This part is written by A.W.Chadwick (Sadhu Arunachala)
Bhagavan Sri Ramana was essentially an individualist and, if he had ever had one, such schemes as Communism, would never have found any place in his philosophy, where man is treated in the mass and the individual is entirely sacrificed.
If one had discussed Bolshevism with Bhagavan he would doubtless have been quick to point out the virtues that are to be found among its vices. Nothing phenomenal is perfect, it must always have its opposite, and so it was useless to spend the time picking holes when it was inevitable that holes could be found everywhere. Rather let us search out the good and follow that.
Once when Bhagavan was informed of the death of a noted criminal and others were recounting his various offences against society, Bhagavan quietly remarked: “But he was scrupulously clean, he bathed at least three times a day.”
I have never been to Russia and so have no firsthand experience of the state of things ruling there, but most reports of serious investigators agree, the Bolsheviks are professedly followers of the philosophy of Marx, which was one of violence and ruthless war. Any means were allowable so long as the ends could be achieved. How false this is does not yet seem to have struck them. How is it possible for anything to produce its opposite?
How can hate produce love, violence non-injury or war peace? And this is where the present mad race for armaments is so absurdly fallacious, while each nation is so swift to justify its own part in it, attributing it to fear of its neighbour. So fear breeds fear and the endless cycle turns slowly on its axis.
But Bhagavan was insistent on ‘means’ and taught that we should leave the ends to look after themselves. “How can you help the world until you have helped yourself?” he would ask. “Don’t worry about what other people are doing or saying, you have quite enough to do in worrying about yourself. You want to reform the world, do you? First reform yourself and then it will be time enough to think about the world.” It was always the same. Perfect yourself and the world will automatically be found to be perfect. And did not Ramakrishna Paramahamsa teach exactly the same in his day?
Thus it was the means that he always stressed and never the ends. If asked about Self-realization, what it was like, or what would be our state in the future, he would always reply: “Why worry about something in the future? It is the here and now which are important. You are Self-realized always, but only ignorant of the fact.” The ‘Now’, the present moment, is the important thing, not some mythical future, because space and time are only modes of the individuality; for Self they do not exist, only ‘Now’ exists.
The modern philosopher, Dewey, whom I have just been reading, would seem almost to identify means with ends, but in his dislike of dualism he has discarded the spiritual altogether. I think his is really a mechanistic universe, but what gives the machine its motive power he has forgotten to mention, or perhaps, rather, has found it more convenient to ignore. Russell, with his neo-utilitarian philosophy which denies its ancestry, would doubtless agree with him. Cannot we see Bhagavan smiling at their gropings, for though he would doubtless have endorsed their enhancement of means as preferable to ends, he would hardly have supported them in the interpretation they have given to them. It is strange how all these philosophers fall into the same trap. They imagine that possession brings happiness. Increase the number of gadgets to the maximum, give over-abundant food and luxury and life will be bliss.
They are frantically looking without for what can only be found within. This seems to be the fault of most of the moderns. They imagine that things and situations in themselves give happiness; they constantly try to repeat experiences which once caught them in a mood of receptivity and, constantly failing to find what they so ardently desire, become disillusioned in consequence.
We hear on every side from the reformers: “It’s all right for you, but who is going to help the poor suffering world?”
But it would be useless to point out to them that with all their help they have made a pretty good mess of it up to now, that perhaps a few less helpers might after all be better. That to try and help others before you have succeeded in helping yourself is, to say the least, futile; that this senseless search for ends is a waste of time, that means and ends are really one. For has it not been said: “The search itself is the goal?” Which summed up, is just “Be.” Don’t spend your time looking to the future, but realize here and now that you are always the same, the Atman.
Actually there are no ends, for there has never been a beginning.