E

Links

The Essays of Brother Anonymous
Next
Contents

Contents

Ecstacy – Mahabhava – See also Bhakti Yoga – Ecstatic Love I am endless
Education
Effort – Effort is needed in the beginning stages
Effort – A stage is reached when effort is no longer needed
The Ego – Its nature - See also Desire – The dualistic experiencer (the ego) arises with the desire for sensation, Discriminate betwen the Unreal and the Real – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the ego-self, ahamkara, or jiva
The Ego – It is fascinated with itself
The Ego – It is totally concerned with its own survival
Ego – “I” and “mine” are the source of ignorance
Ego – It is the cause of differentiation or duality
Ego – It is the source of separation
The Ego - Ignorance, sorrow, and fear last as long as there is ego The Ego - Renounce it
The Ego - Destroy it - See also Discriminate between the Real and the Unreal – Self-Enquiry – Destroy the ego
The Ego - Or turn it into the ego of the servant
The Ego - Give up the sense of doership – See Discrimination between the Real and the Unreal – Self-Enquiry – Eradicate the sense of doership
The Ego - It vanishes in samadhi, but returns later - See Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The ego, separate self, or observer vanishes for a time
Ego – It does not die altogether even in vijnana
The Ego – We must master the ego before the body dies; when the ego is mastered, we know God
The Ego - Dissolve it through awareness
Ego - Its fears must be confronted
The Ego - Be nothing and you'll be all
Ego – One cannot be an “enlightened somebody”
Ego – The ego after liberation
Ego – The ego after liberation
Ego – The ego of a child
Eight Fetters
Emptiness – The enlightened mind is empty – See Nothing – The enlightened mind is empty
Emptiness – The emptiness teaching is itself an intermediate teaching – See Nothing – The emptiness teaching is itself an intermediate teaching and Nothing – This emptiness is fullness
Enlightenment – Enlightenment is the purpose of life
Enlightenment – Enlightenment is the purpose of life - The purpose of life can be seen as the attainment of spiritual perfection
Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as the discovery of the secret of Life or the Truth
Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as the achievement of universal unity
Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as salvation
Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as the fulfillment of spiritual evolution – See also Angels - Intimations of the evolution of consciousness through ranks of beings and Design of Life – God’s Plan is spiritual evolution
Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as escape from the prison of material existence
Enlightenment – God Himself has no purpose, no cause – See Design of Life – God Himself has no purpose, no cause
Enlightenment - Only God can realize God
Enlightenment - Enlightenment is the reward for all life's trials and tribulations
Enlightenment - Enlightenment is worth renouncing everything for
Enlightenment - Few seek it
Enlightenment - Fewer attain it
Enlightenment - Whoever has sincere interest can know God
Enlightenment – Everyone is destined to realize God one day
Enlightenment – We will see Him when the time is right – See also Mother, Divine – Enlightenment comes when She withdraws Her veil
Enlightenment - To have eternal life – that is, to be freed from the need to reincarnate – requires that we realize God – See also Death – Reincarnation
Enlightenment - Flesh and blood cannot know God
Enlightenment - None can stand before God’s Light
Enlightenment - How will it be won?
Enlightenment – Is it sudden or gradual?
Enlightenment – Enlightenment is non-personal
Enlightenment – Enlightenment is a gamble
Enlightenment – Enlightenment does not have to look extraordinary
Enlightenment - It will not be attained through beliefs - See Beliefs
Enlightenment - It will not be attained through book-learning - See See Intellectuals – Pro: Can reach God, Intellectuals – Con: Cannot reach God, and Scriptures
Enlightenment – Purity is essential - Purity - Is essential for enlightenment
Enlightenment – Longing is essential – See Longing for Liberation
Enlightenment - Achieve enlightenment before concerning yourself with the things of the world
Enlightenment - Do not waste a moment of this precious life
Enlightenment – Stages – Cautionary note
Enlightenment – Stages - Getting stuck halfway
Enlightenment - Stages
Enlightenment - Stages – Stages of the journey epitomized in the Bible
Enlightenment - Stages - In Buddhism - See also Buddhism - What constitutes enlightenment?
Enlightenment - The varieties of spiritual experiences are limitless
Enlightenment - Enlightenment itself is virtually endless
Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - How has the experience of spiritual awakening been described?
An experience of Kensho
St. Augustine: A light of serenity infused my heart
John Ruusbroec -- This is the Son of God
Krishnamurti -- I have seen the Light
Andrew Cohen - Overwhelmed by Love
Franklin Jones (Da Free John) - The revolution in my being
Flora Courtois -- My search was over
Adyashanti – Aware space before any emotion or thought

Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - Is it mentioned in the Bible?
Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - Its effects
Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - To know God, we must first know the Self - See The Self - Therefore Know thy Self
Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - A deeper enlightenment awaits the aspirant who keeps going
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Fifth-Chakra Experiences
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Sixth-Chakra Experiences
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Sixth- and seventh-chakra experiences discussed together
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother takes on form for the sake of the devotee
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother can appear as a directly-known universal presence
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother can appear as effulgent waves of Consciousness
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother can appear as a light suffusing the entire world
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Most often, in mid-range experiences, God appears with perceptible form
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Visions of Jesus
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - St. John the Beloved sees the King of kings
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Visions of God from the Old Testament
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Yogananda sees the Lord as Ishwara
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Sometimes the master bestows a vision of God
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences – Other probable mid-range experiences

God sensed through an experience of oneness
One drop of the Brahmic Bliss

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - These experiences usually take place in a state of consciousness called savikalpa samadhi
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Visits by the Divine Mother/Holy Spirit are a prelude to the experience of the Father

Biblical examples of baptism by the Mother as Holy Ghost
The Holy Spirit descends on Hildegard of Bingen
The Holy Spirit baptizes St. John of the Cross

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Experiences of the Sound-Brahman (Aum, the Word of God)

The Mother manifesting as the noise of many waters

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - The experience of the Mother’s enlightenment (or the descent of the Holy Spirit) will bestow on us diverse gifts and powers
Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Cosmic Consciousness – See also Visions – Great Chain of Being
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The Spiritual Energy reaches the seventh chakra
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Epitomes of the journey so far
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The master bestows an experience of nirvikalpa samadhi
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The aspirant usually loses consciousness of the outer world in Nirvikalpa Samadhi
God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Instances of Sri Ramakrishna in nirvikalpa samadhi
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Declarations of God-Realization
Enlightenment _ (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The role of kumbhaka
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The role of the kundalini

The role of the kundalini with Sri Ramakrishna
The role of the kundalini with St. John of the Cross
The role of the kundalini with Walt Whitman

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - It may begin in dualistic cosmic consciousness and end in non-dualistic mergence in God the Father

Yogananda illustrates cosmic consciousness ending in Nirvikalpa Samadhi

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The mind becomes still
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Duality ends
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The ego, separate self, or observer vanishes for a time
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The universe disappears
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Knower, knowing, and known become one
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Knowing God, the aspirant has become God
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Some aspects of the event cannot be described
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Some aspects can be described
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - As long as we see duality, we cannot know God
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Two types of samadhi
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Nirvikalpa samadhi
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Kevalya Nirvikalpa samadhi
Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Presumed experiences of Kevalya Nirvikalpa Samadhi

Hermes: An ancient account of samadhi
King David: He delivered me….
Blessed Henry Suso: This overpowering transport….
Catherine of Siena weds her savior, Jesus
St. John of the Cross: I went out from myself
Brother Lawrence: A High View of God
Walt Whitman: The peace and joy that pass all argument
Lahiri Mahasaya: Unbrokenly in bliss
Sri Ramakrishna: I cut the form with a sword
Sri Ramakrishna: A Hindu avatar experiences spiritual union with Shiva and Jesus
Swami Brahmananda: His face shone with a heavenly joy
Tenko-San: A breathing in of all Being
Eckhart Tolle: I cannot live with myself

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Is the experience lasting?
Enlightenment – (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi)
Enlightenment – (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana) - Liberation occurs at sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi
Enlightenment - (4) Experiences beyond God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – What liberation is
Enlightenment - (4) Experiences beyond God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Kevalya Nirvikalpa Samadhi compared with Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi
Enlightenment - (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana) – Vijnana
Enlightenment – Vijnana – What the vijnani knows
Enlightenment – Vijnana – Seeing God in every living being
Enlightenment – Vijnana – The state of a Paramahamsa – See Paramahansas – The state of a Paramahansa
Enlightenment - (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana) – Probable declarations of Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Vijnana

Pseudo-Dionysius: If only we lacked sight and knowledge
Meister Eckhart: Sink from nothingness to nothingness
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Now death has come….
Adyashanti: Today I awoke….

Enlightenment - (4) Experiences beyond God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Other ways of describing levels past Kevalya Nirvikalpa Samadhi

Turiyatita
Turiyatita – Dissenting opinion: Swami Sivananda
Ananda Samadhi
Sayuja
Da Free John transcends the energy system of the body
From knowledge of Self to knowledge of No-Self: The case of Bernadette Roberts
Franklin Merrell-Wolff describes three levels of enlightenment beyond Brahmajnana

The High Satisfaction
The High Indifference
The Void

Ramana Maharshi describes Nirvana as the final destruction of the ego and exhaustion of the prarabdha karma
The Buddha declares that he has attained Nirvana
The Buddha distinguishes between a Tathagata, who has experienced nirvana, from an Arhant, who has experienced Brahmajnana
Bodhidharma also distinguishes between buddhas and arahants

Enlightenment – Getting stuck halfway
Enlightenment - The Aftermath

The saint has become a sage
Gone is sorrow
Gone is fear
Gone is attachment
They become vast, expanded
They are fulfilled
They are made clean
They are renewed
They know everything
They are freed from birth and death

Enlightenment - Experiences of enlightenment can be accompanied by intense pain afterwards
Enlightenment – The sage may need time to adjust to his new condition
Enlightenment - Many choose to leave their body; many die because their bodies cannot stand the shock; others merge with God upon their death
Enlightenment - What work do the sages who continue to live do after liberation?
Enlightenment - We are in Mother's realm of form as long as ego remains
Enlightenment - At what stage can rituals be safely dropped? – See Rituals
Enlightenment – Everything will return to God one day
Enlightenment - Beware, enlightenment comes like a thief in the night
Enlightenment - What happens if we fail to know God in this lifetime?
Equality
Equanimity - Results from detachment
Equanimity - Is tranquillity, serenity
Everything/Nothing
Examination of Self - See Introspection - Self-Examination
Experience – Experencing is essential
Experience - The desire to experience creates the experiencer
Experience - Experience is of the mind
Experiencing what is



Ecstacy – Mahabhava – See also Bhakti Yoga – Ecstatic Love

Mahabhava is a divine ecstacy; it shakes the body and mind to their very foundation. It is like a huge elephant entering a small hut. The house shakes to its foundations. Perhaps it falls to pieces. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 747.)

The manifestation in the same individual of the nineteen different kinds of emotion for God is called, in the books of bhakti, mahabhava. An ordinary man takes a whole lifetime to express even a single one of these. But in this body [meaning himself] there has been a complete manifestation of all nineteen. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 25.)

My son, who calls you a mad man? These are not symptoms of madness. You are passing through the rare spiritual experience known as mahabhava, which explains your present state of body and mind. … The devotional scriptures have recorded two instances of such experience, namely, those of Sri Radha and Sri Chaitanya. (Bhairavi Brahmani in FMSR, 10.)

Education

Brother, what shall I do with a mere bread-winning education? I would rather acquire that wisdom which will illumine my heart and give me satisfaction forever. (Sri Ramakrishna to his older brother Ramkumar, who was concerned that the former was neglecting his education, in GSR, 6.)

Effort – Effort is needed in the beginning stages

Always keep your mind on God. In the beginning you must struggle a little; later on you will enjoy your pension. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 210.)

One must be up and doing in the beginning. After that one need not work hard. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 112.)

He does not give one more power if the little that is given is not properly used. This is why individual effort and perseverance are necessary. Don’t you see, everyone has to make some effort, however small, before he gets God’s grace. When one does so, the experiences due to be undergone in ten lives will come to fruition in one, and man will attain to spiritual realization immediately. But one has to make some effort. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, SRGM, I, 94.)

None succeeds without effort and the successful few owe their victory to perseverance. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 59.)

Effort is necessary. In fact effort is itself yoga. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 72.)

You cannot make [effort] in sleep or under the influence of drugs. Also mukti has to be gained in full awareness, because the Reality itself is pure awareness. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 72.)

Everybody, every book says “Be quiet or still.” But it is not easy. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if you find one who has at once achieved the mouna (silence) or supreme state indicated, you may take it that the effort necessary has already been completed in a previous life. Such effortless and choiceless awareness is reached only after deliberate meditation. (Ramana Maharshi, GFB, chapter 8.)

By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

God and the Guru will only show the way to release; they will not by themselves take the soul to the state of release. … Each one should by his own effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release. One can know oneself only with one's own eye of knowledge, and not with somebody else's. Does he who is Rama require the help of a mirror to know that he is Rama? (Ramana Maharshi, WHO, 19.)

Effort – A stage is reached when effort is no longer needed

You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousands things one by one will return to the root -- return to the root and not know why. Dark and undifferentiated chaos -- to the end of life none will depart from it. But if you try to know it, you have already departed from it. Do not ask what its name is, do not try to observe its form. Things will live naturally end of themselves. (Chuang Tzu in CWCT, 122.)

To transcend motion and stillness is the highest meditation. Mortals keep moving, while arhats stay still. But the highest meditation surpasses that of both mortals and arhats. People who reach such understanding free themselves from all appearances without effort and cure all illnesses without treatment. Such is the power of great zen. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 24.)

Followers of the Way, even if you can understand a hundred sutras and treatises, you're not as good as one plain monk who does nothing. (Master Lin-Chi , ZTML, 76.)

The way I see it, there's no call for anything special. Just act ordinary, put on your clothes, eat your rice, pass the time doing nothing. You who come from here and there, you all have a mind to do something. You search for Buddha, search for the Dharma, search for emancipation, search for a way to get out of the threefold world. Idiots, trying to get out of the threefold world! Where will you go? (Master Lin-Chi , ZTML, 53-4.)

When you get hungry, eat your rice;
When you get sleepy, close your eyes.
Fools may laugh at me,
But wise men will know what I mean.
(Master Lin-Chi , ZTML, 77.)

[One should continue practicing] until the mind attains effortlessly its natural state of freedom from concepts, that is till the sense of 'I' and 'mine' exists no longer. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 2, Question 18.)

Nirvikalpa is Chit – effortless, formless Consciousness. Where does the terror come [that some people feel towards it], and where is the mystery in being oneself? To some people whose minds have become ripe from a long practice in the past, Nirvikalpa comes suddenly as a flood, but to others it comes in the course of their sadhana, which slowly wears down the obstructing thoughts and reveals the screen of Pure Awareness ‘I’-‘I’. Further practice renders the screen permanently exposed. This is Self-realization, Mukti, or Sahaja Samadhi, the natural, effortless state. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 82-3.)

When the waveless ocean of the external and the steady flame of the internal Nirvikalpa are realized as identical, the ultimate goal, the Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi is said to have been reached. Nirvikalpa is effortless, whereas Savikalpa is attended with effort. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 88.)

Holding onto the Supreme State is Samadhi. When it is with effort due to mental disturbances, it is Savikalpa. When these disturbances are absent, it is Nirvikalpa. Remaining permanently in the primal state without effort is Sahaja. Like Nivikalpa, there is an internal as well as an external Savikalpa, depending on whether the disturbing thoughts are from outside or from inside. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 89.)

Bhagavan would often tell us to “make an effort to be without effort.” (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 54.)

You need not eliminate the wrong “I.” … All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it. (Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 197.)

It would be a better world if each one of us were aware of true inaction, (1) which is not the opposite of action. But that is another matter. (Krishnamurti, COL, 2, 99.)

(1) The absence of mental motion.

You must be completely denuded, without the weight of the past or the enticement of a hopeful future -- which does not mean despair. If you are in despair, there is no emptiness, no nakedness. You cannot 'do' anything. You can and must be still, without any hope, longing, or desire; but you cannot determine to be still, suppressing all noise, for in that very effort there is noise. Silence is not the opposite of noise. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 115.)

The truth frees.... The highest state of inaction is the action of truth. (Krishanmurti, COL, 2, 37.)

I saw that all kinds of seeking were founded in identification with a certain level of life, experience or motivation. The dilemma that was always involved was founded in a present act of differentiation, whereby what was constantly being realized was separated and threatened consciousness. Thus, I was not moved to pursue any goals, experiences or forms. All such things were merely matters of seeking. I did not even pursue my identity with Siva, Self or pure Consciousness. Such was also a form of seeking. I simply and radically founded myself in understanding, the enquiry of experience, the perception of truth and reality that had been communicated through all my experience. ... I had come to understand life as a proposition of radical consciousness. I saw that every deliberate path was a form of seeking that involved the moment to moment avoidance of relationship as primary activity in consciousness and in life. (Da Free John, KOL, Original Edition, 120-1.)

At a certain point, when we have done all we can [to bring about an abiding union with the divine], the divine steps in and takes over. (Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 131.)

When effort is needed, effort will appear. When effortlessness becomes essential, it will assert itself. You need not push life about. Just flow with it and give yourself completely to the task of this present moment, which is to die now to the Now. For living is dying. Without death, life cannot be. (Nisargadatta Maharaj in video Awaken to the Eternal, n.p.)

It is true that God helps those who help themselves; but it is equally true that God helps those who do not help themselves. According to most theistic religions, self-effort is essential for the beginners, while self-surrender is practiced by the advanced spiritual aspirants. Self-surrender is considered to be the highest state in spiritual life. (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 216.)

You cannot deliberately progress towards an open state. You can only see clearly that you are in a blocked state. So, you let your body-mind slowly become more open to your conviction that you can attain nothing. That you are going to die in total stupidity. You may die in the very next moment, so there is no time to reach anything, to achieve anything. In sadhana you live with the feeling that you are going to die the very next minute; thus, you no longer make strategies and you just do things for the sake of doing them. If you think that you will die within two minutes, what do you do? Nothing. You don't call anybody, you don't think of anything, you just totally enjoy seeing, feeling, smelling, listening to the last seconds of your life, the beauty of life. (Excerpt from an interview between Adyashanti and Éric Baret, Montreal, September 20, 1999 downloaded from Nonduality Salon Highlights, http://nonduality.com/hl1854.htm, 11 March 2006.)

Most people are in a constant state of struggle with themselves. Tremendously burdened by the past and in constant anticipation of the future, most human beings are rarely able to be fully present for more than very brief moments. The tremendous openness and intimacy that is required to be fully present is beyond most people's ability to sustain for more than a few moments before they habitually contract back into the familiar condition of separateness and struggle that so characterizes the human condition.

This constant state of struggle manifests as a compulsive and addictive relationship to the movement of thought, emotion, and time. There is great reluctance to stop struggling because in the absence of struggle you suddenly begin to lose your boundaries and definitions of who you are. For many people this causes fear to arise as they experience the loss of their familiar sense of self. Struggling is how the ego-personality maintains its existence. When you cease to struggle, identification with the personality begins to break down and you become aware of your emptiness and lack of boundaries.

The most difficult thing for spiritual seekers to do is to stop struggling, striving, seeking and searching. Why? Because in the absence of struggle you don't know who you are: you lose your boundaries; you lose your separateness; you lose your specialness; you lose the dream you have lived all your life.

Eventually you lose everything that your mind has created and awaken to who you truly are: the fullness of freedom, unbound by any identifications, identities, or boundaries. It is this locationless freedom of being that spiritual people are seeking, and at the same time are running away from because its faceless nature gives no fixed reference point for the personality to hold onto or to seek security in.

As long as you remain identified with the personality, you will always be seeking security to the exclusion of the Truth, and will remain in a constant state of struggle. It is only when your love and desire for Truth outweighs the personality's compulsive need for security, that you can begin to stop struggling and be swept up into the arms of an ever unfolding revelation of the Truth and Freedom of Being. (Adyashanti, “Call Off the Struggle,” 1998, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

The Ego – Its nature - See also Desire – The dualistic experiencer (the ego) arises with the desire for sensation, Discriminate betwen the Unreal and the Real – Self-Enquiry – The nature of the ego-self, ahamkara, or jiva

The nature of the individual man is his consciousness of ego. (Sri Krishna in BG, 74-5.)

He who believes himself to be acting or experiencing is known as the ego, the individual man. ... When the objects of experience are pleasant, he is happy. When they are unpleasant, he is unhappy. Pleasure and pain are characteristics of the individual -- not of the Atman, which is forever blissful. (Shankara in CJD, 48.)

He who experiences (1) is conscious of himself. Without an experiencer, there can be no self-consciousness. (Shankara in CJD, 68.)

(1) Meaning sensory experience.

At the very moment when we try to examine and observe what it is that we are experiencing, we slip back into the activity of reasoning, at which we become aware of distinction between ourselves and God. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 176.)

Maya (1) is nothing but the egotism of the embodied soul. This egotism has covered everything like a veil. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 168-9.)

(1) Illusion.

You may reason a thousand times, but you cannot get rid of the ego. The ego is like a pitcher, and Brahman like the ocean -- an infinite expanse of water on all sides. The pitcher is set in the ocean. The water is both inside and out; the water is everywhere; yet the pitcher remains. ... As long as the ego remains, 'you' and 'I' remain. ... The ego cannot be got rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 708.)

Egoism results from a lack of discrimination between the physical body and the real Self. (Sri Yukteswar Giri, HS, 48.)

The ego [is] the root of all thought. (Ramana Maharshi in SRRM, 38.)

The ego rising all else will arise. (Ramana Maharshi in SRRM, 38.)

From where does this ego come which thinks, "I am. I am doing"? It comes through memory. Your memory goes on recording happenings: you are born, you are a child; then youth comes, then you are old. Things happen: love happens, hatred happens, and the memory goes on recording it. When you look at the past, the whole accumulated memory becomes your "I." (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, IATG, 8.)

It is very difficult to remember that events are happening and you are not the doer. For example, I am speaking. If I say that I am speaking and I mean that "I" am speaking, then I have misinterpreted the phenomenon. I am speaking, speaking is happening through me, but I do not know what the next sentence will be. When it comes you will know it and I will also know it. It is a happening, something comes through me. I am not at all a doer; something happens in me. (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, IATG, 8.)

The mind ... is the self. (1) (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 34.)

(1) The ego.

The self, at whatever level it is placed, is still of the mind. Whatever the mind can think about is the mind. The mind cannot think about something which is not of itself; it cannot think of the unknown. The self at any level is known; and though there may be layers of the self of which the superficial mind is not aware, they are still within the field of the known. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 68.)

Knowledge, belief, conviction, conclusion and experience are hindrances to truth; they are the very structures of the self. The self cannot be if there is no cumulative effect of experience; and the fear of death is the fear of not being, of not experiencing. If there were the assurance, the certainty of experiencing, there would be no fear. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 89.)

YOU are this knowledge, you are the things that you have accumulated; you are the gramophone record that is ever repeating what is impressed on it. You are the song, the noise, the chatter of society, of your culture. Is there an uncorrupted 'you' apart from all this clatter? This self-centre is now anxious to free itself from the things it has gathered; but the effort it makes to free itself is part of the accumulative process. You have a new record to play, with new words, but your mind is still dull, insensitive. (Krishnamurti in COL, 3, 86.)

All activities of conformity and denial, of analysis and acceptance, only strengthen the experiencer. The experiencer can never understand the whole. The experiencer is the accumulated, and there is no understanding within the shadow of the past. ... Understanding is not of the mind, of thought.... In the awareness of this whole process there is a silence which is not of the experiencer. In this silence only does understanding come into being. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 38.)

Ego is the movement of the mind toward objects of perception, in the form of grasping; and, away from objects, in the form of aversion. This fundamentally is all the ego is. This movement of grasping and aversion gives rise to a sense of a separate "me," and in turn the sense of "me" strengthens itself this way. It is this continuous loop of causation that tricks consciousness into a trance of identification.

Identification with what? Identification with the continuous loop of suffering. After all, who is suffering? The "me" is suffering. And "who" is this me? It is nothing more than a sense of self caused by identification with grasping and aversion. You see, it's all a creation of the mind, an endless movie, a terrible dream. Don't try to change the dream, because trying to change it is just another movement in the dream. Look at the dream. Be aware of the dream. That awareness is It. Become more interested in the awareness of the dream than in the dream itself. What is that awareness? Who is that awareness? Don't go spouting out an answer, just be the answer. Be It. (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

The Ego – It is fascinated with itself

What defines the unawake self more than anything else is its total and absolute fascination with itself. (Adyashanti, http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

The Ego – It is totally concerned with its own survival

After I had been meditating in the presence of Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] for some months, I reached a certain stage when I would be overcome by fear. … [Bhagavan] explained that it was the ego that experienced the fear as it felt that it was gradually losing its grip. It was, in fact, dying, and naturally resented it. He asked me, “To whom is the fear? It is all due to the habit of identifying the body with the Self. Repeated experience of separation from this idea will make one familiar with this state and fear will then automatically cease.” (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 40.)

Your ego is terrified of the unknown. No matter how terrible the known past is, the ego prefers it to the unknown present. All of its energy goes into trying to make the present into the past. It thinks that this creates safety, but in truth it creates continued terror, a constant aggravation of the wound until the pain is so intense that it must be dealt with. You see, everything, even your ego, conspires toward your awakening!

So living the past over and over again creates the ultimate terror. Outwardly, life seems safe and predictable. Inwardly, the dynamite has been lit. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 22.)

The psychological self seeks to continue, to survive. Simultaneously there is a compelling, driving urge to break free of this self. However, to break free brings the end of time. When it happens, past and future will be over for you. Questions and answers will cease, and there will be nothing. Out of that nothing, something fresh will flower. You will have to become that flower. (Adyashanti, http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

Ego – “I” and “mine” are the source of ignorance

“I” and “mine” -- these constitute ignorance. 'My house,' 'my wealth', 'my learning', 'my possessions' -- the attitude which prompts one to say such things comes of ignorance. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 105.)

'I” and “mine” -- that is ignorance. By discriminating you will realize that what you call “I” is really nothing but Atman. Reason it out. Are you the body or the flesh or something else? At the end you will know that you are none of these. You are free from attributes. Then you will realize that you have never been the doer of any action, that you have been free from virtue and faults alike, that you are beyond righteousness and unrighteousness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 208.)

Ego – It is the cause of differentiation or duality

[Virtue and vice] both exist and do not exist. If God keeps the ego in a man, then He keeps in him the sense of differentiation and also the sense of virtue and sin. But in a rare few He completely effaces the ego, and these go beyond virtue and sin, good and bad. As long as a man has not realized God, he retains the sense of differentiation and the knowledge of good and bad. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 328.)

Ego – It is the source of separation

The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 387.)

The Ego - Ignorance, sorrow, and fear last as long as there is ego

Ignorance lasts as long as one has ego. There can be no liberation as long as the ego remains. 'O God, Thou art the Doer and not I' -- that is knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 204.)

'I' and 'mine' -- these constitute ignorance. 'My house,' 'my wealth', 'my learning', 'my possessions' -- the attitude which prompts one to say such things comes of ignorance. On the contrary, the attitude born of Knowledge is: 'O God, Thou art the Master, and all these things belong to Thee. House, family, children, attendants, friends are Thine. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 105.)

It is the mind with its demands and fears, its attachments and denials, its determinations and urges, that destroys love. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 223.)

The experience of pleasure and pain is direct, individual; but the understanding of the experience is after the pattern of others, of the religious and social authorities. We are the result of the thoughts and influences of others; we are conditioned by religious as well as political propaganda. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 61-2.)

A person who likes to say twenty times in the day, 'I', does not like to say, 'I am not, Thou art'. But he does not know that this claim of 'I' is the root of all his trouble. It is this claim that makes him feel hurt by every little insult, by every little disturbance. The amount of pain that this illusion gives him is so great that it is just as well he got rid of it. But that is the last thing he would do. He would give up his last penny, but not the thought of 'I'. ... That is the whole difficulty and the only hindrance on the spiritual path. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 197.)

The Ego - Renounce it
Those who have renounced ego and desire will reap no fruit at all, either in this world or in the next. (Sri Krishna in BG, 121.)

Self-controlled,
Cut free from desire,
Curbing the heart
And knowing the Atman,
Man finds Nirvana
That is in Brahman,
Here and hereafter.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 61.)

The world does not know that we must all come to an end here; but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once. (The Buddha in TCB, 53.)

All things that exist are not without cause. However, neither Ishvara, nor the absolute, nor the self, nor causeless chance, is the maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil.

The whole world is under the law of causation, and the causes that act are not un-mental, for the gold of which the cup is made is gold throughout. ... Let us surrender self and all selfishness, and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practise good so that good may result from our actions. (The Buddha in GB, 61.)

If I had not destroyed myself completely, I should not have been able to rebuild and shape myself again. (Abba Alonius in SDF, 35.)

The water of God's grace cannot collect on the high mound of egotism. It runs down. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 111.)

Unless one renounces the ego, one does not receive the grace of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 790.)

Thou One without a Second, all Peace, the King of Kings!
At Thy beloved feet I shall renounce my life
And so at last shall gain life's goal;
I shall enjoy the bliss of heaven while yet on earth!
(Narendra, later Swami Vivekananda, in GSR, 120.)

The centre of all resistance is egoism and this we must pursue into every covert and disguise and drag it out and slay it; for its disguises are endless and it will cling to every shred of possible self-concealment. ... There is no I nor thou, but only one divine Self equal in all embodiments, equal in the individual and the group, and to realize that, to express that, to serve that, to fulfill that is all that matters. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 316.)

Q: What is renunciation?

M: Giving up the ego.

Q: Is it not giving up possessions?

M: The possessor too. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

If the ego is, everything else also is. If the ego is not, nothing else is. Indeed, the ego is all. Therefore the enquiry as to what this ego is is the only way of giving up everything. (Ramana Maharshi, FVR, verse 25.)

You must distinguish between the selfish and the unselfish. For selfishness has many forms, and when you think you have finally killed it in one of them, it arises in another as strongly as ever. But by degrees you will become so full of thought for the helping of others that there will be no room, no time, for any thought about yourself. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 34-5.)

The biggest challenge for most spiritual seekers is to surrender their self importance, and see the emptiness of their own personal story. It is your personal story that you need to awaken from in order to be free. To give up being either ignorant or enlightened is the mark of liberation and allows you to treat others as your Self. What I am describing is the birth of true Love. (Adyashanti, “How You Treat Others,” 1998, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

The Ego - Destroy it - See also Discriminate between the Real and the Unreal – Self-Enquiry – Destroy the ego

He who dwells in thee becomes king over himself. He controls his wandering thoughts. He becomes master of his speech and of all his organs of sense. He becomes master of his intellect. (UPAN, 54.)

Patiently, little by little, a man must free himself from all mental distractions, with the aid of the intelligent will. He must fix his mind upon the Atman, and never think of anything else. No matter where the restless mind wanders, it must be drawn back and made to submit to the Atman only. (Sri Krishna in BG, 66.)

[The] attitude [of the dispassionate one] is the same toward friend and foe. He is indifferent to honour and insult, heat and cold, pleasure and pain. He is free from attachment. He values praise and blame equally. He can control his speech. He is content with whatever he gets. His home is everywhere and nowhere. His mind is fixed upon me, and his heart is full of devotion. He is dear to me. (Sri Krishna in BG, 99.)

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Proverbs 16:32.)

If one man conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men, and if another should conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.

One's own self conquered is better than all other people conquered; not even a god could change into defeat the victory of a man who has vanquished himself. (The Buddha in TCB, 58.)

Self is the Lord of self, who else could be the lord? With self well-subdued, a man finds a lord as few can find. (The Buddha TCB, 60.)

The conqueror of men is powerful;
The master of himself is strong.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 86.)

I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live. (Thomas More in MFAS, 113.)

The Ego - Or turn it into the ego of the servant
I am not asking you to renounce the "ripe ego", the ego that makes a man feel he is a servant of God or His devotee. Give up the "unripe ego", the ego that creates attachment to "woman and gold". The ego that makes a man feel he is God's servant, His child, is the "ripe ego". It doesn't harm one. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 790.)

The Ego - Give up the sense of doership – See Discrimination between the Real and the Unreal – Self-Enquiry – Eradicate the sense of doership

The Ego - It vanishes in samadhi, but returns later - See Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The ego, separate self, or observer vanishes for a time

Ego – It does not die altogether even in vijnana

The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samadhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

Why does a vijnani keep an attitude of love towards God? The answer is that “I-consciousness” persists. It disappears in the state of samadhi, no doubt, but it comes back. In the case of ordinary people the “I” never disappears. You may cut down the aswattha tree, but the next day sprouts shoot up. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 105.)

You may discriminate, saying that the ego is nothing at all; but still it comes, nobody knows from where. A goat's legs jerk for a few moments even after its head has been cut off. Or perhaps you are frightened in a dream; you shake off sleep and are wide awake, but still you feel your heart palpitating. Egotism is exactly like that. You may drive it away, but still it appears from somewhere. Then you look sullen and say: “What! I have not been shown proper respect!” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 210.)

You may reason a thousand times, but you cannot get rid of the ego. The ego is like a pitcher, and Brahman like the ocean -- an infinite expanse of water on all sides. The pitcher is set in the ocean. The water is both inside and out; the water is everywhere; yet the pitcher remains. ... As long as the ego remains, “you” and “I” remain. ... The ego cannot be got rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 708.)

It is impossible to get rid of the ego. Therefore it should be made to feel that it is the devotee of God, His servant. (GSR, 788.)

It is good to have a trace of ego, which makes it possible for a man to feel that he is the servant of God. As long as a man thinks that it is he who is doing his duties, it is very good for him to feel that God is the Master and he God’s servant. When one is conscious of doing work, one should establish with God the relationship of servant and Master. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 280.)

The Ego – We must master the ego before the body dies; when the ego is mastered, we know God

This is, O Son, the Guide in the way that leads thither; for thou must first forsake the Body before thy end, (1) and get the victory in this contention. (Hermes, DPH, 2.)

(1) Before thy death. One must achieve transcend the ego and gain enlightenment while alive in the body.

For it is possible for the Soul, O Son, to be deified while yet it lodgeth in the Body of Man, if it contemplate the beauty of the Good. (Hermes, DPH, 22.)

The individual self, deluded by forgetfulness of his identity with the divine Self, bewildered by his ego, grieves and is sad. But when he recognizes his worshipful lord as his own true Self, and beholds his glory, he grieves no more. (UPAN, 47.)

Now is all suffering ended; he who saw is seen no more. (The Buddha in BPM, 178.)

Self is the Lord of self, who else could be the lord? With self well-subdued, a man finds a lord as few can find. (The Buddha in TCB, 60.)

The restless, busy nature of the world, this, I declare, is the root of pain. Attain that composure of mind which is resting in the peace of immortality. Self is but a heap of composite qualities, and its world is empty like a fantasy. (The Buddha in GB, 60.)

As long as the bikkhus exercise themselves in the perception of: impermanence in all things; the non-existence of a permanent ego; ... so long may the bikkhus be expected not to decline, but to prosper. (The Buddha in BPM, 151.)

Long life it is to die and not perish. (1) (Lao-Tzu, WOL, 86.)

(1) That is, the death of the ego brings immortality.

For he that is dead (1) is freed from sin. (St. Paul in Romans 6:7.)

(1) He in whom the ego is "dead."

Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. (1) (St. Paul in II Corinthians 4:17.)

(1) The ego dies, and, as a result, I live forever in the daily experience of renewal through the blissful Spirit of God.

I protest, by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. (1) (St. Paul in II Corinthians 15:31.)

(1) My ego dies daily. It could also be referring to the fineness of St. Paul's "renewed" or "redeemed" body, which renews or reconstitutes itself in a shorter time frame than that of the ordinary mortal.

Getsuan said to his students: "Keichu, the first wheel-maker of China, made two wheels of fifty spokes each. Now, suppose you removed the nave uniting the spokes. (1) What would become of the wheel? (2) And had Keichu done this, could he be called the master wheel-maker?" (3) (Paul Reps, ZFZB, 96.)

(1) The ego, self, or mind.

(2) The structure of craving, aversion, and ignorance.
(3) The question cannot be answered from within a mundane frame of reference. If one considers wheel-makers, had Keichu done this, he would destroy the wheel and so would be no wheel-maker at all. As a Zen master, if Keichu destroyed the wheel of birth and death, then he would be the master wheel-maker, or a buddha.

Non-existence ... is death. But it is a death in accordance with the hadith, "Die before dying." The Perfect Man, when he does this, dies with a death which is consequent to and leaning on a will and he has thrown himself into the ocean of He, (1) without having feet or head or having any trace of exterior or interior being in him. There he is drowned, he is annihilated, and name or sign of him no more remains, and he becomes He. Because the drop has fallen into the ocean and become the ocean. (Ibn Arabi in KK, 37.)

(1) The Father.

Strike down my assumed "I" and destroy by Your death (1) my "I," so that I (2) no longer live, since in myself I only sin. Kill the evil beast full of false cunning and self-desire, and redeem the poor soul from its heavy bondage. (Jacob Boehme in WTC, 35.)

(1) God-realization.
(2) My false "I" or ego.

The 'I' that makes one a worldly person and attaches one to [the objects of lust and greed] is the 'wicked I'. The intervention of this ego creates the difference between jiva and Atman. (1) Water appears to be divided into two parts if one puts a stick across it. But in reality there is only one water. It appears as two on account of the stick. This 'I' is the stick. Remove the stick and there remains only one water as before. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

When shall I be free?
When 'I' shall cease to be, (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 900.)

”Father, there is nothing inside you but God.” (Mathur Nath Biswas to Paramahansa Ramakrishna, TLWG, 35.)

Ah, there is nothing inside this body [the body of Gopaler-Ma] but God. He fills it through and through. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in TLWG, 344.)

As long as God keeps the awareness of “I” in us, so long do sense-objects exist; and we cannot very well speak of the world as a dream. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 243.)

A man attains [God-Realization] as soon as his mind is annihilated. With the annihilation of the mind dies the ego, which says “I,” “I.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 776.)

Is it an easy thing to obtain the Knowledge of Brahman? It is not possible unless the mind is annihilated. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 776.)

A man attains Brahmajnana as soon as his mind is annihilated. With the annihilation of the mind dies the ego, which says “I,” “I.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 776.)

On account of the barrier of ego one does not see God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 630.)

A man achieves neither Knowledge nor liberation as long as he has egotism. He comes back again and again into the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 633.)

A man is able to see God as soon as he gets rid of ego and other limitations. He sees God as soon as he is free of such feelings as “I am a scholar,” “I am the son of such and such a person,” “I am wealthy,” “I am honourable,” and so forth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 363.)

The aspirant does not attain the Knowledge of Brahman as long as he is conscious of his ego. The ego comes under one's control after one has obtained the Knowledge of Brahman and seen God. Otherwise the ego cannot be controlled. It is difficult to catch one's own shadow. But when the sun is overhead the shadow is within a few inches of the body. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 430.)

As long as the slightest trace of ego remains, one lives within the jurisdiction of the Adyashakti [primal power]. One is under Her sway. One cannot go beyond Her. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 460.)

You may reason a thousand times, but you cannot get rid of the ego. The ego is like a pitcher, and Brahman like the ocean -- an infinite expanse of water on all sides. The pitcher is set in the ocean. The water is both inside and out; the water is everywhere; yet the pitcher remains. ... As long as the ego remains, “you” and “I” remain. ... The ego cannot be got rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 708.)

When He completely effaces the ego, then what is remains. That cannot be described by the tongue. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 801.)

According to the Vedanta one has to know the real nature of one’s own Self. But such knowledge is impossible without the renunciation of the ego. The ego is like a stick that seems to divide the water in two. It makes you feel that you are one and I am another. When the ego disappears in samadhi, then one knows Brahman to be one’s own inner consciousness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 387.)

Nowadays I do not find my 'I'; I see that it is God alone who resides in this sheath. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 846.)

