Thursday, October 2, 2008
What are the hindrances to the realization of the true Self?
I turned to him. "But you had no guru?" A rustle of shocked horror ran through the hall. But the Maharshi was not in the least disturbed by my audacious remark. On the contrary, he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. Then he threw back his head and gave a joyous, whole-hearted laugh. It endeared him to me as nothing else could. A saint who can turn the laugh against himself is a saint indeed.
... I had been in despair at ever getting the Maharshi alone. It is hard to unburden the soul before a crowd. But early one morning I came into the hall and found him there unattended, emanating a wonderful stillness and peace. I asked quietly if I might talk with him. He nodded, smiling, and sent for someone to translate. On the arrival of a devotee, I put my first question.
"What are the hindrances to the realization of the true Self?"
"Memory chiefly, habits of thought, accumulated tendencies."
"How does one get rid of these hindrances?"
"Seek for the Self through meditation in this manner. Trace every thought back to its origin, which is only the mind. Never allow thought to run on. If you do, it will be unending. Take it back to its starting place -- the mind -- again and again, and it and the mind will both die of inaction. The mind only exists by reason of thought. Stop that and there is no mind. As each doubt and depression arises, ask yourself, 'Who is it that doubts? What is it that is depressed?' Go back constantly to the question, 'Who is the "I"? Where is it?' Tear everything away until there is nothing but the Source of all left. And then -- live always in the present and only in it. There is no past and future, save in the mind."
~ from Mrs. Piggot's account in Arunachala's Ramana: Boundless Ocean of Grace, Volume III