Quotes from Sri Ramana Maharshi

Devotee: There are times when persons and things take on a vague, almost a transparent form, as in a dream. One ceases to observe them as outside, but is passively conscious of their existence, while not actively conscious of any kind of selfhood. There is a deep quietness in the mind. Is it at such times that one is ready to dive into the Self? Or is this condition unhealthy, the result of self-hypnotism? Should it be encouraged as yielding temporary peace?

Maharshi: There is Consciousness along with quietness in the mind; this is exactly the state to be aimed at. The fact that the question has been framed on this point, without realizing that it is the Self, shows that the state is not steady but casual.

The word ‘diving’ is appropriate when there are outgoing tendencies, and when, therefore, the mind has to be directed and turned within, there is a dip below the surface of externalities. But when quietness prevails without obstructing the Consciousness, where is the need to dive? If that state has not been realised as the Self, the effort to do so may be called ‘diving’. In this sense the state may be said to be suitable for realization or diving. Thus, the last two questions you have put do not arise.

Marharshi's Gospel, Chapter III; also Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi, 348.

In this state [Self-realization], it is as difficult to think a thought, as it is in bondage to be without thoughts.

—quoted by Balarama Reddiar in Ramana Periya Puranam by V. Ganesan, p. 273.

Bhagavan [Ramana] then told me, “Fix the mind in the Heart. If you keep your attention at the source from where all thoughts arise, the mind will subside at the source and reality will shine forth.”

—quoted by Mastan in Power of the Presence Part Three edited by David Godman, page 26.

She said, one day, “Bhagavan, please give me some upadesa.” Bhagavan gave her a benign look and replied: “Don't ever lose awareness of your being.”

—quoted in Moments Remembered by V. Ganesan, page 48.

When he told the Maharshi that he had failed to get any kind of beneficial experience from following the practice, the Maharshi replied, “To get the experience one should not rely on buddhi [the discriminating intellect] alone, one should combine it with the firm conviction [bhavana] ‘I am’: one who has that thought is also ‘I’, pure consciousness. With such a feeling one should go deep within and take hold of the experience.”

—Swami Madhavatirtha in The Power of the Presence Part One edited by Daivd Godman, page 236.

Mrs. D. said there were breaks in her awareness and desired to know how the awareness might be made continuous.

M.: Breaks are due to thoughts. You cannot be aware of breaks unless you think so. It is only a thought. Repeat the old practice, “To whom do thoughts arise?” Keep up the practice until there are no breaks. Practice alone will bring about continuity of awareness.

Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi, number 628.

Abhyasa [spiritual practice] consists in withdrawal within the Self every time you are disturbed by thought. It is not concentration or destruction of the mind but withdrawal into the Self.

Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi, number 485.

It is necessary to be aware while controlling thoughts. Otherwise it will lead to sleep. Awareness is the chief factor, and is indicated by the fact of emphasizing pratyahara [withdrawal of the senses], dharana [single-mindedness], dhyana [meditation, total concentration], samadhi [absorption, union], even after pranayama. Pranayama makes the mind steady and suppresses thoughts. Why is this not enough? Because awareness is the one necessary factor.

Conscious Immortality, Chapter 4.

If you seek God with your whole heart, then you may be assured that Grace of God is also seeking you.

Conscious Immortality, Chapter 7.

Green emphasis added by Freddie.