Dr. Bernhard Bey, an American Chemist who had interested himself in Vedanta for the last twenty years, now in India, came on a visit to the Master. He asked: “How is abhyasa to be made? I am trying to find the Light.” (He himself explained abhyasa as concentration = one-pointedness of mind.)
The Master asked, what was his abhyasa till now.
The visitor said he concentrated on the nasal base, but his mind wandered.
M.: Is there a mind?
Another devotee gently put in: The mind is only a collection of thoughts.
M.: To whom are the thoughts? If you try to locate the mind, the mind vanishes and the Self alone remains. Being alone, there can be no one-pointedness or otherwise.
D.: It is so difficult to understand this. If something concrete is said, it can be readily grasped. Japa, dhyana, etc., are more concrete.
M.: ‘Who am I?’ is the best japa.
What could be more concrete than the Self? It is within each one’s experience every moment. Why should he try to catch anything outside, leaving out the Self? Let each one try to find out the known Self instead of searching for the unknown something beyond.
D.: Where shall I meditate on the Atman? I mean in which part of the body?
M.: The Self should manifest itself. That is all that is wanted.
A devotee gently added: On the right of the chest, there is the Heart, the seat of the Atman.
Another devotee: The illumination is in that centre when the Self is realised.
M.: Quite so.
D.: How to turn the mind away from the world?
M.: Is there the world? I mean apart from the Self? Does the world say that it exists? It is you who say that there is a world. Find out the Self who says it.
From Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Talk 81, 15th October, 1935