BLISS OF THE SELF
22nd January, 1949
At 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon, two pilgrims came and sat in Bhagavan’s presence. It was clear from their attitude that they were thinking of asking something. After a while, one of them said, “Swami, it is all right if we sit up for meditation with closed eyes but if we keep them open, the outer senses give trouble. What should we do?”
Bhagavan: “What happens even if the eyes are kept open? It is enough if you make the mind sleep just like your sleeping in a house, keeping the windows open.”
Devotee: “That means the mind should be kept away from worldly affairs. However much we try, we are not able thus to control the mind.”
Bhagavan: “Yes, that is true. That is why it is said that when a child tries to catch its own shadow by running after it, and weeps when unable to do so, the mother comes and prevents him from running. So also, the mind should be prevented from running away.”
Devotee: “By what method can that be prevented?”
Bhagavan: “The mind should be held by hearing and meditating on the sayings of the Vedanta and thereby prevent it from going astray.”
Devotee: “That means, you must give up worldly pleasures and catch hold of Atma Ananda (Bliss of the Self). Is that so?”
Bhagavan: “Ananda (Supreme Bliss) always exists. It is only the worldly things that have to be given up. If they are given up, what remains is only Bliss. That which IS, is the Self. Where is the question of catching that which IS? That is one’s own nature (Swabhava)”.
Devotee: “Is that nature also called Swarupa (the Self)?”
Bhagavan: “Yes. There is no difference between the two.”
Devotee: “If it is said that Ananda is the Self itself, then who is it that experiences it?”
Bhagavan: “That is the point. So long as there is one who experiences, it shall have to be stated that Ananda is the Self itself. When there is no one to experience, where is the question of a form for Ananda? It is only that which ‘IS’ remains. That IS is ‘Ananda’ That is the Self. So long as the feeling that the Self is different from oneself there will be one who enquires and experiences, but when one realises the Self there will be no one to experience. Who is there to ask? What is there to say? In common parlance, however, we shall have to say that Bliss is the Self or is our Real Nature (Swarupa)”.
Devotee: “That is all right, Swami. But, however much we try, this mind does not get under control and envelopes the Swarupa so that it is not perceptible to us. What is to be done?”
Bhagavan with a smile placed his little finger over his eye and said, “Look. This little finger covers the eye and prevents the whole world from being seen. In the same way this small mind covers the whole universe and prevents the Brahman from being seen. See how powerful it is!”