Ego, the source of sin
56 Just as the source of all virtue is the real ‘I’, the source of the accumulation of sins is the false and deceitful ‘I’.
57 The ego, which is the very personification of evil, is a great ocean in which all sins dwell together.
58 Padam questions: ‘What sin will the ego – the thief who habituates one to the erroneous belief that one is the body – not commit?’
59 Since the ego stands as the accumulation of all sins, its destruction constitutes all that is virtuous.
Destruction of the ego
60 Only after the ego ‘I’ has been completely destroyed will Self-experience arise.
61 Unless you eradicate completely the obsession with the ego-mind, knowing it to be an extremely powerful poison, there will be no bliss in your heart.
62 For those who have attained the unique greatness of ego-loss, which is the greatest of all good fortunes, there is no other fortune to desire and attain.
63 Only the destruction of the false ego, which is a corruption of dharma, excels as the true Siva dharma.
64 True realisation is the assured state which has that steadfast strength that derives from the death of that source of forgetfulness, the deluding ego.
65 The moment you uproot and overthrow the mischievous ego, lordship over the world of liberation will flood your heart.
Killing the ego
66 ‘Kill me. If you do not, I will kill you now.’ Challenging in this way, the ego will rise.
67 Kill the cruel ego that rules tyrannically before it kills you.
Question: What is the best way of killing the ego?
Bhagavan: To each person that way is the best which appears easiest or appeals most. All the ways are equally good, as they lead to the same goal, which is the merging of the ego in the Self. What the bhakta calls surrender, the man who does vichara calls jnana. Both are trying only to take the ego back to the source from which it sprang and make it merge there. [10. Day by Day with Bhagavan, 2nd November, 1945.]
68 Unless you annihilate it completely, in such a way that it ceases to exist, you will not be able, in however small a measure, to experience the bliss of peace.
69 While it is alive, the ego is death; the death of the ego is life. This riddle is indeed difficult to understand.
70 The ego that has subsided and died in the Heart will attain the greatness of the Self and surge like a great ocean.
71 When the ego is destroyed, the truth of the Self will shine undivided, extending to the farthest extremities of the four quarters [of the universe].
72 Why abuse God instead of killing the misery-inducing ego, which is ignorant pride?
Chit-jada is a Sanskrit term that literally means ‘consciousness-inert’. Bhagavan frequently used it to describe the unreal bond or knot that ties or limits consciousness to the otherwise inert physical body. As such, chit-jada is co-extensive with the ego or the ‘I’-thought that, through false association, limits identity to a particular form.
73 The life of individualised existence, which is a combination of the two opposing entities [chit and jada], is just a manifestation of the mind [mano maya].
74 The chit-jada ego, which is neither sat [real] nor asat [unreal], remains in your Heart like an enemy masquerading as a friend.
75 That chid-jada ego known as ‘I’ is the founding ancestor of the lineage of the mind.
76 That which liberates, cutting asunder the shackle of chit-jada, is the enquiry that leads to knowledge of the truth of one’s real nature.
Question: While the one aim is to realise the unconditioned, pure being of the Self, which is in no way dependent on the ego, how can the enquiry pertaining to the ego in the form of aham-vritti [the ‘I’-thought] be of any use?
Bhagavan: From the functional point of view, the ego has one and only one characteristic. The ego functions as the knot between the Self, which is pure consciousness, and the physical body which is inert and insentient. The ego is therefore called chit-jada-granthi [the knot between consciousness and the inert body]. In your investigation into the source of aham-vritti, you take the essential chit [consciousness] aspect of the ego. For this reason the enquiry must lead to the realisation of pure consciousness of the Self. [11. Maharshi’s Gospel, pp. 80-1.]
77 There exists no path other than that of separating [the knot that joins] spirit and body, that lowly state of existing as the body.
78 The true birth celebration is when ego dies through untying [of the chit-jada knot] and is born in Brahma-swarupa.
79 Unlike a blossoming lotus that closes [during the night], the Heart-lotus, which has blossomed after the untying of the ignoble knot, will never close again.
Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 1124, Pozhippurai: If at any time in the past the chit-jada knot, the source of all other [bonds], has been severed, then one will never again be caught in the bondage of samsara. The state of God, the possession of power, and profound peacefulness – all these are in truth only this state of shining as swarupa.
Vilakkam: The three aspects of sat, chit and ananda – all of which belong to the One – are respectively described here as the state of God, the possession of power, and profound peacefulness.
The following commentary appears under verse one of Arunachala Pancharatna in Bhagavan’s Collected Works. I do not know who the author is, but it is not Bhagavan himself:
Just as the lotus bud, flourishing in marshy pools, blossoms at sunrise, so also the Heart, behind the soiled mind, shines forth by the grace of God who is the Self of all selves, and who is externally visible as Arunachala. But this sun, after rising up, never sets again and the Heart of the realised soul is in blossom once and for all.
The I-am-the-body idea
80 The feeling of living in the body and the world is what destroys the life of firm swarupa, the being-consciousness.
81 Taking the body to be ‘I’ is the error that murders Brahman, that which is merged with you as Atma-swarupa.
82 Know the deceitful ego, a consummate impersonator, as a villainous murderer whose profession is death.
Though Brahman is essentially indestructible, Bhagavan often spoke of devotees who ‘killed’ or ‘murdered’ Brahman by not being aware of it.
