Question: What are the different stages or levels of the mind that one passes through before realising the Self?
Sri Lakshmana Swami: Mind is only thoughts. The more easily you can be without thoughts, the nearer you are to a direct experience of the Self. To make the mind die you must deprive it of thoughts. The effortless thought-free state is the highest level of practice.
There are no states or degrees of realization, there are only stages of spiritual practice. The final stage of sadhana is this effortless thought-free state. If this state can be maintained, then the "I" will sink into the Self and it will experience the bliss of the Self. These experiences are only temporary; the "I" will continue to reassert itself until the moment of realization. Realization can only happen in this effortless thought-free state, for it is only in this state that the Self can destroy the "I"-thought. The "I"-thought, which is the mind, must die completely before Self-Realization occurs.
Question: How is one to make the mind die?
Sri Lakshmana Swami: The mind can never eliminate itself without the grace of the Self. The mind is afraid of its own death; it will not do anything to endanger its own existence. It is like the theif who poses as a policement in order to catch himself because he ultimately wants to escape. SImilarly with the mind. The mind will engage in sadhana, thinking it wants to destroy itself, but as soon as the mind starts to sink into the Heart, a great fear arises which prevents the mind from completely subsiding. This fear is part of the mind's self-defence mechanism, and you will never overcome it by effort alone. It is because of this that you need the grace of the Guru. When you concentrate on the name and form of the Guru, or try to be without thoughts, the grace of the Guru calms the mind and helps it to overcome the fear which would otherwise prevent it from completely subsiding.
Question: Whyis it necessary for the mind to die?
Sri Lakshmana Swami: The mind must die, there is no other way to realize the Self. Some people say that complete equanimity of mind is Self-Realization, but this is not true. Thius is only a stage one passes through on the way to Self-Realizaiton. Other people say that seeing the Self or God everywhere is Self-Realization, but this is not true either. To see the Self everywhere there must be an "I" who sees, and while that "I" exists the mind will also exist. The jnani does not see anything because the seeing entity in him has died. In the Self, there is no seeing, only being. When the mind still exists one can reach a stage where one can see the whole world as a manifestation of the Self, but when the mind dies, there is no one who sees and no world to be seen.
If you have a mind then the earth, the sky, and the stars will exist, and you will be able to see them. When the mind dies there will be no earth, no sky, no stars, and no world. The world of objects, names, and forms is only the mind, and when the mind dies, the world dies with it. Only the Self then remains.
Seeing everything as the Self gives the impression that the Self is equally distributed everywhere. This is also an idea in the mind. When the mind finally dies you realize that there is no distribution and no everywhere.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
The Non-Dual Viewpoint on mind, levels, vision
The following is a quote from Sri Lakshmana Swami, a realized devotee of Ramana Maharshi, from "No Mind - I Am The Self; The Lives and Teachings of Sri Lakshmana Swamy and Mathru Sri Sarada", (p.102-3) by David Godman. It seems relavent to many of the discussions here, particularly about the viewpoint of the non-dual realizer.