Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi about "one who divested the ego and yet retains individuality"  (Read 751 times)


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Talk 208.

It is enough that one surrenders oneself. Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being. Do not delude yourself by imagining such source to be some God outside you. One’s source is within yourself. Give yourself up to it. That means that you should seek the source and merge in it. Because you imagine yourself to be out of it, you raise the question “Where is the source?”

Some contend that the sugar cannot taste its own sweetness and that a taster must taste and enjoy it. Similarly, an individual cannot be the Supreme and enjoy the Bliss of that state; therefore the individuality must be maintained on the one hand and God-head on the other so that enjoyment may result! Is God insentient(Devoid of feeling and consciousness) like sugar? How can one surrender oneself and yet retain one’s individuality for supreme enjoyment?Furthermore they say also that the soul, reaching the divine region and remaining there, serves the Supreme Being. Can the sound of the word “service” deceive the Lord? Does He not know? Is He waiting for these people’s service? Would not He - the Pure Consciousness - ask in turn: “Who are you apart from Me that presume to serve Me?”

Still more, they assume that the individual soul becomes pure by being divested of the ego and fit for being the body of the Lord. Thus the Lord is the Spirit and the purified souls constitute His body and limbs! Can there be a soul for the souls? How many souls are there? The answer must be, “There are many individual souls and One Supreme Soul.” What is soul in that case? It cannot be the body, etc. What remains over after all these are eliminated must be said to be the soul.Thus even after realising the soul as that which cannot be discarded,the Supreme Soul must be known to exist. In that case, how was the soul realised to be the ultimate reality after discarding all that was alien to it? Should this be right, the soul which was described as that inalienable reality is not the true soul.

All such confusion is due to the word ‘soul’ (atma). The same word atma is used to signify the body,the senses, the mind, the vital principle, the individual soul and the Supreme Being. This wide application of the word has given rise to the idea that the individual soul (jivatma), goes to constitute the body of the Supreme (Paramatma). “I, O Arjuna! am the Self, seated in the heart of all beings; ...” (Bhagavad Gita, X-20). The stanza shows that the Lord is the Atma (Self) of all beings. Does it say, “the Self of the selves”? If, on the other hand, you merge in the Self there will be no individuality left. You will become the Source itself. In that case what is surrender? Who is to surrender what and to whom? This constitutes devotion, wisdom, and investigation.

Among the Vaishnavites too, Saint Nammalvar says, “I was in a maze,sticking to ‘I’ and ‘mine’; I wandered without knowing my Self. On realising my Self I understand that I myself am You and that ‘mine’ (i.e., my possessions) is only You.”

Thus - you see - Devotion is nothing more than knowing oneself. The school of Qualified Monism also admits it. Still, adhering to their traditional doctrine, they persist in affirming that the individuals are part of the Supreme - his limbs as it were. Their traditional doctrine says also that the individual soul should be made pure and then surrendered to the Supreme; then the ego is lost and one goes to the regions of Vishnu after one’s death; then finally there is the enjoyment of the Supreme (or the Infinite)!

To say that one is apart from the Primal Source is itself a pretension; to add that one divested of the ego becomes pure and yet retains individuality only to enjoy or serve the Supreme, is a deceitful stratagem. What duplicity is this - first to appropriate what is really His, and then pretend to experience or serve Him! Is not all this already known to Him?

Source: Talks With Ramana Maharshi Book

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