When the ego disappears in samadhi one realizes Brahman as one's own inner consciousness. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 387.)

Ignorance lasts as long as one has ego. There can be no liberation as long as the ego remains. 'O God, Thou art the Doer and not I' -- that is knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 204.)

Maya is nothing but the egotism of the embodied soul. This egotism has covered everything like a veil. 'All troubles come to an end when the ego dies.' ... This maya, that is to say, the ego, is like a cloud. The sun cannot be seen on account of a thin patch of cloud; when that disappears one sees the sun. If by the grace of the guru one's ego vanishes, then one sees God. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 168-9.)

He is firmly convinced that he is the machine and God is its Operator, that God alone is the Doer and all others are His instruments. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

When the 'I' disappears, what is remains. That cannot be described in words. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 915.)

It is on account of the ego that one is not able to see God. In front of the door of God's mansion lies the stump of ego. One cannot enter the mansion without jumping over the stump. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 790.)

Each man is himself absolutely the way, the truth, and the life. But he is only so when he grasps his whole individuality firmly, and by the force of his awakened spiritual will, recognizes this individuality as not himself, but that thing which he has with pain created for his own use and by means of which he purposes, as his growth slowly develops his intelligence, to reach to the life beyond individuality. When he knows that for this his wonderful complex, separated life exists, then, indeed, and then only, he is upon the way. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 13.)

Seek in the heart the source of evil (1) and expunge it. ... Only the strong can kill it out. The weak must wait for its growth, its fruition, its death. ... He who will enter upon the path of power must tear this thing out of his heart. And then the heart will bleed, and the whole life of the man seem to be utterly dissolved. This ordeal must be endured; it may come at the first step of the perilous ladder which leads to the path of life; it may not until the last. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 7-8.)

(1) The ego.

I killed Yogananda long ago. No one dwells in this temple (1) now but God. (Paramahansa Yogananda in PATH, 219.)

(1) The body.

It is only when the experiencer ceases that there is the creative movement of the real. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 232.)

Reality cannot be sought; it is when the seeker is not. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 167.)

What is the price [of enlightenment]? Ego death. (Andrew Cohen, IDGP, 13.)

To get liberated, "I" should go. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 31.)

The thought that "I am the doer" should go. God is the doer. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 49-50.)

The fictitious me is an accumulation from the past.
All that has been accumulated becomes the “me” sense.
Only by dispelling this accumulation
does the sacred present itself. (Adyashanti, MSS.)

Freedom and love arise when you die into the unknown mystery of being. (Adyashanti, 12 January 2004, downloaded from http://charityfocus.org/insp/clubs/tow/?pg=26#page315, 16 May 2004.)

Enlightenment is not only the experience of transcending the me; it's also a condition where the me, as a separate somebody, doesn't hold importance anymore. It doesn't always start out this absolute, but this is the direction non-personal love pushes you toward. Ultimately one is either going to say "yes" to that movement of love which is completely non-personal, or to say "no." (Adyashanti, 12 January 2004, downloaded from http://charityfocus.org/insp/clubs/tow/?pg=26#page315, 16 May 2004.)

The Ego - Dissolve it through awareness

Ego - Its fears must be confronted
Fear must be faced. It must be dealt with. It must be made conscious. This brings the darkness to the light. It ends the split between ego and spirit, inner and outer. The light that comes when darkness has been fully explored is not the same light that was there when darkness was pushed away. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 24.)

The Ego - Be nothing and you'll be all
The man of knowledge ... is lost and buried in nothingness. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 35.)

The man who comes to this station is now in complete annihilation. Completely and simply he has reached non-existence. ... After this one would not speak of him as having state or station, he has here neither observation nor gnosis, and the explanation or interpretation of these is not possible because this place is a station of complete non-existence. Even the word station is used here only to explain because the person here knows neither station nor sign. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 7.)

Complete nakedness and freedom of spirit [are] necessary for divine union. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 68.)

When we are raised up to and drawn into this highest of all our experiences, all our powers stand empty and idle in a state of essential enjoyment. They are not, however, [permanently] annihilated, for in that case we should lose our creaturely status. As long as with open eyes and a spirit that is so inclined -- but without rational reflection -- we stand empty and idle, we can contemplate and enjoy. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 176.)

Ego – One cannot be an “enlightened somebody”
Do not think that enlightenment is going to make you special, it's not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred. I meet a lot of people who think they are enlightened and awake simply because they have had a very moving spiritual experience. They wear their enlightenment on their sleeve like a badge of honor. They sit among friends and talk about how awake they are while sipping coffee at a cafe. The funny thing about enlightenment is that when it is authentic, there is no one to claim it. Enlightenment is very ordinary; it is nothing special. Rather than making you more special, it is going to make you less special. It plants you right in the center of a wonderful humility and innocence. Everyone else may or may not call you enlightened, but when you are enlightened the whole notion of enlightenment and someone who is enlightened is a big joke. I use the word enlightenment all the time; not to point you toward it but to point you beyond it. Do not get stuck in enlightenment. (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Ego – The ego after liberation
When one is awake, the sense of self is something like the scent of perfume, it is purely functional -- it doesn't mean there IS a separate self. (Adyashanti, From Nonduality Salon Highlights, http://www.nonduality.com/hl981.htm, downloaded 11 March 2006.)

Ego – The ego after liberation

The “I” cannot be effaced altogether. You may explain it away through reasoning, but the next moment it reappears, nobody knows from where. It is like a goat that bleats faintly and jerks its legs even after its head has been cut off.

But the “I” that God retains in His devotee after he has seen Him is called the “ripe I.” It is like a sword turned into gold by touching the philosopher’s stone; you cannot hurt anybody with it. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1019.)

Unless one renounces the ego, one does not receive the grace of God. ... I am not asking you to renounce the "ripe ego", the ego that makes a man feel he is a servant of God or His devotee. Give up the "unripe ego", the ego that creates attachment to "woman and gold". The ego that makes a man feel he is God's servant, His child, is the "ripe ego". It doesn't harm one. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 790.)

It is good to look upon God as the Master and oneself as His servant. As long as man feels the body to be real, as long as he is conscious of “I” and “you,” it is good to keep the relationship of master and servant; it is not good to cherish the idea of “I am He.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 908.)

You see the same room whether you look at it from one side or from the middle of the room. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 908.)

I am not asking you to give up all of the “I.” You should give up only the unripe “I.” The unripe “I” makes one feel: “I am the doer. These are my wife and children. I am a teacher.” Renounce this “unripe I” and keep the ripe “I,” which will make you feel that you are the servant of God, His devotee, and that God is the Doer and you are His instrument. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 269.)

Prahlada had two moods. Sometimes he would feel that he was God. In that mood he would say, “Thou art verily I, and I am verily Thou.” But when he was conscious of his ego, he felt that God was the Master and he was His servant. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 791.)

Ego – The ego of a child

The “ego of a child” is not attached to anything. The child is beyond the three gunas; (1) he is not under the control of any of them. One moment you find him angry; the next moment it is all over. One moment you see him building his play house; the next moment he forgets all about it. Now you see him love his playmates; but if they are out of his sight a few days he forgets all about them. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 708.)

(1) In Eastern religions, the cosmic qualities of attraction, repulsion, and balance. See Gunas.

Eight Fetters

There are eight fetters. Shame, hatred, fear, caste, lineage, good conduct, grief, and secretiveness – these are the eight fetters. And they cannot be unfastened without the help of a guru. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 243-4.)

Emptiness – The enlightened mind is empty – See Nothing – The enlightened mind is empty

Emptiness – This emptiness is fulness – See Nothing – This emptiness is fullness

Emptiness – The emptiness teaching is itself an intermediate teaching – See Nothing – The emptiness teaching is itself an intermediate teaching and Nothing – This emptiness is fullness

Enlightenment – Enlightenment is the purpose of life
He who has not yet won the soul (1) has gained nothing. (Zarathustra in GZ, 112.)

(1) To win the soul, in Christian terms, would be to "be in Christ" -- to find the Father (God, Brahman) by entering into the Son (the Self, Atman) , remembering that the Son and the Father are one. (Jesus in John 10:30.)

To reach [Brahman] is said to be the greatest of all achievements. (Sri Krishna in BG, 77.)

The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. (Julian of Norwich in MJN, 60.)

There is one thing in this world which must never be forgotten. If you were to forget everything else, but did not forget that, then there would be no cause for worry; whereas if you performed and remembered and did not forget every single thing, but forgot that one thing, then you would have done nothing whatsoever. It is just as if a king had sent you to the country to carry out a specified task. You go and perform a hundred other tasks; but if you have not performed that particular task on account of which you had gone to the country, it is as if you have performed nothing at all. So man has come into this world for a particular task, (1) and that is his purpose; if he does not perform it, then he will have done nothing. (Rumi in DR, 26.)

(1) To realize God.

I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known, and I created the creation so that I be known. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 3.)

[For] the rational creature (1) to attain the sublime beauty of God and to possess it in [a] supernatural way (2) ... is [the] reason that God created heaven and earth and all that is in them. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 72.)

(1) The mortal personality.
(2) Transcending nature, the domain of the Mother; not seeing with the eyes or mind; in the state of ego-dissolution that Hindus call nirvikalpa samadhi.

The only purpose of life is to realize God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 273.)

The vision of God is the only goal of human life. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 331.)

Without the realization of God everything is futile. This is the great secret. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 95.)

Find God. Nothing else matters. (Swami Vivekananda in GLWT, 48.)

The one purpose of life is to know God. Plunge deep into the sea of bliss and become immortals. (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 54.)

Never forget that the goal of human life is to realize God, to have His vision. (Swami Premananda in GLWT, 201.)

The 'end of knowledge' is to know God -- not only to believe; to become one with God -- not just to worship afar off. Man must know the reality of the Divine Existence, and then know -- not only vaguely believe and hope -- that his own innermost Self is one with God, and that the aim of life is to realize that unity. Unless religion can guide a man to that realization, it is but 'as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.' (Annie Besant, ESO, 21-2.)

The purpose of life ... is that the only Being makes his oneness intelligible to Himself. He goes through different planes of evolution ... to make clear to Himself His oneness. And as long as this purpose is not accomplished, the one and only Being has not reached His ultimate satisfaction, in which lies His divine perfection. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 237.)

Man is in the human body for a twofold purpose; first to find the glory of God both in himself and in all life, and secondly to discover through incarnation those spiritual truths through which he will achieve infinite happiness. (White Eagle, WWE, 68.)

There is no I nor thou, but only one divine Self equal in all embodiments, equal in the individual and the group, and to realize that, to express that, to serve that, to fulfill that is all that matters. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 316.)

Though nothing definite can be predicated of Brahman, yet the search for it is not futile. The Upanishads repeatedly say that its realisation is the supreme purpose of life, because it bestows immortality. When Brahman is known all is known. (Nikhilananda, HIN, 31.)

God-Realization is our life's aim. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 2.)

Q: So what is the purpose of this personality?

A: So God can experience Himself as personality. (Adyashanti, RAH, Tape 1.)

Enlightenment – Enlightenment is the purpose of life - The purpose of life can be seen as the attainment of spiritual perfection

[God] brought all this into being as a field for His Love and Wisdom to play in, and so that He might fill His Heaven with human souls able to enjoy His bliss eternally after doing His work while in the flesh. (Zarathustra in GZ, 5.)

All mankind
Is born for perfection
And each shall attain it
Will he but follow
His nature's duty.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 126.)

When the intellect has been perfected, it unites wholly with God and is illumined by divine light, and the most hidden mysteries are revealed to it. Then it truly learns where wisdom and power lie… While it is still fighting against the passions it cannot as yet enjoy these things… But once the battle is over and it is found worthy of spiritual gifts, then it becomes wholly luminous, powerfully energized by grace and rooted in the contemplation of spiritual realities. A person in whom this happens is not attached to the things of this world but has passed from death to life. (Philokalia, 2, 355.)

Know, O beloved, that man was not created in jest or at random, but marvellously made and for some great end. (1) Although he is not from everlasting, yet he lives for ever; (2) and though his body is mean and earthly, yet his spirit is lofty and divine. When in the crucible of abstinence he is purged from carnal passions he attains to the highest, and in place of being a slave to lust and anger becomes endued [sic] with angelic qualities. Attaining that state, he finds his heaven in the contemplation of Eternal Beauty, and no longer in fleshly delights. (Al-Ghazzali in AH, 17.)

(1) Spiritual union.
(2) Although his body is temporal, his spirit is eternal.

"God so loved the world (or matter) that He gave His only begotten Son to redeem it; that is, God the Father remained hidden as Christ Intelligence in all matter and in all living beings in order to bring all things, by beautiful evolutional coaxings back to His home of All-Blessedness when they should overcome all mortal tests, and should reincarnate in matter no more; i.e., "go no more out.” (Paramahansa Yogananda in SCC, 1, 28.)

The destiny of everything that lives is that it should unfold its own nature to the maximum extent possible. (Graf von Durckheim, DLSE, 1.)

Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as the discovery of the secret of Life or the Truth
With the eye of wisdom (1)
In what manner the Field (2)
Is distinct from its Knower, (3)
How men are made free from the toils of Prakriti: (4)
His aim is accomplished,
He enters the Highest.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 105.)

(1) The Third Eye.
(2) The body, the physical world, the domain of the Mother.
(3) The Self, Atman, or soul.
(4) How men are released from the Mother's bondage.

It was not in sport that We (1) created the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them. We created them to reveal the truth. But of this most men have no knowledge. (Koran, 145.)

(1) Gabriel uses "We" to designate the angels, God's workmen in creating the world.

It is man's duty to become a seeker after God and Truth. (Anandamoyi Ma in Yogananda, AY, 451.)

It is the secret of life which will make the soul free. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 196.)

The purpose of human life is the discovery of Truth, the unitive knowledge of the Godhead. (Huxley in "Introduction" to BG, 16.)

Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as the achievement of universal unity
So with his heart serene and fearless,
Firm in his vow of renunciation,
Holding the mind from its restless roaming,
Now let him struggle to reach my oneness,
Ever-absorbed, his eyes on me always,
His prize, his purpose.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 65.)

Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as salvation
Those who, either now or after I am dead, shall be a lamp unto themselves, relying upon themselves only and not relying upon any external help, but holding fast to the truth as their lamp, and seeking their salvation in the truth alone, shall not look for assistance to any one besides themselves, it is they, Ananda, among my bhikshus, (1) who shall reach the very topmost height! (The Buddha in TCB, 50.)

(1) A Buddhist monk is called a bhikshu.

He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

... I will make him my first-born, (1) higher than the kings of the earth. (Psalm 90:26-7.)

(1) I will unite him with the Self; the birth referred to here is Liberation; thus, "he" shall become a realized Child of God. This experience is richer than any experience open to merely earthly kings.

Because he hath set his love upon me, I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (1) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. (2) (Psalm 91:14.)

(1) Perhaps chanted or repeated my name in meditation. (2) "Shew him my salvation" -- I will show him a vision that will save or liberate him from bondage to the cycle of birth and death.

He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5.)

God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation. (St. Paul in I Thessalonians 5:9.)

God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. (St. Paul in II Thessalonians 2:13.)

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (1) (II Peter 3:8-9.)

(1) Not willing that any should remain in the cycle of birth and death, but that all should achieve liberation and immortality through realization of their identity with God.

For him that gives in charity and guards himself against evil and believes in goodness, We shall smooth the path of salvation. (Koran, 24.)

The people whose karma I have taken think that they are attaining salvation through their own strength. They do not understand that it is because I have taken their karma on me. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 157.)

The Guru (or Preceptor) is the living embodiment of scriptural truths and is the agent of salvation appointed by God in response to a devotee's demands for release from all bondage of matter. (Paramanansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 8.)

Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as the fulfillment of spiritual evolution – See also Angels - Intimations of the evolution of consciousness through ranks of beings and Design of Life – God’s Plan is spiritual evolution

He created the creatures for progress, which is His desire -- that is, the practice of worship and the struggle (with evil). (Zarathustra in GZ, 141.)

And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

And behold, the Lord stood above it. (1) (Genesis 28:12-14.)

(1) Several interpretations of this vision are offered: (1) The ladder is the subtle energy system; as in a condition of Self-knowledge, the energy is freely flowing up to the crown chakra from the root chakra and again down; the Lord stands at the apex of the energy system. Cf. Shiva greeting Shakti at the crown chakra in Hindu symbology. (2) Consciousness is descending from God into matter and ascending to God from matter. (3) Another interpretation points to the metaphor of the soul's coming out from God and returning to Him. There are endless outgoings and returns: the soul goes out from the Spirit with each birth and returns with each death; the soul goes out from God upon its initial separation and returns upon the attainment of Self-knowledge; the avatar goes out from God (hence avatara or "descent") upon the commencement of his or her mission and returns upon its completion. All of these levels of meaning are implied in Jesus's saying: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." (4) Another interpretation is that it showed Jacob a particular portion of the ladder of consciousness – that traveled by the angels. (John 16:28.)

God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. (1) (Jesus in Matthew 3:9.)

(1) St. Paul recalls this statement in asserting that "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.” (I Peter 2:5.)

This assertion implies that, as souls, we have evolved through the kingdoms of matter, from stones upward. Nonetheless, another level is literal: that nothing is impossible with God and that he could raise children of stones if He wished.

I do not need to remind you ... of the fact that because of [Jesus'] generous work for salvation he himself entered the order of revealers and is called the "angel of great counsel." Indeed, when he announced what he knew of the Father, was it not as an angel? (1) (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 159.)

Cf. St. Paul: “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul: thou must be brought before Caesar. (Acts 27:23-4.)

The passage suggests that Jesus has passed from the human realm to the realm of the angels.

I died as mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man. …
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’ (Rumi, ILWL, 58.)

Level after level he traverses the seven spheres and comes down into the Globe of Fire, then Air, then Water, then falls on earth; after that to the Minerals, Plants, Angels, then visits Mankind and the Jinn.

Until he reaches the degree of human being he passes through many tribulations at every level of his descent; he meets with difficulties. Sometimes he rises; sometimes he goes low; and half a circle is completed till he is lodged with ... mankind. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 20.)

By means of the "alchemy of happiness," [man] rises from the rank of beasts to that of angels. (Al-Ghazzali, AH, 32.)

Fix no limits for your growth. It has no limits, except those you create by your own willing and thinking: therefore think only of growing, and never of being full grown. (Anon., SAO, 35.)

P>Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity.
(William Blake in AI, line 67.)

It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

The Secret Doctrine teaches … the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul – a spark of the [Universal Over-Soul] – through the Cycle of Incarnation (or “Necessity”) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term. In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (Divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the … OVER-SOUL … has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara [round of life], and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosopjhy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations. (H.P. Blavatsky, SD(A), 13.)

The really important thing is ... the knowledge of God's plan for men. For God has a plan, and that plan is evolution. When once a man has seen that and really knows it, he cannot help working for it and making himself one with it, because it is so glorious, so beautiful, so, because he knows, he is on God's side, standing for good and resisting evil, working for evolution and not for selfishness. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 17.)

When after ages of struggle and many victories the final battle is won, the final secret demanded, then you are prepared for a further path. When the final secret of this great lesson is told, in it is opened the mystery of the new way -- a path which leads out of all human experience, and which is utterly beyond human perception or imagination. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 11-2.)

The purpose of life ... is that the only Being makes his oneness intelligible to Himself. He goes through different planes of evolution ... to make clear to Himself His oneness. And as long as this purpose is not accomplished, the one and only Being has not reached His ultimate satisfaction, in which lies His divine perfection. (Hazrat Inayat Khan, WOI, 237.)

Just as there is no plant that was not once a seed, so there is no god that was not once a man. (Joan Grant, WP, 39.)

Unredeemed souls (1) desire life, and with it they desire the earth, the sky, and its starry beauties. So, in order to fulfill our desire for children, souls come on earth as fleshly human beings. Aum (2) has to create the entire universe at the behest of God the Father. Because of the endless rise and dissolution of the desires of creatures, their universe is endlessly being dissolved and recreated again. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 16.)

(1) The unenlightened, or mortals.
(2) The Holy Ghost or Divine Mother.

The dissolving of all creation is impossible until all souls cease to desire anything at all and thus become fully emancipated in God. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 16.)

If this tree … understood the Law of Cosmic Love…, it would gradually be transformed into an animal; and if the animal … applied Cosmic Love, it would be transformed into a human being and the human being – into an angel. (Beinsa Douno, “The Cosmic Love,” Lectures, 24 August 1919.)

At present man is in his age of infancy and lives according the law of necessity. When he reaches adulthood, he will live according the Law of Freedom. (Beinsa Douno, “Freedom,” WOG.)

It is the purpose of life that we should expand in consciousness. … From within himself man will receive the eternal wisdom. (White Eagle, WWE, 90-1.)

Man is learning in incarnation to to expand his consciousness, and with this expansion of consciousness comes all knowledge. (White Eagle, WWE, 92.)

The whole purpose of incarnation is this slow evolution of the spirit, its awakening in matter, to self-consciousness and God consciousness. (White Eagle, WWE, 49.)

The means of access to all the planes of life, from the physical to the dense etheric, the astral, the mental, the higher mental, and the celestial, and even beyond, is already within man; but he has to find the key and learn how to unlock the particular gate leading to them. (White Eagle, WWE, 28-9.)

You have before you the examples of the great ones who have served humanity all through the ages. This is the way of life, to love not only to enjoy yourselves but to beautify, to benefit Earth, to help forward the spiritual evolution of all life. The responsibility rests on each one; on the individual soul the whole community depends. (White Eagle, WWE, 80.)

The enlightenment for which Zen aims, for which Zen exists, comes of itself. As consciousness, one moment it does not exist, the next it does. But physical man walks in the element of time even as he walks in mud, dragging his feet and his true nature.

So even Zen must compromise and recognize progressive steps of awareness leading closer to the ever instant of enlightenment. (Paul Reps, ZFZB, 133.)

Enlightenment – The purpose of life can be seen as escape from the prison of material existence
Will be totally saddened when laid out in the earth.
(Ibn Arabi in KK, 8.)

The world does not know that we must all come to an end here; but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once. (The Buddha in TCB, 53.)

Enlightenment – God Himself has no purpose, no cause – See Design of Life – God Himself has no purpose, no cause

Enlightenment - Only God can realize God

The final victory is the Lord God's own. (Zarathustra in GZ, 23.)

[The] absolute cannot be realized or experienced by another; only the absolute can realize itself. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 46.)

And who shall reign supreme on that day? Allah, the One, the Almighty. (Koran, 160.)

Only God sees God. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 48.)

Advance, find an eye. (1) Remedy by it.
And now, look from Him to Him.

The one who journeys through all degrees and reveals Himself is Him. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 33.)

(1) The Third Eye.

I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, "O thou I!" (Bayazid of Bistun in PP, 12.)

Only grandeur appreciates grandeur: and God realizes God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in LSR, 47.)

None can comprehend Him without His grace. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 82.)

One can see God only if He turns His light toward His own face. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 174.)

Only God can know himself. Be a god, that you may know the infinite God. (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 205.)

God only can lead a man to God and no one else. (Swami Ramakrishnananda, GDI,19.)

This space I produce that My Glory shall be revealed; yet I alone Realize that Revelation. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PTS, 18.)

Enlightenment - Enlightenment is the reward for all life's trials and tribulations

The wise find bliss in all things within Thy (Majesty), O God. (Zarathustra in GZ, 205.)

The reward of all action is to found in enlightenment. (Sri Krishna in BG, 54.)

The glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. (Isaiah 58:8.)

The sufferings of the present time are not to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ...

[When] the creature ... shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (1) (St. Paul in Romans 8:18+21.)

(1) When the mortal shall achieve spiritual union.

Such is the sweetness of deep delight of these touches of God that one of them is more than recompense for all the sufferings of this life, however great their number. (St. John of the Cross in CC, 149.)

Thou O God my life has lighted,
With ray of light, steady, ineffable, vouchsafed of Thee,
Light rare untellable, lighting the very light,
Beyond all signs, descriptions, languages;
For that, O God, be it my latest word, here on my knees,
Old, poor, and paralyzed, I thank Thee.
(Walt Whitman, in old age, in CC, 233.)

If you realize God, you will get everything else. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 615.)

To know God is not the negation of all desires, but instead their complete fulfilment. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, I, 16.)

By contacting God in the world and in meditation you will find all your heart's desires fulfilled. Then you will be a true man of renunciation, for you will find that nothing is more worth-while, more pleasant or attractive than the all-beautiful, all-satisfying, all-thirst quenching, ever-new, joyous God. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 17.)

Enlightenment - Enlightenment is worth renouncing everything for

Though one should live a hundred years,
Not seeing the Region of the Deathless, (1)
Better were it for one to live a single day,
The Region of the Deathless seeing.
(The Buddha in TCB, 46.)

(1) The kingdom of heaven.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (1) (Jesus in Matthew 13:45-6.)

(1) Renounced everything and became absorbed in the Self, Atman, or Soul, which is the pearl of great price worth selling all for.

It were well to cast kingdoms aside and the domination of the entire earth and sky if, by this spurning, one might attain this vision (1). (Plotinus in EP, 41.)

(1) Of God.

Stop this day and night with me (1) and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun (there are millions of subs left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
(Walt Whitman, WR, 22.)

(1) The whole poem is full of allusions to the state of Self-Realization and the plight of unenlightened mortals. If one "stopped," as Whitman has stopped, one would be fully realized.

The bliss of worship and communion with God is the true wine, the wine of ecstatic love. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 94.)

Once you have tasted the wine of spiritual ecstacy, you will find that no other experience can compare with it. (Paramahansa Yogananda, MEQ, 161.)

I am seeking direct perception of God. Without Him, I cannot be satisfied with affiliation or creed or performance of good works. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 85.)

Enlightenment - Few seek it

Who cares to seek
For that perfect freedom?
One man, perhaps,
In many thousands.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 70.)

Out of thousands, perchance one desires for God. (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 127.)

Only one in a million sincerely longs for God, and few sustain that longing. (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 194.)

Enlightenment - Fewer attain it

To many it is not given to hear of the Self. (1) Many, though they hear of it, do not understand it. Wonderful is he who speaks of it. Intelligent is he who learns of it. Blessed is he who, taught by a good teacher, is able to understand it. (UPAN, 17.)

(1) In this lifetime.

In all the world (1) but few can know
Accomplishment apart from work, (2)
Instruction when no words are used. (3)
(Lao Tzu, WOL, 96.)

(1) Among mortals.
(2) Remaining in the the stillness of samadhi is accomplishment apart from work.
(3) God is prior to words; only in the wordless state of samadhi is God known.

Then tell me how many
Of those who seek freedom
Shall know the total
Truth of my being?
Perhaps one only.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 70.)

Fools pass blindly by the place of my dwelling
Here in the human form, and of my majesty
They know nothing at all,
Who am the Lord, their soul. (1)
(Sri Krishna in BG, 81.)

(1) The foolish fail to seek Me in the spiritual heart (or hridayam), where I dwell as the immortal soul of all.

Many are called, (1) but few are chosen. (2) (Jesus in Matthew 22:14.)

(1) Many are given God's calling cards (revelations, visions, etc.)

.
(2) But few purify themselves so that they are fit to realize the Father.

Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, (1) and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14.)

(1) Eternal life, the transcendence of the need to be reborn, attained upon vijnana or sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi..

I shall choose you, (1) one from a thousand, and two from ten thousand. (Jesus in Meyer, STJ, 24.)

(1) Enlighten you, raise you up.

For this mystery is hidden from the many, and is revealed to the few, and those the most special. So the more sublime such a level is, the fewer – in this world – are those who find it. (Richard Rolle, FOL, 51.)

Not many succeed. (Blessed Henry Suso in HSU, 130.)

The Divine Mother (1) ... gives freedom to one out of a hundred thousand. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 136.)

(1) Sri Ramakrishna worshipped God in the form of the Mother, whom he saw as inseparable from the Father or Brahman as its power of burning is inseparable from fire. Hindus would say that the Mother was his Chosen Ideal. For an account of the Mother leading Da Free John to liberation, see KOL, Original Edition, 126ff.)

Innumerable are the living beings. Only one or two among them attain liberation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 818.)

Out of a hundred thousand kites, at best but one or two break free; and Thou dost laugh and clap Thy hands, O Mother, watching them! (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 818.)

A few [householders] succeed in [spiritual life] through the grace of God and as a result of their spiritual practice. But most people fail. Entering the world, they become more and more involved in it; they drown in worldliness and suffer the agonies of death. A few only ... have succeeded, through the power of their austerity. ... Therefore spiritual practice (1) is extremely necessary; otherwise one cannot live rightly in the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 154.)

(1) By spiritual practice Sri Ramakrishna usually meant repetition of the names of God (japam), prayer, meditation, group singing (sankirtan ), and selfless service.

One in a million understands all this play of consciousness [and] transcends it. (Nisargadatta Maharaj, CAA, 70.)

Enlightenment - Whoever has sincere interest can know God
Master found no insuperable obstacle in the mergence of human and Divine. No such barrier exists, I came to understand, save in man's spiritual unadventurousness. (Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 115.)

Enlightenment – Everyone is destined to realize God one day

All mankind
Is born for perfection
And each shall attain it
Will he but follow
His nature's duty.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 126.)

The crooked shall be made straight
And the rough places plain;
The pools shall be filled
And the worn renewed…. The saying of the men of old
Is not in vain:
“The crooked shall be made straight” -
To be perfect, return to it. (Lao-Tzu in WOL, 22, 74.)

All the earth shall worship thee,
and shall sing unto thee;
they shall sing to thy name. (Psalm 66:4.)

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:3-5.)

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. (Isaiah 29:24.)

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habbakuk 2:14.)

There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. (1) (Jesus in Matthew 10:26.)

(1) Jesus' statement has many levels of application. One is that everyone shall know all eventually. Another is that there is no sin that shall not be found out.

And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (1)

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, (2) and believeth on him, (3) may have everlasting life: (4) and I will raise him up at the last day. (5) (Jesus in John 6:39-40.)

(1) Raise it up again at the last day = bring all persons to the Father; unite them with the Father on the last day of their mortality, the day on which enlightenment occurs. Why "again"? Because the individual is already Self-realized and merely recovers that state on the first day of immortality, losing the dualistic consciousness that obscures the Father/Self and obliges it repeatedly to be reborn and die.
(2) Seeth the Light, experience the Self or Atman. Cf. Yogananda: "Jesus said, 'to all those that received Him, to them He gave the power to become the Sons of God.' The plural number in 'Sons of God' shows distinctly from His own lips that not His body but His spirit was the only begotten Son, and all those could become Sons of God who [achieve enlightenment]." (SCC, 1, 28.)


(3) Attach himself to the Son or Self and become absorbed in contemplation of it on the altar of the heart.
(4) May win immortality or eternal life by realizing the Self fully as one with the Father.
(5) And I, as his Chosen Ideal and Savior, will raise him up to the Father, will appear to my devotee and lead him to salvation on the day of God-realization.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, (1) and there shall be no more death. (2) (Jesus in Revelation 21:4.)

(1) God-realization will bring them boundless joy and freedom from the miseries of mortal life.
(2)They need no longer reincarnate or be reborn and die.

Eternal life ... God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. (St. Paul in Titus 1:2.)

God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. (St. Paul in II Thessalonians 2:13.)

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

… ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (St. Paul in Ephesians 1:9-20, 13-14.)

We all [shall] come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the ... fulness of Christ. (1) (St. Paul in Ephesians 4:13.)

(1) We shall all be Christlike and realize God one day.

The Lord is … not willing that any should perish. (II Peter 3:9.)

… every eye shall see him. (Rev. 1:7.)

The Light beyond all deity … is there at the centre of everything and everything has it for a destiny. (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 54.)

All will surely realize God. All will be liberated. It may be that some get their meal in the morning, some at noon, and some in the evening; but none will go without food. All, without any exception, will certainly know the real Self. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 818.)

Everybody will surely be liberated. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

Everyone can attain Knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 205.)

Let me tell you that the realization of Self is possible for all, without any exception. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 256.)

The Mother will not allow any of her children to go hungry. He who is hungry in the morning will be fed in the morning. He whose appetite is aroused late in the evening will be fed in the evening. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in RAWSH, 172.)

One day you will have all knowledge. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 27.)

Whoever it may be, he who has sincere interest can know and see God. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 49.)

Enlightenment – We will see Him when the time is right – See also Mother, Divine – Enlightenment comes when She withdraws Her veil

It is all decided beforehand by God what each one shall receive. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 369.)

One can see God only if He turns His light toward His own face. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 174.)

Both worldliness and liberation depend on God’s will. It is God alone who has kept man in the world in a state of ignorance; and man will be free when God, of His own sweet will, calls him to Himself. It is like the mother calling the child at meal-time, when he is out playing. When the time comes for setting a man free, God makes him seek the company of holy men. Further, it is God who makes him restless for spiritual life. … When that restlessness comes, man longs for God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 225.)

[God] is constantly attracting us, as a magnet attracts iron. But the iron cannot come to the magnet if it is covered with dirt. When the dirt is washed away, the iron is instantly drawn to the magnet. Weep for God and the tears will wash away the dirt from your mind. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1024.)

Can you weep for Him with intense longing of heart? Men shed a jugful of tears for the sake of their children, for their wives, or for money. But who weeps for God? So long as the child remains engrossed with its toys, the mother looks after her cooking and other household duties. But when the child no longer relishes the toys, it throws them aside and yells for its mother. Then the mother takes the rice-pot down from the hearth, runs in haste, and takes the child in her arms. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 149.)

The mother bird doesn’t break the shell until the chick inside the egg is matured. The egg is hatched in the fullness of time. It is necessary to practise some spiritual discipline. The guru no doubt does everything for the disciple; but at the end he makes the disciple work a little himself. When cutting down a big tree, a man cuts almost through the trunk; then he stands aside for a moment, and the tree falls down with a crash. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 363.)

It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God after many births. Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

Enlightenment - To have eternal life – that is, to be freed from the need to reincarnate – requires that we realize God – See also Death – Reincarnation

God and the Father is Light and Life, of which Man is made. If therefore thou learn and believe thyself to be of the Life and Light, thou shalt again pass into Life. (Hermes, DPH, 13.)

[The knower of God] becomes immortal. (UPAN, 48.)

Blessed is the man who while he yet lives realizes Brahman. The man who realizes him not suffers his greatest loss. When they depart this life, the wise, who have realized Brahman as the Self in all beings, become immortal. (1) (UPAN,31.)

(1) The death of this body is the last death he need ever endure. Moreover, as Paramahansa Yogananda has said above, death for the knower of Brahman is not the traumatic experience it is for the unrealized.

For ever and everlasting [the God-realized one] eternally remains in all glory with the Spiritual Angels. (Zarathustra in GZ, 136.)

All the worlds ... are subject to the laws of rebirth. But, for the man who comes to me, (1) there is no returning. (Sri Krishna in BG, 76.)

(1) Who realizes God (or Brahman).

Realize Brahman, and there will be no more returning to this world -- the home of all sorrows. (Shankara in CJD, 69.)

Seek ye me, and ye shall live. (Amos 5:4.)

Whoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. (1)

And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: (2) but the Son abideth ever. (3)

If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, (4) ye shall be free indeed. (Jesus in John 8:34-6.)

(1) Whoever committeth sin is obliged to reap the harvest of his actions by being reborn; he cannot escape it.
(2) The servant of karma, or the mortal individual, must leave the spiritual kingdom eventually, to be reborn.
(3) The Atman or Self abides with the Father or Brahman forever.
(4) If the divine vision of the Atman or Self makes you free, you shall never need to be reborn again.

He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (1)

I am that bread of life. (2) ...

If any man eat of this bread, (3) he shall live for ever. (Jesus in John 6:47-8 and 51.)

(1) He shall win immortality.
(2) I, the Christ, the resplendent Self, Soul, or Atman, am eternal life; I am the way to God, the truth of God, and eternal life. No one realizes God save by realizing me.
(3) Accept me as his savior and guide, see me with inward vision, and realize my identity with the Father.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. (1) (Jesus in Revelation 3:12.)

(1) Into the mortal round of reincarnation.

Neither can they (1) die any more: (2) for they are equal unto the angels; (3) and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (4) (Jesus in Luke 20:36.)

(1) The God-realized
(2) Be subject to mortal birth and death.
(3) They are immortals.
(4) The resurrection = spiritual union.

If Christ be in you, (1) the body is dead because of sin, (2) but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (3) (St. Paul in Romans 8:10.)

(1) If you realize the Self or Christ within you.
(2) The flesh shall perish, according to the natural law to which it is subject.
(3) But the eternal Self shall be liberated from the round of mortality because of righteousness.

He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; (1) but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (2) (St. Paul in Galatians 6:8.)

(1) The worldly-minded must return to this veil of misery. They have sown the seed of worldly desire and must reap its harvest.
(2) The spiritually-minded eventually reap the harvest of immortality.

For we that are in this tabernacle (1) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, (2) but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (3) (St. Paul in II Corinthians 5:4.)

(1) The body.
(2) Have the body removed in death.
(3) Be enlightened, transformed, that God-realization might transform and renew the body and swallow up all worldly desires and, with them, mortal death.

Enlightenment - Flesh and blood cannot know God

Some will say, How are the dead (1) raised up? (2) And with what body do they come? (3)

Thou, fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: (4) X ... There are ... celestial bodies, (5) and bodies terrestrial: (6) but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. (7)

... So also is the resurrection of the dead. (8) It is sown in corruption; (9) it is raised in incorruption. (10)

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. ...

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; (11) neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (12)

Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (13)

In a moment, (14) in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: (15) for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (16)

For this corruptible must put on incorruptible, and this mortal must put on immortality. (17)

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (18)

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (St. Paul in I Corinthians 15:35-55.)

(1) Mortals, the unenlightened, who are "dead" to Spirit or unconscious of it. This passage does not refer to the dead body, which returns to dust and is never resurrected.
(2) Made immortal, enlightened.
(3) To God.
(4) Our earthly or carnal desires and actions, which we sow, and by extension, our ego, which must die.
(5) The eternal Self (the Christ in us) and its higher, non-physical sheaths.
(6) The physical and astral bodies.
(7) The glory of the celestial bodies is in enlightenment, God-realization; the glory of the terrestrial bodies lies in lesser worldly aims like ambition, pride of accomplishment, gratification of the senses, etc. Notice the paradoxical nature of these statements: the glory of the celestial cannot be compared to the glory of the terrestrial: they are in different domains. The one, the glory of the terrestrial, when compared to that of the celestial, is not a glory at all.
(8) The attainment of full enlightenment, raising one from mortality to immortality.
(9) It is sown in, or comes about as a result of our righteous deeds while in the body (or the flesh, corruption).
(10) It is raised in complete separation from and annihilation of everything fleshly or corrupt.
(11) Nothing physical can enter the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven.
(12) Neither can evil deeds and sensuality win us heaven.
(13) Not everyone shall remain unconscious of God and the spiritual life. Some will wake up and realize the Self. All will eventually.
(14) Enlightenment happens in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
(15) Probably the sound of Aum reverberating in the spinal centers. Yogananda suggests: "The intelligent holy vibration, or the first manifestation of God the Father, ... manifests as the cosmic sound of Aum, or Amen, which can be heard in meditation. ... This cosmic sound manifests as the astral sounds of harps, bells, etc., (microcosmic cosmic energy) in the astral body of man." (SCC, 1, 17-8.)


(16) The unenlightened shall all one day be purified and raised beyond the touch of materiality to the exalted state of God-realization.
(17) It is God's plan for everyone that they move from darkness into light, from unenlightenment into enlightenment.
(18) Mortality shall be swallowed up in immortality.

Enlightenment - None can stand before God’s Light

Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope. (Malachi 3:2.)

(1) I.e., the light of the Father.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face. (Ezekiel 1:28.)

Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with the fine gold of Uphaz:

His body also was like beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. …

There remained no strength in me….

Yet heard I the voice of the words: and when I hear the voice of the words, then was I in deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. (Daniel 10: 5-6, 8-9.)

