Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sri Ramana Maharshi on Brahman

Superficially, it might seem that the Maharshi’s statements about God were inconsistent, since he would sometimes enjoin complete faith and submission to God and sometimes speak of God as unreal; but actually there was no inconsistency. It must always be remembered that the purpose of his exposition was not to propound a philosophy but to give practical guidance on the spiritual path. Someone who could conceive of the non-dual Self could understand that it was his own Self and the Self of God and of the world also, whereas one who clung to the apparent reality of his ego could understand the

Self only as the God who had created him. According to their needs he explained. In this, as in other matters, he pointed out the uselessness of discussion. Following either path was useful; theorising about them was not.

All religions postulate the three fundamentals: the world, the soul and God; but it is the One Reality that manifests itself as these three. One can say: ‘The three are really three’ only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore to inhere in one’s own Being, when the ego is dead is the perfect state.

‘The world is real’, ‘No, it is mere illusory appearance’, ‘The world is conscious,’ ‘No’, ‘The world is happiness’, ‘No,’ – What use is it to argue thus? That state is agreeable to all wherein, having given up the objective outlook, one knows one’s Self and loses all notions either of unity or duality, of oneself and the ego.

If one has form oneself, the world and God will also appear to have form; but if one is formless, who is to see these forms, and how? Without the eye can any object be seen? The seeing Self is the Eye, and that Eye is the Eye of Infinity.

Brahman is not to be seen or known. It is beyond the three fold relationship of seer, sight and seen, or knower, knowledge and known. The Reality remains ever as it is. The existence of ignorance or the world is due to our illusion. Neither knowledge nor ignorance is real; what lies beyond them, as beyond all other pairs of opposites, is the Reality. It is neither light nor darkness but beyond both, though we sometimes speak of it as light and of ignorance as its shadow.

When there was genuine search for understanding, Bhagavan would explain in some details, always leading the seeker back to the doctrine of the One Self.

Mr. Thompson, a very quiet young gentleman who has been staying in India for some years and studying Hindu philosophy as an earnest student, asked: Srimad Bhagavad Gita says: ‘I am the prop for Brahman’. In another place it says: ‘I am in the Heart of each one’. Thus the different aspects of the Ultimate Principle are revealed. I take it that there are three aspects, namely: (1) the transcendental, (2) the immanent, and (3) the cosmic. Is Realisation to be in any of these or in all of them? Coming to the transcendental from the cosmic, Vedanta discards the names and forms as being maya. Again Vedanta also says that the whole is Brahman, as illustrated by gold and ornaments of gold. How are we to understand the truth?

B.: The Gita says: Brahmano hi pratishtaham. If that aham is known, the whole is known.

D.: That is the immanent aspect only.

B.: You now think that you are an individual; outside you there is the universe and beyond the universe is God. So there is the idea of separateness. The idea must go. For God is not separate from you or the cosmos. The Gita also says:

‘I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the heart of all beings; I am the beginning and the middle and also the end of all beings.’ Thus God is not only in the heart of all, He is the prop of all. He is the source of all, their abiding place and their end. All proceed from Him, have their stay in Him, and finally resolve into Him. Therefore He is not separate. (Bhagavad Gita: X., 20.)

D.: How are we to understand the line in the Gita: ‘This whole cosmos forms a particle of me.’

B.: It does not mean that a small particle of God separates from Him and forms the universe. His shakti is acting; and as a result of one phase of such activity the cosmos has become manifest. Similarly the statement in Purusha Sukta: Padosya viswa bhutani (All beings form one of His parts) does not mean that

Brahman is in four parts.

D.: I understand that. Brahman is certainly not divisible.

B.: So the fact is that Brahman is all and remains indivisible. He is ever realised. However, man does not know this; and it is just what he has to know. Knowledge means overcoming the obstacles which obstruct the revelation of the

Eternal Truth that the Self is the same as Brahman. The obstacles taken altogether form your idea of separateness as an individual. Therefore the present attempt will result in the truth being revealed that the Self is not separate from Brahman.

Source: Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi in his own words – Arthur Osborne

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