D.: What is that Self-Realisation which removes the discontent? I am in the world and there are wars in it. Can Self-Realisation put an end to it?
M.: Are you in the world? Or is the world in you?
D.: I do not understand. The world is certainly around me.
M.: You speak of the world and happenings in it. They are mere ideas in you. The ideas are in the mind. The mind is within you. And so the world is within you.
D.: I do not follow you. Even if I do not think of the world, the world is still there.
M.: Do you mean to say that the world is apart from the mind and it can exist in the absence of the mind?
M.: Does the world exist in your deep sleep?
D.: It does.
M.: Do you see it in your sleep?
D.: No, I don’t. But others, who are awake, see it.
M.: Are you so aware in your sleep? Or do you become aware of the other’s knowledge now?
D.: In my waking state.
M.: So you speak of waking knowledge and not of sleep-experience. The existence of the world in your waking and dream states is admitted because they are the products of the mind. The mind is withdrawn in sleep and the world is in the condition of a seed. It becomes manifest over again when you wake up. The ego springs forth,identifies itself with the body and sees the world. So the world is a mental creation.
D.: How can it be?
M.: Do you not create a world in your dream? The waking state also is a long drawn out dream. There must be a seer behind the waking and dream experiences. Who is that seer? Is it the body?
D.: It cannot be.
M.: Is it the mind?
D.: It must be so.
M.: But you remain in the absence of the mind.
M.: In deep sleep.
D.: l do not know if I am then.
M.: If you were not how do you recollect yesterday’s experiences? Is it possible that there was a break in the continuity of the ‘I’ during sleep?
D.: It may be.
M.: If so, a Johnson may wake up as a Benson. How will the identity of the individual be established?
D.: I don’t know.
M.: If this argument is not clear, follow a different line. You admit “I slept well”, “I feel refreshed after a sound sleep”. So sleep was your experience. The experiencer now identifies himself with the ‘I’ in the speaker. So this ‘I’ must have been in sleep also.
M.: So ‘I’ was in sleep, if the world was then there, did it say that it existed?
D.: No. But the world tells me its existence now. Even if I deny its existence, I may knock myself against a stone and hurt my foot.The injury proves the existence of the stone and so of the world.
M.: Quite so. The stone hurts the foot. Does the foot say that there is the stone?
D.: No. - ‘I’.
M.: Who is this ‘I’? It cannot be the body nor the mind as we have seen before. This ‘I’ is the one who experiences the waking, dream and sleep states. The three states are changes which do not affect the individual. The experiences are like pictures passing on a screen in the cinema. The appearance and disappearance of the pictures do not affect the screen. So also, the three states alternate with one another leaving the Self unaffected. The waking and the dream states are creations of the mind. So the Self covers all. To know that the Self remains happy in its perfection is Self-Realisation. Its use lies in the realisation of Perfection and thus of Happiness.
D.: Can it be complete happiness to remain Self-realised if one does not contribute to the happiness of the world? How can one be so happy when there is a war in Spain, a war in China? Is it not selfishness to remain Self-realised without helping the world?
M.: The Self was pointed out to you to cover the universe and also transcend it. The world cannot remain apart from the Self. If the realisation of such Self be called selfishness that selfishness must cover the world also. It is nothing contemptible.
D.: Does not the realised man continue to live just like a non-realised being?
M.: Yes, with this difference that the realised being does not see the world as being apart from the Self, he possesses true knowledge and the internal happiness of being perfect, whereas the other person sees the world apart, feels imperfection and is miserable. Otherwise their physical actions are similar.
D.: The realised being also knows that there are wars being waged in the world, just like the other man.
D.: How then can he be happy?
M.: Is the cinema screen affected by a scene of fire burning or sea rising? So it is with the Self.
The idea that I am the body or the mind is so deep that one cannot get over it even if convinced otherwise. One experiences a dream and knows it to be unreal on waking. Waking experience is unreal in other states.So each state contradicts the others. They are therefore mere changes taking place in the seer, or phenomena appearing in the Self, which is unbroken and remains unaffected by them.
Just as the waking, dream and sleep states are phenomena, so also birth, growth and death are phenomena in the Self. which continues to be unbroken and unaffected. Birth and death are only ideas. They pertain to the body or the mind. The Self exists before the birth of this body and will remain after the death of this body. So it is with the series of bodies taken up in succession. The Self is immortal. The phenomena are changeful and appear mortal.
The fear of death is of the body. It is not true of the Self. Such fear is due to ignorance. Realisation means True Knowledge of the Perfection and Immortality of the Self. Mortality is only an idea and cause of misery.You get rid of it by realising the Immortal nature of the Self.
Source: TALKS WITH SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI Book
Readers interested regarding saint views on world are requested to read below articles as well