Misses Gulbai and Shirinbai Byramjee, two Parsi ladies, were asking questions round one central point. All their questions amounted to one.
"I understand that the Self is beyond the ego. My knowledge is theoretical and not practical. How shall I gain practical realisation of the Self?"
M.: Realisation is nothing to be got afresh. It is already there. All that is necessary is to be rid of the thought: "I have not realised."
D.: Then one need not attempt it.
M.: No. Stillness of mind or peace is realisation. There is no moment when the Self is not.
So long as there is doubt or the feeling of non-realisation, attempt must be made to rid oneself of these thoughts.
The thoughts are due to identification of the Self with the non-self. When the non-self disappears the Self alone remains. To make room anywhere it is enough that things are removed from there. Room is not brought in afresh. Nay, more room is there even when things cramp the space in the room.
Absence of thoughts does not mean a blank. There must be one to know the blank. Knowledge and ignorance are of the mind. They are born of duality. But the Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance. It is light itself. There is no necessity to see the Self with another Self. There are no two selves. What is not Self is non-self. The non-self cannot see the Self. The Self has no sight or hearing. It lies beyond these - all alone, as pure consciousness.
A woman, with her necklace round her neck, imagines that it has been lost and goes about searching for it, until she is reminded of it by a friend; she has created her own sense of loss, her own anxiety of search and then her own pleasure of recovery. Similarly the Self is all along there, whether you search for it or not. Again just as the woman feels as if the lost necklace has been regained, so also the removal of ignorance and the cessation of false identification reveal the Self which is always present - here and now. This is called realisation. It is not new. It amounts to elimination of ignorance and nothing more.
Blankness is the evil result of searching the mind. The mind must be cut off, root and branch. See who the thinker is, who the seeker is. Abide as the thinker, the seeker. All thoughts will disappear.
D.: Then there will be the ego - the thinker.
M.: That ego is pure Ego purged of thoughts. It is the same as the Self. So long as false identification persists doubts will persist, questions will arise, there will be no end of them. Doubts will cease only when the non-self is put an end to. That will result in realisation of the Self. There will remain no other there to doubt or ask. All these doubts should be solved within oneself. No amount of words will satisfy. Hold the thinker. Only when the thinker is not held do objects appear outside or doubts arise in the mind.
Language is only a medium for communicating one’s thoughts to another. It is called in only after thoughts arise; other thoughts arise after the ‘I-thought’ rises; the ‘I-thought’ is the root of all conversation. When one remains without thinking one understands another by means of the universal language of silence.
Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words.
What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known in a trice in Silence, or in front of Silence - e.g., Dakshinamurti, and his four disciples.That is the highest and most effective language.
There arose a doubt if 'I-I' consciousness be the same as nirvikalpa samadhi or anything anterior to it.
Sri Bhagavan said that the tiny hole in the Heart remains always closed, but it is opened by vichara with the result that 'I-I' consciousness shines forth. It is the same as samadhi.
D.: What is the difference between fainting and sleep?
M.: Sleep is sudden and overpowers the person forcibly. A faint is slower and there is a tingle of resistance kept up. Realisation is possible in a faint and impossible in sleep.
D.: What is the state just before death?
M.: When a person gasps for breath it indicates that the person is unconscious of this body; another body has been held and the person swings to and fro. While gasping there is a more violent gasp at intervals and that indicates the oscillation between the two bodies due to the present attachment not having been completely snapped. I noticed it in the case of my mother and of Palaniswami.
D.: Does the new body involved in that state represent the next re-incarnation of the person?
M.: Yes. While gasping the person is in something like a dream, not aware of the present environment.
(It must be remembered that Sri Bhagavan had been with His mother from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until she passed away. He was all along holding her head with one hand, the other hand placed on her bosom. What does it signify? He Himself said later that there was a struggle between Himself and His mother until her spirit reached the Heart.
Evidently the soul passes through a series of subtle experiences, and Sri Bhagavan’s touch generates a current which turns the soul back from its wandering into the Heart.
The samskaras, however, persist and a struggle is kept up between the spiritual force set up by His touch and the innate samskaras, until the latter are entirely destroyed and the soul is led into the Heart to rest in eternal Peace, which is the same as Liberation.
Its entry into the Heart is signified by a peculiar sensation perceptible to the Mahatma - similar to the tinkling of a bell.
When Maharshi attended on Palaniswami on his death-bed, He took away His hand after the above signal. But Palaniswami’s eyes opened immediately, signifying that the spirit had escaped through them, thereby indicating a higher rebirth, but not Liberation.
Having once noticed it with Palaniswami, Maharshi continued touching His mother for a few minutes longer - even after the signal of the soul passing into the Heart - and thus ensured her Liberation. This was confirmed by the look of perfect peace and composure on her features).