The Eye of Knowledge
Once a devotee asked Bhagavan Ramana, “Swami for gaining Realisation, is the enquiry ‘who am I?’ the only way ?”
Bhagavan Ramana replied “Enquiry is not the only way for gaining realisation. If one does spiritual practice (sadhana) with name and form, repetition of holy names (japa), or any of these methods with grim determination and perseverance, one becomes THAT. According to the capacity of each individual, one spiritual practice is said to be better than another and several shades and variations of them have been given. Some people are a long way from Tiruvannamalai, some are very near; some are in Tiruvannamalai, while some get into Bhagavan’s hall itself. For those who come into the hall it is enough if they are told as they step in, ‘Here is the Maharshi’ and they realise him immediately. For others they have to be told which route to take, which trains to catch, where to change, which road to turn into. In like manner, the particular path to be taken must be prescribed according to the capacity of the practiser (sadhak). These spiritual practices are not for knowing one’s own Self, which is all pervading, but only for getting rid of the objects of desire. When all these are discarded, one remains as one IS. That which is always in existence is the Self – all things are born out of the Self. That will be known only when one realises one’s own Self. So long as one has not that knowledge, all that is seen in this world appears as real.
Supposing a person sleeps in the hall, in his sleep he dreams of going somewhere, loses his way, wanders from one village to another, from one hill to another, and during that time searches without food or water. He suffers a good deal, enquires of several people and finally finds the correct place. He reaches it and feeling that he is stepping into this hall, greatly relieved he opens his eyes with a startled look. All this will have happened within a short time and it is only after he wakes up that he realises that he had not been anywhere. Our present life is also like that. When the eye of knowledge is opened, a person realises that he remains ever in his own Self”.
– extract from Letters from Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma