Conversation with Tarun Sardana
Questioner: You mentioned in one of your interviews with Jerry Katz how your so-called seeking took a different meaning when you came across Ramana Maharishi’s teachings?
Tarun: Not actually teachings. Just one question “Who am I”.
Can you elaborate more on that?
My Grand Ma and my mother have always been associated with Satsangs. Therefore, prayers, chanting have been a regular routine of our daily lives. My grand ma used to read a lot of scriptures and narrate various stories of devotion and love towards that Almighty to us. So there was always an inner urge, a very strong one in fact to know the Supreme and to always be in HIS shelter.
I used to spend hours just sitting and contemplating on the ‘UNKNOWN’. I spent years doing that! There were times when I just stopped talking to my friends and family and used to spend most of my time in solitude.
There were various spiritual experiences that built my faith in HIM stronger and stronger each time. However, there was something that was always bothering me. Despite those experiences, I often encountered feelings of anger, hatred, or desire. This used to really bother me and I used to question the Almighty that when I have surrendered before you, it becomes your responsibility to protect me from these vices. Why is it happening repeatedly? I was becoming restless day by day.
I was in UAE during that time and as I had limited access to scriptures, I had at home; therefore I used to spend most of my time reading scriptures online. It was one of those evenings when I came across an article with someone’s photograph next to it. The moment I saw a photograph, I closed that page immediately as I am a strong disbeliever of a ‘physical Guru’ concept. Then the same thing happened again, I again came across one of the article with the same photograph. And I closed it again.
I think it happened quiet a few times then one day, I was browsing the web and came across an article “Who AM I” on http://www.hinduism.co.za. It was “Who AM I” enquiry by Ramana Maharishi. The article had no photograph of Maharishi. When I went to Maharishis’ website, I found out it was the same photograph that I had seen a couple of times when I had closed the page.
The question ‘Who Am I’ was something that led the mind to thinking that who is the one to whom these feelings of anger, hatred or desire are happening. For the first time the mind was not questioning these feelings or questioning the Supreme- why these feelings are arising but questioning the one to whom these feelings are arising. This marked a complete turn around in the so-called search from knowing the Supreme to knowing the “I”.
Then did you find the “I”?
(Laughter) No one ever has. (Laughs). “Who am I” is a powerful enquiry. It helps mind question the “I” on which, this whole world is based and see clearly if it really exists. No doubt Maharishi refers the enquiry as a Direct Path.
Did you read any other works of Maharishi?
“Who AM I” is what Maharishi taught and is the root of all the ‘works’. The moment that enquiry happened to the mind, it never left till the time all the apparent questions were dissolved.
‘Dissolved’ that’s where title of your book comes from?
So is ‘Dissolved’, kind of your own auto-biography?
(Smiles) I am not sure if it can be called as an auto-biography. It is written in a form of dialogue between Vivek and Guruji (central characters of the book) and how Guru Ji leads Vivek’s mind to an enquiry and what happens after that.
So isn’t that Vivek, you?
(Smiles) Vivek is a Hindi word, which means discriminating faculty of the mind. The faculty, which helps one distinguish between false and truth, and between ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’. That’s why name of the character is Vivek.
Is enquiry enough to lead one to the truth?
Enquiry doesn’t lead one to the truth. Enquiry leads to dissolving of the one who is seeking the truth.
Does one need any other practice?
Actually enquiry is all about who needs the practice and for what. So only after one does that one will get to know if any practice is required? (Laughs)
“An excerpt from ‘A Conversation with Tarun’ author of the book ‘Dissolved’. His book can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any other leading online store”