Upadesha Saram, Class 8


Greetings All,

Shloka 15 and 16:

# 15: “For the exalted Yogi abiding steadily in the natural state, having destroyed the mind, is there any action left?”

# 16: “When the mind turns away from the objects, it beholds its source, Consciousness. This is Self –abidance.”

Continuing his teaching of Upadesha Saram, and refreshing our memory of last class, Swami Paramarthananda said,  Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi enumerated various spiritual sadhanas all of which result in Bodhaha or Gyanam. They are: Puja, Japa, Dhyana, Samadhi, Yoga and Gyanam. All of them have the one aim that one’s mind should absorbed in one’s Self. Problematic mind should be replaced by a non-problematic mind. The Mithya mind should be replaced. This fundamental reality is arrived at by enquiry as discussed in shlokas 14, 15 and 16 respectively. This enquiry negates everything negatable. What ultimately remains after negating is that the mind becomes blank.  It is at this time the Guru’s direction is needed. He will point out that the blankness is witnessed by an awareness called Consciousness also called Chaitanyam. It has all the attributes of the Atma namely: it is Nithyaha, Akarta, abhokata, Nirvikara, Aprameya etc. This is the real me. This is Tatva Darshanam or recognizing the real me. This is known as Vichara Marga. Through this Vichara the Mithya of mind is recognized and thus removed.

Shlokas 17 and 18:

# 17: “What is the mind? If one searches to find out, then, there would be no separate entity as the mind. This is the straight path.”

# 18: “The mind is only a bundle of thoughts. They are dependent on the “I” thought. Know the I thought to be the mind.”

In shlokas # 17 and 18, respectively, Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi elaborates on Gyanam.

Summarizing these two shokas, Swamiji says, this Vichara is presented in three different ways.

First enquiry is an enquiry into the nature of the mind or Mano Vichara. Here one asks “what is the nature of this mind”? Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi points out that mind is nothing other than Ahamkara. So this then becomes Ahamkara Vichara. Still later he points out that Ahamkara Vichara is finding out the Source of Ahamkara. Since the Source is the Atma, it now becomes Atma Vichara.


Mano Vichara>Ahamkara>Ahamkaravichara>Atma Vichara>Atma.

Shloka # 17:

Animals do not have a developed mind. They don’t have Raga, Dvesha, Krodha etc., We do not know if the mind is an advantage to human beings or not. In sleep there is no mind. Upon waking, it comes up again.

Swamiji says, Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi through out his teachings does not mention the role of Guru or Shastras.  We have to add that ourselves.

Upon enquiry into the mind we find that there is no such thing as the mind at all. We have been bothered about something that does not exist. It is a Mithya. It is something that exists without substance like a mirage. Examples of such mirages are:

  • Mirage of water
  • Dream problems disappear when I wake up.
  • Existence of thought. Upon enquiry we find there is no such thing called thought. Thus, while Pot is the weight-less word, Clay alone is the substance with weight. I have been taking the pot for granted. Similarly, we have also been taking it for granted that there is a mind.

Thus, materials have particles, which break into atoms, further break into subatomic particles and finally break into energy. Thus, there is no world other than energy. That this energy manifests itself as this tangible world is one of the greatest wonders of the world. A Nonexistent mind seems to exist. Anything seemingly existent should be negated. There is nothing called mind. Vichara Marga is the only appropriate Marga. The unreal is born out of ignorance. Knowledge alone can remove ignorance. The rope snake can only be removed by knowledge of the rope. Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi says the mind has to be handled only by Gyanam. The ultimate solution is Gyanartham Vichara. This alone removes the problematic mind.

In the next shloka Ahamkara Vichara is discussed.

Shloka # 18:

The primary constituent or ingredient of the mind is thought. We experience mind only as thought. When we sleep, thought is dormant and mind is temporarily gone.

So, for all practical purposes, mind equates to thought. In reality, however, thought is not the mind. It is only a function of the mind. I am not just teaching. It is only one of my functions. So also it is with walking. For all practical purposes we can say mind equals thought or Manovichara is thought Vichara. Thoughts are classified into two categories:

  • Objective thoughts or Idam Vrithi or thoughts about objects. Objects can be anything such as a river, mountain, a pen etc. Vrithi means thought.
  • Subject related thought or Aham Vrithi.  This is about “I” the experiencer.

