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Messages - Graham

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Cautionary advice / Re: Rape and Robbery at Arunachala
« on: January 22, 2010, 01:00:09 PM »

Dear Nagaraj,

Yes it is horrifying that such things happen here, but they do and there have been far worse things happen than I have reported above.

Despite the cautions people still do the stupidest things out of misplaced faith and trust.

It also appears that the police are not trained or equipped to investigate these matters properly (forensically) so the criminals feel free to commit their crimes unmolested.

There is the real danger that these deviants will start to enjoy their brutality and want to commit more and more crimes, each worse than the last, until finally someone stops them.

I really don't want to put such items on my site, but it is our duty to try to protect those innocents who come here for spiritual purposes.


Cautionary advice / Rape and Robbery at Arunachala
« on: January 22, 2010, 08:15:41 AM »

A few days ago I heard the very disturbing news - that a young attractive western girl was raped and murdered on the inner path last week. I am trying to verify this story as there has been no media coverage of it whatsoever, but the local villagers are talking about it.

Please pay attention to the following -

When people come to Tiruvannamalai they imagine that it is full of saintly and holy people. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many spiritual people here, but there are also many opportunists.

Over the past ten years, the robbery and rape of western women has been reported a number of times amongst the western community, taking place both on the mountain and on the girivalam paths, the inner path being the most common because it is isolated. A few years ago two men were imprisoned for robbery and rape on the mountain.

There is a very common and very mistaken belief here that western women are easy and want sex with any man. This has come about because of the reportedly profligate behaviour of a few women and movies which depict western women in a bad light.

Western culture is very different from Indian culture. Western females are generally friendly towards strangers, smiling and talking freely, they also hug each other. Unfortunately the western style of close communication is taken here as an open invitation to sex by those whose minds live in the sewer - it is frowned upon by most Indians.

Last year a friend of mine came here for a few weeks of meditation and was approached within the first few days by two Indian men demanding sex - not asking, demanding, one followed her to her accommodation and the other approached her in the ashram. She was horrified and very upset by this. I have heard of many other females who are constantly pestered in this way.

Indian females will generally only speak to men they know and only from a distance - they will never touch.

I repeat here the cautionary advice posted in ashrams and elsewhere.

Under no circumstances should ladies go up the mountain or perform girivalam alone.

I will add a further caution for western ladies - under no circumstances should you go anywhere alone with any male that you have not known for a long time.

Do not think that because some fellow sits in meditation pose or speaks of religious matters that he is spiritual. Watch carefully if you are approached and see if the fellow approaches other women. If he does then avoid him - his intent is sex, money or both.

Do not think that because some fellow wears orange that he is a sadhu (holy man) - 99% of those wearing this garb are beggars or worse.

Four years ago I was told that three of these ochre-robed fellows raped a 12 year old, very pretty, but mentally challenged Indian girl in the college ground near the ashram.

When the police 'are' informed they will try to do their best with limited resources.

However, prevention is the better course ..... you will rarely see any Indian lady climbing the mountain or performing girvalam alone, they take this stance out of caution that has been drummed into them since birth and not because they feel lonely.

Do the same!

Humour / A bricklayer's tale
« on: January 14, 2010, 07:37:29 AM »
I am a little disappointed at the posts in this section so far. There is nothing like a good old belly laugh to release tension and set the world to right.

So here is something to get you going - an example of the British habit of understatement:

Found at -

This is a bricklayer's accident report that was printed in the newsletter of the English equivalent of the Workers' Compensation Board.  So here, thanks to John Sedgwick is this Bricklayer's report.


Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form.  I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident.  You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade.  On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-storey building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it.  Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks.  You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.  Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence.  Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground-and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.

I refer you again to my weight.  As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.

In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up.  This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly.  The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope....

Forum advice, news & etiquette / Re: Spelling promblem
« on: January 11, 2010, 07:41:39 PM »
If you download a dictionary add-on for your browser i.e. British English Dictionary and Spellchecker for Firefox, then all of your errors will show as you type.

