to the real Self ?
    A: The ego-Self appears and disappears and is transitory, whereas the real Self is permanent. Though you are actually the true Self you wrongly identify the real Self with the ego-self.

    Q: How does the mistake come about?
    A: See if it has come about.

    Q: One has to sublimate the ego-self into the true Self.
    A: The ego-self does not exist at all.

    Q: Why does it give us trouble?
    A: To whom is the trouble ? The trouble also is imagined. Trouble and pleasure are only for the ego

    Q: Why is the world so wrapped up in ignorance?
    A: Take care of yourself. Let the world take care of itself. See your Self. If you are the body there is the gross world also. If you are spirit all is spirit alone.

    Q: It will hold good for the individual, but what of the rest?
    A: Do it first and then see if the question arises afterwards.

    Q: Is there avidya [ignorance]?
    A: For whom is it?

    Q: For the ego-self.
    A: Yes, for the ego. Remove the ego and avidya is gone. Look for it, the ego vanishes and the real Self alone remains. The ego professing avidya is not to be seen. There is no avidya in reality. All sastras [scriptures] are meant to disprove the existence of avidya.
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    Aug 26, 2013 2:19 AM GMT
    Q: How did the ego arise?
    A: Ego is not. Otherwise do you admit of two selves? How can there be avidya in the absence of the ego? If you begin to enquire, the avidya, which is already non-existent, will be found not to be, or you will say it has fled away.
    Ignorance pertains to the ego. Why do you think of the ego and also suffer? What is ignorance again? It is that which is nonexistent. However the worldly life requires the hypothesis of avidya. Avidya is only our ignorance and nothing more. It is ignorance or forgetfulness of the Self. Can there be darkness before the sun? Similarly, can there be ignorance before the self-evident and self-luminous Self ? If you know the Self there will be no darkness, no ignorance and no misery.
    It is the mind which feels the trouble and the misery. Darkness never comes nor goes. See the sun and there is no darkness. Similarly, see the Self and avidya will be found not to exist.

    Q: How has the unreal come? Can the unreal spring from the real?
    A: See if it has sprung. There is no such thing as the unreal, from another standpoint. The Self alone exists. When you try to trace the ego, which is the basis of the perception of the world and everything else, you find the ego does not exist at all and neither does all this creation that you see.

    Q: It is cruel of God's leela (play) to make the knowledge of the Self so hard.
    A: Knowing the Self is being the Self, and being means existence, one's own existence. No one denies one's existence any more than one denies one's eyes, although one cannot see them. The trouble lies with your desire to objectify the Self, in the same way as you objectify your eyes when you place a mirror before them. You have been so accustomed to objectivity that you have lost the knowledge of yourself, simply because the Self cannot be objectified. Who is to know the Self ? Can the insentient body know it? All the time you speak and think of your `I', yet when questioned you deny knowledge of it. You are the Self, yet you ask how to know the Self. Where then is God's leela and where is its cruelty ? Because of this denial of the Self by people the sastras speak of maya, leela, etc.

    Q: Does my realization help others?
    A: Yes, certainly. It is the best help possible. But there are no others to be helped. For a realized being sees only the Self, just like a goldsmith estimating the gold in various items of jewellery sees only gold. When you identify yourself with the body then only the forms and shapes are there. But when you transcend your body the others disappear along with your body-consciousness.

    Q: Is it so with plants, trees, etc.?
    A: Do they exist at all apart from the Self ? Find it out. You think that you see them. The thought is projected out from the Self. Find out from where it rises. Thoughts will cease to rise and the Self alone will remain.

    Q: I understand theoretically. But they are still there.
    A: Yes. It is like a cinema-show. There is the light on the screen and the shadows flitting across it impress the audience as the enactment of some piece. If in the same play an audience also is shown on the screen as part of the performance, the seer and the seen will then both be on the screen. Apply it to yourself. You are the screen, the Self has created the ego, the ego has its accretions of thoughts which are displayed as the world, the trees and the plants of which you are asking. In reality, all these are nothing but the Self. If you see the Self, the same will be found to be all, everywhere and always. Nothing but the Self exists.
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    Aug 26, 2013 2:20 AM GMT
    Q: Yes, I still understand only theoretically. Yet the answers are simple, beautiful and convincing.
    A: Even the thought `I do not realize' is a hindrance. In fact, the Self alone is.
    Our real nature is mukti. But we are imagining we are bound and are making various, strenuous attempts to become free, while we are all the while free. This will be understood only when we reach that stage. We will be surprised that we were frantically trying to attain something which we have always been and are. An illustration will make this clear. A man goes to sleep in this hall. He dreams he has gone on a world tour, is roaming over hill and dale, forest and country, desert and sea, across various continents and after many years of weary and strenuous travel, returns to this country, reaches Tiruvannamalai, enters the ashram and walks into the hall. Just at that moment he wakes up and finds he has not moved an inch but was sleeping where he lay down. He has not returned after great effort to this hall, but is and always has been in the hall. It is exactly like that; If it is asked, `Why being free do we imagine that we are bound?' I answer, `Why being in the hall did you imagine you were on a world adventure, crossing hill and dale, desert and sea? It is all mind or maya [illusion].

