WORDS OF SRI ANANDAMAYI MA-17

QUESTION: Are there grades (krama) in knowledge?

SRI MA: No. Where knowledge is of the Self (Svarupa Jnana), how can there be various kinds or grades? Knowledge of the Self is one. Proceeding step by step refers to the stage where one has turned away from the pursuit of sense objects and one’s gaze is entirely directed towards the Eternal. God has not yet been realized, but the treading of this path has become attractive.

Along this line there are dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

The experiences at each of these stages are also infinite. Where the mind is, there is experience. The experiences at different stages are due to various forms of desire for Supreme Knowledge. The mind that has formerly been en-grossed in material things, and arguing that one cannot know whether God exists or not, had come to deny Him, is now turned the other way. Therefore, is it not natural that light should dawn upon it in accordance with the state it has reached? These states are known under various names. When do the visions that one gets in meditation cease? When the Self stands Self-revealed (Svayam Prakasa).

QUESTION : Does the body survive when the ego-mind has been dissolved ?

SRI MA: At times the question is asked: “How does the World-teacher give instruction? From the state of ajnana?” If this were so, the mind would not have been dissolved, the threefold differentiation (triputi) of the knower, the knowing and the known, could not have been merged. So what would He be able to give you? Where could He lead you? But there is a stage where this question does not arise. Is it the body that is the obstacle to Supreme Knowledge? Is there even a question of whether the body exists or not? At a certain level this question is simply not there. On the plane where this question arises, one is not in the state of Pure Being, and one thinks this question can be raised and also replied to. But the answer lies where there is no such thing as questioning and answering where there are no ‘others’, no division. And so, how can one possibly approach the Supreme Teacher and receive instruction? Similarly, the teachings of the sastras and other Scriptures have then become quite useless. This is one aspect of the matter.

To speak of grades (krama) in knowledge, as if one were studying for a university degree, is presenting the matter from the point of view of sadhana. Where the Self stands revealed, there can be no question of this. Yet, where there is personal effort, like the practice of meditation or contemplation, it will certainly bear fruit. But in the state of Self-illumination, there can be no such thing as attainment or non-attainment: though being there, it is not; and though it is not, yet it is – just like that.

Some say a last vestige of the mind remains. At a certain level this is so ; however, there is a stage beyond, where the question of whether a trace of the mind remains or not, does not exist. If everything can be burnt up, cannot this last vestige be consumed too? There is no question of either ‘yes’ or “no’: what is, IS. Meditation and contemplation are necessary because one is on the level of acceptance and rejection, and the aim is in fact to go beyond acceptance and rejection. You want a support, do you not?

The support that can take you beyond, to where the question of support or supportlessness no longer exists, that is the supportless support.

What is expressible in words can certainly be attained. But He is THAT which is beyond words.

Om Namah Shivay

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WORDS OF SRI ANANDAMAYI MA-16

In true meditation Reality is contacted, and just as the touch of fire leaves an impression, this contact also leaves its mark.

What happens as a result?

Impediments fall away – they are either consumed by vairagya, or ‘melted’ by devotion to the Divine.

Worldly things seem dull and insipid, quite foreign to oneself; worldly talk loses all its appeal, becomes devoid of interest, and at a further stage even painful. When a person’s earthly possessions are lost or damaged, the victim feels disturbed, which gives evidence of the stranglehold that sense objects exercise over men’s minds. This is what is called granthi – the knots constituting the I-ness.

By meditation, japa and other spiritual practices, which vary according to each one’s individual line of approach, these knots become loosened, discrimination is developed, and one comes to discern the true nature of the world of sense perception. In the beginning, one was enmeshed in it, struggling helplessly in its net. As one becomes disentangled from it, and gradually passes through various stages of opening oneself more and more to the Light, one comes to see that everything is contained in everything, that there is only One Self, the Lord of all, or that all are but the servants of the One Master. The form this realization takes depends upon one’s orientation. One knows by direct perception that, as ‘one exists, so everyone else exists ; then again, that here is the One and nothing but the One, that nothing comes and goes, yet also does come and go – there is no way of expressing all this in words. To the extent that one becomes estranged from the world of the senses, one draws nearer to God.

When attaining to true meditation, one’s chosen posture no longer represents either an obstacle or a source of enjoyment ; in other words, it is quite immaterial in what particular pose one happens to be. Whether one sits straight or crooked, the right posture will form of itself, pulling the body into the proper position. Again, there are occasions when one becomes entirely independent of the physical pose; in whatever attitude the body may happen to be, meditation just comes about effortlessly. Though, without a doubt, there is also a state in which, if one takes up a special pose, such as for instance, padmasana (the lotus pose) or siddhasana (the perfect pose), no interruption of one’s union with the Supreme Being can ever occur.

EIGHT

Benares. August 11 th , 1948.

QUESTION: The other day, when speaking about visions and similar experiences that one has during meditation, you said these were not real visions but mere ‘touches’.

SRI MA : Yes, viewed from the level where one can speak of ‘touch’, this is so; that is to say, you have not been changed by the experience. Yet it is attractive to you, and you can express the feeling in words, which implies that you still take delight in sense objects. Therefore it is a mere touch. If transformation had ensued, you would be unable to feel worldly enjoyment in this way. How can there be enjoyment or relish in a transformed state of being?

QUESTION: Atman and Brahman are different only by way of posited limitation. The vision that comes by constant ‘meditation on ‘I am Saccidananda’ is Atma darsana (the vision of the Self). Since there can be no vision of the Brahman, it must therefore be a partial, that is a limited vision of the Brahman. Is this correct?

SRI MA: If you think there are parts in the Brahman, you may say ‘partial’. But can there be parts in the Absolute? As you think and feel in parts, you speak of ‘touch’ – but He is whole, THAT which IS.

Om Namah Shivay

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WORDS OF SRI ANANDAMAYI MA-15

To be held up at any stage is an obstacle to further progress – it simply means one has stopped advancing.

While engaging in meditation, one should think of oneself as a purely spiritual being (cinmayi), as Self-luminous, poised in the Bliss of the Self (atmarama), and in accordance with the Guru’s instructions, try to concentrate on one’s Ista.

The young man previously mentioned (the one who used to have visions) was intelligent, and therefore able to understand this sort of reasoning. As a result, the spectacular experiences ceased, and he now attends to his meditation and other spiritual exercises in a very quiet, unobtrusive manner.

Later, when the conversation again reverted to dhyana and asana, SRI MA said:

Look, if you spend hour after hour sitting in a certain posture, if you become absorbed while in that pose and are unable to meditate in any other, it shows that you are deriving enjoyment from the posture; this also constitutes an obstacle.

When one first starts practising japa and meditation, it is of course right to try and continue in the same position for as long as possible. But as one approaches perfection in these practices, the question as to how long one has remained in one posture does not arise; at any time and in any position – lying, sitting, standing, or leaning over to one side, as the case may be – one can no longer be deterred by any-thing from the contemplation of ones Ideal or the Beloved.

The first sign of progress comes when one feels ill at ease in anything but a meditative pose.

Nothing external interests one; the only thing that seems attractive, is to be seated in one’s favourite posture as long as possible and to contemplate the Supreme Object of one’s worship, plunged in a deep inner joy.

This marks the beginning of single-mindedness, and hence is a step in the right direction.

Yet, here great prominence is given to posture.

If one stays in that position as long as the inclination lasts – confident that the Beloved can never do one harm – and if one is able to remain fixed in it, then the posture becomes of overwhelming importance.

This only shows that one is nearing perfection in the practice of asana. Standing, sitting, walking in fact, any gesture taken up by the body is called an asana. It corresponds to the rhythm and the vibration of body and mind at any particular moment. Some aspirants can meditate only if seated in the pose indicated by the Guru or formulated in the sastras, and not otherwise.

This is the way to proficiency in meditation. On the other hand, someone may begin his practice while sitting in any ordinary position; nevertheless, as soon as the state of japa or dhyana has been reached, the body will spontaneously take up the most appropriate position, after the manner that a hiccup happens involuntarily. As one’s meditation grows more and more intense, the postures will of themselves correspondingly gain in perfection. When a little air is pumped into a tyre, the tyre will be flabby; but when it is filled to capacity, it remains completely stable in its own natural shape. Likewise, when real meditation has been attained, the body feels light and free, and on rising after meditation there is no fatigue of any kind, no pain, numbness or stiffness in one’s limbs.

Om Namah Shivay

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WORDS OF SRI ANANDAMAYI MA-14

Loss of consciousness and of self-control are never right.

In the course of the same conversation, SRI MA said:

The Lord Buddha is Himself the essence of Enlightenment.

All partial manifestations of wisdom that come in the course of sadhana culminate in Supreme Enlightenment (Bodha Svarupa).

In a similar way, Supreme Knowledge (Jnana Svarupa) or Supreme Love (Bhava Svarupa) may be attained.

