Prem Sukavi, God is not a person. That is one of the greatest misunderstandings, and it has prevailed so long that it has become almost a fact. Even if a lie is repeated continuously for centuries it is bound to appear as if it is a truth.
God is a presence, not a person. Hence all worshipping is sheer stupidity. Prayerfulness is needed, not prayer. There is nobody to pray to; there is no possibility of any dialogue between you and God. Dialogue is possible only between two persons, and God is not a person but a presence – like beauty, like joy.
God simply means godliness. It is because of this fact that Buddha denied the existence of God. He wanted to emphasize that God is a quality, an experience – like love. You cannot talk to love, you can live it. You need not create temples of love, you need not make statues of love, and bowing down to those statues will be just nonsense. And that’s what has been happening in the churches, in the temples, in the mosques.
Man has lived under this impression of God as a person, and then two calamities have happened through it. One is the so-called religious man, who thinks God is somewhere above in the sky and you have to praise him to persuade him to confer favors on you, to help you to fulfill your desires, to make your ambitions succeed, to give you the wealth of this world and of the other world. And this is sheer wastage of time and energy.
And on the opposite pole the people who saw the stupidity of it all became atheists; they started denying the existence of God. They were right in a sense, but they were also wrong. They started denying not only the personality of God, they started to deny even the experience of God.
The theist is wrong, the atheist is wrong, and man needs a new vision so that he can be freed from both the prisons.
God is the ultimate experience of silence, of beauty, of bliss, a state of inner celebration. Once you start looking at God as godliness there will be a radical change in your approach. Then prayer is no more valid; meditation becomes valid.
Martin Buber says prayer is a dialogue; then between you and God there is an “I-thou” relationship – the duality persists. Buddha is far closer to the truth: you simply drop all chattering of the mind, you slip out of the mind like a snake slipping out of the old skin. You become profoundly silent. There is no question of any dialogue, no question of any monologue either. Words have disappeared from your consciousness. There is no desire for which favors have to be asked, no ambition to be fulfilled.
One is now and here. In that tranquility, in that calmness, you become aware of a luminous quality to existence. Then the trees and the mountains and the rivers and the people are all surrounded with a subtle aura. They are all radiating life, and it is one life in different forms. The flowering of one existence in millions of forms, in millions of flowers.
THIS experience is God. And it is everybody’s birthright, because whether you know it or not you are already part of it. The only possibility is you may not recognize it or you may recognize it. The difference between the enlightened person and the unenlightened person is not of quality – they both are absolutely alike. There is only one small difference: that the enlightened person is aware; he recognizes the ultimate pervading the whole, permeating the whole, vibrating, pulsating. He recognizes the heartbeat of the universe. He recognizes that the universe is not dead, it is alive.
This aliveness is God!
The unenlightened person is asleep, asleep and full of dreams. Those dreams function as a barrier; they don’t allow him to see the truth of his own reality. And, of course, when you are not even aware of your own reality, how can you be aware of the reality of others? The first experience has to happen within you. Once you have seen the light within you will be able to see it everywhere.
God has to be freed from all concepts of personality. Personality is a prison. God has to be freed from any particular form; only then he can have all the forms. He has to be freed from any particular name so that all the names become his.
Then a person lives in prayer – he does not pray, he does not go to the temple, to the church. Wherever he sits he is prayerful, whatsoever he is doing is prayerful, and in that prayerfulness he creates his temple. He is always moving with his temple surrounding him. Wherever he sits the place becomes sacred, whatsoever he touches becomes gold. If he is silent then his silence is golden; if he speaks then his song is golden. If he is alone his aloneness is divine; if he relates then his relating is divine.
The basic, the most fundamental thing is to be aware of your own innermost core, because that is the secret of the whole existence. That’s where the Upanishads are tremendously important. They don’t talk about a God, they talk about godliness. They don t bother about prayer. their whole emphasis is on meditation.
Meditation has two parts: the beginning and the end. The beginning is called dhyana and the end is called samadhi. Dhyana is the seed, samadhi is the flowering. Dhyana means becoming aware of all workings of your mind, all the layers of your mind – your memories, your desires, your thoughts, dreams – becoming aware of all that goes on inside you.
Dhyana is awareness, and samadhi is when the awareness has become so deep, so profound, so total that it is like a fire and it consumes the whole mind and all its functionings. It consumes thoughts, desires, ambitions, hopes, dreams. It consumes the whole stuff the mind is full of.
Samadhi is the state when awareness is there, but there is nothing to be aware inside you; the witness is there, but there is nothing to be witnessed.
Begin with dhyana, with meditation, and end in samadhi, in ecstasy, and you will know what God is.
It is not a hypothesis, it is an experience. You have to LIVE it – that is the only way to know it.
Osho, say something more about self-knowledge. That’s my whole interest and inquiry.
Self-knowledge is a contradiction in terms. When it really happens, there is no self and there is no knowledge. If the self is there, it can’t happen. If knowledge is there, it has not happened. So a few preliminary things to be understood.
First: for self-knowledge to happen, the self has to go. You have to forget all about your ego. You have to be in a state of egolessness.
And the second thing: you have to forget all about knowledge too. If you are continuously hankering to know, that very hankering will prevent you. God reveals himself only to those who are not hankering for anything, who are not desiring anything – not even to know God. Mysteries are revealed only to those who simply wait, who make no demand on God. They wait with open eyes, they wait with open heart, but with no demand.
Your demand is basically ego-oriented. Why do you want to know? Because knowledge gives power. Try to understand it. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more powerful you become. Ego is always interested in becoming knowledgeable. If you know about nature, you become powerful over nature. If you know about people, you become powerful over people. If you know about your own mind, you become powerful over your own mind. If you know about God, you will become powerful over God.
The search for knowledge, deep down, is really the search for power. And how can you be powerful over reality? The very idea is ridiculous. Allow the reality to be powerful over you… relax. And allow the reality to take possession of you, rather than you trying to take possession of reality.
To be really in a state of self-knowledge, one has to forget self and forget all inquiry into knowledge. Then it happens! And only then it happens.
There have been three efforts in the whole history of human consciousness concerning self-knowledge. The first effort is of the realist. The realist denies the self; he says there is no self inside, no subject; only the object exists, the thing, the matter, the world. That is his way to avoid the inner journey.
The inner journey is dangerous. You will have to lose all! Self-knowledge and all, root and all – you will have to lose all. The realist cannot take that risk. He finds an explanation. He says, “There is no soul. There is no self. All that exists in the world is objects.” So he becomes concerned with knowing the objects. He forgets the subjectivity and becomes occupied with the objectivity. That’s what science has been doing for three hundred years. It is a way of escaping from oneself.
The second way is that of the idealist who says there is no object: the world is maya – illusion. There is nothing to know outside, so just close your eyes and go in. Only the knower is true – the known is false. The realist says only the known is true and the knower is false; the idealist says only the knower is true and the known is false. And just see the absurdity of it – because how can there be a knower if there is no known? And how can there be a known if there is no knower?
So the idealist and the realist are only choosing half of the reality. About the other half they are afraid.
The realist is afraid to go in, because to go in means to go into emptiness, into utter emptiness. It is to fall in a bottomless pit, in an abyss… unpredictable. Where one will land nobody knows, or whether there is any landing at all.
The realist is afraid of the knower, so he denies it. Out of fear he says it is not: “My whole concern is with the known, the object.” And the idealist is afraid of the object, of the world, of the enchantments of the world, of the magic of the world. He is afraid of getting lost into the desires and passions. He is afraid of getting entangled into things – money, power, prestige. He is so afraid that he says, “All is dream. The world that is outside is not real. The real world is inside.”
But both are being half true. And remember: a half-truth is far worse than a total lie. At least the total lie has one quality about it: it is total – the quality of totality. And one thing is beautiful about a total lie: it cannot deceive you long – because it is such a lie, even the stupid person will be able to see sooner or later that it is a lie. But the half-truth is dangerous – even an intelligent person can get lost into it.
And then there is the third way: the way of the mystic. He accepts both, and rejects both. That is my way. He accepts both because he says, “On one plane both exist – the knower and the known, the subject and the object, the inner and the outer. But on another plane, both disappear and only one remains – which is neither the known nor the knower.”
The mystic’s approach is total. And I would like you to understand the mystic’s approach as deeply as possible. On one level both are right. When you are dreaming, the dream IS true, and the dreamer is true. When you are awake in the morning, it is no more true. Now the dreamer is gone, the dreaming is gone – both have gone. Now you are awake. Now you are existing on a totally different level of consciousness.
The world is true, the ego is true, when man is ignorant, unconscious, unaware. When man becomes aware, when Buddhahood happens, then the world is not there, neither is there any ego – both have disappeared. “Both have disappeared” does not mean that nothing is left: both have disappeared into each other. Only one is left now, two are not left. The knower and the known have become one.
That oneness is what is really meant by self-knowledge. But the word is not right. No word can be right. About such great experiences which go beyond duality, no word can be right.
Man tries in two ways to overcome the epistemological dichotomy which is inherent in self-knowing.
One way is to confine his knowing to objects of the world of the non-self. This way is to escape from self-knowledge. The people who want to escape from self-knowledge condemn it as introverted, unsocial, abnormal, even perverted. They call it a kind of intellectual masturbation, navel gazing: they call these people lotus-eaters, dreamers, poets, mystics, somehow gone astray from reality.
How much of the pursuit of research in the natural sciences is motivated by the effort to keep our attention off ourselves? This question has to be asked.
People become interested in scientific research – why? Are they really interested in some scientific project? Or are they simply trying to avoid going in? The greater possibility is that they are avoiding going in.
