The Absolute Being is ‘What Is’ – Ramana Maharshi

Ramana_Maharshi_faceSwami Yogananda with four others arrived at 8.45 a.m. He looks big, but gentle and well-groomed. He has dark flowing hair, hanging over his shoulders. The group had lunch in the Ashram.

Mr. C. R. Wright, his secretary asked: How shall I realise God?

M.: God is an unknown entity. Moreover He is external. Whereas, the Self is always with you and it is you. Why do you leave out what is intimate and go in for what is external?

D.: What is this Self again?

M.: The Self is known to everyone but not clearly. You always exist. The Be-ing is the Self. ‘I am’ is the name of God. Of all the definitions of God, none is indeed so well put as the Biblical statement “I AM THAT I AM” in EXODUS (Chap. 3). There are other statements, such as Brahmaivaham, Aham Brahmasmi and Soham. But none is so direct as the name JEHOVAH = I AM. The Absolute Being is what is – it is the Self. It is God. Knowing the Self, God is known. In fact God is none other than the Self.

D.: Why are there good and evil?

M.: They are relative terms. There must be a subject to know the good and evil. That subject is the ego. Trace the source of the ego. It ends in the Self. The source of the ego is God. This definition of God is probably more concrete and better understood by you.

D.: So it is. How to get Bliss?

M.: Bilss is not something to be got. On the other hand you are always Bliss. This desire is born of the sense of incompleteness. To who is this sense of incompleteness? Enquire. In deep sleep you were blissful: Now you are not so. What has interposed between that Bliss and this non-bliss? It is the ego. Trace the source of the ego. Then the ego is lost and Bliss remains over. It is eternal. You are That, here and now….That is the master key for solving all doubts. The doubts arise in the mind. The mind is born of the ego. The ego rises from the Self. Search the source of the ego and the Self is revealed. That alone remains. The universe is only expanded Self. It is not different from the Self.

D.: What is the best way of living?

M.: It differs according as one is a Jnani or ajnani. A Jnani does not find anything different or separate from the Self. All are in the Self. It is wrong to imagine that there is the world, that there is a body in it and that you dwell in the body. If the Truth is known, the universe and what is beyond it will be found to be only in the Self. The outlook differs according to the sight of the person. The sight is from the eye. The eye must be located somewhere. If you are seeing with the gross eyes you find others gross. If with subtle eyes (i.e., the mind) others appear subtle. If the eye becomes the Self, the Self being infinite, the eye is infinite. There is nothing else to see different from the Self.

He thanked Maharshi. He was told that the best way of thanking is to remain always as the Self.

Ramana Maharhsi

from Talk 106, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. Sri Ramanasramam.

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A Sacred Life – J. Krishnamurti

KrishnajiWhere there is the activity of the self, meditation is not possible. This is very important to understand, not verbally but actually. Meditation is a process of emptying the mind of all the activity of the self, of all the activity of the “me.” If you do not understand the activity of the self, then your meditation only leads to illusion, your meditation then only leads to self-deception, your meditation then will only lead to further distortion. So to understand what mediation is, you must understand the activity of the self.

The self has had a thousand worldly, sensuous, or intellectual experiences, but it is bored with them because they have no meaning. The desire to have wider, more expansive, transcendental experiences is part of the “me,” the self. When you have such experiences, or visions, you must be able to recognize those experiences, or those visions, but when you can recognize them, they are not new, they are projections of your background, or your conditioning, in which the mind delights as though they are something new. Don’t agree, but see the truth of it, then it is yours.

One of the demands, urges, desires of the mind, the self, is to change “what is” into “what should be.” It doesn’t know what to do with “what is” because it cannot resolve “what is,” therefore it projects an idea of “what should be,” which is the ideal. This projection is the antithesis of “what is,” and therefore there is a conflict between “what is” and “what should be.” That very conflict is the blood and the breath of the self.

