You are the Light Light of Self -Atmajyothi. Light of Self is Light of the Universe - Brahmajyothi. One who realises The Light of Self Becomes the Light for the World -Jagajyothi. Light of Love, Light of Wisdom, Light of Compassion, Light of Peace, Light Divine.
Purpose of Life : आत्मनो मोक्षार्थं जगद हिताय च- (Atmano Mokshartham, Jagad Hitaya Cha) Self Realization and Welfare of the World

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Self Realization by Swami Chidananda

Q. There is a stage referred to as the ‘dark night of the soul’, which a Sadhaka (spiritual seeker) goes through during his inward journey towards Self-realisation. What is this?

John Bunyan has written a book called “Pilgrim’s Progress”, where he traces the seeker’s path until he attains God. Along the way, there is a stage where the seeker falls into the quagmire of despondency. At another place, he is caught by despair. So he goes through despondency, despair, doubt and confusion. He feels he won’t attain it at all. He thinks his life has been a waste. St. John of the Cross has also talked about this stage.

Q. Do most Sadhakas go through this?

Yes. Most people go through this.

Q. And is this despondency spiritually related or can it be to do with other things in life?

Spiritually. All are connected with spiritual life.

Q. How much before Self-realisation does this happen?

Only when one is mature and advanced in one’s Sadhana (spiritual practice), these things begin to happen. Otherwise a person is not worthy of going through all these various deep emotions. You don’t know all these things.

Q. When one eventually does attain Self-realisation—can one slip out of it?

Once you get full Self-realisation, there is no coming out of it. You will always be in that state. There is no coming in and out.

Q. But isn’t there a stage where one slips in and out of that state until one gets established in it?

There comes a time when the Sadhaka, in a state of very deep, intense, continuous meditation, gets this Atma-jnana (Self-knowledge). The deep, intense, continuous meditation suddenly stops and one goes into a stage where there is no more meditation, one just is in a certain state. He is in Samadhi. The Sadhaka has reached there by dint of great perseverance and effort, reached this height of being. But he may not be able to remain in it for a long time. After sometime, he may come back.

Then starts again. Again he may go into Samadhi—and come back. Then, from that stage onwards, he is no longer practicing meditation—he’s practising Samadhi. You get the difference? He’s practising samadhi. He's practising to remain continuously abiding in that same state of Consciousness, into which he is currently going in and coming out.

Eventually, he gets well established in that state. The state becomes natural to him both during meditation and in the time of normal activities. It becomes a spontaneous, natural state for him. This is called Sahaja-samadhi. ‘Sahaja’ means it becomes part of his natural, effortless, spontaneous being. Until then, he has to keep on trying. But once this stage is attained, it is Self-realisation.

Q. That is Self-realisation?

That is Self-realisation. No more rebirths after that. No more slipping in and out of that state.

Q. So that means Self-realisation doesn’t happen in one specific moment?

It can, in some cases. Sometimes people get illumination. Ramana Maharshi never did any Sadhana. One day suddenly, when he was around 16 or 17 years old, through no effort of his, suddenly he felt that he was not the body, that he was the deathless Self.

Effort is necessary in the vast amount of cases. But there are a few such people to whom there has been this spontaneous Self-realisation.
It has been explained that someone could have done all the effort in his previous life. He was almost ripe. But just before he could attain Self-realisation, his body’s Prarabdha was finished and he passed away. So when this birth happens, he takes up from where he left off in the previous life and there you are.

Q. So such a person, in his previous life, was already at a stage where he was perhaps practising Samadhi and was slipping in and out, but hadn’t quite reached Sahaja-samadhi?

He was almost there. Maybe he was slipping in and out or maybe he was just about to get into that state for the first time.

Q. In one of Swami Sivanandaji’s books, there is a mention of a void before Self-realisation. What is this void?

You see, until the point where you attain Self-realisation, there is still a trace of the human personality—human personality identity consciousness. One still feels that I am so and so. Even though he says God, God, God, God—there is also a little bit of I with God. There is 95% divinity and 5% this I. And this I is a myth. You are actually a part and parcel of God. You are 100% divine. So this “I” has to go. As long as it is there, that Consciousness is not complete and perfect.

Let me give you an analogy. A river flows, flows, flows, flows. At last, it approaches the sea. And then it enters into the sea. But even after having entered into the sea, till quite some distance, the water still tastes sweet. Because the river has not left its river-ness completely. It still retains its river-ness, although its two banks are finished. Bank-less, it is already in the sea. But after it goes further into the sea, a time comes when the water is no longer sweet. It is the salt water of the sea alone. That stage when the river is gone, but the vastness of the sea has not yet been attained, that interim period when it is neither the river nor the sea—that is the void.

Let me give you another example. You come to a point where there is nothing but the edge of a precipice and yawning chasm. And the actual experience is on the other side of the chasm. Unless you leave this precipice, you cannot go to the other side. So there is a point where ultimately he takes the leap. When he takes the leap, he is lifted up into the air. But he has not yet landed there. So there is a point where he has left this precipice, but not yet landed on the other side. In between, where is he? Nowhere. That nowhere is the spiritual void. At that time, neither is the human ego there nor has the divine Consciousness come. At that time, they say there is a void. But, of course, in the spiritual context, the duration of the void may be a little longer.

Q. When he lands on the other side, is that Sahaja-samadhi or is he at a stage where he can still slip in and out?

It is the ultimate state, the ultimate Samadhi. Until that stage there is still duality, a trace of duality. Once you are there, there is absolute non-duality. You are one with Brahman.

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