DEVOTEE - Not having realised the Truth that the Self alone exists, should I not adopt bhakti and yoga margas as being more suitable for purposes of sadhana than vichara marga?
Is not the Realistion of one’s Absolute Being that is, Brahma jnana, something quite unattainable to a layman like me?
Ramana Maharshi - Brahma jnana is not a knowledge to be acquired, so that acquiring it one may obtain happiness. It is one’s ignorant outlook that one should give up. Your supposed ignorance causes you needless grief like that of the ten foolish men who grieved the ‘loss’ of the tenth man who was never lost.
The ten foolish men in the parable forded a stream and on reaching the other shore wanted to make sure that all of them had in fact safely crossed the stream.
One of the ten began to count, but while counting others left himself out. “I see only nine; sure enough we have lost one. Who can it be?” he said. “Did you count correctly?” asked another, and did the counting himself. But he too counted only nine. One after the other each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself.
“Whoever he may be that is drowned” said the sentimental of ten fools, “we have lost him”.
Seeing them weeping on the river bank, a sympathetic wayfarer enquired for the cause.
On hearing the story, the wayfarer guessed what had happened. He told them, “Let each of you count for himself but one after the other serially, one, two, three and so on, while I shall give you each a blow so that all of you may be sure of having been included in the count. The tenth ‘missing’ man will then be found.”
Hearing this they rejoiced and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer.
While the kind wayfarer gave a blow to each of the ten in turn, he that got the blow counted himself aloud. “Ten” said the last man as he got the last blow in his turn.
Bewildered they looked at one another, “We are ten” they said with one voice and thanked the wayfarer. That is the parable. From where was the tenth man brought in? Was he ever lost?
The cause of their grief was not the real loss of any one of the ten, it was their own ignorance.