Another activity of the self is the will to become, the will to change. Will is a form of resistance in which we have been educated from childhood. Will has become extraordinarily important to us, economically, socially, and religiously. Will is a form of ambition, and from will arises the desire to control–to control one thought by another thought, one activity of thought by another activity of thought. “I must control my desire”: the “I” is put together by thought, a verbal statement as the “me” with its memories, experiences. That thought wants to control, shape, deny, another thought.

One of the activities of the self is to separate itself as the “me,” as the observer. The observer is the past, all the accumulated knowledge, experience, memories. So the “I,” the “me,” separates itself as the observer from the “you,” the observed. “We” and “they.” We the Germans, the communists, the Catholics, the Hindus, and they the heathens, and so on, and so on. As long as the activities of the self–as long as the “me” as the observer, as the controller, as will; the self demanding, desiring experience–exist, meditation becomes a means of self-hypnosis, an escape from daily life, an escape from all the misery and problems. As long as those activities exist, there must be deception. See the reality, not verbally, but actually, that a person who is inquiring into meditation, who wants to see what takes place, must  understand all the activities of the self.

Meditation is the emptying of the mind of the activity of the self. And you cannot empty the mind of the activity of the self by any practice, by any method, or by saying “Tell me what to do.” Therefore, if you are really interested in this, you have to find out for yourself your own activity of the the self–habits, the verbal statements, the gestures, the deceptions, the guilt that you cultivate and hold on to as though it were some precious thing instead of throwing it away, the punishments–all the activities of the self. And that demands awareness.

Now, what is being aware? Awareness implies an observation in which there is no choice whatsoever, just observing without interpretation, translation, distortion. And that will not take place as long as there is an observer who is trying to be aware. Can you be aware, attentive, so that in that attention there is only observation and not the observer?

Now listen to this. You have read that statement: awareness is a state of mind in which the observer with its choice is not. You hear that statement. You immediately want to put it into practice, into action. You say, “What am I to do? How am I to be aware without the observer?”  You want an immediate activity–which means you have not really listened to that statement. You are more concerned with putting that statement into action than with listening to the statement. It is like looking at a flower and smelling the flower. The flower is there, the beauty, the color, the loveliness of it. You look at it and pick it up and begin to tear it to pieces. And you do the same when you listen to the statement that in awareness, in attention, there is no observer, that if the observer is, then you have the problem of choice, conflict. You hear that statement and the immediate reaction of the mind is, “How am I to do it?” So you are more concerned with the action of what to do about that statement than with actually listening to it. If you listen to it completely, then you are breathing the perfume, the truth of it. And the perfume, the truth, acts, not the “me” that is struggling to act rightly. Have you got it?

So, to find out the beauty and the depth of meditation, you have to inquire into the activities of the self, which is put together by time. So you have to understand time.

Please listen to this. Listen, don’t do anything about it, just listen. Find our if it is false or true. Just observe. Listen with your heart, not with your beastly little mind.

Time is movement, both physically and psychologically. Physically to move from here to there needs time. Psychologically, the movement of time is to change “what is” into “what should be.” So thought, which is time, can never be still because thought is movement, and this movement is part of the self. We are saying thought is the movement of time. Thought is the movement of time because it is the response of knowledge, experience, memory, which is time. So thought can never be still. Thought can never be new. Thought can never bring about freedom.

When one is aware of the movement of the self in all its activities–as ambition, seeking fulfillment, in relationship–out of that comes a mind that is completely still. Not that thought is still–you understand the difference? Most people are trying to control their thoughts, hoping thereby to bring quietness to the mind. I have seen dozens of people who have practiced for years trying to control their thoughts, hoping to have a mind that is really quiet. But they don’t see that thought is a movement. You may divide that movement as the observer and the observed, or the thinker and the thought, or the controller and the controlled, but it is still movement. And thought can never be still: if it is still it dies, therefore it cannot afford to be still.

If you have gone deeply into all this, into yourself, then you will see that the mind becomes completely still–not enforced, not controlled, not hypnotized. And it must be still because it is only in that stillness that a totally new, unrecognizable thing can take place. If I force my mind to be still through various tricks and practices, shocks, then it is the stillness of a mind that has struggled with thought, controlled thought, suppressed thought. That is entirely different from a mind that has seen the activity of the self, seen the movement of thought as time. The very attention to all that movement brings about the quality of mind that is completely still, in which something totally new can take place.

