Make no effort to work or to renounce work
Dr. Syed: What is salvation? What did Christ mean by it?
Maharshi: Salvation for whom? and from what?
D.: Salvation for the individual and from the sorrows and sufferings of the world.
M.: Whose are the sorrows, etc.?
D.: Of the mind.
M.: Are you the mind?
D.: I shall now explain how this question arose. I was meditating. I began to reflect on the Grace shown by Christ to some devotees who got salvation. I consider that Sri Bhagavan is similar. Is not salvation the result of similar Grace? That is what I mean by my questions.
M.: Yes. Right.
D.: The booklet Who am I? speaks of swarupa drishti (seeing the essence). Then there must be a seer and the seen. How can this be reconciled with the Ultimate Unity?
M.: Why do you ask for salvation, release from sorrow, etc.? He who asks for them sees them also.
The fact is this. Drishti (sight) is consciousness. It forms the subject and object. Can there be drishti apart from the Self? The Self is all – drishti, etc.
D.: How to discern the ego from the Perfect ‘I-I’?
M.: That which rises and falls is the transient ‘I’. That which has neither origin nor end is the permanent ‘I-I’ consciousness.
D.: Will continuous thought on the Self make the mind more and more refined so that it will not think of anything but the highest?
M.: There is the peaceful mind which is the supreme. When the same becomes restless, it is afflicted by thoughts. Mind is only the dynamic power (sakti) of the Self.
D.: Are the sheaths material and different from the Self?
M.: There is no difference between matter and spirit. Modern science admits that all matter is energy. Energy is power or force (sakti). Therefore all are resolved in Siva and Sakti i.e., the Self and the Mind.
The kosas (sheaths) are mere appearances. There is no reality in them as such.
D.: How many hours a day should one devote to meditation?
M.: Your very nature is meditation.
D.: It will be so when ripe, but not now.
M.: You become conscious of it later. That does not mean that your nature is now different from meditation.
D.: What about practice?
M.: Meditation must always be practised.
D.: A Persian mystic says: “There is nothing but God.” The Quran says: “God is immanent in all.”
M.: There is no ‘all’, apart from God, for Him to pervade. He alone is.
D.: Is it morally right for a man to renounce his household duties when he once realises that his highest duty is Atma-chintana (continuous thought on the Self)?
M.: This desire to renounce things is the obstacle. The Self is simple renunciation. The Self has renounced all.
D.: It is true from Bhagavan’s standpoint. But for us …. my work demands the best part of my time and energy; often I am too tired to devote myself to Atma-chintana.
M.: The feeling “I work” is the hindrance. Enquire, “Who works?” Remember, “Who am I?” The work will not bind you. It will go on automatically.
Make no effort either to work or to renounce work. Your effort is the bondage. What is bound to happen will happen.
If you are destined to cease working, work cannot be had even if you hunt for it. If you are destined to work you cannot leave it; you will be forced to engage in it. So leave it to the Higher Power. You cannot renounce or hold as you choose.
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
23rd October, 1936