Letter 88

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4th February, 1947
This afternoon somebody handed a slip of paper with a question on it to Bhagavan. The purport of it was: “What happens to this world during sleep? In what state is the Jnani during sleep?”

Affecting surprise, Bhagavan replied, “Oh! Is that what you want to know? Do you know what is happening to your body and in what state you are when you are asleep? During your sleep you forget that your body is here, in this place, on this mat, in this very condition, and you wander about somewhere and do something. It is only when you wake up that you realise that you are here. But you are always existent during the sleeping state as well as during the waking state. Your body is living inert, without any activity during your sleep. Therefore you are not this body during the sleeping condition. Then, to what are you attached during sleep? There must be something which is the prop for these comings and goings. You lie down with a view to sleep. But you get dreams; next you sleep, knowing happily nothing. It is a very happy sleep. So you admit that you were there in the sleeping state. And yet you say that you are aware of nothing in that state. What is real, you say you do not know. What is unreal and fleeting, you say you know. But in truth you know what is real. These fleeting things --- let them come and go --- they will not touch you.

You do not know about yourself but you ask what happens to the world? What does the Jnani experience in the sleeping state? If you first know what happens to you, the world will know about itself. You ask about Jnanis; they are the same in any state or condition, as they know the Reality, the Truth.

In their daily routine of taking food, moving about and all the rest, they, the Jnanis, act only for others. Not a single action is done for themselves. I have already told you many times that just as there are people whose profession is to mourn for a fee, so also the Jnanis do things for the sake of others with detachment, without themselves being affected by them.”

Another devotee took up the conversation and asked, “Swami, you say the real state must be known, and that meditation is necessary to realise that. But first of all what is meditation?

“Meditation means Brahman,” Bhagavan replied. Continuing, he said, “To get rid of the evils that are created by the mind, it is said that some nishta (religious practice) must be adopted, and meditation based on that must be practised. As you go on doing it, those evils will disappear. And, after they disappear, the meditation itself becomes fixed as Brahman. Tapas also means the same thing.

When you ask how to get rid of all these vasanas, they say, ‘Do tapas.’ But what is the reward of tapas? It is said, ‘tapas itself is the reward.’ Tapas means swarupa (realisation of the Self). What is real is the swarupa, that is Atma, the Supreme Self, that is Brahman. That is everything. Of course in technical language you have to say. ‘Do meditation’ but these doubts do not arise if you know who it is that is really meditating.” The same idea is conveyed in Bhagavan’s “Upadesa Saram”:
Ahamapetakam nijavibhaanakam
mahadidam tapo ramanavaagiyam

The Realisation of That which subsists when all trace of ‘I’ is gone is great tapas. So sings Ramana.

-- Upadesa Saram, verse 30

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