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The Essays of Brother Anonymous
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Contents

Jesus
Jesus – Jesus’ statement of Avatarhood
Jesus – Hindus on Jesus and his Avatarhood
Jnana Yoga – The path of wisdom
Jnana Yoga - Its fruits
Jnana Yoga - Wisdom vs. Ignorance
Jnana Yoga - Wisdom vs. sensory experience
Jnana Yoga - Wisdom vs. thought-mediated knowledge
Jnana Yoga - Wisdom comes after worldliness, body knowledge go
Jnana Yoga – What is discrimination?
Jnana Yoga - Without discrimination, we can't get rid of delusion
Jnana Yoga – Awakening the spirit of discrimination brings up longing for God – See also Longing for Liberation
Jnana Yoga – Use discrimination to remove ignorance and then throw both of them away
Jnana Yoga – Discrimination leads to enlightenment
Jnana Yoga - Enlightenment loosens the knot of ignorance forever
Jnana Yoga -The character of the seeker of discrimination
Jnana Yoga - The role of scriptural study
Jnana Yoga - Study scriptures in the proper fashion
Jnana Yoga - However, not by studying scriptures alone do we see God
Jnana Yoga - Other things besides mere learning or knowledge are needed to know God – See also Intellectuals: Pro and Con
Jnana Yoga - Reality cannot be described in words
Jnana Yoga - Discrimination means negating all that is not the Self – pro
Jnana Yoga - Discrimination means negating all that is not the Self – con
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry - What is it?
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – What is its goal?
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – This sadhana is enough
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Suitable only for ripe souls
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – How does it work?
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – What exists in truth – the One or the many?
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of ignorance or nescience
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the mind
Jnana Yoga - Self-Enquiry – The impure mind cannot know God – See also The Vasanas
Jnana Yoga - Self-Enquiry – The nature of the Heart (Hridayam, Sphurana)
Jnana Yoga - Self-Enquiry – The mind’s origin is in the Heart
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the ego-self, ahamkara, or jiva – See also The Ego
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the I-thought or Aham-vritti
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – “I am the body” is the primary delusion
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Turn the mind inward
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The “I-thought” is the primary clue
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Be still; be silent – See also The Mind - To know the Self, still the mind
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The danger of Manaolaya and Yoga Nidra
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Knowledge dawns in the Heart
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry - Watch and witness
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Destroy the ego - See also The Ego - Master it
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Eradicate the sense of doership
Jnana Yoga - See that the Self is not a thing
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – See that the ego is nothing
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Remove the obstacles and the Self remains as the residue
Jnana Yoga - Use discrimination to sever the knot of ignorance
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Abide as the Self
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Stand alone
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Three senses of self must be understood: Jiva, Atman, and Paramatman
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – At some point, God steps in
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – When can we stop the enquiry?
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Prequisite sadhanas
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Self-Enquiry vs. other means of quieting the mind
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Self-Enquiry vs. other means of quieting the mind - Meditation
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Supplementary practices
Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The contribution of Sri Ramana Maharshi
Jnana Yoga - Examples of mature discrimination and successful Self-enquiry
Jnana Yoga - How will I know I know?
Jnana Yoga - Jnana vs. vijnana
Jnana Yoga - Wisdom and devotion are one - See Paths to God - Wisdom and love
Jnana Yoga – Pro – See Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro-Jnana
Jnana Yoga – Con – See Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro- Bhakti
Journey – We travel from God to God

Jesus

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:12.)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

... While he thought on [what had transpired], behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 1:18 and 20.)

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS....

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall thing be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angels answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:31-5.)

And when Jesus worked his miracles, he said: 'I have come to give you wisdom and to make plain to you some of that concerning which they are at variance. Fear Allah and follow me. Allah is my Lord and your Lord: therefor serve Him. That is the right path.' (Koran, 149.)

Jesus – Jesus’ statement of Avatarhood

Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (Jesus in John 8:23.)

Jesus – Hindus on Jesus and his Avatarhood

Though the real Christ and Buddha are in us, it is not until we realize that fact, that we can envisage a Buddha or a Christ. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in LSR, 47.)

Now, Shivanath Shastri told Sri Ramakrishna: “Sir, one of my Christian friends has come to see you. Having heard of you from me, he was very eager to meet you.”

On hearing this Sri Ramakrishna bowed his head to the ground and said: “I bow again and again at the feet of Jesus Christ.”

Surprised at such utterance, Rev. Sannyal said: “How is it, sir, that you bow at the feet of Christ? What do you think of Him?”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Why, I look upon him as an Avatara.”

Rev. Sannyal: “Incarnation of God! Will you kindly explain what you mean by it? Is he one like Krishna and the others?”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Yes, exactly like that. An incarnation like our Rama and Krishna. Don’t you know there is a passage in the Bhagavata where it is said that the incarnations of Vishnu or the Supreme Being are innumerable?”

Rev. Sannyal: “Please explain further. I do not understand it quite.”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Just take the case of the ocean. It is a wide and almost infinite expanse of water. But owing to special causes, in special parts of this wide sea, the water becomes congealed into ice. When reduced to ice it can be easily manipulated and applied to special uses. An incarnation is something like that. Like that infinite expanse of water, there is the Infinite Power, immanent in matter and mind, but for some special purposes, in special regions, a portion of that Infinite Power, as it were, assumes a tangible shape in history, that is what you call a great man. But he is, properly speaking, a local manifestation of the all-pervading Divine Power; in other words, an incarnation of God. The greatness of great men is essentially the manifestation of Divine Energy.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 106-7.)

Jesus was a personal manifestation of God. He who knows Brahma (God) is Brahma himself. Did not Christ say: “I and my Father are one”? (John 10:30.) (Paramahansa Yogananda, HTWG, 14.)

When a soul finally gets out of the three jars of bodily delusions [physical, astral, and causal desires]," Master [Sri Yukteswar Giri] continued, "it becomes one with the Infinite without any loss of individuality. Christ had won this final freedom even before he was born as Jesus. In three stages of his past, symbolized in his earth-life as the three days of his experience of death and resurrection, he had attained full power to arise in Spirit. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 421.)

The first question I asked Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] was why Christ called out from the cross. If he was a perfect Jnani then surely he would have been indifferent to all suffering. Bhagavan explained that though a Jnani has attained Liberation already and for him there can be no such thing as suffering, some may appear to feel pain, but this is only a reaction of the body. For the body continues to have its reactions. It still eats and carries out all its natural workings. All its suffering is apparent only to the onlooker and does not affect the Jnani, for he no longer identifies the Self with the body, he lives in a transcendent state above all such. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 19.)



Jnana Yoga – The path of wisdom

The sage must distinguish between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is of things, acts, and relations. But wisdom is of [God] alone; and beyond all things, acts, and relations, he abides forever. To become one with him is the only wisdom. (UPAN, 42.)

He whose intellect is not agitated by desires, and whose sense organs are controlled; he who is gentle, pure, without possessions, not covetous, not greedy for food, serene, and steadfast; he who has taken refuge in the Self -- he alone is a sage. ... The sage is vigilant, profound, and steady, and has conquered the mind and the senses. He is humble and gives honour to all. He is well mannered, friendly, compassionate, and farsighted. (Dattatreya AG, 125.)

God loves nothing but the man who lives with wisdom. ("The Wisdom of Solomon" in APO, 191.)

Those ordinary virtues, as they are called, ... are not far removed from bodily qualities, in that they can be produced by habituation and exercise in a soul which has not possessed them from the first. Wisdom, it seems, is certainly the virtue of some diviner faculty, which never loses its power, though its use for good or harm depends on the direction towards which it is turned. (Socrates in REP, 232-3.)

The jnani, sticking to the path of knowledge, always reasons about the Reality, saying, “Not this, not this.” Brahman is neither “this” nor “that”; It is neither the universe nor its living beings. Reasoning in this way, the mind becomes steady. Then it disappears and the aspirant goes into samadhi. This is the Knowledge of Brahman. It is the unwavering conviction of the jnani that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. All these names and forms are illusory, like a dream. What Brahman is cannot be described. One cannot even say that Brahman is a Person. This is the opinion of the jnanis, the followers of Vedanta philosophy. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 133.)

The jnanis, who adhere to the non-dualistic philosophy of Vedanta, say that the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, the universe itself and all its living beings, are the manifestations of Sakti, the Divine Power. If you reason it out, you will realize that all these are as illusory as a dream. Brahman alone is the Reality, and all else is unreal. Even this very Sakti is unsubstantial, like a dream.

But though you reason all your life, unless you are established in samadhi, you cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of Sakti. Even when you say, “I am meditating,” or “I am contemplating,” still you are moving in the realm of Sakti, within its power. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 134.)

According to [Vedantic teachers], one must first practise spiritual discipline: self-restraint, self-control, forbearance, and the like. Their aim is to attain Nirvana. They are followers of Vedanta. They constantly discriminate, saying, “Brahman alone is real, and the world illusory.” But this is an extremely difficult path. If the world is illusory, then you too are illusory. The teacher who gives the instruction is equally illusory. His words, too, are as illusory as a dream.

But this experience is beyond the reach of the ordinary man. Do you know what it is like? If you burn camphor, nothing remains. When wood is burnt at least a little ash is left. Finally, after the last analysis, the devotee goes into Samadhi. Then he knows nothing whatsoever of “I,” “you,” or the universe. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 266.)

The nature of the philosophic intellect is to move among ideas and to give them a sort of abstract reality of their own apart from all their concrete representations which affect our life and personal consciousness. Its bent is to reduce these representations to their barest and most general terms and to subtilise even these if possible into some final abstraction. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 54.)

Faith that is faith alone, sometimes fails when the winds of bitter experience blow. But the faith that is born of knowledge (1) provides a foundation which is so strong that no wind of circumstance can disturb it. (Silver Birch in SBA, 13.)

(1) Direct experience.

However wise you may be already, on this Path you have much to learn; so much that here also there must be discrimination, and you must think carefully what is worth learning. All knowledge (1) is useful, and one day you will have all knowledge; but while you have only part, take care that it is the most useful part. God is Wisdom as well as Love; and the more wisdom you have the more you can manifest of Him. Study then, but study first that which will most help you to help others. Work patiently at your studies, not that men may think you wise, not even that you may have the happiness of being wise, but because only the wise man can be wisely helpful. However much you may wish to help, if you are ignorant you may do more harm than good. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 27-8.)

(1) Krishnamurti is recording what his spiritual master has said; hence the discrepancy in the use of the word "knowledge" between this passage and later ones in which he speaks himself.

I saw that all kinds of seeking were founded in identification with a certain level of life, experience or motivation. The dilemma that was always involved was founded in a present act of differentiation, whereby what was constantly being realized was separated and threatened consciousness. Thus, I was not moved to pursue any goals, experiences or forms. All such things were merely matters of seeking. I did not even pursue my identity with Siva, Self or pure Consciousness. Such was also a form of seeking. I simply and radically founded myself in understanding, the enquiry of experience, the perception of truth and reality that had been communicated through all my experience. ... I had come to understand life as a proposition of radical consciousness. I saw that every deliberate path was a form of seeking that involved the moment to moment avoidance of relationship as primary activity in consciousness and in life. (Da Free John, KOL, 120-1.)

It is no doubt said in some books that one should go on cultivating one good quality after another and thus prepare for moksha; but for those who follow the jnana or vichara marga, their sadhana is itself quite enough for acquiring all daivic qualities; they need not do anything else. (Ramana Maharshi, GB.)

There are seven stages of Jnana or the seven Jnana Bhumikas. First, Jnana should be developed through a deep study of Atma Jnana Sastras and association with the wise and the performance of virtuous actions without any expectation of fruits. This is Subheccha or good desire, which forms the first Bhumika or stage of Jnana. This will irrigate the mind with the waters of discrimination and protect it. There will be non-attraction or indifference to sensual objects in this stage. The first stage is the substratum of the other stages. From it the next two stages, viz., Vicharana and Tanumanasi will be reached. Constant Atma Vichara (Atmic enquiry) forms the second stage. The third stage is Tanumanasi. This is attained through the cultivation of special indifference to objects. The mind becomes thin like a thread. Hence the name Tanumanasi. Tanu means thread - threadlike state of mind. The third stage is also known by the name Asanga Bhavana. In the third stage, the aspirant is free from all attractions. If any one dies in the third stage, he will remain in heaven for a long time and will reincarnate on earth again as a Jnani. The above three stages can be included under the Jagrat state. The fourth stage is Sattvapatti. This stage will destroy all Vasanas to the root. This can be included under the Svapana state. The world appears like a dream. Those who have reached the fourth stage will look upon all things of the universe with an equal eye. The fifth stage is Asamsakti. There is perfect non-attachment to the objects of the world. There is no Upadhi or waking or sleeping in this stage. This is the Jivanmukti stage in which there is the experience of Ananda Svaroopa (the Eternal Bliss of Brahman) replete with spotless Jnana. This will come under Sushupti. The sixth stage is Padartha Bhavana. There is knowledge of Truth. The seventh stage is Turiya, or the state of superconsciousness. This is Moksha. This is also known by the name Turiyatita. There are no Sankalpas. All the Gunas disappear. This is above the reach of mind and speech. Disembodied salvation (Videhamukti) is attained in the seventh stage.

Remaining in the certitude of Atma, without desires, and with an equal vision over all, having completely eradicated all complications of differentiations of 'I' or 'he', existence or non-existence, is Turiya. (Swami Sivananda, Jnana Yoga, http://www.dlshq.org/teachings/jnanayoga.htm, downloaded 26 May 2007.)

Jnana Yoga - Its fruits

Compassion, love of God, and renunciation are the glories of true knowledge. (1) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 99.)

(1) That is, the direct experience which leads to wisdom.

After having the vision of God man is overpowered with bliss. He becomes silent. Who will speak? Who will explain? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 217.)

Man becomes silent when It is attained. Then the 'I', which may be likened to a salt doll, melts in the Ocean of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute and becomes one with It. Not the slightest trace of distinction is left. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 148.)

Jnana Yoga - Wisdom vs. Ignorance

Far from each other, and leading to different ends, are ignorance and knowledge. (1) (UPAN, 17.)

(1) Direct experience.

There was a man who, having taken a bath, stepped upon a wet rope, and he thought it was a snake. Horror overcame him, and he shook from fear, anticipating in his mind all the agonies caused by its venomous bite. What a relief does this man experience when he sees that it is no snake. The cause of his fright lies in his error, his ignorance, his illusion. If the true nature of the rope is recognized, his tranquillity of mind will come back to him; he will feel relieved; he will be joyful and happy. (Buddha in GB, 41-2.)

Jnana Yoga - Wisdom vs. sensory experience

For it is possible for the Soul, O Son, to be deified while yet it lodgeth in the Body of Man, if it contemplate the beauty of the Good. (Hermes, DPH, 22.)

But Knowledge (1) differs much from Sense; for Sense is of things that surmount it, (2) but Knowledge is the end of Sense.

Knowledge is the gift of God; for all Knowledge is unbodily, but useth the Mind as an instrument, as the Mind useth the Body. (Hermes, DPH, 23.)

(1) Direct experience.
(2) Sensory experiences overpower and inhibit the rise of Knowledge.

Wisdom is not assimilated with the eyes, but with the atoms. ... When your conviction of a truth is not merely in your brain but in your being, you may diffidently vouch for its meaning. (Sri Yukteswar Giri, guru to Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 129.)

Jnana Yoga - Wisdom vs. thought-mediated knowledge

To be ignorant is not to be free of knowledge. (1) Ignorance is the lack of self-awareness; and knowledge is ignorance when there is no understanding of the ways of the self. Understanding of the self is freedom from knowledge. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26.)

(1) Used here in the sense of experience at one remove; that is, experience mediated by thought.

An addiction to knowledge (1) is like any other addiction; it offers an escape from the fear of emptiness, of loneliness, of frustration, the fear of being nothing. The light of knowledge is a delicate covering under which lies a darkness that the mind cannot penetrate. The mind is frightened of this unknown, and so it escapes into knowledge, into theories, hopes, imagination; and this very knowledge is a hindrance to the understanding of the unknown. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26.)

(1) Mediated by thought.

There can be freedom from knowledge only when the process of gathering, the motive of accumulation, is understood. The desire to store up is the desire to be secure, to be certain. This desire for certainty through identification, through condemnation and justification, is the cause of fear, which destroys all communion. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26-7.)

When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experience and the experiencer. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind. (Krishnamurti, CHT.)

Jnana Yoga - Wisdom comes after worldliness, body knowledge go

The rishis of old attained the Knowledge of Brahman. One cannot have this so long as there is the slightest trace of worldliness. How hard the rishis laboured! Early in the morning they would go away from the hermitage, and would spend the whole day in solitude, meditating on Brahman. They kept their minds aloof from the objects of sight, hearing, touch, and other things of a worldly nature. Only thus did they realize Brahman as their own inner consciousness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 103.)

One cannot obtain jnana if one has the least trace of worldliness and the slightest attachment to [lust and greed]. This is not the path for the Kaliyuga. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 150.)

An aspirant cannot succeed in this form of spiritual discipline [jnana yoga] if his mind is stained with worldliness even in the slightest degree. The mind must withdraw totally from all objects of form, taste, smell, touch, and sound. Only thus dos it become pure. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 350.)

One becomes established in samadhi when one is completely rid of worldliness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 350.)

A man cannot acquire the Knowledge of Brahman unless he completely rids himself of his attachment to the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 307.)

There must be complete renunciation, both inner and outer. You cannot succeed in this path if you have the slightest trace of worldliness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 354.)

If a man truly realizes that the body and the world are unreal, then his soul attains samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 782.)

To the jnanis the waking state is no more real than the dream state. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 236.)

The path of knowledge is very difficult. One cannot obtain knowledge unless one gets rid of the feeling that one is the body. In the Kaliyuga the life of man is centred on food. He cannot get rid of the feeling that he is the body and the ego. Therefore the path of devotion is prescribed for this cycle. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

O God, to Thee belongs all – body, mind, house, family, living beings, and the universe. All these are Thine. Nothing belongs to me. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 266.)

Jnana Yoga – What is discrimination?

By an undecayed mind, a fervent intellect, and decisive wisdom it is possible to understand (and realize) the Holy One. (Zarathustra in GZ, 170.)

Thinking about sense-objects
Will attach you to sense-objects;
Grow attached, and you become addicted;
Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger;
Be angry, and you confuse the mind;
Confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience;
Forget experience, you lose discrimination;
Lose discrimination, and you miss life's only purpose.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 42.)

Brahman is real; the universe is unreal. A firm conviction that this is so is called discrimination between the eternal and non-eternal. (Shankara in CJD, 35.)

Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 179.)

Discrimination is the knowledge of what is real and what is unreal. It is the realization that God alone is the real and eternal Substance, and that all else is unreal, transitory, impermanent. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 140.)

Discrimination is the reasoning by which one knows that God alone is real and all else is unreal. Real means eternal, and unreal means impermanent. He who has acquired discrimination knows that God is the only Substance and all else is non-existent. With the awakening of the spirit of discrimination a man wants to know God. On the contrary, if a man loves the unreal – such things as creature comforts, name, fame, and wealth – then he doesn’t want to know God, who is of the very nature of Reality. Through Janna Yoga seeks to know God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 327.)

Discrimination means to know the distinction between the Real and the unreal. Renunciation means to have dispassion for the things of the world. One cannot acquire them all of a sudden. They must be practised every day. One should renounce [the objects of lust and greed] mentally at first. Then, by the will of God, one can renounce [them] both mentally and outwardly. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 179.)

“I” and 'mine' -- that is ignorance. By discriminating you will realize that what you call “I” is really nothing but Atman. Reason it out. Are you the body or the flesh or something else? At the end you will know that you are none of these. You are free from attributes. Then you will realize that you have never been the doer of any action, that you have been free from virtue and faults alike, that you are beyond righteousness and unrighteousness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 208.)

Always discriminate between the Real and the unreal. God alone is real, the Eternal Substance; all else is unreal, that is, impermanent. By discriminating thus, one should shake off impermanent objects from the mind. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 81.)

One cannot assimilate spiritual instruction without discrimination. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 363.)

You must practice discrimination. “Woman and gold” is impermanent. God is the only Eternal Substance. What does a man get with money? Food, clothes, and a dwelling-place -- nothing more. You cannot realize God with its help. Therefore money can never be the goal of life. That is the process of discrimination. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 82.)

What does a man get with money? Food, clothes, and a dwelling-place -- nothing more. You cannot realize God with its help. Therefore money can never be the goal of life. That is the process of discrimination. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 82.)

