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Ramana Maharshi Teachings

A collection of teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

To see God as apart from the seer is only a mental image,
since God is not separate from the seer.
To abide in the poise of the Self
is the true vision of God.

Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.

A man attached to desires cannot get solitude wherever he may be, whereas a detached man is always in solitude.

If we trace the source of ‘I’ thought then the ego starts disappearing and Self is revealed.

When the mind is left without anything to cling to, it becomes still.

There is no need to look for divine power for any purpose. It is already in you. It is you.

One should enquire into one’s true nature.

The meditation on the Self which is oneself is the greatest of all meditations. All other meditations are included in this. So if this is gained the others are not necessary.

Is it not ignorance to know everything else without knowing the Self which is the source of knowledge?

If the ego is, everything else is too. If the ego is not, nothing else is. Indeed the ego is everything. Therefore the enquiry what it is really means giving up everything illusory.

There is no cause for you to be miserable and unhappy. You yourself impose limitations on your true nature of infinite being and then weep that you are but a finite creature.

There are no impediments to meditation. The very thought of such obstacles is the greatest impediment.

The mind is only thoughts. It is a form of energy. It manifests itself as the world. When the mind sinks into the Self then the Self is realized; when the mind issues forth the world appears and the Self is not realized.

A man is possessed of limited powers and is miserable; he wants to expand his powers so that he may be happy. But consider if it will be so; if with limited perceptions one is miserable, with extended perceptions the misery must increase proportionally.

I see just what all see, nothing more. I see what needs to be seen. All are seeing God always, but they don’t know it.

The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.

Your attitude almost always determines your attitude in life. Your duty is to be; and not be this or that.

Mind is vast, not the world. The knower is greater than the known, and the seer is greater than the seen.

Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.

There is no duality. Your present knowledge is due to ego and is only relative. Relative knowledge requires a subject and object, whereas awareness of the Self is absolute and requires no object.

Remembrance is similarly relative, requiring an object to be remembered and a subject to remember. When there is no duality, who is to remember whom?

The Self is ever-present. Each one wants to know the Self. People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along.

They desire to see it as a blazing light. How can it be so? It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. The best definition is ‘I am that I am’.

Self realization is nothing to be gained afresh; it is already there. All that is necessary is to get rid of the thought ‘I have not realized.’

Stillness or peace is realization.

There is no moment when the Self is not. So long as there is doubt or the feeling of non-realization, the attempt should be made to rid oneself of these thoughts.

They are due to the identification of the Self with the not-Self. When the not-self disappears, the Self alone remains.

To make room, it is enough that the cramping be removed; room is not brought in from elsewhere.

The mind will always be wandering. Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk, it will go along grasping the chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is occupied with a name or form, it will grasp that alone.

As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without any residue in the very place of their origin is non attachment – just as the pearl diver ties a stone to this waist, sinks to the bottom of the sea and there takes the pearls, so each one of us should be endowed with non-attachment, dive within oneself and obtain the self-pearl.

One can know oneself only with one’s own eye of knowledge, and not with somebody else’s.

What is meditation? It is the suspension of thoughts.

The mind turned outward results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards it becomes itself the Self.

The only useful purpose of this birth is to turn within and realize. There is nothing else to do.

A man attached to desire cannot get solitude, wherever he may be; a detached man is always in solitude.

Solitude is not to be found in forests only. It can be had even in towns and the thick of worldly occupation.

You speak of paths as if you are somewhere and the Self somewhere else and you had to go and attain it. But in fact the Self is here and now and you are it always.

Nearly all of mankind is more or less unhappy because nearly all do not know the true Self. Real happiness abides in Self knowledge alone. All else is fleeting. To know one’s Self is to be blissful always.

The happiness of solitude is not found in retreats. It may be had even in busy centers. Happiness is not be sought in solitude or in busy centers. It is in the Self.

All self realized being cannot help benefiting the world. His very existence is the highest good.

If we could all remain children and not grow up at all, it would be such a happy world….

Identifying ourselves with the body is putting the cart before the horse and is why we stumble in life.

Desires go on increasing and burning more fiercely as they are fed.

The more you yield to desire, the more dominant it becomes in your life. It does not matter the desire – the more you try to satisfy desire, the more you become captivated and enslaved by it.

Become envious of anyone lower than you. You must become very small. In fact you must become nothing. Only a person who is nobody can abide in the Self.

By cultivating free will, one can conquer fate.

You thank God for the good things that come to you, but you don’t thank him for the things that seem to be bad; that is where you go wrong.

Peace can reign only where there is no disturbance, and disturbance is due to thoughts that arise in the mind…

Surrender to Him and abide by His will whether He appears or disappears; await His pleasure.  If you ask Him to do as you please, it is not surrender, but command. You cannot have Him obey you and yet think you have surrendered. He knows what is best, when and how. Leave everything entirely to Him. The burden is His. You no longer have any cares. All your cares are His.   That is surrender. That is Devotion.

