Ramana Maharshi on Meditation Experiences
When I meditate I feel a certain bliss at times.
On such occasions, should I ask myself `Who is it that experiences this
Ramana Maharshi : If it is the real bliss
of the Self that is experienced, that is, if the mind has really merged
in the Self, such a doubt will not arise at all. The question itself
shows real bliss was not reached. All doubts willl cease only when the
doubter and his source have been found. There is no use removing doubts
one by one. If we clear one doubt, another doubt will arise and there
will be no end of doubts. But if, by seeking the source of the doubter,
the doubter is found to be really non-existent, then all doubts will
Question : Sometimes I hear
internal sounds. What should I do when such things happen?
Maharshi : Whatever may happen, keep up the enquiry into the
self, asking `Who hears these sounds?' till the reality is reached.
Question : Sometimes, while
in meditation, I feel blissful and tears come to my eyes. At other times
I do not have them. Why is that?
Ramana Maharshi : Bliss is a thing which is always there and is
not something which comes and goes. That which comes and goes is a
creation of the mind and you should not worry about it.
Question :The bliss causes
a physical thrill in the body, but when it disappears I feel dejected
and desire to have the experience over again. Why?
Ramana Maharshi : You admit that you were there both when the
blissful feeling was experienced and when it was not. If you realize
that `you' properly, those experiences will be of no account.
Question : When I reach the
thoughtless stage in my sadhana I enjoy a certain pleasure, but
sometimes I also experience a vague fear which I cannot properly
Ramana Maharshi : You may experience anything, but you should
never rest content with that. Whether you feel pleasure or fear, ask
yourself who feels the pleasure or the fear and so carry on the
sadhana until pleasure and fear are both transcended, till all
duality ceases and till the reality alone remains.
There is nothing wrong in
such things happening or being experienced, but you must never stop at
that. For instance, you must never rest content with the pleasure of
laya (temporary abeyance of the mind) experienced when thought is
quelled, you must press on until all duality ceases.
Question : How does one get
rid of fear ?
Ramana Maharshi :What is fear ? It is only a thought. If there is
anything besides the Self there is reason to fear. Who sees things
separate from the Self ? First the ego arises and sees objects as
external. If the ego does not rise, the Self alone exists and there is
nothing external. For anything external to oneself implies the existence
of the seer within. Seeking it there will eliminate doubt and fear. Not
only fear, all other thoughts centred round the ego will disappear along
Question : When I try to be
without all thoughts, I pass into sleep. What should I do about it?
Ramana Maharshi : Once you go to sleep you can do nothing in that
state. But while you are awake, try to keep away all thoughts. Why think
about sleep? Even that is a thought, is it not? If you are able to be
without any thought while you are awake, that is enough. When you pass
into sleep the state which you were in before falling asleep will
continue when you wake up. You will continue from where you left off
when you fell into slumber. So long as there are thoughts of activity
there will also be sleep. Thought and sleep are counterparts of one and
the same thing.
We should not sleep too
much or go without it altogether, but sleep only moderately. To prevent
too much sleep, we must try and have no thoughts or chalana
[movement of the mind], we must eat only sattvic food and that
only in moderate measure, and not indulge in too much physical activity.
The more we control thought, activity and food the more we shall be able
to control sleep. But moderation ought to be the rule, as explained in
the Gita, for the seeker on the path.
Sleep is the first
obstacle, as explained in the books, for all sadhaks. The second
obstacle is said to be vikshepa or the sense objects of the world
which divert one's attention. The third is said to be kashaya or
thoughts in the mind about previous experiences with sense objects. The
fourth, ananda [bliss], is also called an obstacle, because in
that state a feeling of separation from the source of ananda,
enabling the enjoyer to say `I am enjoying ananda', is present.
Even this has to be surmounted. The final stage of samadhi has to
be reached in which one becomes ananda or one with reality. In
this state the duality of enjoyer and enjoyment ceases in the ocean of
sat-chit-ananda or the Self.
Question : So one should
not try to perpetuate blissful or ecstatic states?
Ramana Maharshi :The final obstacle in meditation is ecstasy; you
feel great bliss and happiness and want to stay in that ecstasy. Do not
yield to it but pass on to the next stage which is great calm. The calm
is higher than ecstasy and it merges into samadhi. Successful
samadhi causes a waking sleep state to supervene. In that state you
know that you are always consciousness, for consciousness is your
nature. Actually, one is always in samadhi but one does not know
it. To know it all one has to do is to remove the obstacles.
Related Ramana Maharshi Talks:
Ramana Maharshi Biography
Why do I never
remember that I am the Self
Ramana Maharshi Self Inquiry
"Who am I" Meditation Method
Ramana Maharshi taught through
Silence - Mauna
Ramana Maharshi on Searching the Source
of 'I' Thought
Ramana Maharshi on
Realization while doing Worldly Duties
possible for mind, whose nature is constant change?
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