Ramana Maharsi on Restraining Desires
Question - “One must become satiate with the fulfilment of desires
before they are renounced.”
Sri Bhagavan smiled and cut in: “Fire might as well be put out by
pouring spirit over the flames. (All laugh). The more the desires are
fulfilled, the deeper grows the samskara. They must become weaker before
they cease to assert themselves. That weakness is brought about by
restraining oneself and not by losing oneself in desires.
Question : How can they be rendered weaker?
Sri Ramana Maharshi : By knowledge. You know that you are not the mind.
The desires are in the mind. Such knowledge helps one to control them.
Question : But they are not controlled in our practical lives.
Sri Ramana Maharshi : Every time you attempt satisfaction of a desire
the knowledge comes that it is better to desist. Repeated reminders of
this kind will in due course weaken the desires. What is your true
nature? How can you ever forget it? Waking, dream and sleep are mere
phases of the mind. They are not of the Self. You are the witness of
these states. Your true nature is found in sleep.
Question : But we are advised not to fall into sleep during meditation.
Sri Ramana Maharshi : That is stupor you must guard against. That sleep
which alternates with waking is not true sleep. That waking which
alternates with sleep is not true waking. Are you now awake? You are
not. You are required to wake up to your real state. You should not fall
into false sleep nor keep falsely awake. Hence: Laye sambodhayeccittam
vikshiptam samayet punah. What does it mean? It means that you should
not fall into any one of these states but remain amidst them in your
true unsullied nature.
Question : The states are of our mind only.
Sri Ramana Maharshi : Whose mind? Hold it and see.
Question : The mind cannot be held. It is that which creates all these.
It is known only by its effects and not in its true nature.
Sri Ramana Maharshi : Quite so. You see the colours of the spectrum.
Together they form the white light. But seven colours are seen through
the prism. Similarly, the one Self resolves itself into so many phases,
mind, world, body, etc. The Self is seen as the mind, the body or the
world. That is to say, it becomes whatever you perceive it to be.
Question : These are difficult to follow in practice. I will hold on to
God and surrender.
Sri Ramana Maharshi : That is the best.
Question : How can I do my duties without attachment? There is my wife,
there are my children. I must do my duty towards them. Affection is
necessary. Am I right?
Sri Ramana Maharshi : How do you do your work in the College?
Question : (laughing) For wages.
Sri Ramana Maharshi : Not because you are attached, simply as doing your
Question : But my pupils expect me to love them.
Sri Ramana Maharshi : “Detachment in the interior and attachment in
Source: from Ramana Maharshi book "Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi v3"
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