Albert Einstein said before he died that if God were going to give him another chance to be born, he would not like to become a scientist again. A friend who was by the side of the bed asked, “Then who would you like to become?”
And he said, “Anybody, but not a scientist. I would like to become a plumber even, but not a scientist.”
Why? Albert Einstein was a man of great sensitivity, of great intelligence; a man who could have easily become a Buddha. Had all the potential, and missed – because he poured all his intelligence into the objective world. He became too much concerned about the stars and time and space, etcetera, and he forgot completely about himself. He became so much engaged with other things and other problems that he forgot completely who he was, or that some time has to be given to oneself too.
One of the socialist leaders of India, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, went to see him. He was telling me that when he went to see Albert Einstein he had to wait six hours. The time had been fixed by Albert Einstein himself, and again and again the wife would come and bring tea and other things and would say, “We are sorry but he is taking his bath.” So long?
Dr. Lohia asked, “How long is he going to take his bath?”
The wife said, “Nobody knows, because when he sits in his tub he starts thinking of great things. And he forgets completely where he is. And we are not allowed to disturb him, because he may be chasing some subtle train of thought, and if we disturb him it may be a loss to humanity.”
Dr. Lohia became more interested. He said, “But what does he go on doing sitting there?”
The wife said, “Please don’t ask… he plays with soap-bubbles. He keeps himself engaged with soap-bubbles, and goes on thinking. All the great problems that he has solved, they have been solved in his tub.”
You must have heard of great scientists becoming absent-minded. Those are not just jokes – there is a truth in it. They lost track of their own being. It is said of Immanuel Kant: one night he came back home, he knocked on the door, it was getting dark, and the servant looked from the window, from the top floor, and said, “The master is not at home.”
It is Emmanuel Kant’s house, he is the master, but the servant thought somebody had come to see the master. So he said, “The master is not at home. He has gone for a walk.”
And Immanuel Kant said, “Okay, then I will come later on.”
And he went! After walking for one hour, then he suddenly realized, “What nonsense has this servant been playing with me? I am the master!”
If you become too much engaged in outer things, there is a possibility your whole consciousness will start moving into extroversion. Nothing points to yourself.
Another night, Immanuel Kant came back home. He used to carry a walking-stick. He went in the room and forgot what is what, so he put the walking-stick on the bed, and he himself stood in the comer. Only in the middle of the night, suddenly he recognized the fact that something was wrong.
This IS possible. One can become really so much obsessed with the objective… one can lose all track of oneself. One can fall in a shadow. Scientists live in that kind of shadow. Philosophers live in that kind of shadow.
Subjectivity is eliminated when objects and objective interests take over. The ontological imperialism of scientific methodology is a pressing danger. It is one matter to hold that if something cannot be known by scientific methods, it cannot be known, but it is quite another matter to hold that if something cannot be known by scientific methods it does not exist.
And once you become too much obsessed with the objective, then naturally you become obsessed with the methodology of science too – then that is the only valid method to know. If something is not available to that method, then not only do you say it cannot be known, you start saying, slowly, slowly, unconsciously, unawares, that if it cannot be known through scientific method it cannot exist.
That’s why scientists go on saying God does not exist. Not that God does not exist – it is just their methodology. Their methodology is for the object and God is your subjectivity. Their methods are meant to catch hold of that which is separate from you. And God is not separate from you: God is your innermost being, your inferiority.
Through scientific methods, love cannot be proved. That does not mean love does not exist. For it, a different methodology is needed, a different approach, a different vision, a different way of seeing. The scientist avoids the problem of self-knowing by getting more and more interested in the objective world. By getting more and more into things, he goes farther and farther away from himself.
And there is a third effort also to overcome the subject/object dichotomy, and that is the way of the mystic. One way to avoid this problem of subject and object is that of the scientist: only object exists. The other way to avoid the dichotomy – because it is insoluble – is that of the idealist: to say that the world is illusory, it doesn’t exist, it is maya, close your eyes. Both are wrong. The third is the method of the mystic: he transcends. He does not deny reality to the object, he does not deny the reality to the subject – he accepts the reality of both. He bridges them.
That is the meaning of the famous Upanishadic statement: Tat-Tvam-Asi – That art thou. This is a bridging. In this bridging, self-knowledge happens. Self disappears, knowledge disappears – knowing remains; a clarity, a transparency. All is clear. There is nobody to whom it is clear, and there is nothing which is clear – but ALL IS clear. It is only clarity and clarity…. This is called by the Buddhists: The Lotus-Land of Buddha. All is clear and fragrant, and beautiful, and graceful. Then the splendor opens its doors.
The mystic transcends the problem by attempting a form of knowing in which the knower and the known are merged into one unit. Now nothing is left in the concept of ‘knowledge’.
Knowledge cannot be divided into direct and indirect. All knowledge is indirect. Knowledge is a salute, not an embrace. It is a representation, a symbolization, a universalization, an analysis. In a sense, knowledge is a form of falsifying; for reality is concrete, particular, specific, unanalyzed. Knowledge is a dry and dead fact – it is not wet experience. And experience is not knowledge but knowing.
That’s why Krishnamurti always uses the word ‘experiencing’ rather than ‘experience’. He is right. He turns the noun into a verb: he calls it experiencing. Remember that always: transform nouns into verbs and you will be Dover to reality. Don’t call it knowledge: call it knowing. Don’t call it life: call it living. Don’t call it love: call it loving. Don’t call it death: call it dying. If you can understand that the whole life is a verb, not a noun, there will be great understanding following it like a shadow.
There is no self and there is no other.
The great Jewish mystic and philosopher, Martin Buber, says that prayer is the experience of I and thou, a dialogical experience a dialogue. Yes, in the beginning prayer is so, but not in the end. For the beginners, prayer is a dialogue between I and thou. But for those who have arrived, prayer is not a dialogue because there is neither I nor thou – only one. Dialogue cannot exist. It is not communication: it is communion. It is not even union, but unity.
Self-knowledge is of great importance. Nothing else is of more importance than that. But remember these two pitfalls: one is denying subjectivity and becoming a realist; another is denying reality and becoming an idealist. Avoid these two pitfalls. Walk exactly in the middle.
And then you will be surprised – the self has disappeared, the knowledge has disappeared. But then descends knowing. Great light descends, and a light that not only transforms you but transforms your whole world.
Buddha is reported to have said: The moment I became enlightened, the whole existence became enlightened for me. This is true. I am a witness to it. Exactly that’s how it happens. When you become enlightened, the whole existence becomes full of light and remains full of light. Even darkness becomes luminous, even death becomes a new way of living.
Anything I see happening in myself is false, illusory, and a mind trip, right? And my recognition of the mind trip is a mind trip too?
RIGHT. As far as thoughts go, everything is a mind trip. When thoughts cease and you see without any thoughts crowding in your mind, when you see clearly with no smoke of the thoughts surrounding you, when your look is simple, innocent, uncorrupted by thoughts, then it is not a mind trip. Only meditation is not a mind trip; everything else is a mind trip. Or, love is not a mind trip; everything else is a mind trip. If love or meditation has happened to you, you will know what I am indicating towards. In a deep moment of love, thinking stops. The moment is so intriguing, the moment is so tremendously powerful, the moment is so intensely alive, that thinking stops. You are simply in awe, a great wonder surrounds you. Or in deep meditation, when the moment of silence has come and you are absolutely silent, still—no flickering, no wavering, no trembling, the flame of your consciousness is straight—then thinking stops. Then you are outside the grip of the mind. Otherwise, everything is a mind trip.
Remember it: one has to go beyond the mind because the mind is samsar, the mind is the world. It is because of your thinking that you are missing the truth. Once thinking is stopped you are face to face with the reality. It is the continuous screen of thinking that is distorting reality. It is as if you are looking in a lake full of ripples. It is a full moon night, and the lake is reflecting the beautiful moon—but it is full of ripples. You cannot gather it together; the moon goes on splitting into a thousand fragments. The whole lake seems to be spread over by the moon, silvery, many fragments of the moon all around. Then the wind stops, the ripples disappear: those fragments start falling into one moon. The silver that was spread all over the lake becomes more concentrated in one place. When the lake is completely without ripples, the moon is reflected perfectly.
When the mind is with thoughts, the lake is with ripples; when the mind is without thoughts, the lake is without ripples. God is reflected perfectly when there is no ripple in you. Forget all about God—the only thing to be done is how to become ripple-less, how to become thoughtless, how to drop this constant obsession with thinking. It can be dropped—it is because of your cooperation that it continues. It is your energy that you go on giving to it that keeps it alive. It is just like a man on a bicycle: he goes on pedaling—it is his energy that keeps the cycle going on. Once he stops pedaling, the cycle may go a little further because of the past momentum, but then it has to stop.
Don’t give energy to your thoughts. Become a witness—indifferent, aloof, distant. Just see the thoughts, and don’t be in any way involved in them. Note the fact: the thoughts are there; but don’t choose this way or that, don’t be for or against, don’t be pro or con. Just be a watcher. Let the mind-traffic move, just stand by the side and look at it, unaffected by it, as if it has nothing to do with you.
Sometimes try it: go on the busiest street where the traffic rush is too much. Stand by the side of the road and see the traffic—so many people going hither and thither, and cars and bicycles and trucks and buses. You just stand by the side and look, and do the same inside: close your eyes and see—the mind is a traffic of thoughts, thoughts rushing here and there. You watch, you just be a watcher. By and by, you will see that the traffic is becoming less and less. By and by, you will see that the road is empty, nobody is passing. In those rare moments, first glimpses of samadhi will enter in you.