As there is a state of Supreme Self-knowledge, likewise is there a state of perfection at the zenith of the path of love. There one finds the nectar of Perfect Love identical with Supreme Knowledge. In this state there is no room for emotional excitement; indeed, that would make it impossible for Supreme Love (Mahabhava) to shine forth. Be mindful of one thing: if, when following a particular line of approach, one does not attain to that which is the consummation of all sadhana, namely the final Goal, it means that one has not really entered that line.

At the supreme summit of Love, – which is Mahabhava – exuberance, excessive emotion and the like cannot possibly occur. Emotional excitement and Supreme Love are in no wise to be compared: they are totally different from one another.

While absorbed in meditation, whether one is conscious of the body or not, whether there be a sense of identification with the physical or not -under all circumstances, it is imperative to remain wide-awake; unconsciousness must be strictly avoided.

Some genuine perception must be retained, whether one contemplates the Self as such, or any particular form.

What is the outcome of such meditation?

It opens up one’s being to the Light, to that which is eternal.

Suppose the body had been suffering from some pain or stiffness – lo and behold, after meditation it feels perfectly hale and hearty, with not a trace of fatigue or debility. It is as if a long period of time had elapsed in between, as if there had never been a question of any discomfort. This would be a good sign. But if tempted at the first touch of Bliss to allow oneself to be drowned in it, and later to declare : “Where I was, I cannot say, I do not know,” – this is not desirable. As one becomes capable of real meditation, and to the extent that one contacts Reality, one discovers the ineffable joy that lies hidden even in all outer objects.

If on the other hand one loses oneself as it were, lapsing into a kind of stupor while engaged in meditation, and afterwards claims to have been steeped in intense bliss, this sort of bliss is a hindrance. If the life-force seems to have been in abeyance -just as one has a sense of great happiness after sound sleep – it indicates stagnation. It is a sign of attachment, and this attachment stands in the way of true meditation, since one will be apt to revert to this state again and again; although from the standpoint of the world, which is altogether different, it would seem a source of profound inward joy and therefore certainly an indication of spiritual progress.

Om Namah Shivay

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WORDS OF SRI ANANDAMAYI MA-13

*’Ja hoye jay’ This terse phrase is uttered by SRI MA again and again. It is pregnant with meaning ; in fact, a whole philosophy of life is implied. It signifies that whatever happens is according to the Divine Will, and therefore equally welcome to SRI MA. It also expresses the complete absence of personal desire, surrender without reservation to Providence, and the conviction that nothing can come to pass that is not ultimately wrought by the Creator.

When (in the early days) this body used to do pranam to every creature, whether an insect, a spider, a dog, or a cat, it did so with the full consciousness of the presence of the Supreme Being in everything.

‘Whatever comes to pass is all right’ – there is something else to be said in this connection. To take recourse to falsehood or deception can never be for one’s good. He who deceives, will himself be deceived. On the other hand, falsehood may also be converted into truth. Someone may deliberately play false, yet through his disciple’s sincerity the truth may actually be brought to light. As a result the disciple excels the guru. The resolve to find the truth will inevitably lead to its revelation.

I told that lady’s devotee:

“How many times did I not ask you all ‘shall I disclose it?’ And without exception you kept on begging me to do so. Therefore – what more can be said?” What a great variety of similar incident occur!

Listen to the story of a young woman who, under the slightest provocation, would go into ‘samadhi’ so people believed. She appeared to become lifeless,. her hands and feet turning cold. When she came to this body, she also went into this strange state that people mistook for samadhi. The girl’s mother was called ‘grandmother’ by this body, both of us being from the same village. She said to me: “Grand-daughter, please try and help this girl!” I quite understood what was the matter with the young woman, so I whispered into her ear :

“You will very soon receive a letter from your husband;” whereupon she recovered in no time. The news of the cure spread far and wide. People felt greatly mystified, wondering at the powerful mantra SRI MA had whispered into the girl’s ear. Indeed, under the circumstances it was the appropriate mantra for her. The girl’s condition was solely due to worrying about her husband’s prolonged silence.

Then again there was a young man – into what supernormal states he used to pass, how many kinds of visions he had! He would, for example, do pranam and remain in that posture for hours together, without raising his head, tears streaming down his cheeks. He declared that he saw and heard Krishna teaching Arjuna, as described in the Gita, and that he used to have many other visions and locutions of the kind.

This body told him that, if a sadhaka could not maintain firm control over his mind, he would be liable to see and hear many things, both illusory and genuine, all mixed up. He might even be subjected to the influence of some ‘spirit’ or power.

