Q: Then it is only idea – that which I can create and control?
Ramana: Everything is like that.
In this dialog with a visitor Ramana touches upon several points that emphasize the nature of what we see as ‘the world’. We often hear that all of existence is actually a holographic projection, but who is the projector? Here as well, Ramana concludes that the essential question is “Who is the seer?”
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
D = Devotee / M = Ramana
D.:Are the gods Iswara or Vishnu and their
sacred regions Kailasa or Vaikuntha real?
M.: As real as you are in this body.
D.: Do they possess a vyavahara satya, i.e., phenomenal existence,
like my body? Or are they fictions like the horn of a hare?
M.: They do exist.
D.: If so, they must be somewhere. Where are they?
M.: Persons who have seen them say that they exist somewhere. So
we must accept their statement.
D.: Where do they exist?
M.: In you.
D.: Then it is only idea – that which I can create and control?
M.: Everything is like that.
D.: But I can create pure fictions e.g., hare’s horn or only part
truths, e.g. mirage, while there are also facts irrespective of my
imagination. Do the gods Iswara or Vishnu exist like that?
D.: Is He subject to pralaya (cosmic dissolution)?
M.: Why? Man becoming aware of the Self transcends cosmic
dissolution (pralaya) and becomes liberated (mukta). Why not
God (Iswara) who is infinitely wiser and abler?
D.: Do devas and pisachas (devils) exist similarly?
D.: How are we to conceive of Supreme Consciousness (Chaitanya
M.: As that which is.
D.: Should it be thought of as Self-Effulgent?
M.: It transcends light and darkness. An individual (jiva) sees both.
The Self enlightens the individual to see light and darkness.
D.: Should it be realised as “I am not the body, nor the agent, nor the
M.: Why these thoughts? Do we now think that we are men, etc.? By
not thinking so, do we cease to be men?
D.: Should one realise it then by the scriptural text such as “There
are no differences here”.
M.: Why even that?
D.: If we think “I am the real,” will it do?
M.: All thoughts are inconsistent with realisation. The correct state is
to exclude thoughts of ourselves and all other thoughts. Thought
is one thing and realisation is quite another.
D.: Is it not necessary or at least advantageous to render the body
invisible in one’s spiritual progress?
M.: Why do you think of that? Are you the body?
D.: No. But advanced spirituality must effect a change in the body.
Is it not so?
M.: What change do you desire in the body, and why?
D.: Is not invisibility evidence of advanced Wisdom (jnana)?
M.: In that case, all those who spoke, who wrote and who passed their
lives in the sight of others must be considered ignorant (ajnanis)!
D.: But the sages Vasistha and Valmiki possessed such powers?
M.: It might have been their fate (prarabdha) to develop such powers
(siddhis) side by side with their wisdom (jnana). Why should you
aim at that which is not essential but apt to prove a hindrance to
wisdom (jnana)? Does the Sage (Jnani) feel oppressed by his body
M.: A hypnotist can render himself suddenly invisible. Is he therefore
a Sage (Jnani)?
M.: Visibility and invisibility refer to a seer. Who is that seer? Solve
that first. Other matters are unimportant.