24th January, 1935
Mr. W. Y. Evans-Wentz, an English research scholar of Oxford University, brought a letter of introduction from Mr. Brunton and arrived on a visit.
He was tired after his journey and required rest. He is quite accustomed to Indian ways of living, having visited this country several times. He has learned the Tibetan language and helped in the translation of the "Book of the Dead" and the "Life of Milarepa", the greatest of Tibetan Yogis, and a third book on the "Tibetan Secret Doctrines."
In the afternoon he began to ask a few questions. They related to Yoga. He wanted to know if it was right to kill animals such as tigers, deer, etc., and use the skin for Yoga posture (asana ).
Maharshi: The mind is the tiger or the deer.
D.: If everything be illusion, then one can take lives?
Maharshi: To whom is illusion? Find that out! In fact everyone is a "killer of the Self" (atmahan) every moment of his life.
D.: Which posture (asana) is the best?
Maharshi: Any asana, possibly sukha asana (easy posture or the half-Buddh a position). But that is immaterial for jnana, the Path of Knowledge.
D.: Does posture indicate the temperament?
D.: What are the properties and effects of the tiger's skin, wool, or deer-skin, etc.?
Maharshi: Some have found them out and related them in Yoga books. They correspond to conductors and non-conductors of magnetism, etc. But it is all immaterial for the Path of Knowledge (Jnana Marga ). Posture really means location and steadfastness in the Self. It is internal. The others refer to external positions.
D.: Which time is most suitable for meditation?
Maharshi: What is time?
D.: Tell me what it is!
Maharshi: Time is only an idea. There is only the Reality. Whatever you think it is, it looks like that. If you call it time, it is time. If you call it existence, it is existence, and so on. After calling it time, you divide it into days and nights, months, years, hours, minutes, etc. Time is immaterial for the Path of Knowledge. But some of these rules and discipline are good for beginners.
D.: What is Jnana Marga?
Maharshi: Concentration of the mind is in a way common to both Knowledge and Yoga. Yoga aims at union of the individual with the universal, the Reality. This Reality cannot be new. It must exist even now, and it does exist. Therefore the Path of Knowledge tries to find out how viyoga (separation) came about. The separation is from the Reality only.
D.: What is illusion?
Maharshi: To whom is the illusion? Find it out. Then illusion will vanish.
Generally people want to know about illusion and do not examine to whom it is. It is foolish. Illusion is outside and unknown. But the seeker is considered to be known and is inside. Find out what is immediate, intimate, instead of trying to find out what is distant and unknown.
D.: Does Maharshi advise any physical posture for the Europeans?
Maharshi: It may be advisable. However, it must be clearly understood that meditation is not prohibited in the absence of asanas, or prescribed times, or any accessories of the kind.
D.: Does Maharshi have any particular method to impart to the Europeans in particular?
Maharshi: It is according to the mental equipment of the individual. There is indeed no hard and fast rule.
Mr. Evans-Wentz began to ask questions, mostly relating to Yoga preliminaries, for all of which Maharshi replied that they are aids to Yoga, which is itself an aid to Self-realisation, the goal of all.
D.: Is work an obstruction to Self-realisation?
Maharshi: No. For a realised being the Self alone is the Reality, and actions are only phenomenal, not affecting the Self. Even when he acts he has no sense of being an agent. His actions are only involuntary and he remains a witness to them without any attachment. There is no aim for this action. Even one who is still practising the path of Wisdom (jnana) can practise while engaged in work. It may be difficult in the earlier stages for a beginner, but after some practice it will soon be effective and the work will not be found a hindrance to meditation.
D.: What is the practice?
Maharshi: Constant search for `I', the source of the ego. Find out `Who am I??'
The pure `I' is the reality, the Absolute Existence-Consciousness- Bliss. When That is forgotten, all miseries crop up; when that is held fast, the miseries do not affect the person.
D.: Is not brahmacharya (celibacy) necessary for realisation of the Self?
Maharshi: Brahmacharya is `living in Brahman'. It has no connection with celibacy as commonly understood. A real brahmachari , that is one who lives in Brahman, finds bliss in the Brahman which is the same as the Self. Why then should you look for other sources of happiness? In fact the emergence from the Self has been the cause of all the misery.
D.: Celibacy is a sine qua non for Yoga?
Maharshi: So it is. Celibacy is certainly an aid to realisation among so many other aids.
D.: Is it then not indispensable? Can a married man realise the Self?
Maharshi: Certainly, it is a matter of fitness of mind. Married or unmarried , a man can realise the Self, because that is here and now. If it were not so, but attainable by some efforts at some other time, and if it were new and something to be acquired, it would not be worthy of pursuit. Because what is not natural cannot be permanent either. But what I say is that the Self is here and now and alone.
D.: God being immanent in all, one should not take life of any kind. Is society right in taking the life of a murderer? Can the State do so either? The Christian countries begin to think that it is wrong to do so.
Maharshi: What is it that prompted the murderer to commit the crime? The same power awards him the punishment. Society or the State is only a tool in the hands of the power. You speak of one life taken away; But what about innumerable lives lost in wars?
D.: Quite so. Loss of lives is wrong anyway. Are wars justified?
Maharshi: For a realised man, the one who remains ever in the Self, the loss of one or several or all lives either in this world or in all the three worlds makes no difference. Even if he happens to destroy them all, no sin can touch such a pure soul. Maharshi quoted the Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 17 - "He who is free from the notion of ego, whose intellect is unattached, though he annihilates all the worlds, he slayeth not, nor is he bound by the results of his actions."
D.: Do not one's actions affect the person in after-births?
Maharshi: Are you born now? Why do you think of other births? The fact is that there is neither birth nor death. Let him who is born think of death and palliatives therefore.
D.: How long did it take Maharshi to realise the Self?
Maharshi: This question is asked because the name and form are perceived.
These are the perceptions consequent on the identification of the ego with the gross body. If the ego identifies itself with the subtle mind, as in dream, the perceptions are subtle also. But in sleep there are no perceptions. Was there not the ego still? Unless it was, there cannot be the memory of having slept. Who was it that slept? You did not say in your sleep that you slept. You say it now in your wakeful state. The ego therefore is the same in wakefulness, dream and sleep. Find out the underlying Reality behind these states. That is the Reality underlying these. In that state there is Being alone. There is no you, nor I, nor he; no present, nor past, nor future. It is beyond time and space, beyond expression. It is ever there. Just as a plantain tree produces shoots at its roots, before yielding fruits and perishing, and these shoots, being transplanted, do the same again, so also the original primeval Master of antiquity (Dakshinamurti), who cleared the doubts of his rishi disciples in silence, has left shoots which are ever multiplying. The Guru is a shoot of that Dakshinamurti. The question does not arise when the Self is realised.
D.: Does Maharshi enter the nirvikalpa samadhi ?
Maharshi: If the eyes are closed, it is nirvikalpa; if open, it is (though differentiated, still in absolute repose) savikalpa. The ever-present state is the natural state sahaja .
Talk 16 Talk 18