not different

The Self proclaims itself at all times as ‘I, I’.

It is self-luminous. It is here. All this is that.

We are in that only. Being in it, why search for it?



Everything has been like it is forever. There is a sense of being different from all that is around me and this is the basic characteristic of dissatisfaction, the ‘hair in the soup’, suffering or also called bondage. It is only an idea: there is the world and here am I. To say ‘only’ makes it sound easy to correct, but our lives are what we see through the lens of the all of the accumulated ideas of humanity. Our lives are all of the sequence of events since THE BEGINNING solidified into what we see through our mind’s eye.

Has anyone ever lived without this sense of ‘I am different from the world round me’? Yes, there have been several but what they tell us seems to be similar to a person with eyesight telling a blind person about the color red. Ramana Maharshi is one of those:

Ramana in Question and Answer with a visitor:

Q: There must be something that I can do to reach this state.

A: The conception that there is a goal and a path to it is wrong. We are the goal or peace always. To get rid of the notion that we are not peace is all that is required.

Q: All books say that the guidance of a Guru is necessary.

A: The Guru will say only what I am saying now. He will not give you anything you have not already got. It is impossible for anyone to get what he has not got already. Even if he gets any such thing, it will go as it came. What comes will also go. What always is will alone remain. The Guru cannot give you anything new, which you don’t have already. Removal of the notion that we have not realized the Self is all that is required. We are always the Self only we don’t realize it.

We go round and round in search of atma [Self] saying, ‘Where is atma? Where is it?’ till at last the dawn of jnana drishti [vision of knowledge] is reached, and we say, ‘This is atma this is me.’ We should acquire that vision. When once that vision is reached, there will be no attachments even if one mixes with the world and moves about in it.

When once you put on shoes your feet do not feel the pain of walking on any number of stones or thorns on the way. You walk about without fear or care, even if there are mountains on the way. In the same way, everything will be natural to those who have attained jnana drishti (the vision of reality). What is there apart from one’s own Self?

Q: The natural state can be known only after all this worldly vision subsides. But how is it to subside?

A: If the mind subsides, the whole world subsides. Mind is the cause of all this. If that subsides, the natural state presents itself.

The Self proclaims itself at all times as ‘I, I’. It is self-luminous. It is here. All this is that. We are in that only. Being in it, why search for it? The ancients say: ‘Making the vision absorbed in jnana one sees the world as Brahman.’’

(source: Be As You Are, The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, David Godman, p. 21)


My Comment: We are often told that the ‘I’ that we usually refer to is not who or what we really are. Ramana makes it clear that that statement is only part of the truth. We are that ‘I’, but only when it completes itself by its connection to the ‘I’ of the Self. We then have the self as the limited entity that feels itself different and separate from the Self and so is incomplete in its existence. Something has interposed itself between this local, personal self and the Self as intelligent infinity that is in these myriad forms we perceive as ‘the world’. Many such as Ramana say that it is an insubstantial ghost that has inserted itself into our perception of ourself so that we no longer perceive self-Self, or ‘I,I’ as our reality, but merely the small ‘I’ and that this small ‘I’ divorced from the big ‘I’ is void of all substance. Thus we feel pervasive dissatisfaction in varying degrees up to acute suffering in our experience of this existence. In the ancient metaphor of the snake and the rope is this entire wisdom: At dusk you walk on a path and see a snake. You are alarmed! Then a friend comes with a light and you see it is only a snake. Never again will you mistake that rope for a snake.





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