SELF-ENQUIRY ESSENTIAL IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE
7th December, 1947
Recently some people in responsible positions in Madras came here and stayed for some days. On one of the days, they went to the Gurumurtham and Pravalagiri caves on the hill, where Bhagavan had lived long ago, and returned in time for the evening Vedaparayana. After the parayana, when Bhagavan was telling us about his life in the Pravalagiri cave, and enquiring whether they had seen this or that there, one of the party said to him, “Bhagavan tells us most interestingly about those places we have just seen, but by the time we reached the Pravalagiri cave and went into the room there, we were thoroughly exhausted. Bhagavan stayed there for a long time and we now realize how completely Bhagavan must have felt that the body was not his. Swami, how can people like us be saved from our materialistic outlook? If we ask, you will surely say, ‘It is enough if you go on with Self-enquiry: Who am I?’ How is that possible for us who are family people and are doing our respective jobs? If the mind goes on with worldly affairs, how can we get peace of mind?” Bhagavan simply remained silent, listening to them quietly.
This morning when I got to the Asramam, one of the Asramites was speaking freely with Bhagavan and was saying, “Yesterday evening, the people who came from Madras asked you some questions, but you did not answer. Why was that? In the past when Sivaprakasam Pillai wrote a verse beginning ‘Udalinai veruthum’ I am told that you were also silent. Why, Bhagavan? Does it mean that no one can become a Realized Soul, a jnani, unless he lives in a lonely place like that?”
“Who said that?” Bhagavan replied. “The nature of the mind is determined by its former actions, its samskaras. People are able to continue to do all their work and yet pursue their Self-enquiry and ultimately become Realized Souls. Janaka, Vasishta, Rama, Krishna and others like them, are examples of this. Again, for some it would appear impossible to do this and they have to go to solitary places to become Realized Souls through Self-enquiry. Of these, Sanaka, Sanandana, Suka, Vamadeva, are amongst the examples. Self-enquiry is essential for whomever it may be. It is called ‘human effort (purushakara)’. The course of the body follows according to our fate (prarabhdha). What more can we say about it?” added Bhagavan.