... my human brain
Stagger'd beneath the vision, and thick night
Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.

With ministering hand [the seraph] rais'd me up:
Then with a mournful and ineffable smile,
Which but to look on for a moment fill'd
My eyes with irresistible sweet tears...

"There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway
The heart of man: and teach him to attain
By shadowing forth the Unattainable...."
(Alfred Lord Tennyson in ECST, 401-2.)

Enlightenment - How will it be won?

The secret of immortality is to be found in purification of the heart, in meditation, in realization of the identification of the Self within and Brahman without. For immortality is union with God. (UPAN, 13.)

By learning, a man cannot know him, if he desist not from evil, if he control not his senses, if he quiet not his mind, and practice not meditation. (UPAN, 19.)

The ancient, effulgent being, in-dwelling Spirit, (1) subtle, deep-hidden in the lotus of the heart, is hard to know. But the wise man, following the path of meditation, knows himself and is freed alike from pleasure and from pain. ... When a man is free from desire, his mind and senses purified, he beholds the glory of the Self and is without sorrow. (UPAN, 17-8.)

(1) The Father, the Transcendental or Universal Self, or Paramatman.

I bring you great and good news. There is a way from the crushing miseries of this transitory life to real happiness, and it is open to all. But the way is hard, and there is no magical method of making it easy. It means strenuous and constant self-examination; it means renouncing all that you foolishly prize now -- your present self, in fact, with all the ignorant cravings and blind urges that make it what it is. No one can tread this path for you, neither god nor man; you must tread it for yourself. So begin now. (The Buddha in TCB, 52.)

Those who wish to attain oneness must practice undiscriminating virtue.
They must dissolve all ideas of duality: good and bad, beautiful and ugly, high and low.
They will be obliged to abandon any mental bias born of cultural or religious belief.
Indeed, they should hold their minds free of any thought which interferes with their understanding of the universe as a harmonious oneness.

The beginning of these practices is the beginning of liberation. (Lao-Tzu, HHC, 9.)

A man who is born with tendencies toward the Divine is fearless and pure in heart. He perseveres in that path to union with Brahman which the scriptures and his teacher have taught him. He is charitable. He can control his passions. He studies the scriptures regularly, and obeys their directions. He practises spiritual disciplines. He is straightforward, truthful, and of an even temper. He harms no one. He renounces the things of the world. He has a tranquil mind and an unmalicious tongue. He is compassionate toward all. He is not greedy. He is gentle and modest. He abstains from useless activity. He has faith in the strength of his higher nature. (Sri Krishna in BG, 114.)

Hour by hour resolve firmly ... to do what comes to hand with correct and natural dignity, and with humanity, independence, and justice. Allow your mind freedom from all other considerations. This you can do if you will approach each action as though it were your last, dismissing the wayward thought, the emotional recoil from the commands of reason, the desire to create an impression, the admiration of self, the discontent with your lot. (Marcus Aurelius, MED, 46.)

What is this vision like? How is it attained? How will one see this immense beauty that dwells, as it were, in inner sanctuaries and comes not forward to be seen by the profane?

Let him who can arise, withdraw into himself, forego all that is known by the eyes, turn aside forever from the bodily beauty that was once his joy. He must not hanker after the graceful shapes that appear in bodies, but know them for copies, for traceries, for shadows, and hasten away towards that which they bespeak. ... Withdraw into yourself and look. ... Do as does the sculptor of a statue that is to be beautified: he cuts away here, he smooths it there, he makes this line lighter, this other one purer, until he disengages beautiful lineaments in the marble. Do you this, too. Cut away all that is excessive. straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labor to make all one radiance of beauty. Never cease "working at the statue" until there shines out upon you from it the divine sheen of virtue.... Have you become like this? Do you see yourself, abiding within yourself, in pure solitude? Does nothing now remain to shatter that interior unity, nor anything cling to your authentic self? Are you entirely that sole true light which is not contained by space, not confined to any circumscribed form, not diffused as something without term, but ever immeasurable as something greater than all measure and something more than all quantity? Do you see yourself in this state? Then you have become vision itself. Be of good heart. Remaining here you have ascended aloft. You need a guide no longer. Strain and see. (Plotinus in EP, 40-3.)

You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousand things one by one will return to the root -- return to the root and know why. Dark and undifferentiated chaos -- to the end of life none will depart from it. But if you try to know it, you have already departed from it. Do not ask what its name is, do not try to observe its form. Things will live naturally and of themselves. (Chuang Tzu in CWCT, 122.)

If a person wishes to see in a supernatural way in the interior life, three things are necessary. The first of these is the light of God's grace in a higher way than that which can be experienced in a life of exterior works without fervent interior zeal. The second is the stripping of all strange images and solicitude from the heart, so that a person may be free and imageless, delivered from attachments and empty of all creatures. (1) The third thing ... is a free turning of the will and a gathering together of all bodily and spiritual powers in such a way that the will, unencumbered by any inordinate affection, might flow into the Unity of God and of the mind. (2) This allows the rational creature to attain the sublime Unity of God and to possess it in a supernatural way. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 71-2.)

It might be that God could give all this to a person in one instant. But he usually does not do that. It must generally be attained by struggle and toil. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 133.)

God reveals Himself to the devotee who thinks of Him as his nearest and dearest. Because you do not draw response by praying to Him once, you must not conclude that He does not exist. Pray to God, thinking of Him as dearer than your very self. He is much attached to His devotees. He comes to a man even before He is sought. There is none more intimate and affectionate than God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 50.)

God favours those who can weep for Him. Tears shed for God wash away the sins of former births. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 60.)

A man should reach the Nitya, the Absolute, by following the trail of the Lila, the Relative. It is like reaching the roof by the stairs. After realizing the Absolute, he should climb down to the Relative, and live on that plane in the company of devotees, charging his mind with the love of God. This is my final and most mature opinion. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 257.)

Look here. Only repeating the word “siddhi” will not produce intoxication. You must actually get some hemp, rub it in water, and then drink the solution. (Letter from Aswini Kumar Dutta to “M,” with reminiscences of PR in GSR, 1024-5.)

At a certain point, when we have done all we can [to bring about an abiding union with the divine], the divine steps in and takes over. (Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 131.)

The ultimate state is ever present and always now. The only thing that makes it difficult to find that state and remain in that state is people wanting to retain their pposition in space and time. "I want to know where I'm going. I want to know if I've arrived. I want to know who to love and hate. I want to know. I don't really want to be; I want to know. Isn't enlightenment the ultimate state of knowing?" No. It's the ultimate state of being. The price is knowing. This is the beautiful thing about the truth, ever-present, always here, totally free, given freely: It's already there. That which is ever presently awake is free, free for the "being." (Adyashanti, “The Only Price,” 2004, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

But the only way that there's total and final absolute homecoming is when the humanness presents itself with the same unconditionality. Every time a human being touches into that unconditionality, it's such peace and fulfillment. (Adyashanti, “The Only Price,” 2004, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

For the humanness to lay itself down - your mind, your body, your hopes, your dreams, everything - to lay itself down in the same unconditional manner in which awareness is ever present, only then is there the direct experience of unity, that you and the highest truth are really one thing. It expresses itself through your humanity, through openness, through love. The divine becomes human and the human becomes divine - not in any "high and mighty" sense, but just in the sense of reality. That's the way it is. The only price is all of our positions. The only price is that you stop paying a price. (Adyashanti, “The Only Price,” 2004, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Enlightenment – Is it sudden or gradual?

There are viewpoints that awakening is sudden and total, and there are schools of gradual awakening. In my experience, both occur. For some people the awakening out of their personal identity is going to happen all at once and instantly. For others, it sort of creeps up on them until at some point they notice they are no longer exclusively identified with their “me-ness,” their personality. It can really run the gamut on how the awakening displays itself. (Adyashanti, “Spontaneous Awakening, an Interview,” downloaded from http://store.yahoo.com/soundstruestore/interview-adyashanti.html, 12 March 2006.)

Enlightenment – Enlightenment is non-personal

Q: Would you claim that you are enlightened?  

A: Well, no, not with a straight face. I would say enlightenment is enlightened and awakeness is awake. It’s not an experience; it’s a fact.

Enlightenment is not only the experience of transcending the me; it's also a condition where the me, as a separate somebody, doesn't hold importance anymore. It doesn't always start out this absolute, but this is the direction non-personal love pushes you toward. Ultimately one is either going to say "yes" to that movement of love which is completely non-personal, or to say "no." (Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://charityfocus.org/insp/clubs/tow/?pg=26#page315, delivered 12 January 2004, 16 May 2004.

Enlightenment – Enlightenment is a gamble

Time to cash in your chips
put your ideas and beliefs on the table.
See who has the bigger hand
you or the Mystery that pervades you.

Time to scrape the mind's shit
off your shoes
undo the laces
that hold your prison together
and dangle your toes into emptiness.

Once you've put everything
on the table
once all of your currency is gone
and your pockets are full of air
all you've got left to gamble with
is yourself.

Go ahead, climb up onto the velvet top
of the highest stakes table.
Place yourself as the bet.
Look God in the eyes
and finally
for once in your life
lose.
(Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/A/Adyashanti/Enlightenmen.htm, 11 March 2006.)

Enlightenment – Enlightenment does not have to look extraordinary

All of us feel like we’re not the chosen ones. Most of us feel pretty ordinary, and if we have this conscious or unconscious belief that enlightenment is rare—that it’s for only very extraordinary people—it totally contradicts our experience because we’re not extraordinary, most of us, and we feel very ordinary, and we don’t feel like rare chosen people. And so this idea, it is one of the, if not the most powerful impediment to awakening. We have images of the awake being, and they are all sort of halo-enshrouded, with long hair, wearing flowing gowns. And if they are doing anything in life they’re always teaching, and they always have disciples, and people falling at their feet. These images are out there, and yet it’s simply not so. It’s very hard for our minds to get that enlightenment can look like your grandmother, or the grocer. Enlightenment doesn’t need to look in any way extraordinary. (Adyashanti, “Spontaneous Awakening, an Interview,” downloaded from http://store.yahoo.com/soundstruestore/interview-adyashanti.html, 12 March 2006.)

Enlightenment - It will not be attained through beliefs - See Beliefs

Enlightenment - It will not be attained through book-learning - See See Intellectuals – Pro: Can reach God, Intellectuals – Con: Cannot reach God, and Scriptures

Enlightenment – Purity is essential - Purity - Is essential for enlightenment

Enlightenment – Longing is essential – See Longing for Liberation

Enlightenment - Achieve enlightenment before concerning yourself with the things of the world

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Jesus in Matthew 6:33.)

If you realize God, you will get everything else. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 615.)

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. (Jesus in John 6:27.)

First of all set up God in the shrine of your heart, and then deliver lectures as much as you like. ... First of all dive deep. Plunge to the bottom and gather up the gems. Then you may do other things. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 125.)

You may say, even though you dive deep you are still in danger of sharks and crocodiles, of lust and anger. But dive deep after rubbing your body with turmeric powder; then sharks and crocodiles will not come near you. The turmeric is discrimination and renunciation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 543.)

Enlightenment - Do not waste a moment of this precious life

How shall the wise man, who desires tranquillity, wait for old age, when he knows not when the time of death will be?

When death stands ready like a hunter, with old age as his weapon, and diseases scattered about as his arrows, smiting down living creatures who fly like deer to the forest of destiny, what desire can there be in any one for length of life?

It well befits the youthful son or the old man or the child ... to [choose] with all promptitude ... the action of the religious man... nay, better still, his inactivity. (1) (The Buddha in BMT, 120.)

(1) His tranquillity and meditation.

Life is impermanent. No one knows when it will end. Exert yourself to secure that treasure which will give you immortal life. (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 130.)

Enlightenment – Stages – Cautionary note

Bhagavan explained [that], although there were no actual stages in Self-realization, there was a deepening of one’s Sadhana. (Sadhu Arunachala of Ramana Maharshi, SRRM, 46.)

I don’t think we should get locked in to any stage theory [of enlightenment]; it is always someone else’s retrospective view of his or her own journey, which may not include our experiences or insights. Our obligation is to be true to our own insights, our own inner light. (1) (Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 131.)

(1)While Bernadette Roberts issues this warning, other masters assert that there are knowable stages. Not having a definitive answer myself, I give both sides of the story.

Enlightenment – Stages - Getting stuck halfway

Many spiritual seekers get "stuck" in emptiness, in the absolute, in transcendence. They cling to bliss, or peace, or indifference. When the self-centered motivation for living disappears, many seekers become indifferent. They see the perfection of all existence and find no reason for doing anything, including caring for themselves or others. I call this "taking a false refuge." It is a very subtle egoic trap; it's a fixation in the absolute and all unconscious form of attachment that masquerades as liberation. It can be very difficult to wake someone up from this deceptive fixation because they literally have no motivation to let go of it. Stuck in a form of divine indifference, such people believe they have reached the top of the mountain when actually they are hiding out halfway up its slope.

Enlightenment does not mean one should disappear into the realm of transcendence. To be fixated in the absolute is simply the polar opposite of being fixated in the relative. With the dawning of true enlightenment, there is a tremendous birthing of impersonal Love and wisdom that never fixates in any realm of experience. To awaken to the absolute view is profound and transformative, but to awaken from all fixed points of view is the birth of true nonduality. If emptiness cannot dance, it is not true Emptiness. If moonlight does not flood the empty night sky and reflect in every drop of water, on every blade of grass, then you are only looking at your own empty dream. I say, Wake up! Then, your heart will be flooded with a Love that you cannot contain. (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Enlightenment - Stages

The Good ... generously reveals a firm, transcendent beam, granting enlightenments proportionate to each being, and thereby draws sacred minds upward to its permitted contemplation, to participation and to the state of becoming like it. (Pseudo-Dionysius, CWPD, 50.)

According to the Vaishnavas ... he who has just set foot on the path may be called a pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's name and glories. He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner experience that God exists. ... There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely perfect.' It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very intimately. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 114.)

After great effort and spiritual practice the Kundalini is awakened. According to the yogis there are three nerves in the spinal column: Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. Along the Sushumna are six lotuses, or centres, the lowest being known as the Muladhara. Then come successively Svadisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, and Ajna. These are the six centres. (1) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

(1) The Sahasrara, or crown chakra, makes the seventh.

The Vedas speak of seven planes where the mind dwells. When the mind is immersed in worldliness it dwells in the three lower planes -- at the navel, the organ of generation, and the organ of evacuation. In that state the mind loses all its higher visions -- it broods only on [lust and greed]. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 150.)

There is much similarity between the seven 'planes' described in the Vedanta and the six 'centres' of Yoga. The first three planes of the Vedas may be compared to the first three Yogic centres, namely, Muladhara, Svadisthana, and Manipura. With ordinary people the mind dwells in these three planes, at the organs of evacuation and generation and at the navel. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

The mind of a worldly man generally moves among the three lower centres: those at the navel, at the sexual organ, and at the organ of evacuation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: 'What is this? What is this?' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

The more you advance toward God, the less you will see of His glories and grandeur. The aspirant at first has a vision of the Goddess with ten arms; there is a great display of power in that image. The next vision is that of the Deity with two arms; there are no longer ten arms holding various weapons and missiles. Then the aspirant has a vision of Gopala, in which there is no trace of power. It is the form of a tender child. Beyond that there are other visions also. The aspirant then sees only Light. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 177.)

From within He creates the various states of mind. After passing through the six centres, the jiva goes beyond the realm of maya and becomes united with the Supreme Soul. This is the vision of God. (Paramahamsa Ramakrishna in GSR 243.)

When through japam and meditation a little awakening comes, (1) do not imagine you have achieved the end. Light! More Light! Onward! Onward! Attain God! Gain his vision! Talk to him! (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 61.)

(1) The vision of the Child.

The description of the status of knowledge to which we aspire, determines the means of knowledge which we shall use. That status of knowledge may be summed up as a supramental realisation which is prepared by mental representations through various mental principles in us and once attained again reflects itself more perfectly in all the members of the being. It is a re-seeing and therefore a remoulding of our whole existence in the light of the Divine and One and Eternal free from subjection to the appearances of things and the externalities of our superficial being.

Such a passage from the human to the divine, from the divided and discordant to the One, from the phenomenon to the eternal Truth, such an entire rebirth or the new birth of the soul must necessarily involve two stages, one of preparation in which the soul and its instruments must become fit and another of actual illumination and realisation in the prepared soul through its fit instruments. There is indeed no rigid line of demarcation in sequence of Time between these two stages; rather they are necessary to each other and continue simultaneously. For in proportion as the soul becomes fit it increases in illumination and rises to higher and higher, completer and completer realisations, and in proportion as these illuminations and these realisations increase, becomes fit and its instruments more adequate to their task: there are soul-seasons of illumined growth and culminating soul-moments more or less prolonged of illumined possession, moments that are transient like the flash of the lightning, yet change the whole spiritual future, moments also that extend over many human hours, days, weeks in a constant light or blaze of the Sun of Truth. And through all these the soul once turned Godward grows towards the permanence and perfection of its new birth and real existence. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 294-5.)

Whatever be our spiritual path, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or Sufi, the three stages we all have to follow are purification, meditation, and experience of the divine reality or Godhead. (Swami Yatiswarananda in VMM, 133-4.)

Strictly speaking, the terms "purgative," "illuminative," and "unitive" [often used of the contemplative path] do not refer to discrete stages, but to a way of travel where "letting go," "insight," and "union" define the major experiences of the journey. To illustrate the continuum, authors come up with various stages, depending on the criteria they are using. St. Teresa, for example, divided the path into seven stages, or "mansions." (Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 131.)

I am convinced that the contemplative life is composed of two distinct and separate movements, well marked and defined by the nature of their experiences alone. The first movement is toward self's union with God which runs parallel with the psychological process of integration, wherein the emphasis is on interior trials and dark nights by which the self is established in a permanent union with God -- the still-point and axis of its being. In this process we discover that the self is not lost; rather a new self has been found that now functions as an undivided unit from its deepest, innermost center. (1)

Following this first movement is an interval (twenty years in my case) during which this union is tested. ... It seems that at the end of this [intervening] period a point is reached where the self is so completely aligned with the still-point it can no longer be moved, even in its first movements, from this center. It can no longer be tested by any force or trial, nor moved by the winds of change, and at this point the self has obviously outgrown its function; it is no longer needed or useful and life can go on without it. We are ready to move on, to go beyond the self, beyond even its most intimate union with God, and this is where we enter yet another new life -- a life best categorized, perhaps, as a life without a self. (2) (Bernadette Roberts, ENS, 11-2.)

(1) In this work, we have called this stage Brahmajnana or kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) Because mystics use different terms to define the enlightenments they attain, I cannot be sure how the No-Self experience that Roberts had after the twenty-year interval would be referred to by other mystics. The best I can do is guess that it was an experience of vijnana or sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, but I confess I am not certain of it.

The awakening of the Kundalini is the beginning of spiritual consciousness, and its union with Siva in the Sahasrara, ending in samadhi [absorption in God], is the consummation. (1) (Swami Nikhilananda in GSR, 22.)

(1) As we shall see here, the union of the kundalini with Siva in the Sahasrara is “a” consummation, but not “the” consummation. Enlightenment turns out to be virtually endless.

Enlightenment - Stages – Stages of the journey epitomized in the Bible

And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes. (1) And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. (2) And thou shalt set bounds upon the people (3) round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:

There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: (4) when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up the mount. (5) (Exodus 19:9-13.)

(1) Their clothes are the spiritual garments in which we are clothed: our thoughts, feelings, and desires.
(2) Mount Sinai is a metaphor for the energy circuit comprising the body, the sushumna (or nerve canal), and the chakra. The top of Mount Sinai corresponds to the sahasrar or crown chakra.
(3) The people represent the human part of the individual: the thoughts, feelings, and desires. The "beasts" referred to in verse 13 represents the animal part of the individual: the sensations, appetites, and habits. These must be renounced and left behind before journeying up the mount. The top of the mount is illustrated in St. John of the Cross' diagram of the summit of Mount Carmel, in the front of this book and in Kavanaugh and Roderiguez, Collected Works, 67, where the summit is represented as the top of the human head. It was perhaps the crown chakra that King David was referring to when he said: "His foundation is in the holy mountain." (Psalm 87:1.)


(4) It cannot "live," or be a living concern, and the aspirant remain pure and able to reach the mountain's summit.
(5) The trumpet is the sound of Aum or Amen, the noise of many waters, the voice in the silence, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: the sound of the Holy Spirit, heard just prior to enlightenment.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, (1) and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments (2) which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. (Exodus 24:12.)

(1) The metaphorical allusion is probably to the spiritual energy rising in the sushumna to the mount, or crown chakra.
(2) The Knowledge of Self.

Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar; (1) and sanctify it; (2) and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy. (3) (Exodus 29:37.)

(1) The spiritual heart or Hridayam. Since the flame burning on the altar, in the code in which the Bible was written, signifies the Christ, Soul, or Self, the altar itself must signify the Father. On the Biblical code itself, see http://www.space2/light11/code.html.
(2) Assume an attitude of sacredness. The altar itself needs no purification.
(3) Nothing physical can touch the Father; moreover, the sight of the Father spiritualizes the individual.

Enlightenment - Stages - In Buddhism - See also Buddhism - What constitutes enlightenment?

I will therefore teach you what is called the Mirror of Truth. If a disciple of the noble ones possesses that he may, if he wishes, discern of himself: "Hell is destroyed for me, and so is rebirth as an animal, or a ghost, or in any place of misery. I am a sotapanna, no longer liable to be reborn in a state of suffering, and am assured after this of attaining to the enlightenment of arahatship." (The Buddha speaking of the sotapanna in BPM,160.)

The goal, the summum bonum, the reality to which early Buddhist religious philosophy points is not often mentioned. But although it is mentioned rarely, it is frequently hinted at. In direct terms it is called nibbana. It is described in a passage in a text called Udana:

Monks, there is a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be apparent no escape from this, here, that is born, become, made, compounded. (Ling, BPM, xiii.)

Now these stages of deliverance, Ananda are eight in number. What are the eight?

A man possessed of form sees form -- this is the first stage of deliverance.

Unaware of his own form, he sees forms external to himself -- this is the second stage of deliverance.

With the thought "it is well", he becomes intent -- this is the third stage of deliverance.

By passing quite beyond all idea of form, by putting an end to all ideas of sensory impact, by paying no attention to the idea of multiformity, he, thinking "it is all infinite space", reaches [mentally] and remains in the state of mind in which the idea of the infinity of space is the only idea that is present -- this is the fourth stage of deliverance.

By passing quite beyond all idea of space being the infinite basis, he, thinking "it is all infinite reason", reaches [mentally] and remains in a state of mind to which the infinity of reason is alone present -- this is the fifth stage of deliverance.

By passing quite beyond the consciousness of the infinity of reason, he, thinking "nothing at all exists", reaches mentally and remains in the state of mind to which nothing at all is specially present -- this is the sixth stage of deliverance.

By passing quite beyond all ideas of nothingness he reaches mentally and remains in the state of mind to which neither ideas nor the absence of ideas are specially present -- this is the seventh stage of deliverance.

By passing quite beyond the state of "neither ideas nor the absence of ideas" he reaches mentally and remains in the state of mind in which both sensations and ideas have ceased to be -- this is the eighth stage of deliverance. (Buddhe in BPM, 171.)

This was the last word of the Tathagata!

Then the Master entered into the first stage of meditation. Rising out of the first stage he passed into the second. Rising out of the second he passed into the third. Rising out of the third stage he passed into the fourth. And rising out of the fourth stage of meditation he entered into the sphere of the infinity of space.

And passing out of the sphere of the infinity of space he entered into the sphere of the infinity of consciousness. And passing out of the sphere of the infinity of consciousness he entered into the sphere in which nothing exists. And passing out of the sphere of nothingness, he fell into the sphere of ‘neither-perception-nor-nonperception’. And passing out of the sphere of 'neither-perception-nor-nonperception' he entered the sphere of the 'cessation-of-perception-experience'. ...

Then the Master, passing out of that sphere, ... continued in the reverse order through the spheres and the stages of meditation, to the first stage; from this he passed again to the second stage, then to the third stage, and then to the fourth stage of meditation. From the fourth stage of meditation the Master passed immediately into Parinibbana. (The Buddha in BPM, 204-5.)

The devout Sudatta, ... by the complete destruction of the three fetters and by the reduction to a minimum of greed, hate, and delusion, has become a 'once-returner' who, after one more return to this world, will make an end of suffering. The devout Sugata, ... by the complete destruction of the three fetters, has become converted, is no longer liable to be reborn in a state of suffering, and is assured after this of attaining to the enlightenment of arahatship. The devout Kakudha, ... by the complete destruction of the five fetters that bind people to the lower world, has spontaneously gained complete release, never to return. ... More than ninety devout men in Nadika, who have died, Ananda, have by the complete destruction of the three fetters, and by the reduction of greed, hate, and delusion, become 'once-returners' who, after one more return to this world will make an end to suffering. More than five hundred devout men of Nadika who have died, Ananda, have by the complete destruction of the three fetters become converted, are no longer liable to be reborn in a state of suffering, and are assured after this of attaining the enlightenment of arahatship. (The Buddha in BPM, 159.)

The enlightenment for which Zen aims, for which Zen exists, comes of itself. As consciousness, one moment it does not exist, the next it does. But physical man walks in the element of time even as he walks in mud, dragging his feet and his true nature.

So even Zen must compromise and recognize progressive steps of awareness leading closer to the ever instant of enlightenment. (Paul Reps, ZFZB, 133.)

Enlightenment - The varieties of spiritual experiences are limitless

Shortly after the arrival of such [an advanced] devotee, [Sri Ramakrishna] would call him aside, ask him to meditate, and then touch under the influence of divine inspiration certain parts of his body like the chest or the tongue. By that potent touch, the devotee's mind would become indrawn into a trance in which his accumulated impressions of the past got activated and produced [a] spiritual realization in him. Consequently, on account of that touch, one would have the vision of a divine Light or of the luminous figure of a God or Goddess; another would be in deep meditation or feel a bliss never experienced before; a third would have the knots of his heart suddenly loosened and removed and experience an intense eagerness for God-realization; a fourth would be inspired with spiritual emotions and enter into Savikalpa Samadhi; and a rare one would get a foretaste of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. There was no limit to the number of persons who came to him and thus had the vision of luminous forms. ... The experience of a foretaste of the Nirvikalpa Samadhi on account of that touch was seen in the life of Narendranath [Swami Vivekananda] alone. Besides touching the devotees in that way, the Master intiated some of them in Mantras. ... He observed every one's tendency and prescribed everything accordingly. (Swami Saradananda, SRGM, 2, 932-3.)

Turiyananda has told us that whenever Maharaj (1) entered any shrine he would be filled with ecstatic devotion for that particular aspect of God to which the temple was dedicated, and that, ultimately he would have direct vision of the living deity within that temple. In later years, when Maharaj was asked by a disciple if the gods and goddesses are real, he answered: "The one Godhead has many spiritual forms. All these forms are real. A seer can see them and talk to them." (Swami Prabhavananda in EC, 44.)

(1) Swami Brahmananda.

There are so many divine experiences. How can I tell you of them all? ... There is no limit to them. (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 204.)

Enlightenment - Enlightenment itself is virtually endless

Fix no limits for your growth. It has no limits, except those you create by your own willing and thinking: therefore think only of growing, and never of being full grown. (Anon., SAO, 35.)

No one can put a limit to spiritual experience. If you refer to one experience, there is another beyond that, and still another, and so on. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 624.)

I swear by the glow of sunset; by the night, and all that it brings together; by the moon, in her full perfection: that you shall march onwards from state to state. (Koran, 48.)

Though [the soul] sink in all sinking in the oneness of divinity, she never touches bottom. For it is of the very essence of the soul that she is powerless to plumb the depths of her creator. (Meister Eckhart in PP, 12.)

The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour has no limit. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channeling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 20; IWL, 114.)

When after ages of struggle and many victories the final battle is won, the final secret demanded, then you are prepared for a further path. When the final secret of the great lesson is told, in it is opened the mystery of the new way -- a path which leads out of all human experience, and which is utterly beyond human perception or imagination. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 11-2.)

Inquire of the inmost, the One, of its final secret, which it holds for you through the ages. .. When the time of learning ... is reached, man is on the threshold of becoming more than man. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 29-30.)

We think that man is on the highest rung of the evolutionary ladder, but evolution is without end. Just as there are beings that exist below man, there are Beings that exist above man as well. These Beings evolved from the universes of the past. (Beinsa Douno, “Culture of the Angels,” WOG, n.p.)

I cannot too strongly emphasize the fact that Liberation is no more the end of life than is a college commencement the end of the young man or woman who graduates. It is simply the end of one stage and the beginning of another. The really worth-while Life begins after Liberation. When this new Freedom is attained, a Man may return Home, as it were, and spend a long period enjoying the warmth and comfort of that Home. On the other hand, He may return and continue with his chosen profession on a larger field. Some, who have been highly exhausted by their labors at college, may need a long rest, but obviously Those who are strong should occupy Themselves with the Activities of Real Life. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff in PTS, 89.)

A certain Sage..., speaking of unfolded Consciousness above the level of the highest human Adepts, said: "We attain glimpses of Consciousness so Transcendent, rising level upon level, that the senses fairly reel before the awe-inspiring Grandeur."

Here, certainly, is space for evolution far beyond the highest possibility of man as man. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff in PTS, 17.)

Truly, within the Infinite there are Mysteries within Mysteries, Deeps beyond Deeps, Grandeurs beyond Grandeurs. … Mystery of Mysteries, reaching inward and outward, but ever Beyond! And from that Beyond ever there come new whisperings of other imponderable Glories. Ah! How little is this world at the beginning of the Trail, barely a point in a Space of unlimited dimensions! (Franklin Merrell-Woolf in PTS, 115.)

Beyond [the sage's] attainment, whatever it may be, there lie further mysteries awaiting his resolution. In other words, We find no conceivable end to evolution. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff in PTS, 43.)

Whatever experience you have had, however extraordinary, remember that there are further and greater experiences. The Divine Life is endless; the being of God is infinite. (Adilakshmi, MOTH, 89.)

Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - How has the experience of spiritual awakening been described?

If, while you're walking, standing, sitting or lying in a quiet grove, you see a light, regardless of whether it's bright or dim, (1) don't tell others. And don't focus on it. It's the light of your nature. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 16.)

(1) In other words, if you see a glint or gleam, a flash of the Child or Atman, signalling the nearness of spiritual awakening.

If, as in a dream, you see a light brighter than the sun, your remaining attachments will suddenly come to an end, and the nature of reality will be revealed. Such an occurrence serves as the basis for enlightenment. (1) (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 16.)

(1) Your attachments will cease to bind you as addictions and habits. The nature of the reality called the Self will be revealed to you. You will not be one with that reality but you will have laid the foundation.

Seeing through the mundane and witnessing the sublime (1) is less than an eye-blink away. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 56.)

(1) The Self.

He [Henry Suso speaks of himself] continually felt something nagging at him, but he did not know how to help himself until God in his kindness freed him from this [torment] by causing a sudden conversion. … God had drawn him in a hidden but illuminating manner…. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 64.)

When God touches the soul with truth, its light floods the soul's agents and that man knows more than anyone could ever teach him. (Meister Eckhart in ME, 105.)

A wonderful light arose within my soul. In it I recognized the nature of God and man. (Jacob Boehme in CC, 183.)

No man ever forgot the visitations of that power to his heart and brain, which created all things new; which was the dawn in him of music, poetry, and art. (Emerson, ESS, 166.)

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light (1) which flashes across his mind from within. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, SW, 258.)

(1) The Self.

The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: 'What is this? What is this?' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

The fourth center of consciousness (anahata) is in the region of the heart. Spiritual awakening comes when the mind rises to this center. At this stage man has a spiritual vision of the Divine Light and is struck with wonder at its beauty and glory. His mind then no longer runs after worldly pleasures. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Usha, RVW, 25.)

Now and then man catches a glimpse of his real Self and becomes speechless with wonder. At such times he swims in an ocean of joy. It is like suddenly meeting a dear relative. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 392-3.)

Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm, not till then. ... Then will come a calm such as comes in a tropical country after the heavy rain, when nature works so swiftly that one may see her action. Such a calm will come to the harassed spirit. And in the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will prove that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it is a voice that speaks where there is none to speak -- it is a messenger without form or substance or it is the flower of the soul that has opened. It cannot be described by any metaphor. But it can be felt after, looked for, and desired, even amid the raging of the storm. The silence may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you may carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 16-7.)

When you have found the beginning of the way the star of your soul (1) will show its light. (2) (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 15.)

(1) The Self or Atman.
(2) In the experience of spiritual awakening or illumination.

And when you have found the end (1) its light will suddenly become the infinite light. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 14.)

(1) Perhaps in Brahmajnana (kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi), though liberation comes at vijnana (sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi).

In the deep silence the mysterious event (1) will occur which will prove that the way has been found. ... The silence may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you may carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 17.)

(1) Spiritual awakening.

To have seen the soul (1) in its bloom (2) is to have obtained a momentary glimpse in thyself of the transfiguration (3) which shall eventually make thee more than man. (4) (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 22.)

(1) The Self, Christ or Atman.
(2) Spiritual awakening.
(3) That is, sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, which will make thee more than man.
(4) At one level of interpretation: that will free you from the round of birth and death that humans must undergo. At another level, that will qualify you to go on to higher rungs of evolution than the human.

An experience of Kensho

Tokusan was studying Zen under Ryutan. One night he came to Ryutan and asked many questions. The teacher said: "The night is getting old. Why don't you retire?"

So Tokusan bowed and opened the screen to go out, observing: "It is very dark outside."

Ryutan offered Tokusan a lighted candle to find his way. Just as Tokusan received it, Ryutan blew it out. At that moment the mind of Tokusan was opened. (Paul Reps, ZFZB, 112.)

St. Augustine: A light of serenity infused my heart

When a deep consideration had from the secret bottom of my soul drawn together and heaped up all my misery in the sight of my heart; there arose a mighty storm, bringing a mighty shower of tears. ... I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out, an acceptable sacrifice to Thee. And ... I spake much unto Thee: And Thou, O Lord, how long? how long, Lord, wilt Thou be angry, for ever? ... Why not is there an hour to end my uncleanness? ... I seized [the Bible], opened, and in silence read that section, on which my eyes first fell: Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in spite and envying, but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in concupiscence. No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away. (St. Augustine in CSA, 170-1.)

John Ruusbroec -- This is the Son of God

In the abyss of this darkness in which the loving spirit has died to itself, God's revelation and eternal life have their origin, for in this darkness an incomprehensible light is born and shines forth; this is the Son of God, (1) in whom a person becomes able (2) to see and to contemplate eternal life. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 147.)

(1) The Christ, the Atman, the Self – all are synonyms.
(2) Once having seen the Self, one is enabled to begin contemplating It; becoming absorbed in It, one is led to the Father. To take from Jesus' parables, having found the treasure in the field or the pearl of great price, one sells everything (sells all desires but the desire for God) and buys it (achieves liberation through God-realization).

It is Christ, the light of truth, who says, "See," and it is through him that we are able to see, for he is the light of the Father, without which there is no light in heaven or on earth. (JR, 74.)

Krishnamurti -- I have seen the Light

I sat crosslegged in the meditation posture. When I had sat thus for some time, I felt myself going out of my body, I saw myself sitting down with the delicate tender leaves of the tree over me. I was facing the east. In front of me was my body and over my head I saw the Star, (1) bright and clear. ... There was such profound calmness both in the air and within myself, the calmness of the bottom of a deep and unfathomable lake. Like the lake, I felt my physical body, with its mind and emotions, could be ruffled on the surface but nothing, nay nothing, could disturb the calmness of my soul. ... I was supremely happy, for I had seen. Nothing could ever be the same. I have drunk at the clear and pure waters at the source of the fountain of life and my thirst was appeased. Never more could I be thirsty, never more could I be in utter darkness; I have seen the Light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering.... Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated. (Krishnamurti in KYA, 171-2.)

(1) The Self. Krishnamurti was called "the Star of the East" by Theosophists awaiting the coming of the World Teacher. As Krishnamurti would undoubtedly point out, the Self is that true Star and that is to be sought inside.

Andrew Cohen - Overwhelmed by Love

When I was sixteen years old, the most extraordinary thing happened to me. Late one night as I was talking with my mother, for no apparent reason I began to experience a completely new and unimaginable condition. My consciousness began to expand in all directions simultaneously and I experienced what could only be called a revelation. Tears profusely poured out of my eyes and my throat repeatedly opened and closed for no reason. I was completely overwhelmed and intoxicated by Love and was struck by a sense of awe and wonder that is impossible to describe. I suddenly knew without any doubt that there was no such thing as death and that life itself had no beginning and no end. I saw that all of life was intimately connected and inseparable. It became clear that there was no such thing as individuality separate from that one Self that was all of life. The glory and majesty in the cosmic unity that was revealing itself to me was completely overwhelming. I could hardly speak. My mother told me years later that I had said to her at the time not to worry, that I was not unhappy, and that this used to happen to me often when I was a child. In the midst of this explosion I was struck by what seemed to be a message that came directly from the revelation itself. That message was: if you give your life to me alone you have nothing to fear. Disoriented, it took me several days to recover from the impact that this explosion had on my mind and body.

No one whom I described this extraordinary event to seemed able to appreciate its significance or even understand what I was talking about. (Andrew Cohen, AOA, 5-6.)

Franklin Jones (Da Free John) - The revolution in my being

On this extraordinary night I sat at my desk until it was very late. I had exhausted my seeking, so that it seemed there were no more books to read, nor any possible kind of experience that could radically exceed what I had already embraced. ... I was drawn into the interior tension of my mind that held all of that seeking, every impulse and alternative, every motive in the form of my desiring. I contemplated it as a whole dramatic force, and it seemed to move me into a profound shape of energy, so that every vital center in my body and mind appeared like a long funnel of contracted planes that led on to an infinitely regressed and invisible image. I observed this deep sensation of conflict and endlessly multiplied contradictions, so that I seemed to surrender to its very shape, as if to experience it perfectly and to be it.

Then, quite suddenly, in a moment, I experienced a total revolution of energy and awareness in myself. An absolute sense of understanding opened and arose at the extreme end of all this consciousness. And all of the energy of thought that moved down into that depth appeared to reverse its direction at some unfathomable point. The rising impulse caused me to stand, and I felt a surge of force draw up out of my depths and expand, filling my whole body and every level of my consciousness with wave on wave of the most beautiful and joyous energy. I felt absolutely mad, but the madness was not of a desparate kind. There was no seeking and no dilemma within it, no question, no unfulfilled motive, not a single object or presence outside myself.

I couldn't contain the energy.... I ran out of the building and through the streets. I thought, if I could only find someone to talk to, to communicate this thing. The energy in my body was overwhelming, and there was an ecstacy in ever cell that was almost intolerable in its pressure, light, and force. (Da Free John, KOL, Original Edition, 13-14) It would take many years to understand the revolution in my being. It marked the rise in me of fundamental and unqualified life, and it removed every shadow of dilemma and ignorance from the mind, on every level, and all its effects in the body. But I would have to pass through many years of trial before that understanding could become the stable constant and premise of my being. (1) (Da Free John in KOL, Original Edition, 13.)

(1) I.e., after spiritual union.

Flora Courtois -- My search was over

Sometime in April, ... I went home to Detroit to spend a week with my parents. There, about three days later, alone in my room, sitting quietly on the edge of my bed and gazing at a small desk, not thinking of anything at all, in a moment too short to measure, the universe changed on its axis and my search was over. ...

The small, pale green desk at which I'd been so thoughtlessly gazing had totally and radically changed. It appeared now with a clarity, a depth of three-dimensionality, a freshness I had never imagined possible. At the same time, in a way that is utterly indescribable, all my questions and doubts were gone as effortlessly as chaff in the wind. I knew everything and all at once, yet not in the sense that I had ever known anything before.

