This blog provides a little background about this great Sage, and a list of 225 spiritual truths in Ramana Maharshi’s own words.
Ramana Maharshi was known throughout India and further afield in the last century as a great sage and his presence graced the renowned sacred Arunachala hill. His mostly silent and peaceful presence and powerful gaze changed the lives of the many who came into his presence. He encouraged people to look within and decide whether they were actually the body or the changeless eternal self within. Many people were led to experience this inner self as the same self behind all awareness, above the transient mind, emotions, and body.
He was born to an ordinary family. This is how his spontaneous self-realization is said to have occurred.
‘In his seventeenth year, in full health and in normal waking state he was suddenly overwhelmed with the fear of death and fully convinced that death was imminent. The inexplicable feeling would not leave so the boy began to ponder on the meaning of death. He was alone in his upper story room at the time so he decided to act out death and inquire into the meaning of it. He laid down with his arms stiffly at his sides as if dead, held his breath and said to himself; “Now death has come but what does it mean? What is it that is dying? The body dies and is carried off to the cremation ground and reduced to ashes. But with the death of the body, am I dead? Am I the body? This body is now silent and inert but I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the ‘I’ within me, apart from the body. So I am the Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means that I am the deathless Spirit”.
The awareness of this knowledge took full possession of him, not at the level of mere mental awareness but at the deeper level of complete spiritual self-awareness. He suddenly became the Spirit and knew himself as That, no longer identifying himself as merely the body form that had been called Venkataraman. [His birth name] Self realization was instantaneous, complete, and irreversible. His ego was lost in a flood of pure Self awareness.’
(Thanks to: http://www.cosmicharmony.com/Sp/Ramana/Ramana.htm)
Sri Ramana Maharshi – 225 Spiritual Truths
1. The mind is nothing but the thought I
2. Thoughts arise because of the thinker.
3. The thinker is the ego, which if sought will automatically vanish.
4. Without consciousness, time and space do not exist; they appear within Consciousness but have no reality of their own.
5. It is like a screen on which all this is cast as pictures and move as in a cinema show.
6. The Absolute Consciousness alone is our real nature.
7. Grace is within you; Grace is the Self.
8. Grace is not something to be acquired from others. If it is external, it is useless. All that is necessary is to know its existence in you.
9. You are never out of its operation.
10. The mind cannot seek the mind.
11. You ignore what is real and hold on to that which is unreal, then try to find what it is. You think you are the mind and, therefore, ask how it is to be controlled.
12. If the mind exists, it can be controlled, but it does not. Understand this by inquiry.
13. Seek the real, the Self.
14. The Eternal is not born nor does it die.
15. We confound appearance with Reality. Appearance carries its end in itself.
16. What is it that appears anew?
17. If you cannot find it, surrender unreservedly to the substratum of appearances; then Reality will be what remains.
18. Reality is simply loss of the ego.
19. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity.
20. Because the ego has no real existence, it will automatically vanish, and Reality will shine forth by itself in all its glory. This is the direct method.
21. All other methods retain the ego. In those paths so many doubts arise, and the eternal question remains to be tackled. But in this method the final question is the only one and is raised from the very beginning.
22. No practices (sadhanas) are even necessary for this quest.
23. Your duty is to Be, and not to be this or that.
24. I am That I Am sums up the whole truth; the method is summarized in Be Still.
25. The state we call Realization is simply being one’s self, not knowing anything or becoming anything.
26. If one has realized, one is that which alone is and which alone has always been. One cannot describe that state, but only be That. Of course, we loosely talk of Self-realization for want of a better term.
27. There is no help in changing your environment.
28. The obstacle is the mind, which must be overcome, whether at home or in the forest. If you can do it in the forest, why not in the home? Therefore, why change the environment?
29. The cause of misery is not in life without; it is within you as the ego.
30. You impose limitations upon yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them.
31. Why attribute to the happenings in life the cause of misery, which really lies within you? What happiness can you get from anything extraneous to yourself? When you get it, how long will it last?
32. The body itself is a thought.
33. Be as you really are.
34. There are no stages in Realization or degrees in Liberation.
35. There are no levels of Reality; there are only levels of experience for the individual.
36. If anything can be gained that was not present before, it can also be lost, whereas the Absolute is eternal, here and now.
37. It is not a matter of becoming but of Being.
38. Remain aware of yourself and all else will be known.
39. One comes into existence for a certain purpose.
40. That purpose will be accomplished whether one considers oneself the actor or not.
41. Everything is predetermined.
42. But one is always free not to identify oneself with the body and not to be affected by the pleasure and pain associated with its activities.
