After hearing the Malayalam version of Upadesa Sara chanted, Mr. Ramachandra Iyer of Nagercoil asked in a characteristically unsophisticated way about the mind, concentration and control. The Master said that the mind is only identity of the Self with the body. It is a false ego that is created; it creates false phenomena in its turn, and appears to move in them; all these are false. The Self is the only Reality. If the false identity vanishes the persistence of the Reality becomes apparent. It does not mean that Reality is not here and now. It is always there and eternally the same. It is also in everyone’s experience. For everyone knows that he is. “Who is he?” Subjectively, “Who am I?” The false ego is associated with objects; this ego itself is its own object. Objectivity is the falsity. Subject is alone the Reality. Do not confound yourself with the object, namely the body. This gives rise to the false ego, consequently of the world and your movements therein with the resulting misery. Do not think yourself to be this, that or anything; to be so and so, or to be such and such. Only leave off the falsity. The Reality will reveal itself. The scriptures say that the Self is nityasiddha, ever present, and yet speak of the removal of ajnana. If Self is (nitya) always and (siddha) present, how can there be ajnana? For whom is the ajnana? These are contradictory. But such statements are for guiding the earnest seeker in the right way. He does not readily understand the only Truth if mentioned in plain words as in natwam naham neme janadhipah (not thou, nor I, nor these kings ...). Sri Krishna declared the Truth, but Arjuna could not grasp it. Later Krishna plainly says that people confound Him with the body, whereas in reality He was not born nor will He die. Still Arjuna requires the whole Gita for the Truth to be made clear to him.
Look, the Self is only Be-ing, not being this or that. It is simple Being. Be - and there is an end of the ignorance. Enquire for whom is the ignorance. The ego arises when you wake up from sleep. In deep sleep you do not say that you are sleeping and that you are going to wake up or that you have been sleeping so long. But still you are there. Only when you are awake you say that you have slept. Your wakefulness comprises sleep also in it. Realise your pure Be-ing. Let there be no confusion with the body. The body is the result of thoughts. The thoughts will play as usual, but you will not be affected. You were not concerned with the body when asleep; so you can always remain.
Mr. Ekanatha Rao: How can anyone reconcile such activity with the wage-earning which is a necessity for worldly people?
M.: Actions form no bondage. Bondage is only the false notion. “I am the doer.” Leave off such thoughts and let the body and senses play their role, unimpeded by your interference.
A Malayalee visitor expressed his concern for the misery of the world and his opinion that ‘Quest for Self’ looked selfish in the midst of such suffering environments. His solution appeared to be selfless work.
M.: The sea is not aware of its wave. Similarly the Self is not aware of its ego.
Note: This makes clear what Sri Bhagavan means by quest for the source of ego.
A visitor asked Sri Bhagavan, “You are Bhagavan. So you would know when I shall get jnana. Tell me when I shall be a jnani.” Sri Bhagavan replied, “If I am Bhagavan there is no one besides the Self - therefore no jnani or ajnani. If otherwise I am as good as you are and know as much as yourself. Either way I cannot answer your question.”
Some men asked the Master questions which ultimately resolved themselves into one, that ‘I’ is not perceptible however much they might struggle.
The Master’s reply was in the usual strain: “Who is it that says that ‘I’ is not perceptible? Is there an ‘I’ ignorant, and an ‘I’ elusive? Are there two ‘I’s in the same person? Ask yourself these questions. It is the mind which says that ‘I’ is not perceptible. Where is that mind from? Know the mind. You will find it a myth. King Janaka said, ‘I have discovered the thief who had been ruining me so long. I will now deal with him summarily. Then I shall be happy.’ Similarly it will be with others.”
D.: How to know the ‘I’?
M.: The ‘I-I’ is always there. There is no knowing it. It is not a new knowledge acquired. What is new and not here and now will be evanescent only. The ‘I’ is always there. There is obstruction to its knowledge and it is called ignorance. Remove the ignorance and knowledge shines forth. In fact this ignorance or even knowledge is not for Atman. They are only overgrowths to be cleared off. That is why Atman is said to be beyond knowledge and ignorance. It remains as it naturally is - that is all.
D.: There is no perceptible progress in spite of our attempts.
M.: Progress can be spoken of in things to be obtained afresh. Whereas here, it is the removal of ignorance and not acquisition of knowledge. What kind of progress can be expected in the quest for the Self?
D.: How to remove the ignorance?
M.: While lying in bed in Tiruvannamalai you dream in your sleep that you find yourself in another town. The scene is real to you. Your body remains here on your bed in a room. Can a town enter your room, or could you have left this place and gone elsewhere, leaving the body here? Both are impossible. Therefore your being here and seeing another town are both unreal. They appear real to the mind. The ‘I’ of the dream soon vanishes, then another ‘I’ speaks of the dream. This ‘I’ was not in the dream. Both the ‘I’s are unreal. There is the substratum of the mind which continues all along, giving rise to so many scenes. An ‘I’ rises forth with every thought and with its disappearance that ‘I’ disappears too. Many ‘I’s are born and die every moment. The subsisting mind is the real trouble. That is the thief according to Janaka. Find him out and you will be happy.
Sri Bhagavan read out, from the Prabuddha Bharata, Kabir’s saying that all know that the drop merges into the ocean but few know that the ocean merges into the drop. This is para bhakti, said he.