Q: Sometimes when my meditation becomes very deep and I stay with the I Am, there comes a sense of the whole world becoming very dark together with a sense of losing myself into something really bad and dark. My body starts to react strongly as well, and it feels like some kind of primal fear arising.
This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das and put together by volunteers.
Devotee: How can any enquiry initiated by the ego reveal its own unreality?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: The ego’s phenomenal existence is transcended when you dive into the Source wherefrom arises the aham-vritti [I-concept].
D: But is not the aham-vritti only one of the three forms in which the ego manifests itself? Yoga Vasishtha and other ancient texts describe the ego as having a threefold form.
M: It is so. The ego is described as having three bodies, the gross, the subtle and the causal, but that is only for the purposes of analytical exposition. If the method of enquiry were to depend on the ego’s form, you may take it that any enquiry would become altogether impossible, because the forms the ego may assume are legion. Therefore, for purposes of jnana vichara, you have to proceed on the basis that the ego has but one form, namely that of aham-vritti.
D: But it may prove inadequate for realizing jnana.
M: Self-enquiry by following the clue of aham-vritti is just like the dog tracing its master by his scent. The master may be at some distant, unknown place, but that does not at all stand in the way of the dog tracing him. The master’s scent is an infallible clue for the animal, and nothing else, such as the dress he wears, or his build and stature etc, counts. The dog holds on to that scent undistractedly while searching for him, and finally it succeeds in tracing him.
The teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Maharshi’s Gospel. Chapter VI ‘AHAM AND AHAM-VRITTI’
In the following video are arranged powerful quotes from Sri Ramana Maharshi that take us into the heart-essence of the teaching. The aim of the recording is to bring the teachings alive. At the end of this post I have typed out the quotes featured in the video and also listed their source.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of this video:
-Be comfortable and allow the teaching quotes to wash over you and into you -As you listen to the quotes, relax, relax and relax the body and mind -As the mind relaxes more and more, and as the thoughts naturally quieten, it will be easier to put the teachings into practice -With loving heart-felt gaze towards Sri Ramana’s name and form, we can invoke his presence, and allow this to guide us at any time -If you find yourself straining, then first relax, and when the mind is calm with few thoughts, it will be easier to do self-enquiry -As the video progresses, more time is left between the quotes. Please use this time to calm the mind, feel Love for Sri Ramana and Happiness in His Presence, and put the teachings into practice -Please utilise or disregard these above tips as you see fit
Here are the quotes – they are taken from Guru Vachaka Kovai (GVK), a text that is considered to be one of the most authoritative records of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s verbal teachings, and also from ‘Who am I?’, a text that Sri Ramana wrote himself that clearly describes the path to Liberation (Moksha):
Poor seer, who suffers endlessly because you still perceive the object, not the subject, please look inward, not outwards*, and taste the bliss Of non-duality.
The only true and full awareness Is awareness of awareness. Till awareness is awareness of itself, it knows no peace at all.
The method of self-enquiry is to restrain the mind from going outside [through the senses], and fixing it always in its Source, the Self, which is known as the Heart, so that the vain ‘I’-thought will not rise again.**
From ‘Who Am I?’:
As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without any residue in the very place of their origin is non-attachment.
~Who am I?
As thoughts arise they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their origin, through inquiry.
~Who am I?
*Note in the original translation by Prof K. Swaminathan, this asterixed part of GVK verse 186 states ‘not without’. I have changed this to ‘not outwards’ to make the teaching clearer when the verse is read out loud in the video
**I created this version of GVK verse 389 myself by combining elements of two translations to (hopefully) make the meaning of the verse clearer. I hope you agree:
Prof K. Swaminathan’s translation reads as follows:
389. The method of self-enquiry is To turn the outward-going mind Back to its source, the Heart, the Self, And fix it ever there, preventing The rising of the empty ‘I’.
Michael James/Sri Sadhu Om’s translation reads as follows:
389. Restraining the mind from going outside [through the senses], and fixing it always in its Source, Self, which is known as the Heart, so that the vain ‘I’-thought will not rise again, is the Atma-Vichara [Self-enquiry].
84. Because the true Self is eternally perfect awareness-love-bliss and eternally free of all suffering, some people think there is no need for spiritual practice. Such a notion is an ego preservation strategy. The purpose of practice is not to gain the true Self. The purpose of practice is to remove the illusion of a body, a world, suffering, etc. so that what remains is only the eternal experience of the True Self.
85. In other words, those who have let the ego trick them into thinking there is no need for spiritual practice, because the True Self is eternally free of suffering, etc., are still having the experience of suffering, a body, a world, etc. Thus their experience is not consistent with their concept that the True Self is eternally free of suffering and perfectly blissful. This is an example of intellectual ‘spirituality’. This is an example of people confusing a journey through concepts, ideas, beliefs and opinions with an authentic spiritual journey. Practice leads to the direct experience of Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss
86. A journey through spiritual concepts, ideas, beliefs, teachings and opinions is a journey through illusions.
87. Practice is what is essential. It must not be a spiritual practice that is creaed by the ego for the purpose of preserving the ego.
88. With the Awareness Watching Awareness Method, the practice is the progress. The habit has been developed of always looking outward towards the seen. The Awareness Watching Awareness Method reverses this. Every time a thought arises, or the tendency to look outward, the attention is taken away from the thought and turned towards the seer.
89. Thus with the Awareness Watching Awareness Method a new habit is developed and the practice is the progress…
The above is an excerpt from the book The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss by Michael Langford. You can download a copy of the entire book here.
Self-Attention is the key. Powerful teachings quotes of Sri Ramana Maharshi arranged for deep contemplation here in this video below. Each quote is initially repeated twice to drive the teachings home and later on more time is given between the quotes to enable one to dive deeper into the Silence-Self within.
For a full transcript of the featured quotes together with source text from which they are obtained, please see the final ‘Summary Verses’ section on this link.
For more videos like this see the playlist ‘Guided Meditations’ here.
Question: Ramana Maharshi said that to do the Self Enquiry, one already must have a clear, calm mind. Otherwise he said to follow other paths first – am I right? Like Karma yoga and Bhakti yoga. But I think the Work of Byron Katie also helps to see through the beliefs we ended up with after trauma. Do you know if it’s true that, even if you inquire into the beliefs, there will always be, for example, fear stored in your subconciuousness or store consciousness? So even If you keep inquiring into the beliefs after trauma there will always be pain stored in the body and that this can only be dealt with by energetic bodywork or Eye Movement Desenzatition and Reprocessing (EMDR)? And keep on doing Self Enquiry of course.
Tom: the key trauma is the ego, ie. the idea ‘I am a limited entitiy (ie. the body-mind)’. This only goes with self-enquiry. Self-enquiry cuts the trunk of the tree of suffering. Other remedies attack the leaves and branches. Both are valid: one alleviates suffering, the other cures it once and for all. Theoretically, one can go straight for self-enquiry, but for many I come across, it seems that trimming the leaves and branches need to be done first (I often help people with this too) to quieten, de-traumatise and purify the mind. This is not actually the case, but it seems that way due to the distorting effect of the ego.