All things were the same in my little bedroom yet totally changed. ... The focus of my sight seemed to have changed; it had sharpened to an infinitely small point which moved ceaselessly in paths totally free of the old accustomed ones, as if flowing from a new source.

... So released from all tension, so ecstatically light did I feel, I seemed to float down the hall to the bathroom to look at my face in the mottled mirror over the sink. The pupils of my eyes were dark, dilated and brimming with mirth. With a wondrous relief, I began to laugh as I'd never laughed before, from the soles of my feet upward. (Flora Courtois, EE, 43-8.)

Over a period of many months there took place a ripening, a deepening and unfolding of this experience which filled me with wonder and gratitude at every moment. The foundations had fallen from my world. I had plunged into a numinous openness which had obliterated all fixed distinctions including that of within and without. A Presence had absorbed the universe including myself, and to this I surrendered in absolute confidence. ... The whole world seemed to have reversed itself, to have turned outside in. Activity flowed simply and effortlessly, and to my amazement, seemingly without thought. Instead of following my old sequence of learning, thinking, planning, then acting, action had taken precedence and whatever was learned was surprisingly incidental. Yet nothing ever seemed to go out of bound; there was no alteration between self-control and letting go but rather a perfect rightness and spontaneity to all this flowing activity. (Flora Courtois, EE, 48-9.)

Adyashanti – Aware space before any emotion or thought

I had my first what traditionally would be called awakening experience when I was 25 years old. This was very powerful and full of emotion and release and joy and bliss and all that it is supposed to be full of. But, because there was so much emotion involved, it obscured the simplicity of awakeness itself. Like so many others, I continued to chase certain ideas and concepts of what awakeness was supposed to be. That caused years of misery. Gradually over time I had the same experience reoccur, but each time with less and less emotion. I could see more and more clearly over time what was the actual essential element. Then finally an awakening occurred where at the moment of awakening, there was no emotion in it. It was just the pure seeing of what is. When there was the pure seeing of what is, unclouded by emotional content, it was obvious. It was very obvious that consciousness recognized itself for what it really is - aware space before any emotion or thought or manifestation. (Adyahshanti in interview with Robert O’Hearn and Mazie Lane. http://www.nonduality.com/hl1171.htm, downloaded 10 March 2006.)

Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - Is it mentioned in the Bible?

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

The Lord make his face (1) to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance (2) upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:25.)

(1) The Self. The Lord cause the light of the Self to shine upon you and grant you the peace of enlightenment. This could be spiritual awakening or, given that it results in peace, it could be liberation (that is, sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi).
(2) The All-Self.

Can a man take fire in his bosom, (1) and his clothes (2) not be burned? (3) (Proverbs 6:27.)

(1) Experience the Child.
(2) Desires and appetites.
(3) Purified.

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. (Psalm 4:6.)

Arise, shine; for thy light (1) is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (2)(Isaiah 60:1.)

(1) The Self.
Again, this could be the experience of spiritual awakening or it could be liberation (sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi).

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, (1) and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the Lord (2) shall be thy reward. (Isaiah 58:8.)

(1) This could be spiritual awakening or liberation.
(2) In the Biblical code, “the glory of the Lord” is usually n epithet of the Holy Spirit.

The kingdom of heaven (1) is like to a grain of mustard seed, (2) which a man took, (3) and stowed in his field: (4)

Which indeed is the least of all seeds: (5) but when it is grown, (6) it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, (7) so that the birds of the air (8) come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Jesus in Matthew 13:31-2.)

(1) The Father.
(2) The Self, which is one with the Father.
(3) After having seen it in the experience of awakening or illumination.
(4) Contemplated, or kept, it in the aspirant's awareness constantly.
(5) The Self is said to be smaller than the smallest. (UPAN, 18.)


(6) When the aspirant has contemplated on it and entered into it.
(7) Greater than the greatest; namely, the Tree of Life, or the Father. (UPAN, 18.)


(8) Perhaps the angels.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, (1) which a woman took (2) and hid in three measures of meal, (3) till the whole was leavened. (4) (Jesus in Matthew 13:33.)

(1) The Self.
(2) Contemplated.
(3) Became absorbed in.
(4) Till she merged with It in the experience of the Father or liberation.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; (1) the which when a man hath found, (2) he hideth, (3) and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, (4) and buyeth that field. (5) (Jesus in Matthew 13:44.)

(1) The hidden treasure is the Self, hidden in the field of the boyd; specifically, the heart or hridayam (not to be confused with the heart chakra).
(2) In the experience of spiritual awakening.
(3) Is circumspect about discussing and meditates upon it in private.
(4) Renounces all worldly desires, appetites, and thoughts.
(5) Wins God-realization and with it liberation.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: (1) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, (2) went and sold all that he had, (3) and bought it. (4) (Jesus in Matthew 13:45-6.)

(1) Practising spiritual discipline, seeking God.
(2) Saw the Christ or Self in spiritual awakening.
(3) Divested himself of all other desires except the desire to realize God.
(4) Single-mindedly meditated and contemplated that Pearl until it led him to the Father and liberation.

Did not our heart burn within us,
While he talked with us?
(Luke 24:32.)

How great a matter a little fire (1) kindleth! (James 3:5.)

(1) The sight of the Self.

And the day star (1) arise in your hearts. (2) (II Peter 1:19.)

(1) The Self.
(2) I.e, may you be enlightened.

God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts. (St. Paul in II Corinthians 4:6.)

Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - Its effects

When the Sun (1) rises, then he purifies the Earth (2) created by Ahuramazda, he purifies the flowing Water. (3) ... He purifies all the creatures of the Holy Spirit. (Zarathustra in GZ, 49-50.)

(1) The Self.
(2) The body.
(3) Perhaps the thoughts and emotions.

Once we become conscious, even dimly, of the Atman, the Reality within us, the world takes on a very different aspect. It is no longer a court of justice but a kind of gymnasium. Good and evil, pain and pleasure, still exist, but they seem more like the ropes and vaulting-horses and parallel bars which can be used to make our bodies strong. Maya (1) is no longer an endlessly revolving wheel of pain and pleasure but a ladder which can be climbed to consciousness of the Reality. From this standpoint, fortune and misfortune are both "mercies" -- that is to say, opportunities. Every experience offers us the chance of making a constructive reaction to it -- a reaction which helps to break some chain of our bondage to Maya and bring us that much nearer to spiritual freedom. (Shankara in CJD, 24.)

(1) Here, Maya means the phenomenal domain of the Divine Mother, the world of matter.

No man ever forgot the visitations of that power to his heart and brain, which created all things new; which was the dawn in him of music, poetry, and art. (Emerson, ESS, 166.)

The sins of many births are wiped out in a moment by one glance (1) from the gracious eye (2) of God. (Swami Brahmanananda in EC, 60-1.)

(1) The “glimpse” is spiritual awakening.
(2) The Self.

To learn is impossible until the first great battle (1) has been won. The mind may recognize truth, but the spirit cannot receive it. Once having passed through the storm and attained the peace, it is then always possible to learn, even though the disciple waver, hesitate, and turn aside. The Voice of the Silence remains within him, and though he leaves the Path utterly, yet one day it will resound, and rend him asunder and separate his passions from his divine possibilities. Then, with pain and desperate cries from the deserted lower self, he will return. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 19.)

(1) The first great battle may be spiritual awakening or it may be God-realization. Given that enlightenment is virtually endless, his words apply no matter which stage of enlightenment we are considering.

The opening of the bloom (1) is the glorious moment when perception awakes; with it comes confidence, knowledge, certainty. The pause of the soul is the moment of satisfaction -- that is the silence. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 17-8.)

(1) Spiritual awakening.

Mind, heart, brain all are obscure and dark until the first great battle (1) has been won. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 15.)

(1) I.e., the first enlightenment.

Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - To know God, we must first know the Self - See The Self - Therefore Know thy Self

Enlightenment - (1) Spiritual Awakening - A deeper enlightenment awaits the aspirant who keeps going

He that endureth to the end (1) shall be saved. (Jesus in Matthew 10:22.)

(1) The end of the human rung, the point of salvation, is sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (1). (St. Paul in Phillipians 3:13-4.)

(1) That is, for the prize of full enlightenment and eternal life.

Go forward. Beyond the forest of sandal-wood ... are many more valuable things: silver-mines, gold-mines, diamonds, and other gems. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 434.)

When through japam (1) and meditation a little awakening comes, (2) do not imagine you have achieved the end. Light! More Light! Onward! Onward! Attain God! Gain his vision! Talk to him! (3) (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 61.)

(1) Repetition of the name or names of God.
(2) Spiritual awakening, the first stage of enlightenment.
(3) His vision = jnana or knowledge of the Father; talking to Him = vijnana, a still higher level of enlightenment.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Fifth-Chakra Experiences

The fifth plane of the mind is at the throat. When the mind reaches this, the aspirant becomes free from all ignorance and illusion. He does not enjoy talking or hearing about anything but God. If people talk about worldly things, he leaves the place at once. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 151.)

The centre known as Visuddha is the fifth plane. This centre is at the throat and has a lotus with sixteen petals. When the Kundalini reaches this plane, the devotee longs to talk and hear only about God. Conversation in worldly subjects, on [lust and greed], causes him great pain. He leaves a place where people talk of these matters. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Sixth-Chakra Experiences

The sixth plane is at the forehead. When the mind reaches it, the aspirant sees the form of God day and night. But even then a little trace of ego remains. At the sight of that incomparable beauty of God's form, one becomes intoxicated and rushes forth to touch and embrace it. But one doesn't succeed. It is like the light inside a lantern. One feels as if one could touch the light, but one cannot on account of the pane of glass. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 151.)

The sixth plane and the centre known by the yogi as Ajna are one and the same. When the mind rises there, the aspirant sees God. But still there is a barrier between God and the devotee. It is like the barrier of glass in a lantern, which keeps one from touching the light. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

Then comes the sixth plane, corresponding to the centre known as Ajna. This centre is located between the eyebrows and it has a lotus with two petals. When the Kundalini reaches it, the aspirant sees the form of God. But still there remains a slight barrier between the devotee and God. It is like a light inside a lantern. You may think you have touched the light, but in reality you cannot because of the barrier of glass. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499-500.)

It is better to make the mind go up and down between the fifth and sixth planes, like a boat racing between two points. I don't want to go beyond the sixth plane and keep my mind a long time in the seventh. (1) My desire is to sing the name and glories of God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 172.)

(1) Why? Because at the seventh chakra, the mind falls silent and the ego disappears for a time, leaving 'no one' to enjoy the bliss of devotion.

In the first (sabikalpa) state of samadhi, (1) the devotee shuts off all sensory testimony of the outer world. He is rewarded then by sounds and scenes of inner realms fairer than the pristine Eden. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 109.)

(1) Sixth-chakra enlightenment.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Sixth- and seventh-chakra experiences discussed together

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (1) (Jesus in John 3:5.)

(1) There are many levels of interpretation to what Jesus says here, the most obvious being that a man must be born of the bag of waters (i.e., be physically born) and then born of God to enter the kingdom of heaven. But a second interpretation is that one must reach enlightenment first by the Mother, often signified as water, and second of the Father, often signified as the Spirit. Cf. Paramahansa Yogananda, below.

In John 3:5-6, Christ says: "Except a man be born of water (the oceanic vibration of Aum or Amen, the Holy Ghost, the Invisible Force that upholds all creation; God in his immanent aspect of the Creator) and of the Spirit, (1) he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. (2) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." These words mean that unless we can transcend the body and realize ourselves as Spirit, we cannot enter into the kingdom or state of that Universal Spirit.

The thought is echoed in a Sanskrit couplet of the Hindu scriptures: "If thou canst transcend the body and perceive thyself as Spirit, thou shalt be eternally blissful, free from all pain." (Paramahansa Yogananda, SR, 51-2.)

(1) Sixth-chakra experience of enlightenment.
(2) Seventh-chakra experience of enlightenment. Note that entry into the Kingdom of Heaven – i.e., liberation – comes not with Brahmajnana or kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi, but with sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother takes on form for the sake of the devotee

God reveals Himself in many ways: sometimes as man [an avatar], sometimes in other divine forms made of Spirit. One must believe in divine forms. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 798.)

Know for certain that all forms are the forms of the one God alone. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 184.)

Brahman may be compared to an infinite ocean, without beginning or end. Just as, through intense cold, some portions of the ocean freeze into ice and the formless water appears to have form, so, through the intense love of the devotee, Brahman appears to take on form and personality. But the form melts away again as the sun of knowledge rises. Then the universe also disappears, and there is seen to be nothing but Brahman, the infinite. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 191.)

Once, while I was meditating in the temple, screen after screen of Maya (1) was removed from my consciousness. Mother showed me a Light more brilliant than a million suns. From that Light came forth a spiritual Form. Then this Form melted away into the Light itself. The Formless had taken Form and then melted again into the Formless. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in VSR, 86.)

(1) The Mother's illusory power.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother can appear as a directly-known universal presence

Suddenly, in one dazzling moment, [Totapuri] (1) sees on all sides the presence of the Divine Mother. She is in everything; She is everything. She is in the water; She is on land. She is the body; She is the mind. She is pain; She is comfort. She is knowledge; She is ignorance. She is life; She is death. She is everything that one sees, hears, or imagines. She turns "yea" into "nay"; and "nay" into "yay". Without Her grace no embodied being can go beyond Her realm. Man has no free will. He is not even free to die. Yet, again, beyond the body and mind She resides in her Transcendental, Absolute aspect. She is the Brahman that Totapuri has been worshipping all his life. (Nikhilananda in GSR, 31.)

(1) Totapuri was Sri Ramakrishna's Vedantic guru. The signature of sixth-chakra experiences is that the individual retains his consciousness of himself and his surroundings. However, Franklin Merrell-Wolff and Paramahansa Yogananda showed that there are exceptions to this: both of them appear to have experienced nirvikalpa samadhi with their consciousness of themselves retained.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother can appear as effulgent waves of Consciousness

"I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered with a great restlessness and a fear that it might not be my lot to realize Her in this life. I could not bear the separation from Her any longer. Life seemed to be not worth living. Suddenly my glance fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother's temple. I determined to put an end to my life. When I jumped up like a madman and seized it, suddenly the blessed Mother revealed Herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple, and everything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up! I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious. What was happening in the outside world I did not know; but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother." On his lips when he regained consciousness of the world was the word "Mother". (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 14.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - God as the Mother can appear as a light suffusing the entire world

'Such was the Boy -- but for the growing Youth
What soul was his, when, from the naked top
Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun
Rise up, and bathe the world in light! He looked --
Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth
And ocean's liquid mass, in gladness lay
Beneath him:-- Far and wide the clouds were touched,
And in their silent faces could he read
Unutterable love. Sound needed none,
Nor any voice of joy; his spirit drank
The spectacle: sensation, soul, and form,
All melted into him; they swallowed up
His animal being; in them did he live,
And by them did he live; they were his life.
(William Wordsworth in ECST, 399.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Most often, in mid-range experiences, God appears with perceptible form

While he sat to meditate. ... from a sea of translucent mist he would behold the Mother rising, first Her feet, then Her waist, body, face, and head, finally Her whole person; he would feel Her breath and hear Her voice. ... After the [image of the] Mother had been put to sleep at night [in the temple], from his own room he would hear Her ascending to the upper storey of the temple with the light steps of a happy girl, Her anklets jingling. Then he would discover Her standing with flowing hair, Her black form silhouetted against the sky of the night, looking at the Ganges or at the distant lights of Calcutta. (Nikhilananda of Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 14.)

"I saw that form of the Mother consisting of Consciousness with hands that give boons and freedom from fear -- the form that smiled, spoke and consoled and taught me in endlessly." ... Where previously in vision he would see a hand or a foot or the face of the Divine Mother, now he saw Her full figure, smiling, talking. Where he used to see a beam of light from her eyes, touching upon the food offering, now he saw Her actually eat the food. Where he had been seeing the living Presence in the [temple] image, now he saw no image: he saw the Divine Mother Herself, all Consciousness. "I put the palm of my hand near Her nostrils and felt that Mother was actually breathing. ... I heard from my room that Mother, merry like a little girl, was going upstairs, Her anklets making jingling sounds. I came up to test it and found that She, with hair dishevelled, was actually standing on the verandah of the upper floor of the temple, looking now at Calcutta, now at the Ganga." The Master tells us that he would go into samadhi uttering the word 'Ma', ... that this utterance drew the Mother of the Universe to him like fishermen drawing in the catch with their nets. (Swami Yogeshananda on Sri Ramakrishna in VSR, 13-4 and 17.)

Standing in the garden, with an obviously discernible form, made of subtle energy but without any kind of visibility, was the Virgin, Mary, Mother of Christ! ... Just as her Presence was not physical, but subtle, her communication to me was internal.... I told [Swami Nityananda] ... how the Shakti appeared to have taken over independently of ... any ... source. He blessed me, told me that I belonged to Her now, and that I should leave [the ahsram] and let the Mother guide me. ... I took ... flowers to the temple of the Mother Shakti near the Ashram. There is a sculpture of her benign, multi-armed, and omnipresent image there. I looked into her face and saw that she was the same one who appeared to me in the form of the Virgin.... As I left I felt her assure me that I was her child and she would guide me. (Da Free John, KOL, Original Edition, 126-30.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Visions of Jesus

He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. ...

And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin at their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:55-6 and 59-60.)

I lay still awake, and then our Lord opened my spiritual eyes, (1) and showed me my soul in the midst of my heart. I saw my soul as wide as if it were a kingdom, and from the state which I saw in it, it seemed to me as if it were a a fine city. In the midst of this city sits our Lord Jesus, true God and true man, a handsome person and tall, honourable, the greatest lord. And I saw him splendidly clad in honours. He sits erect there in the soul, in peace and rest, and he rules and guards heaven and earth and everything that is. (Julian of Norwich, SHOW, 164.)

(1) The Third Eye. Cf. Krishna: "You cannot see me thus with those human eyes. Therefore, I give you divine sight." (Sri Krishna in BG, 91.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - St. John the Beloved sees the King of kings

The first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (St. John in Revelation 4:1-4.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Visions of God from the Old Testament

And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God and did eat and drink. (Exodus 24:10-11.)

And, behold, the glory of the Lord (1) stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. (Ezekiel 3:23.)

(1) In the Biblical code, in my view, the Glory of the Lord is usually a name for the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother.

And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward..., and it had brightness round about it. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice which spake. (Ezekiel 1:26-8.)

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple ... and one [seraphim] cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

... Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 6:1-5.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Yogananda sees the Lord as Ishwara

"What is this wondrous glow?"

"I am Iswara. I am Light." The voice was as murmuring clouds.

"I want to be one with Thee!"

Out of the slow dwindling of my divine ecstacy, I salvaged a permanent legacy of inspiration to seek God. (1) "He is eternal, ever-new Joy!" This memory persisted long after the day of rapture.

... Iswara is a Sanskrit name for the Lord in His aspect as Cosmic Ruler. The Hindu scriptures contain a thousand names for God, each one carrying a different shade of philosophical meaning. The Lord as Iswara is He by whose will all universes, in orderly cycles, are created and dissolved. (2) (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 9.)

(1) One of the legacies of spiritual vision is the kindling of an urgent longing to merge with God.
(2) Also referred to as the conditioned Brahman.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Sometimes the master bestows a vision of God

"Look," said the Master [Ramakrishna], "there is your Chosen Ideal!" Rakhal [later Swami Brahmananda] in ecstatic vision saw his chosen aspect of the Godhead standing before him -- living and luminous, with a smile playing on his lips. When Rakhal regained his external consciousness and saw Sri Ramakrishna, he prostrated at his feet with loving devotion. He had known and experienced the divine power and grace of his guru. (EC, 25-6.)

Many people believe that “one [can] not give Self-realization to another.” (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 16.)

But here is an example of that occurring.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences – Other probable mid-range experiences

God sensed through an experience of oneness

"Was I five or six?" [art critic Bernard Berenson] wrote. "Certainly not seven. It was a morning in early summer. A silver haze shimmered and trembled over the lime trees. The air was laden with their fragrance. The temperature was like a caress. ... I climbed up a tree stump and felt suddenly immersed in It-ness. I did not call it by that name. I had no need of words. It and I were one." (Eliot, CON, 107.)

One drop of the Brahmic Bliss

It was in the early spring, at the beginning of his thirty-sixth year. He and two friends had spent the evening reading Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, and especially Whitman. They parted at midnight, and he had a long drive in a Hansom, (it was in an English city). His mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images and emotions called up by the reading and talk of the evening, was calm and peaceful. He was in a state of almost passive enjoyment. All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around, as it were, by a flame-colored cloud. For an instant, he thought of fire -- some sudden conflagration in the great city. The next (instant) he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exaltation, of immense joyousness, accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into his brain streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the Brahmic Splendor which ever since lightened his life. Upon his heart fell one drop of the Brahmic Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an aftertaste of heaven. (Bucke of himself in CC, 9-10.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - These experiences usually take place in a state of consciousness called savikalpa samadhi

There are two kinds of samadhi. The one is called savikalpa. In it one feels a trace of duality, of distinction between subject and object. The other kind is called nirvikalpa. In that samadhi one effaces, in the depths of meditation, all distinction between the knower and the goal of knowledge. (Vivekananda in VIV, 562.)

During deep meditation, the experiences of the realm of ideas become so powerful in the mind of the devotee that he does not have the slightest knowledge of the external world for the time being. This condition of the devotee has been designated by the scriptures as Savikalpa Samadhi. Although, owing to the strength of his mental power, the external world vanishes from the mind of the devotee at the time of such Samadhi, the realm of ideas still persists. His experience of the chosen Ideal in that world of ideas and the joy he derives from it are in no way less intense and real to him than that of the waking world and his contacts with men and things in that world. All the ideas that arise at that time in his mind have only his chosen Ideal for their object. The scriptures have called that condition of the devotee's mind as Savikalpa Samadhi, because at that time the series of the mental modifications of the devotee have only one thing as their main object.

Thus the gross external world vanishes from the mind of the devotee owing to the meditation on a particular object of the ideal world. ... The attainment of the Nirvikalpa Samidhi is not very remote from this devout aspirant who has been able to advance so far. Thus the mind of the person, who gets rid of the belief in the existence of the external world to which he has been accustomed for an infinitely long time, becomes endowed with much power and determination. The whole of his mind goes forward with enthusiasm in the direction of the enjoyment of divine bliss, when once there arises the conviction that the enjoyment of that bliss becomes more intense if the mind can be made completely free from modifications. He then ascends to the highest plane in the realm of ideas by the grace of the teacher and God, and establishes himself firmly in the non-dual knowledge and attains eternal peace. (Swami Saradananda, SRGM, Vol. 1, 104-5.)

The pure heart of the boy [Ramakrishna] became so absorbed in the worship [of Vishnu] that he experienced the state of Bhava-samadhi (1) also known as Savikalpa-samadhi. And after this experience, various spiritual visions came to him from time to time. (2) ... From now onwards, [Ramakrishna] was in this kind of ecstacy from time to time. He would forget himself and his surroundings when meditating, or listening to songs, music, etc., in praise of gods and goddesses. (3) Then his mind would remain indrawn for a time -- short or long -- during which it would not respond to any external stimulus. On occasions, when his absorption became very deep, he would appear like a lifeless statue.

On emerging from such states, he would say, if questioned, that he then experienced a marvellous joy accompanied by divine visions while meditating on some god or goddess or listening to songs glorifying them. (Swami Saradananda, SRGM, 1, 64-5.)

(1) Ecstatic trance.
(2) Ramakrishna is an avatar or incarnation of God. His wealth of experiences is not common to the ordinary aspirant.
(3) These gods and goddesses were all simply forms assumed by the one formless God.

[Savikalpa samadhi is] the first stage of transcendental consciousness, in which the distinction between subject and object persists. In this state the spiritual aspirant may have a mystic vision of the Personal God, with or without form. (Swami Prabhavananda, EC, 299.)

The Sanskrit word bikalpa means "difference," "non-identity." Sabikalpa is the state of samadhi "with difference," nirbikalpa is the state "without difference." That is, in sabikalpa samadhi the devotee still retains a slight feeling of separateness from God; in nirbikalpa samadhi he realizes fully his identity with Spirit. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 238.)

Savikalpa Samadhi is the state of deep meditation when one is sunk in peace but still retains the consciousness of one’s identity. One knows that one is meditating and can still consciously continue one’s Sadhana. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick], SRRM, 47.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Visits by the Divine Mother/Holy Spirit are a prelude to the experience of the Father

Exalted and throned on high, He lets the Spirit descend at his [sic] behest on those of His servants whom He chooses, that He may warn them (1) of the day when they shall meet Him. (2) (Koran, 160.)

(1) Have them begin to consider.
(2) That is, the day of spiritual union.

Biblical examples of baptism by the Mother as Holy Ghost

And the Spirit of the Lord came upon [Othniel], and he judged Israel, and went out to war. (Judges 3:9.)

Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. (Judges 11:29.)

And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God. (1)

... The Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

And it was so, that when he turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. (I Samuel 9:27; I Samuel 10:6 and 9.)

(1) That is, the Amen, Word of God, or Mother.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. (I Samuel 16:13.)

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. (Luke 1:41.)

And [John the Baptist's father] Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people. (Luke 1:67-8.)

The dayspring (1) from on high hath visited us. (Zacharaias, father of John the Baptist in Luke 1:78.)

(1) The Holy Ghost.

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him:

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:16-7.)

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I...; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. (Jesus in Matthew 3:11.)

I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Even the Spirit of truth; (1) whom the world (2) cannot receive. (Jesus in John 14:16-7.)

(1) The Holy Ghost.
(2) I.e., the worldly.

And when [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John 20:22.)

Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. ...

Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. (Jesus in Acts 1:5+8.)

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing might wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4.)

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31.)

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

And they of the circumcision (1) were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles (2) also were poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 10:44.)

(1) Jews.
(2) Non-Jews. Of this God told Peter in a vision: "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." (Acts 10:15.)

In this act is the Christian Church born of a Jewish sect.

And as I [Peter] began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 11:15-6.)

This Holy Ghost is the Great Comforter. Being guided by the universal, reflected, God-Consciousness, it contains the all-coveted bliss of God. ... On the day of Pentecost the disciples were filled with the new wine of joy coming from the touch of Aum, or the comforting Holy Vibration. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 19.)

The Holy Spirit descends on Hildegard of Bingen

When I was forty-two years and seven months old, a burning light of tremendous brightness coming from heaven poured into my entire mind. Like a flame that does not burn but enkindles, it inflamed my entire heart and my entire breast, just like the sun that warms an object with its rays. (Hildegard of Bingen in IHB, 9.)

Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is a Burning Spirit. It kindles the heart of humankind. Like tympanum and lyre it plays them, gathering volumes in the temple of the soul. ... The Holy Spirit resurrects and awakens everything that is. (Hildegard of Bingen in IHB, 9.)

All of a sudden, I was able to taste of the understanding of the narration of books. I saw the psalter clearly and the evangelists and other catholic books of the Old and New Testament. (Hildegard of Bingen in IHB, 9.)

The Holy Spirit baptizes St. John of the Cross

This flame of love is the Spirit of its Bridegroom, which is the Holy Spirit. The soul feels Him within itself not only as a fire which has consumed and transformed it, but as a fire that burns and flares within it.... And that flame, every time it flares up, bathes the soul in glory and refreshes it with the quality of divine life. Such is the activity of the Holy Spirit in the soul transformed in love: the interior acts He produces shoot up flames for they are acts of inflamed love, in which the will of the soul united with that flame, made one with it, loves most sublimely. (St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 580.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Experiences of the Sound-Brahman (Aum, the Word of God)

The sound Om is Brahman. The rishis and sages practised austerity to realize that Sound-Brahman. After attaining perfection one hears the sound of this eternal word rising spontaneously from the navel. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 404.)

[Sri Ramakrishna's] ears ... were bringing him nothing but Brahman in those days. Om, the pranava -- the 'unstruck sound' - he heard going on continuously everywhere in the universe. (Yogeshananda, VSR, 41.)

One day, in the course of his teaching, Sri Ramakrishna spoke about the manifestation of Brahman as sound -- the Logos. Later, when I sat for meditation I took this as my subject, and it was not long before the sound Brahman was revealed to me. (1) (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 189.)

(1) It is not a common experience for a devotee to hear a mystic teaching, sit down and meditate on it, and immediately realize the object of practice. Swami Brahmananda was not an ordinary devotee; he was an "eternal companion" of God, one of a class Ramakrishna called the nitya-siddhas, the ever-perfect. We should not feel discouraged if we cannot duplicate his feat.

This is the way that ordinary consciousness should be baptized or expanded into Christ consciousness, through the expanding power of the Holy Ghost, or the all-spreading "Aum-vibrating-sound" heard in meditation. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 21.)

The Mother manifesting as the noise of many waters

Afterwards, he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: (1)

And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel (2) came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:1-2.)

(1) Probably referring to the Third Eye.
(2) I.e., the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother.

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters. (St. John in Revelation 14:2.)

Then the spirit (1) took me up, and I heard behind me a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place.

I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. (2) (Ezekiel 3:12-3.)

(1) The Mother mediates this experience.
(2) The Mother's cosmic sounds.

Through the divine eye in the forehead (east), the yogi sails his consciousness into omnipresence, hearing the Word or Aum, divine sound of "many waters": the vibrations of light that constitute the sole reality of creation. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 267-8.)

Aun [sic] the blissful Comforter is heard in meditation and reveals to the devotee the ultimate Truth, bringing "all things to remembrance." (John 14:26) (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 144n.)

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - The experience of the Mother’s enlightenment (or the descent of the Holy Spirit) will bestow on us diverse gifts and powers

O God, with such (questions) do I implore Thee for knowledge through the Holy Spirit, Giver of all. (Zarathustra, GZ, 219.)

And the spirit of the Lord (1) will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy..., and shalt be turned into another man. (I Samuel 10:6.)

(1) The Mother

And it was so, that when [Saul] had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.

And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God (1) came upon him, and he prophesied among them. (I Samuel 10:9-10.)

(1) The Mother

The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. (King David in II Samuel 23:2.)

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. (Psalm 49:3.)

All that was secret or manifest I learned,
For wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
("The Wisdom of Solomon" in APO, 191.)

[Wisdom cries:] Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make known my words unto you. (Proverbs 1:23.)

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom....

For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. (Proverbs 3:13-4.)

She is more precious than rubies: and all things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. (Proverbs 3:15.)

Her wealth ... is an unfailing treasure for men. ("The Wisdom of Solomon" in APO, 190.)

I wisdom (1) dwell with prudence...

Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I have understanding; I have strength. ...

Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. ...

I ... cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. (Proverbs 8:12, 14, 18 +21.)

(1) The Divine Mother or Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord has appointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives...; (1)

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. (2) (Isaiah 61:1-2.)

(1) Mortals who are the captives of birth and death.
(2) Mourn because of their separation from the Lord. Cf. St. Paul: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (II Corinthians 7:10.)

Another level of meaning is that Isaiah is foretelling the mission of Jesus.

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee (1), the glory of the Lord (2) shall be thy reward. (Isaiah 58:8.)

(1) These are all gifts bestowed by the Mother as the result of the penultimate enlightenment.
(2) The Mother is the glory of the Lord.

And Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied. (Luke 1:67.)

The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, (1) whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Jesus in John 14:26.)

(1) The Mother.

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Jesus in Matthew 10:19-20.)

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people....

And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. (Acts 6:8 + 10.)

The fruit of [the experience of] the [Holy] Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (1) (St. Paul in Galatians 5:22-3.)

(1) I.e., these qualities are higher than the reach of earthly laws.

Ye shall receive power, after ... the Holy Ghost is come upon you. (Acts 1:8.)

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. ...

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge...;

To another faith...; to another the gifts of healing...;

To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues;

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (St. Paul in I Corinthians 12:4 + 8-11.)

It happened one morning when he was sitting as usual at table that [Wisdom, the Holy Spirit] called to him in the tones of Solomon and said, "Audi, fili mi! Listen, my son, to the worthy advice of your father. If you wish to devote yourself to sublime love, you should take gentle Wisdom as your dearly beloved, because she bestows on her lover youth and vitality, nobility and abundance, honor and advantage, great power and an everlasting name. She makes him handsome and teaches him courteous behavior, and how to win people's praise and fame in battle. She makes him dear to and esteemed by God and man. Through her the earth was fashioned; through her the heavens were put in place and the abyss hollowed out. Whoever possesses her walks with confidence, sleeps untroubled, and lives free from care." (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 67-8.)

One should hear the scriptures during the early stages of spiritual discipline. After attaining God there is no lack of knowledge. Then the Divine Mother supplies it without fail. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 200.)

'O Mother, I am a fool. Please teach me what is contained in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures.' The Mother said to [Sri Ramakrishna], 'The essence of the Vedanta is that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory.' (Yogeshananda, VSR, 14.)

All satisfaction comes from Holy Vibration (1), for it is the sum total of all earthly things looked for. Sense pleasure is evil because it limits the soul, blinds it, and keeps it from seeking the unlimited happiness in the universal sensorium of the Holy Ghost. (Paramahansa Yogananda in SCC, 1, 31.)

(1) The Mother.

Enlightenment - (2) Midrange Experiences - Cosmic Consciousness – See also Visions – Great Chain of Being

When Dante awoke into the Cosmic Sense, into the new Cosmos, the first thing to strike him ... was the vision of the "Eternal Wheels" -- the "Chain of Causation" -- the universal order -- a vision infinitely beyond expression by human words. His new self ... had its eyes fixed on this, the Cosmic unfolding. Gazing thereupon the Cosmic vision and the Cosmic rapture transhumanized him into a god. (1) It is this vision of the universal order coming instantaneously, lighting the world as lightning illumines the landscape, but, unlike lightning, remaining, that has led the present writer to adopt the name "Cosmic Consciousness" -- a Consciousness of the Cosmos. (Maurice Bucke, CC, 137.)

(1) While Bucke claims this experience to be the equivalent of God-realization, which occurs when the spiritual energy reaches the seventh chakra, it may also be a sixth-chakra experience; witness the persistence of the subject-object relationship, which would have disappeared in a seventh-chakra experience like nirvikalpa samadhi.

In Western books one reads of people who had flashes of illumination. One Dr. Bucke collected and published records of many such. But whereas the Realization of Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] was permanent, this was not the case with those described by Bucke, which are never more than temporary flashes, lasting usually no more than half-an-hour. The effect of such may remain for some days but it will invariably pass with time. I asked Bhagavan about this, how it could be so, and he explained to me that which comes as a flash will disappear in a flash. Actually it is not Self-Realization they experience but Cosmic Consciousness where they see all as one, identify themselves with Nature and the Cosmic Heart. In Hinduism this is called Mahat. Here a trace of ego remains even during the experience and a consciousness of the body belonging to the visionary. This false sense of “I” must go entirely, for it is the limitation which serves as bondage. Liberation (1) is final freedom from this. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick], SRRM, 23.)

Before I came to India I had read of such people as Edward Carpenter, Tennyson and many more who had had flashes of what they called “Cosmic Consciousness.” I asked Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] about this. Was it possible that once having gained Self-Realization [for the individual] to lose it again? Certainly it was. To support this view Bhagavan took up a copy of Kaivalya Navanita and told the interpreter to read a page of it to me. In the early stages of Sadhana this was quite possible and even probable. So long as the least desire or tie was left, a person would be pulled back again into the phenomenal world, he explained. After all it is our Vasanas that prevent us from always being in our natural state, and Vasanas were not got rid of all of a sudden by a flash of Cosmic Consciousness. One may have worked them out in a previous existence leaving a little to be done in the present life, but in any case they must first be destroyed. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick], SRRM, 45.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The Spiritual Energy reaches the seventh chakra

There follows a third kind of experience, namely, that we feel ourselves to be one with God, for by means of our transformation in God we feel ourselves to be swallowed up in the groundless abyss of our eternal blessedness, in which we can never discover any difference between ourselves and God. This is the highest of all our experiences and can be experienced in no other way than by our being immersed in love. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 176.)

Last of all is the seventh plane, which, according to Tantra, is the centre of the thousand-petalled lotus. When the Kundalini arrives there, the aspirant goes into samadhi. In that lotus dwells Satchidananda Siva, the Absolute. There Kundalini, the awakened Power, unites with Siva. This is known as the union of Siva and Sakti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

[When the kundalini reaches the seventh plane and Shakti unites with Shiva] the individual soul (1) and the Supreme Soul (2) become one. The aspirant goes into samadhi. His consciousness of the body disappears. He loses the knowledge of the outer world. He does not see the manifold any more. (3) His reasoning comes to a stop. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

(1) The Self.
(2) The Father.
(3) The manifold, the outer world, body-consciousness are ways of saying "the Mother's domain" or nature.

In the top of the head is the seventh plane. When the mind rises there, one goes into samadhi. (1) Then the Brahmajnani (2) directly perceives Brahman. (3) But in that state his body does not last many days. He remains unconscious of the outer world. If milk is poured into his mouth, it runs out. Dwelling on this plane of consciousness, he gives up his body in twenty-one days. That is the condition of the Brahmajnani. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 151.)

(1) Nirvikalpa samadhi, a trance state in which the mind disappears.
(2) Knower of God; a sage.
(3) God the Father.

After passing the six centres the aspirant arrives at the seventh plane. ... The individual soul and the Supreme Soul become one. The aspirant goes into samadhi. His consciousness of the body disappears. He loses the knowledge of the outer world. He does not see the manifold any more. His reasoning comes to a stop. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

It is said in the Vedas that a man experiences samadhi when his mind ascends to the seventh plane. The ego can disappear only when one goes into samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.)

When the mind reaches the seventh plane, then the ego vanishes completely and the man goes into samadhi. ... What happens when the mind reaches the seventh plane cannot be described. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

The king lives beyond the seven gates. At each gate sits a man endowed with great power and glory. At each gate the visitor asks, 'Is this the king?" The gate-keeper answers, 'No. Not this, not this.' The visitor passes through the seventh gate and becomes overpowered with joy. He is speechless. This time he doesn't have to ask, 'Is this the king?' The mere sight of him removes all doubts. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 218.)

The king dwells in the inmost room of the palace, which has seven gates. The visitor comes to the first gate. There he sees a lordly person with a large retinue, surrounded on all sides by pomp and grandeur. The visitor asks his companion, 'Is he the king?' 'No,' says his friend with a smile.

At the second and the other gates, he repeats the same question to his friend. He finds that the nearer he comes to the inmost part of the palace, the greater is the glory, pomp, and grandeur. When he passes the seventh gate he does not ask his companion whether it is the king; he stands speechless at the king's immeasurable glory. He realizes that he is face to face with the king. He hasn't the slightest doubt about it. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 836.)

Awake, Mother! Awake! How long hast thou been asleep
In the lotus of the Muladhara!
Fulfil thy secret function, Mother:
Rise to the thousand-petalled lotus within the head,
Where mighty Siva has His dwelling;
Swiftly pierce the six lotuses
And take away my grief, O Essence of Consciousness!
(Devotee sings to Ramakrishna's circle of devotees in GSR, 242.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Epitomes of the journey so far

He who sees the inaction that is in action, (1) and the action that is in inaction, (2) is wise indeed. Even when he is engaged in action he remains poised in the tranquillity of the Atman. (Sri Krishna in BG, 52.)

(1) The Self, enveloped in Maya, is the inaction that is in the action of the primal creative vibration, the Mother.
(2) The Mother is the action that is in the inaction of the Father. To have distinguished the Mother's action from the Father's inaction implies knowing the Father; hence, God-realization.

We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (1) (St. Paul in Corinthians 3:18.)

(1) We shall all be transformed in stages from glory to glory, as we behold the unfolding progressive revelation of God brought about by the Holy Spirit (what Ramakrishna called the "Goddess" above). We shall be united with and become what we behold in these experiences.

The awakening of the Kundalini is the beginning of spiritual consciousness, and its union with Siva in the Sahasrara [seventh chakra], ending in samadhi [absorption in God], is the consummation. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 22.)