You can also add words to the dictionary by right-clicking on the underlined words.

I think that the 'user dictionary' (your additions) is local and does not add them to the host's dictionary.

Humour / Bhagavan's humour
« on: December 30, 2009, 02:14:21 AM »
Bhagavan had a brilliant sense of humour and laughter was common in the ashram.

It acts as an important release mechanism for tensions that build up in the individual pursuit of sadhana and in situations where many people congregate.

It is also a very good teacher, because through humour it is possible to say things that otherwise could not be said without causing offence.

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Re: Now this question
« on: December 29, 2009, 05:13:02 PM »
Dear Nagaraj,

Virtually everyone goes through this torture. It is the mind creating doubts about its ability to gain Self-realisation, which it can never do and about its purpose in existence.

It is actually a sign of progress that you have reached this point.

Now you have to make the decision to surrender to doubt and return to the world of misery, or to dismiss these feelings of depression and go forward.

My own remedy during these times was and still is to read the Srimad Bhagavatham, Tripura Rahasya, Talks, Day by Day, etc., until it passes .... which it will.

In all of us there is a very quiet undercurrent which draws us onward, have faith in it, it never goes away, it cannot go away because it is your Self drawing you inward step by step.

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Re: Miracles Do Happen
« on: December 29, 2009, 04:24:07 PM »
I think that we should all be very grateful to God, for the miracle that has happened to each and every one of us, of discovering this path to the highest truth and being in a position to put it into practice.

We are indeed the most privileged of all creation and owe it to God to follow it up with determination.

The teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi / Re: Now this question
« on: December 29, 2009, 06:05:29 AM »
Dear Nagaraj,

Here is the full quote from Advaita Bodha Deepika:

M.: ‘I am Brahman’ means that, after discarding the I-conceit, only the residual being or the pure consciousness that is left over can be Brahman - It is absurd to say that, without discarding but retaining the individuality, the jiva, on seeing Brahman but not becoming Brahman, can know himself as Brahman. A poor beggar must first cease to be beggar and obtain rule over a state in order to know himself as king; a man desirous of god-head first drowns himself in the Ganges and leaving this body, becomes himself a celestial being; by his extraordinary one-pointed devotion a devotee leaves off his body and merges into god, before he can know himself to be god. In all these cases when the beggar knows himself to be king, or the man to be celestial being, or the devotee to be god, they cannot retain their former individualities and also identify themselves as the superior beings. In the same way, the seeker of Liberation must first cease to be an individual before he can rightly say ‘I am Brahman’. This is the significance of the sacred text. Without completely losing one’s individuality one cannot be Brahman. Therefore to realise Brahman, the loss of the individuality is a sine qua non.

It really is self-explanatory. The individual/ego cannot realise the Self, it is the obstacles to it.

There is no sex in the Self. Sex arises because of the perception of difference, when that goes, so does everything else.

People search the scriptures to find an excuse for their libidinous and profligate conduct, but as far as I am aware, the Vedas state that copulation is permitted only within the confines of proper marriage and should be restricted to the propagation of the species.

In the Srimad Bhagavata there are stories of sincere aspirants who fell from their spiritual glory because of sex.

Our purpose is to give up thought and realise the Self, thus sex which sustains duality is to be avoided if possible. If there is no thought of sex then sex cannot happen voluntarily. It is not easy to do, but indulgence leads only to more indulgence and resultant misery ... all of that for a few seconds of pain that you think is pleasure.

The reference to feelings of guilt about sexuality is a pertinent point, but it should be remembered that guilt is the product of conscience, conscience is the voice of the Self. It is reminding you that what you are doing is not helpful to the pursuit of non-duality.

Bhagavan's advice that “It is better to do it than to be always thinking about it” should be taken in this context and not in the context of it being blanket permission to indulge in profligate conduct.

First and foremost Bhagavan stated that self-enquiry should be performed with the same intensity as that of a drowning man struggling for air, only then can it succeed.

