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An Errant Schoolboy
Questioner: Dear James, I was reading your article on the Horse’s Mouth again, and you said that the greatness of Ramana was that he polished his mind to such a degree that it reflected the pure light of the Self.
I do have a follow-up question to what you wrote in that article. Can you explain what you mean by the following statement that you wrote?
“What else are you going to do once you wake up? You see the Self and you see the mind and you see that there is some disconnect between them, and you either let the mind be, knowing that it isn’t you – which is not Self-inquiry, but is a perfectly legitimate path.”
How does this work? Letting the mind be and doing your thing? I have been trying this out and it feels very “freeing,” if I may use such a term. It is getting easy to ignore the mind, somewhat like an errant schoolboy, for example.
James: If you are the Self, you are satisfied with everything, including the guna-driven mind. Because it is an object and you are never what you know/witness, you are free of it. You know that although it exists it is as good as non-existent. Does mirage water wet the desert sand? Freedom means freedom. Period. So you are free to ignore the mind, be entertained by it, find it a bother or tinker with it or all of the above. It’s up to you.
As long as you think you are a jiva, the mind is an issue. Even when you realize “I am the Self” your non-eternal jiva’s prarabdha [karma] continues in the form of notions you picked up before Self-knowledge, one of which is that the mind is a problem. This indicates an insufficient understanding of mithya, i.e. the belief that mithya is satya. Scripture is clear that all states of mind are acceptable to jnanis. So if you want a different mind, your moksa, i.e. non-dual bhakti, is not non-dual. Non-dual bhakti means that you love everything, including the wayward mind, warts and all. It is called tripti, perfect satisfaction. When rajas has not been sufficiently purified, there is a tendency to keep trying to fix the mind to make it more acceptable. So, even though you know who you are intellectually, you have not embraced your identity as the Self completely. The mind is an errant schoolboy. It’s a pill, but it has its charms.