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.
Unshakable abidance in Brahman as being non different from oneself is, in Sanskrit, known as sanniShTHA. Meditation on Brahman is abidance in Brahman without objectification.
The mind is useful to comprehend things that are other than it. Only objects can be grasped by the mind and organs. Atma is the very principle due to which mind, organs and objects exist; how can the mind know it? Atma is not some ‘thing’ different in creation. The unreal world, body and mind are in it. It is one, homogenous, all pervading principle which cannot fall in the grasp of the mind and the organs.
The mind is capable of contemplating only on either the known or unknown objects. Both known and unknown objects fall under the category of knowable. Hence, knowable implies objectifiable. Atma being the very essence of the objects and the mind, it cannot fall under the category of knowable. Hence, it is not knowable; meaning; it is not an object but the very subject. How can one know the subject? One IS the subject.
Ramana Maharshi has beautifully described remembrance of Brahman, not as a transaction done by the mind, in terms of knowing and constantly remembering, but as the very Abidance in it, as it being oneself. There is no other remembrance apart from being non different with the core.
In the kena Upanishad, the student approaches the guru and asks him what is that principle in whose presence, under whose direction, the mind functions, the prANAs function, the speech is uttered etc. Evidently, he to an extent knew that the body functions due to the presence of a higher power which by itself is uninvolved in actions. To gain clarity, he asks such a question.
To this question the guru replies that Atma is the ear of the ear, mind of the mind, speech of the speech etc. Atma is something which cannot fall in the grasp of words. So, he provided an indirect answer. He cannot say “there is this object due to which the mind functions; the prANAs function etc, since Atma is not an object”. He implies in his answer that Atma is un-objectifiable and is the essence of the mind, the ear, eyes, speech etc.
He goes on to explain the student that it cannot be objectified; cannot be known by the mind, known by words, speech etc. The uniform principle behind all objects is the Atma which is the truth of oneself. He thus brought out the non difference of the Atma and Brahman in an indirect way.
An aspirant, many times in his journey, starts looking out for some Self somewhere. Verses such as this one are reminders that there is no search required at all. All that is needed is to uncover the ignorance and discover the truth within, here and now.