Ramana maharshi and sohum

Maha Vir Prasad, Chief Engineer to the U. P. Government
who had been staying here for about twenty days in October and November and who went on a pilgrimage
to Rameswaram and other places, is back here.

In continuation of an old question of his with reference to a certain passage in Maha Yoga,
he asked Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi,

whether it was necessary and a condition precedent
for a man to watch his breathing
before beginning the mental quest ‘Who am I?’

Sri Ramana Maharshi :

All depends on a man’s pakva, i.e.,
his aptitude and fitness.

Those who have not the mental strength
to concentrate or control their mind
and direct it on the quest are advised
to watch their breathing,
since such watching will naturally and
as a matter of course lead to cessation of thought
and bring the mind under control.

Breath and mind
arise from the same place and
whenone of them is controlled,
the other is also controlled.

As a matter of fact,
in the quest method – which is more correctly
‘Whence am I?’
and not merely ‘Who am I?’ –

we are not simply trying
to eliminate saying
‘we are not the body, not the senses and so on,’
to reach what remains
as the ultimate reality,

but we are trying to find
whence the ‘I’ thought for the ego arises within us.

The method contains within it,
though implicitly and not expressly,
the watching of the breath.

When we watch wherefrom the ‘I’-thought,
the root of all thoughts,
springs,
we are necessarily
watching the source of breath also,
as the ‘I’-thought
and the breath arise
from the same source.

Mr. Prasad again asked whether, for controlling breath,
the regular pranayama is not better in which 1:4:2 proportion
for breathing in, retaining, and breathing out is prescribed.

Sri Ramana Maharshi replied,
“All those proportions,
sometimes regulated not by counting
but by uttering mantras, etc.,
are aids for controlling the mind.
That is all.

Watching the breath is also
one form of pranayama.

Retaining breath, etc., is more violent
and may be harmful
in some cases,
e.g., when there is no proper Guru
to guide the sadhak at every step and stage.

But
merely watching the breath
is easy and involves no risk.”

~ Day by Day with Bhagavan book

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