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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3757, Saturday, December 26, 2009, Editor: Mark

Realize yourself as the ocean of consciousness in which all happens. This is not difficult. A little of attentiveness, of close observation of oneself, and you will see that no event is outside your consciousness.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to ANetofJewels

Ocean of Forms

I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms,
hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.

No more sailing from harbor to harbor with this my weather-beaten boat.
The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.

And now I am eager to die into the deathless.

Into the audience hall by the fathomless abyss
where swells up the music of toneless strings
I shall take this harp of my life.

I shall tune it to the notes of forever,
and when it has sobbed out its last utterance,
lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Ramana Maharshi on Deep Sleep, Trance and Samadhi State

Question : What is the difference between deep sleep, laya [a trancelike state in which the mind is temporarily in abeyance] and samadhi?

Ramana Maharshi : In deep sleep the mind is merged and not destroyed. That which merges reappears. It may happen in meditation also. But the mind which is destroyed cannot reappear. The yogi's aim must be to destroy it and not to sink into laya. In the peace of meditation, laya sometimes ensues but it is not enough. It must be supplemented by other practices for destroying the mind.

Some people have gone into yogic samadhi with a trifling thought and after a long time awakened in the trail of the same thought. In the meantime generations have passed in the world. Such a yogi has not destroyed his mind. The true destruction of the mind is the non-recognition of it as being apart from the Self. Even now the mind is not. Recognise it. How can you do it if not in everyday activities which go on automatically? Know that the mind promoting them is not real but is only a phantom proceeding from the Self. That is how the mind is destroyed.

Question : Can the meditator be affected by physical disturbances during nirvikalpa samadhi? My friend and I disagree on this point.

Ramana Maharshi - Both of you are right. One of you is referring to kevala and the other to sahaja samadhi. In both cases the mind is immersed in the bliss of the Self. In the former, physical movements may cause disturbance to the meditator, because the mind has not completely died out. It is still alive and can, as after deep sleep, at any moment be active again.

It is compared to a bucket, which, although completely submerged under water, can be pulled out by a rope which is still attached to it. In sahaja, the mind has sunk completely into the Self, like the bucket which has got drowned in the depths of the well along with its rope. In sahaja there is nothing left to be disturbed or pulled back to the world. One's activities then resemble that of the child who sucks its mother's milk in sleep, and is hardly aware of the feeding.

Question : How can one function in the world in such a state?

Ramana Maharshi : One who accustoms himself naturally to meditation and enjoys the bliss of meditation will not lose his samadhi state whatever external work he does, whatever thoughts may come to him. That is sahaja nirvikalpa. Sahaja nirvikalpa is nasa [total destruction of the mind] whereas kevala nirvikalpa is laya [temporary abeyance of the mind].

Those who are in the laya samadhi state will have to bring the mind back under control from time to time. If the mind is destroyed, as it is in sahaja samadhi, it will never sprout again. Whatever is done by such people is just incidental, they will never slide down from their high state.

Those that are in the kevala nirvikalpa state are not realized, they are still seekers. Those who are in the sahaja nirvikalpa state are like a light in a windless place, or the ocean without waves; that is, there is no movement in them. They cannot find anything which is different from themselves. For those who do not reach that state, everything appears to be different from themselves.

Question : Is the experience of kevala nirvikalpa the same as that of sahaja, although one comes down from it to the relative world?

Ramana Maharshi : There is neither coming down nor going up - he who goes up and down is not real. In kevala nirvikalpa there is the mental bucket still in existence under the water, and it can be pulled out at any moment. Sahaja is like the river that has linked up with the ocean from which there is no return. Why do you ask all these questions? Go on practising till you have the experience yourself.

Question : What is the use of samadhi and does thought subsist then?

Ramana Maharshi : Samadhi alone can reveal the truth. Thoughts cast a veil over reality, and so it is not realized as such in states other than samadhi. In samadhi there is only the feeling `I am' and no thoughts. The experience of `I am' is `being still'.

Question : How can I repeat the experience of samadhi or the stillness that I obtain here in your presence?

Ramana Maharshi : Your present experience is due to the influence of the atmosphere in which you find yourself. Can you have it outside this atmosphere? The experience is spasmodic. Until it becomes permanent, practice is necessary.

Ramana Maharshi from Be As You are

The shop of Oneness,
The Ocean that has many harbours,
Yet where there is no division
Between man and man, or woman,
But only a unity of souls
In the process of return to their Creator,
Whose breath lives inside each one
And helps to guide us home.

- Rumi

All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.

- Kabir

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