Maybe You Are Searching Among The Branches,
For What Only Appears In The Roots…
Ramana Maharshi is the silent one, teaching the pure non-dual essence through perfect silence. What exists in Truth is the Self alone. The Self is that where there is absolutely no ‘I’-thought. That is called silence [mauna]. The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is ‘I'; the Self itself is God.
The inner silence is self-surrender. And that is living without the sense of ego. Solitude is in the mind of humanity. Silence is ever speaking; it is the perennial flow of ‘language’. It is interrupted by speaking; for words obstruct this mute language. Silence is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity. There is consciousness along with quietness in the mind; this is exactly the state to be aimed at.
By silence, eloquence is meant. It is the best language. The thought-free experience of the Self is silence. There is a state when words cease and silence prevails. That state which transcends speech and thought is silence. That state in which the ‘I’-thought does not rise even in the least is silence. The experience of silence is alone the real and perfect knowledge.
Sages say that the state in which the ‘I’-thought does not rise even in the least, alone is Self which is silence. That silent Self alone is God; Self alone is the individual soul. Self alone is this ancient world. All other knowledge are only petty and trivial knowledge; the experience of silence alone is the real and perfect knowledge. Know that the many objective differences are not real but are mere superimpositions on Self, which is the form of true knowledge. That which is, is silence. How can silence be explained in words?
A vow of silence is but a vow. It may help in meditation to some extent, but what is the use of keeping the mouth shut and letting the mind run riot? The pure state of attention to the Self alone is one’s own state of silence, which is devoid of any other thing.
The Guru is the bestower of silence who reveal the light of Self-knowledge, which shines as the residual Reality. Spoken words are of no use whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of his disciple. Silence, which shines alone as consciousness of being, possesses the glory of being the highest and most potent tapas [spiritual effort].
Silence – which is not only the means to liberation but also that which abides as the very nature of liberation itself – has a matchless magnificence. If you adhere to that path of silence, the means to liberation, there will be no suffering of any kind. The Supreme Reality that is liberation is experienced only by perfect silence. Indulging in thoughts drives it away. To attain liberation, the door to which is silence, the ego that rises as a separate ‘I’ should be completely destroyed.
Silence is the best and most potent initiation. That was practised by Dakshinamurti. Initiation by touch, look, etc. are all of a lower order. Silent initiation changes the Heart of all. Silence of a realised being is most powerful. He sends out waves of spiritual influence which draw many people towards him. Yet he may sit in a cave and maintain complete silence. He never needs to go out among the public. If necessary he can use others as his instrument.
Silence is ever-speaking. It is the perennial flow of language which is interrupted by speaking. These words which I am speaking obstruct that mute language. For example there is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electrical energy. Similarly, silence is the flow of language obstructed by words.
When one remains without thinking, one understands another by means of the universal language of silence. What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known instantly through silence. Dakshinamurti is a good example of this. This is the highest and most effective language.
“Brahma-aanandam Parama-Sukhadam Kevalam Jnyaana-Muurtim
Dvandva-Atiitam Gagana-Sadrsham Tat-Tvam-Asi-Aadi-Lakssyam
Ekam Nityam Vimalam-Acalam Sarva-Dhii-Saakssii-Bhuutam
Bhaava-Atiitam Tri-Gunna-Rahitam Sad-Gurum-Tam Namaami”
Salutations to that glorious Guru, Who is the Bliss of Brahman, Who is the Bestower of Supreme Joy, Who is the Absolute, Who is the Embodiment of Knowledge, Who is Beyond Duality, Who is Boundless and Infinite, Who is Indicated by Maha Vakyas Like Tat-Tvam-Asi (That-Thou-Art), Who is One without the Second, Who is Eternal, Who is Stainless and Pure, Who is Immovable, Who is the Witness of the Intelligence of All Beings, Who is Beyond the States of the Mind, Who is Free from the Three Gunas.
The great Tao flows everywhere.
All things are born from it,
yet it doesn’t create them.
It pours itself into its work,
yet it makes no claim.
It nourishes infinite worlds,
yet it doesn’t hold on to them.
Since it is merged with all things
and hidden in their hearts,
it can be called humble.
Since all things vanish into it
and it alone endures,
it can be called great.
It isn’t aware of its greatness;
thus it is truly great.
~ Lao Tzu in ‘Tao Te Ching’, translation by S. Mitchell
Meditation is the eye that sees the Truth, the heart that feels the Truth and the soul that realises the Truth.
