Devotee: Buddha is said to have ignored questions about God.
Bhagavan: Yes, and because of this he has been called an agnostic. In fact Buddha was concerned with guiding the seeker to realise Bliss here and now, rather than with academic discussions about God and so forth.
D.: Is the study of science, psychology, physiology, etc., helpful for attaining Yoga-liberation or for intuitive understanding of the unity of Reality?
B.: Very little. Some theoretical knowledge is needed for Yoga and may be found in books, but practical application is what is needed.
Superficially, it might seem that the Maharshi’s statements about God were inconsistent, since he would sometimes enjoin complete faith and submission to God and sometimes speak of God as unreal; but actually there was no inconsistency. It must always be remembered that the purpose of his exposition was not to propound a philosophy but to give practical guidance on the spiritual path. Someone who could conceive of the non-dual Self could understand that it was his own Self .All religions postulate the three fundamentals: the world, the soul and God; but it is the One Reality that manifests itself as these three. One can say: ‘The three are really three’ only so long as the ego lasts. Therefore to inhere in one’s own Being, when the ego is dead is the perfect state.
B: If one has form oneself, the world and God will also appear to have form; but if one is formless, who is to see these forms, and how? Without the eye can any object be seen? The seeing Self is the Eye, and that Eye is the Eye of Infinity. Brahman is not to be seen or known. It is beyond the three fold relationship of seer, sight and seen, or knower, knowledge and known. The Reality remains ever as it is.
When there was genuine search for understanding, Bhagavan would explain in some details, always leading the seeker back to the doctrine of the One Self
Mr. Thompson, a very quiet young gentleman who has been staying in India for some years and studying Hindu philosophy as an earnest student, asked: Srimad Bhagavad Gita says: ‘I am the prop for Brahman’. In another place it says: ‘I am in the Heart of each one’. Thus the different aspects of the Ultimate Principle are revealed. I take it that there are three aspects, namely: (1) the transcendental, (2) the immanent, and (3) the cosmic. Is Realisation to be in any of these or in all of them? Coming to the transcendental from the cosmic, Vedanta discards the names and forms as being maya. Again Vedanta also says that the whole is Brahman, as illustrated by gold and ornaments of gold. How are we to understand the truth?
B.: The Gita says: Brahmano hi pratishtaham. If that aham is known, the whole is known.
D.: That is the immanent aspect only.
B.: You now think that you are an individual; outside you there is the universe and beyond the universe is God. So there is the idea of separateness. The idea must go. For God is not separate from you or the cosmos. The Gita also says: ‘I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the heart of all beings; I am the beginning and the middle and also the end of all beings. Thus God is not only in the heart of all, He is the prop of all. He is the source of all, their abiding place and their end. All proceed from Him, have their stay in Him, and finally resolve into Him. Therefore He is not separate.
D.: How are we to understand the line in the Gita: ‘This whole cosmos forms a particle of me.’
B.: It does not mean that a small particle of God separates from Him and forms the universe. His shakti is acting; and as a result of one phase of such activity the cosmos has become manifest.
D.: I understand that. Brahman is certainly not divisible.
B.: So the fact is that Brahman is all and remains indivisible. He is ever realised. However, man does not know this; and it is just what he has to know. Knowledge means overcoming the obstacles which obstruct the revelation of the Eternal Truth that the Self is the same as Brahman. The obstacles taken altogether form your idea of separateness as an individual.Therefore the present attempt will result in the truth being revealed that the Self is not separate from Brahman.
Christians, except for the greatest mystics, cling to the idea of a permanently real and separate ego. Sri Bhagavan had a discussion on this point with a Jesuit Father, but it remained inconclusive, Bhagavan trying to turn the Father’s mind inwards to Self-enquiry and the Father demanding a theoretical exposition instead.
Dr. Emile Gathier, S. J., Professor of Philosophy at the Sacred Heart College, Shenbaganur, Kodaikanal, asked: Can you kindly give me a summary of your teachings B.: They are found in the booklets, particularly in Who am I
D.: I shall read them. But may I have the central point of your teaching from your own lips
B.: The central point is just the thing.
D.: It is not clear to me what you mean by that.
B.: That you should find the centre.
D.: I come from God. Isn’t God distinct from me?
B.: Who asks this question? God does not. You do. So find who you are and then you may find out whether God is distinct from you.
D.: But God is perfect and I am imperfect. How can I ever know Him fully?
B.: God does not say so. It is you who ask the question. After finding out who you are, you may know what God is.
D.: But you have found your Self. Please let us know if God is distinct from you
B.: It is a matter of experience. Each one must experience it for himself.
D.: Oh! I see. God is infinite and I am finite. I have a personality which can never merge into God. Isn’t that so?
B.: Infinity and perfection do not admit of parts. If a finite being is apart from Infinity, the perfection of Infinity is marred. Thus your statement is a contradiction in terms.
D.: No, see, there is both God and creation.
B.: How are you aware of your personality?
D.: I have a soul. I know it by its activities.
B.: Did you know it in deep sleep?
D.: The activities are suspended in deep sleep.
B.: But you exist in sleep and you do now too. Which of
these two is your real state?
D.: Sleep and waking are mere accidents. I am the substance behind the accidents.
(He looked up at the clock and said that it was time for him to catch the train. He left after thanking Sri Bhagavan. So the conversation ended abruptly).
The following dialogue is characteristic as showing refusal to discuss theory and insistence on the need for practice
D.: Is God personal?
B.: Yes, He is always the first person, the I, ever standing before you. Because you give precedence to worldly things, God appears to have receded to the background. If you give up all else and seek Him alone, He will remain as the ‘I’, the Self.
D.: The final state of Realisation is said, according to Advaita, to be absolute union with the Divine, and according to Visishtadvaita a qualified union, while Dvaita maintains that there is no union at all. Which of these should be considered the correct view ?
B.: Why speculate about what will happen at some time in the future? All are agreed that the ‘I’ exists. To whichever school of thought he may belong, LET THE EARNEST SEEKER FIRST FIND OUT WHAT ‘I’ IS.Then it will be time enough to know what the final state will be, whether the ‘I’ will get merged in the Supreme
Being or stand apart from Him. Let us not forestall the conclusion, but keep an open mind.
In case the path of worship( bhakti/devotion) was chosen, he demanded absolute surrender.
D.: God is described as manifest and unmanifest. As the former, He is said to include the world as a part of His Being. If that is so, we, as part of the world, should find it easy to know Him in His manifested form.
B.: Know yourself before you seek to know the nature of God and the world.
D.: Does knowing myself imply knowing God?
B.: Yes, God is within you
D.: Then, what stands in the way of my knowing myself or God?
B.: Your wandering mind and perverted ways.
D.: I am a weak creature. But why does not the superior power of the Lord within remove the obstacles?
B.: Yes, He will, if you have the aspiration.
D.: Why should He not create the aspiration in me?
B.: Then surrender yourself.
D.: If I surrender myself, is no prayer to God necessary?
B.: Surrender itself is a mighty prayer.
D.: But is it not necessary to understand His nature before one surrenders oneself?
B.: If you believe that God will do all the things that you want Him to do, then surrender yourself to Him. OTHERWISE LET GOD ALONE AND KNOW YOURSELF .If there be true surrender, there can be no complaint or frustration.
~ source -Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi ~