The Mother Divine
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By Swami Muktananda

The following is an edited transcription of a talk given by Swami Muktananda of Anandashram, Kanhangad, Kerala, in June 2010.

The moment we think of the most revered Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, what comes to our mind is the unique way in which he naturally ascended to the height of spirituality, without the usual struggles experienced by the seekers during their sadhanas. This will be clear from the following answers given by Bhagavan himself. On 4th October 1946, to a question by one of the devotees, Professor D.S. Sarma, whether there ever was any period of practice or sadhana in his life, Bhagavan replied: “I have never done any sadhana. I did not even know what sadhana was. Only long afterwards I came to know what sadhana was and how many different kinds of it there were. It is only if there was any object or anything different from me that I could think of it. Only if there was a goal to attain, I should have made sadhana to attain that goal.

There was nothing which I wanted to obtain. I am now sitting with my eyes open. I was then sitting with my eyes closed. That was all the difference. I was not doing any sadhana even then. As I sat with my eyes closed, people said I was in samadhi. As I was not talking, they said I was in mauna. The fact is, I did nothing. Some Higher Power took hold of me and I was entirely in Its hand.” He further added, “The books no doubt speak of sravana, manana, nididhyasana, samadhi and sakshatkara. We are always the sakshat (Real) and what is there for one to attain after that? We call this world sakshat or pratyaksha (directly present). What is changing, what appears and disappears, what is not sakshat, we regard as sakshat. We always are and nothing can be more directly present, pratyaksha, than we, and about that we say we have to attain sakshatkaram after all these sadhanas. Nothing can be more strange than this. The Self is not attained by doing anything, but remaining still and being as we are.” We now understand from Bhagavan’s statements that he didn’t perform any pranayamam, japa nor did he have any idea of meditation or contemplation. He was never attracted by them and even in the years after Self-realization in Madurai he refused to pay any attention to them though some may claim he was performing severe tapas in the first years after his arrival at Tiruvannamalai. We should see that sadhana as understood by many, implies that there is something to be gained and there is a means of gaining it. Bhagavan asks us to realise there is nothing to be gained that we do not already have. All our practices of meditation, concentration and contemplation, are aimed at stilling the mind, nothing more. When we are still we enter our ever-natural state. We call this state many things: moksha, jnanam, sakshatkara....but ultimately it is pure stillness (achala). Bhagavan also remarks that people mistakenly think that by practising some elaborate sadhana something great and glorious will descend on them and they will be ‘realised’. He tells us that the Self is sakshatkara, that is, ‘directly known.’ Yes, we now understand there is no ‘kara’, which means making, ‘made out of’. The word ‘kara’ implies one who is ‘doing something’. But Bhagavan says that the Self is realised not by an individual performing an act to ‘make’ it but by abstaining from any activity designed to gain that precious state which we falsely believe we do not possess. We can ‘do’ this by remaining still. As Bhagavan would often say, summa iru, be still. It is striking that if someone really applied the teachings of what Ramana said in the above words, they will come to realize that Bhagavan is pointing out that the seeker should never get stuck with a path he or she is pursuing, and always be aware that the end of all spiritual discipline is to still the mind. For this the seeker has to stop seeking and realize the very subject who is propelling to seek. You see, one day, a serious devotee confessed that, while he would understand Bhagavan’s words intellectually, he was finding it extremely difficult to make it a reality. To this Bhagavan replied, in his own inimitable style, “You don’t stand in the way of what is going on.” Every thought, every word, every deed that is emanating from us, are coming out of the source of all sources which is within. The problem starts only when the ‘me’ and ‘mine’ catch hold of the thought, word or deed, and assumes the role of the doer and enjoyer. So, spiritual discipline should enable us to gradually reach a state where we rest in the simple, clear, ever present witness, watching every movement of the body, mind and intellect, without choosing or labeling. This is not to say we should sit back and do nothing like a lazy sack. By the very nature of our reality we tend to act even if it means deciding not to do anything at all! We should not mistake the tamasic state of lethargy with the pure sattvic state of pure awareness. Effort is required for us to remain in that state of stillness and for that to happen, sadhana is definitely necessary, not to gain anything but to remain in that pristine state of stillness. Until we reach that state we have to strive to maintain our focus on what is important, which is the experiential awakening of the Self. In support of this truth Bhagavan has declared in answer to a question of devotee: “What is that Self in actual experience?”

Sri Bhagavan tells us: “It is the Light which ever shines in the Cave of the Heart as the flame of the Consciousness ‘I’ ‘I’ – the eternal and blissful Sat-chit-ananda. This is the answer to the vichara and its fulfillment. The ‘I’, which has carried out a determined and protracted search into its own nature, has at long last found itself to be not other than the Pure Mind, the immaculate Being, which is eternally wrapped in blissful stillness. This is Turiya, the Fourth, or Samadhi (the highest stage).” At the time of a recent convocation in Brown University which I attended in the United States, someone read out a portion from the book: The Simple Feeling of Being, by Ken Wilbur. It is a wonderful piece! I leave you with these observations. He says: “We begin with the realisation that the Witness is an ever present consciousness even when we doubt its existence. You are right now aware of, when we say the words, ‘the room, the window, the people around you, your chair’. You can sit back and simply notice that you are aware of all those objects floating by. Songs float through the air; thoughts float through the mind; and when you notice them, you are effortlessly aware. There is a simple, effortless, spontaneous witnessing of whatever happens to be present. When you rest in the simple, clear, ever present Witness you are resting in the great unborn, you are resting in intrinsic spirit, you are resting in primordial emptiness. You cannot be seen, you have no qualities, you are not ‘this’, you are not ‘that’, you are not an object. You are the opening or clearing in which the entire manifestation arises right now. You do not arise in it; it arises in you, in this vast emptiness and freedom that you are. Spirit cannot be grasped within our reach, with our thought, word or deed. It is the ever-present Seer. The search for the Seer is to miss the point. The search for ‘ever’ is to miss the point forever. How could you possibly search for that which is right now aware of these words? You are THAT. You cannot go on looking for That, which is the Looker. When you are not an object, you are God.”


Courtesy: Mountainpath