Such occurrences, far from creating pure divine aspiration, would rather hinder than help. Moreover, to see someone in a vision or to hear him address you, may well become a source of self-satisfaction or egotistic enjoyment.

To lose control over oneself is not desirable.

In the search after Truth one must not allow oneself to be overpowered by anything, but should watch carefully whatever phenomena may supervene, keeping fully conscious, wide awake, in fact retaining complete mastery over oneself.

Om Namah Shivay

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WORDS OF SRI ANANDAMAYI MA-12

SEVEN

Solan, September 19 th , 1948.

Someone told SRI MA about a man who, without stirring from his seat, would produce all sorts of articles, like flowers, garlands, sweets, etc. They just appeared in his hands. In this connection SRI MA related an incident that had taken place in Dacca many years ago.

SRI MA: What an incredible number of similar incidents has this body not witnessed! As a rule this body makes no comments upon such things, but on a particular occasion somehow something rather strange took place. When a certain lady came, I felt like lying down across her lap. As I did so, I distinctly noticed that a bundle containing various articles was tied in the lady’s sari in the region of her waist. Everyone began to request her to show them some objects that would come to her by supernatural means, since many had seen her do this before. People had heard it said that even the prasad from the Kali temple in Dakshineshwar would of its own accord appear in her hands.

This body said: “Even before it arrives from there I could disclose it; but would you like me to?”

The lady said : “Yes, of course !” The question was repeated several times, and every time she, as well as her devotees, replied : “Yes, please !”

This is how it all came about.

Even so, this body did. not take anything out with its own hands – only what was fated to happen, happened spontaneously.

Afterwards one of the lady’s devotees came to this body and inquired: “Ma, you never put anyone to shame, and certainly not in public. Why then did you do so in this case?”

She got the reply: “Yes, as you know, this body does not as a rule interfere with anyone’s natural ways. Yet, whether it concerns the most ordinary or the most extraordinary event, – call it as you please – what holds good for this body to this day and has until now been so always, is simply this:

whatever is meant to come about just happens spontaneously.

When that lady arrived, this body welcomed her with great respect, offering her its own asana and putting a garland round her neck. How very pleased everyone felt !

Every form, every expression is He and He alone.

That day this body did not disclose anything.

But the lady of her own free will declared: ‘I shall come again tomorrow!’ You all heard it, did you not? What occurred then was His way of revealing Himself. Tell me, what is there to do? By whatever method He may choose to teach anyone, at any time – as far as this body is concerned, it has no desire of its own, – whatever comes to pass is all right (‘ja hoye jay’).*

Om Namah Shivay

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WORDS OF SRI ANANDAMAYI MA-11

INQUIRER: The hunger of the senses can never be appeased; the more one gets, the more one wants. The fulfilment of worldly desire only begets greater longing.

SRI MA: This world is itself but an embodiment of want, and hence the heartache due to the absence of fulfilment must needs endure. This is why it is said that there are two kinds of currents in human life : the one pertaining to the world, in which want follows upon want; the other of one’s true Being. It is characteristic of the former that it can never end in fulfilment – on the contrary, the sense of want is perpetually stimulated anew. Whereas by entering the latter man will become established in his true nature and bring to completion the striving which is its expression. Thus, if he endeavours to fulfil himself by entering this current, it will eventually bring him to the perfect poise of his own true Being.

QUESTION : And the anguish of not having found, the anguish of the absence of God? I have no wish for sense pleasures, but they come to me. I am compelled to experience them.

SRI MA: Ah, but the anguish of not having found God is salutary. What you have eaten will leave a taste in your mouth. You wear ornaments because you wish to, and so you have to bear their weight. Yet this weight is fated to fall off, for it is something that cannot last, can it?

QUESTION: Are there instances when an Enlightened person may be in Ignorance?

SRI MA: You call a person Enlightened, and in the same breath say he may be subject to ignorance? Such a thing, Pitaji, is quite impossible.

There is, however, a state of attainment that is not maintained at all times, where what you suggest may apply; but never in a case of final Realisation. In whatever way you may perceive an Enlightened Being, He remains what He is.

How can there be a possibility of ignorance in what is termed Knowledge Supreme? When you speak of ignorance with reference to a Realised man, it is an example of Supreme Knowledge being mistaken for ignorance. Therefore, you also talk of ascent and descent. Just as there is no question of a body for one who is liberated, so for Him there can be none of rising up and coming down.

Nevertheless, there is a state of achievement in which ascent and descent do exist, really and truly.

Om Namah Shivay

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