Consider — what is there in money or in a beautiful body? Discriminate and you will find that even the body of a beautiful woman consists of bones, flesh, fat, and other disagreeable things. Why should a man give up God and direct his attention to such things? Why should a man forget God for their sake? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 82.)

“Woman and gold” alone is the obstacle to yoga. Always analyze what you see. What is there in the body of a woman? Only such things as blood, flesh, fat, entrails, and the like? Why should one love such a body? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 113.)

As long as one has not realized God, one should renounce the world, following the process of “Neti, neti.” But he who has attained God knows that it is God who has become all this. Then he sees that God, maya, living beings, and the universe form one whole. God includes the universe and its living beings. Suppose you have separated the shell, flesh, and seeds of a bel-fruit and someone asks you the weight of the fruit. Will you leave aside the shell and the seeds, and weigh only the flesh? Not at all. To know the real weight of the fruit, you must weigh the whole of it – the shell, the flesh, and the seeds. Only then can you tell its real weight. The shell may be likened to the universe, and the seeds to living beings. While one is engaged in discrimination one says to oneself that the universe and the living beings are non-Self and unsubstantial. At that time one thinks of the flesh alone as the substance, and the shell and seeds as unsubstantial. But after discrimination is over, one feels that all three parts of the fruit together form a unity. Then one further realizes that the stuff that has produced the flesh of the fruit has also produced the shell and seeds. To know the real nature of the bel-fruit one must know all three. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 328.)

You may say, even though you dive deep you are still in danger of sharks and crocodiles, of lust and anger. But dive deep after rubbing your body with turmeric powder; then sharks and crocodiles will not come near you. The turmeric is discrimination and renunciation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 543.)

As soon as a man finds his mind wandering away to the unreal, he should apply discrimination. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 97.)

This world is a mixture of sand and sugar. Like the ant, one should discard the sand and eat the sugar. He who can eat the sugar is clever indeed. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 912.)

Of the real and the unreal there are many varieties; and discrimination must still be made between the right and the wrong, the important and the unimportant, the useful and the useless, the true and the false, the selfish and the unselfish. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 19.)

You must discriminate in yet another way. Learn to distinguish the God in everyone and everything, no matter how evil he or it may appear on the surface. You can help your brother through that which you have in common with him, and that is the Divine Life; learn how to arouse that in him, learn how to appeal to that in him; so shall you save your brother from wrong. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 35.)

Jnana Yoga - Without discrimination, we can't get rid of delusion

As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind. (The Buddha in TCB, 53.)

When a man lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, his senses are unmanageable, like the restive horses of a charioteer. But when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein. (UPAN, 19.)

Those who lack discrimination may quote the letter of the scripture, but they are really denying its inner truth. They are full of worldly desires, and hungry for the rewards of heaven. They use beautiful figures of speech. They teach elaborate rituals which are supposed to obtain pleasure and power for those who perform them. But, actually, they understand nothing except the law of Karma, that chains men to rebirth. (Sri Krishna in BG, 40.)

Some have afflicted their bodies by asceticism, but they lack discernment, and so they are far from God. (Abba Anthony in SDF, 3.)

Jnana Yoga – Awakening the spirit of discrimination brings up longing for God – See also Longing for Liberation

With the awakening of the spirit of discrimination a man wants to know God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 327.)

Through Janna Yoga one seeks to know God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 327.)

By turning the mind within oneself one acquires discrimination, and through discrimination one thinks of Truth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 327.)

Jnana Yoga – Use discrimination to remove ignorance and then throw both of them away

This universe is created by the Mahamaya of God. Mahamaya contains both vidyamaya, the illusion of knowledge, and avidyamaya, the illusion of ignorance. Through the help of vidyamaya one cultivates such virtues as the taste for holy company, knowledge, devotion, love, and renunciation. Avidyamaya consists of the five elements and the objects of the five senses – form, flavour, smell, touch, and sound. These make one forget God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 216.)

[God created avidya because] that is His play. The glory of light cannot be appreciated without darkness. Happiness cannot be understood without misery. Knowledge of good is possible because of knowledge of evil.

Further, the mango grows and ripens on account of the covering skin. You throw away the skin when the mango is fully ripe and ready to be eaten. It is possible for a man to attain gradually to the Knowledge of Brahman because of the covering skin of maya. Maya in its aspects of vidya and avidya may be likened to the skin of then mango. Both are necessary. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 216.)

If a thorn enters the sole of your foot, you get another thorn to take out the first one. Afterwards you throw both away. Likewise, one procures the thorn of knowledge to remove the thorn of ignorance; then one goes beyond both knowledge and ignorance. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 716.)

Jnana Yoga – Discrimination leads to enlightenment

Through knowledge shall the just be delivered. (Proverbs 11:9.)

When through discrimination the heart has become pure, then, in meditation, the Impersonal Self is revealed. (UPAN, 47.)

When the bonds [of ignorance] are broken
His illumined heart
Beats in Brahman.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 53.)

When your intellect has cleared itself of its delusions, you will become indifferent to the results of all action, present or future. ... When it can rest, steady and undisturbed, in contemplation of the Atman, then you will reach union with the Atman. (Sri Krishna in BG, 41.)

Right action helps to purify the heart, but it does not give us direct perception of the Reality. The Reality is attained through discrimination. (Shankara in CJD, 34.)

Let him who would know the Atman practise discrimination. (Shankara in CJD, 34.)

Through devotion to right discrimination he will climb to the height of union with Brahman. (Shankara in CJD, 34.)

With the awakening of the spirit of discrimination a man wants to know God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 327.)

As soon as a man finds his mind wandering away to the unreal, he should apply discrimination. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 97.)

Compassion, love of God, and renunciation are the glories of true knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 101.)

Jnana Yoga - Enlightenment loosens the knot of ignorance forever

To know [God], hidden in the lotus of the heart, is to untie the knot of ignorance. (UPAN, 45.)

When your heart is free from ... ignorance, there will no longer be any possibility of your rebirth. You will reach immortality. (Shankara in CJD, 59.)

Ignorance, though beginningless, comes to an end when knowledge (1) dawns. It is completely destroyed, root and all, like the dreams that vanish utterly when we wake. (Shankara in CJD, 65.)

(1) Direct experience of God.

Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you'll witness the beginning of nirvana, and in death you'll experience the assurance of no rebirth. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 29.)

Jnana Yoga -The character of the seeker of discrimination

Among those who are purified by their good deeds, there are four kinds of men who worship me: the world-weary, the seeker for knowledge, the seeker for happiness and the man of spiritual discrimination. The man of discrimination is the highest of these. He is continually united with me. He devotes himself to me always, and to no other. For I am very dear to that man, and he is dear to me.

Certainly, all these are noble:
But the man of discrimination
I see as my very Self.
For he alone loves me
Because I am myself:
The last and only goal
Of his devoted heart.
Through many a long life
His discrimination ripens:
He makes me his refuge,
Knows that Brahman is all.
How rare are such great ones!
(Sri Krishna in BG, 72-3.)

Jnana Yoga - The role of scriptural study

Do not neglect the study of the scriptures. (UPAN, 54.)

Let the scriptures be your guide ... in deciding what you must do, and what you must abstain from. First learn the path of action, as the scriptures teach it. Then act accordingly. (Sri Krishna in BG, 116.)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (St. Paul in II Timothy 16.)

A hadith says: "Man and the Quran are twins." What is meant here by Man is the Perfect Man. What is meant here by twins is identical twins born of the same womb. (1) (Ibn Arabi, KK, 17.)

(1) The common womb of the Word and the being is the Divine Mother.

Taking Scripture as our guide we do not err, since the Holy Ghost speaks to us through it. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 70.)

[Sri] Ramakrishna was listening to a reading of the Bhagavata when he went into bhavasamadhi and saw a shining figure of Sri Krishna. Then a ray of light from the feet of that figure touched the scripture being read, and from there touched the Master's own heart, remaining in contact with all three for some time. The result of this vision [was] his firm, life-long conviction of the unity of the scripture, the devotee, and the Lord. 'Bhagavata, Bhakta, Bhagavan,' he used to say, 'three in One and One in three.' (Swami Yogeshananda, VSR, 52.)

Jnana Yoga - Study scriptures in the proper fashion

One should hear the scriptures during the early stages of spiritual discipline. After attaining God there is no lack of knowledge. Then the Divine Mother supplies it without fail. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 200.)

"Sacred writings are beneficial in stimulating desire for inward realization, if one stanza at a time is slowly assimilated. Otherwise, continual intellectual study may result in vanity, false satisfaction, and undigested knowledge. ... The rishis wrote in one sentence profundities that commentating scholars busy themselves over for generations," [Sri Yukteswar Giri] said. "Endless literary controversy is for sluggard minds. What more quickly liberating thought than 'God is' - nay, 'God'?" (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 129-30.)

All Scriptures, such as the Bhagavad-Gita, or the Hindu Bible, and the Christian Bible, have a three-fold meaning. In other words, the Scriptures deal with the three factors of human beings, namely, the material, the mental, and the spiritual. Hence, all true Scriptures have been so written that they serve to be beneficial to the body, mind, and soul of man. True Scriptures are like the wells of Divine Waters, which can quench the three-fold material, mental, and spiritual thirsts of man. In addition, the Scriptures, in order to be worth-while, should really help the businessman, the mental man, and the spiritual man. Although both the material and the psychological interpretations are necessary, it should be remembered that the scriptural authors undertook with great pains to point out to a man that the spiritual interpretations are of supreme importance to him. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, x.)

Jnana Yoga - However, not by studying scriptures alone do we see God

The Self is not known through study of the scriptures [alone]; nor through subtlety of the intellect, nor through much learning; but by him who longs for him is he known. Verily unto him does the Self reveal his true being. (UPAN, 19.)

Neither by study of the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by alms-giving, nor by rituals can I be seen as you have seen me [Arjuna]. But by single-minded and intense devotion, that Form of mine may be completely known, and seen, and entered into. (Sri Krishna in BG, 97.)

Understanding comes in mid-sentence. What good are doctrines? (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 15.)

Long ago, the monk Good Star was able to recite the entire Canon. But he didn't escape the Wheel [of birth and death] because he didn't see his nature. ... Unless you see your mind, reciting so much prose is useless. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 6.)

If you see your nature, you don't need to read sutras or invoke buddhas. Erudition and knowledge are not only useless, they cloud your awareness. Doctrines are only for pointing to the mind. Once you see your mind, why pay attention to doctrines. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 17.)

Jnana Yoga - Other things besides mere learning or knowledge are needed to know God – See also Intellectuals: Pro and Con

By learning, a man cannot know him, if he desist not from evil, if he control not his senses, if he quiet not his mind, and practice not meditation. (UPAN, 19.)

Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (Ecclesiastes 12:13.)

The peace of God ... passeth all understanding. (St. Paul in Phillipians 4:7.)

When a thought arises, there's good karma and bad karma, heaven and hell. When no thought arises, there's no good karma and no bad karma, no heaven or hell. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 30.)

Do not attempt to achieve [union with God] intellectually. I tell you truly it cannot come this way. (Anon., CU, 58.)

One day Ramkumar [Ramakrishna's older brother] took the boy aside and admonished him for his apathy towards education and his general indifference.

"Brother, what shall I do with a mere bread-winning education?" was the spirited reply of the boy. "I would rather acquire that wisdom which will illumine my heart and getting which one is satisfied forever." (Anon, LSR, 34.)

A philosopher who is content merely to know about the ultimate Reality -- theoretically and by hearsay -- is compared by Buddha to a herdsman of other men's cows. Mohammed uses an even homelier barnyard metaphor. For him the philosopher who has not realized his metaphysics is just an ass bearing a load of books. (Aldous Huxley in "Introduction" to BG, 15.)

There is nothing in mere scholarship. The object of study is to find means of knowing God and realizing Him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

How can we understand the ways of God through our small intellects? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 153.)

God cannot be realized through scholarship. Who, indeed, can understand the things of the Spirit though reason? No, all should strive for devotion to the Lotus Feet of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 183.)

What can you achieve by mere lecturing and scholarship without discrimination and dispassion? ... First of all set up God in the shrine of the heart, and then deliver lectures as much as you like. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125.)

Mere reading of the scripture is not enough. A person cannot understand the true significance of the scriptures if he is attached to the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 200.)

What will a man gain by knowing many scriptures? The one thing needful is to know how to cross the river of the world. God alone is real and all else is illusory. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 392.)

One's spiritual consciousness is not awakened by the mere reading of books. One should also pray to God. The Kundalini is aroused if the aspirant feels restless for God. To talk of Knowledge from mere study and hearsay! What will that accomplish? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 830.)

An addiction to knowledge is like any other addiction; it offers an escape from the fear of emptiness, of loneliness, of frustration, the fear of being nothing. The light of knowledge is a delicate covering under which lies a darkness that the mind cannot penetrate. The mind is frightened of this unknown, and so it escapes into knowledge, into theories, hopes, imagination; and this very knowledge is a hindrance to the understanding of the unknown. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26.)

Mere knowledge, however wide and cunningly put together, will not resolve our human problems; to assume that it will is to invite frustration and misery. Something much more profound is needed. One may know that hate is futile, but to be free of hate is quite another matter. Love is not a question of knowledge. (Krishnamurti, COL, 3, 3.)

The gathering of facts does not make for the understanding of life. Knowledge is one thing, and understanding another. Knowledge does not lead to understanding; but understanding may enrich knowledge, and knowledge may implement understanding. (Krishnamurti, COL, 3, 3.)

Knowledge is a flash of light between two darknesses; but knowledge cannot go above and beyond that darkness. Knowledge is essential to technique, as coal is to the engine; but it cannot reach out into the unknown. The unknown is not to be caught in the web of the known. Knowledge must be set aside for the unknown to be; but how difficult that is! (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26.)

We are not attacking or defending knowledge, but trying to understand the whole problem. Knowledge is only a part of life, not the totality, and when that part assumes all-consuming importance, as it is threatening to do now, then life becomes superficial, a dull routine from which man seeks to escape through every form of diversion and superstition, with disastrous consequences. (Krishnamurti, COL, 3, 3.)

Our minds are stuffed with so much knowledge that it is almost impossible to experience directly. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 61.)

You can be converted from one belief to another, from one dogma to another, but you cannot be converted to the understanding of reality. Belief is not reality. You can change your mind, your opinion, but truth of God is not a conviction; it is an experience not based on any belief or dogma, or on any previous experience. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 23.)

Reality cannot be experienced. It is. If the experiencer thinks he experiences reality, then he knows only illusion. All knowledge of reality is illusion. Knowledge or experience must cease for the being of reality. Experience cannot meet reality. Experience shapes knowledge, and knowledge bends experience; they must both cease for reality to be. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 74.)

Fear exists only in the relationship between the known and the unknown. The known is ever trying to capture the unknown; but it can capture only that which is already known. The unknown can never be experienced by the known; the known, the experienced must cease for the unknown to be. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 89.)

There can be freedom from knowledge only when the process of gathering, the motive of accumulation, is understood. The desire to store up is the desire to be secure, to be certain. This desire for certainty through identification, through condemnation and justification, is the cause of fear, which destroys all communion. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 26-7.)

The idea is more important than the fact; the concept of what one should be has more significance than what one is. The future is always more alluring than the present. The image, the symbol, is of greater worth than the actual; and on the actual we try to superimpose the idea, the pattern. So we create a contradiction between what is and what should be. ... In this conflict between the so-called real and the so-called false we are caught. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 85-6.)

There cannot be the experiencing of the unknown until the mind ceases to experience. Thought is the expression of experience; thought is a response of memory; and as long as thinking intervenes, there can be no experiencing. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 32.)

Thought cannot penetrate into the unknown, and so it can never discover or experience reality. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 44.)

Thought can only deny or assert, it cannot discover or search out the new. Thought cannot come upon the new; but when thought is silent, then there may be the new. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 44.)

Without thought there is no thinker. Thoughts create the thinker, who isolates himself to give himself permanency; for thoughts are always impermanent. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 69.)

The understanding of what is does not depend on thought, for thought is itself an escape. To think about the problem is not to understand it. It is only when the mind is silent that the truth of what is unfolds. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 41.)

Thought is binding; thought can only lead to the vast expanse of time, the field in which knowledge, action, virtue, have importance. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 167.)

Book scholars will speak about renunciation but cannot withdraw their minds from sensual objects. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 35.)

Jnana Yoga - Reality cannot be described in words

The knowers are not learned men
And learned men may never know.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 134.)

Those who know do not talk
And talkers do not know.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 109.)

Freeing oneself from words is liberation. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 24.)

The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words. They're not the Way. The Way is wordless. Words are illusions. ... Don't conceive any delight for such things. They're all cradles of rebirth. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 15.)

Transhumanizing cannot be signified in words. (Dante in CC, 136.)

Reality is not to be spoken of; and when it is, it is no longer reality. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 45.)

Words exist to communicate, and also to remember, to fix in the mind a fleeting experience, a thought, a feeling; so the mind itself is the word, the experience, it is the memory of the fact in terms of pleasure and pain, good and bad. This whole process takes place within the field of time, the field of the known; and any revolution within that field is not revolution at all, but only a modification of what has been. (Krishnamurti, COL, 3, 87.)

There is no one who can be referred to as "me" or "you," but then language will be impossible. That is why truth cannot be expressed in language. Truth cannot take on any linguistic form because language is created by the ego. It comes out of the ego, so it can never transcend the ego. Even if you know that there is no one who can be referred to as "me," you have to use it when you speak. (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, IATG, 7.)

Jnana Yoga - Discrimination means negating all that is not the Self – pro

Who thus perceives
With the eye of wisdom (1)
In what manner the Field (2)
Is distinct from its Knower, (3)
How men are made free from the toils of Prakriti: (4)
His aim is accomplished,
He enters the Highest.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 105.)

(1) The Third Eye.
(2) Interimly the body; ultimately the Mother or Maya.
(3) The Self, Atman, or soul. The Self of course is unchanging, indestructible, modificationless.
(4) How men are released from the Mother's bondage.

Delusion means mortality. And awareness [of Self] means buddhahood. It's just that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we're deluded there's a world to escape. When we're aware, there's nothing to escape. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 25.)

Whoever realizes that the six senses aren't real, that the five aggregates are fictions, that no such things can be located anywhere in the body understands the language of buddhas. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 24.)

A man must separate this Atman from every object of experience, as a stalk of grass is separated from its enveloping sheath. Then he must dissolve into the Atman all those appearances which make up the world of name and form. He is indeed a free soul who can remain thus absorbed in the Atman alone. (Shankara in CJD, 56-7.)

The wise man who seeks liberation from bondage must discriminate between Atman and non-Atman. In this way, he can realize the Atman, which is Infinite Being, Infinite Wisdom and Infinite Love. Thus he finds happiness. (Shankara in CJD, 56.)

The flame of illumination ... is kindled by discrimination between Atman and non-Atman. [It] will burn away the effects of ignorance, down to their very roots. (Shankara in CJD, 39.)

The fool thinks, "I am the body." The intelligent man thinks, "I am the individual soul united with the body." But the wise man, in the greatness of his knowledge and spiritual discrimination, sees the Atman as reality and thinks, "I am Brahman." (Shankara in CJD, 58.)

The jnani gives up his identification with worldly things, discriminating, “Not this, not this.” Only then can he realize Brahman. It is like reaching the roof of the house by leaving the steps behind, one by one. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 103.)

The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus ), I am not; the five cognitive sense-organs, viz , the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz , sound, touch, color, taste, and odor, I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz , the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and no functioning, I am not. …

After negating all of the above-mentioned as “not this:, “not this,” that Awareness which alone remains – that I am. … The nature of Awareness [the Self] is existence-consciousness-bliss. (1) (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 11-2.)

(1) This was the opinion of the young Ramana Maharshi, but see below for a contrasting opinion from the older Ramana Maharshi.

Jnana Yoga - Discrimination means negating all that is not the Self – con

D.: I meditate neti-neti (not this - not this).

M.: Not-that is not meditation. Find the source. You must reach the source without fail. The false “I” will disappear and the real “I” will be realised. The former cannot exist apart from the latter. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, No. 41.)

To say 'I am not this' or 'I am that' there must be the “I.” This “I” is only the ego or the “I”-thought. After the rising up of this “I”-thought all other thoughts arise. The “I”-thought is therefore the root-thought. If the root is pulled out all others are at the same time uprooted. Therefore seek the root “I,” question yourself "Who am I?''; find out its source. Then all these will vanish and the pure Self will remain ever. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

The only enquiry leading to Self-realization is seeking the Source of the “I” with in-turned mind and without uttering the word “I.” Meditation on 'I am not this; I am That' may be an aid to the enquiry but it cannot be the enquiry. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 29.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry - What is it?

