(Mind alone is the cause of man’s bondage and freedom)— Amritabindu Upanishad
Devotee: I have not yet learnt to control my mind so I intend to seek ekantavasam (life in solitude) in North India and want Sri Bhagavan’s grace.
Bhagwan: You have come all the way to Tiruvannamalai for ekantavasam, and that in the immediate presence and vicinity of Ramana Bhagavan, yet you do not appear to have obtained that mental quiet; you now want to go elsewhere and from there you will desire to go to some other place. At this rate, there will be no end to your travels.
You do not realize that it is your mind that drives you in this manner. Control that first and you will be happy wherever you are. I do not know if you have read Swami Vivekananda’s lectures. It is my impression that he has somewhere told the story of a man trying to bury his shadow and finding that over every sod of earth he put in the grave he had dug for it, it only appeared again, so that it could never be buried. Such is the case of a person who tries to bury his thoughts. One must, therefore, attempt to get at the very bottom from which thought springs and root out thought, mind and desire.
Devotee: When I spent an hour or two on the hill yonder, I sometimes found even better peace than here, which suggests that a solitary place is after all more conducive to mind-control.
Bhagwan: True, but if you had stayed there for an hour longer, you would have found that place too not giving you the calm of which you speak. Control the mind and even Hell will be Heaven to you. All other talk of solitude, living in a forest etc., is mere prattle.
Devotee: If solitude and abandonment of home were not required, where then was the necessity for Sri Bhagavan to come here in his seventeenth year?
Bhagwan: If the same force that took this (meaning himself ) here, should take you also out of your home, by all means, let it, but there is no use of your deserting your home by an effort of your own. Your duty lies in practice, continuous practice of Self-enquiry.