The more you advance toward God, the less you will see of His glories and grandeur. The aspirant at first has a vision of the Goddess with ten arms; there is a great display of power in that image. The next vision is that of the Deity with two arms; there are no longer ten arms holding various weapons and missiles. Then the aspirant has a vision of Gopala, (1) in which there is no trace of power. It is the form of a tender child. Beyond that there are other visions also. The aspirant then sees only Light. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 177.)

(1) The baby Krishna.

A supramental realisation [spiritual union] is prepared by mental representations through various mental principles in us and once attained again reflects itself more perfectly in all the members of the being. It is a re-seeing and therefore a remoulding of our whole existence in the light of the Divine and One and Eternal free from subjection to the appearances of things and the externalities of our superficial being.

Such a passage from the human to the divine, from the divided and discordant to the One, from the phenomenon to the eternal Truth, such an entire rebirth or the new birth of the soul must necessarily involve two stages, one of preparation in which the soul and its instruments must become fit and another of actual illumination and realisation in the prepared soul through its fit instruments. There is indeed no rigid line of demarcation in sequence of Time between these two stages; rather they are necessary to each other and continue simultaneously. For in proportion as the soul becomes fit it increases in illumination and rises to higher and higher, completer and completer realisations, and in proportion as these illuminations and these realisations increase, becomes fit and its instruments more adequate to their task: there are soul-seasons of illumined growth and culminating soul-moments more or less prolonged of illumined possession, moments that are transient like the flash of the lightning, yet change the whole spiritual future, moments also that extend over many human hours, days, weeks in a constant light or blaze of the Sun of Truth. And through all these the soul once turned Godward grows towards the permanence and perfection of its new birth and real existence. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 294-5.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The master bestows an experience of nirvikalpa samadhi

When he had thus said, (1) he was changed in his Idea or Form, and straightway, in the twinkling of an eye, all things were opened unto me. And I saw an infinite sight, all things were become light, both sweet and exceedingly pleasant; and I was wonderfully delighted in the beholding it. (Hermes, DPH, 8.)

Hermes speaks of his master here. Many people believe that “one [can] not give Self-realization to another.” (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 16.)

But here is another example of that occurring.

I sat that afternoon on my blanket, hallowed by associations and past-life realizations. My divine guru approached and passed his hand over my head. I entered the nirbikalpa samadhi state, remaining unbrokenly in its bliss for seven days. Crossing the successive strata of Self-knowledge, I penetrated the deathless realms of Reality. All delusive limitations dropped away; my soul was fully established on the altar of the Cosmic Spirit. (Lahiri Mahasaya, touched by his guru Babaji, in Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 313.)

[Sri Yukteswar Giri] spoke caressingly, comfortingly. His calm gaze was unfathomable. "Your heart's desire shall be fulfilled." ... He struck gently on my chest above the heart. (1)

My body became immoveably rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs as if by some huge magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their physical bondage and streamed out like a fluid piercing light from every pore. (Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 141.)

(1) Here is a third example of the master bestowing an enlightenment experience on the devotee.

While engaged in meditation in the temple [Sri Kavyakantha Ganapathi Muni] felt greatly distracted and intensely longed to be with Sri Maharshi that he might get his grace and guidance. Then he saw the latter enter the temple. He prostrated, and as he tried to rise Sri Maharshi placed his hand on Ganapathi Muni’s head. The latter felt a mysterious power passing into his body from the hand. Ganapathi Muni regarded it as the expression of his Master’s Grace by touch of hand or Hasthadiksha. (1)(Subbaraya Karnath, SMSLS, 16.)

(1) Here is a fourth example of the master bestowing an enlightenment experience on the devotee.

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The aspirant usually loses consciousness of the outer world in Nirvikalpa Samadhi

When the sky is rent asunder, obeying her Lord in true submission; when earth expands and casts out all that is within her and becomes empty, obeying her Lord in true submission; then, O man, who labour constantly to meet your Lord, you shall meet Him. (1) (Koran, 48.)

(1) In nirvikalpa samadhi, the world disappears.

The mountains, for all their firmness, will pass away like clouds. Such is the might of Allah, who has rightly disposed all things. (Koran, 86.)

Becoming one with the non-dual consciousness even for a short time is what is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in SRGM, 404.)

In [nirvikalpa] samadhi one forgets the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 237.)

The mind is annihilated; man goes into samadhi. What he feels then cannot be described in words. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

In [nirvikalpa] samadhi one attains the Knowledge of Brahman -- one realizes Brahman. In that state reasoning stops altogether, and man becomes mute. He has no power to describe the nature of Brahman.

After I had experienced [nirvikalpa] samadhi, my mind craved intensely to hear only about God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 117.)

Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. (All laugh.)

It wanted to tell others how deep the water was. But this it could never do, for no sooner did it get into the water than it melted. Now who was there to report the ocean's depth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 102-3.)

The nature of Brahman cannot be described. About it one remains silent. Who can explain the Infinite in words? … Once a salt doll (1) went to the ocean to measure its depth. But it could not come back to give a report. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 218.)

(1) Later Sri Ramakrishna revealed the source of this metaphor: “Still another day [the Mother] showed me an ocean. Taking the form of a salt doll, I was going to measure its depth. While doing this, through the grace of the guru, I was turned to stone.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 376.)

How little we know. … If ever a salt doll ventures into the ocean to measure its depth, it cannot come back and give us the information. It melts into the water and disappears. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 257.)

The Sahasrara of one who abides in the Self is nothing but pure Light. Any thought that approaches it cannot survive.

The state in which awareness is firm and one-pointed, even when objects are sensed, is called sahaja sthiti. The state in which objects are absent is called nirvikalpa samadhi. (Ramana Maharshi in SRG, 27.)

God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Instances of Sri Ramakrishna in nirvikalpa samadhi

In samadhi I lose outer consciousness completely; but God generally keeps a little trace of ego in me for the enjoyment of divine communion. Enjoyment is possible only when 'I' and 'you" remain.

Again, sometimes God effaces even the trace of 'I'. Then one experiences jada samadhi or nirvikalpa samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 196-7.)

"So long as [the Kundalini] does not reach the brain, I remain conscious, but the moment it does so, I am dead to the outside world. Even the functions of the eyes and the ears come to a stop, and speech is out of the question. Who should speak? The very distinction between 'I' and 'thou' vanishes. Sometimes I think I shall tell you everything about what I see and feel when that mysterious power rises up through the spinal column. When it has come up to this, or even this (pointing to the heart and throat), somebody stops my mouth, as it were, and I am adrift. I make up my mind to relate to you what I feel when the Kundalini goes beyond the throat, but as I think over it, up goes the mind at a bound, and there is an end to the matter." Many a time did the Master attempt to describe this state, but failed every time. One day he was determined to tell and went on until the power reached the throat. Then pointing to the sixth centre, opposite the junction of the eyebrows, he said, "When the mind reaches this point one catches a vision of the Paramatman and falls into Samadhi. Only a thin, transparent veil intervenes between the Jiva and the Paramatman. He then sees like this --" and as he attempted to explain it in detail he fell into Samadhi. When his mind came down a little he tried again, and again he was immersed in Samadhi! After repeated attempts he said with tears in his eyes, "Well, I sincerely wish to tell you everything, but [the Divine Mother] won't let me do so. She gagged me!" (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, in LSR, 107-8.)

The Master went into deep samadhi. His body was motionless; he sat with folded hands as in his photograph. Tears of joy flowed from the corners of his eyes. After a long time his mind came down to the ordinary plane of consciousness. He mumbled something, of which only a word now and then could be heard by the devotees in the room. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 207.)

As he uttered the words "Eternal Consort of my soul" and "Govinda", the Master again went into samadhi. There was complete silence in the room. The eager and unsatiated eyes of the devotees were fixed on the Master, a God-man of infinite moods. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 207-8.)

At these words the Master went into deep samadhi. After a short while he regained consciousness of the sense world. Then he suddenly stood up, overpowered by his spiritual mood, and sang improvised lines with the professionals, thinking himself to be a milkmaid of Vrindavan gone mad with the beauty of Sri Krishna's form. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 212.)

At the mere mention of Krishna and Arjuna the Master went into samadhi. In the twinkling of an eye his body became motionless and his eyeballs transfixed, while his breathing could scarcely be noticed. Navadvip and his son and the other devotee looked at the Master in mute wonder. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 255.)

Tears of joy flowed from the corners of his eyes. After a long time his mind came down to the ordinary plane of consciousness. He mumbled something, of which only a word now and then could be heard by the devotees in the room., He was saying: "Thou art I, and I am Thou -- Thou eatest -- Thou -- eat! ... What is this confusion Thou has created?" ... There was complete silence in the room. The eager and unsatiated eyes of the devotees were fixed on the Master, a God-man of infinite moods. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 207-8.)

Spellbound, they looked on a great yogi, his face lighted with a divine smile, his countenance radiating love, his eyes sparkling with joy -- a man who had renounced all for God and who knew nothing but God. Unceasing words of wisdom flowed from his lips. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 134.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Declarations of God-Realization

I am that Self! I am life immortal! I have overcome the world -- I who am endowed with golden effulgence! Those who know me achieve Reality. (UPAN, 59.)

I am life. My glory is like the mountain peak. I am established in the purity of Brahman. I have attained to the freedom of the Self. I am Brahman, self-luminous, the brightest treasure. I am endowed with wisdom. I am immortal, imperishable. (UPAN, 54.)

How can I speak of or worship that Supreme Beatitude, which I do not know as an object of knowledge? For I myself am that Supreme Beatitude -- the ultimate Reality, which is full by nature and all-pervading like space. (Dattatreya, AG, 14.)

I am indeed that Brahman which is free from diversity. O dear friend, how can I, the Self, salute the Self? ... I am uncreated and separate from creation, for I am ever present. ... I am Self-luminous, I am Existence-Knowledge-Bliss and boundless as space. (Dattatreya, AG, 56.)

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. (Psalm 4:6.)

Thou has put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. (Psalm 4:7.)

I have overcome the world. (Jesus in John 16:33.)

On this road
With no traveller (1)
Autumn night falls.
(Matsuo Basho [1644-1694] in BR, 208.)

(1) Bashuo indicates here that the separate observer has passed away, as in nirvikalpa samadhi.

I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, "O thou I!" (1) (Bayazid of Bistun in PP, 12.)

(1) Cf. Sri Ramakrishna's paradoxical assertion: "One can see God only if He turns His light toward His own face." (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 174.)

Here Bayazin's realization of God builds until he emerges having known "I" in all its fulness.

My heart's mirror became the place of manifestation of the revelations and effusions of the eternal and forever Beloved. The Divine effusions, following one from the other, descended and continue to descend, and my heart accepts it. Neither the love nor the receptivity of my heart is exhausted and it is not likely that it will end. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 17.)

Are you certain that your soul has had its full development? Do you breathe in air through every pore of it? Do your eyes see all they can see? (Honore de Balzac in CC, 204.)

O the joy of my spirit -- it is uncaged -- it darts like lightning. (Whitman in CC, 78.)

I killed Yogananda long ago. No one dwells in this temple (1) now but God. (Paramahansa Yogananda in PATH, 219.)

(1) The body.

In an instant, I became profoundly and directly aware of what I am. It was a tacit realization, a direct knowledge in consciousness itself. It was consciousness itself without the addition of a communication from any other source. I simply sat there and knew what I am. I was being what I am. I am Reality, the Self, and Nature and Support of all things and all beings. I am the One Being, known as God, Brahman, Atman, the One Mind. (Da Free John, KOL, Original Edition, 134-5.)

Enlightenment _ (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The role of kumbhaka

The upshot of the whole thing is that, no matter what path you follow, yoga is impossible unless the mind becomes quiet. The mind of the yogi is under his control; he is not under the control of his mind. When the mind is quiet his prana stops functioning. Then one gets kumbhaka. (1) One may have the same kumbhaka through bhaktiyoga as well: the prana stops functioning through love of God too. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 248.)

(1) Retention of the breath.

Suppose a man is sweeping a courtyard with his broom, and another man comes and says to him: “Hello! So-and-so is no more. He is dead.” Now, if the dead person was not related to the sweeper, the latter goes on with his work, remarking casually: “Ah! That’s too bad. He is dead. He was a good fellow.” The sweeping goes on all the same. But if the dead man was his relative, then the broom drops from his hand. “Ah!” he exclaims, and he too drops to the ground. His prana has stopped functioning. (1) He can neither work nor think. Haven’t you noticed, among women, that if one of them looks at something or listens to something in speechless amazement, the other women say to her, “What? Are you in ecstacy?” In this instance, too, the prana has stopped functioning, and so she remains speechless, with mouth agape. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 248-9.)

(1) Kumbhaka has occurred.

Then comes bhava, intense love. Through bhava a man becomes speechless. His nerve currents are stilled. Kumbhaka comes by itself. It is like the case of a man whose breath and speech stop when he fires a gun. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 315.)

When Arjuna was about to shoot at the target, the eye of a fish, his eyes were fixed on the eye of the fish, and nothing else. He didn’t even notice any part of the fish except the eye. In such a state the breathing stops and one experiences kumbhaka. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 316.)

A man achieves kumbhaka without any yogic exercise if he but weeps for God. The next stage is samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 344.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The role of the kundalini

Others casting themselves down before my feet, besought me that they might be taught; but I, causing them to rise up, became a guide of mankind, teaching them the reasons how, and by what means they may be saved. And I sowed in them the Words of Wisdom, and nourished them with Ambrozian [sic] Water of Immortality. (1) (Hermes, DPH, 16.)

(1) The Amrozian Water of Immortality” is probably the Kundalini, having reached the seventh chakra.

I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Jesus in Revelation 21:6.)

A man's spiritual consciousness is not awakened unless his Kundalini is aroused.

The Kundalini dwells in the Muladhara. (1) When it is aroused, it passes along the Sushumna nerve, goes through the centres of Svadhisthana, Manipura, (2) and so on, and at last reaches the head. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 830.)

(1) Or first chakra.
(2) Second and third chakras.

The first three planes of the Vedas may be compared to the first three Yogic centres, namely, Muladhara, Svadisthana, and Manipura. With ordinary people the mind dwells in these three planes, at the organs of evacuation and generation and at the navel. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

When the mind is immersed in worldliness it dwells in the three lower planes.... In that state the mind loses all its higher visions -- it broods only on [lust and greed]. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 150.)

The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: 'What is this? What is this?' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

Like the slow creeping of an ant, the Mahavayu rises from centre to centre. When it reaches the Sahasrara one goes into samadhi. One feels the rising of the Great Energy, as though it were the movement of an ant. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 950.)

Last of all is the seventh plane, which, according to Tantra, is the centre of the thousand-petalled lotus. When the Kundalini arrives there, the aspirant goes into samadhi. In that lotus dwells Satchidananda Siva, the Absolute. There Kundalini, the awakened Power, unites with Siva. This is known as the union of Siva and Sakti. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.)

[When the kundalini reaches the seventh plane and Shakti unites with Shiva] the individual soul (1) and the Supreme Soul (2) become one. The aspirant goes into samadhi. His consciousness of the body disappears. He loses the knowledge of the outer world. He does not see the manifold any more. (3) His reasoning comes to a stop. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.)

(1) The Self.
(2) The Father.
(3) The manifold, the outer world, body-consciousness are ways of saying "the Mother's domain" or nature.

I found Myself above space, time, and causality, and actually sustaining the whole universe by the Light of Consciousness which I AM. Almost at once, there followed the Nectar-like Current and the gentle, yet so powerful Joy. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff in PTS, 32.)

The Current is clearly a subtle, fluid-like substance which brings the sense of well-being already described. Along with It, a more than earthly Joy suffuses the whole nature. To myself, I called It a Nectar. Now, I recognize It under several names. It is ... the 'Soma,' the 'Ambrosia of the Gods,' the 'Elixir of Life,' the 'Water of Life' of Jesus, and the 'Baptism of the Spirit' of St. Paul. It is more than related to Immortality; in fact it is Identical with Immortality. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff in PTS, 31.)

I shall attempt an analysis of this Current of Joy as it affects the outer consciousness including the physiological man. To the sensuous consciousness It appears as of the nature of a fluid, for there is a sense of 'flowing through.' It penetrates all tensions with the effect of physical release. Spots that are not so well feel both rested and stronger. All over and through and through there is a quality that may well be described as physiological happiness. The organism feels no craving for sensuous distraction in order to find enjoyment. The external life of the individual could appear highly ascetic and austere to others, but all the while it would be profoundly happy. ...

I wish, by every means possible, to make the point clear that in the Current lies the highest possible value which, from the relative standpoint, we call enjoyment. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff in PTS, 20-1.)

[The kundalini is] the current of immortal joy. (Da Free John, KOL, Original Edition, 157.)

The awakening of the Kundalini is the beginning of spiritual consciousness, and its union with Siva in the Sahasrara, ending in samadhi [absorption in God], is the consummation. (Swami Nikhilananda in GSR, 22.)

The role of the kundalini with Sri Ramakrishna

"So long as [the Kundalini] does not reach the brain, I remain conscious, but the moment it does so, I am dead to the outside world. Even the functions of the eyes and the ears come to a stop, and speech is out of the question. Who should speak? The very distinction between 'I' and 'thou' vanishes. Sometimes I think I shall tell you everything about what I see and feel when that mysterious power rises up through the spinal column. When it has come up to this, or even this (pointing to the heart and throat), somebody stops my mouth, as it were, and I am adrift. I make up my mind to relate to you what I feel when the Kundalini goes beyond the throat, but as I think over it, up goes the mind at a bound, and there is an end to the matter." Many a time did the Master attempt to describe this state, but failed every time. One day he was determined to tell and went on until the power reached the throat. Then pointing to the sixth centre, opposite the junction of the eyebrows, he said, "When the mind reaches this point one catches a vision of the Paramatman and falls into Samadhi. Only a thin, transparent veil intervenes between the Jiva and the Paramatman. He then sees like this --" and as he attempted to explain it in detail he fell into Samadhi. When his mind came down a little he tried again, and again he was immersed in Samadhi! After repeated attempts he said with tears in his eyes, "Well, I sincerely wish to tell you everything, but [the Divine Mother] won't let me do so. She gagged me!" (Paramahansa Ramakrishna, in LSR, 107-8.)

The role of the kundalini with St. John of the Cross

Upon my flowering breast (1)
Which I kept wholly for Him alone,
There He lay sleeping,
And I caressing Him
There in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

When the breeze (2) blew from the turret
Parting His hair,
He wounded my neck (3)
With His gentle hand,
Suspending all my senses.

I abandoned and forgot myself,
Laying my face on my Beloved;
All things ceased; (4) I went out from myself,
Leaving my cares
Forgotten among the lilies. (5)
(St. John of the Cross, CWSJC, 69.)

(1) Probably the hridayam or spiritual heart and not the heart chakra.
(2) A play on the word "spirit," or "breath." The Holy Spirit or Shakti stirs.
(3) The kundalini rises into the head.
(4) The suspension of the senses, forgetting oneself, things ceasing are all indications of nirvikalpa samadhi.
(5) Probably the chakras.

O living flame of love,
how tenderly you wound
my soul in her profoundest core!
You are no longer shy.
Do it now, I ask you:
break the membrane of our sweet union.

O sweet cautery!
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
That tastes of eternal life,
And pays every debt!
In killing, You changed death to life.
(St. John of the Cross in CWSJC, 717-8.)

The role of the kundalini with Walt Whitman

You settled your head athwart my hips (1) and gently turned over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart. (2)
And reached till you felt my beard, (3) and reached till you held my feet.
Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and joy and knowledge that pass all the art and argument of the earth; (4)
And I know that the hand of God is the elder hand of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the eldest brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers,
... and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of creation is love. (5)
(Walt Whitman in CC, 227-8.)

(1) Probably the stirring of the kundalini, which resides in the muladhara or first chakra.
(2) Probably reaching the fourth or anahata chakra
(3) Indicating its rise to the head, perhaps to the fifth or throat chakra.
(4) As the kundalini continues to rise and fills him, he enters the non-dual, transcendental state and, as he does, acquires omniscience.
(5) That the whole of creation is built and rests on love

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - It may begin in dualistic cosmic consciousness and end in non-dualistic mergence in God the Father

To realise and unite oneself with the active Brahman (1) is to exchange ... the individual for the cosmic consciousness. ... We are aware of an unwounded Delight, a pure and perfect Presence, an infinite and self-contained Power present in ourselves and all things. ... This foundation enables us to possess in the security of the divine existence the whole universe within our own being. ... We are no longer limited and shut in by what we inhabit, but like the Divine contain within ourselves all that for the purpose of the movement of Nature we consent to inhabit. ... Having this, we possess our eternal self-existence at rest in its eternal consciousness and bliss. ... we ... realise this silent Self as the Lord of all the action of universal Nature. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 392-3.)

(1) That is, the Mother. Sri Aurobindo is distinguishing Shakti from Brahman here, a position that identifies the initial experience of cosmic consciousness with a sixth-chakra rather than a seventh-chakra state.

That into which we merge ourselves in the cosmic consciousness is Satchidananda. (1) It is one eternal Existence that we ... are, one eternal Consciousness which sees its own works in us and others, one eternal Will or Force of that Consciousness which displays itself in infinite workings, one eternal Delight which has the joy of itself and all its workings, -- itself stable, immutable, timeless, spaceless, supreme and itself still in the infinity of its workings, not changed by their variations, not broken up by their multiplicity, not increased or decreased by their ebbings and flowings in the seas of Time and Space, not confused by their apparent contrarieties or limited by their divinely-willed limitations. Satchidananda is the unity of the many-sidedness of manifested things, the eternal harmony of all their variations and oppositions, the infinite perfection which justifies their limitations and is the goal of their imperfections. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 395.)

(1) Eternal life, infinite knowledge, and undying bliss. Here Sri Aurobindo indicates that cosmic consciousness can end in non-dual mergence in Brahman or Satchidananda; that is, God the Father.

Yogananda illustrates cosmic consciousness ending in Nirvikalpa Samadhi

[Sri Yukteswar Giri] spoke caressingly, comfortingly. His calm gaze was unfathomable. "Your heart's desire shall be fulfilled." ... He struck gently on my chest above the heart.

My body became immoveably rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs as if by some huge magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their physical bondage and streamed out like a fluid piercing light from every pore. The flesh was as though dead, yet in my intense awareness I knew that never before had I been fully alive. My sense of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a body but embraced the ... atoms. People on distant streets seemed to be moving gently over my own remote periphery. The roots of plants and trees appeared through a dim transparency of the soil; I discerned the inward flow of their sap.

The whole vicinity lay bare before me. My ordinary frontal vision was now changed to a vast spherical sight, simultaneously all-perceptive. Through the back of my head I saw men strolling far down Rai Ghat Lane, and noticed also a white cow that was leisurely approaching. When she reached the ashram gate, I observed her as though with my two physical eyes. After she had passed behind the brick wall of the courtyard, I saw her clearly still.

All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures. My body, Master's, the pillared courtyard, the furniture and floor, the trees and sunshine, occasionally became violently agitated, until all melted into a luminescent sea; (1) even as sugar crystals, thrown into a glass of water, dissolve after being shaken. The unifying light alternated with materializations of form, the metamorphoses revealing the law of cause and effect in creation.

An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light. A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like a city seen afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of my being. The dazzling light beyond the sharply etched global outlines faded slightly at the farthest edges; there I saw a mellow radiance, ever undiminished. It was indescribably subtle; the planetary pictures were formed of a grosser light.

The divine dispersion of rays poured from an Eternal Source, blazing into galaxies, transfigured with ineffable auras. Again and again I saw the creative beams condense into constellations, then resolve into sheets of transparent flame. By rhythmic reversion, sextillion worlds passed into diaphanous lustre, then fire became firmament.

I cognized the centre of the empyrean as a point of intuitive perception in my heart. Irradiating splendour issued from my nucleus to every part of the universal structure. Blissful amrita, nectar of immortality, pulsated through me with a quicksilverlike fluidity. The creative voice of God I heard resounding as Aum, the vibration of the Cosmic Motor. (2)

Suddenly the breath returned to my lungs. With a disappointment almost unbearable, I realized that my infinite immensity was lost. Once more I was limited to the humiliating cage of a body, not easily accommodative to the Spirit. Like a prodigal child, I had run away from my macrocosmic home and had imprisoned myself in a narrow microcosm.

My guru was standing motionless before me; I started to prostrate myself at his holy feet in gratitude for his having bestowed on me the experience in cosmic consciousness that I had long passionately sought. He held me upright and said quietly:

"You must not get overdrunk with ecstasy. Much work yet remains for you in the world. Come, let us sweep the balcony floor; then we shall walk by the Ganges."

I fetched a broom; Master, I knew, was teaching me the secret of balanced living. The soul must stretch over the cosmogonic abysses, while the body performs its daily duties. (Paramahansa Yogananda in AY, 141-3.)

(1) God as the Father, Brahman.
(2) He passes into God-consciousness, accompanied by the Sound-Brahman, the Mother's cosmic vibration.

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The mind becomes still

[Modification of the mind depends] on the awareness of 'I,' 'I'. If the consciousness of 'I' vanishes or is stopped altogether for some time, there can be no modification in the mind. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in SRGM, 439.)

When the I-consciousness of the Master vanished altogether, he remained in oneness with the 'unqualified being of the Divine Mother' beyond the limits of this all-pervading I. And with the vanishing of this 'individual I' vanished also the last vestige of the infinite waves of ideas emerging from that 'immense'I', which we call the universe. (Saradananda, SRGM, 443.)

Pure mind sees God and ordinary mind does not function. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 687.)

The mind was not functioning; it was alert and passive, and though cognizant of the breeze playing among the leaves, there was no movement of any kind within itself. There was no observer who measured and observed. There was only THAT, and THAT was aware of itself without measure. It had no beginning and no word. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 242.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Duality ends

When everything in this world, including the body, becomes unreal and void like space, then truly one knows Brahman. Then there is no longer any parade of dualities for him. (Dattatreya, AG, 20.)

In samadhi, when name and form disappear, man experiences the oneness of Brahman. (Swami Chetanananda in Dattatreya, AG, 9.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The ego, separate self, or observer vanishes for a time

As [the] rivers, when they are united with the sea, do not know whether they are this or that river, likewise all ... creatures..., when they have come back from Brahman, know not whence they came. (UPAN, 69.)

In samadhi man becomes one with God. Then he can have no egotism. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 767.)

It is said in the Vedas that a man experiences samadhi when his mind ascends to the seventh plane. The ego can disappear only when one goes into samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.)

[When] the aspirant goes into samadhi..., for him, the forms or attributes of God disappear altogether. Then he does not feel God to be a Person. Then he cannot describe in words what God is. And who will describe it? He who is to describe does not exist at all; he no longer finds his 'I'. To such a person Brahman is attributeless. In that state God is experienced (1) only as Consciousness, by man's innermost consciousness. He cannot be comprehended by the mind and intelligence. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 859.)

(1) Realized.

[A] man becomes silent when [samadhi] is attained. Then the 'I', which may be likened to a salt doll, melts in the Ocean of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute and becomes one with It. Not the slightest trace of distinction is left. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 148.)

Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. No sooner did it enter the water than it melted. Now who could tell how deep the ocean was? That which could have told about its depth had melted. Reaching the seventh plane, the mind is annihilated; man goes into samadhi. What he feels then cannot be described in words. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

Once a boat (1) enters the 'black waters' of the ocean, (2) it does not return. Nobody knows what happens to the boat after that. Therefore the boat cannot give us any information about the ocean. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

(1) The mind or ego.
(2) Nirvikalpa samadhi, formlessness, the Father.

Nobody knows what remains after the 'I' disappears. Nobody can express it in words. That which is remains. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 758.)

When the I-consciousness of the Master vanished altogether, he remained in oneness with the 'unqualified being of the Divine Mother' beyond the limits of this all-pervading I. And with the vanishing of this 'individual I' vanished also the last vestige of the infinite waves of ideas emerging from that 'immense 'I', which we call the universe. (Saradananda, SRGM, 443.)

I saw everything passing from form to formlessness. I want to tell you the things I saw, but I cannot. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 933.)

I had many mystic experiences, but I cannot reveal their contents. Under the bel-tree I had many flaming visions. There I practised the various sadhanas prescribed in the Tantras.

... M. sat motionless as a picture on canvas, hearing about these unique visions of the Master. The other devotees were also spellbound. There was a dead silence in the room. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 814.)

The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samadhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the ego, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana. (1) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

(1) Jnana is the realization that Brahman is distinct from Maya; vijnana is the realization that it is Brahman who has become Maya and everything else that is.

Even after attainment of Knowledge this 'I-consciousness' comes up, nobody knows from where. ... All our suffering is due to this 'I'. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 105.)

You may reason a thousand times, but you cannot get rid of the ego. The ego is like a pitcher, and Brahman like the ocean -- an infinite expanse of water on all sides. The pitcher is set in the ocean. The water is both inside and out; the water is everywhere; yet the pitcher remains. ... As long as the ego remains, 'you' and 'I' remain. ... The ego cannot be got rid of; so let the rascal remain as the servant of God, the devotee of God. (Sri Ramakrishna in GSR, 708.)

You may discriminate, saying that the ego is nothing at all; but still it comes, nobody knows from where. A goat's legs jerk for a few moments even after its head has been cut off. Or perhaps you are frightened in a dream; you shake off sleep and are wide awake, but still you feel your heart palpitating. Egotism is exactly like that. You may drive it away, but still it appears from somewhere. Then you look sullen and say: 'What! I have not been shown proper respect!' (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 210.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - The universe disappears

When, in the enlightenment of the Atman, a man transcends the mind, the phenomenal universe disappears from him. When a man lives in the domain of mental ignorance, the phenomenal universe exists for him. (Shankara in CJD, 60.)

When the sky is rent asunder, obeying her Lord in true submission; when earth expands and casts out all that is within her and becomes empty, obeying her Lord in true submission; then, O man, who labour constantly to meet your Lord, you shall meet Him. (Koran, 48.)

The mountains, for all their firmness, will pass away like clouds. Such is the might of Allah, who has rightly disposed all things. (Koran, 86.)

It [is] an ineffable "That" of which nothing can be said; for the universe and all that is does not exist in That. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 350.)

When there is awareness of the world there is no awareness of the Self. When there is awareness of the Self, awareness of the world is not there. (Mata Amritanandamayi, AC, I, 39.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Knower, knowing, and known become one

When the seer beholds the Effulgent One, the Lord, the Supreme Being, then, transcending both good and evil, and freed from impurities, he unites himself with him. (UPAN, 47.)

In samadhi, the meditator, meditation, and the object of meditation -- all these three become one. This is the culmination of Vedantic realization. (Swami Chetanananda in Dattatreya, AG, 7.)

In the nondualistic experience, the knower, knowledge, and knowable become one. Thus, he who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. (Swami Chetananda in Dattatreya, AG, 1.)

In samadhi, when name and form disappear, man experiences the oneness of Brahman. (Swami Chetanananda in Dattatreya, AG, 9.)

How can I speak of or worship that Supreme Beatitude, which I do not know as an object of knowledge? For I myself am that Supreme Beatitude -- the ultimate Reality, which is full by nature and all-pervading like space. (Dattatreya, AG, 14.)

I killed Yogananda long ago. No one dwells in this temple (1) now but God. (Paramahansa Yoganananda, PATH, 219.)

(1) The body.

I am indeed that Brahman which is free from diversity. O dear friend, how can I, the Self, salute the Self? ... I am uncreated and separate from creation, for I am ever present. ... I am Self-luminous, I am Existence-Knowledge-Bliss and boundless as space. (Dattatreya, AG, 56.)

The [cosmic] sense is a sense that one is those objects and things and persons that one perceives, and the whole universe. (Edward Carpenter in CC, 89.)

Within us ... the objects we contemplate and that which contemplates are identical -- both are thought (1). (Plotinus in CC, 122.)

(1) Hence both are one.

The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God, as if He stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge. (Meister Eckhart in PP, 12.)

By means of our transformation in God we feel ourselves to be swallowed up in the groundless abyss of our eternal blessedness, in which we can never discover any difference between ourselves and God. This is the highest of all our experiences and can be experienced in no other way than by our being immersed in love. (John Ruusbroec in JR, 176.)

Then the soul neither sees, nor distinguishes by seeing, nor imagines that there are two things; but becomes as it were another thing, ceases to be itself and belong to itself. It belongs to God and is one with Him, like two concentric circles: concurring they are One; but when they separate they are two. ... Since in this conjunction with Deity there were not two things, but the perceiver was one with the thing perceived, if a man could preserve the memory of what he was when he mingled with the Divine, he would have within himself an image of God. ... For then nothing stirred within him, neither anger, nor desire, nor even reason, nor a certain intellectual perception, nor, in short, was he himself moved, if we may assert this; but, being in an ecstacy, tranquil and alone with God, he enjoyed an unbreakable calm. (Plotinus in ECST, 426.)

The phenomenon of the observer and the observed is not a dual process, but a single one; and only in experiencing the fact of this unitary process is there freedom from desire, from conflict. The question of how to experience this fact should never arise. It must happen; and it happens only when there is alertness and passive awareness. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 61.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Knowing God, the aspirant has become God

He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. (UPAN, 48.)

I am that Self! I am life immortal! I have overcome the world -- I who am endowed with golden effulgence! Those who know me achieve Reality. (UPAN, 59.)

How can I speak of or worship that Supreme Beatitude, which I do not know as an object of knowledge? For I myself am that Supreme Beatitude -- the ultimate Reality, which is full by nature and all-pervading like space. (Dattatreya, AG, 14.)

I am indeed that Brahman which is free from diversity. O dear friend, how can I, the Self, salute the Self? ... I am uncreated and separate from creation, for I am ever present. ... I am Self-luminous, I am Existence-Knowledge-Bliss and boundless as space. (Dattatreya, AG, 56.)

I killed Yogananda long ago. No one dwells in this temple (1) now but God. (Paramahansa Yogananda in PATH, 219.)

(1) The body.

To know God is to become like God. (Swami Nikhilananda in HIN, 25.)

In an instant, I became profoundly and directly aware of what I am. It was a tacit realization, a direct knowledge in consciousness itself. It was consciousness itself without the addition of a communication from any other source. I simply sat there and knew what I am. I was being what I am. I am Reality, the Self, and Nature and Support of all things and all beings. I am the One Being, known as God, Brahman, Atman, the One Mind. (Da Free John, KOL, Original Edition, 134-5.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Some aspects of the event cannot be described

As [the] rivers, when they are united with the sea, do not know whether they are this or that river, likewise all ... creatures..., when they have come back from Brahman, know not whence they came. (UPAN, 69.)

What Brahman is cannot be described in words. ... One cannot describe in words the joy of play and communion with Satchidananda. He alone knows, who has realized it. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 900.)

When the 'I' disappears, what is remains. That cannot be described in words. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 915.)

If you ask me what Brahman is like, all I can say is that It cannot be described in words. Even when one has realized Brahman, one cannot describe It. If someone asks you what ghee is like, your answer will be, 'Ghee is like ghee.' The only analogy for Brahman is Brahman. Nothing exists besides It. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 920.)

I saw everything passing from form to formlessness. I want to tell you the things I saw, but I cannot. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 933.)

I had many mystic experiences, but I cannot reveal their contents. Under the bel-tree I had many flaming visions. There I practised the various sadhanas prescribed in the Tantras.

... M. sat motionless as a picture on canvas, hearing about these unique visions of the Master. The other devotees were also spellbound. There was a dead silence in the room. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 814.)

"Today," [Sri Ramakrishna] said..., "I shall tell you everything and not keep anything secret." He clearly described the yogic centres of the body and their corresponding experiences up to the throat. Then pointing to the spot between the eyebrows, he said, "When the mind reaches this point one catches a vision of the Paramatman, the Supreme Self, and falls into samadhi. There only a thin transparent veil separates the Supreme Self and the individual self. Next one --" and into samadhi he passed. Coming down a little he tried again to describe it, and was again in samadhi. Finally with tears in his eyes the Master said...,

"You see, ... something rises with a tingling sensation from the feet to the head. So long as it does not reach the head I remain conscious, but the moment it does so, I am dead to the outside world. There is no seeing or hearing any more, not to mention speaking. Who could speak? The very idea of 'I' and 'you' vanishes. While that power is going up I feel like telling you everything -- my visions and all. Until it comes here (the heart) or at most here (the throat), speaking is possible and I do speak; but when it goes beyond the throat, someone stops my mouth, as it were. As I think over what I will say, up goes the mind at a bound, and there is an end to the matter!" (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Yogeshananda, VSR, 123-4.)

"So long as [the Kundalini] does not reach the brain, I remain conscious, but the moment it does so, I am dead to the outside world. Even the functions of the eyes and the ears come to a stop, and speech is out of the question. Who should speak? The very distinction between 'I' and 'thou' vanishes. Sometimes I think I shall tell you everything about what I see and feel when that mysterious power rises up through the spinal column. When it has come up to this, or even this (pointing to the heart and throat), somebody stops my mouth, as it were, and I am adrift. I make up my mind to relate to you what I feel when the Kundalini goes beyond the throat, but as I think over it, up goes the mind at a bound, and there is an end to the matter." Many a time did the Master attempt to describe this state, but failed every time. One day he was determined to tell and went on until the power reached the throat. Then pointing to the sixth centre, opposite the junction of the eyebrows, he said, "When the mind reaches this point one catches a vision of the Paramatman and falls into Samadhi. Only a thin, transparent veil intervenes between the Jiva and the Paramatman. He then sees like this --" and as he attempted to explain it in detail he fell into Samadhi. When his mind came down a little he tried again, and again he was immersed in Samadhi! After repeated attempts he said with tears in his eyes, "Well, I sincerely wish to tell you everything, but [the Divine Mother] won't let me do so. She gagged me!" (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in LSR, 107-8.)

When I undertake to tell the best I find I cannot,
My tongue is ineffectual on its pivots,
My breath will not be obedient to its organs,
I become a dumb man. (Whitman in CC, 78.)

This Emptiness is Absolute Fullness but, as such, never can be comprehended from the perspective of egoistic consciousness. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff in PTS, 12.)

To be known, a thing must be made an object. Brahman, as pure consciousness, cannot be made an object of knowledge. 'You cannot see that which is the seer of seeing; you cannot hear that which is the hearer of hearing; you cannot think of that which is the thinker of thought; you cannot know that which is the knower of knowing. ' (Nikhilananda, HIN, 32.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Some aspects can be described

Do you know what the vision of Divine Consciousness is like? It is like the sudden illumination of a dark room when a match is struck. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 308.)

Another characteristic of God-vision is that a great spiritual current rushes up along the spine and goes toward the brain. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 316.)

It is like the sun at dawn. You can easily look at that sun. It doesn’t dazzle the eyes; rather it satisfies them. God becomes tender for the sake of His devotees. He appears before them, setting aside His powers. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 282.)

The torrential bliss is overwhelming, but the yogi learns to control its outward manifestations. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 24n.)

[The] habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God ... often causes me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them and to prevent their appearance to others. (Brother Lawrence in PPG, 33.)

The sight of Good is not like the beam of the Sun, which being of a fiery shining brightness maketh the eye blind by his excessive Light, that gazeth upon it; rather the contrary, for it enlighteneth, and much increaseth the light of the eye, as any man is able to receive the influence of this intelligible clearness.

For it is more swift and sharp to pierce, and innocent or harmless withal, and full of immortality; and they that are capable, and can draw any store of this spectacle and sight, do many times fall asleep from the Body, (1) into this most fair and beauteous Vision. (Hermes, DPH, 21-2.)

(1) We would say today, "do repeatedly enter samadhi," illustrated by Sri Ramakrishna in a succeeding passage.

The union with transcendent deity is not so much knowledge or vision as ecstasy, coalescence, contact. (Plotinus in ESO, 16.)

There are certain characteristics of God-vision. One sees light, feels joy, and experiences the upsurge of a great current in one's chest, like the bursting of a rocket. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 161.)

