There is a quote I often see attributed to Sri Ramana Maharshi as follows:
‘There is neither creation nor destruction, neither destiny nor free will, neither path nor achievement. This is the final truth.’
This verse is actually a mistranslation of a versethat is found in several vedanta scriptures including two Upanishads, the writings of Gaudapada and in Shankara’s writings too. Here is how the verse appears in these texts:
‘There is neither destruction (Nirodha) nor creation (Utpatti), none in bondage (Bandha) and none practicing disciplines (Sadhaka). There is none seeking Liberation (Mumukshu) and none liberated (Mukta). This is the ultimate or highest truth (Paramartha).’
Sri Ramana Maharshi did himself write a version of this verse, which has been captured in verse B28 in Guru Vachaka Kovai (it can be found after verse 1227), which reads as follows:
There is no creation, no destruction. None bound, none seeking, striving, Gaining freedom. Know that this Is the Truth supreme.
As far as I can tell, the mistranslated version of the text, which erroneously refers to destiny and free will, was popularised by Ramesh Balsekar and itself was a quotation from a book by Wei Wu Wei called ‘The Open Secret’. Ramesh often placed prominence on the concepts of destiny and free will in his teachings, so perhaps this was why he gravitated towards this version (ie. mistranslation) of the verse?
Admittedly the verses are not all too different from each other, but they are different nonetheless. I’ll let you decide on the significance of these differences for yourself.
Give everything to God. We give everything to God and what’s left is what we are. What remains is love, love in your heart. The tranquility that feels whole that feels right, it feels gentle, it feels right. Feels like home, that’s what we are looking for.
This video was recorded live during a Satsang meeting with Tom Das.
Q: Would you say it’s a choice to pretend I am not Brahman ie. to believe I am the body mind?
Tom: This question is being asked from the ‘I am the body-mind’ point of view. In truth you are Brahman, you have always/will always be Brahman, there is only Brahman, there is no ignorance. The mind may ‘choose’ to identify as Brahman or as the body-mind, but you are not the mind either way.
Q: Does anything stop me from ending all egoic tendencies right now?
Tom: Egoic tendencies are based upon the ‘I am the body-mind notion’
Q. Would you say ignorance is a moment to moment choice?
Tom: Ignorance is not real, so there is no moment to moment choice – only from the point of view of the mind is there this choice – which is an illusory/ignorant point of view ie. to say ignorance is a moment to moment choice is to identify with the body-mind.
Question: OK, you mentioned total forgiveness? That’s confused me. Why do you say that?
Tom: Well everything is just unconditionally accepted, choicelessly. That’s just the way things are. Whatever happens is whatever happens, and in that sense it is totally accepted regardless of what the body-mind thinks of it.
You could say our naturally awareness accepts and ’embraces’ everything within that happens within our awareness. In that sense there is constantly total forgiveness, or total love, not the emotional love or forgiveness, though these phenomena tend to arise more frequently, but the choiceless acceptance/love/forgiveness of whatever is happening.
In non-dual teachings, the basic teaching is that the sense of self that we presume ourselves to be is a fiction. What remains after this is seen is a mysterious and ordinary sense of ‘divine oneness’. One ramification of this teaching is that we can learn to see that we are not the authors of our own actions even though we appear to be. This is known as non-doership. This teaching is often stated explicitly in non-dual traditions such as Advaita Vedanta, Zen, Dzogchen and Taoism.
In theistic traditions like much of Hinduism and the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, non-duality is still expressed, but its form often differs. Continue reading →