To all deep-thinking minds, the enquiry about the “I” and its nature has an irresistible fascination. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 72.)

Self-enquiry is the one, infallible means, the only direct one, to realize the unconditioned, absolute Being that you really are. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 50-1.)

Disciple: Is it not funny that the “I” should be searching for the I”? Does not the enquiry, “Who am I?” turn out in the end [to be] an empty formula? Or, am I to put the question to myself endlessly, repeating it like [a] mantra?

Master: Self-enquiry is certainly not an empty formula; it is more than repetition of any mantra. If the enquiry, "Who am I?”' were a mere mental questioning, it would not be of much value. The very purpose of Self-enquiry is to focus the entire mind at its Source. It is not, therefore, a case of one “I” searching for another “I.” …

Where the “I” merges, another entity emerges as “I” - “I” of its own accord. That is the perfect Self. (Ramana Mahrashi, GFB.)

Inquiring into the nature of one's self that is in bondage and realising one's true nature is release. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 21.)

Though the “I” is always experienced, yet one's attention has to be drawn to it. Then only knowledge dawns. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 92.)

If the ego is, everything else also is. If the ego is not, nothing else is. Indeed, the ego is all. Therefore the enquiry as to what this ego is is the only way of giving up everything. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 25.)

Experiences such as "I went; I came; I was; I did" come naturally to everyone. From these experiences, does it not appear that the consciousness "I" is the subject of those various acts? Enquiry into the true nature of that consciousness, and remaining as oneself is the way to understand … one's true nature. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 2.)

The obvious solution to our riddle [of whether the snake or the rope is real] is to search out and find the permanent behind the impermanent. This was Bhagavan’s solution and he taught us how to do it by his method of self-enquiry. Though the ego changes minute by minute, though we are entirely different people through every stage of our life, there has always been for us an “I”. Now this is obviously not the ego, for we have already seen that the ego changes every second, while the “I” has been there all along as the observer. Let us trace it to its source. And through this method of self-enquiry we shall eventually realize the Self. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] of Sri Ramana Maharshi in SRRM, 39.)

Like the late Sage of Arunachala – Bhagwan Ramana – … [Sai Baba of Shirdi] also constantly encouraged enquiry into the true nature of the Self. The similarity of approach between these two great tachers is significant. Bhagwan Ramana’s “Who am I?” has become the pivot of his teachings. Sai Baba many decades ago never got tired of telling his followers to think of who they were. He often said: “Who am I – whence? Night and day, think on this.” (Mani Sahukar, SBSS, 19-20.)

If one hasn't any interest in meditating on a [Divine] form, he can do Self-enquiry [the path of wisdom, or jnana-marga]. But in this, one should be more cautious. Never waste a minute. Whatever work we do, we must contemplate: "Who am I?" (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

The direct path of spiritual inquiry begins not with seeking something that you yearn for, but with seeking the seeker, the essential “I.”

In order for inquiry to be powerful and liberating, it needs to be understood that spiritual inquiry is not something to be performed by the mind. Inquiry is a tool that points you directly back to your own being, to experience before the mind. (Adyashanti, IA, xi.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – What is its goal?

The aim is to reach the root of the “I”-sense. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 77.)

To attain … natural happiness one must know oneself. For that Self-Enquiry - “Who am I?” - is the chief means. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 1.)

There can be satisfaction only when you reach the source; otherwise there will be restlessness. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

On diving deep upon the quest
“Who am I and from whence?” thoughts disappear
And consciousness of Self … flashes forth
As the “I-I” within the cavity
Of every seeker’s Heart. And this is Heaven,
This is that Stillness, the abode of Bliss. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 27.)

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. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 3.)

The duality of subject and object and trinity of seer, sight, and seen can exist only if supported by the One. If one turns inward in search of that One Reality they fall away. Those who see this are those who see Wisdom. They are never in doubt. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 9.)

[The end of the path of jnana] is to know the truth that the “I” is not different from the Lord (Isvara) and to be free from the feeling of being the doer (kartrtva, ahamkara). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Question 10.)

When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 12.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – This sadhana is enough

It is no doubt said in some books that one should go on cultivating one good quality after another and thus prepare for moksha; but for those who follow the jnana or vichara marga, their sadhana is itself quite enough for acquiring all daivic qualities; they need not do anything else. (Ramana Mahrashi, GFB.)

If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 17.)

The enquiry "Who am I?" is the principal means to the removal of all misery and the attainment of the supreme bliss. … Never forgetting one's plenary Self-experience is real bhakti (devotion), yoga (mind-control), jnana (knowledge) and all other austerities. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 12.)

This method which easily destroys egoity deserves to be called devotion (bhakti), meditation (dhyana), concentration (yoga), and knowledge (jnana). (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 4.)

Identification with the Supreme is only the other name for the destruction of the ego. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 130.)

Absorption in the heart of being,
Whence we sprang,
Is the path of action, of devotion,
Of union and of knowledge. (Ramana Maharshi, CWRM, Chapter 5.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Suitable only for ripe souls

Although [Advaita is] the ultimate doctrine and [Self-Enquiry is] the supreme and most direct path, this, throughout the ages, has not been the most popular, because for most people it seemed too austere and difficult. (Anon., “Intro” to Ramana Maharshi, FHSA.)

This is suitable only for ripe souls. The rest should follow different methods according to the state of their minds. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 2.)

When you come to the point in life where you are ready to inquire directly into the unknown core of your being, you are ripe to awaken from the dream of separation. The direct path of spiritual inquiry begins not with seeking something that you yearn for, but with seeking the seeker, the essential “I.”

In order for inquiry to be powerful and liberating, it needs to be understood that spiritual inquiry is not something to be performed by the mind. Inquiry is a tool that points you directly back to your own being, to experience before the mind. If you read this book with your mind only, you are wasting your time. But if you read it with your whole being – if you listen to it, feel it, sense it, resonate with it, and digest it slowly, you may find that it is worthwhile after all.

I am not speaking to who you think you are. I am speaking to You, the Awareness behind the mask called “me.” This book is for You. You will see your Self celebrated on every page. (Adyashanti, IA, xi.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – How does it work?

Vichara begins when you cling to your Self and are already off the mental movement, the thought-waves. (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, ix.)

Once the “I” emerges, all else emerges. With a keen mind enquire whence this “I” emerges. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 23.)

”Whence does this “I” arise?” Seek for it within; it then vanishes. This is the pursuit of Wisdom. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 24.)

In this body what asserts itself as ‘I’ is but the mind. Therefore, if you enquire whence the I-thought arises, it will plainly be seen that the Heart is the source. Do not even murmur ‘I’ but enquire keenly within what is it that now shines within the Heart as ‘I.’ Transcending the intermittent flow of diverse thoughts there arises the continuous unbroken awareness, silent and spontaneous, as ‘I-I’ in the Heart. If one catches it and remains still, it will completely annihilate the sense of ‘I’ in the body and itself disappear as a fire of burning camphor. Sages and Scriptures proclaim this to be Liberation. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 13.)

When there is not the I-thought, then there will be no other thought. Until that time, when other thoughts arise, [ask] ‘To whom?’ [which will call forth the reply] ‘To me.’ He who pursues this closely, questioning ‘What is the origin of the I?’ and diving inward reaches the seat of the mind (within), the Heart, [and] becomes (there) the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 48.)

Thoughts alone constitute the mind; and for all thoughts the base or source is the “I” thought. “I” is the mind. If we go inward questing for the source of the “I,” the “I” topples down. This is the jnana enquiry.

If one enquires “Who am I?” within the mind, the individual “I” falls down abashed as soon as one reaches the Heart and immediately Reality manifests itself spontaneously as “I-I.” Although it reveals itself as “I,” it is not the ego but the Perfect Being, the Absolute Self. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 30.)

What you call your self now is not the real Self which is neither born nor dies. (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, xvi.)

When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

[Turning the mind inward] is done by practice and dispassion and that succeeds only gradually. The mind, having been so long a cow accustomed to graze stealthily on others' estates, is not easily confined to her stall. However much her keeper tempts her with luscious grass and fine fodder, she refuses the first time; then she takes a bit; but her innate tendency to stray away asserts itself; and she slips away; on being repeatedly tempted by the owner, she accustoms herself to the stall; finally even if let loose she would not stray away. Similarly with the mind. If once it finds its inner happiness it will not wander outward. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 213.)

When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: “To whom do they arise?” It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, "To whom has this thought arisen?" The answer that would emerge would be "To me." Thereupon if one inquires "Who am I?,” the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 14.)

You must distinguish between the “I,” pure in itself, and the “I”-thought. The latter, being merely a thought, sees subject and object, sleeps, wakes up, eats and thinks, dies and is reborn. But the pure “I” is the pure Being, eternal existence, free from ignorance and thought-illusion. If you stay as the “I,” your being alone, without thought, the I-thought will disappear and the delusion will vanish for ever. In a cinema-show you can see pictures only in a very dim light or in darkness. But when all lights are switched on, all pictures disappear. So also in the flood-light of the Supreme Atman all objects disappear. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 46.)

The Real is ever-present, like the screen on which all the [movie] pictures move. While the pictures appear on it, it remains invisible. Stop the pictures, and the screen, which has all along been present, in fact the only object that has existed throughout, will become clear. All these universes, humans, objects, thoughts and events are merely pictures moving on the screen of Pure Consciousness, which alone is real. Shapes and phenomena pass away, but Consciousness remains ever. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 46.)

By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. Until it has become permanently natural and your habitual state, know that you have not realized the Self, only glimpsed it. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through inquiry. If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. As long as there are enemies within the fortress, they will continue to sally forth; if they are destroyed as they emerge, the fortress will fall into our hands. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 17.)

Master: How do you meditate?

Disciple: I begin to ask myself "Who am I?”', eliminate body as not “I,” the breath as not “I,” the mind as not “I” and I am not able to proceed further.

M: Well, that is so far as the intellect goes. Your process is only intellectual. Indeed, all the scriptures mention the process only to guide the seeker to know the Truth. The Truth cannot be directly pointed out. Hence this intellectual process. You see, the one who eliminates all the “not I” cannot eliminate the “I.” To say “I am not this” or “I am that” there must be the “I.” This “I” is only the ego or the “I”-thought. After the rising up of this “I”-thought all other thoughts arise. The “I”-thought is therefore the root-thought. If the root is pulled out all others are at the same time uprooted. Therefore seek the root “I,” question yourself "Who am I?”'; find out its source. Then all these will vanish and the pure Self will remain ever.

D: How to do it?

M: The “I” is always there - in deep sleep, in dream and in wakefulness. The one in sleep is the same as that who now speaks. There is always the feeling of “I.” Otherwise do you deny your existence? You do not. You say “I am.” Find out who is.

D: Even so, I do not understand. “I,” you say, is the wrong “I” now. How to eliminate this wrong “I”?

M: You need not eliminate the wrong “I.” How can “I” eliminate itself? All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it.

D: If “I” am always-here and now, why do I not feel so?

M: That is it. Who says it is not felt? Does the real “I” say it or the false “I”? Examine it. You will find it as the wrong “I.” The wrong “I” is the obstruction. It has to be removed in order that the true “I” may not be hidden. The feeling that I have not realised is the obstruction to realisation.

In fact it is already realised; there is nothing more to be realised. Otherwise, the realisation will be new; it has not existed so far; it must take place hereafter. What is born will also die. If realisation be not eternal it is not worth having. Therefore what we seek is not that which must happen afresh. It is only that which is eternal but not now known due to obstructions; it is that we seek. All that we need do is to remove the obstruction. That which is eternal is not known to be so because of ignorance. Ignorance is the obstruction. Get over this ignorance and all will be well.

The ignorance is identical with the “I”-thought. Find its source and it will vanish.

The “I”-thought is like a spirit which, although not palpable, rises up automatically with the body, flourishes and disappears with it. The body-consciousness is the wrong “I.” Give up this body-consciousness. It is done by seeking the source “I.” The body does not say “I am.” It is you who say, “I am the body!” Find out who this “I” is. Seeking its source it will vanish.

D: Then, will there be bliss?

M: Bliss is coeval with Being-Consciousness. All the arguments relating to the eternal Being of that Bliss apply to Bliss also. Your nature is Bliss. Ignorance is now hiding that Bliss. Remove the ignorance for Bliss to be freed.

D: Should we not find out the ultimate reality of the world, individual and God?

M: These are all conceptions of the “I.” They arise only after the advent of the “I”-thought. Did you think of them in your deep sleep? You existed in deep sleep and the same you are now speaking. If they be real should they not be in your sleep also? They are only dependent upon the “I”-thought. Again does the world tell you “I am the world”? Does the body say “I am body”? You say, "This is the world,” "this is body” and so on. So these are only your conceptions. Find out who you are and there will be an end of all your doubts. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

To stick to a position unassailed by thoughts is Abhyasa or Sadhana; you are watchful. But the condition grows intenser and deeper when your effort and all responsibilities are taken away from you; that is Aroodha, Siddhi state. (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, ix.)

[Enquire:] Who am I? What is this sense of individuality? ... Think about what is the substratum of oneself and the world.... We should dis­criminate thus, "I am not the body, I am the Self ... there is no need of sorrow." (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

Everything is within us. We are the Absolute Self. But it is not enough to merely say so. The feeling of being the Absolute should arise in us. (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

Advaita [the spiritual way of nondualism] ...is not something that should be [merely] told or taught by another person. It should be experienced through sadhana [practice]. What you see here in this ashram are those disciplines which will lead one to that under­standing through experience. The brahmacarins must do six to eight hours of meditation a day. They must do all of the external work in the ashram. They must cultivate humility and a service mentality and develop love for each other [etc.]. They sleep very little. (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

One who has known Brahman [Reality] will be fully alert even while sleeping. He knows that he never sleeps. He will be a witness to the sleeping state of the body. (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

Do not seek after what you yearn for. Seek the source of the yearning itself. (Adyashanti, IA, 1.)

Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects. Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes. As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind's compulsive contractions and identifications, and returns to its natural non-state of Presence.

The simple yet profound question, "Who Am I ?," can then reveal one's self not to be the endless tyranny of the ego-personality, but objectless Freedom of Being - ”Primordial Consciousness in which all states and all objects come and go as manifestations of the Eternal Unborn Self that YOU ARE. (Adyashanti, “True Meditation,” 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – What exists in truth – the One or the many?

All religions postulate the three fundamentals, the world, the soul, and God, but it is only 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, where the “I,” or ego, is dead, is the perfect State. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 2.)

From our perception of the world there follows acceptance of a unique First Principle possessing various powers. Pictures of name and form, the person who sees, the screen on which he sees, and the light by which he sees: he himself is all of these. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 1.)

What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world, the individual soul, and God are appearances in it, like silver in mother-of-pearl; these three appear at the same time, and disappear at the same time.

The Self is that where there is absolutely no “I”-thought. That is called “Silence.” The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is “I”; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 17.)

Undifferentiated consciousness is the only true reality. Whatever is different from it is personal and has nescience as its material cause and consciousness as its basis. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 12.)

Both the jackfruit and the seed of the jackfruit are Brahman. The jackfruit is capable of giving sweetness, but the seed is not. It must sprout, grow, become a tree and then bear jackfruit. Until then, the seed is not the same as the tree or the fruit. The tree is within the seed but it is in the dormant state. If properly cultivated and looked after, the seed can also become a tree. Likewise, we can also reach the state of Brahman if we try. (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

At present we are asleep but the goal is to reach a sleepless state. As we do sadhana, there comes a state where there is no sleep. At that time we will remain conscious even during normal sleep. The body will rest but the Mind [Pure Awareness] will remain awake. To reach that state we should advance a great deal in sadhana. (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of ignorance or nescience

The nescience imagined in [Brahman] and its effects, namely the individual, the Lord and the world, are unreal in all the three periods of time. Whatever is seen is the play of the intellect, which is the effect of that nescience. Brahman, while unmoved, illumines the intellect. This intellect projects its false imagination in the states of waking and dreaming and merges in the nescience in the state of deep sleep. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 14.)

Brahman is without attributes (and cannot therefore be cognized). Its general existence is known even in the state of nescience in the form of “I am,” while its particular aspects like consciousness, bliss, etc., are not then known, but are known only in the state of knowledge. … The attributeless Brahman … is known as existence and unknown as consciousness and bliss. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 13-4.)

Although Brahman is consciousness, the general (indistinct) aspect of that all-pervasive consciousness which is of the nature of effulgence, is not inimical to nescience, but helpful to it. … The general (possibility of) fire within the wood is not inimical to darkness, but helpful to it. But as the actualized (manifest) fire produced by rubbing the wood is inimical to darkness, so also the distinct consciousness produced in the mind as Brahman is [inimical to nescience]. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 13.)

Just as the elemental ether within the flame of a lamp is known to fill without any difference and without any limit both the inside and the outside of the flame, so also the knowledge-ether that is within the Self-light in the heart, fills without any difference and without any limit both the inside and the outside of that Self-light. This is what is referred to as Brahman. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 17.)

Just as [movie] pictures can be made visible by a reflected light, and only in darkness, so also the world pictures are perceptible only by the light of the Self reflected in the darkness of avidya (ignorance). The world can be seen neither in the utter darkness of ignorance, as in deep sleep, nor in the utter light of the Self, as in Self-realization or samadhi. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 57.)

Disciple: If the jiva is by nature identical with the Self, what is it that prevents the jiva from realizing its true nature?

Master: It is forgetfulness of the jiva's true nature; this is known as the power of veiling. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 38.)

D: If it is true that the jiva has forgotten itself, how does the “I”-experience arise for all?

M: The veil does not completely hide the jiva;* it only hides the Self-nature of “I” and projects the “I am the body” notion; but it does not hide the Self's existence which is “I,” and which is real and eternal. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 39.)

*Ignorance cannot hide the basic “I,” but it hides the specific truth that the jiva is the Supreme (Self).

The ignorance, arising from the Self, which is Brahman, is mere imagination (kalpita ) and has no beginning. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 13.)

It is due to illusion born of ignorance that men fail to recognise That which is always and for everybody the inherent Reality dwelling in its natural Heart-centre and to abide in it, and that instead they argue that it exists or does not exist, that it has form or has not form, or is non-dual or dual. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 34.)

It is not enough merely to speak of Advaita [nondualism]. We are immersed in an illusion and think that that which is is not, and that which is not is. We see the world through the eyes of ignorance. We must know the difference between what is eternal and what is changing. (Mata Amritanandamayi in WOPG, 321.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the mind

The threefold world does not announce, 'I am the threefold world.' Rather it's you, followers of the Way, who do so, this person here in front of my eyes who in marvellous fashion shines his torch on the ten thousand things and sizes up the world - it's he who assigns names to the threefold world. (Lin-Chi, ZTML, 54.)

That which rises in this body as “I” is the mind. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

[The] mind is but an aggregate of thoughts. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

Thoughts alone constitute the mind; and for all thoughts the base or source is the “I” thought. “I” is the mind. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 4.)

Thoughts alone make up the mind;
And of all thoughts the “I” thought is the root.
What is called mind is but the notion “I.”
(Ramana Maharshi, CWRM, Chapter 5.)

The mind is a bundle of thoughts. The thoughts arise because there is the thinker. The thinker is the ego. The ego, if sought, will automatically vanish. The ego and the mind are the same. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 347.)

God illumines the mind and shines within it. One cannot know God by means of the mind. One can but turn the mind inwards and merge it in God. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 3.)

No attempt should be made to destroy [the mind]. To think or wish is in itself a thought. If the thinker is sought, the thoughts will disappear. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

[Thoughts] will disappear because they are unreal. The idea of difficulty is itself an obstacle to realization. It must be overcome. To remain as the Self is not difficult. This thought of difficulty is the chief obstacle. A little practice in discovering the source of “I” will make you think differently. Absolute freedom from thoughts is the state conducive to such recognition of the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

What is called “mind” is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. In deep sleep there are no thoughts, and there is no world. In the states of waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is a world also. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself, likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind comes out of the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear. When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the soul (jiva). (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

In the books explaining the nature of the mind, it is thus stated: "The mind is formed by the concretion of the subtle portion of the food we eat; it grows with the passions such as attachment and aversion, desire and anger; being the aggregate of mind, intellect, memory and egoity, it receives the collective singular name ‘mind,’ the characteristics that it bears are thinking, determining, etc.; since it is an object of consciousness (the self), it is what is seen, inert; even though inert, it appears as if conscious because of association with consciousness (like a red-hot iron ball); it is limited, non-eternal, partite, and changing like wax, gold, candle, etc.; it is of the nature of all elements (of phenomenal existence); its locus is the heart-lotus even as the loci of the sense of sight, etc., are the eyes, etc.; it is the adjunct of the individual soul thinking of an object; it transforms itself into a mode, and along with the knowledge that is in the brain, it flows through the five sense-channels, gets joined to objects by the brain (that is associated with knowledge), and thus knows and experiences objects and gains satisfaction. That substance is the mind."