43. Engage yourself in the living present. The future will take care of itself.
44. Find out who is subject to free will or predestination and abide in that state.
45. Then both are transcended. That is the only purpose in discussing these questions. To whom do such questions present themselves?
46. Discover that and be at peace.
47. Your true nature is that of infinite spirit.
48. The feeling of limitation is the work of the mind.
49. When the mind unceasingly investigates its own nature, it transpires that there is no such thing as mind.
50. This is the direct path for all.
51. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought I first rises, one would discover that it rises in the heart; that is the place of the mind’s origin.
52. Grace is always present.
53. You imagine it is something somewhere high in the sky, far away, and has to descend. It is really inside you, in your Heart, and the moment you effect subsidence or merger of the mind into its Source, grace rushes forth, sprouting as from a spring within you.
54. You speak as if you are here, and the Self is somewhere else and you had to go and reach it.
55. But in fact the Self is here and now, and you are always It.
56. It is like being here and asking people the way to the ashram, then complaining that each one shows a different path and asking which to follow.
57. The realized person weeps with the weeping, laughs with the laughing, plays with the playful, sings with those who sing, keeping time to the song.
58. What does he lose?
59. His presence is like a pure, transparent mirror. It reflects our image exactly as we are. It is we who play the several parts in life and reap the fruits of our actions. How is the mirror or the stand on which it is mounted affected? Nothing affects them, as they are mere supports.
60. The Consciousness of I is the subject of all of our actions.
61. Inquiring into the true nature of that Consciousness and remaining as oneself is the way to understand one’s true nature.
62. All that is required to realize the Self is to Be Still.
63. What can be easier than that?
64. If one gains the Peace of the Self, it will spread without any effort on the part of the individual.
65. When one is not peaceful, oneself, how can one spread peace in the world?
66. Unless one is happy, one cannot bestow happiness on others.
67. Happiness is born of Peace and can reign only when there is no disturbance. Disturbance is due to thoughts, which arise in the mind. When the mind is absent there will be perfect Peace.
68. Reality lies beyond the mind.
69. So long as the mind functions, there is duality. Once it is transcended, Reality shines forth.
70. Self-effulgence is the Self.
71. Satsang means association (sanga) with Being (Sat), which is the Self.
72. For whom is association?
73. The ultimate truth is so simple; it is nothing more than being in one’s natural, original state.
74. It is a great wonder that to teach such a simple truth a number of religions should be necessary, and so many disputes should go on between them as to which is the God-ordained teaching. What a pity!
75. Just be the Self, that is all.
76. Because people want something elaborate and mysterious, so many religions have come into existence. Only those who are mature can understand the matter in its naked simplicity.
77. There is neither past nor future; there is only the present.
78. Yesterday was the present when you experienced it; tomorrow will also be the present when you experience it.
79. Therefore, experience takes place only in the present, and beyond and apart from experience nothing exists.
80. Even the present is mere imagination, for the sense of time is purely mental.
81. Because people love mystery and not the truth, religions cater to them, eventually bringing them around to the Self.
82. Whatever be the means adopted, you must at last return to the Self; so why not abide in the Self here and now?
83. There is no greater mystery than this: Being Reality ourselves, we seek to gain Reality.
84. We think that there is something hiding Reality and that it must be destroyed before the truth is gained. This is clearly ridiculous.
85. A day will dawn when you will laugh at your past efforts. What you realize on the day you laugh is also here and now.
86. If we look upon the Self as the ego, we become the ego, if as the mind we become the mind, if as the body we become the body.
87. It is thought that builds up layers in so many ways.
88. Take no notice of the ego and its activities but see only the light behind it.
89. The ego is the I-thought.
90. The true I is the Self.
91. The world does not exist in sleep and forms a projection of your mind in the waking state. It is therefore an idea and nothing else.
92. It is false to speak of Realization; what is there to realize?
93. The real is ever as it is.
94. All that is required is to cease regarding as real that which is unreal. That is all we need to attain wisdom (jnana).
95. The universe is only an object created by the mind and has its being in the mind. It cannot be measured as an external entity.
96. The world phenomena, within or without, are only fleeting and are not independent of our Self.
97. Only the habit of looking at them as real and located outside ourselves is responsible for hiding our pure Being.
98. When the ever-present sole Reality, the Self, is found, all other unreal things will disappear, leaving behind the knowledge that they are not other than the Self.
