Verse 1 continued…
Ramana Maharshi then puts down a question; “How can we remember this un objectifiable, one truth”. He goes on to answer in the same breath. Remembering it is abiding in it as one’s own self.
ABIDANCE itself is REMEMBRANCE. One cannot remember it as an object. Remembering is a thought; remembering constantly is repeated thought; forgetting is also a thought. The self is not an object of remembrance and forgetfulness. The constant abidance in it as non different from one’s own self is real remembrance.
It is not mentally repeating “I am Brahman”. Instead it is a firm, unshakeable conviction of one’s own true identity. Come what may, objective experiences, within and without keep changing but the truth is apprehended as is. If there is repetition of words in the form of remembrance then it is a mind- based transaction. Any mind based transaction has a beginning and an end (it also being an action). Hence, prior to the beginning of the action and post the action, the identity of Atma and Brahman, then, has to discontinue. If this is so, the eternality of Atma will be in question. Hence, it cannot be a mind-based transaction. Continue reading
Ramana Maharshi was one of the greatest philosophers India has seen. One does not need an introduction as much has already been written about him.
He used to direct people to the nature of I, not as the body mind individuality but the very aware-full being. He would relentlessly ask his followers to enquire into the individuality by probing into the innermost recesses with a ‘Who am I’ thought.
This ‘who am I’ should not be taken as a mental, mechanical repetition. Knowledge will not dawn on a person, by forcefully exterminating thoughts and contemplating on ‘Who am I’. Man has become habituated to identifying with the body mind and ‘who am I’ enquiry by an unprepared mind will lead one nowhere.
It can provide a temporary tranquility which can be got even through listening to good music or visiting a hill station. This ‘who am I’ is nothing but claiming the content of our very being as the only truth by negating all that one is not. Once the non self is negated, there is nothing to do. The truth is apprehended as one’s own self. His advice hence was not to get lost in unnecessary thoughts and questionnaires but know oneself, as the truth behind the very ego, the individuality which he thinks he is. One is not the ego, but the very truth behind it.
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sat chit Ananda
satyam jn~Anam anantam is sometimes called as sat chit Ananda in the scriptures.
I am sat, independent existence, which provides existence to all names and forms. This existence is eternal. Just as a wave has no existence apart from water, water is the only existence of all wave forms, so also, I, sat, am the existence of all varied forms. Is-ness of all forms is existence; this unqualified existence am I.
I am awareness, chit. Any thought presupposes this awareness. Mind is rendered capable of generating thoughts due to the mere presence of consciousness. Consciousness gives me objective knowledge when thoughts are generated in the mind. It is present whether one is awake, dreaming or in deep sleep. This consciousness is me.
I am Ananda, nature of happiness. How can ananta and Ananda be the same? Whenever we experience any sensual pleasure, music, or a pleasant sight etc, what happens is, that the demanding, I , the wanting I, is satisfied temporarily; there is no more seeking for some time. That seeking being absent, I actually experience myself as being limitless. This limitlessness is fullness, where there are no inhibitions, no desires. It is my own self and in those rare moments I experience myself as the form of happiness. Happiness should not be taken as something that I experience. The absence of my limitedness is itself the manifestation of my being limitless, in that limitlessness there is no trace of divisions, sadness, etc. This Ananda, infinitude is my nature. I am Ananda. Continue reading
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Till now we have seen that Brahman is anantam satyam…limitless existence. Now let us consider the word, j~nAnam Even this word has a regular meaning and an implied meaning. The regular meaning would be ‘knowledge of something; Computer knowledge, book knowledge, pencil knowledge etc mean the knowledge of a computer, the knowledge ‘of ’ a pencil. I perceive an object, then it enters my mind, as it were, and a corresponding thought modification takes place in the mind. This thought (vRRiti) itself is cognition.
When a thought modification does not take place in the mind, meaning, when a thought is not generated, then cognition does not take place; for e.g., I might be sitting in front of the television, but might be thinking about my child. In spite of the movie running on the screen and the familiar music in the background, I am blissfully unaware of it all because the mind is generating another thought, the child thought. I can ‘know’ the movie and music only when the mind entertains the respective thoughts. Hence, knowledge of an object is its thought in the mind. Continue reading
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As we saw earlier, a word can convey a normal meaning and an implied meaning too. When I say, “I am tall”; it means this physical body is tall. In the very next moment when I say, “I am elated”; it does not mean the physical body is elated. Here, the word ‘I’ implies the mind, not the physical body. This is how, we first take the normal, routine meaning and whenever it does not make sense, we apply the alternate, implied meaning.
Let us take another example for clarity. We say “I bought water from the grocery store”. Here when we say so, we very well know that the water comes with a bottle. We cannot buy just water. So, the bottle is included in the meaning. When we say “I drank water”, we, however, do not include the bottle, we mean only the water. So, we took an implied meaning in this case. Continue reading
satyam j~nAnam anantam brahma (sat chit Ananda)
These three words are oft repeated in vedAnta. We are used to the gross world and perceive objects using our sense organs. So, we tend to take the meaning of this sentence as “There is a Brahman as an object, which I will perceive, which has the qualities of satyam, jnA~nam and anantham”. This is not the case. They are not qualities of Brahman. Qualities are possible only for objects. Brahman is the very subject without any qualities.
These words are called lakshaNa, meaning the words that indicate the nature of brahman. A word, as such is a qualifier for an object. When we say table, we are giving a name to a form with 4 legs. The name qualifies the form; but here the words are doing a different job. They are bringing out the nature (svarUpa) of Brahman by implication. Continue reading