And by knowing himself he came to know the ultimate bliss – the ecstasy that surrounded Gautam Buddha, the enlightenment that was radiating from Mahavira, the joy, the dance of all those who have awakened. So whoever was asking him, “What are we supposed to do?” he had only one answer his whole life: “Meditate on ‘Who am I?’”
But people have misunderstood him…even such a simple statement. He was not saying, “Contemplate,” he was not saying, “Think about ‘Who am I?’” – what can you think? Either you know or you don’t know; thinking is impossible. What will you think? If you start you will think, “This is my name, this is my country, this is my family, this is my race, this is my caste, this is my profession….” But what will you find by doing this? You will not find out who you are. These things are all on the periphery.
But Ramana was not a master in the sense that he could explain to people that watching the mind, the whole process of the mind, the whole traffic of thoughts…Even “Who am I?” is a thought; don’t get stuck to it. Just watch that thought too, and a moment comes when all thinking disappears – just by watching. Just as you bring light into a dark room and darkness disappears, as you bring watchfulness to your mind, mind disappears.
And the disappearance of the mind is the beginning of knowing yourself.
This is the highest peak of consciousness, and unless a man achieves it, he has wasted his life in trivia. He lived only in name; in fact he vegetated. He may have been a very rich vegetable…They say there are only two kinds of vegetables, cabbage and cauliflower; the cabbage category is uneducated, and the cauliflower is a cabbage with college degrees. But there is not much difference.
If you really want to live and not to vegetate, meditation is the only way; and meditation means no-mind…just silence.
You have spoken to us about being in the world yet not of it. How come you have not spoken to us about being in the commune yet not of it?
I have spoken about being in the world but not of it. A commune is not a community, a commune is not a world, a commune is not a society. A commune is a very friendly gathering of people who live in the world but are not of the world.
A commune is not an organization, it is simply the gathering of individuals. It does not take away anybody’s individuality. It does not destroy your dignity, your pride, your self-respect. On the contrary, it gives you dignity, respect, love: it accepts you as you are. It does not demand that you should be somebody else, then only will you be thought worthy; it does not ask you to be a saint. It simply loves you as you are. That’s why in the commune there is no question at all…