The liberation of the jiva
21 The spiritual practice adopted by the jiva becomes complete upon the destruction of the ego at its source.
22 Like the moth [in the flame], a jiva on which the shining light of swarupa has fallen will be annihilated, becoming the supreme.
23 The experience of Atma jnana, the realisation that one is bodiless, is the liberation of the jiva who regarded himself as the body.
24 For the jiva who has realised the truth, that truth itself will help in uniting it with liberation.
25 Only he in whom the ‘I’ is dead will know the union of the jiva with the supreme, which is the full, non-dual [experience].
26 The jiva that has succeeded in annihilating its ego-ridden mind in the Self, which is pure consciousness, will itself become consciousness, the supreme.
27 For the good jiva that has attained jnana, grace, there is never ever any pramada [forgetfulness of the Self], the darkness of ignorance.
28 In the Atma-swarupa, the supreme, pramada is always a complete folly for the jiva.
29 Drowning [the jiva] in the Heart in such a way that no thought arises for any reason – this is the grace, the power of the Self, who is the Lord of the jiva.
The unreality of the ego
30 Neither in this world nor anywhere else does there exist for you a malevolent enemy like the ego.
31 Enquire within and know the source of the ego so that the ego departs and the experience of Atma-swarupa surges.
32 If you enquire within yourself and know the nature of the powerful ego-ghost, then, like the [presumed] best man, it will run away and disappear.
Bhagavan: In a Hindu marriage function, the feasts continue five or six days. A stranger was mistaken for the best man by the bride’s party and they therefore treated him with special regard. Seeing him treated with special regard by the bride’s party, the bridegroom’s party considered him to be some man of importance related to the bride’s party and therefore they too showed him special respect. The stranger had altogether a happy time of it. He was also all along aware of the real situation. On one occasion the groom’s party wanted to refer to him on some point. They asked for him. He scented trouble and made himself scarce. So it is with the ego. If looked for, it disappears. If not, it continues to give trouble. [6. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 612.]
Bhagavan: Reality is simply the loss of the ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity. Because the ego is no entity it will automatically vanish and reality will shine forth by itself. This is the direct method. Whereas all other methods are done, only retaining the ego. In those paths there arise so many doubts and the eternal question remains to be tackled finally. But in this method the final question is the only one and it is raised from the very beginning. No sadhanas are necessary for engaging in this quest.
There is no greater mystery than this – viz., ourselves being the reality we seek to gain reality. We think that there is something hiding our reality and that it must be destroyed before the reality is gained. It is ridiculous. A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your past efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now. [7. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 146.]
33 Like an onion, the ego-appearance is an unreal thing that consists of a combination [of many tattvas]. When enquired into, it will be found to have no swarupa.
When every layer of an onion has been peeled away, there is no onion left. Swarupa here means ‘ever-present and inseparable nature’.
34 As long as the ego exists, how can one see, with a ramifying mind, the truth of oneself?
35 The ego that becomes embroiled in the multitude of moving pictures, which gets tossed about and suffers as a result, is a worthless phantasm.
36 The droll dance of the ego-ghost, whose form is the body, the dirty vessel of filth, will ruin the immortal life.
37 Binding one thing tightly to another is the profession of the ignoble ghost, the mind, the deceiving association.
Ulladu Narpadu, verses 25, 26:
What a wonder it is! This ghostly ego which is devoid of form comes into existence by grasping a form; grasping a form it endures; feeding upon forms which it grasps, it waxes more; leaving one form it grasps another; when sought for it takes to flight. Know thus.
If the ego, the root, comes into existence, all else will come into existence. If the ego does not exist, all else will not exist. Verily, the ego is all! Hence, scrutinizing ‘What is it?’ is indeed giving up all. Know thus. [8. Ulladu Narpadu – Kalivenba, The Mountain Path, 1981, p. 220.]
38 Those true devotees who have come under the sway of grace will not get deluded, becoming possessed by the ego-ghost.
39 There is nothing as insubstantial as the ego-ghost that remains firmly established, refusing to leave.
40 It is impossible to imagine the suffering experienced by this world through the sovereignty exercised by that ego ghost.
41 Only through the application of the vibhuti of jnana vichara will the ghost be exorcised.
In India it is traditional in some places to use vibhuti, sacred ash, during exorcism rituals. Bhagavan is saying here that enquiry (vichara) into the nature of jnana is the exorcism that banishes the ego-ghost.
42 Not only will it be exorcised, it will get beheaded and destroyed before your very eyes.
Association with the ego
43 What benefit have you gained by associating with an ego, which is just a thought that attaches itself to you?
44 To the ego-mind of ignoble people, the Atma-swarupa that is consciousness, the supreme, is very, very far away.
45 Seeing him, the ego, the degraded chandala, is defilement. Even hearing about him is defilement. He is an untouchable.
A chandala is an outcaste. In Bhagavan’s time such people were deemed to be ‘untouchables’, and were shunned by all caste Hindus. Bhagavan’s advice here is to treat the ego in the same way that society treated outcastes, and by doing so avoid the degradation and defilement that comes from wrong association. In Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 308, he remarked, ‘The non-Self is untouchable. The social untouchability is man-made, whereas the other untouchability is natural and divine.’
46 Unless one knows oneself as the witness, ignorance, which takes the form of the ego, will not be removed.
Ego, the cause of suffering
47 The ego that deludes you through forgetfulness will unsettle you, becoming the enemy of your stability.
48 A life in which the ego-ghost, which possesses desire and attachment, dances is a desolate hell of corruption and ruin.
Bhagavan: That bliss of the Self is always with you, and you will find it for yourself, if you would seek it earnestly. The cause of your misery is not in the life without; it is in you as the ego. You impose limitations on yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them. All unhappiness is due to the ego; with it comes all your trouble. What does it avail you to attribute to the happenings in life the cause of misery which is really within you? What happiness can you get from things extraneous to yourself? When you get it, how long will it last?
If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it, you would be free. If you accept it, it will impose limitations on you and throw you into a vain struggle to transcend them. That was how the thief sought to ‘ruin’ King Janaka.
To be the Self that you really are is the only means to realise the bliss that is ever yours. [9. Maharshi’s Gospel, pp. 47-8.]
49 In the certain knowledge of the Self, wherein the ego dies completely and is resurrected, mental anguish completely ceases.
50 If even a trace of the ego, ‘I’, exists, the experience of the Self will be obstructed.
51 Other than getting ruined, what else can the ego accomplish when it loses the light of consciousness by getting enmeshed in the net of worldly life?
52 A rutting elephant [the ego] will kill itself, trying to gore the mountain it takes to be its enemy, but which is in fact its own shadow.
53 The upsurging ego-consciousness is the misery of samsara, the bondage of false, mental creations.
54 Until you subjugate, root out and destroy that enemy, all manner of blame and sin will accrue to you.
55 As long as that ego exists, innumerable obstacles will arise in succession, like winged white ants streaming out of an ant hill.