Even as one and the same person is called by different names according to the different functions he performs, so also one and the same mind is called by the different names: mind, intellect, memory, and egoity, on account of the difference in the modes -- and not because of any real difference. The mind itself is of the form of all, i.e. of soul, God and world; when it becomes of the form of the Self through knowledge there is release, which is of the nature of Brahman: this is the teaching. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 6.)

Since sattva-guna (the constituent of prakriti which makes for purity, intelligence, etc.)

is the nature of mind, and since the mind is pure and undefiled like ether, what is called mind is, in truth, of the nature of knowledge. When it stays in that natural (i.e. pure) state, it has not even the name “mind.” It is only the erroneous knowledge which mistakes one for another that is called mind. What was (originally) the pure sattva mind, of the nature of pure knowledge, forgets its knowledge-nature on account of nescience; gets transformed into the world under the influence of tamo-guna (i.e. the constituent of prakriti which makes for dullness, inertness, etc.); being under the influence of rajo-guna (i.e. the constituent of prakriti which makes for activity, passions, etc.), imagines "I am the body, etc.; the world is real," it acquires the consequent merit and demerit through attachment, aversion, etc., and, through the residual impressions (vasanas) thereof, attains birth and death. But the mind, which has got rid of its defilement (sin) through action without attachment performed in many past lives, listens to the teaching of scripture from a true guru, reflects on its meaning, and meditates in order to gain the natural state of the mental mode of the form of the Self, i.e. of the form “I am Brahman” which is the result of the continued contemplation of Brahman. Thus will be removed the mind's transformation into the world in the aspect of tamo-guna, and its roving therein in the aspect of rajo-guna. When this removal takes place the mind becomes subtle and unmoving. It is only by the mind that is impure and is under the influence of rajas and tamas that Reality (i.e. the Self) which is very subtle and unchanging cannot be experienced; just as a piece of fine silk cloth cannot be stitched with a heavy crowbar, or as the details of subtle objects cannot be distinguished by the light of a lamp flame that flickers in the wind. But in the pure mind that has been rendered subtle and unmoving by the meditation described above, the Self-bliss (i.e. Brahman) will become manifest. As without mind there cannot be experience, it is possible for the purified mind endowed with the extremely subtle mode (vritti) to experience the Self-bliss, by remaining in that form (i.e., in the form of Brahman). Then, that one's self is of the nature of Brahman will be clearly experienced. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 11.)

Jnana Yoga - Self-Enquiry – The impure mind cannot know God – See also The Vasanas

They say that the mind is two fold: there is the higher pure mind as well as the lower impure mind. The impure mind cannot know [Brahman] but the pure mind knows. It does not mean that the pure mind measures the immeasurable Self, the Brahman. It means that the Self makes itself felt in the pure mind so that even when you are in the midst of thoughts you feel the Presence, you realise the truth that you are one with the deeper Self and that the thought- waves are there only on the surface. (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, xii.)

[Brahman] cannot be apprehended by the impure mind but can be apprehended by the pure mind. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 3, Question 7.)

[Through Atma Vichara] the mind gets clear of impurities and become[s] pure enough to reflect the truth, the real Self. This is impossible when the ego is active and assertive. (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, xii.)

Pure consciousness, free from all thought … is pure, unbroken awareness of your Self, rather of Being – there is no mistaking it when pure. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 82.)

When the indefinable power of Brahman (1) separates itself from Brahman and, in union with the reflection of consciousness (chidabhasa), assumes various forms, it is called the impure mind. … The energy which is accompanied by the reflection of consciousness is called the impure mind and its state of separation from Brahman is its non-apprehension of Brahman. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 3, Question 9.)

(1) The indefinable power or energy of Brahman is Shakti.

When it becomes free from the reflection of consciousness (abhasa), through discrimination, it is called the pure mind. Its state of union with the Brahman is its apprehension of Brahman. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 3, Question 9.)

Jnana Yoga - Self-Enquiry – The nature of the Heart (Hridayam, Sphurana)

Evidently, self-consciousness is in relation to the individual himself and therefore has to be experienced in his being, with a centre in the body as the centre of experience. It resembles the dynamo of a machine, which gives rise to all sorts of electrical works. Not only [does] it [maintain] the life of the body and the activities of all its parts and organs, conscious and unconscious, but also the relation between the physical and the subtler planes, on which the individual functions. Also, like the dynamo, it vibrates and can be felt by the calm mind that pays attention to it. It is known to the yogis and sadhakas by the name of sphurana, which in samadhi scintillates with consciousness. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 82.)

Wise men say that there is a connection between the source of the various psychic nerves and the Self, that this is the knot of the heart, that the connection between the sentient and the insentient will exist until this is cut asunder with the aid of true knowledge, that just as the subtle and invisible force of electricity travels through wires and does many wonderful things, so the force of the Self also travels through the psychic nerves and, pervading the entire body, imparts sentience to the senses, and that if this knot is cut the Self will remain as it always is, without any attributes. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 12.)

What is called the heart is no other than Brahman. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 8.)

Call it by any name, God, Self, the Heart or the Seat of Consciousness, it is all the same. The point to be grasped is this, that HEART means the very Core of one's being, the Centre, without which there is nothing whatever. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 72.)

[The Heart] is the Centre of spiritual experience according to the testimony of Sages. The spiritual Heart-centre is quite different from the blood- propelling, muscular organ known by the same name. The spiritual Heart-centre is not an organ of the body. All that you can say of the Heart is that it is the very Core of your being, that [with] which you are really identical (as the word in Sanskrit literally means), whether you are awake, asleep or dreaming, whether you are engaged in work or immersed in Samadhi. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 73.)

The Heart … is different from the blood vessel, so called, and is not the Anahata Chakra in the middle of the chest, one of the six centres spoken of in books on Yoga. (Ramana Maharshi, KOL, 150.)

This heart is different from the physical heart; beating is the function of the latter. The former is the seat of spiritual experience. That is all that can be said of it. Truly speaking pure Consciousness is indivisible, it is without parts. It has no form and shape, no “within” and “without.” There is no “right” or “left” for it. Pure Consciousness, which is the Heart, includes all; and nothing is outside or apart from it. That is the ultimate Truth.

From this absolute standpoint, the Heart, Self or Consciousness can have no particular place assigned to it in the physical body. What is the reason? The body is itself a mere projection of the mind, and the mind is but a poor reflection of the radiant Heart. How can That in which everything is contained, be itself confined as a tiny part within the physical body which is but an infinitesimal, phenomenal manifestation of the one Reality?

But people do not understand this. They cannot help thinking in terms of physical body and the world. For instance, you say "I have come to this Asramam all the way from my country beyond the Himalayas''. But that is not the truth. Where [is there] a “coming” or “going” or any movement whatever, for the one, all-pervading Spirit which you really are? You are where you have always been. It is your body that moved or was conveyed from place to place till it reached this Asramam.

This is the simple truth, but to a person who considers himself a subject living in an objective world, it appears as something altogether visionary!

It is by coming down to the level of the ordinary understanding that a place is assigned to the Heart in the physical body. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 73-4.)

Heart is the seat of Jnanam as well as of the granthi (knot of ignorance). It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller than the smallest pin-point, which is always shut. When the mind drops down in Kevalya Nirvikalpa [Samadhi], it opens but shuts again after it. When sahaja [Nirvikalpa Samadhi] is attained it opens for good. The granthi is the knot which ties the insentient body to the consciousness which functions in it; that is why when it is loosened temporarily in Kevalya Nirvikalpa there is no body consciousness. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 96.)

God is said to reside in the Heart in the same way as you are said to reside in your body. Yet Heart is not a place. Some place must be named as the dwelling of God for those who take their bodies for themselves and who comprehend only relative knowledge. The fact is neither God nor we occupy any space. We are bodiless and spaceless in deep sleep, yet in the waking state we appear to be the opposite. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 97.)

Do we not reside in one place? Do you not say you are in your body? Similarly, God is said to reside in the Heart. The Heart is not one place. Some name is mentioned for the place of God because we think we are in the body. This kind of instruction is meant for those who can appreciate only relative knowledge. Being immanent everywhere, there is no place for God. Because we think we are in the body, we also believe that we are born. However, we do not think of the body, of God, or of a method of realization in our deep sleep. Yet in our waking state, we hold onto the body and think we are in it. Paramatman is that from which the body is born, in which it lives and unto which it revolves. We, however, think that we reside within the body, hence such instruction is given. The instruction means, “Look within.” The Heart is not physical. Meditation should not be on the right or the left. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

Although the self enjoys its experiences in the states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, residing respectively in the eyes, throat and heart, in reality, however, it never leaves its principal seat, the heart. In the heart-lotus which is of the nature of all, in other words in the mind-ether, the light of that self in the form “I” shines. As it shines thus in everybody, this very self is referred to as the witness (sakshi ) and the transcendent (turiya, literally "the fourth"). The “I”-less supreme Brahman which shines in all bodies as interior to the light in the form “I” is the Self-ether (or knowledge-ether): that alone is the absolute Reality. This is the super-transcendent (turiyatita ). Therefore, it is stated that what is called the heart is no other than Brahman. Moreover, for the reason that Brahman shines in the hearts of all souls as the Self, the name “Heart” is given to Brahman. (1) The meaning of the word hridayam, when split thus hrit-ayam, is in fact Brahman. The adequate evidence for the fact that Brahman, which shines as the Self, resides in the hearts of all, is that all people indicate themselves by pointing to the chest when saying “I.” (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 9.)

(1) Note in the original text: "In the hearts of all individual souls that which shines is Brahman and hence is called the Heart" -- Brahma-gita.

You cannot know it with your mind. You cannot realize it by imagination, when I tell you here is the centre (pointing to the right side of the chest). (Ramana Maharshi, KOL, 150.)

You seek true Consciousness. Where can you find it? Can you attain it outside yourself? You have to find it internally. Therefore you are directed inward. The Heart is the seat of Consciousness or Consciousness itself.

2. That from which all thoughts of embodied beings issue forth is called the Heart. All description[s] of it are only mental concepts.

3. The “I”-thought is said to be the root of all thoughts. In brief that from which the “I”-thought springs forth is the Heart.

4. If the Heart be located in anahata chakra, how does the practice of yoga begin in muladhara?

5. This heart is different from the blood-circulating organ. “Hridayam” stands for hrit, “the centre which sucks in everything,” and ayam,”this,” and it thus stands for the Self.

6. The location of this Heart is on the right side of the chest, not at all on the left. The light (of awareness) flows from the Heart through sushumna to sahasrara.

7. From there, it flows to the entire body, and then all experiences of the world arise. Viewing them as different from the Light, one gets caught up in samsara. (Ramana Maharshi, SRG, 25 and 27.)

The sacred texts describing it say: Between the two nipples, below the chest and above the abdomen, there are six organs of different colours*. One of them resembling the bud of a water lily and situated two digits to the right is the heart. It is inverted and within it is a tiny orifice which is the seat of dense darkness (ignorance) full of desires. All the psychic nerves (nadis) depend upon it. It is the abode of the vital forces, the mind and the light (of consciousness). (See Appendix to Reality in Forty Verses 18 -19).

But, although it is described thus, the meaning of the word heart (hridayam) is the Self (atman). As it is denoted by the terms existence, consciousness, bliss, eternal and plenum (sat, chit, anandam, nityam, purnam) it has no differences such as exterior and interior or up and down. That tranquil state in which all thoughts come to an end is called the state of the Self. When it is realized as it is, there is no scope for discussions about its location inside the body or outside. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 9.)

Note in original text: * These are not the same as the Chakras.

Jnana Yoga - Self-Enquiry – The mind’s origin is in the Heart

That which rises as “I” in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought “I” rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind's origin. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

If one inquires as to where in the body the thought “I” rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind's origin. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

It is true that the throat is stated to be the location of the mind, the face or the heart of the intellect, the navel of the memory, and the heart or sarvanga of the egoity; though differently stated thus yet, for the aggregate of these, that is the mind or internal organ, the location is the heart alone. This is conclusively declared in the Scriptures. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 7.)

I ask you to observe where the “I” arises in your body, but it is not really quite correct to say that the “I” arises from and merges in the chest at the right side. The Heart is another name for Reality and this is neither inside nor outside the body. There can be no in or out for it, since it alone is. I do not mean by “heart” any physiological organ or any plexus or nerves or anything like that; but so long as a man identifies himself with the body or thinks he is in the body, he is advised to see where in the body the “I” - thought arises and merges again. It must be the heart at the right side of the chest since every man of whatever race and religion and in whatever language he may be speaking, points to the right side of the chest to indicate himself when he says “I.” This is so all over the world, so that must be the place. And by keenly watching the emergence of the “I” - thought on waking and its subsidence on going to sleep, one can see that it is in the heart on the right side. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Chapter 1.)

As instruments for knowing the objects the sense organs are outside, and so they are called outer senses; and the mind is called the inner sense because it is inside. But the distinction between inner and outer is only with reference to the body; in truth, there is neither inner or outer. The mind's nature is to remain pure like ether. What is referred to as the heart or the mind is the collocation of the elements (of phenomenal existence) that appear as inner and outer. So there is no doubt that all phenomena consisting of names and forms are of the nature of mind alone. All that appear outside are in reality inside and not outside; it is in order to teach this that in the Vedas also all have been described as of the nature of the heart. What is called the heart is no other than Brahman. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 8.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the ego-self, ahamkara, or jiva – See also The Ego

There are two selves, the apparent self and the real Self. Of these it is the real Self, and he alone, who must be felt as truly existing. To the man who has felt him as truly existing he reveals his innermost nature. … These are the highest truths taught in the scriptures. (UPAN, 24.)

Whatsoever is originated will be dissolved again. All worry about the self is vain; the ego is like a mirage, and all the tribulations that touch it will pass away. They will vanish like a nightmare when the sleeper awakes. (The Buddha in GB, 41.)

When a great bodhisattva delves deeply into perfect wisdom, he realizes that the four elements and five shades are devoid of a personal self. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 38.)

He who experiences is conscious of himself. Without an experiencer, there can be no self-consciousness. (Shankara in CJD, 68.)

The semblance of an individual self ... is due to a false identification of the Atman with the intellect and the other coverings. The Atman, by its very nature, is essentially distinct and separate from them. The identification of the Atman with the intellect, etc., is caused by ignorance.

This false identification can be dispelled only by perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge, according to the revealed scriptures, is the realization of the Atman as one with Brahman. (Shankara in CJD, 65.)

The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 387.)

As long as God keeps the awareness of 'I' in us, so long do sense-objects exist; and we cannot very well speak of the world as a dream. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 243.)

Maya is nothing but the egotism of the embodied soul. This egotism has covered everything like a veil. 'All troubles come to an end when the ego dies.' ... This maya, that is to say, the ego, is like a cloud. The sun cannot be seen on account of a thin patch of cloud; when that disappears one sees the sun. If by the grace of the guru one's ego vanishes, then one sees God. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 168-9.)

Ego is non-existent, otherwise you would be two instead of one – you the ego and you the Self. You are a single, indivisible whole. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 54.)

The ego or separate soul is a concept. God, the world, the mind, desires, action, sorrow and all other things are all concepts. (Ramana Maharshi, HRG, 15.)

The ego-self does not exist at all. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 54.)

The ego and the mind are the same. The ego is the root-thought from which all other thoughts arise. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 347.)

Between spirit and matter, the self and the body, there is born something which is called the Ahamkara , the ego-self, Jiva , the living being. Now what you call your self is this ego-self which is different from the ever-conscious Self and from unconscious matter, but which at the same time partakes of the character of both spirit and matter, Chetana and Jada . (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, xvi-xvii.)

It comes into being equipped with a form, and as long as it retains a form it endures. Having a form, it feeds and grows big. But if you investigate it, this evil spirit, which has no form of its own, relinquishes its grip on form and takes to flight. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 25.)

This inert body does not say “I.” Reality-Consciousness does not emerge. Between the two, and limited to the measure of the body, something emerges as “I.” It is this that is known as Chit-Jada-granthi (the knot between the Conscious and the inert), and also as bondage, soul, subtle-body, ego, samsara , mind, and so forth. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 24.)

From the functional point of view the form, activity or whatever else you may call it (it is immaterial, since it is evanescent), the ego has one and only one characteristic. The ego functions as the knot between the Self which is the pure Consciousness and the physical body which is inert and insentient. The ego is therefore called the Chit-jada granthi. In your investigation into the Source of Aham-vritti, you take the essential Chit aspect of the ego; and for this reason the enquiry must lead to the realization of the pure Consciousness of the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 85.)

For Him who is immersed in the bliss of the Self, arising from the extinction of the ego, what remains to be accomplished? He is not aware of anything (as) other than the Self. Who can apprehend his State? (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 31.)

Egoism in the mind ... attaches itself to its preferences, its habits, its past or present formations of thought and view and will because it regards them as itself or its own, weaves around them the delicate threads of "I-ness" and "my-ness" and lives in them like a spider in its web. It hates to be disturbed, as a spider hates attack on its web, and feels foreign and unhappy if transplanted to fresh viewpoints and formations as a spider feels foreign in another web than its own. This attachment must be entirely excised from the mind. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 315.)

Sensations are ... identified with separateness. ... The constant desire to be more or less gives rise to the feeling of individuality and separateness. If we can remain with this fact without condemning or justifying it, we will discover that sensations do not make up our whole life. Then the mind as memory, which is sensation, becomes calm, no longer torn by its own conflicts; and only then, when the mind is silent and tranquil, is there the possibility of living without the "me" and the "mine." Without this love, collective action is merely compulsion, breeding antagonism and fear, from which arise private and social conflicts. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 76.)

Conflict exists when desire assumes the form of the experiencer and pursues that which is to be experienced; for that which is to be experienced is also put together by desire. (Krishnamurti in COL, 3, 36.)

Positive and negative continuance are similar. The gathering centre is desire, the desire for the more or the less. This centre is the self, placed at different levels according to one's conditioning. Any activity of this centre only brings about the further continuity of itself. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 108.)

Desire may break itself up into many opposing and conflicting urges, but it is still desire. These many urges go to make up the 'I,' with its memories, anxieties, fears, and so on, and the entire activity of this 'I' is within the field of desire; it has no other field of activity. ... The demand for the cessation of the 'I' becomes the new activity of the 'I'; but it is not new, it is merely another form of desire. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 117.)

Your mental body wishes to think itself proudly separate, to think much of itself and little of others. Even when you have turned it away from worldly things, it still tries to calculate for self, to make you think of your own progress, instead of thinking of the Master's work and of helping others. When you meditate, it will try to make you think of the many different things which it wants instead of the one thing which you want. You are not this mind, but it is yours to use; so here again discrimination is necessary. You must watch unceasingly, or you will fail. (J. Krishnamurti in AFM, 24-5.)

The ego or separate soul is a concept. God, the world, the mind, desires, action, sorrow and all other things are all concepts. (Da Free John, HRG, 15.)

I was always looking and listening for that structure in consciousness ... which is chronically prior to ordinary awareness. ... Eventually I began to recognize a structure in consciousness. ... I saw that my entire adventure, the whole desperate cycle of awareness and its decrease, of truly conscious being and its gradual covering in the whole mechanics of living, seeking, dying and suffering, was produced out of the image or mentality that appears hidden in the ancient myth of Narcissus. The more I contemplated him the more profoundly I understood him. I witnessed in awe the primitive control that this self-concept and logic performed in all of my behavior and experience. I began to see that same logic operative in all other men and every living thing, even the very life of the cells and the energies that surround every living entity or process. It was the logic of separation itself, of enclosure and immunity. It manifested as fear and identity, memory and experience. It informed every function of being, every event. It created every mystery. It was the structure of every imbecile link in the history of our suffering. (Da Free John, KOL, 25-6.)

The egoic self is a trance state induced by ignorance of our true nature, fear of the unknown, and desire for what we feel we lack. In order to be truly awake and free, we must wake ourselves up from this trance of ignorance, fear, and desire by cutting to the root of the egoic fiction. (Adyashanti, http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the I-thought or Aham-vritti

The mind is merely thoughts. Of all thoughts, the thought “I” is the root. (Therefore) the mind is only the thought “I.” (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 24.)

Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the “I” thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this, that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

The ego is described as having three bodies, the gross, the subtle and the casual, but that is only for the purposes of analytical exposition. If the method of enquiry were to depend on the ego's form, you may take it that any enquiry would become altogether impossible, because the forms the ego may assume are legion. Therefore, for purposes of Jnana-vichara, you have to proceed on the basis that the ego has but one form, namely that of Aham-vritti. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 83.)

To say “I am not this” or “I am that” there must be the “I.” This “I” is only the ego or the “I”-thought. After the rising up of this “I”-thought all other thoughts arise. The “I”-thought is therefore the root-thought. If the root is pulled out all others are at the same time uprooted. Therefore seek the root “I,” question yourself "Who am I?”; find out its source. Then all these will vanish and the pure Self will remain ever. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

Thoughts alone constitute the mind; and for all thoughts the base or source is the “I” thought. “I” is the mind. If we go inward questing for the source of the “I,” the “I” topples down. This is the jnana enquiry. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 4.)

That which rises as “I” in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought “I” rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind's origin. Even if one thinks constantly “I” “I,” one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the “I” thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13-4.)

The word “Aham “ is itself very suggestive. The two letters of the word, namely (A) and (HA), are the first and the last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The suggestion intended to be conveyed by the word is that it comprises all. How? Because Aham signifies existence itself.

Although the concept of “I”-ness or “I-am”-ness is by usage known as Aham-vritti , it is not really a vritti like the other vrittis of the mind. Because unlike the other vrittis which have no essential inter-relation, the Aham-vritti is equally and essentially related to each and every vritti of the mind. Without the Aham-vritti there can be no other vritti, but the Aham-vritti can subsist by itself without depending on any other vritti of the mind. The Aham-vritti is therefore fundamentally different from other vrittis.

(Sri Ramana Maharshi in MG, 84.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – “I am the body” is the primary delusion

Who thus perceives
With the eye of wisdom (1)
In what manner the Field (2)
Is distinct from its Knower, (3)
How men are made free from the toils of Prakriti: (4)
His aim is accomplished,
He enters the Highest.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 105.)

(1) The Third Eye.
(2) Interimly the body; ultimately the Mother or Maya.
(3) The Self, Atman, or soul. The Self of course is unchanging, indestructible, modificationless.
(4) How men are released from the Mother's bondage.

Whoever realizes that the six senses aren't real, that the five aggregates are fictions, that no such things can be located anywhere in the body understands the language of buddhas. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 24.)

Your real body has no sensation, no hunger or thirst, no love or attachment, no pleasure or pain, no good or bad, no shortness or length, no weakness or strength. Actually, there's nothing here. It's only because you cling to this material body that things like hunger and thirst, warmth and cold and sickness appear. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 19-20.)

What seers call the gross body ... is known to be the root of that delusion of "I' and "mine". (Shankara in CJD, 43.)

The fool thinks, "I am the body." The intelligent man thinks, "I am the individual soul united with the body." But the wise man, in the greatness of his knowledge and spiritual discrimination, sees the Atman as reality and thinks, "I am Brahman." (Shankara in CJD, 58.)

As long as a man remains conscious of the body, he is conscious of duality. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 269.)

As long as one is conscious of the body, one is also conscious of objects. Form, taste, smell, sound and touch -- these are the objects. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 181.)

It is extremely difficult to get rid of the consciousness of objects and one cannot realize 'I am He' as long as one is aware of objects. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 181.)

As long as a man associates himself with upadhis, (1) so long he sees the manifold…; but on attaining Perfect Knowledge, he sees only one Consciousness everywhere. The same Perfect Knowledge, again, makes him realize that the one Consciousness has become the universe and its living beings and the twenty-four cosmic principles. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 319.)

(1) The coverings, sheaths, or bodies; lit., the containers.

The concept "I-am-the-body" is the primal ignorance. It is known as the firm knot of the heart. It gives rise to the concepts of existence and non-existence. If there is no trace of it at all everything will be found to be the Reality of the Supreme Absolute Being. (Ramana Maharshi, HRG, 15.)

The body-consciousness is the wrong “I.” Give up this body-consciousness. It is done by seeking the source “I.” … Find out who this “I” is. Seeking its source it will vanish. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

The body does not say “I am.” It is you who says, “I am the body.” Find out who this “I” is. Seeking its source, it will vanish. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

So long as there is the idea that the body is the Self one cannot be a realizer of truth whoever he might be. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 20.)

The thought “I am the body” is the string
On which are threaded divers thoughts like beads. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 27.)

Apart from the statement in the Veda that wherever there is body there is misery, this is also the direct experience of all people; therefore, one should enquire into one's true nature which is ever bodiless, and one should remain as such. [Enquiry] is the means to gaining that state [of eternal bliss]. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 1.)

The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus ), I am not; the five cognitive sense-organs, viz., , the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz., , sound, touch, color, taste, and odor, I am not; the five cognitive snese organs, viz., , the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and no functioning, I am not. …

After negating all of the above-mentioned as “not this, not this,” that Awareness which alone remains – that I am. … The nature of Awareness [the Self] is existence-consciousness-bliss. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 11-2.)

Every man admits his own existence and does not need a mirror to prove it to him. Existence is awareness, which is the negation of ignorance. Then why does man suffer? Because he imagines himself other than what he in reality is, e.g., the body, this, that, and the other – “I am  Gopal, son of Parashuram, father of Natesan,” etc. In reality he is the intelligent “I-am” alone, stripped of qualities and superimpositions, of names and forms. … He must hold onto that existence [that he sees in dreamless sleep], that lone being – Kaivalya – even when he is in the waking state. The man of wisdom simply is. “I-Am-That-I-Am” sums up the whole Truth. The method is summed up by “Be still and know that I am God.” What does stillness mean? Cessation of thinking, which is the universe of forms, colours, qualities, time, space, all concepts and percepts whatever. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 55.)

It is on the gross body that the other bodies subsist. In the false belief of the form "I am the body" are included all the three bodies consisting of the five sheaths. And destruction of the false belief of selfhood in the gross body is itself the destruction of the false belief of selfhood in the other bodies. So inquiry is the means to removal of the false belief of selfhood in all the three bodies. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 5.)

To those who have not realized the Self, as well as to those who have, the word “I” refers to the body, but with this difference, that for those who have not realized, the “I” is confined to the body whereas for those who have realized the Self within the body the “I” shines as the limitless Self. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 17.)

The reality of yourself cannot be questioned. The Self is the primal reality. The ordinary person unconsciously takes reality to be their true inner reality plus everything which has come into their consciousness as pertaining to themselves – [the] body, etc. This they have to unlearn. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

Actions such as “going” and “coming” belong only to the body. And so, when one says "I went, I came,” it amounts to saying that the body is "I.” But, can the body be said to be the consciousness "I," since the body was not before it was born, is made up of the five elements, is non-existent in the state of deep sleep, and becomes a corpse when dead? Can this body which is inert like a log of wood be said to shine as "I" "I"? Therefore, the "I" consciousness which at first arises in respect of the body is referred to variously as self-conceit (tarbodham), egoity (ahankara), nescience (avidya), maya, impurity (mala), and individual soul (jiva). Can we remain without enquiring into this? Is it not for our redemption through enquiry that all the scriptures declare that the destruction of "self-conceit" is release (mukti)? Therefore, making the corpse-body remain as a corpse, and not even uttering the word "I," one should enquire keenly thus: "Now, what is it that rises as “I”?" Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of the form “I” “I.” That is, there would shine of its own accord the pure consciousness which is unlimited and one, the limited and the many thoughts having disappeared. If one remains quiescent without abandoning that (experience), the egoity, the individual sense, of the form “I am the body” will be totally destroyed, and at the end the final thought, viz., . the “I”-form, also will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor. The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is release. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 3.)

The nexus of the body and the Self is called the granthi. (1) It is only by this connection with the Self that one is aware of the body.

This body is insentient. The Self is pure awareness. The connection between the two is deduced through the intellect.

Oh child, enveloped by the diffused light of pure awareness the body functions. Owing to non-apprehension (of the world) in sleep, (swoon) and so on, the location of the Self has to be inferred.

Even as subtle forces like the electric current pass through visible wires, the light of awareness flows through a nadi (2) in the body.

When the effulgent light of awareness shines in atma nadi (3) alone, nothing else shines except the Self.

Anything that appears before (such a jnani) has no separate existence. He knows the Self clearly as the ignorant one his body.

He for whom the atman (4) alone shines, within, without and everywhere, as (clearly as) objects to the ignorant, is called one who has cut the nexus.

The nexus is twofold; one the bond of the nadis, dwells in one nadi alone, the bond (between awareness and the body) is sundered and the light abides in the Self.

As a heated iron-ball appears as a ball of fire, this (body) heated in the fire of Self-enquiry shines as the Self.

The old vasanas (5) pertaining to the body, (mind and so on) are destroyed. Being free from body-consciousness one never has the sense of doership.

Since such a one has no sense of doership, his karma (6), it is said, is completely destroyed. As nothing but the Self exists, no doubts arise for him.

Once the knot is cut, one is never bound again. This is considered the state of power supreme and peace supreme. (Sri Ramana Maharshi in SRG, 49-55.)

(1) Knot.
(2) Nerve.
(3) According to Da Free John, "the “Amrita Nadi” is the “Form of Reality,” founded in the heart and terminated in the aperture of the head. It is the cycle or form of unqualified enjoyment that contains and is the source of all things, all bodies, realms, experiences, states, and levels of being. Its basic nature is unqualified enjoyment or bliss. It is all-powerful Existence or unqualified Presence. It is your very nature at this moment, and it is experienced as such when true understanding arises and becomes the radical premise of conscious life." (Da Free John, KOL, 157.)
(4) The Child of God, soul, or Self.
(5) Tendencies.
(6) The residue of acts in which he or she is implicated as a result of the law of cause and effect.

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Turn the mind inward

”Whence does this “I” arise?” Seek for it within; it then vanishes. This is the pursuit of Wisdom. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 24.)

God illumines the mind and shines within it. One cannot know God by means of the mind. One can but turn the mind inwards and merge it in God. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 3.)

The Divine gives light to the mind and shines within it. Except by turning the mind inward and fixing it in the Divine, there is no other way to know Him through the mind. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 22.)

[Turning the mind inward] is done by practice and dispassion and that succeeds only gradually. The mind, having been so long a cow accustomed to graze stealthily on others' estates, is not easily confined to her stall. However much her keeper tempts her with luscious grass and fine fodder, she refuses the first time; then she takes a bit; but her innate tendency to stray away asserts itself; and she slips away; on being repeatedly tempted by the owner, she accustoms herself to the stall; finally even if let loose she would not stray away. Similarly with the mind. If once it finds its inner happiness it will not wander outward. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 213.)

By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. Until it has become permanently natural and your habitual state, know that you have not realized the Self, only glimpsed it. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and what concerns other people. However bad other people may be, one should bear no hatred for them. Both desire and hatred should be eschewed. All that one gives to others one gives to one's self. If this truth is understood who will not give to others? When one's self arises, all arises; when one's self becomes quiescent, all becomes quiescent. To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent there will result good. If the mind is rendered quiescent, one may live anywhere. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 16-7.)

[The quest] has to begin with the mind turned inward to oppose the rushing thoughts and to understand the location of the “I.” When the mind eventually sinks in the Heart, undisturbed bliss is overwhelmingly felt. There is then feeling which is not divorced from pure awareness, i.e., head and heart become one and the same. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 80.)

When we awaken to God-conscious­ness, we will realise the world to be a dream. But now we tend to look outwards [with desire]. The Ancient Sages, on the other hand, looked inwards and became omniscient. (Mata Amritanandamayi, WOPG, 321.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The “I-thought” is the primary clue

D. How can any enquiry initiated by the ego reveal its own unreality?

M. The ego’s phenomenal existence is transcended when you dive into the Source wherefrom arises the Aham vritti.

D. But is not the Aham-vritti only one of the three forms in which the ego manifests itself? Yoga Vasishta and other ancient texts describe the ego as having a threefold form.

M. It is so. The ego is described as having three bodies, the gross, the subtle and the casual, but that is only for the purposes of analytical exposition. If the method of enquiry were to depend on the ego’s form, you may take it that any enquiry would become altogether impossible, because the forms the ego may assume are legion. Therefore, for purposes of Jnana-vichara, you have to proceed on the basis that the ego has but one form, namely that of Aham-vritti.

D. But it may prove inadequate for realizing Jnana.

M. Self-enquiry by following the clue of Aham-vritti is just like the dog tracing its master by his scent. The master may be at some distant,unknown place, but that does not at all stand in the way of the dog tracing him. The master’s scent is an infallible clue for the animal, and nothing else, such as the dress he wears, or his build and stature etc., counts. To that scent the dog holds on undistractedly while searching for him, and finally it succeeds in tracing him.

Likewise in your quest for the Self, the one infallible clue is the Aham-vritti, the ‘I-am’-ness which is the primary datum of your experience. No other clue can lead you direct to Self-realization.

D. The question still remains why the quest for the Source of Aham-vritti, as distinguished from other vrittis, should be considered the direct means to Self-realization.

M. The word ‘Aham’ is itself very suggestive. The two letters of the word, namely (A) and (HA), are the first and the last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The suggestion intended to be conveyed by the word is that it comprises all. How? Because Aham signifies existence itself.

Although the concept of ‘I’-ness or ‘I-am’-ness is by usage known as Aham-vritti, it is not really a vritti like the other vrittis of the mind. Because unlike the other vrittis which have no essential interrelation, the Aham-vritti is equally and essentially related to each and every vritti of the mind. Without the Aham-vritti there can be no other vritti, but the Aham-vritti can subsist by itself without depending on any other vritti of the mind. The Aham-vritti is therefore fundamentally different from other vrittis.

So then, the search for the Source of the Aham-vritti is not merely the search for the basis of one of the forms of the ego but for the very Source itself from which arises the ‘I-am’-ness. In other words, the quest for and the realization of the Source of the ego in the form of Aham-vritti necessarily implies the transcendence of the ego in every one of its possible forms.

D. Conceding that the Aham-vritti essentially comprises all the forms of the ego, why should that vritti alone be chosen as the means for Self-enquiry?

M. Because it is the one irreducible datum of your experience; because seeking its Source is the only practicable course you can adopt to realize the Self. The ego is said to have a casual body, but how can you make it the subject of your investigation? When the ego adopts that form, you are immersed in the darkness of sleep.

D. But is not the ego in its subtle and casual forms too intangible to be tackled through the enquiry into the Source of Aham-vritti conducted while the mind is awake?

M. No. The enquiry into the Source of Aham-vritti touches the very existence of the ego. Therefore the subtlety of the ego’s form is not a material consideration.

D. While the one aim is to realize the unconditioned, pure Being of the Self, which is in no way dependent on the ego, how can enquiry pertaining to the ego in the form of Aham-vritti be of any use?

M. From the functional point of view the form, activity or whatever else you may call it (it is immaterial, since it is evanescent), the ego has one and only one characteristic. The ego functions as the knot between the Self which is the pure Consciousness and the physical body which is inert and insentient.

The ego is therefore called the Chit-jada granthi. In your investigation into the Source of Aham-vritti, you take the essential Chit aspect of the ego; and for this reason the enquiry must lead to the realization of the pure Consciousness of the Self. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, MG, 83-5.)

Whether the nominative case, which is the first case, appears or not, the sentences in which the other cases appear have as their basis the first case; similarly, all the thoughts that appear in the heart have as their basis the egoity which is the first mental mode “I,” the cognition of the form “I am the body”; thus, it is the rise of egoity that is the cause and source of the rise of all other thoughts; therefore, if the self-conceit of the form of egoity which is the root of the illusory tree of samsara (bondage consisting of transmigration) is destroyed, all other thoughts will perish completely like an uprooted tree. Whatever thoughts arise as obstacles to one’s sadhana (spiritual discipline), the mind should not be allowed to go in their direction, but should be made to rest in one’s self which is the Atman; one should remain as witness to whatever happens, adopting the attitude “Let whatever strange things happen, happen; let us see!” This should be one's practice. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 4.)

[The Aham-vritti ] is the one irreducible datum of your experience; … seeking its Source is the only practicable course you can adopt to realize the Self. The ego is said to have a casual body, but how can you make it the subject of your investigation? When the ego adopts that form, you are immersed in the darkness of sleep. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 85.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Be still; be silent – See also The Mind - To know the Self, still the mind

Patiently, little by little, a man must free himself from all mental distractions, with the aid of the intelligent will. He must fix his mind upon the Atman, and never think of anything else. No matter where the restless mind wanders, it must be drawn back and made to submit to the Atman only. (Sri Krishna, BG,. 66.)

The whole of Vedanta is contained in the two Biblical statements “I am that I am” and “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 8.)

“I-Am-That-I-Am” sums up the whole Truth. The method is summed up by “Be still and know that I am God.” What does stillness mean? Cessation of thinking, which is the universe of forms, colours, qualities, time, space, all concepts and percepts whatever. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 55.)

Stop the thoughts, which are your enemy…, and the mind will remain as your pure being, the immortal “I.” (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 75.)

The thought “who am I?” will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 14.)

Remaining quiet is what is called wisdom-insight. To remain quiet is to resolve the mind in the Self. Telepathy, knowing past, present and future happenings and clairvoyance do not constitute wisdom-insight. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 21.)

When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition and all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear. (Ramana Maharshi in WHO, 12.)

The Self is that where there is absolutely no “I”-thought. That is called “Silence.” (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 17.)

Everybody, every book says “Be quiet or still.” But it is not easy. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if you find one who has at once achieved the mouna (silence) or supreme state indicated, you may take it that the effort necessary has already been completed in a previous life. Such effortless and choiceless awareness is reached only after deliberate meditation. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 8.)

As long as there is an actor, there will be division. The fusion takes place only when the mind is utterly still without trying to be still. There is this stillness, not when the thinker comes to an end, but only when thought itself has come to an end. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 67.)

Be still and awaken to the realization of who you are. (Adyashanti, IA, xiii.)

Your essence is discovered in silence. Not so much by you trying to be silent, but realizing in the silence that you are the silence itself. (Adyashanti, AWM.)

. By ceasing to follow the mind's tendency to always want “more,” “different,” or “better,” one encounters the opportunity to be still. In being still, a perspective is revealed which is free from all ignorance and bondage to suffering. From that perspective, eternal Self is realized. The eternal Self, the Seer, is recognized to be one's true nature, one's very own Self. (Adyashanti, “Let Everything End,” 1997, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Stop all delays, all seeking and all striving. Put down your concepts, ideas and beliefs. For one instant be still and directly encounter the silent unknown core of your being. In that instant Freedom will embrace you and reveal the Awakening that you are. (Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://www.globalserve.net/~sarlo/RatingsA.htm, 16 May 2004.)

Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects. Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes. As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind's compulsive contractions and identifications, and returns to its natural non-state of Presence.

The simple yet profound question, "Who Am I ?," can then reveal one's self not to be the endless tyranny of the ego-personality, but objectless Freedom of Being - Primordial Consciousness in which all states and all objects come and go as manifestations of the Eternal Unborn Self that YOU ARE. (Adyashanti, “True Meditation,” 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Our deepest nature is silence: That space which is beyond the known, understanding, and imagination. True silence is not a dead or static state; it is a state of unity, creative response, and deep love. Salvation lies within the heart of silence and nowhere else. Be still and know. (Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://yogaforlife.ca/documents/adyaflyerfeb.pdf, 12 March 2006.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The danger of Manaolaya and Yoga Nidra

D: When I am engaged in enquiry as to the source from which the ‘I’ springs, I arrive at a stage of stillness of mind beyond which I find myself unable to proceed further. I have no thought of any kind and there is an emptiness. a blankness. A mild light pervades and I feel that it is myself bodiless. I have neither cognition nor vision of body and form. The experience lasts nearly half an hour and is pleasing. Would I be correct in concluding that all that was necessary to secure eternal happiness (i.e. freedom or salvation or whatever one calls it) was to continue the practice till this experience could be maintained for hours, days and months together?

B: This does not mean salvation; such a condition is termed manolaya or temporary stillness of thought. Manolaya means concentration, temporarily arresting the movement of thoughts; as soon as this concentration ceases, thoughts, old and new, rush in as usual and even though this temporary lulling of mind should last a thousand years it will never lead to total destruction of thought, which is what is called salvation or liberation from birth and death. The practicer must therefore be ever on the alert and enquire within as to who has this experience, who realises its pleasantness. Failing this enquiry he will go into a long trance or deep sleep (Yoga nidra). Due to the absence of a proper guide at this stage of spiritual practice many have been deluded and fallen a prey to a false sense of salvation and only a few have, either by the merit of good acts in their previous births, or by extreme grace, been enabled to reach the goal safely.