Self-enquiry is holding on to the awareness of being that ‘you already are’. There is only one awareness, the one who is reading this article is the ego and the Self all in one, but the ego is the apparition covering the pure Self and that has to die to the real Self in order that self-realisation can take place. This is a mystery at first, but once accomplished it is very clearly understood.

Bhagavan often made the comparison of the actor in a Play - during the Play the actor assumes a completely different role, yet retains his true nature and combines the two. A good actor truly believes he is the role that he is playing, but after it is finished he discards the role and reverts to his original nature. In our case we have forgotten who we are and believe that our role is the Reality. Just as the actor is not two Beings, not two ‘I’s’, nor are we two ‘I’s’. It really is that simple.

However, our ingrained belief that the role we play is in fact the Reality is so strong, that it requires intense and prolonged effort to remove it.

To do this you must concentrate totally upon the awareness of ‘you’, without thought of any kind, or try to catch the ‘I-thought’ as it rises from within and then hold on to that firmly to the exclusion of all else.

The ‘I’ thought that you have to catch is a tangible and distinct force that rises from within the apparition created by the ego. It is this force that sustains the ego and gives it life, just as the actor gives life to his part in the play through his own personality. There is however an acute difference. The pure ‘I’ thought is devoid of personality as we normally understand it – it just IS.

This process requires intense, unbroken concentration, and in the majority of cases takes many years of hard effort and should be carried out, if possible, with eyes open. This does not involve physical or emotional strain of any kind, and strain should always be avoided.

When successful, awareness withdraws from the body into the crown of the head – this is usually very fast and experienced as receding from the feet upwards. At this point the breath becomes automatically controlled separate from that awareness of ‘being’ and it might even stop altogether. Even in this minor stage there is no concern whether the breath stops or not, because the body is already perceived as a heavy, cold and totally lifeless thing, not ‘you’, but something alien to you, a burden that you do not want. The awareness focussed in the crown of the head is however pristine in clarity and thought is suspended. This expansion of consciousness though devoid of bodily attachment is still the dark ego/mind complex.

At this point and in all of the following experiences the attention should be carefully, but powerfully turned towards the witness of all of this, with an intense thought-free longing to know who it is that sees it.

That in a nutshell is the process of Self-enquiry.

From the Srimad Bhagavata -

Krishna's instructions to Uddhava - VII - IX

Sri Krishna answered:

“Your forebodings are well founded, O highly blessed Uddhava. Brahma, Lord Shiva, and all the guardians of the spheres have demanded My return to Vaikuntha. Besides, I have accomplished the task for which I descended to the earth with Balarama, except the extinction of the Yadu race, which is destined to perish by its own hand. On the seventh day from now Dwaraka will go under the sea. The world will be invaded by the spirit of Kali and will lose its auspiciousness as soon as I turn My back on it; for no sooner the Kali age moves in, righteousness will move out of it : people will develop a taste for unrighteous ways. You must not remain here, O good Uddhava, but shake off all attachment to your family and kinsmen and move about the world with a mind centred wholly on Me.

“You must always remember that whatever is thought by the mind, perceived by the eye and the ear, and spoken by the tongue is the creation of the mind and, therefore, illusory. The restless mind easily falls victim to the illusion of diversity, which leads to the conception of good and evil and the discrimination between prescribed action, inaction, and prohibited action. By controlling your mind and senses you will see the world in your own self, and your own self in Me, the Supreme Lord. Possessed of this knowledge, and immersed in the contentment of Self-realisation, you will experience no obstructions in life. He who rises above both good and evil will not refrain from a prohibited action out of fear of evil consequences, nor will he perform a prescribed action out of hope for rewards, but will act like a child who takes no thought of consequences. Being a friend to all, and possessing a serene mind which sees the world as Myself, you never again suffer the pangs of transmigration.

Uddhava said:

“It is for my highest good that You, the Embodiment the Soul and Goal of Yoga, are preaching the Yoga of Renunciation, which is extremely difficult to practise. I am very ignorant, O Lord, profoundly attached to my body and children, who are, after all, the creation of Your Maya. I pray You, O Master, to instruct me, Your servant, how to attain easily the sublime Renunciation of which You speak. There is no one other than Yourself either here on earth or among the gods who is qualified to teach the self-luminous Atman, the one and only Reality. Even Brahma is under the influence of Your Maya, for he looks upon the world as real. Afflicted as I am with grief for having to part with You, O Lord I seek Your guidance, You the friend of all, perfect, eternal and infinite, the omniscient Ruler of the universe Whose eternal abode is the transcendent Vaikuntha.”

The Lord answered:

“Those who take to the investigation into the nature of the world raise themselves above their sensuous cravings. The Self itself is the surest guide to itself through direct observation and inference. Men of right judgement and of knowledge of the secrets of Sankhya and Yoga end by directly perceiving Me as their own Self, possessing all the faculties (whereby the phenomena are perceived). Of all the forms which emanate from Me, I cherish most the human body, because through it, keen and vigilant seekers can have a direct knowledge of Me, who am otherwise difficult to perceive.


You can read the complete Uddhava Gita on this site which contains the clearest teaching on conduct for sadhakas - broken into three parts for ease of viewing:

Dear Subramanian.R and all,

I saw that there was some difficulty in the forum with the subject of killing/controlling the mind and waited to see if it cleared up.

Sages like Bhagavan speak to devotees in language that they can understand, yet at the same time are careful not to mislead.

Killing the mind means 'killing thought by replacing it with only one thought - preferably that of Self-enquiry' ....

From Day by Day with Bhagavan

8-11-45 Morning

When (on 2-11-45) Mr. Roy asked Bhagavan the best way of killing the ego, Bhagavan said, “To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So you must turn inward and see where the mind rises from and then it will cease to exist.” In reference to this answer, Mr. Thambi Thorai of Jaffna (who has been living in Palakothu for over a year) asked me, whether asking the mind to turn inward and seek its source is not also employing the mind. So, I put this doubt before Bhagavan and Bhagavan said, “Of course we are employing the mind. It is well known and admitted that only with the help of the mind the mind has to be killed. But instead of setting about saying there is a mind, and I want to kill it, you begin to seek the source of the mind, and you find the mind does not exist at all. The mind, turned outwards, results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards, it becomes itself the Self. Such a mind is sometimes called arupa manas or suddha manas.”


Thus it is with the modern-day fad of 'watching the mind'. Who is watching whom and with what? It leads absolutely nowhere unless you become aware of the seer at the moment of separation, otherwise the thief/policeman analogy above applies in this case also.

The outgoing mind is like a deceitful prostitute, it will go anywhere with anything and at the same time try to fool you into thinking it is your loyal and obedient servant. This is my own experience.

Self-realisation can only take place in thought-free consciousness. All efforts are to be directed to that only.

Only once in Day by Day does Bhagavan state that you have to 'kill the mind' - here is the entire short discussion:

Maha Vir Prasad, Chief Engineer, U. P., who has been staying here for about twenty days, asked Bhagavan, “I find it said in Maha Yoga that in the beginning of meditation one may attend to the breath, i.e.. its inspiration and expiration, and that after a certain amount of stillness of the mind is thereby attained, one can dive into the heart seeking the source of the mind. I have been badly in want of some such practical hint. Can I follow this method? Is it correct?”

Bhagavan: “The thing is to kill the mind somehow. Those who have not the strength to follow the enquiry method are advised pranayama as a help to control the mind. And pranayama is of two kinds, one of controlling and regulating the breath and the other of simply watching the breath.”

Prasad: “During meditation I sometimes attain a state lasting for about fifteen minutes, during which I am not aware of anything and am free from all thoughts. Some have told me that such a state is what may be called yoga nidra and that one should guard against such a state as bad.”

Bhagavan: “One should endeavour to get beyond sleep.” (For some reason Bhagavan did not answer further the query put by Prasad). I thereupon advised Prasad to read Crumbs from the Table, where this particular matter is dealt with. Bhagavan also asked us to take a copy of the book and give it to Prasad. We did so.


From Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi on the same subject:

Talk 485.
D.: While engaged in Atma vichara (the investigation of the Self), I fall asleep. What is the remedy for it?
M.: Do nama-sankirtana (sing the name of God).
D.: It is ruled out in sleep.
M.: True. The practice should be continued while awake. Directly you wake up from sleep, you must resume it. The sleeper does not care for Atma vichara. So he need not practise anything. The waking self desires it and so he must do it.

In the course of conversation Sri Bhagavan continued:

The mind is something mysterious. It consists of satva, rajas and tamas. The latter two give rise to vikshepa. In the satva aspect, it remains pure and uncontaminated. So there are no thoughts there and it is identical with the Self. The mind is like akasa (ether). Just as there are the objects in the akasa, so there are thoughts in the mind. The akasa is the counterpart of the mind and objects are of thought. One cannot hope to measure the universe and study the phenomena. It is impossible. For the objects are mental creations. To measure them is similar to trying to stamp with one’s foot on the head of the shadow cast by oneself. The farther one moves the farther the shadow does also. So one cannot plant one’s foot on the head of the shadow. (Here Sri Bhagavan related several incidents connected with shadows including the pranks of monkeys and a mirror). A child sees his own shadow and tries to hold the head of the shadow. As he bends and puts out his arm the head moves further. The child struggles more and more. The mother, seeing the struggle, pities the young one. So she takes hold of the young hand and keeps it on his own head and tells the child to observe the head of the shadow caught in the hand. Similarly with the ignorant practiser to study the universe. The universe is only an object created by the mind and has its being in the mind. It cannot be measured as an exterior entity. One must reach the Self in order to reach the universe.

Again people often ask how the mind is controlled. I say to them, “Show me the mind and then you will know what to do.” The fact is that the mind is only a bundle of thoughts. How can you extinguish it by the thought of doing so or by a desire? Your thoughts and desires are part and parcel of the mind. The mind is simply fattened by new thoughts rising up. Therefore it is foolish to attempt to kill the mind by means of the mind. The only way of doing it is to find its source and hold on to it. The mind will then fade away of its own accord. Yoga teaches chitta vritti nirodha (control of the activities of the mind). But I say Atma vichara (Self-investigation). This is the practical way. Chitta vritti nirodha is brought about in sleep, swoon or by starvation. As soon as the cause is withdrawn there is recrudescence of thoughts. Of what use is it then? In the state of stupor there is peace and no misery. But misery recurs when the stupor is removed. So nirodha (control) is useless and cannot be of lasting benefit.

How then can the benefit be made lasting? It is by finding the cause of misery. Misery is due to objects. If they are not there, there will be no contingent thoughts and so misery is wiped off. “How will objects cease to be?” is the next question. The shrutis and the sages say that the objects are only mental creations. They have no substantive being. Investigate the matter and ascertain the truth of the statement. The result will be the conclusion that the objective world is in the subjective consciousness. The Self is thus the only Reality which permeates and also envelops the world. Since there is no duality, no thoughts will arise to disturb your peace. This is Realisation of the Self. The Self is eternal and so also its Realisation.

In the course of the discourse Sri Bhagavan also made a few points clearer:-

Abhyasa consists in withdrawal within the Self every time you are disturbed by thought. It is not concentration or destruction of the mind but withdrawal into the Self.

Dhyana, bhakti, japa, etc., are aids to keep out the multiplicity of thoughts. A single thought prevails which too eventually dissolves in the Self.

The questioner quoted that the mind starved of ideas amounted to realisation and asked what the experience is in that state. He himself read out a passage from Mr. Brunton that it was indescribable. The answer was there. He again ventured out that it must be like looking through an unsilvered mirror, as contrasted with the present experience corresponding to looking on a silvered mirror.

Sri Bhagavan said it was a mirror facing another clear mirror, i.e., no reflection.


The difference between the words of a real Jnani and those who merely think they are Jnani's, lays in the clarity and impact of the real Jnani's statements, which go straight to the heart and that is because they are from experience.

