Mr. Joshi has submitted what Bhagavan calls a question paper, and Bhagavan answers the same.
First about the jnani’s doing work, without the mind: “You imagine one cannot do work if the mind is killed. Why do you suppose that it is the mind alone that can make one do work. There may be other causes which can also produce activity. Look at this clock, for instance. It is working without a mind. Again suppose we say the jnani has a mind. His mind is very different from the ordinary man’s mind. He is like the man who is hearing a story told with his mind all on some distant object. The mind rid of vasanas, though doing work, is not doing work. On the other hand, if the mind is full of vasanas, it is doing work even if the body is not active or moving.”
Question 2: “Is soham the same as ‘Who am I?'”
Answer: “Aham alone is common to them. One is soham. The other is koham. They are different. Why should we go on saying soham? One must find out the real ‘I’. In the question ‘Who am I?’ by ‘I’ is meant the ego. Trying to trace it and find its source, we see it has no separate existence but merges in the real ‘I’.”
Question 3: “I find surrender is easier. I want to adopt that path.”
Answer: “By whatever path you go, you will have to lose yourself in the One. Surrender is complete only when you reach the stage ‘Thou art all’ and ‘Thy will be done’.”
“The state is not different from jnana. In soham there is dvaita. In surrender there is advaita. In the reality there is neither dvaita nor advaita, but That which is, is. Surrender appears easy because people imagine that, once they say with their lips ‘I surrender’ and put their burdens on their Lord, they can be free and do what they like. But the fact is that you can have no likes or dislikes after your surrender and that your will should become completely non-existent, the Lord’s Will taking its place. Such death of the ego is nothing different from jnana. So by whatever path you may go, you must come to jnana or oneness.”
Question 4: “How am I to deal with my passions? Am I to check them or satisfy them? If I follow Bhagavan’s method and ask, ‘To whom are these passions?’ they do not seem to die but grow stronger.”
Answer: “That only shows you are not going about my method properly. The right way is to find out the root of all passions, the source whence they proceed, and get rid of that. If you check the passions, they may get suppressed for the moment, but will appear again. If you satisfy them, they will be satisfied only for the moment and will again crave satisfaction. Satisfying desires and thereby trying to root them out is like trying to quench fire by pouring kerosene oil over it. The only way is to find the root of desire and thus remove it.”
Another visitor asked Bhagavan, “If I try to make the ‘Who am I?’ enquiry, I fall into sleep. What should I do?”
Bhagavan: “Persist in the enquiry throughout your waking hours. That would be quite enough. If you keep on making the enquiry till you fall asleep, the enquiry will go on during sleep also. Take up the enquiry again as soon as you wake up.”
Another visitor asked Bhagavan if it was not necessary that the varnasrama differences should go if the nation was to progress.
Bhagavan: “How can one say whether it is necessary or not necessary? I never say anything on such subj ects. People often come and ask me for my opinion on varnasrama. If I say anything they will at once go and publish in the papers, ‘ So and so also is of such and such an opinion. ‘ The same scriptures which have laid down varnasrama dharma have also proclaimed the oneness of all life and abheda buddhi as the only reality. Is it possible for anyone to teach a higher truth than the Unity or oneness of all life? There is no need for anyone to start reforming the country or the nation before reforming himself. Each man’s first duty is to realise his true nature. If after doing it, he feels like reforming the country or nation, by all means let him take up such reform. Ram Tirtha advertised, ‘Wanted reformers – but reformers who will reform themselves first.’ No two persons in the world can be alike or can act alike. External differences are bound to persist, however hard we may try to obliterate them. The attempts of so-called social reformers, to do away with such classes or divisions as varnasrama has created, have not succeeded, but have only created new divisions and added a few more castes or classes to the already existing ones, such as the Brahmo-Samajists and the Arya-Samajists. The only solution is for each man to realise his true nature.”
Another visitor said, “Jnanis generally retire from active life and do not engage in any worldly activity.”
Bhagavan: “They may or may not. Some, even after realising, carry on trade or business or rule over a kingdom. Some retire into forests and abstain from all acts except those absolutely necessary to keep life in the body. So, we cannot say all jnanis give up activity and retire from life.”
Visitor: I want to know if Bhagavan can give concrete examples, like the butcher Dharmavyadha mentioned in our books of jnanis now living and doing their ordinary daily work in life.
Bhagavan did not answer.
Visitor: “Is renunciation necessary for Self-realisation?”
Bhagavan: “Renunciation and realisation are the same. They are different aspects of the same state. Giving up the non-self is renunciation. Inhering in the Self is jnana or Self-realisation. One is the negative and the other the positive aspect of the same, single truth. Bhakti, jnana, yoga – are different names for Self-realisation or mukti which is our real nature. These appear as the means first. They eventually are the goal. So long as there is conscious effort required on our part to keep up bhakti, yoga, dhyana, etc., they are the means. When they go on without any effort on our part, we have attained the goal. There is no realisation to be achieved. The real is ever as it is. What we have done is, we have realised the unreal, i.e., taken for real the unreal. We have to give up that. That is all that is wanted.
Visitor: How has the unreal come? Can the unreal spring from the real?
Bhagavan: See if it has sprung. There is no such thing as the unreal, from another standpoint. The Self alone exists. When you try to trace the ego, based on which alone the world and all exist, you find the ego does not exist at all and so also all this creation.