There are three stages of samadhi. First, when you achieve glimpses through gaps—one thought comes, then it has gone and another has not come for the time being. There may even be a gap for a few seconds; in that interval reality penetrates you—the moon becomes one. The reflection is there only for a single moment, but you will see the first glimpse.
This is what in Zen they call satori. By and by, the gaps will become bigger, and when the gaps become bigger and you can see reality more clearly, that vision of reality changes you. Then you cannot be the same because your vision becomes your reality also. Whatsoever you are seeing affects your being. Your vision, by and by, is absorbed, digested. That is the second stage of samadhi.
And then comes the last stage: when suddenly the whole traffic disappears, as if you were fast asleep and dreaming and somebody has shaken you and awakened you, and the whole traffic of dreaming has stopped. In that third stage you become one with reality, because there is nothing to divide. The fence that was dividing you has disappeared. The wall is no more there. The wall is made of the bricks of thoughts, desires, feelings, emotions; once it disappears—it is a China wall, very ancient, and every strong—but once it disappears, there is no fence between you and God. When for the first time the third stage happens, that is where the Upanishads announced, “Aham Brahamasi“—I am God, I am the Brahma. It is where the Sufi mystic, Mansur, declares, “Ana’l Haq“—I am the truth. It is there when Jesus declares, “I and my God are one, I and my Father are one.”
A few years ago through yoga and meditation I experienced some peaks of prayer. My whole being felt the bliss of it—all was divine love, and thankfulness. For some reason I came out of it and now I find myself back in the dark valley. Somewhere things went wrong. It feels guilty and so arduous to stand up again. Please comment.
If your silence and your bliss is caused by anything, it is bound to disappear. That which is caused cannot be eternal. You managed it through yoga and meditation, but it was not a natural happening. It was artificial, it was arbitrary. It was as arbitrary as you can manage through chemical drugs, but the drug will wear off.
You have taken a certain quantity of LSD and you will feel blissed-out, and all is blissful and all is joy and life has immense beauty and splendor and trees are more green and roses are more red and every face looks radiant. Life is luminous, psychedelic. But the LSD is going to wear off. The next morning you will look and the trees are dusty again; that greenness is not there, that luminosity is not there. They are not illumined from within. You will see people’s faces—those dull, boring faces again. All is dusty, all is ordinary.
The same can happen through Yoga, the same can happen through fasting, the same can happen through any technique whatsoever. Techniques are good to give you a glimpse, but they can only give you a glimpse; it cannot become your state of affairs, it cannot become your consciousness.
So there is not a problem in it, it is simple. It was going to be lost, nothing is wrong with you. The only wrong thing is your attitude. You were thinking that through yoga and meditation you would be able to create something eternal. That is not possible. The eternal cannot be created. Anything that is created will fall one day or other, sooner or later.
The eternal comes to you uncreated. The eternal happens, is not done. When you have gone beyond techniques and methods, when you have dropped all techniques and all methods, when you have come to see one thing—that just to be is enough, nothing else is needed, that there is no need to make any arrangement, that all beings are Buddhas from the very beginning…. When you have understood this—that you are not to grow into something, that you are already there, it is already the case—then you relax.
And the relaxation should not be a method. You should not relax through a yoga posture. This very understanding is relaxing, this very understanding is relaxation. You relax, effort disappears. You live your ordinary life—you chop wood and you carry water from the well and you cook food and you eat and you sleep and you love and you live ordinarily with no hankering and no desire for anything extraordinary.
And then one day it is there, not of your making. One day it is suddenly there. One day you open your eyes and it is there—and then it never leaves. But it has to come on its own. Otherwise, managed by you, it will come and leave; it will be only a glimpse.
You ask: “A few years ago through Yoga and meditation I experienced some peaks of prayer.” They were created peaks, they were dreams and imaginations that you managed to have. “My whole being felt the bliss of it.” But you were there. You felt the bliss of it but you were there. You had not disappeared. “All was divine.” This is an interpretation.
The mind was functioning, the mind was saying, “All is divine”. You must have heard, you must have read. Your mind was interpreting—all is divine love and thankfulness. These were ideas floating in the mind.
But you were there, the memory was there, the past was there. Otherwise who would say ‘All is divine’? If all is really divine then what is the point of saying all is divine? If all is divine all is divine, there is no need to say even. Saying simply says that you know that all is not divine. Saying simply says that you are posing, imposing.
Yes, there must have been a kind of happiness created by meditation and yoga, there must have been a kind of joy, and on that joy you imposed your whole philosophy—that this is what God is, that this is divineness, that this is love and thankfulness. And for a few days you enjoyed your dream—it was a dream.
“For some reason I came out of it.” Not for some reason, it is very simple. You had to come out of it, you could not have lived in a dream forever—nobody can live in a dream forever. A dream is never forever, otherwise what will be the distinction between reality and dream? A dream is only for the moment. Sooner or later you wake up, you open your eyes and the dream is not there and the ordinary life is there.
“I came out of it and now I find myself back in the dark valley.” You were there at those sunlit peaks and you are there in the dark valleys. One thing is similar: you. Dark valleys or sunlit peaks, it does not matter; all that matters is you—the ego is there. The ego is in the dark valley, the ego is at the peak, and the ego goes on creating dreams.
Let me tell you one thing: even the dark valley is your dream and your imposition, your idea. There are no dark valleys. If all is divine, how can there be dark valleys? And if there are dark valleys, how can all be divine? There are neither dark valleys nor sunlit peaks; it is just the game of the ego. It goes on moving in polarities, from one point to another. When you see it—that the sweet dream is a dream, so is the nightmare, both are dreams—wake up and drop both the dreams. Then for the first time you have contact with reality.
But remember, in that moment when reality is there, you are not. That is the only criterion to understand, no other criterion exists. The only criterion is, if the experience is of reality you will not be found there, you cannot be found there. You will be utterly absent. Bliss will be there but you will not be there. There will be nobody to say “I am feeling bliss.” God will be there but you will not be there. There will be nobody to say “All is divine.” Let that be remembered.
The following is transcribed from the tape of a talk given at the Briggs residence in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday 24 January 1970. Franklin Wolff spoke very slowly and with long pauses, so you may want to read it that way, particularly pausing after each paragraph.
Tonight, something I have never attempted before, nor do I know of a precedent. But I assume it must have been done, or I wouldn’t have thought of it. What we seek to do is deliberately produce, if possible, inductions. In the past thirty-three years [the period since his enlightenment experience, which occurred in 1936, and which is described in his Pathways Through to Space – Ed.] we have known many inductions. But always they came spontaneously, as something that happened when it would. Now I shall have to tell you what we are talking about. We do not know whether we will be successful — but there’s a good chance.
There is That which is called Realization. It is the Awakening to another way of Consciousness. It is on the order of a ladder. At the lowest level one may know a little entering wedge of this Consciousness and may advance, usually through several lifetimes, step by step until, at the crown, he attains full Enlightenment and is a Buddha. A glimpse will tell the sadhaka, that is the aspirant, more than a million words. For he’ll step from mere knowledge about, to some glimpse, at least, of acquaintance with.
Now it is fundamental that no one should ever be forced to take a step this way against his will. I’m going to ask you to answer this question before we proceed. And if your answer is negative, we’ll ask you to step into the front room. I want no coercion of any person whatsoever. The question will be: Do you WISH to attain Enlightenment? I’m not asking a question that’s only for this life alone. I’m asking a question that may involve the commitment of many lives. But this I can say, that the consciousness in which we commonly live here, the consciousness of Samsara [the bondage of life, death and rebirth] is a consciousness preeminently of suffering, a
consciousness in which problems arise for which we are unable to find solutions, such as the difficulties you can see in the world about us now. And furthermore, there is for all men in bodies the problem of Death. Is it an end? Or is it but a phase — a movement in the whole of Life? Enlightenment among other things answers such a question.
And in addition I want you to answer this question: Are you willing to cooperate, to participate in an effort that will be a sort of very brief resumé of the steps in actual Yoga? Now, we’ll start with Bob, who is next to me, and I put the question: Do you wish Enlightenment and are you willing to participate in our effort tonight? [Answers follow: Most definitely, Yes. Yes, I do, etc. around the circle of perhaps thirty people.]
All right, now it may hurt. One of the first steps is a step of purification. This is kindergarten stuff, by the way. We may not think so, but it’s very true. You cannot go through this in any comprehensive way; only on one point will we deal with it.
But I’ll say that ultimately it involves the excision of the five lusts [the five senses], of the recognition and the confession of all guilts, of all traumas, self examination that is severe. And I know that when one has loosened these things out of his nature and offers them to the Guru, hardly a man or a woman can do it without being reduced to tears. Now this is Yoga, serious. It’s no drug matter, no shortcuts, no hocus pocus. But it implies the giving of all and in turn one must see all. It calls for absolute honesty. No psychological device to hide from one’s self something that may involve guilt and so on.
But there’s one point we’re going to deal with tonight, the point of hostility. In the sangha and for tonight, at least in part, and at least continuingly, this is a sangha, that is the community of the sadhakas, the seekers — a Brotherhood.
Remove from yourself (this takes an act of real will, it’s an operation if you do it really, like removing a kind of cancer) any hostility you feel, first for anybody whatsoever. Second, most important, remove any hostility you feel for anyone here present. Look into yourself. Don’t veil it from yourself. I’m not asking anyone to speak out. I do not believe in public confessionals a single bit, they are pretty muddy and sordid. Just look within yourself.
Now, there’s something very curious about these persistent qualities that one has to struggle with, like a hostility, like a lust, lust for food and so on. Like a guilt, like a habit that you feel as a guilt that goes on just the same. They are not obstructions.
