Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18
This is an excerpt from Talks With Ramana Maharishi (Dec 30
1879--April 14 1950)
This is an excerpt from Talks With Ramana Maharishi (Dec 30 1879--April 14 1950)
There was a group of three middle-aged Andhras on a visit to Sri Bhagavan. One of them kneeled and asked: I am performing hathayoga, namely basti, dhauti, neti, etc. I find a blood vessel hardened in the ankle. Is it a result of Yoga?
M: The blood-vessel would have hardened under any circumstances. It does not trouble you as much now as it would otherwise. Hathayoga is a cleaning process. It also helps peace of mind, after leading you to pranayama.
D.: May I do pranayama? Is it useful?
M: Pranayama is an aid for the control of mind. Only you should not stop with pranayama. You must proceed further to pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Full results are reaped finally.
Another of the group asked: How are lust, anger, acquisitiveness, confusion, pride and jealousy overcome?
M: By dhyana.
D.: What is dhyana?
M: Dhyana is holding on to a single thought and putting off all other thoughts.
D.: What is to be meditated upon?
M: Anything that you prefer.
D.: Siva, Vishnu, and Gayatri are said to be equally efficacious. Which should I meditate upon?
M: Anyone you like best. They are all equal in their effect. But You should stick to one.
D.: How to meditate?
M: Concentrate on that one whom you like best. If a single thought prevails, all other thoughts are put off and finally eradicated. So long diversity prevails there are bad thoughts. When the object of love prevails only good thoughts hold the field. Therefore hold on to one thought only. Dhyana is the chief practice.
A little later Sri Bhagavan continued:
Dhyana means fight. As soon as you begin meditation other thoughts will crowd together, gather force and try to sink the single thought to which you try to hold. The good thought must gradually gain strength by repeated practice. After it has grown strong the other thoughts will be put to flight. This is the battle royal always taking place in meditation. One wants to rid oneself of misery. It requires peace of mind, which means absence of perturbation owing to all kinds of thoughts. Peace of mind is brought about by dhyana alone.
D.: What is the need then for pranayama?
M: Pranayama is meant for one who cannot directly control the thoughts. It serves as a brake to a car. But one should not stop with it, as I said before, but must proceed to pratyahara, dharana and dhyana. After the fruition of dhyana, the mind will come under control even in the absence of pranayama. The asanas (postures) help pranayama, which helps dhyana in its turn, and peace of mind results. Here is the purpose of hatha yoga.
Later Sri Bhagavan continued: When dhyana is well established it cannot be given up. It will go
on automatically even when you are engaged in work, play or enjoyment. It will persist in sleep too. Dhyana must become so deep-rooted that it will be natural to one.
D.: What rite or action is necessary for the development of dhyana?
M: Dhyana is itself the action, the rite and the effort. It is the most intense and potent of all. No other effort is necessary.
D.: Is not japa necessary?
M: Is dhyana not vak (speech)? Why is japa necessary for it? If dhyana is gained there is no need for anything else.
D.: Is not a vow of silence helpful?
M: A vow is only a vow. It may help dhyana to some extent. But what is the good of keeping the mouth closed and letting the mind run riot. If the mind be engaged in dhyana, where is the need for speech?
Nothing is as good as dhyana. Should one take to action with a vow of silence, where is the good of the vow?
D.: What is jnana-marga?
M: I have been saying it for so long. What is jnana? Jnana means realization of the Truth. It is done by dhyana. Dhyana helps you to hold on to Truth to the exclusion of all thoughts.
D.: Why are there so many Gods mentioned?
M: The body is only one. Still, how many functions are performed by it? The source of all the functions is only one. It is in the same way with the Gods also.
D.: Why does a man suffer misery?
M: Misery is due to multifarious thoughts. If the thoughts are unified and centered on a single item there is no misery, but happiness is the result. Then, even the thought, "I do something" is absent; nor will there be an eye on the fruit of action.
D.: Horripilation, sobbing voice, joyful tears, etc., are mentioned in Alma Vidya Vilasa and other works. Are these found in samadhi, or before, or after?
M: All these are the symptoms of exceedingly subtle modes of mind (vrittis). Without duality they cannot remain. Samadhi is Perfect Peace where these cannot find place. After emerging from samadhi the remembrance of the state gives rise to these symptoms. In bhakti marga (path of devotion) these are the precursors to samadhi.
D.: Are they not so in the path of jnana?
M: May be. There is no definiteness about it. It depends on the nature of the individual. Individuality entirely lost, these cannot find a place. Even the slightest trace of it being present, these symptoms become manifest.
Manickavachagar and other saints have spoken of these symptoms.
They say tears rush forth involuntarily and irrepressibly. Though aware of tears they are unable to repress them. I had the same experience when I was staying Virupaksha cave.
D.: Sleep state is said to be the experience of Bliss, yet, on recollecting it the hairs do not stand on end. Why should they do so, if the samadhi state is recollected?
M: Samadhi means sleep in waking state (jagrat sushupti). Bliss is overpowering and the experience is very clear, whereas it is different in sleep.
D.: Can we put it that in sleep there is no unhappiness, nor happiness, i. e., the experience is negative not positive.
M: But the recollection is positive "I slept happily," says the man.
So there must be the experience of happiness in sleep.
D.: Does Bliss consist only in the absence of unhappiness, or is it anything positive?
M: It is positive. Loss of unhappiness and rise of happiness are simultaneous.
D.: Can it be that the recollection of happiness in sleep is not clear and so there is no horripilation, etc.?
M: The Bliss of samadhi is a perfectly clear experience and its recollection also is similar. But the experience of sleep is otherwise.