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Sri Ranjit Maharaj
"The Birds Way"

Sri Ranjit Maharaj was born on the 6th of January, 1913, in Bombay, India. In his early childhood he was a fervent devotee of Krishna, but by age 12 he had met Shri Sadguru Siddharameshwar Maharaj, who became his Master. Later on Shri Siddharameshwar also became the Master of the venerated Indian sage, Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Siddharameshwar Maharaj realized the Self through meditation, a long and difficult way. According to His own words, it is called Pipilika Marg in Indian philosophy. This means the "way of the ant." Siddharameshwar taught "the bird's way," Vihangam Marg. This is the way of Understanding, the direct way of Self-Realization. The Birds Way is also the teaching of Sri Ranjit Maharaj. Interestingly enough, just about the sametime the young Ranjit was meeting his Master for the first time, a nearly disguised young American traveller on a spiritual quest toward Enlightenment, that gained fame anonymously some years later in a novel by the famous British playwright and author W. Somerset Maugham titled The Razor's Edge, visited Siddharemeshwar, one of the first Americans to do so. It has been written that from his stay in India he gained peace of mind.

The young American, called Larry Darrell by Maugham in the novel, traveled to Bijapur to meet with Siddharameshwar Maharaj and learned of Vihangam Marg, the bird's way. The holy man related to Darrell what Ranjit Maharaj was to eventually learn as well: "that only by hearing and practising from the teachings of the Master and thinking over it, just like the bird flies from one tree to another, can one attain Awakening very fast." Although "the bird's way" is not incorporated into the novel leading to Darrell's Awakening, it does play an interesting role later on as his life unfolds post-novel, and the interaction that occurs in the Awakening experience of another. (see)



QUESTION: When I contemplate my real nature I am in the "I AM," a feeling of love without cause pervades in me. Is this feeling correct or is it still illusion?

MAHARAJ: It is the bliss of the Self. You feel the presence of "I AM." You forget everything, the concepts and the illusion. It is a non-conditional state. This felicity appears when you forget the object, but in the felicity there is still a little touch of the self. After all, it is still a concept. When you are tired of the outside world, you want to be alone, to be in yourself. It is the experience of a higher state but still of the mind. The Self has no pleasure nor displeasure. Without the I, "I AM." The complete forgetfulness of the illusion means that nothing is, nothing exists. It is still there, but for you it has no reality. That is what is called Realization, or Self-Knowledge. It is the realization of the Self without self.

If someone calls you, you say, "I am here," but before saying, "I am here," You were. The illusion cannot glue something more to Reality. It cannot glue something extraordinary to Reality because Reality is at the base of everything that is. All that exists, all that you see, the objects of your perception, all that is due to Reality. The ignorance and the knowledge do not exist They are not. So what expression can you give to them.

When you objectivize something, that means there is something expenenced. As soon as you feel something, you are away from your Self, from the Self. You feel love, that is better than being in ignorance, but after all it is still a state and a state is always conditioned. The non-conditioned is stateless. It is the experience of the non-existence of the illusion. As soon as you feel the least existence, it is ignorance. It is very subtle; ignorance and knowledge are both subtle. It is difficult to understand, but if you really enquire, you will get that state. That is, and has always been, but you don't know; that is the difficulty. There is not a single point where Reality is not. You experience existence through objects but all this is nothing. It is omnipresent, but you cannot see it. Why? Because You are the Reality itself, so how can you see yourself? To see your face you need a mirror.

Real happiness is inside you and not outside. In deep sleep, you are happy. You forget the world. Therefore, happiness lies in the forgetting of the world. Leave the world as it is; don't destroy it, but know that it is not. Do everything you have to do, but be detached by understanding that whatever you feel, perceive, and achieve is illusion. It doesn't exist, and your mind must accept that.

The saints say, "Since all is nothing, how can this nothing affect you, touch you?" So what to do? The mind is nothing else but knowledge. People differentiate the mind from knowledge, but this is not correct. There is nothing in the world. It is illusion. Only Reality is, and when you understand that the illusion is really illusion, how can it affect you? How can you even feel that it affects you? The lotus leaf is produced from water; it is on top of the water, but it is not touched by water. If you pour water on it, it drifts away; it is not touched.

When you understand that nothing remains, there is no more question of love. The felicity of the Self that you feel is still the pleasure of knowledge. First you must be aware, and then you become Reality itself because you are He. Therefore, there is no harm in living in the illusion, the world, but as it doesn't exist, you are not touched. The lotus stays in water but doesn't care for it.

In this way you must experience your true nature. I say experience, but there the words do not exist because it is beyond space, beyond zero. And the words cannot penetrate there; they stop there. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said, "From where the words come back is my state." Still, he was a king and was ruling but he knew that nothing is. You don't understand that nothing can touch you. When you feel that nothing touches you, you are out of illusion. That is the highest point of philosophy and you can reach there. There, there is no Master nor disciple, for both are one. The duality doesn't exist, only oneness is and nothing is outside it. Therefore, stay in the illusion, but by understanding.

Two friends wanted to play a trick on another friend. One of them started to insult the other one, but he was laughing at the insult. The third one was troubled, and said, "How can you laugh when he is insulting you?" He was laughing because he had the key to the game, but the third boy didn't understand. In the same way, a Realized person, though living in the world, understands that all this is nothing and whatever happens, nothing is happening. Therefore, they are not touched. People are always in fear of what happens or what will happen. They are afraid of what people will say. They think, "What am I going to do? What will happen to me?" They fight or enjoy.All these bondages are due to the mind.