99. Either surrender because you realize your inability and need a higher power to help you, or investigate the cause of misery.
100. The Divine never forsakes one who has surrendered.
101. To identify oneself with the body and yet seek happiness is like attempting to cross a river on the back of an alligator.
102. In truth, you are Spirit.
103. The body has been projected by the mind, which itself originates from Spirit. If the wrong identification ceases, there will be peace and permanent, indescribable bliss.
104. Those who have realized the Self, which is the ground of fate and free will, are free from them.
105. Ramana’s reply to his mother, when she requested that he return home with her:
106. The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their destiny (prarabdha karma). Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain.
107. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.
108. The real state must be effortless. It is permanent.
109. Efforts are spasmodic and so also are their results.
110. When your real, effortless, joyful nature is realized, it will not be inconsistent with the ordinary activities of life.
111. In the interior of the heart-cave, the one Reality shines alone as I-I the Self.
112. The Heart is the only Reality.
113. The mind is only a transient phase.
114. To remain as one’s Self is to enter the Heart.
115. Apart from thought, there is no independent entity called world.
116. In deep sleep, there are no thoughts and there is no world. In waking and dreaming, there are thoughts, and there is a world, also.
117. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and then withdraws it, likewise, the mind projects the world out of itself and then withdraws it back into itself.
118. The Self is all-pervading.
119. Therefore, no particular place can be allocated for leading a life of solitude.
120. To abide in the tranquil state that is devoid of thought is to lead a life of solitude and seclusion.
121. When your standpoint becomes that of wisdom, you will find the world to be God.
122. The question is one of outlook.
123. The universe exists within the Self.
124. Therefore, it is real, but only because it obtains its reality from the Self. We call it unreal, however, to indicate its changing appearance and transient form, whereas we call the Self real because it is changeless.
125. We see only the script and not the paper on which the script is written.
126. The paper is there, whether the script is on it or not. To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal – an illusion – since it rests upon the paper.
127. The wise person looks upon both paper and script as one.
128. Our real nature is Liberation, but we imagine that we are bound.
129. We make strenuous efforts to become free, although all the while we are free.
130. A person goes to sleep in this hall and dreams he has gone on a world tour, traveling over various continents. After many years of strenuous travel, he returns to this country, enters the ashram, and walks into the hall.
131. Just at that moment, he wakes up and finds that he has not moved at all but has been sleeping. He has not returned after great efforts to this hall, but was here all the time.
132. If it is asked, Why, being free, we imagine ourselves bound? I answer, Why, being in the hall, did you imagine you were on a world tour, crossing desert and sea?
133. It is all mind.
134. With a smile, Ramana placed his little finger over his eye and said:
135. Look. This little finger covers the eye and prevents the whole world from being seen. In the same way this small mind covers the whole universe and prevents Reality from being seen.
136. See how powerful it is!
137. What is, is the Self. It is all-pervading.
138. We fill the mind with all sorts of impressions and then say there is no room for the Self in it.
139. If all the false ideas and impressions are swept away and thrown out, what remains is a feeling of fullness, which is the Self. Then there will be no such thing as a separate I.
140. Meditation on the Self, which is oneself, is the greatest of all meditations.
141. All other meditations are included in this.
142. True silence is really endless speech.
143. There is no attaining it because it is always present.
144. All you have to do is remove the coverings that conceal it.
145. Surrender is giving oneself up to the origin of one’s Being.
146. In due course, we will know that our glory lies where we cease to exist.
147. The pet squirrel is waiting for an opportunity to run out of its cage.
148. Ramana remarks:
149. All want to rush out. There is no limit to going out. Happiness lies within and not without.
150. All spiritual teachings are only meant to make us retrace our steps to our Original Source.
151. We need not acquire anything new, only give up false ideas and useless accretions.
152. Instead of doing this, we try to grasp something strange and mysterious because we believe happiness lies elsewhere. This is the mistake.
153. Forgetfulness of your real nature is true death; remembrance of it is rebirth.
154. What appears will also disappear and is therefore impermanent. The Self never appears and disappears and is therefore permanent.
155. It is the only Reality.
156. Environment, time, and objects all exist in oneself.
157. How can they be independent of me?
158. They may change, but I remain unchanging.
159. Make no effort either to work or to give up work; your very effort is the bondage.
160. What is destined to happen will happen. Leave it to the higher power; you cannot renounce or retain as you choose.
161. The feeling “I work” is the hindrance.
162. Ask yourself, Who works? Remember who you are. Then the work will not bind you; it will proceed automatically.
163. Realization is nothing to be gained anew.
164. You are the Self. You are already and eternally That.
165. There is never a moment when the Self is not; it is ever-present, here and now.
166. If Realization were something to be gained hereafter, there would be an equal chance of its being lost; this cannot be Liberation, which is eternal.