Under whatever name and form one worships that which has no name and no form, it is only a means of perceiving It. To know the truth of one's Self as the True reality, and merge and become One with It is the only true Perception/Realization/Liberation. Understand this!

He whose pure mind turns inward and searches whence does this 'I' arise, knows the Self and merges in You, the Lord, As a river into the sea.

Meditation applies the brakes to the mind…

There is only one consciousness, equally distributed everywhere. You, through illusion, give it unequal distribution.

The eternal, blissful and natural state has been smothered by this life of ignorance…

Self realization is nothing but seeing God literally. Our greatest mistake is that we think of God as acting symbolically and allegorically, instead of practically and literally…You must get rid of the idea that you are yet to realize the Self. You are the Self here and now…

The more you prune a plant, the more it grows. So too the more you seek to annihilate the ego, the more it will increase. You should seek the root of the ego and destroy it…

The ultimate truth is so simple; it is nothing more than being in one's natural, original state.

Liberation comes from immersing oneself in Truth.

‘How was I in my previous birth, and how shall I be in the next birth?’ – such enquiries are only [due to] ignorance, because the Self was never born.

This world is not other than the body; this body is not distinct from the mind; the mind does not exist apart from the real Self; therefore that Self is all the world.

Just as the light on the screen remains clear [of the shadow pictures] when those moving pictures have ceased, so too when  the series of world-pictures cease, the consciousness, which is the Self, will remain clear [as the sole reality].

A disciple should have an intense and incessant longing to get free from miseries of life and to attain supreme spiritual Bliss. He should not have the least desire for anything else.

A Guru is one who at all times abides in the profound depths of the Self. He never sees any difference between himself and others and he is not in the least obsessed by false notions of distinction. His firmness of self-possession can never be shaken under any circumstances, and he is never perturbed.

Mukti or Liberation consists in the utter annihilation of the ego, or Ahamkara, and the entire destruction of my and mine by any possible means.

Jnana is the utter annihilation of the mind by making it realize its absolute identity with the Atman or the Self, by incessant practice of meditation and inquiry in quest of the Self.

A miniscule drop of illusion, assumed to be real, appears as an ocean into which the individual, who is the source of that drop and for whom it appears, misidentified as the experience and the performer of action, falls, just as one falls into a dream. Therein, one is buffeted by and submerged in karma.

Imagining the Self to be that which it is not, the Real to be unreal and the unreal to be real, is the obstruction to spiritual progress, which is Liberation from the imagined bondage.

The eternal is Real, which ever is, and the non-eternal is unreal, which truly never is.

The Self is eternal and is realized by the beginningless, endless light of innate Knowledge.

On Why Self Enquiry alone is the direct path to Realization – Sri Ramana Maharshi

Why should Self-enquiry alone be considered the direct path to Realization?

Bhagavan: Because every kind of path except Self-enquiry presupposes the retention of the mind as the instrument for following it, and cannot be followed without the mind. The ego may take different and more subtle forms at different stages of one's practice but it is never destroyed. The attempt to destroy the ego or the mind by methods other than Self-enquiry is like a thief turning policeman to catch the thief that is himself. Self enquiry alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists and enable one to realize the pure, undifferentiated Being of the Self or the Absolute.

Teachings from Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad

Enquiring into unrealities, taking them to be real, leads to forgetting the real (Self). And there is no death other than this forgetting, because in this way the Self is almost lost to the seeker.

If the aspirant knows the Self in this (very) life, then and only then, for him the real is real. If in this life he fails to know the Self, for him the real (Self) remains concealed by the unreal.

Therefore the aspirant, being firmly convinced that space and time are unreal, should give up the whole world and seek to know the substratum, the Self, through the quest of his own true nature.

On Reading Spiritual Book and Self Realization – Ramana Maharshi

A spiritual book is like asking you to see yourself in a mirror. The mirror (book) reflects only what is on the face (in consciousness). If you consult the mirror after washing your face (realizing self awareness), the face will be shown to be clean (free of confusion).

Otherwise, the mirror will indicate, there is dirt here (confusion), come back after washing (clarity).

A book does the same thing. If you read the book after realizing the Self, everything will be easily understood. But if you read it before realizing the Self, it will say, ‘First, set yourself right; and then see me.’

That is all. So:, first, know the Self!

Ramana Maharshi on Upadesha

The mind of the disciple having become differentiated from its true and primal state of pure Being or the Self, which the scriptures describe as Sat Chit Ananda, Being Consciousness Bliss, slips away from it and, assuming the form of thought, ever runs after the objects of sense gratification. Thus, the mind gets buffeted and battered by the vicissitudes of life and becomes weak and dispirited. Now Upadesha or spiritual instruction, consists in the Master restoring the mind of the disciple to its primal state and effectively preventing it from slipping away from that state of pure being, of absolute identity with the Self, or, in other words, the spiritual Being of the Master.

Upadesha may also be understood as the Master showing to the disciple that which he has been considering as distant and different from himself is immediate and identical with the disciple. (Making the disciple realize that the Self is identical with the disciple).