Strangely, it can be like a concrete substance, and I’m talking from experience. I’ve received offerings of this sort, and I have been once outside of the fire, and I experienced what it was. A strange, utterly alien, psychical mass, that was in me, foreign — alien to my own psychical processes. It took me an hour to clear it up. I was grateful for the experience, for I learned something there: if the fire is burning, and this is a mystic term, it [i.e., that which is alien] vanishes.
Now if you have drawn out of yourself any such feeling of hostility, and now here’s the point, I only ask what you can do. It may cling and so forth, you can’t grab it and so forth, leave that to the Higher Power, but do your part.
I’ve gone through this in the last couple days, in the preparation for this meeting. It was a hostility I found not for anybody here, not for anybody so far as I know in the world today, but for something very far back in an ancient day. Drawing it out called for a gut pain, which means in the vicinity of the solar plexus, or manapura, or in the vital nature. This is a sample of purification of the vital, not now of the mental. We’ll take that up later. Cast it, in your mind, at my feet. And don’t be concerned about me.
And if you have doubts, here is something that most of you never heard, a few of you have. There is power here. On December 27th, 1936, there spoke through Sherifa [his wife] a great Master, the one that repeats every phrase three times. There is still living in the world one witness of that event. The witness is here tonight.
Turning to the four present and indicating Yogi (that’s the way they addressed me), he said: “I would that ye make the Sun to shine within the hearts of men. I would that ye make the true Moon to arise within their minds. I would that ye make the star of Initiation to shine within their Soul. I will direct the fire that consumes the dross, this dross you throw at my feet. I will cause the Light from those flames to descend again as a rain of a Spiritual Fire falling like pearls within the mind and as dew upon the parched hearts of men.”
The power here is not only what you see. That is merely a bit of the vital purification. Beyond that is the mental purification. And this may be even more difficult. For tonight, remove from your mind, as far as may be, all predilections, all preconceptions, all orientations to preferred philosophies. When you leave the door you may take them back. It’s emptying the mind. Retain all your mental powers, at the keenest edge you can maintain, but cast aside all collection that has been garnered, as of ideas in your life so far, until you are outside the door. Empty that mind of preconceptions, of preferences, any predilection, of preferred philosophies. For some this goes deeper than the earlier one of which I spoke. If you have succeeded in this then you have become, in the true sense, as little children. Not the ignorance of children, for you retain every capacity of the mind. All of its powers of self-analysis, all of its capacity for judgment, discernment, discrimination, are to be kept at as acute a level as possible. Only the empty mind can be filled. There’s no room in an overfilled mind. So this is the attitude, the real meaning, of becoming as little children — the openness.
All of this that is covered so far is very brief, and is only the kindergarten stage of Yoga. Oh yes, you may feel grief, you may weep, in going through this. (Or of going through the whole thing, of which I’ve given you a little sample.) You may feel that everything is going away from you, all of your beloved values, and so on. This may make a demand of faith.
Next we’ll come to the question of dedication. What we’ve considered so far is what the Greeks call the “catharsis,” the Purification, and this, in its ideal form, is very thoroughgoing. I’ll quote to you a verse from St. Luke that people have great difficulty in understanding, due to the unfortunate use of a word, that doesn’t have the meaning it had at the time of translation, namely the word hate: “He who does not hate his father and his mother and his brothers and sisters and his wife and children cannot be my disciple.” The key to the difficulty is that the word had a different meaning then: it meant “does not value more or value less than something else.” This is the real meaning of it: that all personal relationships take subordination to the Search. Now the goal may be named differently by different ones, and I’m not a stickler for what you call it. You may call it God Realization, Self Realization, the attainment of Parabraham, the attainment of Tao, the reaching to the Ground, spelled with a capital “G.” That means the Support upon which all rests. Or the Transcendental Modulus, which is quite impersonal, Alayavijnana, and so on. The term that counts in your nature, like the attainment of Buddhahood, does not matter to me. But in any case is the supreme value — THAT, without which nothing else could be. The dedication to this, to be effective, I believe is single-pointed, subordinating every other interest, every other orientation or every other possession, to this prime dedication — a dedication that will go so far that one would be willing to lose all, even life itself, if that were necessary.
Now most human beings don’t reach these perfections of attitude, perhaps; maybe no one ever does completely. But I’m formulating as clearly as I can and as I see it, the Law. There is indeed adjustment to human relativity. This absolute perfection of attitude may not be reached, but it should always be the ideal held before one. He should be satisfied with nothing less than THAT, and at the same time be content with that which he has. That is satisfied contentment, if you please. The office of the Redeemer and the Guru is the bridge that makes the crossing to the other side humanly possible.
But while we cannot attain in general this absolute perfection of attitude, we should never content ourselves, or satisfy ourselves, with anything less. Aim at it always. But be not discouraged because you do not succeed in attaining it now. And as I say, this is the kindergarten part. It may seem a little rough even so. That’s all it is, compared to what follows.
The Ways of Union
There are different ways of Yoga, primarily three: the Yoga of Devotion, the Yoga of Action, or of the Will, and the Yoga of Knowledge. There are technical forms of Yoga, such as Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and so on. These are not really so much different forms as technical additives. The three forms are Devotion, corresponding to feeling; Karma, corresponding to the activistic element in consciousness (the technical term for it is conation); and Jnana Yoga, which is oriented to the cognitive faculties, the cognitive side. We’ll not go into the relative valuation of these different forms of Yoga. Each will find his own way, ultimately. Aurobindo recommends a synthetic Yoga which involves going through all three forms, successively, or simultaneously. It’s not necessary, but he may have a good idea there.
The valuation of them, as to which leads the furthest and so forth, is different with different writers. There’s a tendency in human nature to regard the form which I take as therefore being the highest. Any “I am.” I’m speaking to the I in you. In other words, there is a bit of egoism in that. Shankara places Jnana Yoga as the highest. Aurobindo rates Bhakti Yoga as the highest. It affords two different ways of interpreting the Bhagavad Gita, which deals with these three different forms of Yoga, the trimarga. Shankara would say the first, which is treated in the second chapter of the Gita, the Yoga of Knowledge, is the highest. But if you’re unable to meet that altitude, then there is provided for you at a somewhat simpler and easier level, the Yoga of Action. And if that too is a little too much for you, there is the final form of the Yoga of Devotion, an orientation to the Person of the Divine, if you please, rather than to the Power or the Wisdom of the Divine, to use the religious form of language.
But what we’ll sketch tonight will belong to Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Knowledge, the Yoga I know. I sympathize with all who choose the other paths. There is no rejection whatever. But this I know.
Now I’ll outline a philosophic position, to orient an attitude favorable to Jnana Yoga. It’s for you to place, for the time being, in your emptied minds, not something you are forced to agree with. I ask you to take a journey with me and see how you like the scenery. If it is not to your taste, then you may turn otherwhere; it is perfectly all right. Just a journey, to see the scenery, if you can.
A Philosophic Position
The position is radically antimaterialistic, radically antibehavioristic, and radically anti-Tantric. I’ll explain. I do not mean a materialistic orientation attains no truth. In fact, practically all our Western orientation is materialistic, in the broad sense of the word, since it’s extroverted. It’s oriented to the object, the thing, mechanism, wealth, externalities. And these are the sources of value. In the broad sense, that’s materialism. And materialism is not simply that which is so known, technically, in Philosophy, or by the Marxists, which is a particular heavy, dense, dark form of materialism.
Antibehavioristic because this [i.e., behaviorism] is a view developed in the study of animal behavior and extended to human beings in an important part of sociality, in which, essentially, you treat the animals or the humans as nonconscious beings. You treat them as though they were no more than computers, something that receives stimuli and responds to it. And, while most men would not go so far as to say there is no such thing as consciousness in a human being, the behaviorists and materialists would say it doesn’t count — it’s a byproduct. As one man said, “It is only a bump on the log of evolution and is totally irrelevant.”
Now our position is radically anti-Tantric. Some of you no doubt know what we’re referring to. It is a large subject. The thesis of the proponents of Tantra is that it is the form of Yoga available in Kali Yuga [the Dark Age], that the other forms of Yoga belong to the other Yugas [ages]. Man in his density needs the aid of something he can grasp with his ordinary capacities [the senses]. So the stunt of sitting in certain difficult postures and breathing in a certain way and performing a number of difficult acts involving the body and certain specific concentrations within his understanding, will enable him to attain, through an external approach, to an effect. What they say is Shakti, the Divine Mother, leads you to Shiva. Not a direct approach through the powers of Consciousness itself, which is the way of Jnana Yoga. If you read any of the “Mahatma Letters” you’ll find some pretty strong criticisms of Tantra. Tantra lends itself to misuse because, like drugs, it can force a condition for which the Sadhaka is not yet prepared morally, mentally or spiritually. I’m strongly anti-Tantric.
The Power of Introverted Mind
Now another point, dealing with Psychology. I want to read you something from Carl Jung. This is very pertinent. It’s about two pages:
Speaking of the Oriental position, the Psyche is therefore all important. It is the all pervading Breath, the Buddha Essence, it is the Buddha Mind, the One, the Dharmakaya. All Existence emanates from It and all separate forms dissolve back into It. This is the basic Psychological prejudice that permeates Eastern man in every fiber of his being, seeping into all his thoughts, feelings and deeds, no matter what creed he professes. In the same way Western man is Christian, no matter to what denomination his Christianity belongs. For him man is small inside, he is next to nothing. Moreover, as Kierkegaard says, “Before God, man is always wrong.” By fear, repentance, promises of submission, self abasement, good deeds and praise he propitiates the Great Power, which is not himself, but totally alien, the wholly other, altogether perfect and outside the only reality.