Meditation is the emptying of the mind of all the activity of the self. Now, will it take time? Will the emptying, or rather–I won’t use that word emptying, you will get frightened–can this process of the self come to an end, through time, through days, through years? Or has it to end instantly? Is it possible? All this is part of your meditation. When you say to yourself, “I will gradually get rid of the self,” that is part of conditioning, and you enjoy yourself in the meantime. When you introduce the word gradually, that involves time, a period, and during that period you enjoy yourself–all the pleasures, all the feelings of guilt which you cherish, which you hold on to, and the anxiety which also gives you a certain sense of living. And to be free of all that you say, “It will take time.” That is part of our culture, part of our evolutionary conditioning. Now will psychologically putting an end to the activities of the self take time? Or does it not take time at all, but rather the release of a new kind of energy that will put all that aside instantly?

Does the mind actually see the falseness of the proposition that it needs time to dissolve the activities fo the self? Do I see clearly the falseness of it? Or do I see intellectually that it isn’t quite right, and therefore I go on with it! If I see the falseness of it actually, then it has gone, hasn’t it? Time is not involved at all. Time is needed only when there is analysis, when there is inspection or examination of each broken piece that constitutes the “me.” When I see the whole movement of this as thought, it has no validity, though man has accepted it as inevitable. Then because the mind sees the falseness of it, it ends. You don’t go too close to the edge of a precipice unless you are rather unbalanced, insane, and then you go over; if you are sane, healthy, you stay away from it. The movement away from it doesn’t take time, it is an instant action because you see what would happen if you fell. So in the same way, if you see the falseness of all the movement of thought, of analysis, of the acceptance of time, and so on, then there is the instant action of thought as the “me” ending itself.

So a religious life is a life of meditation, in which the activities of the self are not. And one can live such a life in this world every day. That is, one can live a life as a human being in which there is constant alertness, watchfulness, awareness, an attentive mind that is watching the movement of the self. And the watching is watching from silence, not from a conclusion. Because the mind has observed the activities of the self and sees the falseness of it and therefore the mind has become extraordinarily sensitive, and silent. And from that silence it acts. In daily life.

Have you got it? Have we shared this together? Because it is your life, not my life. It is your life of sorrow, of tragedy, of confusion, guilt, reward, punishment. All that is your life. If you are serious you have tried to untangle all this. You have read some book, or followed some teacher, or listened to somebody, but the problems remain. These problems will exist as long as the human mind moves within the field of the activity of the self; that activity of the self must create more and more and more problems. When you observe, when you become extraordinarily aware of this activity of the self, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet, sane, healthy, holy. And from that silence our life in everyday activity is transformed.

Religion is the cessation of the “me,” and action born of that silence. That life is a sacred life full of meaning.

J. Krishnamurti

From the public talk at Saanen on July 29, 1973. Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, Ltd

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The Ending of Inquiry as an Intellectual Movement – Vimala Thakar

You see for yourself that every movement of the mind of the mind, the ‘Me’, the ‘I’ is mechanistic – whether it moves in the direction of society, of politics, of economics or in the direction of sex – the movement is mechanistic. You understand that the mental movement now is irrelevant. The perception, the observation brings the ‘I’ consciousness to this point: that my movement corrupted by the content, is bound to be mechanistic, is bound to refer to concepts and is bound to create a new measurement to measure the divine. My movement can be only relevant on the conceptual level but it is irrelevant for further inquiry.

The inquiry as a movement of the ‘I’ has served its purpose. It has seen its own limitations and therefore it stops. The relaxation of the mental effort, the relaxation of the mental movement as a fact has to happen within. Because of the inner urge to learn and to live – which is a non-rational, non-calculated urge – because of that urge the ‘ I’ consciousness is now willing, is now inclined to stop moving.

