The following are teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi taken from the text Guru Vachaka Kovai, a text which is widely considered to be the most precise, systematic and authoritative collection of Sri Ramana’s spoken teachings.
I have arranged them in an order with the aim of encouraging Self-Enquiry.
I hope these verses are of help to you,
If without wasting time one starts
And keeps up steady self-enquiry,
One’s life becomes at once ennobled,
One is no more this wretched body,
And there wells up within one’s heart
A sea of bliss supreme.
Those who do not keenly seek
And recognise the Being Awareness
Shining incessant in the heart
Sink deep into delusive maya,
Thanks to the denotative knowledge
Piled up by the mounting ego.
One who has wisely chosen the straight path
Of self-enquiry can never go astray;
For like the bright, clear Sun, the Self
Reveals itself direct to whoso
Turns towards it.
What does one gain, you well may ask,
By giving up the wealth immense
Of worldly pleasure and seeking only
The benefit of true Awareness
Is the unbroken prevalence
Of peace within the heart, the bliss
Of one’s own natural being.
How piteous is the spectacle
Of people wandering in the world’s ways
Aimless, frisky like a goat’s beard
And chafing at the discipline
That leads to permanent freedom.
Barring fruitful self-enquiry
There is, for real mind-control,
No other sadhana whatsoever.
The mind may seem to be controlled
By other methods. But after a while
It will spring up again.
Since it was one’s own past effort
That now has ripened into Fate,
One can with greater present effort
Change one’s Fate.
Uninterrupted and whole-minded
Concentration on the Self,
Our true, non-dual Being, this
Is mouna, pure, supreme, the goal;
Not at all the lazy mind’s
Inertia which is but a state
Of dark illusion.
Poor seer, who suffers endlessly
Because you still perceive the object,
Not the subject, please look inward,
Not without, and taste the bliss
The Self alone is the true Eye.
Only of the Self one has
Direct immediate knowledge.
But minds averted from the Self
Look through the senses at a world
Other than the Self and think it can
Be known directly.
You pilgrims, who without discovering
What is within, proceed from place
To place, ever hovering bird-like,
Know Siva supreme is but Awareness,
Absolutely still, abiding
Centred in the Heart.
The jiva’s thirst will vanish only
When the vasanas of the frenzied mind
Die and direct experience comes
Of Pure Awareness.
If mirage water could quench thirst
Then only would knowledge indirect
Satisfy the jiva’s longing.
None can confront and overcome
The mind. Ignore it, then, as something
False, unreal. Know the Self
As the real ground and stand firm-rooted
In it. Then the mind’s movements will
Even in this worldly life one’s labours bear
No fruit without abundant faith.
Hence till one merges in the bliss
Supreme and boundless, one’s strong zeal
In sadhana should never slacken.
However great one’s former sins, if one
Repines not, sighing “A sinner am I”
But plunges straight into one’s own Being,
One reaches quick the ocean of bliss
And sports in it.
For the man of dharma seeking
Experience of the state supreme,
The heroic action needed is
To draw in the outward-darting mind
And fix it firmly in the Heart.
If the mind, turned outward and distracted,
Starts observing its own being,
Alienation ends, the vestige ego
Merges in the light of true
Awareness shining in the Heart.
They say that Fate can never bind
Those heaven-bound. What does this mean?
Not an iota of the past can touch
Those who dwell unceasingly
In the firmament of Self-Awareness,
Vast, boundless, frontierless and full.
The Self, the home of blissful Awareness,
Is an ocean vast of peace serene.
And he whose mind turns inward and dives
Deep within it, gains the infinite treasure
Of its grace.
The ever-present Self, the radiant
Gem, this is the rarest, richest
Treasure. Look within and find
And hold it fast. Your penury,
The grand illusion, source of every
Trouble on earth, will vanish forthwith.
Those who, diving deep within,
Have found the Self have nothing else
To know. And why? Because they have gone
Themselves beyond all forms and are
Awareness without form.
Only a mind one-pointed, inward turned,
Succeeds in self-enquiry. Weak,
Faltering minds, like green banana trees,
Are not fit fuel to feed this fire.
From questing inward in the heart
Comes knowledge which destroys
All false illusions. Searching books
For pure, clear wisdom is like trying
To cook and eat the picture of a gourd.
Can hunger be appeased by eating
Food cooked over a painted flame?
The end of pain, the bliss of peace,
Results from egoless awareness,
And not at all from verbal wisdom.
Never through argument, but only
By abiding in the heart as pure
Awareness, which lights up and shines
Within the mind, can one enjoy
The thrill, the throb, the bliss supreme
Of being the Self.
Undeluded by whatever else
May come and go, unwinking watch
The Self, because the little fault
Of forgetting for one moment one’s true Being
As Pure Awareness brings tremendous loss.
What we incessantly think of,
That we become. Hence, if we
Keenly seek the Self and think
Of nothing else, the malady
Of birth will cease and all thoughts end.
Bliss is the very nature of the Self.
Self is the infinitude of Bliss.
All Being is but Bliss.
Knowing this firmly, in the Self
Abide enjoying Bliss forever.