If you shift the formula a bit and substitute for God some other power, for instance the World, or money, you get a complete picture of Western man: assiduous, fearful, devout, self abasing, enterprising, greedy and violent in his pursuit of the goods of this world, possessions, health, knowledge, technical mastery, public welfare, political power, conquest and so on.
What are the great popular movements of our time? Attempts to grab the money, or property, of others and to protect our own. The mind is chiefly employed in devising suitable “isms” to hide the real motives, or to get more loot. I refrain from describing what would happen to Eastern man should he forget his Ideal of Buddhahood, for I do not want to give such an unfair advantage to my Western prejudices. But I cannot help raising the question of whether it is possible, or indeed advisable, for either to imitate the other’s standpoint. You cannot mix fire and water. The Eastern attitude stultifies the Western, and vice versa. You cannot be a good Christian and redeem yourself nor can you be a Buddha and worship God. It is much better to accept the conflict, for it admits only of an irrational solution, if any.
Now he [i.e. Jung] goes on and modifies that a bit:
By an inevitable decree of fate, the West is becoming acquainted with the peculiar facts of Eastern spirituality. It is useless either to belittle these facts or to build false and treacherous bridges over yawning gaps. Instead of learning the spiritual techniques of the East by heart and imitating them in a thoroughly Christian way, imitatio Christi, with a correspondingly forced attitude, it would be far more — and this is an important part of it — it would be far more to the point to find out whether there exists in the Unconscious an introverted tendency similar to that which has become the guiding spiritual principle of the East. We should then be in a position to build on our own ground, with our own methods.
And right there is the point we’re dealing with here: using the despised stone discarded by the builders, as the foundation of our temple — the power of the introverted Western mind. And to this, I believe, I’ve contributed something. The power and the prospect opened by the introverted Western mind…. [Several words were inaudible here, ending with the phrase “open by the Eastern introverted mind.”] It’s the neglected door.
We are all one in the last analysis. But we are different facets of an ultimate Reality. The right method used by the wrong man leads to wrong results. And merely imparting that which is valid to one with the Eastern psychology into and for Western man is not enough. It amounts to his taking upon himself a false facade.
But our door to the Eternal has been neglected. It has been overgrown with vines and debris collected around it. But that door exists and it is not now closed as it once was. But he who goes this way may be despised by his Western brothers. For it is the way of deep introversion, a positive power. There is weak introversion, just as there is weak extroversion. There is the introversion that is only a narcissistic interest in one’s own ego, that is to be sure. But I’m talking of the power of the introverted mind to unlock doors that are hopelessly closed to the extroverted mind. This is not now a matter of technology, not now a matter of the collection of worldly goods, but it is a matter of penetrating into the depths of consciousness.
Now let’s start a little analysis. This calls for philosophic action, the kind of thinking that goes on in philosophy.
Do you know any mountain, any house, any tree, as it is in itself? If you’re really good at analysis you’ll have to admit that all you know is a psychic imago [i.e., an idealized image in our minds], which you call mountain, tree, house, human being, animal or what not. This is all we ever contact. Now it is our custom to suppose that corresponding to these imagoes there is a nonconscious thing out there, a mountain, house, tree and so on. But actually that is blind belief, just as blind as belief in an extra-cosmic God. I never, nor did you nor anyone else, ever experience anything but an imago in his psyche which he calls mountain, house, tree and so forth. You may say you believe there is something out there. Dr. Jung says, “Yes, I believe there’s something out there.” He doesn’t know it. And I maintain there is no good reason for that belief. At least we can dispense with it.
Let us build upon that which we know and not upon this belief in a nonconscious existence out there. This is rigorous now. Most everybody, as a matter of course, acts as though that was out there, and he pretends to be rigorous and isn’t really rigorous. He never has contacted that out there, he’s contacted only the imagoes in his psyche. And one will raise this doubt: but I have to come to terms with these objects; I can’t act as though the mountain were not, as though the house were not, or the tree was not, as therefore it must be. Ah, yes, in some sense it is. But you do not need to use the hypothesis of an external nonconscious existence. There is, and we can know this from our analysis of consciousness if it goes deeply, that which Jung called the “collective unconscious.” And we will see presently that it is only apparently unconscious. Actually it is an inversion of consciousness and can be experienced as consciousness. Nonetheless it is objective to us as individuals. And the basis of that objectivity, to which we must adjust, can be seen as a presentiment out of this collective unconscious. And that is why we have to come to terms with it.
And then, here’s a thought. Suppose you had so far penetrated into the myriad resources of Yoga and moved within this collective unconscious, realized as another way of consciousness — and then you might say to that mountain, “Disappear,” and it would disappear. Not consciousness moving a nonconscious mass, but consciousness molding the stuff of Consciousness Itself. If you can get this orientation, Jnana Yoga becomes a lot easier, it’s rational, much simpler — and the ultimate meaning of Enlightenment is clarified. And we’ll see the reason where the Buddhists, in their Sutras, speak of the Voidness of all things. They are void because they are not self existences in themselves, but formations in Consciousness, and that alone.
So we come to the first stage of self analysis. It runs generally this way: I ask, “What am I?” And first it occurs to me that the idea that I am this body is a delusion, because this body is an object before my consciousness. I speak as though it were my body, I speak as though I possess it. It is therefore external to me. I am not the body.
And then we come to dealing with our vital nature, our feelings. We get into a roaring rage, we fall in love, we are delighted with the beauties of a symphony and strongly reach out toward it. Are those feelings of “I”? No, for I experience them. I but experience them. They are different from me. I can identify them and name them, and that itself is enough proof that they are not I. Now, are you ready? I am very deliberately violating the rules of grammar, for the I of which I speak is never an object, never a me. You can’t write these things and be grammatically correct.
Am I this body of thoughts in my mind? No. One gets a little closer to his thoughts than to anything else, and it’s a little harder to untangle this. But if he watches and studies closely enough, the thoughts come to me. I accept or reject them. That which accepts or rejects them is different from the thought. And then I finally reach this point where I find that I must be this something, in some sense, different from other people. I’m not the mind, I’m not the feelings, I’m not the body — that I see. But I surely am, I surely am an individual, apart from others.
Now what you’ve gotten a hold of is a very difficult fellow — it’s your ego. He can sneak around and confuse you like the dickens. You can spend years trying to get behind him. And what you do, you can get into an infinite regression. You look at your ego. All right, here am I and all of a sudden it dawns upon you that that which is looking at the ego is really the I. So you stick that one out in front. You look at it again, but then your realize it couldn’t be, because here is a something that is observable. At last it finally dawns that I AM THAT which is never an object before Consciousness. And mayhap, at that moment, in your analysis — the Heavens will open.
One time I went through this analysis in 1937 and as I finished it, somehow or other, there was induced in me a state that was later identified as waking samadhi. It seemed like a great pillar of force surrounding me with its center apparently coalescing with the spine. And I would have estimated, as it felt to be, about six feet in diameter, and within that, energies were rising and descending. The body began to get stiff. It was difficult to walk over to the podium. I had been at the blackboard and I rested on the podium. Speech became lower in register. Maintaining function objectively was difficult without breaking the state. I saw that the whole audience was involved. You could see it in their faces and so on. I described the state to them for a short time. And when I felt there had been enough of it, because this would be rather strong for one that was green to it, I turned it off. Now that was an easy thing to do. There’s just a little valve somewhere in one’s total psyche — I call it the butterfly valve. You flip it as easy as you would move a finger. It shifts your consciousness to another way and all of this began running down, like an engine with a flywheel on which the power is turned off. And I had them, the students, give me a report on their experiences. Almost every student had an induction that night. The experiences were of a sort that compared well with those reported in Dr. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness. That is what I mean by an induction.
Now a little bit more of this analysis. We’re getting a little more subtle. You break a leg, you have an attack of colic, or somebody shoots you and you say, “I suffer.” There is certainly something in you that is involved in a state of suffering. There’s no question about that. Or again, you may be having a delightful experience, eating something you enjoy, or dancing, or looking at a moving picture that is very attractive, or scenery in the wild, and so forth. You say, “I am delighted.” Something does participate in the modification of consciousness, no doubt about that. But if you are subtle enough in your analysis, the sense of I suffering, or I enjoying, has standing above it a sense of I that only witnesses suffering and enjoyment and all these states, and is not in the least affected by it. This “I” that suffers and enjoys goes through all conditions and will say, “I am in these states,” which is our ordinary way of language, is less than that I. Probably you should properly call it ego.
Now if your analysis has been subtle enough to isolate this that witnesses, that stands aloof and untouched, the most intimate part of all your being, then you can Transcend — then and there — all conditioning; witnessing all, but conditioned by nothing. Witnessing time, among other things, but unconditioned by time. And then, you may know — not believe, not have faith in, but know — your own indestructibility. Not because the Scriptures say so, not because anyone else says so, but because for yourself you have discovered your identity in That which merely witnesses time and is not conditioned by it. That which is unconditioned by time is birthless and deathless and eternal. And you have solved with knowledge, once for all, one of the greatest uncertainties that badgers man.
Oh, it doesn’t mean that you are proven an immortal organism. You have proven your own deathlessness, not the immutability of equipment — that is another matter. Equipment may be made to last longer than it does with us ordinarily. But that which is born inevitably passes away, and sometimes that is quite fortunate, for that which is born may be suffering, and it will pass away. But this which you have discovered as “I” never was born and transcends time; witnesses, as you discovered it, witnesses time and even space. Thus beyond time and space and law, know that I AM. And when I say that, I speak for the I in each and every one of you. For this I is One and Alone. It is apparently many, just as the Sun shining appears again in the dew drops as a little sun, but yet the Sun is One Alone.