Up til now, the inquiry was with the help of an effort, now the inquiry will enter the dimension of effortlessness. Silence is effortlessness. Silence is effortless alertness. So the ‘I’ consciousness says ‘I am not going to observe. My observation brought me to the fact of the mechanistic nature of my movement, so I stop.’ Does the stopping take place in your life? The integrity and the genuineness of inquiry requires this questioning of oneself. Have we ever allowed that movement to stop, to discontinue? Not when you are sitting in your room but when you are moving through relationships. Has one ever experimented with the present absolutely, defenselessly? “Defenselessly” means without the defence of the past. The past is a kind of defense, and its movement is like security.

Now the psyche is filled with Silence, not filled with thoughts, concepts, ideas, theories and conclusions. You know, all that is gone. Now the emptiness of consciousness is filled with Silence. One says it is filled with silence because silence is an energy. If you had heard the speaker some time ago you might have heard the words “energy gets stimulated in silence, the new energy of Intelligence gets stimulated in silence.” No! As it was pointed out earlier, the speaker is growing, is learning. Life is infinite and till the last breath the learning shall continue so there may be changes in expression. I say silence is energy.

The moment you allow your movement, the movement of the Ego to discontinue, not out of any tension, pressure, but out of understanding, then relaxation takes place. If that relaxation takes place, then the emptiness of consciousness is filled with Silence. That energy is uncorrupted, unmutilated, unfragmented, unindividuated. Now observation or perception takes place out of the emptiness of consciousness, out of that silence. The energy of silence perceives through the eyes. The energy of silence listens through the ears. That energy is not an indentity like ‘Me’, the ‘Ego’. If fills your whole being. There is an observation without the observer.

Observation without the observer is the state of wholeness of perception and wholeness of responses.

Inquiry moved from the theoretical to the practical, where it was still a movement of the ‘I’ consciousness. That movement has stopped – again a quantum jump. Now observation becomes a movement of the spontaneity. When the cool breeze that comes and soothes your body and relaxes you completely, is there someone who is blowing the breeze towards you? It’s a movement of the breeze, it’s natural. So observation as a dimension of your whole life becomes a movement of the spontaneity, of that wholeness.

Inquiry as a movement of the mind has stopped. You see if the state of observation, the dimension of observation is allowed to open up in your being then inquiry as an intellectual movement, as a mental movement, as a movement of investigation by the ‘I’ consciousness, exploration by the ‘I’ consciousness has ended.

Vimala Thakar

from What Is Meditation? 1998 Vimal Prakashan Trust

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I AM is the Gate – Osho

This is a follow-up to the last post – Jesus was a Buddha.

Osho addresses the often quoted statement by Jesus.

Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

This statement is of immense importance, and has been tremendously misunderstood by Christians, misinterpreted. This statement has become a protection for the priest, for the dogmatist, for the demagogue. Christians have taken it to mean that nobody ever comes to God unless he comes through Christ – that means Jesus, son of Mariam. Nobody comes to God unless he comes through Jesus. They have meant, or they have interpreted it in such a way, that Christianity becomes the only right religion. All other religions become wrong. All other religions are against God – only Christianity.

Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

What does he mean? These priests and the missionaries and the Christians who go on converting the whole world to Christianity, are they right? Is their interpretation right? Or has Jesus something else? He has something UTTERLY else.

In the Bhagavad Gita also there is a statement which Hindus go on misinterpreting. Krishna has said to Arjuna… And almost the same quality of closeness existed between Arjuna and Krishna as between Jesus and Thomas – the same relationship. And the same flowering had happened, and the same statement had bubbled up out of that relationship. Krishna said to Arjuna: SARVA DHARMAN PARITYAJYA MAMEKAM SHARANAM VRAJA: Drop all religions, forget about all religions and come to my feet, because it is only through me that one reaches to God.

Now Hindus are happy with this statement. Krishna has said so clearly: Forget all religions. Drop all kinds of other religions and hold unto me. Hold to my feet – MAMEKAM SHARANAM VRAJA. Come to my feet; they are the bridges to God – the only bridges.

