(Published in the magazine Direct Path of Ramana Kendra, New Delhi)
This is a sort of an encounter I had with the Maharishi himself, of course, in my vision. I tried to invoke the Maharishi in me and wanted to have a conversation with Him rather than a confrontation. Here it goes. (a word of caution to readers : this conversation (imaginary) is an attempt to go as closer as possible to the Maharishi with the limitation of my understanding combined with ignorance).
Disraeli observed, “to be conscious that you are ignorant is the first step to knowledge”. What is very important is the awareness of being ignorant. Maharishi once said that the awareness of being ignorant is not ignorance. Of late, I have mastered this art of measuring my ignorance, thanks to my proximity with people who are not so. Somebody rightly said, ‘only after started reading, I realised that I had much more to read!’ Similar is the realisation on my ignorance.
What would I do, when someone ask me to talk about Ramana Maharishi. I would gladly take it, but not before convincing and completely accepting myself of the fact that I am ignorant in yet another way. Nevertheless, as Maharishi himself said in the case of blindfolded man left by robbers, I would hopefully find the way, with His grace. In the words of Maharishi; “Just as a man blindfolded and left by robbers in a jungle enquiries his way home and returns there, so also the ignorant one (blinded by ignorance) enquiries of those not so blinded and seeks his own source and returns to it”
How did I come out of the forest, is an interesting introspection and a sort of an encounter I had with the Maharishi himself, of course, in my vision. I tried to invoke the Maharishi in me and wanted to have a conversation with Him rather than a confrontation. Here it goes. (a word of caution to readers : this conversation (imaginary) is an attempt to go as closer as possible to the Maharishi with the limitation of my understanding combined with ignorance). Strangely and surprisingly, in my vision of conversation with the
Maharishi, the first question was put forth by the Maharishi to me before I could start mine:
Maharishi : Who are you to talk about me?
Me : I am Suresh, Vigilance Officer
Maharishi : Suresh is your name. Vigilance Officer is your occupation. Who are you?
Me : I am an Indian national, a Tamilian, born to an orthodox Hindu parent.
Maharishi : I am neither asking about your nationality nor your parents. Who are you?
Me : I weigh 72 kg with a height of 170 cms and now 42 years of age
Maharishi : You are talking about your physical body. Who are you?
Me : I am this physical body being operated by the Anthakarana, the Mind, Intellect, Memory and Ego, which I call MIME. Maharishi, in fact, I have come out with MIME management and professing this as a tool to realise my concept of SIV-G : Self Imposed Vigilance for Good Governance.
Maharishi : That is good. The country needs more such initiatives. Best wishes! But do not deviate from the real question. If you are this body operated by your MIME, what happens to them when you are sleeping. Where do they go? If you are only this body, then will you stop the people from taking your body to the burial ground, when you die? Now tell me who are you?
Me : Maharishi, I realised that I am neither this body, nor the MIME which operates this body. I am something beyond this MIME and the Body. When I travel inwardly and go beyond this MIME and Body, I see yourself in myself Maharishi. Am I correct?
Maharishi : Yes, you are. Not only me, you can see everyone and everything in you.
Me : Maharishi, may I ask you a question.
Maharishi : Yes
Me : May I now talk about you, if called upon.
Maharishi : Yes, not only about me; talk about me in you; talk about you in me; talk about me in all; talk about all in me; talk about everything in everyone and everyone in everything.
Well, this conversation is what came to my mind when I visualised that I am just sitting before the Maharishi. Forgive me for the remix. Of course, it is a sample to prove my level of ignorance! Nevertheless, a true account of the teaching of Ramana Maharishi will make this conversation meaningful and complete. Once Maharishi gave a teaching to an American disciple, wherein He said, “Only one Consciousness, equally distributed everywhere. You through illusion give It unequal distribution. No distribution, no everywhere”. These are the very words spoken by the Maharishi, as read in the “The Upanishadic Lore – In the light of the teachings of Bhagvan Sri Ramana” by “WHO” (1942). How beautifully the Oneness is explained!
Further, I will be failing miserably if I do not give an account of the actual conversation which took place in 1935 between the Master and two Moslems (25th December 1935) (from “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi”(1968), Published by Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai)
D : Has God a form?
M : Who says so?
D : Well, if God has no form is it proper to worship idols?
M : Leave God alone because He is unknown. What about you? Have you a form?
D : Yes. I am this and so and so.
M : So, then, you are a man with limbs, about three and a half cubits high, with beard etc. Is it so?
D : Certainly
M : Then do you find yourself so in deep sleep?
D : After waking I perceive that I was asleep. Therefore, by inference I remained thus in deep sleep also.
M : If you are the body why do they bury the corpse after death? The body must refuse to be buried.
D : No, I am the subtle jiva within the gross body
M : So you see that you are really formless; but you are at present identifying yourself with the body. So long as you are formful why should you not worship the formless God as being formful?
The questioner was baffled and perplexed. The sage thus diagnosed the disease due to ignorance of our true selves, and the consequent false assumption that the body is the self. Ultimately, we will have to apply the simplest and at the same time a very difficult formula given by the Maharishi ‘Who am I?” Application of this formula is perhaps the best way to invoke the Maharishi in ourselves and pave a way for wading away ignorance.