A great spiritual current rushes up along the spine and goes toward the brain. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 316.)

Man becomes silent when [samadhi] is attained. Then the 'I', which may be likened to a salt doll, melts in the Ocean of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute and becomes one with It. Not the slightest trace of distinction is left. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 148.)

After the vision of Brahman a man becomes silent. He reasons about It as long as he has not realized It. If you heat butter on a stove, it makes a sizzling sound as long as the water it contains is not dried up. But when no trace of water is left the clarified butter makes no sound. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 154.)

All such things as attachment to the world and enthusiasm for [the objects of lust and greed] disappear after the attainment of the Knowledge of Brahman. Then comes the cessation of all passions. ... Finally comes peace. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 177-8.)

A man who has seen God sometimes behaves like a madman: he laughs, weeps, dances, and sings. Sometimes he behaves like a child … five years old -- guileless, generous, without vanity, unattached to anything, not under the control of any of the gunas, (1) always blissful. Sometimes he behaves like a ghoul: he doesn't differentiate between things pure and things impure; he sees no difference between things clean and things unclean. And sometimes he is like an inert thing, staring vacantly: he cannot do any work; he cannot strive for anything. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 265.)

(1) The cosmic qualities which are the constituents of matter and influence behavior.

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - As long as we see duality, we cannot know God

Only a man of samesightedness, only he who sees nothing but the Atman in all things, everywhere and at all times, can attain to this lofty state [the culmination of yoga]. Those who see duality are always submerged in an ocean of grief. (Dattatreya, AG, xxi.)

Paradise shall be brought close to the righteous. ... Enter it in peace. This is the day of immortality. (Koran, 120.)

The mountains, for all their firmness, will pass away like clouds. Such is the might of Allah, who has rightly disposed all things. (Koran, 86.)

When the sky is rent asunder, obeying her Lord in true submission; when earth expands and casts out all that is within her and becomes empty, obeying her Lord in true submission; then, O man, who labour constantly to meet your Lord, you shall meet Him. (Koran, 48.)

Strike down my assumed "I" and destroy by Your death (1) my "I," so that I (2) no longer live, since in myself I only sin. Kill the evil beast full of false cunning and self-desire, and redeem the poor soul from its heavy bondage. (Jacob Boehme in WTC, 35.)

(1) God-realization.
(2) My false "I" or ego.

The 'I' that makes one a worldly person and attaches one to [the objects of lust and greed] is the 'wicked I'. The intervention of this ego creates the difference between jiva and Atman. (1) Water appears to be divided into two parts if one puts a stick across it. But in reality there is only one water. It appears as two on account of the stick. This 'I' is the stick. Remove the stick and there remains only one water as before. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

(1) Between jiva and Shiva or the individual Self and the transcendent Self.

A knower of Brahman destroys the idea of duality, which originates from ignorance. At that time, who will see whom? Who will know whom? (Swami Chetanananda in Dattatreya, AG, 15.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Two types of samadhi

Generally speaking there are two kinds of samadhi. First, sthita or jada samadhi: one attains it by following the path of knowledge -- as a result of the destruction of the ego through reasoning. Second, bhava samadhi: one attains this by following the path of bhakti. In this second samadhi a trace of ego remains, like a line, in order to enable the devotee to enjoy God, to taste His lila. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 812.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Nirvikalpa samadhi

Nirvikalpa samadhi. The supreme transcendental state of consciousness in which the spiritual aspirant becomes completely absorbed in Brahman [i.e., the Father] so that all sense of duality is obliterated. (Usha, RVW, 52.)

"Nirvikalpa Samadhi" properly means a complete trance in which there is no thought or movement of consciousness or awareness of either inward or outward things -- all is drawn into a supracosmic Beyond. (Sri Aurobindo, LOY, 2, 741.)

The Sahasrara of one who abides in the Self is nothing but pure Light. Any thought that approaches it cannot survive.

The state in which awareness is firm and one-pointed, even when objects are sensed, is called sahaja sthiti. The state in which objects are absent is called nirvikalpa samadhi. (Ramana Maharshi in SRG, 27.)

Becoming one with the non-dual consciousness even for a short time is what is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in SRGM, 404.)

In [nirvikalpa] samadhi one forgets the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 237.)

The mind is annihilated; man goes into samadhi. What he feels then cannot be described in words. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 170.)

In [nirvikalpa] samadhi one attains the Knowledge of Brahman -- one realizes Brahman. In that state reasoning stops altogether, and man becomes mute. He has no power to describe the nature of Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 117.)

In samadhi I lose outer consciousness completely; but God generally keeps a little trace of ego in me for the enjoyment of divine communion. Enjoyment is possible only when 'I' and 'you" remain.

Again, sometimes God effaces even the trace of 'I'. Then one experiences jada samadhi or nirvikalpa samadhi. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1986.)

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Kevalya Nirvikalpa samadhi

One cannot continually remain in this trance; (1) or, even if one could persist in it for an indefinitely long period, it is always likely to be broken in upon by any strong or persistent call on the bodily life. And when one returns to the mental consciousness, one is back again in the lower being. Therefore it has been said that complete liberation from the human birth, complete ascension from the life of the mental being is impossible until the body and the bodily life are finally cast off. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 379.)

(1) The fact that one does not remain in this trance suggests that Sri Aurobindo is referring to kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi as opposed to the permanent, enduring trance of sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

[Bliss] is the experience of joy (or peace) in the state of vijnana (1) free of all activities and similar to deep sleep. This is also called the state of kevala nirvikalpa (remaining without concepts). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 3, Question 3.)

(1) Sri Ramana does not mean here by the term “vijnana” what Paramahansa Ramakrishna does. By it Ramana means “a mode of specific knowledge that has arisen from [a] distinctionless state.” (Ramana Maharshi, SE, answer to question 32.)

One sees here that he associates vijnana with kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi and not sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. However, Sri Ramakrishna uses it to mean a deeper state of enlightenment than Brahmajnana or kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi, in which one moves from the position “I am God” to the position “God has become everything.” I believe Sri Ramakrishna’s vijnana would be equivalent to Sri Ramana’s sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, but I have no evidence for this assertion.

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Presumed experiences of Kevalya Nirvikalpa Samadhi

Hermes: An ancient account of samadhi

My thoughts being once seriously busied about the things that are, and my Understanding lifted up, all my bodily Senses being exceedingly holden back, as it is with them that are heavy of sleep...: Methought I saw one of an exceeding great stature, and of an infinite greatness, call me by my name, and say unto me, What wouldst thou hear and see? (Hermes, DPH 7.)

When he had thus said, he was changed in his Idea or Form, and straightway, in the twinkling of an eye, all things were opened unto me. And I saw an infinite sight, all things were become light, both sweet and exceedingly pleasant; and I was wonderfully delighted in the beholding it. (Hermes, DPH, 8.)

The sight of Good is not like the beam of the Sun, which being of a fiery shining brightness maketh the eye blind by his excessive Light, that gazeth upon it; rather the contrary, for it enlighteneth, and much increaseth the light of the eye, as any man is able to receive the influence of this intelligible clearness.

It is more swift and sharp to pierce, and innocent or harmless withal, and full of immortality; and they that are capable, and can draw any store of this spectacle and sight, do many times fall asleep from the Body, (1) into this most fair and beauteous Vision. (Hermes, DPH, 21-2.)

(1) Fall into samadhi. He suggests they can summon the experience repeatedly. The fact that the samadhi is not constant suggests that it may be kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi rather than sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

For the knowledge of it is a Divine Silence, and the rest of all the senses; for neither can he that understands that, understand anything else, nor he that sees that, see anything else, nor hear any other thing, nor in sum move the Body. (1) (Hermes, DPH, 22.)

(1) The world has disappeared, , the observer has disappeared, the body has been forgotten – trademarks of nirvikalpa samadhi.

Others casting themselves down before my feet, besought me that they might be taught; but I, causing them to rise up, became a guide of mankind, teaching them the reasons how, and by what means they may be saved. And I sowed in them the Words of Wisdom, and nourished them with Ambrozian [sic] Water of Immortality. (1) (Hermes, DPH, 16.)

Perhaps a reference to the kundalini.

King David: He delivered me….

In my distress I called upon the Lord…: he heard my voice out of his temple….

Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, (1) O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. ….

He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. …

For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord God will enlighten my darkness. (Psalm 18:6, 15-16, 19-21, and 28.)

(1) Again, the world has disappeared, revealing the foundations of the world – consistent with nirvikalpa samadhi.

Thou has put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. (Psalm 4:7.)

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. (Psalm 4:6.)

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. (Psalm 17:15.)

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11.)

Blessed Henry Suso: This overpowering transport….

As he was standing there sadly with no one around him, his soul was caught up, in the body or out of the body. There he saw and heard what tongues cannot express. It was without form or definite manner of being, (1) yet it contained within itself the joyous, delightful wealth of all forms and manners. His heart was full of desire, yet sated. His mind was cheerful and pleased. He had no further wishes and his desires had faded away. He did nothing but stare into the bright refulgence, which made him forget himself and all else. (2) Was it day or night? He did not know. It was a bursting forth of the delight of eternal life, present to his awareness, motionless, calm. Then he said, "If this is not heaven, I do not know what heaven is. Enduring all the suffering that one can put into words is not rightly enough to justify possessing this eternally." This overpowering transport lasted perhaps an hour, perhaps only a half hour. Whether the soul remained in the body or had been separated from the body, he did not know. When he had come to himself again, he felt in every respect like a person who has come from a different world. … And he continued, "Joy of my heart, this hour can never be lost to my heart." (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 66.)

(1)The formless or transcendental; hence an experience of nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) The observer disappeared – a trademark of nirvikalpa samadhi.

Catherine of Siena weds her savior, Jesus

Towards the end of the years spent in her cell, when nearing twenty years of age ... [came] the culmination of this period ... the experience known as her "Mystical Marriage" with Christ, which took place on the last day of the pre-Lenten Carnival in 1366. Shut within her cell, whilst the crowds outside were heedlessly merry-making, Catherine fasted and prayed in order to make reparation for their sins.

The Lord appeared to her and said, "Because thou hast forsaken all the vanities of the world, and set thy love upon Me ... behold, I here espouse thee to Me, thy Maker and Saviour." ...

Raymond of Capua, her confessor and biographer, relates how, during her states of ecstacy [thereafter], "her limbs became stiff, her eyes closed, and her body, raised in the air, often diffused a perfume of exquisite sweetness. ...

"How glorious," says the Voice of the Eternal [in Catherine's Divine Dialogue, dictated in ecstatic trance a decade later], "is that soul which has indeed been able to pass from the stormy ocean to Me, the Sea Pacific, (1) and in that Sea, which is Myself, to fill the pitcher of her heart." (Anon., WSEW, 212-3 and 216-7.)

(1)A suggestion of an experience of the formless transcendental and thus nirvikalpa samadhi. St. John of the Cross: I went out from myself

Upon my flowering breast (1)
Which I kept wholly for Him alone,
There He lay sleeping,
And I caressing Him
There in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

When the breeze (2) blew from the turret
Parting His hair,
He wounded my neck (3)
With His gentle hand,
Suspending all my senses.

I abandoned and forgot myself,
Laying my face on my Beloved;
All things ceased; (4) I went out from myself,
Leaving my cares
Forgotten among the lilies. (5)
(St. John of the Cross, CWSJC, 69.)

(1) Probably the hridayam or spiritual heart and not the heart chakra.
(2) A play on the word "spirit," or "breath." The Holy Spirit or Shakti stirs.
(3) The kundalini rises into the head.
(4) The suspension of the senses, forgetting oneself, things ceasing are all indications of nirvikalpa samadhi.
(5) Probably the chakras.

Brother Lawrence: A High View of God

… in the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the providence and power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul. … this view had perfectly set him loose from the world, (1) and kindled in him such a love for God that he could not tell whether it had increased during the more than forty years he had lived since. (Attributed to Brother Lawrence , PPG, 5.)

(1) There is no way to tell whether this was an experience of kevalya or sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

Walt Whitman: The peace and joy that pass all argument

You settled your head athwart my hips (1) and gently turned over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart. (2)
And reached till you felt my beard, (3) and reached till you held my feet.
Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and joy and knowledge that pass all the art and argument of the earth; (4)
And I know that the hand of God is the elder hand of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the eldest brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers,
... and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of creation is love. (5)
(Walt Whitman in CC, 227-8.)

(1) Perhaps the muladhara or first chakra, as the kundalini stirs.
(2) Perhaps the fourth or anahata chakra
(3) Indicating its rise to the head.
(4) This was at least an experience of kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi.
(5) That the whole of creation is built and rests on love.

Lahiri Mahasaya: Unbrokenly in bliss

I sat that afternoon on my blanket, hallowed by associations and past-life realizations. My divine guru approached and passed his hand over my head. I entered the nirbikalpa samadhi state, remaining unbrokenly in its bliss for seven days. Crossing the successive strata of Self-knowledge, I penetrated the deathless realms of Reality. (1) All delusive limitations dropped away; my soul was fully established on the altar of the Cosmic Spirit. (2) (Lahiri Mahasaya, touched by his guru Babaji, in Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 313.)

(1) Again, this experience was at least kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi, but also could have much deeper. There is no way that I know of to be certain.
Being “fully established on the altar of Cosmic Spirit” suggests liberation, which would imply that the experience was sahaja nirvikalpa samadgi. It may also have been nirvana.

Sri Ramakrishna: I cut the form with a sword

[Tota Puri] said to [Ramakrishna]: "Brahman, the one substance which alone is eternally pure, eternally awakened, unlimited by time, space, and causation, is absolutely real. Through the influence of Maya [the Mother], which makes the impossible possible, it seems that It is divided into names and forms. Brahman is never really so divided. For, at the time of Samadhi, not even an iota, so to say, of time and space, and name and form produced by Maya, is perceived. Whatever, therefore, is within the bounds of name and form, can never be absolutely real. Give up this unreal world of name and form with the overpowering strength of a lion and come out of it. Dive deep into the reality of the Self existing in yourself. Be one with It with the help of Samadhi. You will then see the universe consisting of name and form vanish, as it were, into the Void; you will see the consciousness of the little 'I' merge in that of the immense 'I', where it ceases to function; and you will have the immediate knowledge of the indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss as yourself." ...

"After initiating me," said the Master, "the naked one (1) ... asked me to make my mind free of function in all respects and merge it in the meditation of the Self. But, it so happened that when I sat for meditation, I could by no means make my mind go beyond the bounds of name and form and cease functioning. The mind withdrew itself easily from all other things, but, as soon as it did so, the intimately familiar form of the universal Mother consisting of the effulgence of pure consciousness, appeared before it as a living presence and made me quite oblivious of the renunciation of names and forms of all descriptions. ... Scolding me severely, [Sri Ramakrishna admits failure to Tota Puri, who says] very excitedly, "What! It can't be done! What nonsense!" He then looked about in the hut, and finding a broken piece of glass, took it in his hand and forcibly pierced my forehead with its needlle-like pointed end between the eye-brows and said, "Collect the mind here at this point." With a firm determination I sat for meditation again, and as soon as the holy form of the Divine Mother appeared now before the mind as previously, I looked upon knowledge as a sword and cut the form mentally in two with that sword.... There remained then no function in the mind, which transcended quickly the realm of names and forms, (2) making me merge in Samadhi." (Saradananda, SRGM, 289-90.)

(1) Sri Ramakrishna’s term for his vedantic guru, Tota Puri.
(2) Indicating an experience of nirvikalpa samadhi. Whether kevalya or savikalpa is not known, although, as an avatar, Sri Ramakrishna had no need of any of these experiences.

Nowadays I do not find my 'I'; I see that it is God alone who resides in this sheath. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 846.)

Suddenly the Master went into samadhi and sat there a long time. His body was transfixed, his eyes wide open and unwinking, his breathing hardly perceptible. After a long time he drew a deep breath, indicating his return to the world of sense. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 175.)

He stood there, still as a picture on canvas, with tears of divine joy running down his cheeks. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 179.)

The devotees gazed at the Master in wonder as he went into samadhi. As his soul soared into the realm of Divine Consciousness, his body became motionless, his eyes were fixed on the tip of his nose, and his breathing almost ceased. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 195.)

The Master went into deep samadhi. His body was motionless; he sat with folded hands as in his photograph. Tears of joy flowed from the corners of his eyes. After a long time his mind came down to the ordinary plane of consciousness. He mumbled something, of which only a word now and then could be heard by the devotees in the room. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 207.)

As he uttered the words "Eternal Consort of my soul" and "Govinda", the Master again went into samadhi. There was complete silence in the room. The eager and unsatiated eyes of the devotees were fixed on the Master, a God-man of infinite moods. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 207-8.)

At these words the Master went into deep samadhi. After a short while he regained consciousness of the sense world. Then he suddenly stood up, overpowered by his spiritual mood, and sang improvised lines with the professionals, thinking himself to be a milkmaid of Vrindavan gone mad with the beauty of Sri Krishna's form. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 212.)

At the mere mention of Krishna and Arjuna the Master went into samadhi. In the twinkling of an eye his body became motionless and his eyeballs transfixed, while his breathing could scarcely be noticed. Navadvip and his son and the other devotee looked at the Master in mute wonder. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 255.)

Tears of joy flowed from the corners of his eyes. After a long time his mind came down to the ordinary plane of consciousness. He mumbled something, of which only a word now and then could be heard by the devotees in the room., He was saying: "Thou art I, and I am Thou -- Thou eatest -- Thou -- eat! ... What is this confusion Thou has created?" ... There was complete silence in the room. The eager and unsatiated eyes of the devotees were fixed on the Master, a God-man of infinite moods. (Mahendranath Gupta in GSR, 207-8.)

Spellbound, they looked on a great yogi, his face lighted with a divine smile, his countenance radiating love, his eyes sparkling with joy -- a man who had renounced all for God and who knew nothing but God. Unceasing words of wisdom flowed from his lips. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 134.)

Sri Ramakrishna: A Hindu avatar experiences spiritual union with Shiva and Jesus

I saw a tall white person with tawny matted hair walking with solemn steps to each pyre in the [Benares] burning ghat, raising carefully each jiva (1) and imparting into his ear the mantra of supreme Brahman; while, sitting on the pyre on the other side of the body was the all-powerful universal Mother, Mahakali, untying all knots of the bondage of karma, sending him to the indivisible sphere by opening with Her own hands the door to liberation. Thus did Siva grant the soul that which ordinarily results only from the practice of yoga and tapas (2) for many lives. (Yogeshananda, VSR, 64.)

(1) Individual soul.
(2) Austerities.

Siva says to him, "This is My aspect with form, My embodiment in maya. I assume this form for the sake of the devotees. Now look. I am merging in the indivisible Satchidananda!" Uttering these words, Siva withdraws His form and enables the dying person to see Brahman. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 584.)

I stood near the edge of the boat and went into samadhi. ... I saw Siva standing on that ghat, embodying in Himself all the seriousness of the world. At first I saw Him standing at a distance; then I saw Him approaching me. At last He merged in me. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 803.)

The Master ... had become acquainted with Sambhucharan Mallick, who used to read the Bible to him. Thus he came to know of the pure life of Jesus and the faith he had founded, and the desire to follow the Sadhanas of that path arose in his mind. Scarcely had that desire arisen in his mind when the Divine Mother fulfilled it in a marvellous way and blessed him. . ...

The Master used to say that he sat one day in [Mallick's] parlour and was looking intently at [a] picture [of Mary and her Son] and thinking of the extraordinary life of Jesus, when he felt that the picture came to life, and that effulgent rays of light, coming out from the body of the mother and the Child, entered into his heart and changed radically all the ideas of his mind!

On finding that all the inborn Hindu impressions were disappearing into a secluded corner of his mind and that different ones were arising, he tried in various ways to control himself and prayed earnestly to the Divine Mother, "What strange changes art Thou bringing about in me, Mother?" But nothing availed. Rising with a great force, the waves of those impressions completely submerged the Hindu ideas in his mind. His love and devotion to the Devas and Devis vanished, and in their stead, a great faith in, and reverence for Jesus and his religion occupied his mind. ...

The waves of those ideas had a mastery over his mind in that manner for three days. At last, when the third day was about to close, the Master saw, while walking under the Panchavati [grove], that a marvellous god-man of very fair complexion was coming towards him, looking steadfastly at him. As soon as the Master saw that person, he knew that he was a foreigner. ... His long eyes gave a wonderful beauty to his face....

The Master was charmed to see the extraordinary divine expression of that handsome face, and wondered who he was. Very soon the person approached him, and thereupon from the depth of the Master's pure heart came out with a ringing sound, the words, "Jesus the Christ! the great Yogi, the loving Son of God, one with the Father, who gave his heart's blood and put up with endless tortures to deliver man from sorrow and misery." Jesus, the god-man, then embraced the Master and disappeared into his body and the Master entered into ecstacy, lost normal consciousness and remained identified for some time with the omnipresent Brahman with attributes. Having attained the vision of Jesus thus, the Master became free from the slightest doubt about Christ's having been an incarnation of God. (Swami Saradananda, SRGM, 338-9.)

Swami Brahmananda: His face shone with a heavenly joy

Here [at the temple of Omkarnath], amidst charming natural surroundings, [Swami Brahmananda] lived continuously in nirvikalpa samadhi for six days and six nights, completely unconscious of the outside world. When at last he came back to normal consciousness, his face shone with a heavenly joy. He had experienced God in the impersonal, absolute aspect, and had realized the identity of Atman with Brahman. (Prabhavananda of Swami Brahmananda in EC, 37.)

Tenko-San: A breathing in of all Being

I shut myself up in a Kyoto hotel without eating for about two days. A serious-minded friend, Sugimoto, brought me Tolstoy's book My Religion. It was exactly the book I needed. I read it at one stretch. Towards the end of the book I saw the words, 'Die if you want to live.'... I was ... struck by the thought, 'To die means to get rid of delusions.' When a man awakens he becomes the whole itself. I said to myself, 'Well, let me die.' I felt no strain, but rather as if I had leaped into the whole world, the Unbroken Self, or as if I has been reduced to the Immortal Reality. It was a breathing in of all Being, or in religious terminology, a rebirth. (Tenko-San, NRAT, 49.)

Eckhart Tolle: I cannot live with myself

I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual teacher and how this book came into existence.

Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else's life. One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train -- everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.

"I cannot live with myself any longer." This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. "Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the 'I' and the 'self that 'I' cannot live with." "Maybe," I thought, "only one of them is real."

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I was drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear and my body started to shake. I heard the words "resist nothing," as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I have never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. The soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.

That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.

For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had. (1)

I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn't understand it at all. It wasn't until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious. I dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience I just described pales in comparison. A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.

But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps, than any experience is the undercurrent of peace that has never left me since then. Sometimes it is very strong, almost palpable, and others can feel it too. At other times, it is somewhere in the background, like a distant melody.

Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: "I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?" And I would say: "You have it already. You just can't feel it because your mind is making too much noise." That answer later grew into the book that you are holding in your hands.

Before I knew it, I had an external identity again. I had become a spiritual teacher. (Eckhart Tolle, PN, 1-3.)

(1) This experience may have been kevalya or sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. I do not know. It is very similar to Sri Ramana’s experience of sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

Enlightenment - (3) God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) - Is the experience lasting?

This sublime condition is not of permanent duration. It is only now and then that we can enjoy this elevation (mercifully made possible for us) above the limits of the body and the world. I myself have realized it but three times as yet. (1) (Plotinus in CC, 123.)

(1) He realized God a total of seven times before his death.

The state [of ecstasy] will not be permanent until our union with God is irrevocable; here, in earth life, ecstasy is but a flash. ... Man can cease to become man, and become God; but man cannot be God and man at the same time. (Plotinus in ESO, 17.)

Now I seek to lead back the Self within me (1) to the All-self. (2) (Plotinus in ESO, 21.)

(1) The Self or Atman.
(2) The Father or Brahman.

Whether this state of love once attained can ever be lost is not an improper question to ask. For all the while a man can sin, it is possible for him to lose charity. But to be unable to sin means that a man is not still on the way, but has reached his fatherland. (1)  Therefore however perfect a man may be in this life he is still able to sin….  … but, speaking for myself, the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and though I delight in the law of God according to the inner man my love is not yet so great as to extinguish lust completely. …

Yet I think there is a degree of perfect love (2) which once a man reaches he will never thereafter lose. It is one thing to be able to lose it; it is another always to hold on to it because one does not want to let it go, even if such were possible. But the perfect abstain as much as they can from everything which will destroy or hinder their perfection. Though their own free will remains they are filled with the grace of God, and by it they are continually moved to love and speak and do good – and to draw back from an evil mind or mouth or deed. When a man is perfectly converted to Christ, he will hold in contempt all things that are transient, but keep a tight hold on his longing for his Maker – as far as is given to mortals, who have to allow for the corruption of the flesh. And then, not surprisingly because of this vigorous effort, he sees with the inward eye heaven open, as it were, and all the inhabitants there. Then it is that he feels that warmth most sweet, burning like a fire. He is filled with wonderful sweetness, and glories in jubilant song. Here indeed is charity perfected, and no one can know what it is like unless he lays hold of it; and he who does never loses it. But lives in sweetness and dies in safety. (Richard Rolle, FOL, 106-7.)

(1) I.e., until he has reaches sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) Sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

Until I am really and truly oned [sic] and fastened to God (1) so that there is nothing created between us, I will never have full rest or complete happiness. (Julian of Norwich in MJN, 26.)

(1) Julian may be referring to an expected mergeance with God upon death, or permanent samadhi, or the ultimate end of the journey after passing through higher states of evolution. There is no way for me to know.

Peace will be yours while the Light endures, but that may be but for a moment of Time. Even though it endure for an Age, at last it must fade away. (Anon., SAO, 40.)

O Conqueror of death, ... clothe my breath that lives in me and ... let me once again see Your salvation. (Jacob Boehme in WTC, 36.)

In that state [direct perception of Brahman, the ordinary Brahmajnani's] body does not last many days. He remains unconscious of the outer world. If milk is poured into his mouth, it runs out. Dwelling on this plane of consciousness, he gives up his body in twenty-one days. That is the condition of the [ordinary] Brahmajnani. (1) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 151.)

(1) Brahmajnani = knower of Brahman or the Father, what the Sufis call a "gnostic."

It is not supposed that in the case of any man so far born has the Cosmic sense been constantly present for years, months, or even weeks -- probably not even for days or hardly hours. (1) In many cases it appears only once and for a few moments only, but that flash is sufficient to light up (more or less brightly) all the subsequent years of life. In the greatest cases it may be present for many minutes at a time and return at intervals of weeks, months or years. Between these extremes there would seem to be a vast range of greater and [lesser] cases. (Maurice Bucke in CC, 235-6.)

Sri Ramana offers a case of an individual in which the cosmic sense is present continuously.

The silence may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you may carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 16-7.)

However, practically speaking, the sage is not merged in God until the great samadhi, mahasamadhi, or death. The body continues to make demands on his awareness.

One cannot continually remain in this trance; or, even if one could persist in it for an indefinitely long period, it is always likely to be broken in upon by any strong or persistent call on the bodily life. (1) And when one returns to the mental consciousness, one is back again in the lower being. Therefore it has been said that complete liberation from the human birth, complete ascension from the life of the mental being is impossible until the body and the bodily life are finally cast off. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 379.)

(1) In the case of Sri Ramama, even cancer – even operations on the cancer on his arm – did not break in upon his experience of samadhi.

For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had. …

But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps, than any experience is the undercurrent of peace that has never left me since then. Sometimes it is very strong, almost palpable, and others can feel it too. At other times, it is somewhere in the background, like a distant melody. (Eckhart Tolle, PN, 2-3.)

Enlightenment – (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi)

2. To which of the seven stages of knowledge (jnana-bhoomikas) does the sage (jnani) (1) belong?

He belongs to the fourth stage.

3. If that is so why have three more stages superior to it been distinguished?

The marks of the stages four to seven are based upon the experiences of the realized person (jivanmukta). They are not states of knowledge and release. So far as knowledge and release are concerned no distinction whatever is made in these four stages.

The seven jnana bhoomikas are:-

1. subheccha (the desire for enlightenment).
2. vicharana (enquiry).
3. tanumanasa (tenuous mind).
4. satwapatti (self-realization).
5. asamsakti (non-attachment).
6. padarthabhavana (non-perception of objects).
7. turyaga (transcendence).

Those who have attained the last four bhoomikas are called brahmavit, brahmavid vara, brahmavid variya and brahmavid varistha respectively.

4. As liberation is common to all, why is the varistha (lit. the most excellent) alone praised excessively?

So far as the varistha's common experience of bliss is concerned he is extolled only because of the special merit acquired by him in his previous births which is the cause of it.

5. As there is no one who does not desire to experience constant bliss what is the reason why all sages (jnanis) do not attain the state of varistha?

It is not to be attained by mere desire or effort. Karma (prarabdha) is its cause. As the ego dies along with its cause even in the fourth stage (bhoomika), what agent is there beyond that stage to desire anything or to make efforts? So long as they make efforts they will not be sages (jnanis) . Do the sacred texts (srutis) which specially mention the varistha say that the other three are unenlightened persons? (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 4, Questions 2-5.)

(1) Jnani = Brahmajnani.

Enlightenment – (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana) - Liberation occurs at sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi

The mortal in whose heart the knots of ignorance are untied becomes immortal. (UPAN, 24.)

The knot of the heart, which is ignorance, is loosed, all doubts are dissolved, all evil deeds are destroyed, when he who is both personal and impersonal is realized. (UPAN, 46.)

He who sees all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings, (1) hates none. (UPAN 27.)

(1) A description of what Sri Ramakrishna calls vijnana, which I believe to be the same as what Sri Ramana Maharshi calls sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

This is the state of enlightenment in Brahman:
A man does not fall back from it
Into delusion. (1)
Even at the moment of death
He is alive in that enlightenment:
Brahman and he are one.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 43-4.)

(1) The reference may be to kevalya or sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. Certainly it is true to say that from sahaja samdhi, one does not fall back into delusion.

A man is said to be free even in this life when he is established in illumination. His bliss is unending. He almost forgets this world of appearances.

This highest Consciousness is identical with liberation. (1) (Dattatreya, AG, 95.)

(1) Being “established” in illumination is an attribute of sahaja (or permanent and stable) nirvikalpa samadhi. Sri Ramana says that liberation occurs at this stage of spiritual evolution.

When ... there are no more thought-waves at all in the mind, then one enters the samadhi which is called "seedless." (1) (Patanjali, HTKG, 61.)

(1) While it would seem to me correct to call “nirvikalpa” samadhi in general seedless, the addition of “no more thought waves at all” appears to point to the samadhi being sahaja rather than kevalya.

In time to come, when we are incorruptible and immortal, when we have come at last to the blessed inheritance of being like Christ, then, as scripture (1) says, "we shall always be with the Lord." (2) In most holy contemplation we shall be ever filled with the sight of God shining gloriously around us as once it shone for the disciples at the divine transfiguration. And there we shall be, our minds away from passion and from earth, and we shall have a conceptual gift of light from him and, somehow, in a way we cannot know, we shall be united with him and, our understanding carried away, blessedly happy, we shall be struck by his blazing light. Marvellously, our minds will be like those in the heavens above. We shall be "equal to angels and sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." (3) (Pseudo-Dionysius in CWPD, 52-3.)

(1) Humbly, and perhaps by policy, Pseudo-Dionysius ascribes his assertions to scripture. But he himself could well speak on his own authority.
(2) I Thessalonians 4:17.
(3) Luke 20:36. If we are “sons of the resurrection,” we are liberated, which points to the samadhi being sahaja.

When the ten thousand things are viewed in their oneness, (1)
We return to the origin and remain where we have always been. (Sen T'sen, the Third Zen Patriarch, in PP, 74.)

A hallmark of vijnana or sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi is that one sees God in everything.

There is a continuous consciousness of the unity of Atman and Brahman. (1) There is no longer any identification of the Atman with its coverings. All sense of duality is obliterated. There is pure, unified consciousness. The man who is well established in this consciousness is said to be illumined. (2) For him, the sorrows of this world are over. Though he possesses a finite body, he remains united with the Infinite. (3) His heart knows no anxiety. (Shankara in HTKG, 64.)

(1) “Continuous consciousness” of the unity of Atman and Brahman is a hallmark of sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) Being “well established’ in this consciousness is a second hallmark.
(3) “Remaining united with the Infinite” is a third hallmark.

Even though his mind is dissolved in Brahman, (1) he is fully awake, free from the ignorance of waking life. He is fully conscious, but free from any craving. Such a man is said to be free even in this life. (2) (Shankara in HTKG, 64.)

(1) The mind being dissolved in Brahman suggests sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi rather than Brahmajnana or kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi.
”Free even in this life” is another characteristic of sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. (1) (Julian of Norwich in MJN, 60.)

To “behold God in everything” is a characteristic of what Sri Ramakrishna would call vijnana, which I believe is equal to what Sri Ramana calls sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

According to the Vaishnavas ... he who has just set foot on the path may be called a pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's name and glories. He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner experience that God exists. ... There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely perfect.' It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very intimately. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 114.)

[A] friend asked [Purna Chandra Ghosh] if he had any body-consciousness or not. Touching his throat, Purna replied that he had consciousness above that point, but not below. This indicates that Purna was a sthitaprajna, a “man of steady wisdom.” (1) (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 395.)

(1) A “man of steady wisdom” may be another way of describing sahaja, or stable, nirvikalpa samadhi.

A man cannot be fit to realize the eternal peace, till he has reached the Nirvikalpa state through the cessation of all mental modifications and the non-dual state has become natural to him. (1) (Saradananda, SRGM, 402.)

(1) There is no way of knowing, but the non-dual state becoming natural to a person may be a way of referring to sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

In meditation that night the burning Goal of my life was achieved. Now I ceaselessly enjoy the spiritual pension. Never from that day has the Blissful Creator remained hidden from my eyes behind any screen of delusion. (1) (Swami Pranabananda in Yogananda, AY, 24.)

(1) The permanence of the vision of God suggests that his was an experience of sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi rather than kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi.

This Self that we are has finally to become to our self-consciousness entirely one with all existences in spite of its exceeding them. We have to see it not only as that which contains and inhabits all, but that which is all, not only as indwelling spirit, but also as the name and form, the movement and the master of the movement, the mind and life and body. It is by this final realisation that we shall resume entirely in the right poise and the vision of the Truth all that we drew back from in the first movement of recoil and withdrawal. (1) (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 356.)

(1) By finally affirming all as God through the method, so to speak, of realizing "all this, all this," the vijnani shall restore right relation after having negating matter through the method of "not this, not this."

The Sahasrara of one who abides in the Self is nothing but pure Light. Any thought that approaches it cannot survive.

The state in which awareness is firm and one-pointed, even when objects are sensed, is called sahaja sthiti. The state in which objects are absent is called nirvikalpa samadhi. (Ramana Maharshi in SRG, 27.)

[The] Heart is the seat of Jnanam as well as of the granthi (knot of ignorance). It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller than the smallest pin-point, which is always shut. When the mind drops down in Kevalya Nirvikalpa [samadhi], it opens but shuts again after it. When sahaja [nirvikalpa samadhi] is attained it opens for good. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 96.)

[The hole called the Heart as a small as a pinpoint] is always shut, being the knot of ignorance which ties the body to consciousness. When the mind drops in the temporary Kevala Nirvikalpa it opens but shuts again. In Sahaja it remains always open. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 81.)

He alone is ‘liberated while alive’ (jivan mukta) whose wisdom is firm. (1) (Ramana Maharshi, JGE, 20.)

I.e., who has attained sahaja, or stable, nirvikalpa samadhi.

Sahaja is also Nirvikalpa. You are probably meaning Kevala [sic] Nirvikalpa, which is temporary, while the Samadhi lasts. The Sahaja Nirvikalpa is permanent and in it lies liberation from rebirths. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 88.)

As karma alone is responsible for the activity or inactivity of the sages, great souls have declared the state of sahaja nirvikalpa (the natural state without concepts) alone to be the ultimate state. (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 4, Question 6.)

Sahaja is the original state so that sadhana amounts to the removal of obstacles for the realization of this abiding truth. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

[The I-I Consciousness] (1) is a prelude to [Self-Realization]: when it becomes permanent (Sahaja), (2) it is Self-Realization, Liberation. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 83.)

(1) I.e., kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) I.e., in sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. (1) Until it has become permanently natural and your habitual state, know that you have not realized the Self, only glimpsed it. (Ramana Maharshi, CI, n.p.)

(1) An “unbroken current” implies sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.

Enquire into the nature of that consciousness which knows itself as ‘I’ and it will inevitably lead you to its source, the Heart, where you will unmistakably perceive the distinction between the insentient body and the mind. The latter will then appear in its utter purity as the ever-present, self-supporting intelligence, which creates, pervades its creation, as well as remains beyond it, unaffected and uncontaminated. Also finding the Heart will be experienced as being the Heart. When this experience becomes permanent through constant practice, (1) the much-desired Self-Realisation or Mukti is said at long last to have been achieved – the ‘I-am-the-body’ illusion has broken for ever. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 95-6.)

(1) I.e., when sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi has been reached.

Vasanas which do not obstruct Self-Realization remain [after Self-Realization]. In Yoga Vasistha two classes of vasanas are distinguished: those of enjoyment and those of bondage. The former remain even after Mukti is attained, but the latter are destroyed by it. Attachment is the cause of binding vasanas, but enjoyment without attachment does not bind and continues even in Sahaja. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 89.)

[The state beyond bliss] is the state of unceasing peace of mind which is found in the state of absolute quiescence, jagrat-sushupti (lit. sleep with awareness) which resembles inactive deep sleep. In this state, in spite of the activity of the body and the senses, there is no external awareness, like a child immersed in sleep (who is not conscious of the food given to him by his mother). A yogi who is in this state is inactive even while engaged in activity. This is also called sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi (natural state of absorption in oneself without concepts). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 3, Question 4.)

And this is the Nishta, the settled state in the Supreme Reality, in the one Substance, support and basis of the worshiper and the worshipped, in which is realised the identity of self with Brahman. In this verse, Truth-perception is described to be the highest poise of the Self. In a subsequent verse (the 23rd), Self-perception or God-realisation is said to consist in the Jiva or soul becoming food, i.e., object of enjoyment or experience to the Lord. So we have two descriptions of the one exalted state, Sat-darshan and Atma-darshan, Truth-perception and Self-Realisation. Similarly in the two invocatory verses commencing the work, this Supreme Brahman was described to be both Impersonal and Personal, Impersonal for purposes of Kaivalya Nishta (the sole supreme poise), and Personal for Sayujya, (conscious union of the soul with Brahman). Thus we are reminded that the two aspects are presented for the two distinct paths of knowledge and devotion, that ultimately culminate in a Supreme Realisation, which, in view of the Oneness of the being in the Jiva as well as in the Ishwara is mentioned as Sat-darshan (Nishta) and in view of the Jiva's relation in world-existence to Ishwara is named Atma Darshan (Sayujya). (Ramana Maharshi, SDB, 65.)

On [the] question of attaining Self-realization Bhagavan told me that in the early stages a person who was regularly meditating would usually at first go into a trance which would probably last for some thirty minutes, and if he continued with his Tapas properly such Samadhi would become more frequent. So carried away by it would he be that he would be able to think of nothing but slipping away to some quiet corner to meditate undisturbed. He would lose all interest in everything else until that time when he became established in the Self and no more meditation was necessary.

He had then attained Sahaja Samadhi or his natural state. But there were no fixed rules. Some might attain this state quietly and unrecognised, without even the necessity of the process of meditation. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick], SRRM, 46.)

In Nirvikalpa Samadhi one has attained to a state where the identity has been lost and sunk entirely in the highest Self. However long it may last it is only temporary, one must return eventually to one’s normal state of consciousness. One is unable to function in this state and so long as it lasts one is in a state of trance. It is usually preliminary to the final state. But Bhagavan attained Sahaja Samadhi directly without any intermediate state. Many people consider that Nirvikalpa Samadhi is final, and once having attained it seek to progress no further.

Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] attained Sahaja Samadhi directly without any intermediate state. Many people consider that Nirvikalpa Samadhi is final, and once having attained it they seek no further progress.

Sahaja Samadhi is the final and most blessed state, the goal of all Yogis. (1) In this state the individual has become completely merged in the Supreme Self. His identity which became lost in Nirvikalpa Samadhi has become enlarged and is now the Supreme Self and knows itself as such. Trances are no longer necessary, a person can still carry on with the ordinary day to day business but he no longer identifies himself with the activities, but watches them like a dreamer watching a dream. There more to do, and no more to be attained. This is the Supreme State of Absolute Bliss. But in the words of Bhagavan, it is the SELF and it can be realized by one and all by Self-enquiry. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick], SRRM, 47-8.)

(1) Of course, if enlightenment is virtually endless, there is no “final and most blessed state” within human conception.

If there are breaks in your Self-awareness, it means that you are not a jnani [enlightened sage] yet. Before one becomes established in the Self without any breaks, without any changes, one has to contact and enjoy the Self many times. By steady meditation and the continued practice of self-inquiry, one will finally become permanently established in the Self, without any breaks. (Annamalei Swami in OE, 110.)

Enlightenment - (4) Experiences beyond God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – What liberation is

Getting rid of non-existent misery and attaining Bliss which is the only existence, that is the definition of Moksha. (Ramana Maharshi in SMSLS, 51.)

Enlightenment - (4) Experiences beyond God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Kevalya Nirvikalpa Samadhi compared with Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi

When an aspirant is united with Nirguna Brahman (Brahman without attributes), (1) he is free from everything; and again, when he is identified with Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes), (2) he is one with everything. (Swami Chetanananda in Dattatreya, AG, 84.)

(1) At the seventh chakra, in the experience of kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) Past the seventh chakra, at the spiritual heart or hridayam, in sahaja nirvikalpsa Samadhi.

In Kevala Nirvikalpa there is the mental bucket still in existence under the water, which can be pulled out at any moment. Sahaja is like the river that has linked up with the ocean from which there is no return. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 90.)

Nirvikalpa is Chit – effortless, formless Consciousness. Where does the terror come [that some people feel towards it], and where is the mystery in being oneself? To some people whose minds have become ripe from a long practice in the past, Nirvikalpa comes suddenly as a flood, but to others it comes in the course of their sadhana, which slowly wears down the obstructing thoughts and reveals the screen of Pure Awareness ‘I’-‘I’. Further practice renders the screen permanently exposed. This is Self-realization, Mukti, or Sahaja Samadhi, the natural, effortless state. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 82-3.)

There are two Nirvikalpas: the internal and the external. In the former the mind completely merges in the inmost Being and is aware of nothing else. This is compared to a lamp protected from wind. But in the latter, although the mind is absorbed in the Self, the sense of the world still prevails without a reaction from within, and has the calm vastness of a waveless ocean. In both the Self is realized in its nakedness and the essence of bliss experienced. When the waveless ocean of the external and the steady flame of the internal Nirvikalpa are realized as identical, the ultimate goal, the Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi is said to have been reached. Nirvikalpa is effortless, whereas Savikalpa is attended with effort. ….

Abiding permanently in any of these samadhis, either Savikalpa or Nirvikalpa, is Sahaja. What is body-consciousness? It is the insentient body plus consciousness. Both these must lie in another consciousness which is absolute and unaffected, and ever-abiding, with or without the body-consciousness. What does it the matter whether the body-consciousness is lost or retained, provided one is holding on to that Pure Consciousness? Total absence of body-consciousness has the advantage of making the Samadhi more intense, although it makes no difference in the knowledge of the Supreme. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 88.)

Holding onto the Supreme State is Samadhi. When it is with effort due to mental disturbances, it is Savikalpa. When these disturbances are absent, it is Nirvikalpa. Remaining permanently in the primal state without effort is Sahaja. Like Nivikalpa, there is an internal as well as an external Savikalpa, depending on whether the disturbing thoughts are from outside or from inside. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 89.)

B: In sahaja samadhi the communion is continuous.

D: What are kevala nirvikalpa samadhi and sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi?

B: The involution of the mind in the Self, but without its destruction, is kevala nirvikalpa samadhi.

There are four obstacles in this, namely, vacillation of:

i. mind
ii. life breath or prana
iii. body,
iv. drishti. (1)

In kevala nirvikalpa samadhi one is not free from vasanas and does not, therefore, attain mukti.

Only after the samskaras have been destroyed can one attain salvation.

D: When can one practice sahaja samadhi?

B: Even from the beginning. Even though one practices kevala nirvikalpa samadhi for years together, if one has not rooted out the vasanas, he will not attain salvation. (Sri Ramana Maharshi, CFHT, n.p.)

(1) That which is visible.

In [Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi], the mind lies immersed in the Light of the Self (whereas the same … mind lies in the darkness of ignorance in deep sleep); and the subject makes a distinction between Samadhi and activity after waking up from Samadhi. Moreover, activity of the body, of the sight, of the vital forces and of the mind and the cognizance of objects, all these are obstructions for one who seeks to realize Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

In Sahaja Samadhi, however, the mind has resolved into the Self and has been lost. The differences and obstructions mentioned above do not, therefore, exist here. The activities of such a Being are like the feeding of a somnolent boy, perceptible to the on-looker but not to the subject. The traveler sleeping in the moving cart is not aware of the motion of the cart, because his mind is sunk in darkness. Whereas the Sahaja Jnani remains unaware of his bodily activities because his mind is dead, having been resolved into the ecstacy of Chidananda (Bliss of the Self). (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 12-3.)

The distinction between sleep, Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi can be clearly put in a tabular form as given by Sri Bhagavan:-

Sleep Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi
(1) mind alive (1) mind alive (1) mind dead
(2) sunk in oblivion (2) sunk in Light (2) resolved into the Self
(3) like a bucket tied to a rope and left lying in the water of the well (3) like a river discharged into the ocean and its identity lost
(4) to be drawn out by the other end of the rope (4) a river cannot be redirected from the ocean
The mind of the Sage who has realized the Self is wholly destroyed. It is dead. But to the onlooker, he may seem to possess a mind just like the layman. Hence the 'I' in the Sage has merely an apparent 'objective' 'reality'; in fact, however, it has neither a subjective existence nor an objective reality. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 13-4.)

(1) Holding on to Reality is Samadhi. (2) Holding on to Reality with effort is savikalpa samadhi. (3) Merging in Reality and remaining unaware of the world is nirvikalpa samadhi. (4) Merging in Ignorance and remaining unaware of the world is sleep (Head bends, but not in samadhi). (5) Remaining in the primal, pure natural state without effort is sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. They can be further subdivided thus:
Savikalpa Samadhi Nirvikalpa Samadhi
(Bahya) External (Antar) Internal (Bahya) External (Antar) Internal
(Drisyanuvidha) The mind jumps from one object to another. Keep it steady, fixed on the Reality behind them. The mind is afflicted by kama, krodha, etc. See wherefrom they arise and how they have their being. Hold on to their source. Merging in the one Reality underlying all the phenomena and remaining unaware of the transitory manifestations. Merging in the Inmost Being which is the One Reality giving rise to all thoughts, etc., and remaining unware of anything else.
(Sabdanuvidha) There are the external phenomena which are said to have their origin from the Single Reality. Search for it and hold on to it. There are all manner of thoughts which rise up from the Reality within and manifest themselves. Hold on to that Reality.
This state is compared to the waveless ocean whose waters are still and placid. This state is compared to a flame unagitated by currents of air, but burning quite steady.
All these four kinds of savikalpa samadhi are attended with effort. When these kinds of nirvikalpa samadhi are not attended with effort and it is realised that the waveless ocean of external samadhi and the steady flames of internal samadhi are identical, the state is said to be sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi.
(Ramana Maharshi, TWSRM, Question 391.)

Enlightenment - (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana) – Vijnana

But there is a stage beyond even Brahmajnana, After jnana comes vijnana. (1) (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 288.)

(1) It is probable that vijnana is identical with sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, but I cannot say with absolute certainty.
Seeing Brahman or God in all beings is the last word [in] Sadhana. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in SRGM, I, 98.)

The unwavering conviction that God alone dwells in all beings is jnana, knowledge. To know Him intimately is vijnana, a richer Knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 899.)

What is vijnana? It is knowing God in a special way. The awareness and conviction that fire exists in wood is jnana, knowledge. But to cook rice on that fire, eat the rice, and get nourishment from it is vijnana. To know by one’s inner experience that God exists is jnana. But to talk to Him, to enjoy Him as Child, as Friend, as Master, as Beloved, is vijnana. The realization that God alone has become the universe and all living beings is vijnana. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 288.)

According to the Vaishnavas ... he who has just set foot on the path may be called a pravartaka. He may be called a sadhaka who has for some time been practising spiritual disciplines, such as worship, japa, meditation, and the chanting of God's name and glories. He may be called a siddha who has known from his inner experience that God exists. ... There is another type, known as the siddha of the siddha, the 'supremely perfect.' It is quite a different thing when one talks to the master intimately, when one knows God very intimately through love and devotion. A siddha has undoubtedly attained God, but the 'supremely perfect' has known God very intimately. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 114.)

It is one thing to hear of God, another thing to see God, and still another thing to talk to God. Some have heard of milk, some have seen it, and some, again, have tasted it. You feel happy when you see milk; you are nourished and strengthened when you drink it. You will get peace of mind only when you have seen God. You will enjoy bliss and gain strength only when you have talked to Him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 368.)

Who is the best devotee of God? It is he who sees, after the realization of Brahman, that God alone has become all living beings, the universe, and the twenty-four cosmic principles. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 271.)

[Vijnana] is like going up and coming down the stairs after having reached the roof. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 272.)

A man cannot live on the roof a long time. He comes down again. Those who realize Brahman in samadhi come down also and find that it is Brahman that has become the universe and all its living beings. … The ego does not vanish altogether. The man coming down from samadhi perceives that it is Brahman that has become the go, the universe, and all living beings. This is known as vijnana. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 104.)

The vijnani ... realizes that the steps are made of the same materials as the roof: bricks, lime, and brick-dust. That which is realized intuitively as Brahman, through the eliminating process of 'Not this, not this,' is then found to have become the universe and all its living beings. (1) The vijnani sees that the Reality which is nirguna, without attributes, is also saguna, with attributes. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 103-4.)

(1) The jnani distinguishes God out from everything else material. The vijnani sees no distinction between God and anything else; he or she sees that God has become everything, including the material.

Again, in a certain state of mind I see God in all beings, (1) even in an ant. At that time, if I see a living being die, I find consolation in the thought that it is the death of the body, the soul being beyond life and death. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 186.)

When the Master inquired whether there was any particular form of God [Sarat, after Swami Saradananda] wished to see, the boy replied that he would like to see God in all the living beings of the world. "But," the Master demurred, "that is the last word in realization. One cannot have it at the very outset." Sarat stated calmly. "I won't be satisfied with anything short of that. I shall trudge on along the path till I attain that blessed state." Sri Ramakrishna was very much pleased. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 62.)

(1) The state is probably vijnana.

One day [Sri Ramakrishna] told [Hari, later Swami Turiyananda]: "Why do you think of Nirvana (1) as the goal of life? There is a state higher than Nirvana, and it can be attained." Hari had never head this before. "Can I attain that state?" he asked.

"Certainly," Sri Ramakrishna replied. "By the grace of the Divine Mother one can attain it." (Swami Ritajanada, ST, 15-6.)

(1) Sri Ramakrishna is using the term "nirvana" as a synonym for nirvikalpa samadhi. The Buddha and Bernadette Roberts would probably reserve it for the knowledge of the No-Self.

Sri Ramakrishna taught that the vijnanis accept God both with form and without. The vijnanis are greater than the jnanis, those who simply attain Nirvana or Samadhi. In Sri Ramakrishna's words: "Jnana is the realization of the Atman through the process of 'Not this, not this.' One goes into Samadhi through this process of elimination and realizes the Atman. ... But vijnana means Knoweldge with a greater fulness. Some have heard of milk, some have seen milk, and some have drunk milk. He who has merely heard of it is 'ignorant.' He who has seen it is a jnani. But he who has drunk it has vijnana, that is to say, a fuller Knowledge of it. ... To know by one's own inner experience that God exists is jnana. But to talk to him, to enjoy him as Self, as Friend, as Master, as Beloved is vijnana. The realization that God alone has become the universe and all living beings is vijnana." (Swami Ritajananda in ST, 17-8.)

What is vijnana? It is to know God distinctly by realizing His existence through an intuitive experience and to speak to Him intimately. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 781.)

God talked to me. It was not merely His vision. Yes, He talked to me. Under the banyan-tree I saw Him coming from the Ganges. Then we laughed so much! By way of playing with me He cracked my fingers. Then He talked. Yes, He talked to me.

For three days I wept continuously. And He revealed to me what is in the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, and the other scriptures. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 830.)

Why does a vijnani keep an attitude of love towards God? The answer is that 'I-consciousness' persists. It disappears in the state of samadhi, no doubt, but it comes back. In the case of ordinary people the 'I' never disappears. You may cut down the aswattha tree, but the next day sprouts shoot up. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 105.)

Vijnana. A high state of spiritual realization, or intimate knowledge of God, as a result of which the universe and all living beings are seen as manifestations of the Divine." (Usha, RVW, 83.)

Seeing God in everything is the culmination of Vedantic experience. When Nag Mahasay was asked why he remained with his hands folded reverently so much of the time, he replied: “I perceive God in every being and in everything.” (Swami Chetanananda in TLWG, 221.)

Narendra, consumed with a terrific fever for realization, complained to the Master that all the others had attained peace and that he alone was dissatisfied. The Master asked what he wanted. Narendra begged for samadhi, so that he might altogether forget the world for three or four days at a time. "You are a fool," the Master rebuked him. "There is a state even higher than that. Isn't it you who sing, 'All that exists art Thou'? (1) First of all settle your family affairs and then come to me. You will experience a state even higher than samadhi." (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to GSR, 70.)

(1) One seeing that God is all that exists would be a vijnani, a level beyond a Brahmajnani.

One day when Narendra was on the ground floor, meditating, the Master was lying awake in his bed upstairs. In the depths of his meditation Narendra felt as though a lamp were burning at the back of his head. Suddenly he lost consciousness. It was the yearned-for, all-effacing experience of nirvikalpa samadhi, when the embodied soul realizes its unity with the Absolute. ... After [a] long period Narendra regained full consciousness. Bathed in peace, he went to the Master, who said, "Now the Mother has shown you everything." (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 71-2.)

Enlightenment – Vijnana – What the vijnani knows

After reaching God one reaffirms what one formerly denied. … After the realization of God, He is seen in all beings. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 116.)

After reaching God one reaffirms what formerly one denied. To extract butter you must separate it from the buttermilk. Then you discover that butter and buttermilk are intrinsically related to one another. They belong to the same stuff. The butter is not essentially different from the buttermilk, nor the buttermilk essentially different from the butter, After realizing God one knows definitely that it is He who has become everything. In some objects He is manifested more clearly, and in other less clearly. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 320.)

It is the process of evolution and involution. The world, after its dissolution, remains involved in God; and God, at the time of creation, evolves as the world. Butter goes with buttermilk, and buttermilk goes with butter. If there is a thing called buttermilk, then butter also exists; and if there is a thing called butter, then buttermilk also exists. If the Self exists, then the non-Self must also exist. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 328.)

After separating the butter with great effort – that is to say, after attaining Brahmajnana – you will realize that as long as butter exists, buttermilk also must exist. Wherever there is butter there must be buttermilk as well. As long as one feels that Brahman exists, one must also be aware that the universe, living beings, and the twenty-four cosmic principles exist as well. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 343.)

The phenomenal world belongs to that very Reality to which the Absolute belongs; again, the Absolute belongs to that very Reality to which the phenomenal world belongs. He who is realized as God has also become the universe and its living beings. One who knows the Truth knows that it is He alone who has become father and mother, child and neighbour, man and animal, good and bad, holy and unholy, and so forth. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 328.)

When a flood comes from the ocean, all the land is deep under water. Before the flood, the boat could have reached the ocean only by following the winding course of the river. But after the flood, one can row straight to the ocean. One need not take a roundabout course. After the harvest has been reaped, one need not take the roundabout course along the balk of the field. One can cross the field at any point. After the realization of God, He is seen in all beings. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 320.)

As long as a man associates himself with upadhis, so long he sees the manifold…; but on attaining Perfect Knowledge, he sees only one Consciousness everywhere. The same Perfect Knowledge, again, makes him realize that the one Consciousness has become the universe and its living beings and the twenty-four cosmic principles. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 319.)

God alone is the Master, and again, He is the Servant. This attitude indicates Perfect Knowledge. At first one discriminates, “Not this, not this,” and feels that God alone is real and all else is illusory. Afterwards the same person finds that it is God Himself who has become all this – the universe, maya, and the living beings. First negation and then affirmation. This is the view held by the Puranas. A vilwa-fruit, for instance, includes flesh, seeds, and shell. You get the flesh by discarding the shell and seeds. But if you want to know the weight of the fruit, you cannot find it if you discard the shell and seeds. Just so, one should attain Satchidananda by negating the universe and its living beings. But after the attainment of Satchidananda one finds that Satchidananda Itself has become the universe and the living beings. It is of one substance that the flesh and the shell and seeds are made, just like butter and buttermilk.

It may be asked, “How has Satchidananda become so hard?” This earth does indeed feel very hard to the touch. The answer is that blood and semen are thin liquids, and yet out of them comes such a big creature as man. Everything is possible for God. First of all reach the indivisible Satchidananda, and then, coming down, look at the universe. You will then find that everything is Its manifestation. It is God alone who has become everything. The world by no means exists apart from Him. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 395.)

Enlightenment – Vijnana – Seeing God in every living being

Do you know what I see? I see that God alone has become everything. Men and animals are only frameworks covered with skin, and it is He who is moving through their heads and limbs. I see that it is God Himself who has become the block, the executioner, and the victim for the sacrifice. ... There sits Latu resting his head on the palm of his hand. To me it is the Lord who is seated in that posture. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 70-1.)

The Divine Mother revealed to me that men and women in this house were mere masks; inside them was the same Divine Power, Kundalini, that rises up through the six spiritual centres of the body. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 291.)

It seems to me that men and other living beings are made of leather, and that it is God Himself who, dwelling inside these leather cases, moves the hands, the feet, the heads. I had a similar vision once before, when I saw houses, gardens, roads, men, cattle -- all made of One Substance; it was as if they were all made of wax.

I perceived that it was God alone who had become all living beings. They appeared as countless bubbles or reflections in the Ocean of Satchidananada.

Again, I find sometimes that living beings are like so many pills made of Indivisible Consciousness. …

Again, I perceive that living beings are like different flowers with various layers of petals. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 357.)

I see the body as a frame made of bamboo strips and covered with a cloth. The frame moves. And it moves because someone dwells inside it. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 969.)

I see you all as so many sheaths, and the heads are moving. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 969.)

I would see God in meditation, in the state of Samadhi, and I would see the same God when my mind came back to the world. When looking at this side of the mirror I would see Him alone, and when looking on the reverse side, I saw the same God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in FMSR, 118.)

I see everything like a man with Jaundiced eyes! I see Thee alone everywhere, O Krishna. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 207.)

Enlightenment – Vijnana – The state of a Paramahamsa – See Paramahansas – The state of a Paramahansa

Enlightenment - Vijnana – Use knowledge to remove ignorance and then throw both away

Both vidya and avidya exist in His maya, but one becomes indifferent to them after realizing God. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 1016.)

He who is aware of knowledge is also aware of ignorance. … If a thorn has entered your foot, get another thorn and with its help take out the first; then throw away the second also. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 288.)

When a thorn gets into the sole of your foot, you procure a second thorn. After taking out the first thorn with the help of the second, you throw both thorns away. Likewise, you should procure the thorn of knowledge in order to remove the thorn of ignorance. After destroying ignorance, you should discard both knowledge and ignorance. Then you attain vijnana. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 911.)

Enlightenment - (4) Stages beyond God Realization (Brahmajnana) – Probable declarations of Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Vijnana

The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day (1) have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7.)

(1) The day of Union or Self-Knowledge.

Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord (1) is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, (2) he hath bid his guests. (Zephaniah 1:7.)

(1) The day of liberation.
(2) Probably the ego; certainly man's mortality.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:1-3.)

Paradise shall be brought close to the righteous. ... Enter it in peace. This is the day of immortality. (Koran, 120.)

Joyous festivities on high astral [planes] take place when a being is liberated from the astral world through spiritual advancement and is therefore ready to enter the heavens of the causal world. On such occasions the Invisible Heavenly Father, and the saints who are merged in Him, manifest Themselves in exquisite astral bodies and join the celebration. To please His beloved child the Lord assumes the form desired by him. If the devotee worshipped through devotion, he sees God as the Divine Mother. To Jesus, the Father-aspect of the Infinite was appealing beyond other conceptions. The individuality with which the Creator has endowed each of His creatures makes every conceivable and inconceivable demand on the Lord's versatility! (Sri Yukteswar Giri in Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 413.)

Pseudo-Dionysius: If only we lacked sight and knowledge

And there we shall be, our minds away from passion and from earth, and we shall have a conceptual gift of light from him and, somehow, in a way we cannot know, we shall be united with him and, our understanding carried away, blessedly happy, we shall be struck by his blazing light. Marvellously, our minds will be like those in the heavens above. We shall be "equal to angels and sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." (Pseudo-Dionysius, CWPD, 52-3.)

I pray we could come to this darkness, so far above light! If only we lacked sight and knowledge so as to see, so as to know, unseeing and unknowing, that which lies beyond all vision and knowledge. For this would be really to see and to know: to praise the Transcendent One in a transcending way, namely through the denial of all beings. ...Now as we climb from the last things up to the most primary we deny all things so that we may unhiddenly know that unknowing which itself is hidden from all those possessed of knowing amid all beings, so that we may see above being that darkness concealed from all the light among beings. ... As we plunge into that darkness which is beyond intellect, we shall find ourselves not simply running short of words but actually speechless and unknowing. (Pseudo-Dionysius, CWPD, 138-9.)

The fact is that the more we take flight upward, the more our words are confined to the ideas we are capable of forming; so that now as we plunge into that darkness which is beyond intellect, we shall find ourselves not simply running short of words but actually speechless and unknowing. ... The more [the mind] climbs, the more language falters, and when it has passed up and beyond the ascent, it will turn silent completely, since it will finally be at one with him who is indescribable. (Pseudo-Dionysius, CWPD,139.)

Meister Eckhart: Sink from nothingness to nothingness

It is in the stillness, in the silence that the word of God is to be heard. There is no better avenue of approach to this Word than through stillness, through silence. It is to be heard there as it is -- in that unself-consciousness, for when one is aware of nothing, that word is imparted to him and clearly revealed. (Meister Eckhart, ME, 107.)

[The soul] is free of all names and void of all forms. It is one and simple, as God is one and simple, and no man can in any wise behold it. (Meister Eckhart in PP, 16.)

The Godhead (1) gave all things up to God. (2) The Godhead is poor, naked and empty as though it were not; it has not, wills not, wants not, works not, gets not. It is God who has the treasure and the bride in him, the Godhead is as void as though it were not. (Meister Eckhart in PP, 25.)

(1) What Hindus would call the unconditioned Brahman.
(2) This may be the conditioned Brahman.

Thou must love God as not-God, not-Spirit, not-person, not-image, but as He is, a sheer, pure absolute One, sundered from all two-ness, and in whom we must eternally sink from nothingness to nothingness. (Meister Eckhart in PP, 33.)

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Now death has come…. It was about six weeks before I left Madura for good that the great change in my life took place. It was quite sudden. I was sitting alone in a room on the first floor of my uncle's house ... [and] I just felt "I am going to die." ... The shock of the fear of death drove my mind inward and I said to myself mentally, without actually framing the words: "Now death has come; what does it mean? What is it that is dying? This body dies." ... But with the death of this body, am I dead? Is the body I? It is silent and inert but I fel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the "I" within me, apart from it. So I am Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means I am the deathless Spirit." All this was not dull thought; it flashed through me vividly as living truth which I perceived directly, almost without thought-process. "I" was something very real, the only real thing about my present state, and all the conscious activity connected with my body was centred on that "I". From that moment onwards the "I" or Self focused attention on itself by a powerful fascination. Fear of death vanished once and for all. Absorption in the Self continued unbroken from that time on. Other thoughts might come and go like the various notes of music, but the "I" continued. (Ramana Maharshi in CWRM, 1979 iii.)

Actions such as 'going' and 'coming' belong only to the body. And so, when one says "I went, I came", it amounts to saying that the body is "I". But, can the body be said to be the consciousness "I," since the body was not before it was born, is made up of the five elements, is non-existent in the state of deep sleep, and becomes a corpse when dead? Can this body which is inert like a log of wood be said to shine as "I" "I"? Therefore, the "I" consciousness which at first arises in respect of the body is referred to variously as self-conceit (tarbodham), egoity (ahankara), nescience (avidya), maya, impurity (mala), and individual soul (jiva). Can we remain without enquiring into this? Is it not for our redemption through enquiry that all the scriptures declare that the destruction of "self-conceit" is release (mukti)? Therefore, making the corpse-body remain as a corpse, and not even uttering the word "I," one should enquire keenly thus: "Now, what is it that rises as 'I'?" Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of the form 'I' 'I'. That is, there would shine of its own accord the pure consciousness which is unlimited and one, the limited and the many thoughts having disappeared. If one remains quiescent without abandoning that (experience), the egoity, the individual sense, of the form 'I am the body' will be totally destroyed, and at the end the final thought, viz. the 'I'-form, also will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor. The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is release. (Ramana Maharshi, in a passage which appears to describe his own experience of liberation, SE, answer to question 3.)

Such an experience of Identity does not always, or even normally, result in Liberation. It comes to a seeker but the inherent tendencies of the ego cloud it over again. ... The miracle was that in the Maharshi's case there was no clouding over, no relapse into ignorance: he remained thenceforward in constant awareness of identity with the One Self. (Osborne in CWRM, iii.)

His Self-Realization, attained in the upstairs room of his uncle’s house in Madurai, was final, there was no more to be done. (1) (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 17.)

(1) No Realization, it turns out, can safely be cited as “final.”

Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] attained Sahaja Samadhi directly without any intermediate state. Many people consider that Nirvikalpa Samadhi is final, and once having attained it they seek no further progress. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick], SRRM, 47.)

Adyashanti: Today I awoke….

One day while meditating Adyashanti heard a bird chirping and the question arose "Who hears this sound?" He then wrote this poem:

Today I awoke, finally I see the Self has re-turned to the Self.
The Self is none other than the Self.
I am deathless. I am endless. I am free.
The birds outside sing and there am I.
The seeing of leaves on the trees, that seeing am I.
The body breathes, breathing am I.
I am awake and I know that I am awake.
Seen from the old eyes, everything is asleep, a game, a delusion.
But now I am awake. I am the play. I am the game. I am the delusion.
I am the enlightenment I sought, looking everywhere.
Nothing is separate, nothing is alone.
I am all that I see. All that I smell, taste, touch, feel, think and know.
I am awake and this awakeness is the same as Shyakyamuni Buddha's.
Today the leaf has returned to the root.
I am all name and form and beyond all name and form.
I am Spirit, no longer trapped in a body.
I am free. I am free because I am awake.
So ordinary. Who would have thought ? Who could have guessed?
I am home. I am really home. Ten thousand life times.
Ten thousand life times but today I am home.
This is not an experience. This is me.
I am awake. Finally, I am awake. Nothing has changed, but I am awake. Before I tasted the root many times and felt, how delicious. Today I became the root. How ordinary. (Adyashanti, downloaded from http://www.wheniawoke.com/Sages/Adyashanti.pdf, 11 March 2006.)

Buddha broke open.
And neither of us
has been the same since.
In an instant
we fell into each other laughing
and neither one of us has survived. But still the sun shines in the morning
and sets in the evening. I am like a friendly old dog now
wearing my master's slippers.
Yet somehow
they fit perfectly.  (Adyashanti, MSS.)

Then one day I was sitting reading a book, and I folded the book to put it away and realized that somewhere in some magic time, something had dropped away, and I didn't know what it was. There was just a big absence of something. I went through the rest of the day as usual but noticing some big absence. Then when I sat down on the bed that night, it suddenly hit me that what had fallen away was all identity. All identity had collapsed, as both the self in the ego sense of a separate me, and as the slightest twinge of identity with the Absolute Self, with the Oneness of consciousness. (1) There had still been some unconscious, identity or "me-ness" which was the cause of the discontent. And it all collapsed. Identity itself collapsed, and from that point on there was no grasping whatsoever for little me or for the unified consciousness me. Identity just fell away and blew away with the wind. (Adyashanti in an interview with Robert O’Hearn and Mazie Lane. http://www.nonduality.com/hl1171.h tm, downloaded 10 March 2006.)

(1) Compare with Bernadette Roberts: “[During my] two-year journey [into the No-Self] ... I experienced the falling away of everything I can call a self. It was a journey through an unknown passageway that led to a life so new and different that, despite forty years of varied contemplative experiences, I never suspected its existence. … I came upon a permanent state in which there was no self, not even a higher self, a true self, or anything that could be called a self. (Experience of No-Self, 9-10.)

Everything [remained] just as it always had been. There was just the lack of any "I", personal or universal, or the fundamental unconscious belief in any identity or of fixating self in any place. The mind can continue to fixate a subtle identity of self even in universal consciousness. It can be so incredibly easy to miss. To say "I am That" can be a very subtle fixation of consciousness. …

It's a slight landing, a slight grasping. It's very subtle. But when it collapses, you are even beyond "I am That". You are in a place that cannot be described.

That is what I call liberation. Really, in the end, what you end up with is that you don't know who you are. You end up in the same place you started out. You truly don't know who you are because it's impossible to fixate the self anywhere. (Adyashanti in an interview with Robert O’Hearn and Mazie Lane. http://www.nonduality.com/hl1171.h tm, downloaded 10 March 2006.)

I am all hollowed out now
Like a reed.
I gave everything for this.
And still I laughingly wonder:
How could it have been so cheap?
(Adyashanti, downloaded from http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/A/Adyashanti/Enlightenmen.htm, 11 March 2006.)

The fulfillment of all true forms of spirituality is awakening to the fundamental reality of what you are; not just for a moment, but permanently. (1) You know you are ready for this awakening when you have run out of time and excuses for not realizing your true nature. When awakening in the future is no longer satisfactory to you, you are ready. In the willingness to embrace the ending of time, truth realizes itself. (Adyashanti, Downloaded from http://www.zen-satsang.org/, 16 May 2004.)

(1)The fact that Adyashanti refers to a permanent or stable state of enlightenment suggests that he is referring to what Sri Ramakrishna would call vijnana and what Sri Ramana Maharshi would call sahaja nirvikalpa Samadhi; this is a higher state than Brahmajnana, which is not permanent or stable.

Awakening is a fundamental shift of identity out of the personality, out of the mind—the identity that is lodged in thought and mind and memory and “me-ness.” True awakening is when identity shifts out of that “me-ness.” What it shifts into is something that has no form—whether we call it awareness or consciousness or spirit, it’s more important where the identity shifts out of than how we label what it shifts into. (Adyashanti, “Spontaneous Awakening, an Interview,” downloaded from http://store.yahoo.com/soundstruestore/interview-adyashanti.html, 12 March 2006.)

True freedom comes when every speck of the known collapses into the unknown, not just for a moment but continually. (Adyashanti, downloaded http://www.thedailyinspiration.com/cgi/daily.php?id=720, 12 March 2006.)

At the moment of enlightenment, everything falls away – everything. Suddenly the ground beneath you is gone and you are alone. You are alone because you have realized that there is no other: there is only THAT, and YOU ARE THAT. (Adyashanti, IA, back cover.)

In that instant Freedom will embrace you and reveal the Awakening that you are. (Adyashanti, downloaded from http://www.globalserve.net/~sarlo/RatingsA.htm, 16 May 2004.)

Awakening opens the door to a life beyond the ego - a life lived directly from spirit rather than from the mind. In this new world, the conditioned ego no longer feels [itself] to be the appropriate center from which to relate and function. Something far deeper is called for: a total transformation in the way we live and relate. The truth realized seeks to become the truth lived. (Adyashanti, downloaded from http://www.members.shaw.ca/adyashanti/, 16 May 2004.)

Life without a reason, a purpose, a position... the mind is frightened of this because then "my life" is over with, and life lives itself and moves from itself in a totally different dimension. This way of living is just life moving. That's all.

As soon as the mind pulls out an agenda and decides what needs to change, that's unreality. Life doesn't need to decide who's right and who's wrong. Life doesn't need to know the "right" way to go because it's going there anyway.

Then you start to get a hint of why the mind, in a deep sense of liberation, tends to get very quiet. It doesn't have its job anymore. It has its usefulness, but it doesn't have its full-time occupation of sustaining an intricately fabricated house of cards. This stillness of awareness is all there is. It's all one. This awareness and life are one thing, one movement, one happening, in this moment-unfolding without reason, without goal, without direction.

The ultimate state is ever present and always now. The only thing that makes it difficult to find that state and remain in that state is people wanting to retain their position in space and time. "I want to know where I'm going. I want to know if I've arrived. I want to know who to love and hate. I want to know. I don't really want to be; I want to know. Isn't enlightenment the ultimate state of knowing?" No. It's the ultimate state of being. The price is knowing. This is the beautiful thing about the truth, ever-present, always here, totally free, given freely: It's already there. That which is ever presently awake is free, free for the "being."

But the only way that there's total and final absolute homecoming is when the humanness presents itself with the same unconditionality. Every time a human being touches into that unconditionality, it's such peace and fulfillment. In your humanity, there's the natural expression of joy and love and compassion and caring and total unattachment. Those qualities instantly transmute into humanness when you touch into emptiness. Emptiness becomes love. That's the human experience of emptiness, that source, that ever-present awakeness.

For the humanness to lay itself down-your mind, your body, your hopes, your dreams, everything-to lay itself down in the same unconditional manner in which awareness is ever present, only then is there the direct experience of unity, that you and the highest truth are really one thing. It expresses itself through your humanity, through openness, through love. The divine becomes human and the human becomes divine-not in any "high and mighty" sense, but just in the sense of reality. That's the way it is. The only price is all of our positions. The only price is that you stop paying a price. (Adyashanti, “The Only Price. An excerpt from a talk given by Adyashanti,” downloaded from http://www.zen-satsang.org/AdyaBio.htm, May 2007.)

Ramana Maharshi's gift to the world was not that he realized the Self. Many people have had a deep realization of the Self. Ramana's real gift was that he embodied that realization so thoroughly. It is one thing to realize the Self; it is something else altogether to embody that realization to the extent that there is no gap between inner revelation and its outer expression. Many have glimpsed the realization of Oneness; (1) few consistently express that realization through their humanness. (2) It is one thing to touch a flame and know it is hot, (3) but quite another to jump into that flame and be consumed by it. (4) (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

(1) Jnana.
(2) Vijnana. (4) Vijnana.

In [the] realization of no separate self,
The Supreme Reality which you Are shines unobscured
In all things, as all things, and beyond all things. (1)

Having returned to the formless Source
and transcended all separateness,
do not stop or cling even to the Source,
but go beyond to the Supreme Realization
which transcends all dualities,
yet does not deny even a speck of dust. (2)
(Adyashanti, IA, xiii.)

(1) Jnana.
(2) Vijnana.

In [the sage’s] unobscured realization,
Supreme Reality shines Consciously
In all things, as all things, and beyond all things.
Shining unobscured, it penetrates the entire universe.
Penetrating the entire universe,
it knows itself as SELF. (Adyashanti, IA, xiv.)

Enlightenment - (4) Experiences beyond God-Realization (Brahmajnana, kevalya nirvikalpa samadhi) – Other ways of describing levels past Kevalya Nirvikalpa Samadhi

Turiyatita

The mind of the knower of truth is no-mind: it is pure satva. After living with such no-mind for some time, there arises the state known as turiya-atita (the state beyond the transcendental, or the turiya, state). (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 306.)

Beyond even this fourth state [of transcendental consciousness or turiya] there is absolute purity of consciousness. One who is established in it goes beyond sorrow. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 76.)

The state of liberation-while-living is ... the turiya consciousness. Beyond that is ... turiya-atita (beyond turiya). In every atom of existence there is nothing else but the supreme being. (Sage Vasistha, CYV, 314.)

There is a state of consciousness where the many disappears, and the One, (1) as well; for the many exist as long as the One exists. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 307.)

(1)If the One is transcended, one would be a turyatita.

The Turiya … is the self or 'I'-nature; and what is beyond that is the state of Turiyatita, or pure Bliss. (Ramana Maharshi, SE, Question 28.)

Turiya means that which is the fourth. The experiencers (jivas) of the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep, known as visva, taijasa and prajna, who wander successively in these three states, are not the Self. It is with the object of making this clear, namely that the Self is that which is different from them and which is the witness of these states, that it is called the fourth (turiya). When this is known the three experiencers disappear and the idea that the Self is a witness, that it is the fourth, also disappears. That is why the Self is described as beyond the fourth (turiyatita). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 4, Question 8.)

Turiyatita – Dissenting opinion: Swami Sivananda

The seventh stage is Turiya, or the state of superconsciousness. This is Moksha. This is also known by the name Turiyatita. There are no Sankalpas. All the Gunas disappear. This is above the reach of mind and speech. Disembodied salvation (Videhamukti) is attained in the seventh stage.

Remaining in the certitude of Atma, without desires, and with an equal vision over all, having completely eradicated all complications of differentiations of 'I' or 'he', existence or non-existence, is Turiya. (Swami Sivananda, Jnana Yoga, http://www.dlshq.org/teachings/jnanayoga.htm, downloaded 26 May 2007.)

Ananda Samadhi

Samadhi is generally classified as of two kinds. In the first, the savikalpa samadhi, one experiences the mystic vision of the spiritual form of God, while the consciousness of individuality remains. In the second, the nirvikalpa samadhi, a man loses his individuality and goes beyond the vision of the form of God. The whole universe disappears. Besides these two there is yet another kind of samadhi called ananda (blissful) samadhi. If an ordinary man attains this experience, his body and brain cannot stand the intense ecstatic joy; he cannot live more than twenty-one days. (Swami Brahmananda in EC, 189.)

Awake on these [supramental] levels the soul becomes master of the ranges of gnostic thought, gnostic will, gnostic delight, and if it can do this in Samadhi, it may carry its memory of experience and its power of experience over into the waking state [i.e., normal consciousness]. Even on the yet higher level open to us, that of the Ananda, the awakened soul may become similarly possessed of the Bliss-Self both in its concentration and in its cosmic comprehension. But still there may be ranges above from which it can bring back no memory except that which says, "somehow, indescribably, I was in bliss," the bliss of an unconditioned existence beyond all potentiality of expression by thought or description by image or feature. Even the sense of being may disappear in an experience in which the world-existence loses its sense and the Buddhistic symbol of Nirvana seems alone and soverignly justified. (Sri Aurobindo, Synthesis of Yoga, 505.)

Sayuja

Know that union with Brahman is the real aim of all accomplishments. This is also the state of Liberation (aikya mukti) known as union (sayujya). (Ramana Maharshi, SI, Chapter 4, Question 10.)

Da Free John transcends the energy system of the body

As a result of the long course of my experience..., I had firmly identified myself, the structure of my real being, with the various instruments of the "chakra" system. That pole of energies with its various centers, high and low, seemed to me to be the foundation structure of every living being as well as the creative source of every existing form or universe. ... Thus, although the truth of real consciousness seemed to me to be one of radical understanding and "no-seeking," the conscious enjoyment of an eternally free and unmodified state, I could not on the basis of this identification with the chakra system see how life could be performed without a certain kind of seeking.

