36. Killing Hurts the Killer, not the Killed
A thousand years ago a man lived and died. His identity
(antahkarana) re-appeared in
new body. Why does he not remember his previous life? And if he
does, can the memory be
into the conscious?
How do you know that the same person re-appeared in the new body? A
new body may
a new person altogether.
Imagine a pot of ghee. (Indian clarified butter). When the pot
breaks, the Ghee remains and
be transferred to another pot. The old pot had its own scent, the
new -- its own. The Ghee will
carry the scents from pot to pot. In the same way the personal
identity is transferred from body
It is all right. When there is the body, its peculiarities affect
the person. Without the body we
the pure identity in the sense of 'I am'. But when you are reborn in
a new body, where is the
Every body experiences its own world.
In the present body the old body -- is it merely an idea, or is it a
An idea, of course. How can a brain remember what it has not
You have answered your own question. Why play with ideas? Be content
with what you are
of. And the only thing you can be sure of is 'I am'. Stay with it,
and reject everything else. This
I can reject only verbally. At best I remember to repeat the
formula: 'This is not me, this is not
I am beyond all this'.
Good enough. First verbally, then mentally and emotionally, then in
action. Give attention to the
within you and it will come to light. It is like churning the cream
for butter. Do it correctly and
and the result is sure to come.
How can the absolute be the result of a process?
You are right, the relative cannot result in the absolute. But the
relative can block the absolute,
as the non-churning of the cream may prevent the butter from
separating. It is the real that
the urge; the inner prompts the outer and the outer responds in
interest and effort. But
there is no inner, nor outer; the light of consciousness is both the
creator and the
the experiencer and the experience, the body and the embodied. Take
care of the power
projects all this and your problems will come to an end.
Which is the projecting power?
It is imagination prompted by desire.
I know all this, but have no power over it.
This is another illusion of yours, born from craving for results.
What is wrong with purposeful action?
It does not apply. In these matters there is no question of purpose,
nor of action. All you need is
listen, remember, ponder. It is like taking food. All you can do is
to bite off, chew and swallow. All
is unconscious and automatic. Listen, remember and understand -- the
mind is both the actor
the stage. All is of the mind and you are not the mind. The mind is
born and reborn, not you.
mind creates the world and all the wonderful variety of it. Just
like in a good play you have all
of characters and situations, so you need a little of everything to
make a world.
Nobody suffers in a play.
Unless one identifies himself with it. Don't identify yourself with
the world and you will not suffer.
Then make your world perfect, by all means. If you believe in God,
work with Him. It you do not,
one. Either see the world as a play or work at it with all your
might. Or both.
What about the identify of the dying man? What happens to it when he
is dead? Do you agree
it continues in another body.
It continues and yet it does not. All depends how you look at it.
What is identity, after all?
in memory? Can you talk of identity without memory?
Yes, I can. The child may not know its parents, yet the hereditary
characteristics will be there.
Who identifies them? Somebody with a memory to register and compare.
Don't you see that
is the warp of your mental life. And identity is merely a pattern of
events in time and space.
the pattern and you have changed the man.
The pattern is significant and important. It has its own value. By
saying that a woven design is
coloured threads you miss the most important -- the beauty of it. Or
by describing a book as
with ink stains on it, you miss the meaning. Identity is valuable
because it is the basis of
that which makes us unique and irreplaceable. 'I am', is the
intuition of uniqueness.
Yes and no. Identity, individuality, uniqueness -- they are the most
valuable aspects of the mind,
of the mind only. 'I am all there is' too is an experience equally
valid. The particular and the
are inseparable. They are the two aspects of the nameless, as seen
from without and
within. Unfortunately, words only mention, but don't convey. Try to
go beyond the words.
What dies with death?
The idea 'I am this body' dies; the witness does not.
The Jains believe in a multiplicity of witnesses, forever separate.
That is their tradition based on the experience of some great
people. The one witness reflects
in the countless bodies as 'I am'. As long as the bodies, however
subtle, last, the 'I am'
as many. Beyond the body there is only the One.
The Creator is a person whose body is the world. The Nameless one is
beyond all gods.
Sri Ramana Maharshi died. What difference did it make to him?
None. What he was, he is -- the Absolute Reality.
But to the common man death makes a difference.
What he thinks himself to be before death he continues to be after
death. His self-image
The other day there was a talk about the use by the jnani of animal
skins for meditation etc. I
not convinced. It is easy to justify everything by referring to
custom and tradition. Customs may
cruel and tradition corrupt. They explain, but do not justify.
I never meant to say that lawlessness follows self-realisation. A
liberated man is extremely law-
But his laws are the laws of his real self, not of his society.
These he observes, or breaks
to circumstances and necessity. But he will never be fanciful and
What I cannot accept is justification by custom and habit.
The difficulty lies in our differing points of view. You speak from
the body-mind's. Mine is of the
The difference is basic.
Still, cruelty is cruelty
None compels you to be cruel.
Taking advantage of other people's cruelty is cruelty by proxy.
If you look into living process closely, you will find cruelty
everywhere, for life feeds on life. This
a fact, but it does not make you feel guilty of being alive. You
began a life of cruelty by giving your
endless trouble. To the last day of your life you will compete for
food, clothing, shelter,
on to your body, fighting for its needs, wanting it to be secure, in
a world of insecurity and
From the animal's point of view being killed is not the worst form
of dying; surely preferable
sickness and senile decay. The cruelty lies in the motive, not in
the fact. Killing hurts the killer, not
Agreed; then one must not accept the services of hunters and
Who wants you to accept?
That is how you see me! How quickly you accuse, condemn, sentence
and execute! Why begin
me and not with yourself?
A man like you should set an example.
Are you ready to follow my example? I am dead to the world, I want
nothing, not even to live. Be
I am, do as I do. You are judging me by my clothes and food; while I
only look at your motives; if
believe to be the body and the mind and act on it you are guilty of
the greatest cruelty -- cruelty
your own real being. Compared to it all other cruelties do not