    Q: How then does ignorance of this one and only reality unhappily arise in the case of the ajnani [one who has not realized the Self]?
    A: The ajnani sees only the mind which is a mere reflection of the light of pure consciousness arising from the Heart. Of the Heart itself he is ignorant. Why? Because his mind is extroverted and has never sought its source.

    Q: What prevents the infinite, undifferentiated light of con-sciousness arising from the Heart from revealing itself to the ajnani?
    A: Just as water in a pot reflects the enormous sun within the narrow limits of the pot, even so the vasanas or latent tendencies of the mind of the individual, acting as the reflecting medium, catch the all-pervading, infinite light of consciousness arising from the Heart. The form of this reflection is the phenomenon called the mind. Seeing only this reflection, the ajnani is deluded into the belief that he is a finite being, the jiva, the individual self.
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    Aug 26, 2013 2:21 AM GMT
    Q: What are the obstacles which hinder realization o f the Self?
    A: They are habits of mind [vasanas].
    Q: How to overcome the mental habits (vasanas]?
    A: By realizing the Self.
    Q: This is a vicious circle.
    A: It is the ego which raises such difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffering from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.
    Q: Why is this mental bondage so persistent ?
    A: The nature of bondage is merely the rising, ruinous thought `I am different from the reality'. Since one surely cannot remain separate from the reality, reject that thought whenever it rises.

    Q: Why do I never remember that I am the Self ?
    A: People speak of memory and oblivion of the fullness of the Self. Oblivion and memory are only thought-forms. They will alternate so long as there are thoughts. But reality lies beyond these. Memory or oblivion must be dependent on something.
    That something must be foreign to the Self as well, otherwise there would not be oblivion. That upon which memory and oblivion depend is the idea of the individual self. When one looks for it, this individual `I' is not found because it is not real. Hence this `I' is synonymous with illusion or ignorance (maya, avidya or ajnana]. To know that there never was ignorance is the goal of all the spiritual teachings. Ignorance must be of one who is aware. Awareness is jnana. Jnana is eternal and natural, ajnana is unnatural and unreal.
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    Aug 26, 2013 2:24 AM GMT
    Q: Having heard this truth, why does not one remain content?
    A: Because samskaras [innate mental tendencies] have not been destroyed. Unless the samskaras cease to exist, there will always be doubt and confusion. All efforts are directed to destroying doubt and confusion. To do so their roots must be cut. Their roots are the samskaras. These are rendered ineffective by practice as prescribed by the Guru. The Guru leaves it to the seeker to do this much so thathe might himself find out that there is no ignorance. Hearing the truth [sravana] is the first stage. If the understanding is not firm one has to practise reflection [manana] and uninterrupted contemplation [nididhyasana] on it. These two processes scorch the seeds of samskaras so that they are rendered ineffective.
    Some extraordinary people get unshakable jnana after hearing the truth only once. These are the advanced seekers. Beginners take longer to gain it.

    Q: How did ignorance (avidya] arise at all?
    A: Ignorance never arose. It has no real being. That which is, is only vidya [knowledge].

    Q: Why then do I not realize it?
    A: Because of the samskaras. However, find out who does not realize and what he does not realize. Then it will be clear that there is no avidya.

    Q: So, it is wrong to begin with a goal, is it?
    A: If there is a goal to be reached it cannot be permanent. The goal must already be there. We seek to reach the goal with the ego, but the goal exists before the ego. What is in the goal is even prior to our birth, that is, to the birth of the ego. Because we exist the ego appears to exist too.
    If we look on the Self as the ego then we become the ego, if as the mind we become the mind, if as the body we become the body.

    Q: If it is just a question of giving up ideas then it is only one step to realization.
    A: Realization is already there. The state free from thoughts is the only real state. There is no such action as realization. Is there anyone who is not realizing the Self ? Does anyone deny his own existence? Speaking of realization, it implies two selves - the one to realize, the other to be realized. What is not already realized is sought to be realized. Once we admit our existence, how is it that we do not know our Self ?

    Q: Because of the thoughts,the mind.
    A: Quite so. It is the mind that veils our happiness. How do we know that we exist ? If you say because of the world around us, then how do you know that you existed in deep sleep?

    Q: How to get rid of the mind?
    A: Is it the mind that wants to kill itself ? The mind cannot kill itself. So your business is to find the real nature of the mind. Then you will know that there is no mind. When the Self is sought, the mind is nowhere. Abiding in the Self, one need not worry about the mind.
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    Aug 26, 2013 2:25 AM GMT
    Q: Is mukti the same as realization?
    A: Mukti or liberation is our nature. It is another name for us. Our wanting mukti is a very funny thing. It is like a man who is in the shade, voluntarily leaving the shade, going into the sun, feeling the severity of the heat there, making great efforts to get back into the shade and then rejoicing, `How sweet is the shade! I have reached the shade at last!' We are all doing exactly the same. We are not different from the reality. We imagine we are different, that is we create the bheda bhava [the feeling of difference] and then undergo great sadhana [spiritual practices] to get rid of the bheda bhava and realize the oneness. Why imagine or create bheda bhava and then destroy it?

    Q: This can be realized only by the grace of the master. I was reading Sri Bhagavata. It says that bliss can be had only by the dust of the master's feet. I pray for grace.
    A: What is bliss but your own being ? You are not apart from
    being which is the same as bliss. You are now thinking that you are the mind or the body which are both changing and transient. But you are unchanging and eternal. That is what you should know.

    Q: It is darkness and I am ignorant.
    A: This ignorance must go. Again, who says `I am ignorant '? He must be the witness of ignorance. That is what you are. Socrates said, `I know that I do not know.' Can it be ignorance? It is wisdom.

    Q: Why then do I feel unhappy when I am in Vellore and feel peace in your presence?
    A: Can the feeling in this place be bliss? When you leave this place you say you are unhappy. Therefore this peace is not permanent, it is mixed with unhappiness which is felt in another place. Therefore you cannot find bliss in places and in periods of time. It must be permanent in order that it may be useful. It is your own being which is permanent. Be the Self and that is bliss. You are always that.
    The Self is always realized. It is not necessary to seek to realize what is already and always realized. For you cannot deny your own existence. That existence is consciousness, the Self.
    Unless you exist you cannot ask questions. So you must admit your own existence. That existence is the Self. It is already realized. Therefore the effort to realize results only in your realizing your present mistake - that you have not realized your Self. There is no fresh realization. The Self becomes revealed.
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    Aug 26, 2013 2:26 AM GMT
    Q: That will take some years.
    A: Why years ? The idea of time is only in your mind. It is not in the Self. There is no time for the Self. Time arises as an idea after the ego arises. But you are the Self beyond time and space. You exist even in the absence of time and space.
    Were it true that you realize it later it means that you are not realized now. Absence of realization in the present moment may be repeated at any moment in the future, for time is infinite. So too, such realization is impermanent. But that is not true. It is wrong to consider realization to be impermanent. It is the true eternal state which cannot change.

    Q: Yes, I shall understand it in course of time.
    A: You are already that. Time and space cannot affect the Self. They are in you. So also all that you see around you is in you. There is a story to illustrate this point. A lady had a precious necklace round her neck. Once in her excitement she forgot it and thought that the necklace was lost. She became anxious and looked for it in her home but could not find it. She asked her friends and neighbors if they knew anything about the necklace. They did not. At last a kind friend of hers told her to feel the necklace round her neck. She found that it had all along been round her neck and she was happy. When others asked her later if she had found the necklace which was lost, she said, `Yes, I have found it.' She still felt that she had recovered a lost jewel.
    Now did she lose it at all ? It was all along round her neck. But judge her feelings. She was as happy as if she had recovered a lost jewel. Similarly with us, we imagine that we will realize that Self some time, whereas we are never anything but the Self.

    Q: There must be something that I can do to reach this state.
    A: The conception that there is a goal and a path to it is wrong. We are the goal or peace always. To get rid of the notion that we are not peace is all that is required.
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    Aug 26, 2013 2:28 AM GMT
    Q: All books say that the guidance of a Guru is necessary.
    A: The Guru will say only what I am saying now. He will not give you anything you have not already got. It is impossible for anyone to get what he has not got already. Even if he gets any such thing, it will go as it came. What comes will also go. What always is will alone remain. The Guru cannot give you anything new, which you don't have already. Removal of the notion that we have not realized the Self is all that is required. We are always the Self only we don't realize it.
    We go round and round in search of atma [Self] saying, `Where is atma? Where is it ? till at last the dawn of jnana drishti [vision of knowledge] is reached, and we say, `This is atma this is me.' We should acquire that vision. When once that vision is reached, there will be no attachments even if one mixes with the world and moves about in it. When once you put on shoes your feet do not feel the pain of walking on any number of stones or thorns on the way. You walk about without fear or care, even if there are mountains on the way. In the same way, everything will be natural to those who have attained jnana drishti. What is there apart from one's own Self ?

    Q: The natural state can be known only after all this worldly vision Subsides. But how is it to subside ?
    A: If the mind subsides, the whole world subsides. Mind is the cause of all this. If that subsides, the natural state presents itself.
    The Self proclaims itself at all times as `I, I'. It is self- luminous. It is here. All this is that. We are in that only. Being in it, why search for it ? The ancients say: `Making the vision absorbed in jnana one sees the world as Brahman.`