Both statements happened in the same kind of situation. Arjuna must have been very very close when Krishna said this. And so is the case with Thomas – he must have been very close. Christ must have been showering like flowers on Thomas when he said this. You will need that loving understanding of a Thomas, only then will you be able to understand the meaning of this. You will need that loving intimacy of an Arjuna, only then will you be able to understand the statement of Krishna. Both are the same, both mean the same – and both have been misinterpreted.

The misinterpretation comes from the priest and the politician – those who try to convert religion into organisational, political strategies.

Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way

I AM… That has to be understood. It does not mean Jesus, it simply means the inner consciousness: ’I am’ – the inner life. This consciousness inside you, which you call ’I am’, this ’I am’ is the only way. If you can understand this ’I am’, what it is, what this consciousness is, you have found the way. It has nothing to do with Jesus, it has nothing to do with Krishna. When I say to you ’I am the gate’ it has nothing to do with me! That I AM is the gate. The gate is within you, the way is within you, the truth is within you. You have to understand who this is calling himself ’I am’ within you, what this consciousness is, what it consists of.

If you can go into your consciousness, if you can feel, see, realise the nature of your consciousness, that is the way. Meditation is the way – not Christ, not Krishna, nor Mohammed. Who am I? – this question will become the way.

Raman Maharshi is right when he says that only one question is relevant: Who am I? Go on asking this question, let this question become a fire in you. Be aflame with it! Let every cell of your body and your being, and every fibre of your existence pulsate, vibrate with it. And let this question arise from the deepest core: Who am I? And go on asking; don’t accept any answer that is given by the mind. You have been reading the Upanishads, and in the Upanishads they say ’You are God’. And your mind will say ’Why are you asking again and again? I know the answer: You are God. And keep quiet!’ Or if you are a Christian and have been reading the Bible again and again, you know: The kingdom of God is within you. So, ’Who am I?’ – ’The kingdom of God. Now keep quiet!’

No answer from the head has to be accepted. No answer from the.memory has to be accepted. No answer from knowledge has to be accepted. All answers have to be thrown in the whirlwind of the question ’Who am I?’ A moment comes when all answers have gone and ONLY the question remains, alone like a pillar of fire. You are afire with it! You are just a thirst, a passionate quest: ’Who am l?’ When the question has burned all the answers, then the question burns itself too, it consumes itself. And once the question has also disappeared, there is silence. That silence is the answer. And that is the door, the gate, the way, the truth.

Please be careful. When Jesus says I AM THE WAY, he means the one who calls himself I AM within you is the way. It has nothing to do with Jesus. Just by holding the feet of Jesus you are not going to go anywhere. Just by praying to Jesus you are not going to go anywhere. Listen to what he is saying.

Each Master throws you back to yourself, because ultimately God is hidden in you as much as in the Master. You are carrying your light within yourself. You just have to turn back, you have to look inwards.

I AM the way, the Truth

Yes. In your very consciousness is the truth. When you become fully conscious you become the full truth. When you are absolutely conscious, it is not that you face truth as an object, you ARE the truth, it is your subjectivity, it is you. That’s what Upanishads say: TATWAMASI: Thou art that.

…… and the Life…

Three things Jesus says: It is the life – I AM, consciousness, awareness. This is life – the life that you know, the ordinary life. Then the second: I AM THE WAY – the way that joins the ordinary life with the extraordinary life, the way that joins Adam with Christ, the way that joins body with soul. And the third thing: I AM THE TRUTH. Jesus has said all the three things.

You are that right now, because I AM THE LIFE. And you have the way too, hidden behind you, within you: I AM THE WAY. And you are the ultimate goal too, the destiny. You are the beginning and the middle and the end. You are Adam, Jesus and Christ.

no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

No man has ever entered into God unless he has entered into his consciousness, until he has entered into his ’I am’-ness. This is the meaning. This is the meaning of Krishna, and this is the meaning of Christ. This is the meaning of all the Masters.


