This part is taken from “Scenes From Ramana’s Life” by B.V.Narasimha Swami
This is a conversation between the Maharshi and Bezwada Sundararama Reddi from the Nellore district. It took place on the morning of 23-2-30.
Bezwada: What to do to get moksha? Maharshi: Learn what moksha is.
B: Should I not leave wife and family?
M: What harm do they do? First find out what you are.
B: Should not one give up wife, home, wealth, etc.?
M: Well, first learn what samsara is. Is all that samsara? Are
there not people who live in their midst and get realization?
B: What steps should I take as sadhana?
M: That depends on your qualifications and stage.
B: I am going on with vigraharadhana (worship of a form of God).
M: Go on. That leads to chitta ekagrata (one-pointedness). Get one-pointed. All will come right. People fancy moksha is somewhere and has to be searched for after kicking out samsara. Moksha is knowing yourself within yourself. Keep on to a single thought. You will progress. Your mind itself is samsara.
B: My mind is being too much tossed. What to do?
M: Fix yourself to one thing and try to hold on to it. All will come right.
B: I find concentration difficult.
M: Go on practising. Your concentration must come as easy as your breathing. That would be the crown of achievement.
B: Brahmacharya, sattvic ahara, etc., are all helpful, are they not?
M: Yes, all that is good.
Then Maharshi is silent, gazing at vacancy and setting an example to the questioner for him to imitate and follow immediately.
B: Do I not require yoga?
M: What is that but concentration?
B: To help in that, is it not better to have aids? M: Breath regulation, etc., are of much help.
B: Is it not possible to get a sight of God?
M: Yes. You see this and that. Why not see God? Only you must know what God is. All are seeing God always. Only they don’t realize it. Find out what God is. People see and yet they don’t see, because they don’t know God.
B: Should I not go on with kirtan, nama japa, etc., when I worship?
M: Yes. Manasa japa (mental repetition) is very good. That helps with dhyana. The mind gets identified with that japa and then you know what real puja is – the losing of one’s individuality in that which is worshipped or revered.
B: Is Paramatma always different from us?
M: The difference is the view a man has now. But by thinking of him as not different, you achieve identity.
B: That is Advaita, is it not? Becoming oneself.
M: Where is becoming? The thinker is all the while the same as the Real. He ultimately realizes that fact. Sometimes we forget our identity, i.e., as waking individual self. In sleep Bhagavan is perpetual consciousness.
B: Is not the Guru’s guidance needed in addition to idol worship?
M: How did you start without advice? B: From puranas, etc.
M: Yes. Someone tells you, or Bhagavan himself, in which latter case He (God) is your Guru. What matters it who the Guru is? We really are one with the Guru and Bhagavan. The Guru is really Bhagavan. We discover that in the end. There is no difference between them. “Guru is God” is the idea.
B: If we have some merit the search will not leave us.
M: Yes. You will keep your effort that way.
B: Will not a cleverer man be a great help in pointing out the way?
M: Yes, but if you go on working with available light you will meet your Guru, as he will be seeking you himself.
B: Is there a difference between prapatti (surrender) and the yoga of the rishis?
M: Jnana marga and bhakti or prapatti advocated by Sri Aurobindo are the same. The goal is the same. Self-surrender leads to it like enquiry. Complete self-surrender means you have no further thought of ‘I’. That is what bhakti leads to, and also jnana. Then all your samskaras are washed off and you are free. You should not continue as a separate entity at the end of either course.
B: Don’t we attain swarga (heavenly regions) as a fruit of our actions?
M: Why? That is as true as our present existence in this world. But, if we enquire what we are and discover the Self, what need is there to think of swarga, etc.?
B: Should I not try to escape from birth and death?
M: Yes. Find out who is born, and who has the trouble of existence now. When you are asleep do you think of birth and trouble, etc.? You think of it now. So find out whence this trouble arose and you have the solution. You discover none is born. There is no birth, no trouble, no unhappiness in fact. Everything is That. All is bliss. We are then freed from rebirth in truth. Why feel misery?
B: Chaitanya and Ramakrishna wept before God and achieved success.
M: Yes. They had a powerful shakti drawing them through those experiences. Entrust yourself to that power to take you on to your goal. Tears are often referred to as a sign of weakness. We cannot attribute weakness to these great ones. These symptoms are passing manifestations while the great current is carrying them on. Let us look to the end achieved.
B: Can this physical body be made to disappear into nothingness?
M: Why this query? Why not find out if you are this body? B: Can’t we appear and disappear like Viswamitra and other rishis?
M: These are debates about physical matters. Is that our essential object of interest? Are you not the Atman? Why think about other matters? Seek the essence. Reject other disquisitions as useless. Those who believe that moksha consists in disappearance err. No such thing is needed. You are not the body. What matters it how the body disappears – in one way or another. There is no merit in disappearance of body in one way over the other. Everything is one. Where is superiority or inferiority in the one? See Chap. XIV of Ramana Gita. The loss of the ‘I’ is the central fact – and not of the body. It is the dehatma buddhi (the idea that I am the body) that is your bondage. It is the discarding of it and perceiving the Real that matters. Should you pound to pieces something golden before seeing it is gold? What matters if it is round or powdered when you perceive the truth of its being gold? The dying man does not see this body. It is the other man who thinks about the manner in which the body dies. The realized have no death. Whether the body is active or drops off, he is equally conscious and sees no difference. To him nothing is superior to the other. To an outsider also, the manner of disappearance of a mukta’s body is unimportant. Mind your own realisation and after that it will be time enough to see which form of death is preferable! Are you the body? During night, when you are fast asleep have you body consciousness?
M: What exists always, is the ‘I’.