d - Devotee
M - Maharshi Ramana
D: What are the sadhanas or requisites for this process?
M.: The knowers say that the sadhanas consist of an ability to discern the real from the unreal, no desire for pleasures here or hereafter, cessation of activities (karma) and a keen desire to be liberated. Not qualified with all these four qualities, however hard one may try, one cannot succeed in enquiry. Therefore this fourfold sadhana is the sine qua non for enquiry.
Discernment (viveka) can arise only in a purified mind. Its ‘nature’ is the conviction gained by the help of sacred teachings that only Brahman is real and all else false. Always to remember this truth is its ‘effect’. Its end (avadhi) is to be settled unwavering in the truth that only Brahman is and all else is unreal. Desirelessness (vairagya) is the result of the outlook that the world is essentially faulty. Its ‘nature’ is to renounce the world and have no desire for anything in it. Its ‘effect’ is to turn away in disgust from all enjoyments as from vomit. It ends (avadhi) in treatment with contempt of all pleasures, earthly or heavenly, as if they were vomit or burning fire or hell.
Desire to be liberated (mumukshutva) begins with the association with realised sages. Its ‘nature’ is the yearning for liberation. Its ‘effect’ is to stay with one’s master. It ends (avadhi) in giving up all study of shastras and performance of religious rites.
D.: How is it that even scholars in Vedanta have not succeeded in the pursuit of enquiry?
M.: Though they always study Vedanta and give lessons to others yet in the absence of desirelessness they do not practise what they have learnt.
D.: And what do they do otherwise?
M.: Like a parrot they reproduce the Vedantic jargon but do not put the teachings into practice.
D.: What does Vedanta teach?
M.: The Vedanta teaches a man to know that all but the non-dual Brahman is laden with misery, therefore to leave off all desires for enjoyment, to be free from love or hate, thoroughly to cut the knot of the ego and to remain fixed in the perfect knowledge of the equality of all and making no distinction of any kind, never to be aware of anything but Brahman, and always to be experiencing the Bliss of the nondual Self.
Though Vedanta is read and well understood, if dispassion is not practised, the desire for pleasures will not fade away. However well read one may be, unless the teachings are put into practice, one is not really learned. Only like a parrot the man will be repeating that Brahman alone is real and all else is false.
D.: Why should he be so?
M.: The knowers say that like a dog delighting in offal,this man also delights in external pleasures. Though always busy with Vedanta, reading and teaching it, he is no better than a mean dog.
D.: What authority is there for saying that a man not otherwise qualified but intensely desirous of liberation remains ever unhappy?
M.: In the Suta Samhita it is said that those desirous of enjoyments and yet yearning for liberation are surely bitten by the deadly serpent of samsara and therefore dazed by its poison. This is the authority.
Source: ADVAITA BODHA DEEPIKA book