Chapter 8: The Fully Drowned
Someone asked Ramana Maharshi what he should do to know the truth. He replied, “Forget everything that you know.” If only you could forget all you know! Out of this forgetting would emerge the innocence and simplicity in which the truth and the self are known.
When words and thoughts formed out of words do not crowd your consciousness, light finds a way in. In that free moment you are in contact with knowing. You have to open the windows and doors of consciousness. In fact, all the walls now surrounding the consciousness have to be pulled down. Then you will meet the light that is your true nature. Certainly in order to meet the sky one has to become like the sky - empty, free, boundless. Thoughts do not allow this to happen, they surround you like clouds. These clouds must be dispersed. Then how could I spread more clouds of thought over your mind?
What I am telling you, or what I want to tell you but am unable to do, is not a thought, a belief or an idea as such - it is an experience, a direct realization. Were it simply a thought, it would have been possible to communicate - and even had the experience been of the outer world, some word or other would have communicated it. But this experience is not of the outer world. It is the experience of the one who experiences everything. It is the knowing of the knower. And there lies the difficulty.
Usually in knowledge, the knower and the known are separate, the seer and the seen are distinct, but in the realization of the self they are not separate. Here, the knower, the known and the knowing are all one. And so here, words become quite useless. They are not created to be used in this context. To use them in this area is to stretch them beyond their capacity, beyond their potential. No wonder they become completely crippled and lifeless in this tug-of-war. And although they give an indication of the body, of the outer form of truth, they cannot touch the soul of truth.
How can words express the truth which can only be known when words are not present? That which is attained in a state of thoughtlessness cannot be tied down by thoughts. Is there a way to tie down the sky? And can we call it the sky if it can be tied down? Why don’t we think of truth in the same way? Is truth any less boundless or infinite than the sky?
If the sky were packed in bundles and put on sale in the market nobody would come forward to buy it. But we do this about truth: truth, God and liberation are all on sale in the market. And the vendors are not to blame. They are only supplying the demands of the buyers. And as long as there are buyers, as long as there are customers for truth, it won’t be possible to do away with the shops that offer ready-made truth. All the organizations and all the sects operating in the name of religion have turned into shops. You buy ready-made truth in them. Not only are ready-made clothes available in the market, ready-made truth is also for sale there. I cannot give you ready-made truth. Ready-made truth simply does not exist.
I remember a story: