everything you know about spirituality is worthless here.
If you truly want the truth, you must be willing to discard everything
you think you know about it... Every expectation that you might have,
must be thrown in the trash. They are no good to you now. Perhaps at
one time they were. Ramana speaks often of the usefulness of those
teachings to get you as far as you have gotten: to lead you on, to
tempt you. But here and now, they are of no use. None.
If you enter into this with the intention of somehow getting something
from it, you condemn yourself to some unpleasant times.
The intention that is required of you (and this is all that is required
of you) is the utterly serious determination to know the actuality of
your identity. Nothing else. Not the intention to gain enlightenment,
not the intention to gain realization, not the intention to be finished
with ignorance and suffering. The desire to be finished with suffering
is what got you as far as you are now. Now that can be thrown away.
Ramana asks us to find ego, to find “I”. And who is it that is to
perform this investigation? Ego. It is ego that does everything. It is
ego that is the motor, the engine, by which the entire universe is
manifest. And it is the belief in ego as our identity that is the
source of all suffering, all hatefulness, all murder, all betrayal, all
misery whatsoever. So let ego find ego. This is the invitation of
Ramana Maharshi. Let ego, instead of figuring everything else out,
figure out itself. Let it find its own self.
Ramana tells us that the purpose of your life is to discover the
actuality of your identity. There is no purpose whatsoever for you
other than that. And it is my experience that, truthfully, this is the
way we spend our lives, although we usually do not know that we are
What is obvious here is that there is absolutely nothing you can do to
attain the realization of the truth of your being. You are that. You
are that, it cannot be attained. Realization, enlightenment, the truth
is unattainable. Not because it is unreachable by you, but because it
no experience can touch the constant conscious realization of the truth
of your being. This has nothing to do with good experience or bad
experience. Nothing whatsoever.
This conscious realization of the truth of your being is the
investigation, it is the inward-turned mind. Begun with great effort,
Ramana promises that if you persist, if you hold your attention inward
always; if, when the inward attention breaks (as it will) and you find
yourself digging around in the muck of comparison; if, when you find
yourself doing that, you immediately — without justifying, explaining,
understanding or doing anything whatsoever about the movement outward —
pull your attention back inward, Ramana promises that (however long
this effort seems to last) it will end in its disappearance, in its
dissolution, in the permanent inwardness of the mind. He speaks of it
like this: if you bring the mind’s attention within the zone of the
heart of your being, there is a magnetism there. There is a pull there
that will catch you, and all your efforts will be finished.
Ramana promises that a) the actual entry into the core of ego is the
dissolution of ego, which does not mean that ego disappears; and b) if
you try for nothing other than this, with all your heart, you will be
successful, you will be unable to fail.
Ramana says that the only difference between the jnani and the ajnani,
between the realized mind and the ignorant mind, is point of view.
So if you find yourself saying, “Oh, I got it, everything is
different”, find out who got it.
Ramana said that the only thing, absolutely the only thing that is
worthwhile to know and to remember is that there is nothing but the
self. There is nothing but self.
And you cannot find it by looking at this rose. You can find it only by
looking at the seer of the rose, the perceiver of the rose, the lover
or hater of the rose.
Who are you? Nothing else is of any importance. Who are you, really?
What do I speak of when I utter the word “I”? What speaks “I”? I found
it helpful in the beginning to say “I” again and again, and try to
catch the spot from whence this word appears.
We are not here for bliss. Bliss is great, but it comes and goes. The
bliss that you are is permanent. The bliss that you are is that in
which bliss and agony alike play. It is all in your intention. It is
all in what you want. If you want bliss, the experience of bliss,
Who am I? For whom is this bliss? For whom is this confusion? Who am I?
Find your self!
It [keeping your attention inside] is the hardest thing you will ever
do, in the beginning. The promise is that if you maintain the effort,
the effort will disappear. And that is my promise as well. But it is
the hardest thing you will ever do. It goes against everything.
It may be that huge emotions will come. Maybe not. No one can tell.
These matters are entirely according to the predispositions of the
individual. It may be that huge experiences will come, good things and
bad. Maybe not. Your job is to keep attention inward, regardless of the
emotion or the lack of it.
If your intention is absolutely “I am going to find myself”; you cannot
do that wrong. Really. If your intention is “I am going to look within,
instead of without,” you cannot do it wrong. It is not possible.
The sleepiness is called manolaya, which is the kind of calming of the
mind, the dumbing down, the deadness. It is often mistaken to be the
state that is sought, because there is nothing happening. There is a
sleepiness and a disappearance of concern. The other state, which is
the sahaja samadhi, is the state that she described, which is clarity
There comes a point when the effort of it disappears. When the effort
to keep vigil dissolves, and the vigil is your ordinary state of
When I went to my first retreat with Gangaji, I listened to her and I
said, “Oh my God, I have to give up everything I ever thought I knew
about anything.” I had invested a lot of years, as most of us have, in
developing my concept of what spirituality was all about. And I
wrestled with my thoughts that night. I wanted to run away. And it is
almost like the same experience in here. In this space that I was in,
it is like, “Oh my God, I have to give up everything I thought this
was.” And in that, I also find freedom; because it is in the
conceptualization of things, and what you think it all is, that you are
trapped. [note from audience member]
I can reassure you, I can tell you that the decision-making that makes
this life run will quite happily take place, no matter whether you are
looking for your self or not. The only difference is that, as long as
you are persuaded that “you” are the decider, you will suffer. And as
long as you think yourself to be the decider, the only question worth
asking is “Who am I?” Where is this decider to be found?
Ramana tells us, in speaking of the distinction between the real and
the unreal, “Here is how you tell the difference between the real and
the unreal: everything that is seen is unreal.”
The thing about insight, however, is that insight is a two-edged sword.
It spontaneously appears and it can be very useful. For the one to whom
the insight appears, it can be, “Ah, I never suspected that!” All
insights, however, are limited and therefore are not descriptive of the
Real. As an insight occurs, the invitation (in the instant that it
appears, the moment that it penetrates consciousness) is to dismiss it,
to let it go. No insight is the truth. Insights are gifts of grace that
are very sweet and very powerful, and they can be extremely powerful in
cutting through previously-held misunderstandings. But as soon as it
does its job, it’s history.
Ramana tells us that investigation is realization. I said this morning,
I will say it again, I will probably say it 15 million times before I
die: the investigation has no goal. The investigation itself is what
you have always wanted. And every second spent with the mind
inward-turned on its own source, is a second spent consciously
realized. If it is persisted in, gradually the time spent with the mind
going outward diminishes. And the time spent with the mind stopped and
happy becomes permanent.
But every second spent with the mind on its source is a second spent in
the conscious realization of the nature of your being. The
investigation is the realization. It is not the means to realization.
And that will stop the mind.
The idea that you are in charge of how this form meets the needs of
others is arrogance. The idea that you are the one who is responsible
for determining that just the right thing is said, or just the right
thing is given, is arrogance... And that arrogance, when it is seen, is
the opportunity to meet the arrogance deeper. Find out for whom is this
Never try to make yourself better or more responsive. Just keep your
attention on your self. And let this form and life be used perfectly as
it is being used. It is not your job to decide how you should be used.
Really. You have no idea. Well, maybe you do have an idea, but ideas