The one who is out of the circle understands that all is nothing. It doesn't exist; it is only ignorance. it is said that only the one who dives deep into the ocean can find the pearl. The one who remains on the surface is carried away in the stream of pleasure and suffering. You must dive deep to the depths of the unlimited because that is where you are. Never stop at the limited. The gold doesn't care for the shapes it takes in the ornaments; it may be the shape of a dog or of a god, it is unconcerned with the form. In the same way, be indifferent to things because they do not exist.

Nothing can touch you. You are unattached. The mind must come to the point of the complete understanding of the illusion. There lies your state. Nothing remains for he who has understood. There is no more gain or loss. Don't ask if you can acheive Reality, because you are Reality, so why say "Can I?" First of all go out of the circle. Leave everything one after the other and go deep in your Self. Come back then, and be in all.

What you have described is a good state, no doubt, but go a little further. When the mind accepts that all is illusion, only illusion, then you are in your Self. The body and the mind are illusion; you should be happy to know that. Get rid of their identification. The only thing the Master does is to give its real value to the Power which is in you, to which you pay no attention. He does nothing more. It was a stone and the Master reveals its true nature which is diamond. He makes you the most precious stone.

I am omnipresent, almighty, I am the Creator of all which is. When you are at the base of all, you are in all. Therefore, even a murderer cannot be considered as bad. Whatever is happening, it is "my order." Be the master, not the slave! You are the master.

NOTE: In a related matter, the venerated Indian holy man Sri Ramana Maharshi, a contempory of Ranjit Maharaj's teacher, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, discussed the above subject quite in depth as well. For Ramana's view, also presented in question answer format, please see Who Am I? (Nan Yar?).


QUESTION: I would like to know why some Realized persons reincarnate in order to help others to realize themselves?

MAHARAJ: Nobody comes, nobody goes. Who told you that? You have read books and you repeat. It is said that the greatest man is the one who dies unknown. Rama and Krishna were secondary heroes. The accomplished man lives in silence and dies in silence. Then, their thought works in someone else; but that they come back is nonsense. See The Doctrine of Rebirth.

Nobody comes, nobody goes. All is a dream. In a dream you can become a great Master, but when you wake up you come back to your ordinary state. Who has gone there and who has come back? Nothing has happened. The concept of a great Master has come upon you and you have become this "great Master," but when you wake up you feel, "Ho, all this is nonsense. How can I be a great Master? I know nothing!" Still, in the dream you were giving lectures and were talking easily of all these things but when awakening comes, all knowledge vanishes. It was a dream.

From where has it come, and where has it disappeared? When nothing is, all is only beliefs and concepts of the mind. The so-called Sage who says, "I am the reincarnation of God," doesn't know Him, doesn't know Reality. On the contrary, he is the slave of his ego , of illusion. When knowledge itself has no entity, there is no question of all these things.

He who understands, gets rid of everything. This person looks like an ordinary one, but his heart is quite different. If you stay outside, how can you understand? To become the owner of the house you must enter it. In the same way, you must penetrate your own Self to become the owner. But there the "I" doesn't remain as "I." There is no more question of Master or disciple. The thought of a Master can inspire whoever takes a body because he and the Sage are one. Penetrate the heart of the Realized one, and you don't remain as "you" because He only is. So it is said that those who teach are incarnations of God. The Master gives out the knowledge to all, but doesn't vaIue it because He knows that knowledge is the greatest ignorance. Therefore, don't be touched by anything.

QUESTION: If all is illusion, are you yourself an illusion?

MAHARAJ: Oh, yes! I am the greatest illusion! All that I say with full heart and so frankly is all false! But the false "I" can make you reach that point. The address of the person is not the goal. When you reach the house, thanks to the address you have been given, the address is true only until the moment you enter the house. As soon as you come in, the address vanishes. Words are nothing else but indications; they have no reality themselves. If "I" remains, I am also illusion. Don't remain as "I." That is the highest understanding of philosophy. Saint Tukaram said: "I have seen my own death, and what I have seen there, the joy that was revealed, that I know." First of all, you must die. "You" means illusion.



Therefore, what I say is false, but true, however, because I speak of That. The address is false but when you reach the goal, it is Reality. In the same way, all the scriptures and the philosophical books are meant only to indicate that point, and when you reach it they become non-existent, empty. Words are false; only the meaning they convey is true. They are illusion, but they give a meaning. Therefore, all is illusion but to understand the illusion, illusion is needed. For example, to remove a thorn in your finger you use another thorn; then you throw both of them away. But if you keep the second thorn which was used to remove the first one, you'll surely be stuck again. To remove ignorance, knowledge is necessary, but finally both must dissolve into Reality. Your Self is without ignorance, without knowledge.

Therefore, the Master and the seeker are illusion because they are "one." If you keep the second thorn, which means knowledge, even if it is a golden thorn, you'll be stuck [by the second thorn]. The ego is the only illusion and ego is knowledge. It is said that to catch a thief you must become a thief. Then you can tell him: "Be aware, I am here and I know you are a thief so you won't be able to rob me." But you cannot catch the thief because he has 4 eyes and you have only 2 eyes. At a glance the thief notices the valuables, and if you are not aware, he robs you. Illusion is like the thief, so you must be stronger than the thief. Your mind must accept that all is illusion, only illusion. Then you'll be the "greatest of the greatest."

Knowledge is a great thing but it must be only a remedy. When the fever goes off thanks to the medicine you take, you must stop taking it. Don't prolong the treatment or you will create more problems. Knowledge is necessary only to remove the disease of ignorance. The doctor will always prescribe a limited dosage! First of all, understand the "I" is illusion and what "I" says is illusion. The Master and what He says are also illusion because in Reality, "I" and "He" do not exist anymore. Go deep in yourself, so deep that you disappear. Otherwise see what will happen. A goat came in your house and to make it go out you open the door. The goat goes out but a camel comes in. The camel is just like the illusion. Thus, be out of illusion.

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