Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi says individual self or soul is unreal  (Read 1710 times)


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Ramana Maharshi says individual self or soul is unreal
« on: June 13, 2010, 12:10:23 PM »
Most religions have constructed elaborate theories which purport to explain what happens to the individual soul after the death of the body. Some claim that the soul goes to heaven or hell while others claim that it is reincarnated in a new body.

Sri Ramana taught that all such theories are based on the false assumption that the individual self or soul is real; once this illusion is seen through, the whole superstructure of after-life theories collapses. From the standpoint of the Self, there is no birth or death, no heaven or hell, and no reincarnation.

As a concession to those who were unable to assimilate the implications of this truth, Sri Ramana would sometimes admit that reincarnation existed. In replying to such people he would say that if one imagined that the individual self was real, then that imaginary self would persist after death and that eventually it would identify with a new body and a new life. The whole process, he said, is sustained by the tendency of the mind to identify itself with a body. Once the limiting illusion of mind is transcended, identification with the body ceases, and all theories about death and reincarnation are found to be inapplicable.

Q: Is reincarnation true?

A: Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.

When seen through the sight of the supreme space of Self, the illusion of taking birth in this mirage-like false world is found to be nothing but the egotistical ignorance of identifying a body as`I'. Among those whose minds are possessed with forgetfulness of Self, those who are born will die and those who die will be born again. But know that those whose minds are dead, having known the glorious supreme reality, will remain only there in that elevated state of reality, devoid of both birth and death. Forgetting Self, mistaking the body for Self, taking innumerable births, and at last knowing Self and being Self is just like waking from a dream of wandering all over the world.

Q: Do not one's actions affect the person in later births?

A: Are you born now ? Why do you think of other births? The fact is that there is neither birth nor death. Let him who is born think of death and palliatives for it.

Q: Should I not try to escape rebirth?

A: Yes. Find out who is born and who now has the trouble of existence. When you are asleep do you think of rebirths or even the present existence? So find out from where the present problem arises and in that place you will find the solution. You will discover that there is no birth, no present trouble or unhappiness. The Self is all and all is bliss. Even now we are free from rebirth so why fret over the misery of it?

Q: A doubt has just now arisen in a friend of mine's mind. She has just heard that a human being may take an animal birth in some other life, which is contrary to what Theosophy has taught her.

A: Let him who takes birth ask this question. Find out first who it is that is born, and whether there is actual birth and death. You will find that birth pertains to the ego, which is an illusion of the mind.

It should now be clear that there is neither real birth, nor real death. It is the mind which creates and maintains the illusion of reality in this process, till it is destroyed by Self -realization.

Source: Be as you are – The teachings of sri Ramana Maharishi Book


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Re: Ramana Maharshi says individual self or soul is unreal
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 01:29:52 PM »

The Jiva is the individual soul for the purpose of understanding.
In fact there is no Jivatma at all.  Bhagavan Ramana says in
Who am I? : It is the mind, which is also called Sukshma Sariam
or Jiva.  There is only Atma.

Arunachala Siva.