Ramana Maharshi: seeing a Lion in a Dream

ramana-maharshi face
Sri Ramana Maharshi

That questioner said, “The ancients say that for a person who wants to know that real state sadhana, sravana, manana, and nididhyasana are absolutely necessary till the very end.”

Tom: traditionally the means to liberation is said by vedantins to consist of sravana (listening to the teachings), manana (contemplating upon the teachings) and nididhyasana (meditation).

Bhagavan replied, “They are necessary only to get rid of the various things that come from outside and that too for purposes of sadhana only, but not for realising the Self. One’s own self is there at all times and in all places.

Sravana, etc., are to be resorted to only to get rid of external influences, but if they are regarded as the most important things they will be the cause of the development of the feelings of ahankara [egotism or doership], such as ‘I am a pandit’ (learned man), ‘I am a great man’ and the like. That is a big samsara [cause of suffering]. It is difficult to get rid of it later on. It is bigger than a wild elephant. It will not yield ordinarily.

Tom: Ramana states here that the Self is ever-present and ever-realised. There is no need for sravana, manana or nididhyasana for realisation, only to remove ignorance. Sravana, manana or nididhyasana do not lead to Self-Knowledge or Realisation! Realisation is always present! Conversely, if this is not understood and it is thought that sravana, etc will lead to realisation, this will cause immense suffering as the sense of ‘me’ is perpetuated.

“For that wild elephant, it is said that Guru Kataksham (the Grace of the Guru) is like seeing a lion in its dream,” said the questioner.

“That is true. If an elephant sees a lion in its dream, it wakes up startled and will not sleep again that day for fear that the lion might appear again in a dream. In the same way in a man’s life which is also akin to a dream, it is not Guru Kataksham alone, but also sravana, manana, nididhyasana, etc., that are akin to the sight of a lion in a dream.

Tom: Ramana here agrees that the guru’s grace is like a dream lion which wakes up the elephant who is dreaming of it.

…With some surprise, that questioner said, “Are sravana etc. and Guru Kataksha akin to dreams?”

“Yes, that is so. For those who realise the truth, everything is akin to a dream…

… When you are able to understand your state which had been existent all the time, you will then understand that all the rest is like a dream. When that is known, the feeling that the Guru is different from you will disappear.

Tom: Ramana states that both the guru’s grace and the teaching are both like dreams. You are That!

The above were excerpts taken from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 18th May 1947.

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