83 Only the ego, the delusion that spreads by identifying with the insentient upadhi [the body], is bondage.
84 That which should be clearly known is the Self, mere consciousness. That which should be destroyed is attachment to the body.
Ulladu Narpadu, verse 17:
To those who do not know the Self and to those who do, the body is the ‘I’. But to those who do not know the Self the ‘I’ is bounded by the body; while to those who within the body know the Self the ‘I’ shines boundless. Such is the difference between them. [12. The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi, p. 118.]
85 The delusive life of [living in] the body and the world is the product of the ‘I’ sense that cherishes the body, which is just a corpse.
Question: Is there no dehatma buddhi [I-am-the-body idea] for the jnani? If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan be bitten by an insect, is there no sensation?
Bhagavan: There is a sensation and there is also the dehatma buddhi. The latter is common to both jnani and ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks dehaiva Atma [only the body is myself], whereas the jnani knows all is of the Self [Atmamayam sarvam], or all this is Brahman [sarvam khalvidam Brahma]. If there be pain let it be. It is also part of the Self. The Self is poorna [perfect]. [13. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 383.]
86 Padam questions: ‘Why did you, who are in truth consciousness, consider your form to be a fleshy body and immerse yourself in misery?’
The cause of the I-am-the-body idea
87 The I-am-the-body mistake arises when objectification causes one to see sordid sense objects before first seeing one’s real nature.
88 Taking the body to be ‘I’ – an erroneous superimposition that is like calling mother-of-pearl ‘silver’ – is the confusion of the spinning mind.
89 The same confusion of the mind takes the perceptions of the five senses to be real. This results in an agitation of the mind that struggles with desires for them.
The destruction of the I-am-the-body idea
90 Establish yourself in the complete perfection of your own real nature. Do not limit yourself to the [body] upadhi.
91 Except through the rare medicine of direct experience it is impossible to escape from the I-am-the-body disease.
92 Unless the belief ‘I am the body’ is completely destroyed, true knowledge of the one Self is not possible.
93 The disappearance of the I-am-the-body notion, the wrong understanding that causes infatuation, is the experience of the Atma-swarupa.
94 In the state wherein the ego, the I-am-the-body delusion, has ceased, both yoga and bhoga [enjoyment], without becoming two, merge together as one.
Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 62: He who has known the world appearance – an association that comprises the five sense perceptions – as his own Self, the consciousness that is the supreme, knows and experiences the same swarupa through his five senses as well.
Vilakkam: This verse explains the little-known fact that the sahaja state is experienced even in external perceptions. For him who truly knows sense perceptions to be his own Self, the world is not an obstacle. He experiences and enjoys his own Self in all perceptions and rejoices identically both internally and externally, without even a trace of the thought of bondage.
‘I’ and ‘mine’
95 Those whose tamasic minds are overspread with the darkness of worldly bondage [pasam], and whose nature is obsessed with ‘I’ and ‘mine’ are said to be stupid people.
96 The thought ‘I’ that rises first in the Heart is the cause of the thoughts ‘mine’ and ‘for me’.
97 The ultimate reality, which is eternal, is just the being that exists devoid of ‘I’ and ‘mine’.
98 Since inner attachment will afflict you like a contagious disease through all the seven births, relinquish it.
In Tamil, ‘inner attachment’ refers to the inner, contracted feeling of being an ‘I’ that is limited to the body, while ‘outer attachment’ corresponds to ‘mine’, the idea that certain things belong to the ‘I’.
99 If the experience of the Self merges with you, the base delusion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ will be dead.
Renunciation of individual identity
100 The best kind of renunciation is remaining in the state in which the mind holds extremely tightly to the swarupa.
101 Knowing one’s real nature, the abiding truth, is merely renouncing one’s infatuation for the triputis that veil it.
102 If you attain perfect mastery of internal renunciation, external renunciation will have no importance.
Internal renunciation is renunciation of the ego whereas external renunciation is giving up possessions. It is the former that results in enlightenment. Bhagavan sometimes illustrated this point by telling the story of King Sikhidhvaja who unnecessarily gave up his kingdom and retired to the forest to seek enlightenment:
Bhagavan: He [the king] had vairagya [non-attachment] even while ruling his kingdom and could have realised the Self if he had only pushed his vairagya to the point of killing the ego. He did not do it but came to the forest, had a timetable of tapas and yet did not improve even after eighteen years of tapas. He had made himself a victim of his own creation. Chudala [his enlightened wife] advised him to give up the ego and realise the Self, which he did and was liberated.
It is clear from Chudala’s story that vairagya accompanied by ego is of no value, whereas all possessions in the absence of ego do not matter. [14. Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 404.]
103 For those who have abandoned their ego-mind, what other things besides that are left that are worthy of being renounced?
Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 837: For those who have, with great difficulty, accomplished the renunciation of the ego, there is nothing else to renounce.
104 Renunciation, glorious and immaculate, is the total extirpation of the impure ego mind.
105 Only those who have renounced the ego-mind have truly renounced. What have all the others, who may have given up other things, really renounced?