From I Say Unto You, Vol. 2., Chapter Nine

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Jesus was a Buddha

Jesus was a Buddha and Gautama was a Christ. Both of these enlightened masters were speaking from the same Ultimate Reality. And yet within the teachings of Christianity there seems to be such a narrow teaching that Jesus is the only way.

It seems that much of the conflict between Christianity and other religions stems from a couple of sayings attributed to Jesus. What if we just got the translation wrong or they were not fully understood when they were spoken.

Certainly one of the most repeated is quoted in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And following that, and in Christians eyes makes it clear that Jesus is the only way, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”

This statement can be looked at from a higher vision, from an unlimiting consciousness rather than the common narrow interpretation. Rather than “I am the way”, we could say “I AM is the Way, I AM is the truth and the Life.” What a difference is made by just adding “is.” Looked at from this light it is easier to understand the statement of Jesus from John 8:58, “I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.”In fact it is the only way that the sentence makes sense. I AM is the ultimate subject, first person, singular which each of us at our very core are. It is this “I AM” that we have to return to in order to reach the Father.


This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

Franklin Merrell-Wolff addresses this issue in chapter seven of his Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object. The chapter is titled Jesus and the Way which can be seen at:

Imaginative mental activity is the enemy of Satori – Hubert Benoit

According to Zen man is of the nature of Buddha; he is perfect, nothing is lacking in him. But he does not realize this because he is caught in his entanglements of his mental representations. Everything happens as though a screen were woven between himself and Reality by his imaginative activity functioning in the dualistic mode.

Imaginative mental activity is useful at the beginning of man’s life, as long as the human machine is not completed, as long as the abstract intellect is not fully developed; it constitutes, during the first period, a compensation without which man could not tolerate his limited condition. Once the human machine is entirely developed, the imagination, while still retaining the utility of which we have just spoken, becomes more and more harmful; it brings about in fact a wastage of energy which otherwise would accumulate in the interior of the being until the crystallisation of intuitive non-dualistic knowledge (satori).

Hubert Benoit

from Zen and the Psychology of Transformation: The Supreme Doctrine.

The Silence Between Exhalation and Inhalation – Jean Klein

Feel your feet in contact with the ground. Feel yourself erect, straight, vertical. Move your neck slightly back, so you feel that the cervical region is a prolongation of the rest of your spinal cord. Be aware of the position of your shoulders and shoulder blades. The slightest rising up of the shoulders is a defense. Feel your nostrils. Feel the entrance to your nostrils. Fell the coming and going of the breath several inches in front of the entrance to the nostrils. Do not control the breath or have any pretension of being an observer. Feel the expansion of the breath in the upper part of your torso, on the level of your collarbones. Be completely one with the coming and going of the breath, which is localized on the level of the collarbones. Then feel the expansion of the breath a little lower, in the center, the middle part of your trunk. Now completely ignore the upper part. Be one with coming and going of the breath. Then feel the expanding of the breath in the lower part, the abdominal region. Ignoring the upper and middle regions, go knowingly into the process. Then inhale with all of the regions: lower, middle, upper part; exhale upper part, middle part, lower part. The inhalation and the exhalation take place exclusively through the nostrils.

Let the exhalation go completely to the end. Sometimes you think that you are at the end, but there is still some residue. So go to the very end of the exhalation, but without forcing the air out. Then be completely attuned to the silence after the exhalation, and wait for the inner need of the body to inhale. Feel the exhalation and inhalation several inches in front of the nostrils. There must be no intention in the frontal region of the brain. It then is completely relaxed. There is no rising up of the shoulders. Keep them down, knowingly. There are no gaps or stops and starts in the inhalation and the exhalation; it is one steady flow, from the beginning to end, the same intensity. You live from moment to moment; there is no anticipation to an end. You follow from moment to moment. Be aware during the inhalation that it is not a grasping, a taking. And let the exhalation completely die in silence. There is a moment when there is a forgetting of the inhalation and exhalation, and awareness is in identity with the silence between exhalation and inhalation. Be this identity with the silence.

Jean Klein

from Open to the Unknown – Third Millennium Publications, 1992

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