Idam Vrithi’s are many while Aham Vrithi is only one. For each Idam Vrithi there is a corresponding Aham Vrithi.

Thus, Objective thoughts + Subjective thought = Mind.

Objective thoughts can exist only if there is a subject to relate to. Therefore, the subject is the basis for all objective experiences. Aham Vrithi is basis for all Idam Vrithi. Thus, the essence of all Idam Vrithi is Aham Vrithi. All objectives are about Aham Vrithi. Thus, all thoughts can be reduced to the “I” thought. I thought is Ahamkara.


Mind enquiry>thought enquiry> “I” thought enquiry>Ahamkara enquiry.

Explaining shloka # 18 further, Mind is nothing but a group of thoughts. All thoughts of mind are based upon one essential thought, Aham Vrithi or the one I thought.

May you understand that the mind is nothing but the “I” thought or Ahamkara. Therefore, mind enquiry is Ahamkara enquiry.

Shlokas 19 and 20:

# 19: Wherefrom does this “I” thought arise? If one enquires thus, it vanishes. This is self-enquiry.

# 20: When the I thought perishes, then another I, I, springs forth as the Heart, spontaneously. It is Existence in all its fullness.

We have said Mind is Ahamkara. So Ahamkara enquiry is to be performed. Where does Ahamkara come from? What is the source of Ahamkara? This is the real enquiry.

Shloka #19:

From where does Aham come into being? On enquiry we find it comes from Atma. So it is called Atma Vichara. You enquire about the rope not the snake. It is not an enquiry into the snake, as it is not born out of the rope. Here Aham is compared to the snake while Atma is compared to the rope. Therefore, it is Atmavichara or enquiry as to what is the Atma?  Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi does not explain how we should perform this Atma Vichara. We have to add that it is to be performed as per Guru or Shastra’s direction. All Upanishads require this.

For such a person, the wonder is that Ahamkara falls. Aham is a false reflected consciousness. Citing an example swamiji says, imagine a mirror. I am standing in front of it. I see my reflection in the mirror.  So we now have three entities. The mirror, the reflection and I. The reflected entity has properties of me, as well as properties of the mirror. It is a hotch potch. Everything that is a reflection is borrowed from my body as well as from the mirror. If the mirror is dull the reflection is dull as well, a feature of the mirror. This third identity is called Prathibimba Purusha. If you, the person, or the mirror is not present, the third entity disappears. So it is with Atma and Anatma (mirror). While Aham kara is the third entity (mixture of Aham and Anatma). When you remove either Atma or Anatma, the third entity, Ahamkara, disappears. This non-entity, Ahamkara, has been the cause of a lot of havoc in all of us.

A false thing becomes real. Self-enquiry dispels Ahamkara or the false thing. What is Self Enquiry? That which leads to discovery of Atma (the real I) and fall of the mind is Self-enquiry or Manonashaha. The fall occurs from the recognition that Ahamkara is Mithya. Even after the fall, the reflection still continues. But now, it no more frightens me. Be it a convex or a concave mirror, neither bother me.

So Gyani still experiences Ahamkara even after knowing it is unreal. Ahamkara nasha is knowing it is unreal.

Shloka 20:

When Ahamkara falls the chiddabasha is dismissed as Mithya. Even after reflection goes away the original face continues. The only problem is, it cannot be objectified anymore. I own up to the original Consciousness when the reflection is destroyed.

Explaining the shloka, when Ahamkara suffers destruction and the reflected face is gone. The original face still continues. The original face cannot, however be seen anymore.

One can see the reflected face, when mirror is there. Swamiji suggested that we try to discover our original face for the rest of our respective lives.

Atma cannot be made into an object. So this consciousness remains as the real I. Now, after knowledge, the consciousness shines as the real I.

Ahami means the “ I”. This is also called self-effulgent. This I is not located anywhere. It is all pervading. It is unconditionally full and infinite.

Parampurna means beyond space and time.

With Best Wishes.

Ram Ramaswamy