I needed to know this even before I learned to speak!
D.: Cannot samsara (Literally means: journeying. [cycle of birth, death, and rebirth]) be got rid of by any means other than making the mind still?
M.: Absolutely by no other means; neither the Vedas, nor the shastras (In essence, the shaastra is the knowledge which is based on principles that are held to be timeless.) nor austerities, nor karma, nor vows, nor gifts, nor recital of scriptures of mystic formulae (mantras), nor worship, nor anything else, can undo the samsara. Only stillness of mind can accomplish the end and nothing else.
D.: The scriptures declare that only Knowledge can do it. How then do you say that stillness of the mind puts an end to samsara?
M.: What is variously described as Knowledge, Liberation, etc., in the scriptures, is but stillness of mind.
D.: Has any one said so before?
M.: Sri Vasishta had said: When by practice the mind stands still, all illusions of samsara disappear, root and branch. Just as when the ocean of milk was churned for its nectar, it was all rough, but became still and clear after the churn (viz., mount Mandara) was taken out, so also the mind becoming still, the samsara falls to eternal rest.
Source: ADVAITA BODHA DEEPIKA Book
4. Is the state of ‘being still’ a state involving effort or effortless?
It is not an effortless state of indolence. All mundane activities which are ordinarily called effort are performed with the aid of a portion of the mind and with frequent breaks. But the act of communion with the Self (atma vyavahara) or remaining still inwardly is perfect effort, which is performed with the entire mind and without break.
Maya (delusion or ignorance) which cannot be destroyed by any other act is completely destroyed by this perfect effort, which is called ‘silence’ (mouna).
Spiritual Instruction, revised form by David Godman, chapter 2