[Advaita-l] Ramana on spiritual sadhana

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Jul 19 13:01:10 EDT 2019

Devotee:   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 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

BHAGAVAN:   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 practicer 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 delude 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 enables to reach
the goal safely.

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.

Om Tat Sat

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