Sadhakas (seekers) rarely understand the difference between this temporary stilling of the mind (manolaya) and permanent destruction of thoughts (manonasa). In manolaya there is temporary subsidence of thought-waves, and, though this temporary period may even last for a thousand years, thoughts, which are thus temporarily stilled, rise up as soon as the manolaya ceases. One must therefore, watch one’s spiritual progress carefully. One must not allow oneself to be overtaken by such spells of stillness of thought: the moment one experiences this, one must revive consciousness and enquire within as to who it is who experiences this stillness. While not allowing any thoughts to intrude, he must not, at the same time, be overtaken by this deep sleep (Yoga nidra) or Self-hypnotism. Though this is a sign of progress towards the goal, yet it is also the point where the divergence between the road to salvation and Yoga nidra takes place.

The easy way, the direct way, the shortest cut to salvation is the Enquiry method. By such enquiry, you will drive the thought force deeper till it reaches its source and merges therein. It is then that you will have the response from within and find that you rest there, destroying all thoughts, once and for all.

This temporary stilling of thought comes automatically in the usual course of one’s practice and it is a clear sign of one’s progress but the danger of it lies in mistaking it for the final goal of spiritual practice and being thus deceived. It is exactly here that a spiritual guide is necessary and he saves a lot of the spiritual aspirant’s time and energy which would otherwise be fruitlessly wasted. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, CFHT, n.p.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Knowledge dawns in the Heart

The devoted dwell with Him,
They know Him always
There in the heart,
Where action is not.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 59.)

Even if one thinks constantly “I-I,” one will be led to that place [i.e., the mind’s origin in the Heart]. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

Enquire into the nature of that consciousness which knows itself as “I” and it will inevitably lead you to its source, the Heart, where you will unmistakably perceive the distinction between the insentient body and the mind. The latter will then appear in its utter purity as the ever-present, self-supporting intelligence, which creates, pervades its creation, as well as remains beyond it, unaffected and uncontaminated. Also finding the Heart will be experienced as being the Heart. When this experience becomes permanent through constant practice, the much-desired Self-Realisation or Mukti is said at long last to have been achieved – the “I-am-the-body” illusion has broken for ever. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 95-6.)

Just as a man would dive in order to get something that had fallen into the water, so one should dive into oneself, with a keen one-pointed mind, controlling speech and breath, and find the place whence the “I” originates. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 28.)

[The quest] has to begin with the mind turned inward to oppose the rushing thoughts and to understand the location of the “I.” When the mind eventually sinks in the Heart, undisturbed bliss is overwhelmingly felt. There is then feeling which is not divorced from pure awareness, i.e., head and heart become one and the same. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 80.)

In the centre of the Heart-Cave there shines alone the one Brahman as the “I-I,” the Atman. Reach the Heart by diving deep in quest of the Self, or by controlling the mind with the breath, and stay established in the Atman. …

Therefore by the practice of merging the Ego in the pure Heart which is all Awareness, the tendencies of the mind as well as the breath will be subdued. (Ramana Maharshi, “Supplement” to FVR.)

Therefore on diving deep upon the quest
“Who am I and from whence?” thoughts disappear
And consciousness of Self … flashes forth
As the “I-I” within the cavity
Of every seeker’s Heart. And this is Heaven,
This is that Stillness, the abode of Bliss. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 27.)

If one enquires “Who am I?” within the mind, the individual “I” falls down abashed as soon as one reaches the Heart and immediately Reality manifests itself spontaneously as “I-I.” Although it reveals itself as “I,” it is not the ego but the Perfect Being, the Absolute Self. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 30.)

Since, void of thought, Reality exists within as Heart, how to know the Reality we term the Heart? To know That is merely to be That in the Heart. (Ramana Maharshi in CWRM.)

When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense-organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out, but retaining it in the Heart is what is called "inwardness" (antar-mukha). Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as "externalisation" (bahir-mukha). Thus, when the mind stays in the Heart, the “I” which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 14.)

When a room is dark you need a lamp to light it, but when the sun rises there is no need for a lamp; objects are seen without one. And to see the sun itself no lamp is needed because it is self-luminous. Similarly with the mind. The reflected light of the mind is necessary to perceive objects, but to see the Heart it is enough for the mind to be turned towards it. Then the mind loses itself and the Heart shines forth. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Chapter 1.)

Sphurana [the Heart] can be felt in a subtle way even when meditation has sufficiently stabilized and deepened, and the Ultimate Consciousness is very near, or during a sudden great fright or shock, when the mind comes to a standstill. It draws attention to itself, so that the meditator’s mind, rendered sensitive by calmness, may become aware of it, gravitate towards it, and finally plunge into it, the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 83.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry - Watch and witness

The Self is ever the witness…. But it is best to remain as one's Self. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 137.)

Whatever thoughts arise as obstacles to one's sadhana (spiritual discipline), the mind should not be allowed to go in their direction, but should be made to rest in one's self which is the Atman; one should remain as witness to whatever happens, adopting the attitude “Let whatever strange things happen, happen; let us see!” This should be one's practice. In other words, one should not identify oneself with appearances; one should never relinquish one's self. This is the proper means for destruction of the mind (manonasa) which is of the nature of seeing the body as self, and which is the cause of all the aforesaid obstacles. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 4.)

When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experience and the experiencer. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind. (Krishnamurti, CHT.)

The ego is a false self, created by the society; it is not your real centre. Your real centre is almost a no-self, but the feeling of am-ness remains. Even when the ego dissolves and the personality is dropped, then too there is a feeling of am-ness. One still “is” though one cannot say “I am a self.” Self remains separate from existence. One cannot say “I am separate from self, from existence” but one certainly “is.” This is-ness … is an experience of egoless existence. And this can be penetrated slowly by becoming aware.

The process is awareness. Just watch your thoughts, your feelings. Everything changes: only I-am-ness remains permanent. One moment it is anger, another moment it is love, but they go on changing. One moment you are happy, another moment you are unhappy; they go on changing but one thing remains eternally there, and that is I-am-ness. That is never lost, not even in deep sleep: it persists.

It is as if I-am-ness is the mirror and on the mirror a thousand and one things are reflected and they go on passing. There is a procession, the whole traffic of the mind goes by, but the mirror remains. It simply reflects: when it is confronted by anger it reflects anger; when sadness comes, it reflects sadness. One cloud moves, another comes and another, and it goes on reflecting all kinds of forms and shapes. Still, it is neither of them; it is neither happiness nor unhappiness. It is just a mirror reflecting. …

To find [that innermost mirror of consciousness] is to find God. It is the door into pure existence, uncontaminated by the idea of ego, and from there one can easily slip into the eternal ocean of God. (Osho, TSY, 11-2.)

When we come into the ultimate Truth, … there’s no sense in choosing or not choosing. There’s just the watching. When the Truth is conscious instead of unconscious, it can come through and manifest purely —without any desire to do so. (Adyashanti, “Actually One Being,” 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Destroy the ego - See also The Ego - Master it

"Tell me, dear companion, what is this most advanced school and its teaching of which you have told me?" The young man said, "The advanced school and the teaching that is lectured on is nothing other than complete and perfect detachment from oneself, so that a person becomes so utterly nothing, no matter how God treats him, either through himself or through other creatures, in joy or in sorrow, that he strives continually to be in the state of going away from his 'self.' (Angel to Blessed Henry Suso in a vision, HSU, 98.)

If by the grace of the guru one's ego vanishes, then one sees God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.)

[Modification of the mind depends] on the awareness of 'I,' 'I'. If the consciousness of 'I' vanishes or is stopped altogether for some time, there can be no modification in the mind. (Sri Ramakrishna in Saradananda, SRGM, 439.)

When the I-consciousness of the Master vanished altogether, he remained in oneness with the 'unqualified being of the Divine Mother' beyond the limits of this all-pervading I. And with the vanishing of this 'individual I' vanished also the last vestige of the infinite waves of ideas emerging from that 'immense'I', which we call the universe. (Saradananda, SRGM, 443.)

Identification with the Supreme is the only the other name for the destruction of the ego. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 130.)

Can the ego ever agree to kill itself? This question is a sure way to cherish the ego and not to kill it. If you seek the ego you will find it does not exist. That is the way to destroy it. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 657.)

Enquire into yourself, and the apparent ego and ignorance will disappear. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 54.)

If we seek the ego-source, the ego disappears and what remains is the Self. This method is the direct one. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

”Whence does this “I” arise?” Seek for it within; it then vanishes. This is the pursuit of Wisdom. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 24.)

Pain and pleasure are to the ego, which is itself imagined. When the ego disappears through constant enquiry into its nature, the illusion of pleasure and pain also disappears, and the Self, their source, alone remains. There is neither ego nor ignorance in Reality. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 54.)

If the first person, I, exists, then the second and third persons, you and he, will also exist. By enquiring into the nature of the “I,” the “I” perishes. With it “you” and “he” also perish. The resultant state, which shines as Absolute Being, is one's own natural state, the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 14.)

Aham vritti (“I”-thought) is broken,Aham sphurana (the light of “I-I”) is unbroken, continuous. After the thoughts subside, the light shines forth. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 307.)

The individual soul of the form of “I” is the ego The Self which is of the nature of intelligence (chit) has no sense of “I.” Nor does the insentient body possess a sense of “I.” The mysterious appearance of a delusive ego between the intelligent and the insentient, being the root cause of all these troubles, upon its destruction by whatever means, that which really exists will be seen as it is. This is called Liberation (moksha). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 1, Question 12.)

Just as one who wants to throw away garbage has no need to analyse it and see what it is, so one who wants to know the Self has no need to count the number of categories or inquire into their characteristics; what he has to do is to reject altogether the categories that hide the Self. The world should be considered like a dream. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 19.)

Whether the nominative case, which is the first case, appears or not, the sentences in which the other cases appear have as their basis the first case; similarly, all the thoughts that appear in the heart have as their basis the egoity which is the first mental mode “I,” the cognition of the form “I am the body”; thus, it is the rise of egoity that is the cause and source of the rise of all other thoughts; therefore, if the self-conceit of the form of egoity, which is the root of the illusory tree of samsara (bondage consisting of transmigration), is destroyed, all other thoughts will perish completely like an uprooted tree. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 4.)

We are ever in sushupti. Becoming aware of it in jagrat is samadhi. The ajnani cannot remain long in sushupti because his ego pushes him out of it. The Jnani, although he has scotched the ego, it continues to rise again and again due to prarabdha. So, for both the Jnani and the ajnani the ego springs up, but with this difference: whereas the Jnani enjoys the transcendental experience, keeping its lakshya (aim, attention) always fixed on its source, … the ajnani is completely ignorant of it. The former is not harmful, being a mere skeleton of its normal self, like a burnt-up rope. By constantly fixing its attention on the Source, the Heart, the ego gets dissolved into it like a salt doll which has fallen into the ocean. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 56.)

Q: If “I” am always here and now, why don't I feel it?

M: That's is the point! Who says that it is not felt? Does the real “I” say it or the false “I”? Examine it. You will find it is the wrong “I.” The wrong “I” is the obstruction. It has to be removed in order that the true “I” might not be hidden.

The feeling, “I have not realized,” is the obstruction to realization. In fact, you are already realized; there is nothing to realize. If there were, it would have to be something new, not existing so far, that would occur sometime in the future.

What has birth will also die. If realization were not eternal it would not be worth having. Therefore, what we seek is not that which must happen afresh. It is only that which is eternal and which is not known, due to obstructions, that is what we seek. Ignorance is the obstruction. Remove it, and all will be well.

The ignorance is identical with the “I”-thought. Find its source and it will vanish. The “I”-thought is like a spirit which is not palpable, and it rises up simultaneously with the body, flourishes on it and disappears with it. The body-consciousness is the wrong “I.” Give it up! This is done by seeking the source of the “I.” The body does not say “I am.” It is you who says, “I am the body.” Find out who this “I” is. Seeking its source, it will vanish. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

You must distinguish between the “I,” pure in itself, and the “I”-thought. The latter, being merely a thought, sees subject and object, sleeps, wakes up, eats and thinks, dies and is reborn. But the pure “I” is the pure Being, eternal existence, free from ignorance and thought-illusion. If you stay as the “I,” your being alone, without thought, the I-thought will disappear and the delusion will vanish for ever. In a cinema-show you can see pictures only in a very dim light or in darkness. But when all lights are switched on, all pictures disappear. So also in the flood-light of the Supreme Atman all objects disappear. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 46.)

The moment the ego-self [tries] to know itself, it changes its character; it begins to partake less and less of the Jada , in which it is absorbed, and more and more of the Consciousness of the Self, the Atman . (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, xvii.)

Humility is essential for experiencing. But how eager is the mind to absorb the experiencing into experience! How swift is the mind to think about the new and thus make of it the old! So it establishes the experiencer and the experienced, which gives birth to the conflict of duality. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 32.)

To be conscious of being free is not freedom. Consciousness is the experiencing of freedom or bondage, and that consciousness is the experiencer, the maker of effort. ... The breaking down of the experiencer ... cannot be done consciously. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 166.)

The fictitious me is an accumulation from the past. All that has been accumulated becomes the “me” sense. Only by dispelling this accumulation does the sacred present itself. (Adyashanti, MSS.)

The psychological self seeks to continue, to survive. Simultaneously there is a compelling, driving urge to break free of this self. However, to break free brings the end of time. When it happens, past and future will be over for you. Questions and answers will cease, and there will be nothing. Out of that nothing, something fresh will flower. You will have to become that flower. (http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Eradicate the sense of doership

The illumined soul
Whose heart is Brahman's heart
Thinks always: 'I am doing nothing,'
No matter what he sees,
Hears, touches, smells, eats.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 57.)

Without this [original] mind, we can't move. The body has no awareness. Like a plant or stone, the body has no nature. So how does it move? It is the [original] mind that moves. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 21.)

He who believes himself to be acting or experiencing is known as the ego, the individual man. ... When the objects of experience are pleasant, he is happy. When they are unpleasant, he is unhappy. Pleasure and pain are characteristics of the individual -- not of the Atman, which is forever blissful. (Shankara in CJD, 48.)

One Mind unborn: who is the boss?
(16th Century Ch’an master Zibo in ZIBO, 29.)

I am a mere machine. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 111.)

Do you know the attitude of one who has realized God? He feels: 'I am the machine, and Thou, O Lord, art the Operator. I am the house and Thou art the Indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Driver. I move as Thou movest me; I speak as Thou makest me speak.' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 211.)

If by the grace of God a man but once realizes that he is not the doer, then he at once becomes a jivanmukta. (1) Though living in the body, he is liberated. He has nothing else to fear. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.)

(1) Literally a freed soul, a jivanmukta is one who has achieved God-realization while still in the body.

[I am] the machine and God is its Operator, ... God alone is the Doer and all others are His instruments. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

If by the grace of God a man but once realizes that he is not the doer, then he at once becomes a jivanmukta. Though living in the body, he is liberated. He has nothing else to fear. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.)

“I” and “mine” -- that is ignorance. By discriminating you will realize that what you call “I” is really nothing but Atman. Reason it out. Are you the body or the flesh or something else? At the end you will know that you are none of these. You are free from attributes. Then you will realize that you have never been the doer of any action, that you have been free from virtue and faults alike, that you are beyond righteousness and unrighteousness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 208.)

If one has form oneself, the world and God also will appear to have form, but if one is formless, who is it that sees those 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. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 4.)

[The end of the path of jnana] is to know the truth that the “I” is not different from the Lord (Isvara) and to be free from the feeling of being the doer (kartrtva, ahamkara). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Question 10.)

Whatever one does, one should do without the egoity "I.” If one acts in that way, all will appear as of the nature of Siva (God). (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 14.)

As there is no rule that action should depend upon a sense of being the doer it is unnecessary to doubt whether any action will take place without a doer or an act of doing. Although the officer of a government treasury may appear, in the eyes of others, to be doing his duty attentively and responsibly all day long, he will be discharging his duties without attachment, thinking 'I have no real connection with all this money' and without a sense of involvement in his mind. In the same manner a wise householder may also discharge without attachment the various household duties which fall to his lot according to his past karma, like a tool in the hands of another. Action and knowledge are not obstacles to each other. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 23.)

[The end of the path of jnana] is to know the truth that the “I” is not different from the Lord (Isvara) and to be free from the feeling of being the doer (kartrtva, ahamkara). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Question 10.)

As long as a man is the doer, he also reaps the fruit of his deeds, but, as soon as he realizes the Self through enquiry as to who is the doer his sense of being the doer falls away and the triple karma is ended. This is the state of eternal Liberation. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 38.)

The old vasanas pertaining to the body, (mind and so on) are destroyed. Being free from body-consciousness one never has the sense of doership.

Since such a one has no sense of doership, his karma, it is said, is completely destroyed. As nothing but the Self exists, no doubts arise for him. (Ramana Maharshi, SRG, 53 and 55.)

D. The work may suffer if I do not attend to it.

M. Attending to the Self means attending to the work. Because you identify yourself with the body, you think that work is done by you. But the body and its activities, including that work, are not apart from the Self. What does it matter whether you attend to the work or not? Suppose you walk from one place to another: you do not attend to the steps you take. Yet you find yourself after a time at your goal. You see how the business of walking goes on without your attending to it. So also with other kinds of work.

D. It is then like sleep-walking M. Like somnambulism? Quite so. When a child is fast asleep, his mother feeds him: the child eats the food just as well as when he is fully awake. But the next morning he says to the mother, “Mother, I did not take any food last night”. The mother and others know that he did, but he says that he did not; he was not aware. Still the action had gone on.

A traveller in a cart has fallen asleep. The bulls move, stand still or are unyoked during the journey. He does not know these events but finds himself in a different place after he wakes up. He has been blissfully ignorant of the occurrences on the way, but the journey has been finished. Similarly with the Self of a person. The ever-wakeful Self is compared to the traveller asleep in the cart. The waking state is the moving of the bulls; Samadhi is their standing still (because Samadhi means Jagrat-Sushupti, that is to say, the person is aware but not concerned in the action; the bulls are yoked but do not move); sleep is the unyoking of the bulls, for there is complete stopping of activity corresponding to the relief of the bulls from the yoke.

Or again, take the instance of the cinema. Scenes are projected on the screen in the cinema-show. But the moving pictures do not affect or alter the screen. The spectator pays attention to them, not to the screen. They cannot exist apart from the screen, yet the screen is ignored. So also, the Self is the screen where the pictures, activities etc. are seen going on. The man is aware of the latter but not aware of the essential former. All the same the world of pictures is not apart from the Self. Whether he is aware of the screen or unaware, the actions will continue. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, MG, 8-9.)

The thought that "I am the doer" should go. God is the doer. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 49-50.)

Bondage is nothing but the feeling "I am doing." (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 57.)

Jnana Yoga - See that the Self is not a thing

A man must separate this Atman from every object of experience, as a stalk of grass is separated from its enveloping sheath. Then he must dissolve into the Atman all those appearances which make up the world of name and form. He is indeed a free soul who can remain thus absorbed in the Atman alone. (Shankara in CJD, 56-7.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – See that the ego is nothing

One clings to life although there is nothing to be called life; another clings to death although there is nothing to be called death. In reality there is nothing to be born, consequently, there is nothing to perish. (Bodhidharma in ZTG, 62.)

You will be all when you make nothing of yourself. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 7.)

The man of knowledge ... is lost and buried in nothingness. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 35.)

The man who comes to this station is now in complete annihilation. Completely and simply he has reached non-existence. ... After this one would not speak of him as having state or station, he has here neither observation nor gnosis, and the explanation or interpretation of these is not possible because this place is a station of complete non-existence. Even the word station is used here only to explain because the person here knows neither station nor sign. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 7.)

Complete nakedness and freedom of spirit [are] necessary for divine union. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 68.)

When we are raised up to and drawn into this highest of all our experiences, all our powers stand empty and idle in a state of essential enjoyment. They are not, however, [permanently] annihilated, for in that case we should lose our creaturely status. As long as with open eyes and a spirit that is so inclined -- but without rational reflection -- we stand empty and idle, we can contemplate and enjoy. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 176.)

The ignorance is identical with the “I”-thought. Find its source and it will vanish. The “I”-thought is like a spirit which is not palpable, and it rises up simultaneously with the body, flourishes on it and disappears with it. The body-consciousness is the wrong “I.” Give it up! This is done by seeking the source of the “I.” The body does not say “I am.” It is you who says, “I am the body.” Find out who this “I” is. Seeking its source, it will vanish. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

I saw that genuine Recognition is simply a realization of Nothing, but a Nothing that is absolutely substantial and identical with the SELF. This was the final turn of the Key that opened the Door. I found myself at once identical with the Voidness, Darkness, and Silence, but realized them as utter, though ineffable, Fullness, in the sense of Substantiality, Light, in the sense of Illumination, and Sound, in the sense of pure Meaning and Value. The deepening of consciousness that followed at once is simply inconceivable and quite beyond the possibility of adequate representation. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PCWO, 36-7.)

