13th November, 1935
A question was raised as follows by Maj. A. W. Chadwick:-
Mr. Edward Carpenter, a certain mystic, has written in a book that he had Self-Realisation on some occasions and that its effects lasted sometimes afterwards, only to be gradually lost. Whereas Sri Ramana Gita says, "Granthi (knot = bondage), snapped once, is snapped for ever." In the case of this mystic, the bondage seems to have persisted even after Self-Realisation. How can it be so?
The Master cited Kaivalya as follows:-
The disciple, after realising the all-shining, unitary, unbroken state of Being-Knowledge-Bliss, surrendered himself to the master and humbly prayed to know how he could repay the master's Grace. The Master said: "My reward consists in your permanent unbroken Bliss. Do not slip away from it."
D.: Having once experienced the Supreme Bliss, how can one stray away from it?
Maharshi: Oh yes! It happens. The predisposition adhering to him from time immemorial will draw him out and so ignorance overtakes him.
D.: What are the obstacles to remaining steady in unbroken Bliss?
How can they be overcome?
Maharshi: The obstacles are:
(1) Ignorance which is forgetfulness of one's pure being. (2) Doubt which consists in wondering if even the experience was of the Real or of the unreal. (3) Error which consists in the "I-am-the-body" idea, and thinking that the world is real. These are overcome by hearing the truth, reflection on it and concentration.
The Master continued: Experience is said to be temporary or permanent. The first experience is temporary and by concentration it can become permanent. In the former the bondage is not completely destroyed; it remains subtle and reasserts itself in due course. But in the latter it is destroyed root and branch, never to appear again. The expression yogabhrashta (those who have fallen down from yoga) in Srimad Bhagavad Gita refers to the former class of men.
D.: Is then hearing the Truth meant only for a limited few?
Maharshi: It is of two kinds. The ordinary one is to hear it enunciated and explained by a master. However, the right one is to raise the question for oneself and seek and find the answer in oneself as the unbroken `I-I'. To be reflecting on this experience is the second stage. To remain one-pointed in it is the third stage.
D.: Can the temporary experience be called samadhi?
Maharshi: No. It forms part of the third stage.
D.: It looks then as if even hearing the Truth is limited to a very few.
Maharshi: The seekers fall into two classes; kritopasaka and akritopasaka .
The former having already overcome his predisposition by steady devotion, his mind thus made pure, has had some kind of experience but does not comprehend it; as soon as he is instructed by a competent master, permanent experience results. The other class of seeker needs great effort to achieve this end. How will the hearing of the Truth, reflection and concentration help him? They comprise upasana (the nearest approach to Truth) and will end in his Self-Realization. The fourth stage is the final one of liberation. Even there some distinction is made according to the degree, as
(1) the knower of the Brahman (Brahmavid ) (2) Brahmavid-vara (3) Brahmavid-varya (4) Brahmavid-varishta But all of them are in fact liberated even while alive.
Talk 94 Talk 96