Through meditation the soul becomes fully aware of its evolution in its eternal journey. Through meditation we see the form evolve into the Formless, the finite into the Infinite; and we see the Formless evolve into the form, the Infinite into the finite.
Meditation speaks. It speaks in silence. It reveals. It reveals to the aspirant that matter and spirit are one, quantity and quality are one, the immanent and the transcendent are one. It reveals that life can never be the mere existence of seventy or eighty years between birth and death, but is, rather, Eternity itself. Our birth is a significant incident in God’s own existence. And so is our death. In our birth, life lives in the body. In our death, life lives in the spirit.
Meditation: individual and collective. As the individual and the collective are in essence one, even so are meditation individual and collective. We are all children of God. Our body says that we are human. Our soul says that we are divine.
No matter whether we are human or divine, we are one, inevitably and eternally. We are the inseparable parts of the whole. We complete the whole.
Vast is the ocean. You see a part of it. He sees a part of it. I see a part of it. But the full expanse of the ocean is far beyond our gaze. Our vision is limited. But the portion that each of us sees is not and cannot be separated from the entire ocean.
What does an orchestra produce? It produces a symphonic unity. Different notes from different instruments form the symphony. As each instrument plays its own notes, so each individual may meditate in his own way. But ultimately all will arrive at the same goal and the basic realisation of oneness. And this realisation is nothing other than liberation — liberation from bondage, ignorance and death.
Tat twam asi “That Thou art.” This is indeed the secret that can be revealed in meditation. This “Thou” is not the outer man. This “Thou” is our soul, our divinity within. Our unlit and undivine nature tries to make us feel that the body is everything. Our illumined and divine nature makes us feel that our soul, which has no beginning and no ending, is everything. Indeed, it is the soul that is the breath of our existence both in Heaven and on earth.
Self-knowledge and universal Knowledge are not two different things. Everything in the universe becomes ours the moment we realise our Self. And what is this universe? It is the outer expression of our inner achievements. We are our own Saviours. Within us is our salvation. It is we who have to work for our salvation. We are our own fate-makers. To blame others for the unfavourable conditions of our lives is beneath our dignity. Unfortunately, this act of blaming others is one of man’s oldest diseases. Adam blamed Eve for his temptation. Poor Eve, what could she do? She also blamed another. No, we must not do that. If action is ours, responsibility is also ours. To try to escape the consequences of our actions is simply absurd. But to be free from committing blunders is wisdom; it is the real illumination. Trials and tribulations are within us and without us. We simply have to ignore them. If this act of ignoring is not effective, we must face them. If that, too, is not enough, we have to conquer them here and now. The paramount problem is how to conquer the trials and tribulations. We can conquer them only by our constant aspiration and meditation. There is no substitute, no alternative.
From meditation, when it is deep and one-pointed, we get spiritual knowledge and pure devotion, which act not only simultaneously but also harmoniously. The path of Bhakti, devotion, and the path of Jnana, knowledge, lead us ultimately to the same goal. Devotion is not blind faith. It is not an absurd adherence to our inner feeling. It is a matchless process of spiritual unfoldment. Knowledge is not something dry. Neither is it an aggressive power. Knowledge is the food that energises our earthly and heavenly existence. Devotion is Delight. Knowledge is Peace. Our heart needs Delight and our mind needs Peace, just as God needs us to manifest Himself and we need God to fulfil ourselves.
Meditation: individual and collective. It is easy to meditate individually. The aspirant is fortunate, for no third person stands between him and God’s Grace. It is easy to meditate collectively A student naturally gets joy while he is studying with others in the class. Here also the aspirant is fortunate, for the sincere aspiration of other seekers may inspire him.
True, there are difficulties in meditating individually, for laziness can plague the aspirant. True, there are difficulties in meditating collectively, because there is every possibility that the ignorance and weaknesses of others may unconsciously attack the aspirant’s body, mind and heart.
Whether we meditate individually or collectively, there is one thing we absolutely must do: we have to meditate consciously. Making an unconscious effort is like forcing oneself to play football in spite of one’s utmost unwillingness. One plays, but gets no joy. Conscious effort is like playing football most willingly. One gets real joy. Similarly, conscious meditation gives us inner Delight from the soul.
Finally, each human being must have the spirit of a divine hero. If he is left alone in the thickest forest, he must have the inner strength to meditate without fear. If he is asked to meditate in Times Square amid crowds of people, he must have the inner strength to meditate without being disturbed in the least. Whether alone or with others, the aspirant must dwell in his meditation unshaken and unafraid.