From Talks 141

The same gentleman later, after quoting a verse from Kaivalya, asked: “Can jnana be lost after being once attained?”

M.: Jnana, once revealed, takes time to steady itself. The Self is certainly within the direct experience of everyone, but not as one imagines it to be. It is only as it is. This Experience is samadhi. Just as fire remains without scorching against incantations or other devices but scorches otherwise, so also the Self remains veiled by vasanas and reveals itself when there are no vasanas. Owing to the fluctuation of the vasanas, jnana takes time to steady itself. Unsteady jnana is not enough to check rebirths. Jnana cannot remain unshaken side by side with vasanas. True, that in the proximity of a great master, the vasanas will cease to be active, the mind becomes still and samadhi results, similar to fire not scorching because of other devices. Thus the disciple gains true knowledge and right experience in the presence of the master. To remain unshaken in it further efforts are necessary. He will know it to be his real Being and thus be liberated even while alive. Samadhi with closed eyes is certainly good, but one must go further until it is realised that actionlessness and action are not hostile to each other. Fear of loss of samadhi while one is active is the sign of ignorance. Samadhi must be the natural life of everyone.

There is a state beyond our efforts or effortlessness. Until it is realised effort is necessary. After tasting such Bliss, even once, one will repeatedly try to regain it. Having once experienced the Bliss of Peace no one would like to be out of it or engaged himself otherwise. It is as difficult for a jnani to engage in thoughts as it is for an ajnani to be free from thought.

The common man says that he does not know himself; he thinks many thoughts and cannot remain without thinking.
Any kind of activity does not affect a jnani; his mind remains ever in eternal Peace.


This also answers many of the contentious statements in other posts

From - Crumbs from His Table


D: 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 farther. 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 and 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 (i.e., freedom or salvation or whatever one calls it) was to continue the practice till this experience could be maintained for hours, days and months together?

B: 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 though this temporary lulling of mind should last a thousand years it will never lead to total destruction of thought, which is what is called salvation or liberation from birth and death. The practiser must therefore be ever on the alert and enquire within as to who has this experience, who realises its pleasantness. Failing 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 salvation and only a few, have either by the merit of good acts in their previous births, or by extreme grace, been enabled to reach the goal safely.

Sri Bhagavan then told the following story:-

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 salvation 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 samadhi and remained in that state for countless years, during which time much water flowed under the bridge. When he woke up from this experience the first thing he asked for was ‘water! water!’; but there was neither his disciple nor the Ganges in sight.

The first thing which 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 to temporarily lull his thoughts and when, therefore, he revoked consciousness this topmost thought flew up with all the speed and force of a flood breaking through the dykes. If this is the case with regard to a thought which took shape immediately before he sat for meditation, there is no doubt that thoughts which have taken deeper root earlier will still remain unannihilated; if annihilation of thoughts is salvation 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, he 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 salvation and Yoga nidra takes 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.

This temporary stilling of thought comes automatically in the usual course of one’s practice and it is a clear sign of one’s progress but the danger of it lies in mistaking it for the final goal of spiritual practice and being thus deceived. It is exactly here that a spiritual guide is necessary and he saves a lot of the spiritual aspirant’s time and energy which would otherwise be fruitlessly wasted.

The writer now realized that it was to get this important lesson at the right point of his progress, that he was taken, even unknown to himself and against his will, to Sri Ramana, through the intervention of his superior. He had come exactly to the position where the road bifurcates, one side leading to destruction of thought (salvation) and the other to Yoga nidra (prolonged deep sleep). A way-shower or a road sign-post was necessary at this stage and the way-shower must necessarily be in the shape of a personal Guru, a realized soul, and perhaps by sheer acts of merit in his past birth and no “known special merit” of his own in this birth, he was brought before such a realized soul, in the person of Sri Ramana, to obtain these instructions from him, failing which he would have been probably groping in the same manner as the sage on the banks of the Ganges, in the story narrated above.

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