The Self is Pure Consciousness. Yet a man identifies himself with the body which is insentient and does not itself say: ‘I am the body’. Someone else says so. The unlimited Self does not. Who does? A spurious ‘I’ arises between Pure Consciousness and the insentient body and imagines itself to be limited to the body. Seek this and it will vanish like a phantom. The phantom is the ego or mind or individuality. All the scriptures are based on the rise of this phantom, whose elimination is their purpose. The present state is mere illusion. Its dissolution is the goal and nothing else.
To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So, you must turn inward and see where the mind rises from and then it will cease to exist.
Of course, we are employing the mind. It is well known and admitted that only with the help of the mind, can the mind be killed. But instead of setting about saying there is a mind and I want to kill it, you begin to seek its source, and then you find it does not exist at all. The mind turned outwards results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards it becomes itself the Self.
By steady and continuous investigation into the nature of the mind, the mind is transformed into That to which ‘I’ refers; and that is in fact the Self. The mind has necessarily to depend for its existence on something gross; it never subsists by itself. It is the mind that is otherwise called the subtle body, ego, jiva or soul.
That which arises in the physical body as ‘I’ is the mind. If one enquires whence the ‘I’-thought arises in the body in the first instance, it will be found that it is from the hrdayam or the Heart. That is the source and stay of the mind. Or again, even if one merely continuously repeats to oneself inwardly ‘I-I’ with the entire mind fixed thereon, that also leads to the same source.
The first and foremost of all thoughts that arise in the mind is the primal ‘I’-thought. It is only after the rise or origin of the ‘I’-thought that innumerable other thoughts arise. In other words, only after the first personal pronoun, ‘I’, has arisen, do the second and third personal pronouns occur to the mind; and they cannot subsist without it. Since every other thought can occur only after the rise of the ‘I’-thought, and since the mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts, it is only through the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ that the mind subsides. Moreover, the integral ‘I’-thought implicit in such enquiry, having destroyed all other thoughts, it itself finally gets destroyed or consumed, just as a stick used for stirring the burning funeral pyre gets consumed.
From The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words, Arthur Osborne
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