So it is that the I in me and the I in thee is the One and Only I. Atman is identical with Paramatman. Not because the book says so, but because you have been there and found it so. And this at last is knowledge, not information about, but the saving and redeeming knowledge. You are liberated. You are liberated by the power of the introverted mind. Not by reason of someone having to be tortured to death upon the cross and by your believing in that One who was said to rise again out of the grave. The extroverted mind is a weak sissy in this field. The very power that is despised by the Western builder is the power by which we can gain redemption.
I’m a little belligerent on this point because of the general attitude of the West. I’m a heretic here. I have said some things at other times that already were heretical from a Buddhist, or the Vedantist, or the Christian point of view. But also — this is the worst heresy of all — the heresy against the great Western prejudice and the great Western religion: the worshipping of the extroverted mind. Christianity is only something added on. And that is why we are in such a mess. The helpless extroverted mind can make a mess that it can’t clean up.
The Threshold of Nirvana
Now you’ve gone far enough to be at the threshold of Nirvana. You may sample, oh, the unbelievable delight and unbearable sweetness that is all encompassing, the peace that is ever enduring beyond the greatest imagination, and you may well say though I suffered through a hundred lives as the price, yet that price would be as naught compared with this. Yes, now the real steps come, the hard ones — yes, the really hard ones.
It is possible to accept this wonder, to enter and have the door closed behind you and to be separated, for what you might call forever — it isn’t actually so, but for all practical purposes it is — from your suffering mankind out there in the world beyond. Are you satisfied with that? Could you be fully happy knowing that though all problems for you are resolved, the suffering out there has not ceased? You may choose, then, and this I urge, that you will not enter into a selfish Bliss, but you will take of the resources that you have garnered and become one of the redeemers among men. The picture in the literature stops at this point.
The Picture Beyond the Literature
And what I’ll say now goes beyond the literature. Whether this is the door open to all who take this step, whether this of which I am about to speak is the door open to all, I know that it came to me and there walked into my consciousness THAT which transcended the nirvanic as the nirvanic transcended the sangsaric. It’s quality was totally different. Not one of this delight, but a Principle of Equilibrium that united all pairs of opposites including Samsara and Nirvana. In some ways a kind of neutral Consciousness that knew that it could enter the nirvanic state and leave it at will, enter the sangsaric state and leave it at will. Nowhere in literature did I find any reference to anything of this sort. And then, at its peak, the sense of I vanished and the object of consciousness, which now had appeared as the Robe of the Divine, also vanished, and only Consciousness remained. Not the consciousness of some entity, but Consciousness Self-existent, and the Source of all selves and all worlds. This is Enlightenment. This is the KEY to the Buddhist scriptures, the Doctrine of the Voidness, and so forth.
Now one knows that the appearance, which is so familiar with us upon Earth, of consciousness seeming to be the weak sister that depends upon things without, is an inversion of the Reality. And that Consciousness in the end is the Root Source, the Support and the Substance of all things. Not consciousness merely in the sense of cognition, but Consciousness in a substantive sense — eternal, deathless, the Source of all phenomena, permitting him who is there to evolve worlds and systems and so forth, if he so chooses, out of the Substance of that Consciousness. At last, Enlightenment!And no longer is there any renunciation anywhere. Samsara and Nirvana below, free entry to both, functioning between them and, mayhap, by opening the door of Nirvana so that its saving Substance may flow through the stygian hall of Samsara, mankind may be so transformed that he’ll find the way to solve his unsolvable problems. He will find a way where war will be no more, and clashing and conflict of interest will be no more. The sangsaric world will remain a purified, cleansed zone in which Consciousness plays its games in happiness and delight, and from this height you now may descend, and among men you may carry That which is Real.
Now I don’t expect that everyone here climbed all the way. I am giving you a glimpse of the journey, a journey the key to which is that one dedicates the whole of what he is and his whole life. And I can assure you that it is well worth all that it may cost.
Now I think this is enough. It didn’t take two hours. I’ll close with a certain mantram that comes from the Prajnaparamita [Sutra] and then I will leave. But before that I wish that all of you who are driving cars would see [X] first and get her okay. If she doesn’t give you an okay and tells you to wait a while, do so by all means. You may not be experienced with a state of light trance. And I know from my experience it is very dangerous to try to drive a car in light trance. I have studied it a good deal and decided you have got to definitely extrovert there. You may be more or less in trance this evening. So, I wish you would go to X and ask her if it’s all right for you to drive. If it isn’t all right for you, it might be for some other one in your party. I know what I’m talking about. Don’t think this is nonsense. There may be those of you who are experienced in this matter and can take care of yourselves, but if you are not, you may think you are in your perfectly normal consciousness and yet there may be an overlapping of a trance consciousness. There has been some here tonight. So take that check.
And now I wish some of you, if you have had any experiences, I wish you would write them down and send them to me. We may meet again when we come back from Douglas about Monday.
Now let us close with this Mantra: Tadyatha — Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha. [Gone, gone, gone to the other shore; safely passed to that other shore.]
* * *
I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi?
Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.
Vinod Bharti, you say, “I have come to a dead end”—but I don’t feel it so. Not yet, because when you really come to a dead end, a transformation immediately happens. You are coming closer to it; of that much I am certain. The dead end is not far away, but you have not come to it yet. Your whole question proves it.
You are coming closer, you are feeling intuitively that it is not far away—but it has not been reached yet. Still, there is hope. Still, deep down, you are dreaming that this is not going to be the dead end; hence the question arises.
You say, “I see the impotence of the mind….” You have not seen it yet, you only think you have. Seeing and thinking are totally different, but one can get mixed up very easily. Thinking can pretend to be seeing. You are not seeing the impotence of the mind; otherwise even this question would not arise. If the mind is really impotent, what can it ask? What can it think about? It simply falls from you, it withers away.
But the shadow is on you, and that’s a good sign. The day is not far away when you WILL see the impotence of the mind—and then immediately the transformation. Then, immediately, a sudden enlightening experience. All questions disappear; all answers disappear, because when the mind is seen, really seen as impotent, what is there to ask and what is there to find? The mind simply evaporates. Then life is left, pure life, unhindered, undistorted by the mind.
Then you will not say that you feel all action useless. If you see the impotence of the mind, the mind disappears but action becomes for the first time tremendously beautiful. There is no question of utility at all. Life has no utility in itself. What is the use of a rose flower?—but still it goes on growing, still it goes on opening, still it goes on releasing its fragrance. What is the use of it? What is the use of the sun rising every day? Is there any use for the sun itself? What is the use of the starry night?
The word “use” is part of the paraphernalia of the mind. Mind always thinks in terms of utility. The mind is a Jew; it always thinks in terms of purpose, profit, utility. When the mind disappears, action does not disappear, activity disappears—and there is a great difference between the two. Activity has utility; action is pure joy, pure beauty. You act not because something has to be achieved, you act because action is a dance, is a song. You act because you are so full of energy.
Have you watched a child running on the sea beach? You ask him, “Why are you running? What is the purpose of your running? What are you going to gain out of it?” Have you watched the child collecting seashells on the beach? You ask him, “What is the utility of it all? You can use your time in a more utilitarian way. Why waste your time?”
The child is not concerned about utility at all, he is enjoying his energy. He is so full of energy, so bubbling with energy that it is a sheer dance — any excuse will do. These are just excuses — seashells, pebbles, colored stones. These are just excuses — the sun, the beautiful beach…just excuses to run and to jump and to shout with joy. There is no utility at all. “Energy is delight” — that is a statement made by William Blake, one of the most mystical poets of the West. Energy IS delight. When there is great energy, what are you going to do with it? It is bound to explode.
Action comes out of energy, out of delight. Activity is businesslike. Action is poetry. Activity creates a bondage because it is result oriented: you are doing it not for its own sake, you are doing it for some goal. There is a motive, and then there is frustration. Out of a hundred cases, ninety-nine times you will not achieve the goal, so ninety-nine times you will be in misery, frustration. You did not enjoy the activity itself, you were waiting for the result. Now the result has come, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred there is frustration. And don’t hope for the remaining one percent, because when you achieve the goal, there is frustration also. The goal is achieved, but suddenly you realize that all the dreams you have been dreaming about the goal are not fulfilled.
You have achieved the money, but where is the joy that you have always been hoping for when the money was there? You have that great marble palace, but you are the same poor man — the same emptiness inside, the same hollowness. You used to live in a hut, now you start living in a palace — but the SAME person. You were miserable in the hut, and you will be even more miserable in the palace, because the palace has more space and of course when there is more space you will be more miserable. What else can you do with that space? All that you know is how to be miserable.
So you see poor people and you see rich people. The only difference is that the poor people are still hoping. There is hope; hence poor people are not so frustrated. Rich people have lost all their hopes; they are more frustrated. The poor person can still dream — he can still go on counting in his mind how great a bank balance he will have next year and the year after. Soon the day will come when he will be rich and he will have a car and a good house and a good wife, and the children will be going to good schools. But what can the rich man dream? All that he can dream about he has already, and nothing is happening out of it. The money is there, but he is as empty as ever.
There are two kinds of poor people: the poor poor and the rich poor. And remember, the second category is far worse.
Activity means there is a goal; activity is only a means to that end. Action means that the means and the end are together in it. That’s the difference between action and activity.
