Ramana Maharshi on Mind

Maurice Frydman, who edited and compiled Nisargadatta Maharaj’s Marathi satsang recordings into ‘I Am That’, was also a devotee of Ramana Maharshi. Some of his dialogues with the Maharshi are available in a slim book called ‘Maharshi’s Gospel’. The following excerpt about the ‘mind’ is from this book.


Devotee: How can I control the mind?

Maharshi: There is no mind to control if the Self is realised. The Self shines forth when the mind vanishes. In the realised man the mind may be active or inactive, the Self alone exists. For, the mind, body and world are not separate from the Self; and they cannot remain apart from the Self. Can they be other than the Self? When aware of the Self why should one worry about these shadows? How do they affect the Self?

D: If the mind is merely a shadow how then is one to know the Self?

M: The Self is the heart, self-luminous. Illumination arises from the heart and reaches the brain, which is the seat of the mind. The world is seen with the mind; so you see the world by the reflected light of
the Self. The world is perceived by an act of the mind. When the mind is illumined it is aware of the world; when it is not so illumined, it is not aware of the world. If the mind is turned in, towards the source of illumination, objective knowledge ceases, and the Self alone shines as the heart.

The moon shines by reflecting the light of the sun. When the sun has set, the moon is useful for displaying objects. When the sun has risen no one needs the moon, though its disc is visible in the sky. So it is with the mind and the heart. The mind is made useful by its reflected light. It is used for seeing objects. When turned inwards, it merges into the source of illumination which shines by Itself and the mind is then like the moon in the daytime.

D: How can I escape from samsara which seems to be the real cause for making the mind restless? Is not renunciation an effective means to realise tranquillity of mind?

M: Samsara is only in your mind. The world does not speak out saying, ‘Here I am, the world’. If it did so, it would be ever there, making its presence felt by you even in your sleep. Since, however, it is not there in sleep, it is impermanent. Being impermanent, it lacks substance. Having no reality apart from the Self it is easily subdued by the Self. The Self alone is permanent. Renunciation is the non-identification of the Self with the not-Self. When the ignorance which identifies the Self with not-Self is removed, not-Self ceases to exist, and that is true renunciation.

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