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An excerpt from Ramana Maharshi

An excerpt from Ramana Maharshi
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5/20/13 8:16 PM
I was reading this book "Ramana Maharshi - Be as You are" ,and i was really fascinated how clearly he distinguishes between mere concentration ,and what exactly needed for liberation ,the below is an excerpt from that book,where some one ask him a question

Question: When I am engaged in enquiry as to the source from which the ‘I’ springs, I arrive at a stage of stillness of mind beyond which I find myself unable to proceed further. I have no thought of any kind and there is an emptiness, a blankness. A mild light pervades and I feel that it is myself bodiless. I have neither cognition nor vision of body or form. The experience lasts nearly half an hour and is pleasing. Would I be correct in concluding that all that was necessary to secure eternal happiness, that is freedom or salvation or whatever one calls it, was to continue the practice till the experience could be maintained for hours, days and months together?



Sri Ramana Maharshi: This does not mean salvation. Such a condition is termed Manolaya or temporary stillness of thought. Manolaya means concentration, temporarily arresting the movement of thoughts. As soon as this concentration ceases, thoughts, old and new, rush in as usual; and even if this temporary lulling of mind should last a thousand years, it will never lead to total destruction of thought, which is what is called liberation from birth and death.



The practitioner must therefore be ever on the alert and enquire within as to who has this experience, who realises its pleasantness. Without this enquiry he will go into a long trance or deep sleep (Yoga Nidra). Due to the absence of a proper guide at this stage of spiritual practice, many have been deluded and fallen a prey to a false sense of liberation and only a few have managed to reach the goal safely.



The following story illustrates the point very well. A yogi was doing penance (tapas) for a number of years on the banks of the Ganges. When he had attained a high degree of concentration, he believed that continuance in that stage for prolonged periods constituted liberation and practised it. One day, before going into deep concentration, he felt thirsty and called to his disciple to bring a little drinking water from the Ganges. But before the disciple arrived with the water, he had gone into Yoga Nidra and remained in that state for countless years, during which time much water flowed under the bridge. When he woke up from this experience he immediately called '‘Water! Water!'; but there was neither his disciple nor the Ganges in sight.



The first thing that he asked for was water because, before going into deep concentration, the topmost layer of thought in his mind was water and by concentration, however deep and prolonged it might have been, he had only been able temporarily to lull his thoughts. When he regained consciousness this topmost thought flew up with all the speed and force of a flood breaking through the dykes. If this were the case with regard to a thought which took shape immediately before he sat for meditation, there is no doubt that thoughts which took root earlier would also remain unannihilated. If annihilation of thoughts is liberation, can he be said to have attained salvation?



Sadhakas (seekers) rarely understand the difference between this temporary stilling of the mind (Manolaya) and permanent destruction of thoughts (manonasa). In Manolaya there is temporary subsidence of thought-waves, and though this temporary period may even last for a thousand years, thoughts, which are thus temporarily stilled, rise up as soon as the Manolaya ceases.



One must therefore watch one’s spiritual progress carefully. One must not allow oneself to be overtaken by such spells of stillness of thought. The moment one experiences this, one must revive consciousness and enquire within as to who it is who experiences this stillness. While not allowing any thoughts to intrude, one must not, at the same time, be overtaken by this deep sleep (Yoga Nidra) or self-hypnotism.



Though this is a sign of progress towards the goal, yet it is also the point where the divergence between the road to liberation and Yoga Nidra take place. The easy way, the direct way, the shortest cut to salvation is the enquiry method. By such enquiry, you will drive the thought force deeper till it reaches its source and merges therein. It is then that you will have the response from within and find that you rest there, destroying all thoughts once and for all.




For More reading Visit this

http://bhagavan-ramana.org/selfenquirypractice.html