The chakra system and the philosophy it implied demanded a conscious, intentional purification and ascent toward concentration in the highest center and in the subtlest vehicle of being, the supra-causal body. Thus, spiritual life seemed ultimately determined by this goal of ascent. And, indeed, all of the religions and spiritual paths of the world, even where there is no conscious and sophisticated knowledge of Shakti and the chakras such as it appears in the Indian and Tibetan sources, rest in this basic philosophy of purification and ascent. ... Always I returned to an understanding free of all seeking. And this not only prevented my alignment with Christianity. It also created difficulties with what was for me the living tradition of Shakti yoga or Siddha yoga.

In February I passed through an experience that seemed to vindicate my understanding. For several nights I was awakened again and again with sharp lateral pains in my head. They felt like deep incisions in my skull and brain, as if I were undergoing an operation. During the day following the last of these experiences I realized a marvellous relief. I saw that what appeared as the sahasrar, the terminal chakra and primary lotus in the head, had been severed. The sahasrar had fallen off like a blossom. The Shakti, which previously had appeared as a polarized energy that moved up and down through the various chakras or centers producing various effects, now was released through the chakra form. There was no more polarized force. Indeed, there was no form whatsoever, no up or down, no chakras. The chakra system had been revealed as unnecessary, an arbitrary rule or setting for the play of energy. The form beneath all of the bodies, gross or subtle, had revealed itself to be as unnecessary and conditional as the bodies themselves.

Previously, all the universes seemed built and dependent upon that prior structure of ascending and descending energy, so that values were determined by the level of chakra on which consciousness functioned, and planetary bodies as well as space itself were fixed in a spherical or curved form. But now I saw that reality or real consciousnes was not in the least determined by any kind of form apart from itself. Consciousness had shown its radical freedom and priority in terms of the chakra form. It had shown itself to be senior to that whole structure, dissociated from every kind of separate energy or Shakti. There was simply consciousness itself, prior to all forms, all dilemmas, every kind of seeking and necessity.

... There was no need to have recourse to any kind of phenomena, problem or structure of seeking. The Shakti was not the primary or necessary reality. Reality was the Self-nature, the foundation of pure consciousness, Siva, who is always already free of the Divine play. Thus, I was certain again that real life was not a matter of experience and evolution. It was to be founded in radical, present consciousness. (Da Free John, KOL, Original Edition, 116-9.)

From knowledge of Self to knowledge of No-Self: The case of Bernadette Roberts

[During my] two-year journey ... I experienced the falling way of everything I can call a self. (1) It was a journey through an unknown passageway that led to a life so new and different that, despite forty years of varied contemplative experiences, I never suspected its existence. (Bernadette Roberts, ENS, 9.)

(1) Atman-Brahman.

Within the traditional framework, the Christian notion of loss-of-self is generally regarded as a transformation of the ego or lower self into the true or higher self as it approaches union with God; throughout this journey, however, the self retains its individual uniqueness and never loses its ontological sense of personal selfhood. (Bernadette Roberts, ENS, 9-10.)

[But] I came upon a permanent state in which there was no self, not even a higher self, a true self, or anything that could be called a self. Clearly, I had fallen outside my own, as well as the traditional, frame of reference when I came upon a path that seemed to begin where the writers on the contemplative life had left off. (Bernadette Roberts, ENS, 10.)

Since I knew that this experience was not articulated in our contemplative literature, I went to the library to see if it could be found in the Eastern religions. ... [In Hinduism] the final state is equivalent to the Christian experience of oneness or transforming union. (1) If a Hindu had what I call the no-self experience, it would be the sudden, unexpected disappearance of Atman-Brahman, the divine Self in the "cave of the heart," and the disappearance of the cave as well. It would be the ending of God-consciousness, or transcendental consciousness -- that seemingly bottomless experience of "being," "consciousness," and "bliss" (2) that articulates the state of oneness. To regard this ending as the falling away of the ego is a grave error; ego must fall away before the state of oneness can be realized. The no-self experience is the falling away of this previously realized transcendent state.

Initially, when I looked into Buddhism, I did not find the experience of no-self there either; yet I intuited that it had to be there. The falling away of the ego is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Therefore, it would not account for the fact that Buddhism became a separate religion, nor would it account for the Buddhists' insistence on no eternal Self - be it divine, individual, or the two in one. I felt that the key difference between these two religions was the no-self experience, the falling away of the true Self, Atman-Brahman.

Unfortunately what most Buddhist authors define as the no-self experience is actually the no-ego experience. The cessation of clinging, desire, the passions, etc., and the ensuing state of imperturbable peace and joy articulates the egoless state of oneness; it does not, however, articulate the no-self experience or the dimension beyond. (Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 136-7.)

(1) Nirvikalpa samadhi or Brahmajnana.
(2) Satchidananda = being, consciousness, and bliss.

Four years later, however, I came across two lines attributed to Buddha describing his enlightenment experience. Referring to self (1) as a house, he said, "All the rafters are broken now, the ridgepole is destroyed." And there it was -- the disappearance of the center, the ridgepole; without it, there can be no house, no self. When I read these lines, it was as if an arrow launched at the beginning of time had suddenly hit a bull's-eye. It was a remarkable find. These lines are not a piece of philosophy, but an experiential account, and without the experiential account we really have nothing to go on. In the same verse he says, "Again a house thou shalt not build," clearly distinguishing this experience from the falling away of the ego-center, after which a new, transformed self is built around a "true center," a sturdy, balanced ridgepole. (Bernadette Roberts, PNS2, 137.)

(1) Atman-Brahman.

The onset of this second movement is characterized by the falling away of the self and a coming upon of "that" which remains when it is gone. But this going-out is an upheaval, a complete turnabout of such proportions it cannot possibly be missed, under-emphasized, or sufficiently stressed as a landmark in the contemplative life. It is far more than the discovery of life without a self. The immediate, inevitable result is a change of consciousness, an emergence into a new way of knowing that entails a tremendous readjustment when the self can no longer be an object of awareness. The reflexive mechanism of the mind -- or whatever it is that allows us to be self-conscious -- is cut off or permanently suspended so the mind is ever after in a fixed now-moment, out of which it cannot move in its uninterrupted gaze upon the Unknown.

This journey, then, is nothing more, yet nothing less, that a period of acclimating to a new way of seeing; a time of transition and revelation as it gradually comes upon "that" which remains when there is no self. This is not a journey for those who expect love and bliss; rather, it is for the hardy who have been tried in fire and have come to rest in the tough, immoveable trust in "that" which lies beyond the known, beyond the self, beyond union, and even beyond love and trust itself. (Bernadette Roberts, ENS, 12-3.)

Franklin Merrell-Wolff describes three levels of enlightenment beyond Brahmajnana

The High Satisfaction

I first became aware of being enveloped in an extraordinary State of Consciousness when I found myself seemingly surrounded by, and interpenetrated through and through with, a quality for which there is no adequate word but which is most nearly represented by calling it “Satisfaction.” … I do not mean merely an abstraction, such as a state of being satisfied, but, rather, a substantial Actuality. … He who is enveloped in this [High] Satisfaction is in need of nothing whatsoever to satisfy him. The Satisfaction I realized is a real and substantial Existence prior to all experiencing. … It was the essence of aesthetic, emotional, moral, and intellectual satisfaction at the same time. There was nothing more required, so far as desire for myself was concerned, for at that time I had the full value of everything that could possibly be desired. It might be called the culminating point, the highest to which desire, individually centred, could reach. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PTS, 116-7.)

The High Indifference

As time went on there was a gradual dimming, or fusing, or being enveloped, on the part of the [High] Satisfaction, by another and considerably more profound State. The only expression that reasonably well represents this higher State is the term ‘High Indifference.’ Along with this was a sense of simply tremendous Authority … of such stupendous Majesty as to reduce the power of all Caesars relatively to the level of insects. … The Caesars … do not know the Powers lying beyond the utmost sweep of individual desire. But there is such a region of Authority, supreme over all below, and this is the High Indifference.

In this State I was not enveloped with satisfaction, but there was no feeling, in connection with that fact, of something having been lost. Literally, I now had no need of Satisfaction. This state or quality rested, as it were, below Me, and I could have invoked it if I had so chosen. But the important point is that on the level of the High Indifference there is no need of comfort or of Bliss, in the sense of an active Joy or Happiness. If one were to predicate Bliss in connection with the High Indifference, it would be correct only in the sense that there was an absence of misery or pain. But relative to this State even pleasurable enjoyment is misery. I am well aware that in this we have a State of Consciousness which falls quite outside the range of ordinary human imagination. … now, deep within me, I feel that I am centered in a Level from which I look down upon all objects of all possible human desire, even the most lofty. It is a strange, almost a weird, Consciousness when viewed from the perspective of relative levels. Yet, on its own Level, It is the one State that is really complete or adequate. What there may be still Beyond, I do not Know, but this State I do know consumes all others of which I have had any glimpse whatsoever. …

The High Indifference is to be taken in the sense of an utter Fullness that is even more than a bare Infinity. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, PTS, 118-20.)

The Void

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 [sic]. Its 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. (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, “The Induction,” 24 January 1970. http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/arInduction.htm . Downloaded 2 January 2006.)

Ramana Maharshi describes Nirvana as the final destruction of the ego and exhaustion of the prarabdha karma

When the prarabdha is exhausted, the ego is completely dissolved, without leaving any trace behind. This is the final Liberation (Nirvana). Unless prarabdha is exhausted, the ego will rise up as it may appear to do in the case of Jivanmuktas. (Ramana Maharshi, MG, 30.)

Nirvana is that state wherein the sense of separateness does not exist and where the ego has sunk in its source, the Heart. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 92.)

Nirvana is the Perfect State. There is neither seeing, hearing, nor experiencing in it. There is nothing but the pure “I am” awareness. (Ramana Maharshi, GR, 92.)

The Buddha declares that he has attained Nirvana

I have obtained deliverance by the extinction of self. (The Buddha to Upaka, the first monk he met after enlightenment, in GB, 37.)

Now is all suffering ended; he who saw is seen no more. (The Buddha in BPM, 178.)

Into Nirvana my mind has passed,
The end of cravings has been reached at last.
(The Buddha in GB, 33.)

Thro' many a birth in existence wandered I,
Seeking, but not finding, the builder of this house. (1)
Sorrowful is repeated birth.
O housebuilder, thou art seen. Thou shalt build no house again.
All thy rafters are broken. Thy ridge-pole is shattered.
Mind attains the unconditioned.
Achieved is the end of craving.
(The Buddha in BT, 31.)

(1) Ego or Self - the Buddha has passed both.

The Buddha distinguishes between a Tathagata, who has experienced nirvana, from an Arhant, who has experienced Brahmajnana

The reason why all devoted disciples do not at once attain to supreme enlightenment is because they do not realize two primary principles [the principles of individuating ignorance and of integrating compassion] and because of it some attain only to Arhatship. (The Buddha in BB, 123.)

There is a particular Samadhi called the Highest Samadhi, which was the Lord Buddha's Crowning Experience, and by it he attained a perfect realization of all manifestations and transformations. It was a wonderful door that opened to the mysterious Path that all the Tathagatas of all the ten quarters of all the universes have followed. (The Buddha in BB, 114.)

Highest Reality is an exalted state of bliss; it is not a state of word-discrimination and it cannot be entered into by mere statements concerning it. (The Buddha in BB, 287.)

Nirvana is Universal Mind in its purity. (The Buddha in BB, 324.)

Monks, there is a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be apparent no escape from this, here, that is born, become, made, compounded. (Ling, The Buddha's Philosophy of Man, xiii.)

Bodhidharma also distinguishes between buddhas and arahants

To transcend motion and stillness (1) is the highest meditation. Mortals keep moving, while arhats (2) stay still. But the highest meditation surpasses that of both mortals and arhats. (3) People who reach such understanding free themselves from all appearances without effort and cure all illnesses without treatment. Such is the power of great zen. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 24.)

(1) Stillness implies nirvikalpa samadhi.
(2) An arhat is one who has reached nirvikalpa samadhi.
(3) Bodhidharma implies an enlightenment beyond nirvikalpa samadhi.

Whoever knows that the mind is a fiction and devoid of anything real knows that his own mind neither exists nor doesn't exist. Mortals keep creating the mind, claiming it exists. And arhats keep negating the mind, claiming it doesn't exist. But bodhisattvas and buddhas neither create nor negate the mind. That is what's meant by the mind that neither exists nor doesn't exist. The mind that neither exists nor doesn't exist is called the Middle Way. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 26.)

Enlightenment – Getting stuck halfway

Many spiritual seekers get "stuck" in emptiness, in the absolute, in transcendence. They cling to bliss, or peace, or indifference. When the self-centered motivation for living disappears, many seekers become indifferent. They see the perfection of all existence and find no reason for doing anything, including caring for themselves or others. I call this "taking a false refuge." It is a very subtle egoic trap; it's a fixation in the absolute and all unconscious form of attachment that masquerades as liberation. It can be very difficult to wake someone up from this deceptive fixation because they literally have no motivation to let go of it. Stuck in a form of divine indifference, such people believe they have reached the top of the mountain when actually they are hiding out halfway up its slope.

Enlightenment does not mean one should disappear into the realm of transcendence. To be fixated in the absolute is simply the polar opposite of being fixated in the relative. With the dawning of true enlightenment, there is a tremendous birthing of impersonal Love and wisdom that never fixates in any realm of experience. To awaken to the absolute view is profound and transformative, but to awaken from all fixed points of view is the birth of true nonduality. If emptiness cannot dance, it is not true Emptiness. If moonlight does not flood the empty night sky and reflect in every drop of water, on every blade of grass, then you are only looking at your own empty dream. I say, Wake up! Then, your heart will be flooded with a Love that you cannot contain. (Adyashanti, “Selling Water by the River,” Inner Directions Journal, Fall/Winter, 1999, downloaded from www.adyashanti.org, 2004.)

Enlightenment - The Aftermath

The saint has become a sage

Attaining to non-duality and the knowledge of the One without a second, the origin of all the worlds of name and form, they reach perfection and the acme of their powers. (Saradananda, SRGM, 113.)

He whose intellect is not agitated by desires, and whose sense organs are controlled; he who is gentle, pure, without possessions, not covetous, not greedy for food, serene, and steadfast; he who has taken refuge in the Self -- he alone is a sage. ... The sage is vigilant, profound, and steady, and has conquered the mind and the senses. He is humble and gives honour to all. He is well mannered, friendly, compassionate, and farsighted. (Dattatreya, AG, 125.)

In this world,
Compare those of the Way
To torrents that flow
Into river and sea.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 85.)

Gone is sorrow

Thou has put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. (Psalm 4:7.)

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11.)

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; (1) and there shall be no more death, (2) neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (3) (Revelation 21:4.)

(1) The bliss of God-realization shall efface their sorrow.
(2) They shall be immortal.
(3) They will now abide in the Father, where pain and sorrow do not exist.

[My] heart was hungry, yet satisfied, [my] soul was full of contentment and joy: [my] prayers and hopes were all fulfilled. (Blessed Henry Suso in ECST, 424.)

Because they have withdrawn from self, they are lifted up, as far as this is possible, so that their joy is whole and constant in all things. For in the divine being, where their hearts have lost themselves, there is no place for suffering or sadness, but only for peace and joy. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 130.)

I drank glass after glass of love;
Neither did the wine finish, nor my thirst.
(Bayazid of Bistun in KK, 16.)

The ocean filled with joy -- the atmosphere all joy! Joy, joy, in freedom, worship, love! Joy in the ecstacy: Enough to merely be! Enough to breathe! Joy, Joy! All over joy. (Walt Whitman in CC, 78.)

Infinite and inextinguishable confidence ... is in my heart. (Bucke, "Dedication" to CC, n.p.)

All sorrow [is] finished. (Edward Carpenter in CC, 77.)

What have I to do with lamentation? (Walt Whitman in CC, 86.)

Gone is fear

Having attained Him, one fears no more. (UPAN, 21.)

Brahman ... drives away all fear. (UPAN, 56.)

Fear of death vanished once and for all. Absorption in the Self continued unbroken from that time on. (Ramana Maharshi in CWRM, 1979 iii.)

Perfect love (1) casteth out fear. (I John 4:18.)

(1) One interpretation: Perfect love is associated with the enlightened state. All other love is imperfect. Second interpretation: A certain level of enlightenment would see love perfected. It is difficult to guess what level Paul would assert perfect love is a characteristic of.

Now when the fear of God is perfect, love is also perfect, and love is perfect when the transformation of the soul in God is achieved. (St. John of the Cross, CWSJC, 75.)

If by the grace of God a man but once realizes that he is not the doer, then he at once becomes a jivanmukta. (1) Though living in the body, he is liberated. He has nothing else to fear. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 169.

(1) Literally a freed soul, a jivanmukta is one who has achieved God-realization while still in the body.

Gone is attachment

All such things as attachment to the world and enthusiasm for [the objects of lust and greed] disappear after the attainment of the Knowledge of Brahman. Then comes the cessation of all passions. ... Finally comes peace. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 177-8.)

He who has attained God ... becomes like a child. A child has no attachment to the three gunas -- sattva, rajas, and tamas. (1) He becomes as quickly detached from a thing as he becomes attached to it. ... Again, all persons are the same to a child. He has no feeling of high and low in regard to persons. So he doesn't discriminate about caste. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 171.)

(1) In Eastern religions, the gunas are the cosmic qualities, sometimes said to be the constituents of matter.

To have attained self-knowledge is to have retreated to the inner fortress whence the personal man can be viewed with impartiality. (Ascended Master, probably the Master Hilarion, channelling through Mabel Collins, LOP, 22.)

They become vast, expanded

If the Throne (1) and all that is there had been increased one million times and put into the corner of the heart of the gnostic, he would not even feel their existence. (Byazid in KK, 16.)

(1) Creation.

They are fulfilled

The wise find bliss in all things within Thy (Majesty), O God. (Zarathustra in GZ, 205.)

[Realization of the Self] satisfies [the aspirant] entirely. Then he knows that infinite happiness which can be realized by the purified heart but is beyond the grasp of the senses. (Sri Krishna in BG, 66.)

If you realize God, you will get everything else. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 615.)

To know God is not the negation of all desire, but instead their complete fulfillment. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 16.)

By contacting God in the world and in meditation you will find all your heart's desires fulfilled. Then you will be a true man of renunciation, for you will find that nothing is more worth-while, more pleasant or attractive than the all-beautiful, all-satisfying, all-thirst quenching, ever-new, joyous God. (Paramahansa Yogananda, SCC, 1, 17.)

They are made clean

I make all things clean. (BG, 82.)

Though a man be soiled
With the sins of a lifetime,
Let him but love me,
Rightly resolved,
In utter devotion:
I see no sinner,
That man is holy.
Holiness soon
Shall refashion his nature
To peace eternal.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 85.)

Though you were the foulest of sinners,
This knowledge (1) alone would carry you
Like a raft, over all your sin. The blazing fire turns wood to ashes:
The fire of knowledge turns all karmas to ashes. (2)
(Sri Krishna in BG, 55.)

(1) God-realization.
(2) God-realization will erase our karmic debts and release us from further need for action or rebirth.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though thy sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (1) (Isaiah 1:18.)

(1) That is, though you be the foulest of sinners, I have the power to make you clean. For an example of the man white as snow, see Jesus in Revelation 1:14: "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow."

They are renewed

We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:13.)

[Christ's faithful] have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. (1) (St. Paul in Colossians 3:10.)

(1) The faithful have achieved Self-realization, which remakes us into Christlike beings.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, (1) he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are made new. (St. Paul in II Corinthians 5:17.)

(1) Being "in Christ" means to have entered into the Self completely and found its oneness with the Father; thus, to be Self-realized.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. (Revelation 21:5.)

When Dante awoke into the Cosmic Sense, into the new Cosmos, the first thing to strike him ... was the vision of the "Eternal Wheels" -- the "Chain of Causation" -- the universal order -- a vision infinitely beyond expression by human words. His new self ... had its eyes fixed on this, the Cosmic unfolding. Gazing thereupon the Cosmic vision and the Cosmic rapture transhumanized him into a god. (Bucke, CC, 137.)

They know everything

I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I called, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
("The Wisdom of Solomon" in APO, 190.)

The things that I did not know and of which I was held in error were made known to me without anyone teaching. (Ovid in ECST, 417.)

When God touches the soul with truth, its light floods the soul's agents and that man knows more than anyone could ever teach him. (Meister Eckhart in ME, 105.)

I knew all I longed to know, possessed all I longed to possess. I saw all Good. (Angela of Folino in ECST, 427.)

The gate was opened to me that in one-quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at an university. (Jacob Boehme in CC, 130.)

A devotee can know everything when God’s grace descends on him. If you but realize Him, you will be able to know all about Him. You should somehow meet the master of a house and become acquainted with him; then he himself will tell you how many houses he owns and all about his gardens and his government securities. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 374-5.)

What can you understand through reasoning? You will realize everything when God Himself teaches you. Then you will not lack any knowledge. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 377.)

They are freed from birth and death

Knowing him ..., one is freed from death. (UPAN 20.)

Those who reach [my highest state of being] are not reborn. (Sri Krishna in BG, 77.)

The dead are not alive and the living shall not die. (1) (Jesus in GATT, 7.)

(1) Those who have not realized the Father do not live in bliss, wisdom, and immortality; those who have realized Him are immortal and will never again suffer physical death.

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Jesus in Revelations 1:18.)

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, (1) and there shall be no more death. (2) (Jesus in Revelation 21:4.)

(1) God-realization will bring them boundless joy and freedom from the miseries of mortal life.
(2) They need no longer reincarnate or be reborn and die. Note however that this level is associated with sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi and not kevalya nirvikalpa samadi (or Brahmajnana).

Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (1) ... He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (2) (Jesus in Revelation 2:10-1.)

(1) Self-Knowledge arises when the kundalini energy arrives at the sahasrar or crown chakra, at the top of the head. It brings with it immortality. It is thus a crown of life.
(2) The second death is the death of the personality or ego, which precedes Self-Knowledge.

Eternal life ... God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. (St. Paul in Titus 1:2.)

Awake thou that sleepest, (1) and arise from the dead, (2) and Christ shall give thee light. (3) (St. Paul in Ephesians 4:14.)

(1) In the ignorance of material, dualistic consciousness.
(2) The spiritually unawakened, the unenlightened, are the dead. Resurrection is enlightenment.
(3) Enlightenment.

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (St. Paul in II Corinthians 5.)

For the wages of sin is death; (1) but the gift of God is eternal life (2) through Jesus Christ our Lord. (3) (St. Paul in Romans 6:23.)

(1) The sinful are condemned to be born and die repeatedly.
(2) Liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
(3) Through the grace of our master and guide, the Lord Jesus.

Realize Brahman, and there will be no more returning to this world -- the home of all sorrows. (Shankara in CJD, 69.)

In the drama of life and death, when beheld with Divine understanding, there can be no pain in death, but only the showing or stopping of the motion picture of life at will without physical or mental pain. (Paramahansa Yogananda in SCC, 1, 42.)

Though nothing definite can be predicated of Brahman, yet the search for it is not futile. The Upanishads repeatedly say that its realisation is the supreme purpose of life, because it bestows immortality. When Brahman is known all is known. (Nikhilananda, HIN, 31.)

Enlightenment - Experiences of enlightenment can be accompanied by intense pain afterwards

His body experienced such pain from this short moment that he did not believe that anyone could experience such pain in so brief a time and not die. He somehow revived with a deep sigh, and his body sank to the ground against his will as in a faint. (Blessed Henry Suso, HSU, 66.)

Enlightenment – The sage may need time to adjust to his new condition

[Sri Ramana Maharshi] was only a boy and it took him time to fit this all-embracing realization into his day-to-day life. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 17.)

Later reading [the Upanishads], [Ramana Maharshi] realized the philosophic import of what had happened to him and so was able to co-ordinate his experiences and fit them into the Hindu tradition. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 16.)

It was after some time that people brought him books and asked him to explain them. Here he found the map of what had happened to him, here were recorded his own realizations. It came as a revelation to him. He had not known that what had happened to him had happened to others before. Not only had it happened, but it has been deliberately sought and also recorded. (Sadhu Arunachala [A.W. Chadwick] in SRRM, 18.)

Enlightenment - Many choose to leave their body; many die because their bodies cannot stand the shock; others merge with God upon their death

There shall no man see me, and live. (Exodus 33:20.)

In whatever way and in whatever place the yogis die, they merge into Brahman, as the jar-space is united with the limitless space when the jar is broken. (Dattatreya, AG, 33.)

In the top of the head is the seventh plane. When the mind rises there, one goes into samadhi. Then the Brahmajnani directly perceives Brahman. But in that state his body does not last many days. He remains unconscious of the outer world. If milk is poured into his mouth, it runs out. Dwelling on this plane of consciousness, he gives up his body in twenty-one days. That is the condition of the [ordinary] Brahmajnani. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 151.)

Generally the body does not remain alive after the attainment of samadhi. The only exceptions are such sages as Narada, who keep their bodies alive in order to bring spiritual light to others. It is also true of Divine Incarnations, like Chaitanya. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 152.)

After the realization of God, what difference does it make whether the body lives or dies? (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 237.)

It is said that there are places near Kedar that are covered with eternal snow; he who climbs too high cannot come back. Those who have tried to find out what there is in the higher regions, or what one feels there, have not come back to tell us about it. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 217.)

None but the Isvarakotis can return to the plane of relative consciousness after attaining samadhi. Some ordinary men attain samadhi through spiritual discipline; but they do not come back. But when God Himself is born as a man, as an Incarnation, holding in His Hand the key to others” liberation, then for the welfare of humanity the Incarnation returns from samadhi to consciousness of the world. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 237.)

There are some who come down, as it were, after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman -- after samadhi -- and retain the 'ego of Knowledge' or the 'ego of Devotion'. ... This was the case with sages like Narada. They kept the 'ego of Devotion' for the purpose of teaching men. Sankaracharya kept the 'ego of Knowledge' for the same purpose. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 178.)

By dint of sadhana [an ordinary man] can realize God; but after samadhi he cannot come back to the plane of relative consciousness.

Mahabhava is a divine ecstacy; it shakes the body and mind to their very foundation. It is like a huge elephant entering a small hut. The house shakes to its foundations. Perhaps it falls to pieces. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 747.)

[From] the absolute and transcendent state of Samadhi [in] which ... it culminates, if it endures, there is, except perhaps for one soul out of many thousands, no return. For by that we go to the "supreme state of the Eternal whence souls revert not" into the cyclic action of Nature; and it is into this Samadhi that the Yogin who aims at release from the world seeks to pass away at the time of leaving his body. (Sri Aurobindo, SOY, 304-5.)

Enlightenment - What work do the sages who continue to live do after liberation?

The man on this journey [back from Perfection] is [dedicated to] helping others to know, ... clearing a way for others with a spiritual descent, and he puts on the cloak of manhood and comes down from his [perfect] state to go among the people and mingle with them. That is the meaning of the hadith that says: "I am also a human being like you all." It is necessary at this stte to eat, to drink, to sleep, to marry, but not to fall into excess in any, nor into asceticism. Complete balance and direction is essential. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 23.)

There are some who come down, as it were, after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman -- after samadhi -- and retain the 'ego of Knowledge' or the 'ego of Devotion'. ... This was the case with sages like Narada. They kept the 'ego of Devotion' for the purpose of teaching men. Sankaracharya kept the 'ego of Knowledge' for the same purpose. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 178.)

A master who achieves ... final freedom may elect to return to earth as a prophet to bring other human beings back to God, or like myself he may choose to reside in the astral cosmos. There a saviour assumes some of the burden of the inhabitants' karma, and thus helps them to terminate their cycle of reincarnation in the astral cosmos and go on permanently to the causal spheres. Or a freed soul may enter the causal world to aid its beings to shorten their span in the causal body and thus attain the Absolute Freedom. (Sri Yukteswar Giri in Paramanansa Yogananda, AY, 421.)

In nirbikalpa samadhi the yogi dissolves the last vestiges of his material or earthly karma. Nevertheless, he may still have certain astral and causal karma to work out, and therefore takes astral and then causal re-embodiments on high-vibrational spheres. (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 409n.)

Enlightenment - We are in Mother's realm of form as long as ego remains

As long as the slightest trace of ego remains, one lives within the jurisdiction of the Adyashakti. (1) One is under Her sway. One cannot go beyond Her. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 460.)

(1) Literally, primal power. The Divine Mother or Holy Spirit.

Enlightenment - At what stage can rituals be safely dropped? – See Rituals

Enlightenment – Everything will return to God one day

And [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. (Genesis 28:12-3.)

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1)

... And when all things shall be subdued unto him, (2) then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (3) (St. Paul in I Corinthians 15:24 and 28.)

(1) This passage has more than one level of meaning. It has a cosmic application, referring to the time when all life has realized God. We look here at its individual application, referring to the time when the individual realizes God. Putting down "all rule and all authority and power" refers to the time when the individual has transcended the personal will, subjugating it to the Will of the Father. In line with what Bernadette Roberts has said of the "No-Self," another meaning could be that once all things are surrendered to the Self, then the Self is surrendered to the No-Self.
(2) "When all things shall be subdued unto him" means when all desire for worldly or material objects and pleasures has been overcome, as in Jesus' assertion, "I have overcome the world." (Jesus in John 16:33.)


(3) Finally the Son's being subjected to God that God may be all in all refers to the plunging of the individual soul into the Sea of Bliss, Tranquillity, and Immortality that is the Father.

Allah ... is the Lord of the Ladders, by which the angels and the [Holy] Spirit will ascend to Him one day: a day whose space is fifty thousand years. (Koran, 57.)

Enlightenment - Beware, enlightenment comes like a thief in the night

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness. (Malachi 3:5.)

The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrite: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Jesus in Matthew 24:50-51.)

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (1) (Jesus in Matthew 25:1-13.)

(1) "Cometh" in the illuminating experience of the personal saviour or personal God.

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord (1) so cometh as a thief in the night.

... Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (St. Paul in I Thessalonians 5:2 and 4-6.)

(1) The day of liberation.

God constantly shows ever new revelations. From every revelation there is the order of God which descends upon the servants. It comes to visit their heart. The order of God, that is to say, that revelation, is the secret visitor. It comes from God and lodges in the heart of the servant. If at that instant the heart of the servant is full of God, that visitor meets with God in that heart, and unites with the reality which is present in the heart. (1) (Ibn Arabi, KK, 42.)

(1) Thus, since God's secret visitor comes like a thief in the night, the aspirant should be always watchful to have it meet with "God in the heart."

From the union of that visitor which is God's order with the Reality in the heart, a holy beauty appears. ... The wisdom in the words returns to God and arrives there. This coming and going is not from the side of the spirit. This is a descent transcendent from everything. And the going is equally in the same manner, and with a transcendent return. Neither the intelligence of the heavenly speheres nor that of the angels reach this coming and going. If they saw anything they would see just a light transcendent from everything, and they would not know more. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 43.)

When that revelation which is the secret visitor arrives, if the heart of the servant is occupied with rememoration and meditation and the servant thinks of God he will have received it with due respect. When that revelation comes, if it does not find thoughts about Him, but encounters an angel there, from their union results an image special to the angels. This then flies by the road that spirits take, until it reaches the Extreme Limit ... and stays there.

If that visitor comes and on arrival there meets with devilish things this time it takes a state which resembles a feverish crisis. ... If that visitor comes and immediately finds a beauty therein, at once it takes a good form, and finds bounty according to the nature of the form it has taken and waits then till the owner comes.

... Each revelation which descends to the heart, with whatever it is grafted, it takes a good or bad form and returns to the place necessary. Therefore for a man to receive this revelation well and properly it is necessary that he should nurture good thoughts constantly. (Ibn Arabi, KK, 43-4.)

God will appear suddenly and joyfully to all lovers of God. (Julian of Norwich in MJN, 36.)

In the twinkling of an eye heaven may be won or lost. (Anon., CU, 56.)

Pay great attention to this marvellous work of grace within your soul. It is always a sudden impulse and comes without warning, springing up to God like some spark from the fire. An incredible number of such impulses arise in one brief hour in the soul who has a will to this work! In one such flash the soul may completely forget the created world outside. Yet almost as quickly it may relapse back to thoughts and memories of things done and undone -- all because of our fallen nature. And as fast again it may rekindle. (Anon., CU, 57.)

Truth comes like a burglar -- when you least expect it. (Krishnamurti in KYA, 263.)

Enlightenment - What happens if we fail to know God in this lifetime?

If a man fail to attain Brahman before he casts off his body, he must again put on a body in the world of created things. (UPAN, 23.)

No one who seeks Brahman ever comes to an evil end. Even if a man falls away from the practice of yoga, he will still win the heaven of the doers of good deeds, and dwell there many long years. After that, he will be reborn into the home of pure and prosperous parents. He may even be born into a family of illumined yogis. But such a birth in this world is more difficult to obtain.

He will then regain that spiritual discernment which he acquired in his former body; and so will strive harder than ever for perfection. Because of his practices in the previous life, he will be driven on toward union with Brahman, even in spite of himself. For the man who has once asked the way to Brahman (1) goes farther than any mere fulfiller of the Vedic rituals. By struggling hard, and cleansing himself of all impurities, that yogi will move gradually toward perfection through many births, and reach the highest goal at last. (Sri Krishna in BG, 69.)

(1) Sri Krishna does not mean the man who asked the way to Brahman in a casual way, but one who has asked a guru, been told, and has practised sadhana sincerely but has not the purity or determination to needed to reach the final goal in this lifetime.

Whoever remains in prison in the definite dimension
Will be totally saddened when laid out in the earth.
(Ibn Arabi, KK, 8.)

It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births. (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 98.)

Equality

Being in a body gives you the opportunity to explore the mistaken belief that your needs are different from the needs of others. As soon as you begin to see that your needs are the same as the needs of others, the veil begins to lift. You stop needing special treatment. You stop giving others special treatment.

What you want for one, you want for all. You do not make one person more important than others.

The perception of equality is the beginning of the transcendence of the body and the physical world. When you no longer need to hold yourself separate from others, you can serve without being attached. You can give without needing to know how the gift is being received. (Paul Ferrini, SOH, 33-4.)

Equanimity - Results from detachment

To detach the mind from all objective things by continually seeing their imperfection, and to direct it steadfastly toward Brahman, its goal -- this is called tranquillity. (Shankara in CJD, 35.)

Don't hate life and death or love life and death. Keep your every thought free of delusion, and in life you'll witness the beginning of nirvana, and in death you'll experience the assurance of no rebirth. (Bodhidharma in ZTB, 29.)

Sama or calmness [is] the dwelling of the mind on Brahman after it has detached itself from all sense objects through firm knowledge of their inherent defects. ... A student of Vedanta, like all true philosophers, must cultivate inner calmness. He treads a very difficult path, often compared to the sharp edge of a razor. He must have convictions but should never be swayed by passions. (Nikhilananda, "Introduction" to SK, 43.)

Over the years, equanimity seemed to develop. One found that anger, annoyance and aversion began to fade out. And when your mind no longer inclines towards dwelling in aversion, you begin to have some joy and peace of mind. (Ajahn Sumedo, CIT, 63.)

Equanimity - Is tranquillity, serenity

Poise your mind in tranquillity. (Sri Krishna in BG, 40.)

Be even-tempered in success and failure; for it is this evenness of temper which is meant by yoga. (Sri Krishna in BG, 40.)

Feelings of heat and cold, pleasure and pain, are caused by the contact of the senses with their objects. They come and they go, never lasting long. You must accept them.

A serene spirit accepts pleasure and pain with an even mind, and is unmoved by either. He alone is worthy of immortality. (Sri Krishna in BG, 36.)

The enlightened, the Brahman-abiding,
Calm-hearted, unbewildered,
Is neither elated by the pleasant
Nor saddened by the unpleasant.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 60.)

That serene one
Absorbed in the Atman
Masters his will,
He knows no disquiet
In heat or in cold,
In pain or in pleasure,
In honour, dishonour.
(Sri Krishna in BG, 64.)

Harmony experienced is known as constancy;
Constancy experienced is called enlightenment.
(Lao-Tzu, WOL, 108.)

Holding the mind evenly constitutes the great and perfect adoration of the endless great Being. (Srimad Bhagavatam, 648.)

Brahman is ... tranquillity itself. ... He is joy for ever. (Shankara in CJD, 71.)

Seek neither peace nor strife
With kith or kin, with friend or foe.
O beloved, if thou wouldst attain freedom,
Be equal unto all.
(Shankara in CJD, 3.)

The unfailing composure of a saint is impressive beyond any sermon. "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." [Proverbs 16:32.] (Paramahansa Yogananda, AY, 132.)

The Master teaches that it does not matter in the least what happens to a man from the outside; sorrows, troubles, sicknesses, losses -- all these must be as nothing to him, and must not be allowed to affect the calmness of his mind. They are the result of past actions, and when they come you must bear them cheerfully, remembering that all evil is transitory, and that your duty is to remain always joyous and serene. They belong to your previous lives, not to this; you cannot alter them, so it is useless to trouble about them. Think rather of what you are doing now, which will make the events of your next life, for that you can alter. (Krishnamurti, AFM, 48-9.)

Everything/Nothing

When I see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. And when I see that I am everything, that is love.  And between those two, my life moves. (Nisargadatta Maharaj quoted by jack Kornfeld in video Awaken to the Eternal.)

Examination of Self - See Introspection - Self-Examination

Experience – Experencing is essential

What is essential is experiencing, which is denied in the pursuit of sensation. ... Experiencing, which is wholly different from the repetition of an experience, is without continuity. Only in experiencing is there renewal, transformation. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 65.)

Experience - The desire to experience creates the experiencer

He who experiences is conscious of himself. Without an experiencer, there can be no self-consciousness. (Shankara in CJD, 68.)

The desire to experience creates the experiencer, who then accumulates and remembers. Desire makes for the separation of the thinker from his thoughts; the desire to become, to experience, to be more or to be less, makes for the division between the experiencer and the experience. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 66-7.)

It is only when the experiencer ceases that there is the creative moment of the real. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 232.)

Knowledge, belief, conviction, conclusion and experiencer are hindrances to truth; they are the very structure of the self. The self cannot be if there is no cumulative effect of experience; and the fear of death is the fear of not being, of not experiencing. If there were the assurance, the certainty of experiencing, there would be no fear. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 89.)

Experience - Experience is of the mind

All activities of conformity and denial, of analysis and acceptance, ... strengthen the experiencer. The experiencer can never understand the whole. The experiencer is the accumulated, and there is no understanding within the shadow of the past. ... Understanding is not of the mind, of thought.... In the awareness of this whole process there is a silence which is not of the experiencer. In this silence only does understanding come into being. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 38.)

Experience is already in the net of time, it is already in the past, it has become a memory which comes to life only as a response to the present. Life is the present, it is not the experience. The weight and strength of experience shadow the present, and so experiencing becomes the experience. The mind is the experience, the known, and it can never be in the state of experiencing; for what it experiences is the continuation of experience. The mind only knows continuity, and it can never receive the new as long as its continuity exists. What is continuous can never be in a state of experiencing, which is a state without experience. Experience must cease for experiencing to be. (Krishnamurti in COL, 1, 32.)

The mind and its responses are of greater significance than the experience; and to rely on experience as a means of understandinhg truth is to be caught in ignorance and illusion. (Krishnamurti, COL, 1, 88.)

The mind is aware that it cannot capture by experience and word that which ever abides, timeless and immeasurable. (Krishnamurti in COL, 2, 242.)

Experiencing what is

Every day there are two things out there: what is and what you do with it (what you add to it). There are two things you can do with something – make it better or make it worse. The first is longing and the second is anxiety. Both are what we add to experience. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Experiencing can be done quietly, and you can have noisy pillow slamming without experiencing anything. (John Enright, Awareness, Responsibility, Communication Seminar, January 20, 1979.)

Links

The Essays of Brother Anonymous
Next
Contents

Email: unity2211@hotmail.com