A visitor said: Some say that one should practise meditation on gross objects only: it may be disastrous if one constantly seeks to kill the mind.
M.: For whom is it disastrous? Can there be disaster apart from the Self? Unbroken ‘I-I’ is the ocean infinite, the ego, ‘I’ thought, remains only a bubble on it and is called jiva, i.e., individual soul. The bubble too is water; when it bursts it only mixes in the ocean. When it remains a bubble it is still a part of the ocean. Ignorant of this simple truth, innumerable methods under different denominations, such as yoga, bhakti, karma....... each again with many modifications, are being taught with great skill and in intricate detail only to entice the seekers and confuse their minds. So also are the religions and sects and dogmas. What are they all for? Only for knowing the Self. They are aids and practices required for knowing the Self.
Objects perceived by the senses are spoken of as immediate knowledge (pratyaksha). Can anything be as direct as the Self - always experienced without the aid of the senses? Sense-perceptions can only be indirect knowledge, and not direct knowledge. Only one’s own awareness is direct knowledge, as is the common experience of one and all. No aids are needed to know one’s own Self, i.e., to be aware.
The one Infinite Unbroken Whole (plenum) becomes aware of itself as ‘I’. This is its original name. All other names, e.g., OM, are later growths. Liberation is only to remain aware of the Self. The mahavakya “I am Brahman” is its authority. Though the ‘I’ is always experienced, yet one’s attention has to be drawn to it. Only then does knowledge dawn. Thus the need for the instruction of the Upanishads and of wise sages.
All are aware of their own Self only. Wonder of wonders! They take what is not as what is, or they see the phenomena apart from the Self. Only so long as there is the knower is there knowledge of all kinds (direct, inferential, intellectual etc.); should the knower vanish they all vanish together with him; their validity is of the same degree as his.
A man prayed to the Master to pardon his sins. He was told that it would be enough if he took care to see that his mind did not trouble him.
A question was raised as follows by Maj. A. W. Chadwick:-
Mr. Edward Carpenter, a certain mystic, has written in a book that he had Self-Realisation on some occasions and that its effects lasted sometimes afterwards, only to be gradually lost. Whereas Sri Ramana Gita says, “Granthi (knot = bondage), snapped once, is snapped for ever.” In the case of this mystic, the bondage seems to have persisted even after Self-Realisation. How can it be so?
The Master cited Kaivalya as follows:-
The disciple, after realising the all-shining, unitary, unbroken state of Being-Knowledge-Bliss, surrendered himself to the master and humbly prayed to know how he could repay the master’s Grace. The Master said:
“My reward consists in your permanent unbroken Bliss. Do not slip away from it.”
D.: Having once experienced the Supreme Bliss, how can one stray away from it?
M.: Oh yes! It happens. The predisposition adhering to him from time immemorial will draw him out and so ignorance overtakes him.
D.: What are the obstacles to remaining steady in unbroken Bliss? How can they be overcome?
M.: The obstacles are:(1) Ignorance which is forgetfulness of one’s pure being.
The Master continued: Experience is said to be temporary or permanent. The first experience is temporary and by concentration it can become permanent. In the former the bondage is not completely destroyed; it remains subtle and reasserts itself in due course. But in the latter it is destroyed root and branch, never to appear again. The expression yogabhrashta (those who have fallen down from yoga) in Srimad Bhagavad Gita refers to the former class of men.
D.: Is then hearing the Truth meant only for a limited few?
M.: It is of two kinds. The ordinary one is to hear it enunciated and explained by a master. However, the right one is to raise the question for oneself and seek and find the answer in oneself as the unbroken ‘I-I’.
To be reflecting on this experience is the second stage. To remain one-pointed in it is the third stage.
D.: Can the temporary experience be called samadhi?
M.: No. It forms part of the third stage.
D.: It looks then as if even hearing the Truth is limited to a very few.
M.: The seekers fall into two classes; kritopasaka and akritopasaka. The former having already overcome his predisposition by steady devotion, his mind thus made pure, has had some kind of experience but does not comprehend it; as soon as instructed by a competent master, permanent experience results.
The other class of seeker needs great effort to achieve this end. How will the hearing of the Truth, reflection and concentration help him?
They comprise upasana (the nearest approach to Truth) and will end in his Self-Realization.
The fourth stage is the final one of liberation. Even there some distinction is made according to the degree, as(1) the knower of the Brahman (Brahmavid)
But all of them are in fact liberated even while alive.
Maj. A. W. Chadwick: Of what nature is the realisation of Westerners who relate that they have had flashes of cosmic consciousness?
M.: It came as a flash and disappeared as such. That which has a beginning must also end. Only when the ever-present consciousness is realised will it be permanent. Consciousness is indeed always with us. Everyone knows ‘I am!’ No one can deny his own being. The man in deep slumber is not aware; while awake he seems to be aware. But it is the same person. There is no change in the one who slept and the one who is now awake. In deep sleep he was not aware of his body; there was no body-consciousness. In the wakeful state he is aware of his body; there is body-consciousness. Therefore the difference lies in the emergence of body-consciousness and not in any change in the Real Consciousness. The body and body-consciousness arise together and sink together. All this amounts to saying that there are no limitations in deep sleep, whereas there are limitations in the waking state. These limitations are the bondage; the feeling ‘The body is I’ is the error. This false sense of ‘I’ must go. The real ‘I’ is always there. It is here and now. It never appears anew and disappears again. That which is must also persist for ever. That which appears anew will also be lost. Compare deep sleep and waking. The body appears in one state but not in the other. Therefore the body will be lost. The consciousness was pre-existent and will survive the body. In fact, there is no one who does not say ‘I am’. The wrong knowledge of ‘I am the body’ is the cause of all the mischief. This wrong knowledge must go. That is Realisation. Realisation is not acquisition of anything new nor it is a new faculty. It is only removal of all camouflage.
Maj. Chadwick: I try to shake off the body.
M.: A man shakes off his clothes and remains alone and free. The Self is unlimited and is not confined to the body. How can the body be shaken off? Where will he leave it? Wherever it is, it is his still.
Maj. Chadwick: (Laughter.)
M.: The ultimate Truth is so simple. It is nothing more than being in the pristine state. This is all that need be said.
Still, it is a wonder that to teach this simple Truth there should come into being so many religions, creeds, methods and disputes among them and so on! Oh the pity! Oh the pity!
Maj. Chadwick: But people will not be content with simplicity; they want complexity.
M.: Quite so. Because they want something elaborate and attractive and puzzling, so many religions have come into existence and each of them is so complex and each creed in each religion has its own adherents and antagonists.
For example, an ordinary Christian will not be satisfied unless he is told that God is somewhere in the far-off Heavens not to be reached by us unaided. Christ alone knew Him and Christ alone can guide us. Worship Christ and be saved. If told the simple truth - “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” - he is not satisfied and will read complex and far-fetched meanings in such statements. Mature minds alone can grasp the simple Truth in all its nakedness.
Maj. Chadwick later expressed a certain involuntary fear while meditating. He feels the spirit separated from the gross body and the sensation creates a fright.
M.: To whom is the fright? It is all due to the habit of identifying the body with the Self. Repeated experience of separation will make one familiar and the fright will cease.