The anonymous chronicler, a B.Sc. final year student, met Sri Ramana in 1946.
I bowed down and sat in the hall before the Maharshi. There were many people present but the hall was quiet. I was unable to continue sitting in a quiet manner, but did not know what to speak to the Maharshi. There were a few books on a stand near the Maharshi. I picked up one of them and began to read. The book had concepts such as “Being is one”, “The world is unreal.” I could not understand them as my knowledge was confined to science. I could not help feeling confused on the following line of thoughts: “Why should God create me? Where was I? Where will I be? Is all that I see false? I do know the presence of objects before me. Don’t I see the Maharshi sitting before me?“
I could not read the book any more and fell into a contemplative mood. Just at that time the Maharshi addressed me thus: “What is the doubt?” I raised my head and said, “There is a human figure on the sofa. There is one on the floor. With my eyes I perceive these two very clearly. But you say that in reality there is only One. How can that be true?” The Maharshi smiled and kept quiet. After a few minutes he said, “You must be used to performing experiments in your laboratory. If you are examining an object, the amount of details would depend upon the quality of the instrument you use to examine the object. Now, even if your instrument is fine, but your eyesight is poor you will know little about the object. If the eyesight is good but the brain is not normal, the object’s true nature will not be known to you. Again, if the brain is fine but if the mind does not pay attention to what you are observing, the less you will know about the object. In brief, the amount you know about an object is dependent on an entity called mind.
What is mind? It is thoughts. All the thoughts spring up from a single thought. This thought is ‘I am-the-body’ thought. It has two components. One is the body and the other is I. The body being oftransient nature, is subject to change, and it depends on external factors for its existence, such as food. But the nature of ‘I’ is different from that of the body. What exists in truth should be existing always. The body does not exist all the time, so it is not the truth. The ‘I’ exists in all states including waking, dream sleep, and deep sleep. Hence ‘I’ is the truth; body is untrue. Both of these combined can not exit as one entity. How can night and day, light and darkness co-exist? Similarly, there is no entity that has as its basis the co-existence of ‘I’ and the body. So ‘I am-the-body’ thought has no basis in truth. If we examine the world with this untrue thought as the basis, how can we learn the Truth?”
At that moment, I felt the foundation of my knowledge being shaken up, and my conviction in scientific pursuit as providing the ultimate fulfillment suddenly disappeared. Further, the Maharshi said that one can realize the truth about the world, after knowing the Truth about oneself. The upadesa I received changed my mental attitude and, subsequently my daily activities. I pursued life in the same environment I had before, but looked for life’s fulfillment in the spiritual path, blessed by the Maharshi. I felt that the grace of the Maharshi allowed me to lead a harmonious life.