Vinod Bharti, activity will become useless, but then action arises and action has a totally different dimension. You act for the sheer joy of acting. For example, I am speaking to you — it is not activity, hence I am not concerned with the result at all. It is a pure act. I enjoy communicating with you, I enjoy communing with you. I am grateful to you that you allow me. If you don’t allow me, I will have to talk to the trees or to the rocks, or I will have to talk to myself! I am obliged to you; you need not be obliged to me. It is a pure act. There is something in me that wants to relate. There is no goal orientation — I am not expecting anything from you. If something happens, good; if nothing happens, even better! If you become enlightened, good; if you don’t become enlightened, far out! — for the simple reason that if you all become enlightened, who am I going to talk to? So please, delay your enlightenment as long as you can — this much of a favor you have to do for me! It is a simple act. No motive, no future in it — just the present.
Hence I am not trying to create a system of thought — I cannot, because to create a system of thought you have to be motivated. Then you have to link everything in a certain logical order. I can enjoy fragments.
When P. D. Ouspensky wrote his first book on Gurdjieff, he gave it the title In Search of the Miraculous. He was a man of a philosophic bent, a great mathematician, logician and philosopher.
When he showed the book to George Gurdjieff, his master, Gurdjieff just looked here and there for a few minutes and then he said, “Give it a subtitle too: Fragments of a Teaching.”
He was a little puzzled, because he had tried to make a whole system and Gurdjieff was suggesting an extra title. “The main title, In Search of the Miraculous,” Gurdjieff said, “is okay, but it needs the subtitle, Fragments of a Teaching — in fact, Fragments of an Unknown Teaching.”
Ouspensky asked, “Why?”
Gurdjieff said, “Because I cannot create a system of thought — these are all fragments.”
And you can see it happening here. You can collect all my thoughts, but they will be only fragments — fragments but not a system. To create a system, you need to be goal oriented. You have to follow a certain structure, and you have to go on like an arrow towards a target.
That is not possible either for a man like me or Gurdjieff. We cannot follow any goal. Our every act is complete in itself, entire in itself. It has no relationship with the past and no relationship with the future. It is total. If I die this very moment, there will be no desire in me even to have completed the sentence.
Action is an end unto itself; it has no utility. When the mind is seen to be impotent, the mind disappears. In that very seeing, the mind disappears. And, of course, with it all utilitarian activities will also disappear, because mind is the cause of goal orientation. It contains all your motives. It contains your past and the future; it does not contain the present at all. And when there is no mind, all that is left is pure present. You act moment to moment, and each moment is enough unto itself. Hence the beauty of the statements of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, because each statement is in itself perfect, it needs nothing. You can take any statement from anywhere, and you can meditate over it and it will give you the taste of Tao, Dhamma — truth.
Buddha used to say again and again that the taste of the sea is the same. You can taste it from anywhere, from any shore — the taste is the same. This shore or that makes no difference. Each statement of a buddha has the taste of truth. But it is not concerned with utility….
Vinod Bharti, you are feeling in an intuitive way that something is coming closer of which you are afraid: “the dead end.” Everybody becomes afraid, and out of fear the question has arisen. You ask, “I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi?”
Just the reverse is the case: when the mind dies totally, what is left is samadhi. So I cannot say that the mind dies totally only in samadhi; that will be putting things upside down. The mind dies first, and then what is left is called samadhi. That state of no-mind is called samadhi.
But the death of the mind frightens, scares one. That’s what you are feeling: the shadow of death. It is not YOUR death, it is the death of the mind which is not you. But for many lives we have lived identified with the mind, so when the death of the mind comes closer it feels as if WE are going to die. It is not a dead end for YOU, it is certainly a dead end for the mind. That too has not come yet, but the mind is freaking out, because once it has come, then there is no way out for the mind. If it can escape just before the dead end, then there is a possibility of surviving…hence the question.
You say: “Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.” In witnessing, mind remains only as a biocomputer, a mechanism, but separate from you; you are no longer identified with it. When you want any memory you can use the mind just as you can put on your tape recorder. Mind is really a tape recorder. But it is not continuously on, not twenty-four hours on. When needed, the witness, the man of meditation, the man of awareness, is capable of putting the mind on or off. He puts it on when there is some need.
If I am talking to you, I have to put the mind on; otherwise language will not be possible. No-mind is silent; there is no language; only mind can supply the language. I have to use the mind to relate with your mind; that’s the only way to relate with your mind, so I put it on.
When I go back and sit in the car, I put it off. Before Heeren turns the ignition on, I turn MY ignition off! In my room I don’t need my mind. When my secretary comes with the letters, or with some work, I say to her, “Hello!” And inside I say, “Hello, mind. My secretary has come!” Otherwise there is no need for the mind.
When you are witnessing, the mind remains, but not constantly working. Your identity is broken. You are the watcher; the mind is the watched. It is a beautiful mechanism, one of the most beautiful mechanisms that nature has given to you. So you can use it when needed for factual memory — for phone numbers, for addresses, for names, for faces…. It is a good tool, but that’s all it is. It need not sit upon you continuously twenty-four hours a day. Even while you are sleeping, it is sitting on your chest torturing you, giving you nightmares. All kinds of relevant and irrelevant thoughts go on and on.
It does two harms. One: you lose your purity of witnessing, you don’t remain a mirror. Your mirror becomes so covered with the dust of thoughts that you start becoming closed to existence, you cannot reflect existence. The full moon is there, but your mirror does not reflect it. How many people are there who see the full moon? Even if they see it, they don’t SEE — their seeing is not of any value. They don’t rejoice, they don’t dance. How many people are there who see the flowers? Just now the birds are singing, but how many people are there who are aware of the birds and the wind passing through the trees?
When the mind is no longer hovering over you continuously, you become aware of infinite beauty, of truth, of the celebration that goes on and on in existence. But the mind is there, put aside — you can put it on when needed.
And when activity ceases, action is born. Action means response; activity means reaction. When you are in action, it means the mind is put aside and your consciousness is in a direct contact with existence; hence the response is immediate. Then whatsoever you do is not ready-made. It is not a ready-made answer given by the mind; you are responding to the reality as it is. Then there is beauty, because your action is true to the situation.
But millions of people in the world are simply living through ready-made answers. They are already carrying the answer; they don’t listen, they don’t see the situation confronting them. They are more interested in the answer that they are carrying within themselves than in the question itself, and they go on living their answer again and again. That’s why their life becomes a boredom, a repetitive boredom, a drag. It is no longer a dance, it cannot be a dance.
Action is a dance; activity is a drag. Activity is always untrue to the situation; action is always true to the situation. And activity is always inadequate because it carries an answer from the past, and life goes on changing every moment, so whatsoever you bring from the past is never adequate, it always falls short. So whatsoever you do, there is frustration; you feel that you have not been able to cope with reality. You always feel something is missing, you always feel your reaction was not exactly as it should have been. And the reason is that you have simply repeated, parrot-like, a ready-made answer, cheap but untrue – untrue because the situation is new.
Vinod Bharti, the mind will be there but with a new status, with a new functioning. It will be under your control: you will be the master, not the mind. You will use it when it is needed; you will not use it when it is not needed. It cannot insist that you have to listen to it, that you have to go on listening to it. Even if you are sleeping, it goes on knocking on your doors; it does not allow you even to have a beautiful sleep.
The second loss is that because the mind is working twenty-four hours a day, from the cradle to the grave, it becomes mediocre, it becomes stupid. It never has enough energy, it becomes very weak; hence the impotence. If the mind has time to rest, it will again become rejuvenated, it will again be fresh.
The mind of a buddha is always fresh, it is always young. It is always responding with such freshness, with such newness that it seems unbelievable. Your questions may be the same, but the answers of a buddha always have a new nuance to them, a new flavor, a new fragrance. You can go on listening to the Buddha for years, and still you will remain enchanted. Even if he repeats something it is never the same — the context is different, the color is different, the meaning is different.
The mind will be there, more alive, more potent, more restful, younger, fresher — not your master but a good servant, an obedient servant. Activity will disappear totally; there will arise action.
Action means there is no goal to it. Just as the poets say “poetry for poetry’s sake” or “art for art’s sake,” the same is the situation with the mystic. His action is for action’s sake; there is no other goal to it. He enjoys it just like a small child, innocently he enjoys it.
Vinod Bharti, witnessing is the miracle that changes everything in your life. Then the dead end is only a new beginning, a death and a birth — the death of the old, a total death; a discontinuity with the old, and the arrival of something absolutely unknown, the arrival of the new. It is a resurrection — a crucifixion and a resurrection. But the resurrection is possible only after crucifixion.
The dead end is going to come, but it is the beginning also. And you will see the beginning immediately, when the dead end has come. If you are just thinking about it, that it is coming, it is coming…the mind can even say, “It has come — beware, escape! While there is time, run away!” Then you will miss the other side of it. You will see only the cross, you will miss the resurrection.
You are thinking the mind is impotent. Your thinking is on the right track, but thinking will not help, seeing is needed. Become a witness so that you can see that the mind is impotent. Feel that activities are useless, but not action. Action continues. Buddha lived for forty-two years after his enlightenment. Action continued, activities disappeared.
The next morning she [Saradamma] came out of samadhi with a strong awareness that her ‘I’-thought was still existing. She remembered the peace of the previous day and night when she had been in samadhi, with the ‘I’-thought temporarily gone, and she decided to see if she could enter the same state again. She closed her eyes and within a few minutes her ‘I’- thought subsided into the Heart and she went back into samadhi again. The ‘I’-thought emerged from the Heart several times during the day, but each time it subsided Sarada was convinced that she had realised the Self. She was still able to talk and Swamy, thinking that her realisation was near, placed a small tape- recorder near her to record her words. Sarada spoke in short, quiet sentences, with frequent pauses as she was overwhelmed by the bliss of the Self.
