Preface: How to Use This Book
Sri Ranjit Maharaj called the way of understanding, or Self-enquiry,the bird’s way, in contrast to meditation, which he called the ant’s way. The ant goes very slowly and, if it tries to climb a forest tree, it may diebefore it reaches the destination. The bird, on the other hand, flieseasily from branch to branch. Maharaj always taught that you are your-self the reality, and so you are already free, free as a bird, without lim-its. You are He, the reality, right now, only you do not know it withcertainty. To have that understanding of who you are, you must get ridof the false notion that you are something other than that reality.
Meditation, chanting a mantra, and various kinds of physical and men-tal disciplines may be useful to prepare the mind for understanding,but the end of seeking is not reached until there is Self-knowledge. The solution has to involve Self-knowledge because the problem isone of Self-ignorance. No spiritual practices that you undertake cansolve that problem. You can meditate six hours at a stretch and enjoy blissful states, but as soon as you stop that activity, you are back inignorance again! You have to find the answer to the question “Whoam I?” When you know that, ignorance disappears and you know everything that you need to know. That is what the Way of the Bird is all about. It means taking the timeto think deeply about the teaching, not accepting it blindly, but experi-encing everything and verifying everything for yourself.I wrote these commentaries on Maharaj’s teaching because some peo-ple have said that they find his ideas difficult to understand and wouldlike additional explanation. The commentaries attempt to provide thisexplanation, or at least offer some ways to think about the conceptsinvolved.