Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interview with Ramana in Paul Brunton's A Search in Secret India


Interview with Ramana in Paul Brunton's A Search in Secret India, published by Rider & Co., London:

Q: What exactly is this Self of which you speak? If what you say is true there must be another self in man.

Sri Ramana: Can a man be possessed of two identities, two selves? To understand this matter it is first necessary for a man to analyse himself. Because it has long been his habit to think as others think, he has never faced his 'I' in the true manner. He has not a correct picture of himself: he has too long identified himself with the body and the brain. Therefore I tell you to pursue this enquiry, 'Who am I?' You ask me to describe this true Self to you. What can be said? It is That out of which the sense of the personal 'I' arises and into which it will have to disappear.

Q: Disappear? How can one lose the feeling of one's personality?

Sri Ramana: The first and foremost of all thoughts, the primeval thought in the mind of every man, is the thought 'I'. It is only after the birth of this thought that any other thoughts can arise at all. It is only after the first personal pronoun, 'I', has arisen in the mind that the second personal pronoun, 'you', can make its appearance. If you could mentally follow the 'I' thread until it led you back to its source you would discover that, just as it is the first thought to appear, so it is the last to disappear. This is a matter which can be experienced.

Q: You mean that it is possible to conduct such a mental investigation into oneself?

Sri Ramana: Certainly. It is possible to go inwards until the last thought, 'I', gradually vanishes.

Q: What is then left? Will a man then become quite unconscious or will he become an idiot?

Sri Ramana: No; on the contrary, he will attain that consciousness which is immortal and he will become truly wise when he has awakened to his true Self, which is the real nature of man.

Q: But surely the sense of 'I' must also pertain to that?

Sri Ramana: The sense of 'I' pertains to the person, the body and brain. When a man knows his true Self for the first time something else arises from the depths of his being and takes possession of him. That something is behind the mind; it is infinite, divine, eternal. Some people call it the Kingdom of Heaven, others call it the soul and others again Nirvana, and Hindus call it Liberation; you may give it what name you wish. When this happens a man has not really lost himself; rather he has found himself.

Unless and until a man embarks on this quest of the true Self, doubt and uncertainty will follow his footsteps through life. The greatest kings and statesmen try to rule others when in their heart of hearts they know that they cannot rule themselves. Yet the greatest power is at the command of the man who has penetrated to his inmost depth.

What is the use of knowing about everything else when you do not yet know who you are? Men avoid this enquiry into the true Self, but what else is there so worthy to be undertaken?"

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