‘I have no body. I have no “I”. I am not the body. How I am talking, I do not know. Some power is talking through me.’
Swamy asked her if she was looking, and she replied: ‘Even though I am looking, I am not looking. Where is the “I” to look. When the mind enters the Heart, there is no “I” to tell that there is no “I”. My “I” is dead.’
Swamy then asked her how she was feeling. ‘My whole body is filled with peace and bliss. I cannot describe it. Everything is filled with peace. The Self is pulling me towards it and I am not able to open my eyes. The whole body is weak.’
Swamy remarked, ‘It is like an elephant entering a weak hut. The hut cannot stand the strain. Is it beyond time and death?’
‘It is beyond time and death as there is no mind. As the “I” is dead I don’t wish to eat anymore. I am not able to eat. However tasty the food I cannot eat. I have no desire to eat. Everything is filled with peace and bliss. I am content with my realisation. I have recognised my own Self, so I am content.’ Swamy then told her that her “I” was not yet dead and that she had not yet reached the final state. Sarada replied: ‘As the “I” is dead, there is no you.’
‘Have you no mother or father?’ asked Swamy. ‘No father, no mother, no world. Everything is peace and bliss. Why do I have to eat when there is no “I”? The body is inert; it cannot eat. A corpse will not eat. It is like that because the “I” is dead. As I cannot eat, I cannot talk. Who is talking, I do not know.’
‘Then who is talking?’ asked Swamy. Sarada remained silent, and so Swamy answered his own question. ‘The Self is talking.’
Sarada continued: ‘Even though I am seeing, I am not seeing. Even though I am talking, I am not talking. Whatever I do I am not doing it because the “I” is dead. I have no body. All the nerves are filled with peace and bliss. All is Brahman . All is bliss. In the veins instead of blood, love and bliss are flowing. A great power has entered into me.’
Three months before Swamy had told Sarada, ‘Even though I sleep I am not sleeping’. Sarada remembered this, repeated Swamy’s words and said that she was finally able to understand what he had meant. Sarada continued to talk: ‘I have no thought of doing anything. I have no fear of death. Before, I feared death, but not anymore. I don’t care about death. I have nothing more to do. I shall give up the body.’
Swamy asked her to stay but Sarada answered: ‘What is death to die now? The body is inert, how can it die? My “I” is dead, what is there left to die? Why then fear death?’
Swamy then reminded her that her ‘I’ was not dead and that she was not yet in the final sahaja state. Swamy then stopped the tape we were listening to and talked a little about the state that Sarada was experiencing when she spoke these words.
‘Anyone whose mind completely subsides into the Heart for a short time can talk like an enlightened person. Their experience of the Self is the same as that of a realised person. However, their “I”-thought is not dead and it is likely to re-emerge at any time. Such an experience is not the final state because it is not permanent.’
He then played the final portion of Sarada’s comments on her experience.
‘I am everywhere. I am not the body. I have no body so I have no fear. I am immobile. Whatever I may do, I am immobile. I am shining as the Self. Everything is a great void [maha- sunya]. How can I describe the Self in words? It is neither light nor dark. No one can describe what it is. In the past, present and future no one can describe what it is. It is difficult to describe. Self is Self, that is all.’
Throughout that day Sarada’s mind kept sinking into the Self, but on each occasion it came out again. At 4 p.m. the “I”-thought went from the Heart to the brain and started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada said later that it was like an axe trying to split her head open from the inside. Since she was not able to bear the pain she came forward, took Swamy’s hand and placed it on her head. The “I”-thought went back to the Heart, but again it was only a temporary subsidence, Three minutes later it rose again and once again started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada came forward, placed her head on Swamy’s feet and a few seconds later the “I”-thought returned to its source and died forever.
With her “I”-thought permanently gone, Sarada had realised the Self. Swamy says that in the final few minutes her “I”-thought was trying to escape and take birth again, and that had he not been present, the “I”-thought would have killed her and escaped.
Saradamma: People look at Swamy and me and think that realization must be relatively easy to achieve because we both realized the Self in a short time. However, we are exceptions. It is rare for someone to have the determination and dispassion that Swamy had during his sadhana, and it is equally rare for a devotee to be as God-intoxicated as I was.
Complete surrender or earnest self-enquiry can only be effectively practiced by advanced devotees. Even Ramana Maharshi sometimes said that self-enquiry was for ripe souls only.
Most people need a long period of purification to get their minds pure enough for total surrender or effective self-enquiry. Devotees ask for grace to realize the Self, but most devotees are nowhere near ready for realization; if they were given a large amount of grace the shock would kill them. For most people a preliminary period of mind purification, such as can be produced by japa or pranayama will be most useful.
Sri Sarada was given the name Mathru Sri Sarada by Bhagavan Sri Lakshmana Swamy when Sri Sarada realised her self. Mathru means mother. Mathru Sri Sarada realised her self through her intense love and surrender to Bhagavan, thus becoming one with him. The book, No Mind, I am the Self, contains details about them.
Brief Life Sketch (based on No Mind, I am the Self):
Ramanadham, Saradamma’s father, was a childhood friend of Lakshmana Swamy. However, they lost touch of each other after their college days. Ramanadham and his wife, Bhanumathy, were devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Therefore, when Saradamma was born in 1959, they named her after Sarada Ma, wife of Sri Ramakrishna.
Though initially healthy, Saradamma was afflicted with many ailments as a child, thereby losing her good health and her light complexion. Saradamma had a curiously ascetic nature, not caring for good clothes or food. Many people mistook her for a servant because of her dark complexion and poor clothes. Saradamma was indifferent to such views. Young Saradamma also had a very generous disposition.
Ramanadham, on becoming aware that his childhood friend had become a great yogi, started visiting Lakshmana Swamy for the annual and eventually bi-annual darshans. Lakshmana Swamy became more accessible in 1972 but it was not until 1974 that Saradamma started visiting Lakshmana Swamy regularly. Lakshmana Swamy’s face would light up with a big smile whenever he looked at her. He recognised her as an advanced devotee who was capable of realising her self.
Saradamma started having dreams of Lakshmana Swamy after each darshan. Shortly, Saradamma started to meditate on Swamy’s form and accepted him as her Guru. Within a year, the frequency with which Saradamma had Lakshmana Swamy’s darshan increased. During this time, apart from going to school, Saradamma would spend her evenings and weekends with Lakshmana Swamy. Eventually, she was spending so much time thinking about Lakshmana Swamy that her studies suffered. Saradamma’s education ended when she was in her 8th standard. Recognizing her devotion and love for him, Lakshmana Swamy informally adopted Saradamma as his daughter.
Details about the period between 1975 and 1978 are sketchy since Saradamma had stopped maintaining her diary by then. Lakshmana Swamy’s mother, jealous of Saradamma’s increasing prominence, harassed her in numerous ways. Lakshmana Swamy also tested Saradamma’s devotion and faith many times. During this time, Saradamma would do japa or meditate on Lakshmana Swamy’s form for up to 20 hours a day. In the remaining four hours she would be dreaming about him.
The holy mountain, Arunachala, has had a significant positive influence on Saradamma’s spiritual progress. During her third visit to Arunachala, as Lakshmana Swamy, Saradamma and other devotees were sitting on its slopes; Lakshmana Swamy looked and smiled at Saradamma. Saradamma lost thought and body consciousness. During the next few days, whenever Saradamma looked at Lakshmana Swamy during darshan she would go into the same state.
On returning back to Gudur, Saradamma resumed her meditation. She discovered that she could enter into the thought free state whenever she was in the presence of Lakshmana Swamy. During all these years, Lakshmana Swamy tried a few times to persuade Saradamma to do self-inquiry. However, self-inquiry had no attraction for Saradamma. Her path was that of surrender.
It was at Bangalore, where Saradamma had gone to help her sister, that Saradamma had her first experience of Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This was in October of 1978. The last few weeks of her stay there were spent in either a thought-free state or Samadhi.
Saradamma returned back to Gudur on the 16th of December, 1978. The next day, Saradamma went to the Ashramam and sat before Lakshmana Swamy. She went back into a thought-free state and eventually into Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. She remained so all day and night. The next day, Lakshmana Swamy, realising that she was close to self-realisation, recorded her words using a tape recorder. Her ‘I’ thought repeatedly sank into her heart, but every time it came back up into her brain, banging against her skull causing intense pain. Saradamma unable to bear this pain took Lakshmana Swamy’s hand and placed it on her head. This made her ‘I’ thought go back into the heart. Three minutes later it again came back causing similar pain. Saradamma placed her head on Lakshmana Swamy’s feet, upon which her ‘I’ thought returned to its source and died forever. Saradamma had realised her self permanently on 18th December 1978.
Lakshmana Swamy gave Saradamma a new name Mathru Sri Sarada. Mathru means mother and Sri is a common Hindu honorific. Initially, Saradamma wanted to give up her body; however, Lakshmana Swamy wanted her to retain it, since sincere devotees would be benefited by her bodily presence. The next one year was a struggle for Lakshmana Swamy to keep Saradamma alive. She would lose body consciousness and withdraw into the self almost daily. She was also not interested in the outside world. Lakshmana Swamy was able to keep her interested in the world by making her play with dolls. In the next phase, Saradamma spent the whole day playing with dolls. People would not believe that she was a Jnani, but she did not care. Jnanis do not care for name or fame.
Slowly, over the years, Saradamma has taken up the role of catering to devotees’ needs. Now-a-days, it is she who interacts with devotees, Lakshmana Swamy having become more reserved. While neither of them is available to the general public, Saradamma occasionally gives darshan to some devotees.