The critical stage in the transformation is the realization of the “I” as zero. But, at once, that ‘I’ spreads out into an unlimited thickness. It is as if the ‘I’ became the whole of space. The Self is no longer a pole or focal point, but it sweeps outward, everywhere, in a sort of unpolarized consciousness, which is at once self-identity and the objective content of consciousness. It is an unequivocal transcendence of the subject-object relationship. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PCWO, 38-9.)

It is this fear of being nothing that drives the self into activity; but it is nothing, it is an emptiness.

If we are able to face that emptiness, to be with that aching loneliness, then fear altogether disappears, and a fundamental transformation takes place. For this to happen, there must be the experiencing of that nothingness -- which is prevented if there is an experiencer. ... It is the experiencing of what is without naming it that brings about freedom from what is. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 54.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Remove the obstacles and the Self remains as the residue

Yoga is the suppression of the vritti (modifications of the thinking principle). Then the seer abides in himself. (Patanjali in GR, 71.)

Not creating delusions is enlightenment. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom. … And no appearance of the mind is the other shore. (Bodhidharma, ZTB, 24-5.)

That which remains after everything is eliminated by the Vedantic process of “Not this, not this,” and which is the nature of Bliss, is Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 280.)

After negating all of the above-mentioned as 'not this', 'not this', that Awareness which alone remains - that I am. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

When one persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue). What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 12.)

As for the jiva implied in the term ‘I,’ one realizes its identity with Brahman by removal of obstruction (badha samanadhi karanam) through negating the idea of jiva, just as the man one imagines in a post (in a dim light) merges in the post on the negation of the idea of [its] being a man. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 17-8.)

Pain and pleasure are to the ego, which is itself imagined. When the ego disappears through constant enquiry into its nature, the illusion of pleasure and pain also disappears, and the Self, their source, alone remains. There is neither ego nor ignorance in Reality. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 54.)

After negating all of the [bodies and organs] as “not this,” “not this,” that Awareness which alone remains - that I am. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 13.)

Investigate and the thoughts cease. What is, namely the Self, will be revealed as the inescapable residue. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, No. 41.)

When one discards the Jiva (individual being) of the form ahamkara (ego-sense), which is the apparent meaning of the word “I,” what remains merely as the effulgent and conscious Atman (Self), which is the implied meaning of the “I,” is Brahman. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 7.)

The wrong “I” is the obstruction. It has to be removed in order that the true “I” may not be hidden. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

Therefore what we seek … is eternal but not now known due to obstructions…. All that we need do is to remove the obstruction. … Ignorance is the obstruction. Get over this ignorance and all will be well. The ignorance is identical with the “I”-thought. Find its source and it will vanish. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

When the source of the “I”-thought is reached it vanishes and what remains over is the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 130.)

When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer. … The seer and the object seen are like the rope and the snake. Just as knowledge of the rope which is the substrate will not arise unless the false knowledge of the illusory serpent goes, so the realization of the Self which is the substrate will not be gained unless the belief that the world is real is removed. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 12.)

Your nature is Bliss. Ignorance is now hiding that Bliss. Remove the ignorance for Bliss to be freed. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

Atman or Paramatman is that from which the body is born, in which it lives, and into which it finally resolves. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 97.)

As for the jiva implied in the term “I,” one realizes its identity with Brahman by removal of obstruction (badha samanadhi karanam) through negating the idea of jiva, just as the man one imagines in a post (in a dim light) merges in the post on the negation of the idea of [its] being a man. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 17-8.)

The “I” casts off the illusion of “I” and yet remains as “I.” This appears to be a paradox to you; it is not so to the Jnani. Take the case of the Bhakta. His “I” prays to the Lord to unite it with Him, which is to surrender. What remains as residuum after this surrender, is the eternal “I,” which is God the Absolute, Paramatman Himself. What has happened to the “I,” which originally prayed? Being unreal, it simply vanished. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 55.)

Concentration, meditation and all spiritual practices are not performed with the object of realizing the Self, because the Self is ever-present, but of realising the non-existence of ignorance. Every man admits his own existence and does not need a mirror to prove it to him. Existence is awareness, which is the negation of ignorance. Then why does man suffer? Because he imagines himself other than what he in reality is, e.g., the body, this, that, and the other – “I am Gopal, son of Parashuram, father of Natesan,” etc. In reality he is the intelligent “I-am” alone, stripped of qualities and superimpositions, of names and forms. … He must hold onto that existence [that he sees in dreamless sleep], that lone being – Kaivalya – even when he is in the waking state. The man of wisdom simply is. “I-Am-That-I-Am” sums up the whole Truth. The method is summed up by “Be still and know that I am God.” What does stillness mean? Cessation of thinking, which is the universe of forms, colours, qualities, time, space, all concepts and percepts whatever. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 55.)

It is false to speak of realization. What is there to realize it? The real is as it is, ever. How to realize it? All that is required is this. We have realized the unreal i.e., regarded as real what is unreal. We have to give up this attitude. That is all that is required for us to attain jnana. We are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before. The illustration given in the books is this. We dig a well and create a huge pit. The akasa (space) in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just removed the earth which was filling the akasa there. The akasa was there, then, and is also there now. Similarly, we have simply to throw out all the age long samskaras (innate tendencies) which are inside us. When all of them have been given up the Self will shine alone. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 8.)

Stop the thoughts, which are your enemy…, and the mind will remain as your pure being, the immortal “I.” (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 75.)

The Real is ever-present, like the screen on which all the [movie] pictures move. While the pictures appear on it, it remains invisible. Stop the pictures, and the screen, which has all along been present, in fact the only object that has existed throughout, will become clear. All these universes, humans, objects, thoughts and events are merely pictures moving on the screen of Pure Consciousness, which alone is real. Shapes and phenomena pass away, but Consciounsess remains ever. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 46.)

As the Self of a person who tries to attain Self-realization is not different from him and as there is nothing other than or superior to him to be attained by him, Self-realization being only the realization of one's own nature, the seeker of Liberation realizes, without doubts or misconceptions, his real nature by distinguishing the eternal from the transient, and never swerves from his natural state. This is known as the practice of knowledge. This is the enquiry leading to Self-realization. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 1.)

The State of non-emergence of “I” is the state of being THAT. Without questing for that State of the non-emergence of “I” and attaining It, how can one accomplish one's own extinction, from which the “I” does not revive? Without that attainment how is it possible to abide in one's true State, where one is THAT? (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 26.)

The mental states are of two kinds. One is the natural state and the other is the transformation into forms or objects. The first is the truth, and the other is according to the doer (kartrutantra). When the latter perishes,jale kataka renuvat (like the clearing nut paste in water) the former will remain over. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 624.)

When personal motivation no longer drives us, then what’s left is our true nature, which naturally expresses itself on the human dimension as love or compassion. (Adyashanti, TE.)

Life moves, undulates, breathes in and out, contracting and expanding. This is its nature, the nature of what is. Whatever is, is on the move. Nothing remains the same for very long. The mind wants everything to stop so that it can get its foothold, find its position, so it can figure out how to control life. Through the pursuit of material things, knowledge, ideas, beliefs, opinions, emotional states, spiritual states, and relationships, the mind seeks to find a secure position from which to operate.

The mind seeks to nail life down and get it to stop moving and changing. When this doesn't work, the mind begins to seek the changeless, the eternal, something that doesn't move. But the mind of thought is itself an expression of life's movement and so must always be in movement itself. When there is thought, that thought is always moving and changing.

There is really no such thing as thought. There is only thinking, so thought which is always moving (Adyashanti: as thinking) cannot apprehend the changeless. When thought enters into the changeless it goes silent. When thought goes silent, the thinker, the psychological "me," the image-produced self, disappears. Suddenly it is gone. You, as an idea, are gone. Awareness remains alone. (Adyashanti, “Only Awareness Remains,” 2003, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Jnana Yoga - Use discrimination to sever the knot of ignorance

The mortal in whose heart the knots of ignorance are untied becomes immortal. (UPAN, 24.)

The knot of the heart, which is ignorance, is loosed, all doubts are dissolved, all evil deeds are destroyed, when he who is both personal and impersonal is realized. (UPAN, 46.)

Where is your sword
Discrimination?
Draw it and slash
Delusion to pieces.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 56.)

To see the false as the false, to see the true in the false, and to see the true as the true -- it is this that sets the mind free. (Krishnamurti, COL, 3, 4.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Abide as the Self

You need not eliminate the wrong “I.” … All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

All you have to do is to find its source and abide in it as your real Self. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 75.)

To inhere in one's own Being, where the “I,” or ego, is dead, is the perfect State. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 2.)

Liberation is only to remain aware of the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 92.)

To know the Self is to be the Self – as there are not two separate selves. This (state) is thanmaya nishta (abiding as That). (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 24.)

Why worry about his bodies, his ahankar, his buddhi, creation, God, Mahatmas, world – the not-Self – at all? Why not remain yourself and be in peace? (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 58.)

If one resorts to contemplation of the Self unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 17.)

What is essential in any sadhana [practice] is to try to bring back the running mind and fix it on one thing only. Why then should it not be brought back and fixed in Self-attention? That alone is Self-enquiry (atma-vichara).

That is all that is to be done! (Ramana Maharshi cited in PSR, 77.)

[The I-I Consciousness] is a prelude to [Self-Realization]: when it becomes permanent (Sahaja), it is Self-Realization, Liberation. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 83.)

Knowing the Self is being the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 63.)

To know the Self is to be the Self – as there are not two separate selves. This (state) is thanmaya nishta (abiding as That). (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 24.)

When one’s true nature is known, then there is Being without beginning and end; It is unbroken Awareness-Bliss. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 24-5.)

To BE the Self that you really are is the only means to realize the Bliss that is ever yours. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 52.)

To remain as the Self is not difficult. This thought of difficulty is the chief obstacle. A little practice in discovering the source of “I” will make you think differently. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

The common man is aware of himself only when modifications arise in the intellect (vijnanamaya kosa); these modifications are transient; they arise and set. Hence the vijnanamaya (intellect) is called a kosa or sheath. When pure awareness is left over it is itself the Chit (Self) or the Supreme. To be in one's natural state on the subsidence of thoughts is bliss; if that bliss be transient - arising and setting - then it is only the sheath of bliss (Anandamaya kosa), not the pure Self. What is needed is to fix the attention on the pure “I” after the subsidence of all thoughts and not to lose hold of it. This has to be described as an extremely subtle thought; else it cannot be spoken of at all, since it is no other than the Real Self. Who is to speak of it, to whom and how?

This is well explained in the Kaivalyam and the Viveka Chudamani. Thus though in sleep the awareness of the Self is not lost the ignorance of the jiva is not affected by it. For this ignorance to be destroyed this subtle state of mind (vrittijnanam) is necessary; in the sunshine cotton does not burn; but if the cotton be placed under a lens it catches fire and is consumed by the rays of the Sun passing through the lens. So too, though the awareness of the Self is present at all times, it is not inimical to ignorance. If by meditation the subtle state of thought is won, then ignorance is destroyed. Also in Viveka Chudamani: ativa sukshmam paramatma tattvam na sthoola drishtya (the exceedingly subtle Supreme Self cannot be seen by the gross eye) and esha svayam jyotirasesha sakshi (this is Self-shining and witnesses all). (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 624.)

It is important for one who is established in his Self (atma nista) to see that he does not swerve in the least from this absorption. By swerving from his true nature he may see before him bright effulgences, etc., or hear (unusual) sounds or regard as real the visions of gods appearing within or outside himself. He should not be deceived by these and forget himself. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 16.)

One should not identify oneself with appearances; one should never relinquish one's self. This is the proper means for destruction of the mind (manonasa) which is of the nature of seeing the body as self, and which is the cause of all the aforesaid obstacles. … Because God remains of the nature of the Self, shining as “I” in the heart, because the scriptures declare that thought itself is bondage, the best discipline is to stay quiescent without ever forgetting Him (God, the Self), after resolving in Him the mind which is of the form of the “I”-thought, no matter by what means. This is the conclusive teaching of the Scriptures. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 4.)

It is the experience of everyone that even in the states of deep sleep, fainting, etc., when the entire universe, moving and stationary, beginning with earth and ending with the unmanifested (Prakriti), disappear, he does not disappear. Therefore the state of pure being which is common to all and which is always experienced directly by everybody is one's true nature. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 4, Question 18.)

Who is this witness? You speak of “witness.” There must be an object and a subject to witness. These are creations of the mind. The idea of witness is in the mind. If there was the witness of oblivion did he say, “I witness oblivion”? You, with your mind, said just now that there must be a witness. Who was the witness? You must reply “I.” Who is that “I” again? You are identifying yourself with the ego and say “I.” Is this ego “I,” the witness? It is the mind that speaks. It cannot be witness of itself. …

The whole position becomes thus untenable. Consciousness is unlimited. On becoming limited it simply arrogates to itself the position. There is really nothing to witness. IT is simple BEING. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 180.)

Without yielding to the doubt "Is it possible, or not?" one should persistently hold on to the meditation on the Self. Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep "O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?"; one should completely renounce the thought "I am a sinner"; and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. There are not two minds - one good and the other evil; the mind is only one. It is the residual impressions that are of two kinds - auspicious and inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence of auspicious impressions it is called good; and when it is under the influence of inauspicious impressions it is regarded as evil. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 16.)

One should not give room in the mind for such thoughts as: "Is this good? Or is that good? Can this be done? Or can that be done?" One should be vigilant even before such thoughts arise and make the mind stay in its native state. If any little room is given, such a (disturbed) mind will do harm to us while posing as our friend; like the foe appearing to be a friend, it will topple us down. Is it not because one forgets one's Self that such thoughts arise and cause more and more evil? (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 13.)

[Not knowing who you are after liberation is] not the same not knowing of ignorance. It's the not knowing that comes from recognizing that the whole issue of a self, personal or absolute, is fantasy. Both the self and the Self are interpretations upon perception, and nothing more. And when the interpretation ends, thought ends. When all identity collapses, you abide in the unknown. There is no tendency left to fixate identity anywhere - even in a universal somewhere. So, you are left resting in the mystery as the mystery. It is only then that you can be truly and absolutely free of all concerns. There is nothing to say. What can you say? There is nothing to say. (Adyashanti, From Interview between Adyashanti, Robert O’Hearn and Mazie Lane. http://www.nonduality.com/hl1171.h tm, downloaded 10 March 2006.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Stand alone

If you are a true seeker of liberation you've got to be willing to stand alone. At the moment of Liberation everything falls away... everything. Suddenly the ground beneath your feet is gone, and you are alone. You are alone because you have directly realized that there is no other, there is no separation. There is only you, only Self, only limitless emptiness, pure consciousness.

To the mind, the ego, this appears terrifying. When the mind looks at limitlessness and infinity, it projects meaninglessness and despair. To the ego Absolute Freedom can look terrifying. But when the mind is let go of, the view changes from meaningless despair and fear to the unending joy and wonder of Liberation.

In Liberation, you stand alone. You stand alone because you need no supports of any kind. You need no supports because you have realized that the very notion of a separate you no longer exists; that there is nothing to support; that the whole ego experience was a flimsy illusion. So you stand alone but never, never lonely because everywhere you look, all you see is That, and You are That. (Adyashanti, “Stand Alone,” 1997, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Three senses of self must be understood: Jiva, Atman, and Paramatman

As the ego, which is the direct and immediate sense of “I,” is centred and figured in each of the distinct and separate individuals in a subtle movement of life-force and mind-stuff, it is termed Jiva here. This sense of “I” is separate in each individual being and preserving the distinctness of the individual, behaves in a manner that would strengthen the individual's distinct character. But, such a movement of the ego or the apparent self has its root and support in something that is the real basis of individuality and that does not move with or lose itself in the movement of the apparent self, a something that is a continuous conscious principle related to the past, present and future; that is the Real Self signified, the Lakshyartha, in the individual, of which the ego is the apparent self. This latter is different in different individuals and is loosely called the Jivatman . But Atman, the Self, is really one; the Self of all individuals as of all existence is one. But Jivas or living beings are many, as many as the individuals are formed. These are soul-formations that are dissoluble in time, unlike their supporting Self which is eternal, being identical with the Infinite Eternal which maintains its many-centred existence in an endless movement of formation and dissolution.

Thus, we see that there are three distinct senses in which “I” is used. The supreme meaning of “I,” its Paramartha , is the Purusha who becomes the Lakshyartha (the signified sense) in the individual, as it is the same self that presides over individual existence and the immediate or apparent sense of “I” (Vachyarta ) is the ego or the apparent self formed temporarily for purposes of individuation. Threefold then is the sense of the Self, the “I,” and in its threefold sense it is to be understood. (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, 20-1.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – At some point, God steps in

You need not eliminate the wrong “I.” … All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. Until it has become permanently natural and your habitual state, know that you have not realized the Self, only glimpsed it. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – When can we stop the enquiry?

[One should continue practicing] until the mind attains effortlessly its natural state of freedom from concepts, that is till the sense of “I” and “mine” exists no longer. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 18.)

There is fear only for one who sees at least a slight difference in the Supreme Brahman. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 20.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Prequisite sadhanas

The knowers say that the [prerequisite] sadhanas consist of an ability to discern the real from the unreal, no desire for pleasures here or hereafter, cessation of activities (karma) and a keen desire to be liberated. Not qualified with all these four qualities, however hard one may try, one cannot succeed in enquiry.

Therefore this fourfold sadhana is the sine qua non for enquiry. (Ramana Maharshi, ABD.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Self-Enquiry vs. other means of quieting the mind

In the afternoon Khanna’s wife appealed to Bhagavan in writing : “I am not learned in the Scriptures and I find the method of Self-enquiry too hard for me. I am a woman with seven children and a lot of household cares, and it leaves me little time for meditation. I request Bhagavan to give me some simpler and easier method.”

Bhagavan: No learning or knowledge of Scriptures is necessary to know the Self, as no man requires a mirror to see himself. All knowledge is required only to be given up eventually as not Self. Nor is household work or cares with children necessarily an obstacle. If you can do nothing more, at least continue saying “I, I” to yourself mentally all the time, as advised in Who am I?, whatever work you may be doing and whether you are sitting, standing or walking. (Ramana Maharshi in DBDWB.)

Bhagavan: There are only two ways to conquer destiny or be independent of it. One is to enquire for whom is this destiny and discover that only the ego is bound by destiny and not the Self, and that the ego is non-existent. The other way is to kill the ego by completely surrendering to the Lord, by realizing one’s helplessness and saying all the time : “Not I but Thou, oh Lord!,” and giving up all sense of “I” and “mine” and leaving it to the Lord to do what he likes with you. Surrender can never be regarded as complete so long as the devotee wants this or that from the Lord. True surrender is love of God for the sake of love and nothing else, not even for the sake of salvation. In other words, complete effacement of the ego is necessary to conquer destiny, whether you achieve this effacement through Self-enquiry or through bhakti-marga. (Ramana Maharshi in DBDWB.)

Meditation is possible only if the ego is retained; there is the ego and the object meditated upon. This method is indirect. However, if we seek the ego-source, the ego disappears and what remains is the Self. This method is the direct one. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

Other than inquiry, there are no adequate means. If through other means it is sought to control the mind, the mind will appear to be controlled, but will again go forth. Through the control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled, and when the breath resumes the mind also will again start moving and will wander as impelled by residual impressions. The source is the same for both mind and breath. Thought, indeed, is the nature of the mind. The thought "I" is the first thought of the mind; and that is egoity. It is from that whence egoity originates that breath also originates. Therefore, when the mind becomes quiescent, the breath is controlled, and when the breath is controlled the mind becomes quiescent. … Breath is the gross form of mind. Till the time of death, the mind keeps breath in the body; and when the body dies the mind takes the breath along with it. Therefore, the exercise of breath-control is only an aid for rendering the mind quiescent (manonigraha); it will not destroy the mind (manonasa).

All disciplines such as sacrifice, charity, austerity, observance of vows, japa, yoga, and puja, are, in effect, modes of meditation of the form “I am Brahman.” So, in all the modes of disciplines, one should see to it that one does not stray away from the thought “I am Brahman.” This is the purport of the worship of the attributeless. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 33.)

Like the practice of breath-control, meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, restriction on food, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.