167. Realization consists of getting rid of the false idea that one is not realized.
168. What is called “mind” is a wondrous power residing in the Self.
169. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind.
170. Self-inquiry directly leads to Self-realization by removing the obstacles which make you think that the Self is not already realized.
171. It reveals the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists and enables one to realize the pure, undifferentiated Being, which is the Self or the Absolute.
172. Free will and destiny last as long as the body lasts.
173. Wisdom transcends both, for the Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance.
174. Pain or pleasure is the result of past actions and not of the present, they alternate with each other.
175. One must always try to abide in the Self and not be swayed by the pain or pleasure met with occasionally.
176. One who is indifferent to pain or pleasure can alone be happy.
177. Thoughts change but not you.
178. Thoughts form your bondage and are not external to you, so no external remedy be sought for freedom.
179. What does it matter if the mind is active? It is only so on the substratum of the Self.
180. Hold to the Self even during mental activity.
181. The I casts off the illusion of I and yet remains as I.
182. Such is the paradox of Self-realization.
183. You give up various possessions. If, instead, you give up I and mine, you give them all up in one stroke and lose the very seed of possession.
184. Disinterest in the non-Self must be very strong to do this.
185. One’s eagerness must be equal to that of a person kept under water while trying to rise to the surface to breathe.
186. Be what you are.
187. That which is, is ever present. Even now you are It, and not apart from It.
188. The expectation to see and the desire to get something are all the working of the ego.
189. Be yourself and nothing more.
190. Pleasure or pain are only aspects of the mind. Our essential nature is happiness.
191. We forget the Self and imagine the body or the mind to be the Self. It I this wrong identity that gives rise to misery.
192. Happiness is inherent in everyone and is not due to external causes.
193. Because you have lost hold of the Self, thoughts afflict you; you see the world and doubts arise, along with anxiety about the future.
194. There is no use removing doubts.
195. If we clear one doubt, another arises, and there will be no end of doubts. All doubts will cease only when the doubter and his source have been found. Seek for the source of the doubter, and you find he is really nonexistent.
196. Doubter ceasing, doubts will cease.
197. Investigate the nature of the mind and it will disappear.
198. Because of the emergence of thought, you surmise that it has an origin and call that the mind.
199. When you inquire to see what it is, you find there is really no such thing as mind.
200. When the mind has thus vanished, you realize eternal Peace.
201. When the mind, turning inward, inquires, Who am I? and reaches the heart, that which is I (the ego) sinks crestfallen, and the One (Self) appears of its own accord as I-I Though it appears thus, it is not the ego; it is the Whole.
202. It is the real Self.
203. The Self is free from all qualities.
204. Good or bad qualities pertain only to the mind.
205. The numeral one gives rise to other numbers. The truth is neither one nor two.
206. It is as it is.
207. Dvaita and advaita are relative terms. They are based on a sense of duality. There is actually neither dvaita nor advaita.
208. I Am That I Am.
209. Simple Being is the Self.
210. The limited and multifarious thoughts having disappeared, there shines in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of I-I, which is pure Consciousness.
211. If one remains quiet without abandoning that understanding, then the individual sense of the form I-am-the-body will be totally destroyed. And ultimately, the final thought, the I-thought, will also be extinguished, like camphor that is burned by fire.
212. The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is Realization.
213. Meditation is your true nature now.
214. You call it meditation because other thoughts distract you. When these thoughts are dispelled, you remain in the state of meditation, free from thoughts.
215. When the practice becomes firm, your real nature shows itself as meditation.
216. When meditation is well-established, it cannot be given up. It will go on automatically, even when you are engaged in work or play. It will persist in sleep, too.
217. Meditation must become so deep-rooted that it will be natural to one.
218. Birth and death pertain only to the body.
219. They are superimposed on the Self, giving rise to the delusion that birth and death relate to the Self.
220. If one dies while still alive, one need not grieve over another’s death.
221. Discover the undying Self and be immortal and happy.
222. Why do you worry about life and death?
223. Deathlessness is our real nature. The real I exists here and now.
224. There is neither creation nor destruction, neither destiny nor free will, neither path nor achievement.
225. This is the final truth.
[Source: The Essential Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Edited by Matthew Greenblatt
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