13th March, 1936
A gentleman from Bombay said: “I asked Mother in Sri Aurobindo Ashram the following question: ‘I keep my mind blank without thoughts arising so that God might show Himself in His true Being. But I do not perceive anything.“The reply was to this effect: ‘The attitude is right. The Power will come down from above. It is a direct experience’.” So he asked what further he should do.
M.: Be what you are. There is nothing to come down or become manifest. All that is needful is to lose the ego, That what is, is always there. Even now you are That. You are not apart from it. The blank is seen by you. You are there to see the blank. What do you wait for? The thought “I have not seen,” the expectation to see and the desire of getting something, are all the working of the ego. You have fallen into the snares of the ego. The ego says all these and not you. Be yourself and nothing more!
M.: To imagine Muladhara at the bottom, the Heart at the centre, or the head at the top or over all these, is all wrong. In one word, to think is not your real nature.
M.: In the sacred literature the following are seen:-
“Said without uttering”
“Showed remaining still as ever,” etc.
Which is this unspoken word? It is only Silence, Pranava or the Mahavakya. These are also called the Word.
M.: We read a newspaper and all the articles therein, but do not care to know anything about the paper itself. We take the chaff but not the substance. The substratum on which all this is printed is the paper and if we know the substratum all else will be known (like wall and paintings).
D.: You said the only ONE which exists is the REAL. What is that only ONE?
M.: The ONE only is the Sat, the existence, that appears as the world, the things that we see and we ourselves.
D.: What is Atman? Is there a finality for the ATMAN?
M.: First learn what is Atman. If we know this then we can query as to whether it has a finality or not. Which do you call ATMAN?
D.: Jiva is ATMAN.
M.: Learn what jiva is. What is the difference between jiva and Atman? Is jiva itself Atman or is there any separate thing as Atman? There is an end for what you observe; that which is created has a destruction or end. That which is not created has no end. That which exists cannot be observed. It is unobservable. We must find out what it is that appears; the destruction of that which appears is the end. That which exists, exists for ever; that which newly appears is later lost.
D.: What happens after birth in human form, what happens to the jiva?
M.: Let us know first what we are. We do not understand what we are, and until we know what we are there is no room for such a question. (Bhagavan obviously here refers to the confusion of body as Atman - dehatma buddhi - which is the cause for this confusion of ideas of death and birth, for Atman has no birth or death, it is untainted by the elements of Earth, Fire, Air and Water, etc.) (Gita II, 11) - Asochyam anvosochas tvam, projnavadamscha bhashase, etc. - What is it that had birth? Whom do you call a man? If, instead of seeking explanation for birth, death and after-death matters, the question is raised as to who and how you are now, these questions will not arise. You are the same while asleep (deep sleep), in dream and in waking state. Is the ‘I’ thought jiva, or the body jiva? Is this thought or nature? Or is the experience that we live, etc., our nature? (Quotes the sloka from the Gita: Yada te . . . II, 52.)
D.: Why is Atma vichara necessary?
M.: If you do not make Atma vichara, then loka vichara creeps in. That which is not, is sought for, but not that which is obvious. When once you have found what you seek, vichara (enquiry) also ceases and you rest in it. As long as one is confusing the body with the Atman, Atman is said to be lost and one is said to seek for it, but the ATMAN itself is never lost. It always exists. A body is said to be Atman, an indriya is said to be Atman, then there is the Jivatman and Paramatman and what not. There are a thousand and one things called Atman. The search for Atman is to know that which is really Atman.
Samadhi: Kevala and Sahaja
D.: I maintain that the physical body of the man sunk in samadhi as a result of unbroken contemplation of the Self becomes motionless for that reason. It may be active or inactive. The mind fixed in such contemplation will not be affected by the body or the senses being restless. A disturbance of the mind is not always the forerunner of physical activity. Another man asserts that physical unrest certainly prevents nirvikalpa samadhi or unbroken contemplation. What is your opinion? You are the standing proof of my statement.
M.: Both of you are right, you refer to sahaja nirvikalpa and the other refers to kevala nirvikalpa. In the one case the mind lies immersed in the Light of the Self (whereas the same lies in the darkness of ignorance in deep sleep). The subject discriminates one from the other - samadhi, stirring up from samadhi, and activity thereafter, unrest of the body, of the sight of the vital force and of the mind, the cognizance of objects and activity, are all obstructions for him. In sahaja, however, the mind has resolved itself into the Self and has been lost. Differences and obstructions mentioned above do not therefore exist here. The activities of such a being are like the feeding of a somnolent boy, perceptible to the onlooker (but not to the subject). The driver sleeping on his moving cart is not aware of the motion of the cart, because his mind is sunk in darkness. Similarly the sahaja Jnani remains unaware of his bodily activities because his mind is dead - having been resolved in the ecstasy of Chit Ananda (Self).
The two words contemplation and samadhi have been used loosely in the question.
Contemplation is a forced mental process, whereas samadhi lies beyond effort.
The essence of mind is only awareness or consciousness. However, when the ego dominates it, it functions as the reasoning, thinking or sensing faculty. The cosmic mind being not limited by the ego, has nothing separate from itself and is therefore only aware. This is what the Bible means by “I am that I AM”.
The ego-ridden mind has its strength sapped and is too weak to resist the torturing thoughts. The egoless mind is happy in deep, dreamless sleep. Clearly therefore Bliss and misery are only modes of mind; but the weak mode is not easily interchangeable with the strong mode. Activity is weakness and consequently miserable; passivity is strength and therefore blissful. The dormant strength is not apparent and therefore not availed of.The cosmic mind, manifesting in some rare being, is able to effect the linkage in others of the indi- vidual (weak) mind with the universal (strong) mind of the inner recess. Such a rare being is called the GURU or God in manifestation.