Guru Ramana Maharshi on Meditation

We all want to be that little bit better in the new year, both on the inside and on the outside . Love yourself, love the world around you, better yourself through meditation! Heed the advice of Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950), born on the 30th of December 1879 in Tamil Nadu, South India; here are some snippets from interviews with the guru from Arthur Osborne’s Ramana Maharshi and the Path to self-Knowledge (2006):

“Renunciation does not mean outward divestment of clothes and so on or abandonment of home. True renunciation is the renunciation of desires, passions and attachments. But single-minded devotion to God may not be possible unless one leaves the world. No; one who truly renounces actually merges in the world and expands his love to embrace the whole world. It would be more correct to describe the attitude of the devotee as universal love than as abandoning home to don the ochre robe.
At home the bonds of affection are too strong.
He who renounces when he is not yet ripe for it only creates new bonds.
Is not renunciation the supreme means of breaking attachments?
It may be so for one whose mind is already free from entanglements. But you have not grasped the deeper import of renunciation: great souls who have abandoned the life of the world have done so not out of aversion to family life but because of their large-hearted and all-embracing love for all mankind and all creatures.
The family ties will have to go some time so why shouldn’t I take the initiative and break them now so that my love can be equal to all?
When you really feel that equal love for all, when your heart has so expanded as to embrace the whole of creation, you will certainly not feel like giving up this or that; you will simply drop off from secular life as a ripe fruit does from the branch of a tree. You will feel that the whole world is your home. The life of action need not be renounced. If you meditate for an hour or two every day you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner, then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work. It is as though there were two ways of expressing the same idea; the same line which you take in meditation will be expressed in your activities.
What will be the result of doing that?
As you go on you will find that your attitude towards people, events and objects will gradually change. Your actions will tend to follow your meditation of their own accord. A man should surrender the personal selfishness which binds him to this world. Giving up the false self is the true renunciation.
How is it possible to become selfless while leading a life of worldly activity?
There is no conflict between work and wisdom.
Do you mean that one can continue all the old activities, in one’s profession, for instance, and at the same time get Enlightenment?
Why not? But in that case one will not think that it is the old personality which is doing the work because one’s consciousness will gradually become transformed until it enters in That which is beyond the little self.”