Through meditation on the forms of God and through repetition of mantras, the mind becomes one-pointed. The mind will always be wandering. Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk it will go along grasping the chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is occupied with a name or form it will grasp that alone. When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts, each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes one-pointed and strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will become easy. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 14-5.)

[To make the rebellious mind calm and tranquil] either see its source so that it may disappear, or surrender yourself so that it may be struck down. Self-surrender is the same as Self-knowledge, and either of them necessarily implies self-control. The ego submits only when it recognizes the Higher Power. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 22.)

There is no mind to control if the Self is realized. The Self shines forth when the mind vanishes. In the realized man the mind may be active or inactive, the Self alone exists. For the mind, body and world are not separate from the Self. Can they be other than the Self? When aware of the Self, why should one worry about these shadows? How do they affect the Self? (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 18.)

If the enquiry is made whether mind exists, it will be found that mind does not exist. That is control of mind. Otherwise, if the mind is taken to exist and one seeks to control it, it amounts to mind controlling the mind, just like a thief turning out to be a policeman to catch the thief. i.e., himself. Mind persists in that way alone, but eludes itself. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, No. 43.)

Breath-control is the means for mind-control. … Breath can be controlled either by absolute retention of breath (kevala-kumbhaka) or by regulation of breath (pranayama). (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to questions 21 and 22.)

[Hatha yoga] is one of the aids [to Liberation] --- not that it is always necessary. It depends upon the person. Vichara surpasses pranayama. In "Yoga Vasistha'' Chudala advises investigation (vichara) to Sikhidvaja for killing the ego.

Reality can be reached by holding on to prana or intellect. Hatha Yoga is the former; Vichara is the latter. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, No. 41.)

There is no doubt that breath-control is the means for mind-control, because the mind, like breath, is a part of air, because the nature of mobility is common to both, because the place of origin is the same for both, and because when one of them is controlled the other gets controlled. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 25.)

[Absolute retention of breath (kevala-kumbhaka)] is making the vital air stay firmly in the heart even without exhalation and inhalation. This is achieved through meditation on the vital principle, etc. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 23.)

[Regulation of breath] is making the vital air stay firmly in the heart through exhalation, inhalation, and retention, according to the instructions given in the yoga texts. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 24.)

Disciple: Since breath-control leads only to quiescence of the mind (manolaya Master: The scriptures teach the means for gaining Self-realization in two modes - as the yoga with eight limbs (ashtanga-yoga) and as knowledge with eight limbs (ashtanga-jnana). By regulation of breath (pranayama) or by absolute retention thereof (kevala-kumbhaka), which is one of the limbs of yoga, the mind gets controlled. Without leaving the mind at that, if one practises the further discipline such as withdrawal of the mind from external objects (pratyahara), then at the end, Self-realization which is the fruit of enquiry will surely be gained. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 26.)

So long as the mind has not been made to rest in the heart, either through absolute retention (kevala-kumbhaka) or through enquiry, rechaka, puraka, etc., are needed. Hence, the pranayama of yoga is to be practised during training, and the other pranayama may be practised always. Thus, both may be practised. It is enough if the yogic pranayama is practised till skill is gained in absolute retention. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 35.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Self-Enquiry vs. other means of quieting the mind - Meditation

Although the Master [Sri Ramakrishna] discouraged [Yogin-Ma] from reading too many books, he did suggest that she study the devotional scriptures. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 144.)

Disciple: What is the difference between meditation and Self-enquiry?

Master: Meditation is possible only if the ego is retained; there is the ego and the object meditated upon.

This method is indirect. However, if we seek the ego-source, the ego disappears and what remains is the Self. This method is the direct one.

Q: (On another occasion) What is the difference between meditation and vichara?

M: Meditation can be upon an object, external or otherwise. Thus subject and object differ. In vichara, both subject and object are the same - the Self.

Inquiry consists in retaining the mind in the Self. Meditation consists in thinking that one's self is Brahman, existence-consciousness-bliss. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 21.)

Who is the meditator? Ask the question first. Remain as the meditator. There is no need to meditate. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 205.)

Meditation is one approach that will drive away other thoughts. The one thought of God will dominate others. That is concentration. The object of meditation is thus the same as that of vichara. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

The only enquiry leading to Self-realization is seeking the Source of the “I” with in-turned mind and without uttering the word “I.” Meditation on “I am not this; I am That” may be an aid to the enquiry but it cannot be the enquiry. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 29.)

Meditation should be on the Self. Everyone knows “I am.” Who is the “I”?

It will be neither within nor without, neither on the right nor the left. “I am,” that is all. The Heart is the centre from which everything springs. Because you now see the world, the body etc, it is said that there is a centre for them called the Heart. But when actually in it, the Heart is neither in the centre nor at the circumference as then there is nothing else. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

The experience of Self is possible only for the mind that has become subtle and unmoving as a result of prolonged meditation. He who is thus endowed with a mind that has become subtle, and who has the experience of the Self is called a jivan-mukta. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 40.)

All kinds of thoughts arise in meditation. That is only right; for what lies hidden in you is brought out. Unless it rises up, how can it be destroyed? Thoughts rise up spontaneously, as it were, but only to be extinguished in due course, thus strengthening the mind. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 20.)

The bliss of Brahman will not become manifest owing to the mere immobility of the inner organ. It will become manifest only through the concept of the form of Brahman (Brahmakara vritti). Since this will arise only through reflection (chintana) on the meaning of the Vedanta (texts), and since unsteadiness will disappear even through this, one who desires to have the bliss of Liberation while alive has to reflect on the meaning of Vedanta texts only and need not meditate (do upasana). (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 22.)

The purport of prescribing meditation on the pranava is this. The pranava is Omkara consisting of three and a half matras, viz., a, u, m, and ardha-matra. of these, a stands for the waking state, Visva-jiva, and the gross body; u stands for the dream-state Taijasa-jiva, and the subtle body; m stands for the sleep-state, Prajnajiva and the causal body; the ardha-matra represents the Turiya which is the self or “I”-nature; and what is beyond that is the state of Turiyatita, or pure Bliss. The fourth state which is the state of “I”-nature was referred to in the section on meditation (dhyana): this has been variously described -- as of the nature of amatra which includes the three matras, a, u, and m; as maunakshara (silence syllable); as ajapa (as muttering without muttering) and as the Advaita-mantra which is the essence of all mantras such as panchakshara. In order to get at this true significance, one should meditate on the pranava. This is meditation which is of the nature of devotion consisting in reflection on the truth of the Self. The fruition of this process is samadhi which yields release which is the state of unsurpassed bliss. The revered Gurus also have said that release is to be gained only by devotion which is of the nature of reflection on the truth of the Self. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 28.)

(a) The purport of teaching that one should cultivate the idea that one is not different from the self-luminous Reality is this: Scripture defines meditation in these words, "In the middle of the eight-petalled heart-lotus which is of the nature of all, and which is referred to as Kailasa, Vaikundha, and Parama-pada, there is the Reality which is of the size of the thumb, which is dazzling like lightning and which shines like a flame. By meditating on it, a person gains immortality." From this we should know that by such meditation one avoids the defects of (1) the thought of difference, of the form “I am different, and that is different,” (2) the meditation on what is limited, (3) the idea that the real is limited, and (4) that it is confined to one place.

(b) The purport of teaching that one should meditate with the “I am He” thought is this: sahaham: soham; sah the supreme Self, aham the Self that is manifest as “I.” The jiva which is the Shiva-linga resides in the heart-lotus which is its seat situated in the body which is the city of Brahman; the mind which is of the nature of egoity, goes outward identifying itself with the body, etc. Now the mind should be resolved in the heart, i.e. the I-sense that is placed in the body, etc., should be got rid of; when thus one enquires “Who am I?,” remaining undisturbed, in that state the Self-nature becomes manifest in a subtle manner as “I-I”; that self-nature is all and yet none, and is manifest as the supreme Self everywhere without the distinction of inner and outer; that shines like a flame, as was stated above, signifying the truth “I am Brahman.” If, without meditating on that as being identical with oneself, one imagines it to be different, ignorance will not leave. Hence, the identity-meditation is prescribed.

If one meditates for a long time, without disturbance, on the Self ceaselessly, with the “I am He” thought which is the technique of reflection on the Self, the darkness of ignorance which is in the heart and all the impediments which are but the effects of ignorance will he removed, and the plenary wisdom will be gained.

Thus, realizing the Reality in the heart-cave which is in the city (of Brahman), viz. the body, is the same as realizing the all-perfect God.

In the city with nine gates, which is the body, the wise one resides at ease.

The body is the temple; the jiva is God (Shiva). If one worships him with the “I am He” thought, one will gain release.

The body which consists of the five sheaths is the cave, the supreme that resides there is the lord of the cave. Thus the scriptures declare.

Since the Self is the reality of all the gods, the meditation on the Self which is oneself is the greatest of all meditations. All other meditations are included in this. It is for gaining this that the other meditations are prescribed. So, if this is gained, the others are not necessary. Knowing one's Self is knowing God. Without knowing one's Self that meditates, imagining that there is a deity which is different and meditating on it, is compared by the great ones to the act of measuring with one's foot one's own shadow, and to the search for a trivial conch after throwing away a priceless gem that is already in one's possession. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 29.)

The Self is self-luminous without darkness and light, and is the reality which is self-manifest. Therefore, one should not think of it as this or as that. The very thought of thinking will end in bondage. The purport of meditation on the Self is to make the mind take the form of the Self. In the middle of the heart-cave the pure Brahman is directly manifest as the Self in the form “I-I.” Can there be greater ignorance than to think of it in manifold ways, without knowing it as aforementioned? (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 31.)

[Meditation] is abiding as one's Self without swerving in any way from one's real nature and without feeling that one is meditating. As one is not in the least conscious of the different states (waking, dreaming, etc.)

in this condition, the sleep (noticeable) here is also regarded as dhyana. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 14.)

[The difference between dhyana and samadhi is that] dhyana is achieved through deliberate mental effort; in samadhi there is no such effort. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 15.)

Only if the thought “I am the body” occurs will the meditation “I am not this, I am That,” help one to abide as That. Why should we for ever be thinking, “I am That”? Is it necessary for man to go on thinking “I am a man”? Are we not always That? (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 36.)

Although the scriptures proclaim “Thou art That,” it is only a sign of weakness of mind to meditate “I am That, not this,” because you are eternally That. What has to be done is to investigate what one really is and remain That. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 32.)

The only enquiry leading to Self-realization is seeking the Source of the “I” with in-turned mind and without uttering the word “I.” Meditation on “I am not this; I am That” may be an aid to the enquiry but it cannot be the enquiry. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 29.)

Meditation needs effort; jnanam is effortless. Meditation can be done, or not done, or wrongly done, jnanam is not so. Meditation is described as kartru-tantra (as doer's own), jnanam as vastu-tantra (the Supreme's own). (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 624.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – Supplementary practices

Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best; by observing this rule, the sattvic quality of mind will increase, and that will be helpful to Self-inquiry. (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 15-6.)

Food affects the mind. The right food makes it more sattvic. For the practice of any yoga, vegetarianism is absolutely necessary. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

Habit is only adjustment to the environment. It is the mind that matters. The fact is that the mind has been trained to think certain foods tasty. Nourishment may be obtained from vegetarian food no less than from flesh. But the realized person's mind is not influenced by the food eaten. However, get accustomed to vegetarianism gradually. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

You must do it with a calm mind – mental calmness is essential. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 82.)

[The rules of conduct for a student are] moderation in food, moderation in sleep and moderation in speech. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 17.)

Jnana Yoga – Self-Enquiry – The contribution of Sri Ramana Maharshi

I am that Brahman which is bliss, which is eternal, effulgent, all-pervasive, the substratum of names and forms, which is not cognized by the impure intellect, but is cognized by the pure intellect, stainless and boundless. (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 7.)

Through the potent Grace of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, the path of Self-enquiry was brought within the competence of men and women of this age, was indeed fashioned into a new path that can be followed anonymously in the conditions of the modern world, with no forms of ritual, nothing to distinguish a person outwardly from the world wherein he moves. (Anon., “Intro” to Ramana Maharshi, FHSA.)

The task performed by Bhagavan Sri Ramana was to reopen the direct path of Self-enquiry which had become too arduous for our spiritually dark age. This path, with its theoretical basis of Advaita, stands, so to speak, at the source from which the various religions diverge and can therefore be approached from any side. Whether there are many or few who take it is not the question, only that it has been made open.

In itself, but for the Grace of Bhagavan, it would be the most inaccessible to modern man on account of its very simplicity and directness; and yet it is the most accessible, and in many cases the only accessible path, from the contingent point of view, since, because of its very directness, it requires no ritual or forms of worship, no priesthood or congregation, no outer signs or special observances, but can be practised in the workshop or kitchen or city office as well as in the monastery or hermitage.

In the same impersonal way a man can attend to all the affairs of life, knowing that he, the real Self, is unaffected by them; and every attack of greed, anger or desire can be dispelled by vichara. It must be dispelled, because it is no use repeating that one is the Self and acting as though one were the ego. Real, even partial, awareness of the Self weakens egotism: egotism, whether expressed as vanity, greed or desire, is a proof that recognition of the Self is merely mental.

This means that in adapting an ancient path to modern conditions Bhagavan has in effect created a new path. The ancient path of Self-enquiry was pure Jnana-marga to be followed by the recluse in silence and solitude, withdrawn from the outer world. Bhagavan has made it a path to be followed invisible in the world in the conditions of modern life.

Whosoever submits to him will be borne up and never forsaken. “God and Guru are not really different; they are identical. He who has earned the Grace of the Guru will undoubtedly be saved and never forsaken, just as the prey that has fallen into the tiger’s jaws will never be allowed to escape. The disciple, for his part should unswervingly follow the path shown by the Master.” (Arthur Osborne, RA.)

Ramana Maharshi's gift to the world was not that he realized the Self. Many people have had a deep realization of the Self. Ramana's real gift was that he embodied that realization so thoroughly. It is one thing to realize the Self; it is something else altogether to embody that realization to the extent that there is no gap between inner revelation and its outer expression. Many have glimpsed the realization of Oneness; (1) few consistently express that realization through their humanness. (2) It is one thing to touch a flame and know it is hot, (3) but quite another to jump into that flame and be consumed by it. (4) (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

(2) Vijnana.
(3) Jnana.
(4) Vijnana.

Jnana Yoga - Examples of mature discrimination and successful Self-enquiry

During the period of their stay in Brindaban [Swami Turiyananda and Swami Brahmananda] obtained most of their food by begging. Generally it consisted of some bits of roti collected from many houses. These were not sufficient even for a single meal. ... [One day] the meagre ration could not satisfy [Swami Turiyananda's] hungry stomach. The Swami lay down to rest, and being extremely tired went to sleep. Suddenly he saw himself as separate from the body. He was not the hungry or thirsty physical body but the completely separate, independent Atman. He observed his body lying there like a piece of rejected cloth. This unique experience made a tremendous impression on him. He now had directly realized the truth of that great declaration in the Six Stanzas on Nirvana, which runs:

I am neither the process of eating, nor the food, nor the eater.
I am the Embodiment of Knowledge, Bliss, Existence.
I am the Atman.

When he rose, his hunger was forgotten. (Swami Ritajananda, ST, 32.)

After the initiation, [my guru] began to teach me the various conclusions of the Advaita Vedanta and asked me to withdraw the mind completely from all objects and dive deep into the Atman. But in spite of all my attempts I could not altogether cross the realm of name and form and bring my mind to the unconditioned state. I had no difficulty in taking the mind from all the objects of the world. But the radiant and too familiar figure of the Blissful Mother, the Embodiment of the Essence of Pure Consciousness, appeared before me as a living reality. Her bewitching smile prevented me from passing into the Great Beyond. Again and again I tried, but She stood in my way every time. In despair I said to Nangta: (1) “It is hopeless. I cannot raise my mind to the unconditioned state and come face to face with Atman.” He grew excited and sharply said: “What? You can't do it? But you have to.” He cast his eyes around. Finding a piece of glass he took it up and stuck it between my eyebrows. “Concentrate the mind on this point!” he thundered. Then with stern determination I again sat to meditate. As soon as the gracious form of the Divine Mother appeared before me, I used my discrimination as a sword and with it clove Her in two. The last barrier fell. My spirit at once soared beyond the relative plane and I lost myself in samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 29.)

I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual teacher and how this book came into existence.

Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else's life. One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train -- everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.

"I cannot live with myself any longer." This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. "Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the 'I' and the 'self that 'I' cannot live with." "Maybe," I thought, "only one of them is real."

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I was drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear and my body started to shake. I heard the words "resist nothing," as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I have never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. The soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.

That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.

For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.

I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn't understand it at all. It wasn't until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious. I dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience I just described pales in comparison. A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.

But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps, than any experience is the undercurrent of peace that has never left me since then. Sometimes it is very strong, almost palpable, and others can feel it too. At other times, it is somewhere in the background, like a distant melody.

Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: "I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?" And I would say: "You have it already. You just can't feel it because your mind is making too much noise." That answer later grew into the book that you are holding in your hands.

Before I knew it, I had an external identity again. I had become a spiritual teacher. (Eckhart Tolle, PN, 1-3.)

Jnana Yoga - How will I know I know?

Wisdom is not assimilated with the eyes, but with the atoms. ... When your conviction of a truth is not merely in your brain but in your being, you may diffidently vouch for its meaning. (Sri Yukteswar Giri, guru to Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 129.)

There are infinite possibilities of self-deception. To protect the aspirant from error and delusion the seers of Vedanta lay down three criteria of Truth. These are scriptural authority (Sruti), reasoning (yukti), and personal experience (anubhava). Any one of these, singly, may enable a man to realize partial truth, but when all three point to the same conclusion, the aspirant may be assured that he has realized the whole of Truth. The meaning of the scriptures, which contain the recorded experience of knowers of Truth of the past, must be explained by a competent teacher. In order to free reasoning from the pitfalls of rationalisation, rigorous mental disciplines are prescribed so that the aspirant may be grounded in detachment not only from the external world but also from his own pet ideas and exclusive loyalties. The aspirant must be able to view his own thinking objectively and submit it to a searching analysis. Ultimate values must be judged by the standard of eternity and not of time. Ultimate Truth, the basis of the universe, is self-evident, non-contradictory, and free from fear and friction. The seer perceives Truth everywhere and in everything, and thus becomes completely free from fear, sorrow, and expectation, which characterize the life of falsehood in the relative world. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 20-1.)

Jnana Yoga - Jnana vs. vijnana

The unwavering conviction that God alone dwells in all beings is jnana, knowledge. To know Him intimately is vijnana, a richer Knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 899.)

The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samadhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana. (1) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

(1) Jnana is the realization that Brahman is distinct from Maya; vijnana is the realization that it is Brahman who has become Maya and everything else that is.

The vijnani ... realizes that the steps are made of the same materials as the roof: bricks, lime, and brick-dust. That which is realized intuitively as Brahman, through the eliminating process of 'Not this, not this,' is then found to have become the universe and all its living beings. (1) The vijnani sees that the Reality which is nirguna, without attributes, is also saguna, with attributes. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 103-4.)

(1) The jnani distinguishes God out from everything else material. The vijnani sees no distinction between God and anything else; he or she sees that God has become everything, including the material.

Vijnana. A high state of spiritual realization, or intimate knowledge of God, as a result of which the universe and all living beings are seen as manifestations of the Divine." (Usha, RVW, 83.)

Jnana Yoga - Wisdom and devotion are one - See Paths to God - Wisdom and love

Jnana Yoga – Pro – See Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro-Jnana

Jnana Yoga – Con – See Paths to God - Wisdom and love (Jnana and Bhakti) - Pro- Bhakti

Journey – We travel from God to God

And he dreamed. And behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it. (Genesis 28:12-3.)

I came forth from the Father, and am come out into the world: again, I leave the world and go to the Father. (John 16:28.)

Allah ... is the Lord of the Ladders, by which the angels and the [Holy] Spirit will ascend to Him one day: a day whose space is fifty thousand years. (Koran, 57.)

I died as mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man. …
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’ (Rumi, ILWL, 58.)

Level after level he traverses the seven spheres and comes down into the Globe of Fire, then Air, then Water, then falls on earth; after that to the Minerals, Plants.... Until he reaches the degree of human being he passes through many tribulations at every level of his descent; he meets with difficulties. Sometimes he rises; sometimes he goes low; and half a circle is completed till he is lodged with ... mankind. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 20.)

The spark of life breathed forth from the heart of the Creator travels far to incarnate in Earth, it gains wisdom and understanding, and eventually returns with a full consciousness of itself as part of God. (White Eagle, WWE, 23.)

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