A Selection of Teachings
Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer’s Unpublished 1936 Journal
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
Q.: Will chanting “A-HAM” [Self] mentally lead to realisation of the Self?
B.: Whilst doing it, fix your attention at the source of the japam[ ] in you. That is, scrutinize where from within yourself the japam arises and retain your faculty of attention exclusively at such source.
Q.: Bhagavan means the right-hand side of the chest – am I correct?
B.: Trace back the feeling of “I” or the japam until it merges back there. Concentrating on that spot in the body may result in freedom from thoughts for the time being. If you are seeking Realisation the mind must be traced back into the Heart. Fixing one’s attention or concentration on anything is mental activity. Only subsidence or cessation of mental activity Reveals the Heart.
When you are asked to merge back into the Heart, whence you have come, it does not mean this is to be accomplished by means of “doing”. To “do” is to use the mind or permit it to function, that is, to encourage it to drift away from the Heart. Not to “do” is to not stand in the way of the mind becoming permanently engulfed in the Shining of the Heart. You need not try to assist the mind to reach the Heart.
Anything you try to do in facilitating the mind to sink into the Heart will only drive the mind farther away from the Heart. There is only one way to truly reach the Heart, and that is relinquishment of the realm of doing once and for all. Abandon trying to do anything with the mind. Keep the mind perfectly awake and alert but perfectly motionless and still.
Effort made or volition entertained to remain motionless is also movement. If the mind is indefinitely kept up in jagrat-sushupti [wakeful sleep], it sinks into the Heart automatically and is dissolved there once and for all like a salt doll thrown into the ocean. So, rather than concentrating on the right-hand side of the chest, seek the source of the mind and in consequence practically discover it to be on the right-hand side of the chest.
People ask what sadhana should be done to keep the mind still. What reply is to be given to this query? Stillness is one’s natural state. We ruin it by permitting thoughts to arise. Stop thinking and the mind is still. It is as simple as that.
Q.: I am trying to stop the flow of thought. I am not meeting with any success.
B.: Why? Because you endeavour to counter thought with thought. The thought “I must not think thought” cannot kill thought. Only stillness can extinguish thought.
Q.: How can I cultivate this stillness?
B.: By giving up vrittis[ tendancies] of mind.
Q.: How is that to be done?
B.: “Who am I?” is the way.
Q.: Is effort a hindrance to Realisation of the Self?
Q.: Then why does Bhagavan exhort us to put in effort to Realise the Self?
B.: Effort is necessary until it has become unnecessary.
Q.: I don’t understand what Bhagavan is telling me.
B.: Until the mind has become reduced into the primordial state of pure Subjective Consciousness to which possibility of expenditure of effort and accommodation of volition are altogether alien, effort is necessary to gain such natural state. Once this state is reached, further effort returns one to the quagmire of “doing”. So, make effort until it has become impossible to make any more effort, that is, until the sashwatamanonivritti [ ] state stands reached. This will not happen in a day. It needs relentless practice over a prolonged period of time.
Q.: But Bhagavan realised in twenty-seven minutes of practice in Madurai!
B.: Not all are born the same. At the time of birth some people have minds that are more introverted than those of others [also whose birth has just taken place].
Q.: Why this disparity?
B.: It is unnecessary and pointless to go into it. Work with what you have.”
Edited by John David Oct 2021