Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Overcome Obstacles to the Practice of Self-inquiry? A Dialogue with Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

Disciple: The mind is not steady in meditation. 

Maharshi: Whenever it wanders, turn it inward again and again.

D: When duhka (misery) overpowers me, inquiry is impossible.

M: Because the mind is weak. Make it strong.

D: By what means?

M: Satsanga, Ishwara Aradhana, Pranayama (association with the wise, worship of God, breathing exercises).

D: What happens then?

M: Misery is removed; that is our aim. You do not acquire happiness: your very nature is happiness. Bliss is not newly earned. All that is done is to remove unhappiness. These methods suffice.

D: Association with the wise may strengthen the mind. There must also be practice. What practice should be done?

M: Yes. Practice is necessary, too. Practice means removal of predispositions (vasanas, the impulses of past conditioning, associations and memories which condition and limit consciousness- ed.) Practice is not for fresh gain; it is to kill the predispositions (vasanas).

D: What is such practice?

M: Inquiring into the self. That is all. Atmanyeva vasam nayet....fix the mind on the Self.

D: What is the aim to be kept in view? Practice requires an aim.

M: Atman is the aim. What else can there be? All other aims are for those incapable of atmalakshya (fixing the mind on the Self). They lead you ultimately to atma-vichara (self-inquiry). One-pointedness is the fruit of all kinds of practice. One person may get it quickly, another, after a long time. Everything depends on one's practice.

- Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Nov 30 1936.

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