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Re: Introvert v extrovert / end of suffering

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  • medit8ionsociety
    ... another ... so I ... make ... snip What a small universe it is. Here s somthing I received today that deals with the same concepts, only as told by someone
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 18, 2005
      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Osime"
      <tony.osime@f...> wrote:
      > By a round about route, my original post led me to this post in
      > group. There is a tenuous but interesting link to my original post,
      so I
      > thought it might make interesting reading here. I have edited it to
      > it more readable. My apologies for it being a very long post!
      > From: "adithya_comming" <adithya_comming@y...>
      > Subject: Enlightenment : end of suffering?


      What a small universe it is. Here's somthing I received today that
      deals with the same concepts, only as told by someone widely
      acknowledged to be one of the most enlightened beings on the planet:

      Swami Chidananda on Self-Realisation
      Kind courtesy of "Tapovan Prasad." This is an interview with our Most
      Revered President Swamiji Maharaj, published in two parts in November
      and December, 2003.

      "Hey, I'm in Nirvana!" We all talk like this when we feel good. But
      what is it like to actually attain Nirvana, otherwise known as moksha
      or Self-realisation? How does the world appear to such an exalted
      human being? Does one acquire supernatural powers?

      There are few people in India more qualified to answer such questions
      than SWAMI CHIDANANDA, the President of the Divine Life Society and
      the successor of the illustrious Swami Sivananda. Swami Chidananda is
      a soft-spoken, kindly man with sparkling eyes. He is deeply revered
      by hundreds of thousands of people in India and around the world, who
      recognise his saintliness, selfless service and great humility.

      On March 25, 2000, Jujhar Singh met this great saint at `Guru Niwas'
      in Rishikesh for a two-hour interview on the theme of Self-
      realisation. Parts of the interview were published in The Times of
      India and in First City magazine earlier this year.

      This is the first part of the interview. The second part will be
      published next month.

      Q. Vedanta philosophy clearly states that the goal of life is to
      attain the state of Self-realisation. What is this state and why is
      this the goal of life?

      The Vedic rishis found that everything in the world that blooms is
      also subject to ultimate decay and dissolution. So they wondered—are
      we, human beings, endowed with intelligence just to live a brief life
      span and then pass away? They reasoned that life cannot be devoid of
      some higher purpose, especially when we are the only species of
      living beings who have the ability to think and reflect.

      After generations of investigations and after having raised their
      consciousness to a very subtle level, they came to the Truth through
      direct experience. They declared that beneath this mortal body seen
      by the world of man is an immortal spirit unseen by the world of man.
      And that Eternal in the non-eternal body, that Imperishable in the
      perishable body is actually part of a vast, infinite, eternal,
      beginningless, endless, cosmic Spirit. Timeless, beginningless and
      endless. It exists. It does not exist as an inert piece. It is
      Consciousness. Very much aware that it exists. It knows—I exist. So
      it is conscious existence. Existence is Sat, Consciousness is Chit.
      So it is Sat Chit.

      And in that state of pure Sat chit (Existence-Consciousness) many are
      the imperfect, negative experiences man is subject to once he is born
      in this mortal world—heat and cold, pleasure and pain, loss and gain,
      honour and dishonour. All these things assail man. But all these
      travails that man is subject to in this mortal world have no access
      to that lofty, sublime, transcendental realm, where abides only peace
      and bliss. There is Ananda in that Sat Chit. So it is Sat Chit
      Ananda. That is the nearest way you could define or describe that
      state of eternal Existence, which is also referred to as Brahman. And
      to realise and enter this state is called Self-realisation.

      Self-realisation is the goal of life because in that state there are
      no sorrows. Once you discover that you are the infinite,
      imperishable, eternal reality—you are liberated from all sorrow. In
      that state, there is only pure and permanent bliss and joy. Isn't
      that the goal of each and every one of us?

      Q. But there is joy in this mortal world, too?

      Yes, but it is neither pure nor permanent. If a thing is capable of
      giving you a pleasurable sensation, that same thing is capable of
      giving you a painful sensation also. A man marries—he's is in seventh
      heaven. Then if she runs off with someone else, or she dies, then he
      plunges into sorrow. This happens because the world is imperfect and
      man is imperfect. In one sloka in the Gita, the advice is that
      pleasure is the womb of pain. In seeking pleasure, you have already
      created your pain.

      Thus, pleasure in worldly objects and people is neither pure nor
      permanent. If you want real, continuous happiness that does not
      change or end—then rise above petty desires and seek the ultimate
      Reality. There is supreme Bliss, supreme satisfaction in it—an
      indescribable joy and peace.

      So make use of this life. It is a golden opportunity. While
      fulfilling your duties here, be a seeker of Truth, seeker of Brahman.
      Seek Self-realisation. In the word, `Self-realisation', `Self does
      not mean your little self. It means your supreme Self. This is why
      Self is written with a big `S'. Know your real Self.

      Your mortal body is only a vehicle given to you to function upon this
      earth. But you are distinct from it. You are an immortal part of
      divinity. And when that is realised, one realises that I am aware,
      one with that limitless ocean of Sat-chit-ananda. I'm a little wave,
      but I'm part of the ocean. There's no difference between the wave and
      the ocean. The wave may appear separate because it has a size and a
      form. But that is momentary and then it goes back into the ocean.
      From the ocean it arises, for a moment it exists, and then it goes
      back into the ocean.

      Q. How does the world appear to such a Self-realised person?

      The world appears just as it is. But he realises that the fabric of
      the world is not what he thought it was before. He realises that it
      is nothing but the Brahman principle.

      Q. And how does his own body and mind appear to him?

      Same thing. He sees it as part of Brahman. He is completely objective.

      Q. Is Self-realisation within the reach of every human being?

      It is birthright of every human being. Because he has been born as a
      human being. It is not within the reach of any other creature in
      creation. The moment you reach the status of a human being, the goal
      of Self-realisation becomes open.

      Q. At any given time, roughly how many Self-realised people do you
      think there are in the world?

      It's impossible to say.

      Q. Roughly?

      (Laughs) You may be a realised person, I do not know—because they
      don't grow horns and spread wings! Or they don't come down and
      say: "Oyee, I'm a realised person. .....!"

      Q. But what would you estimate? Would they be in three figures or
      four figures or five figures.....?

      You see, three figures could be 999! (Laughs) You see! Similarly. So
      they are between three and four figures in the world. And a great
      proportion are in India. Doubtless. Because that is the quest of

      Q. Would you say that more than half of them are from India?

      Yes, yes, yes. No doubt about it. I'll put it that 60% are from
      India. This is because people from other cultures don't have this as
      their supreme goal.

      Q. Since a Self-realised person is one with the Infinite and eternal,
      does he have supernatural powers?

      You see, from your relative point of view, these powers are something
      special, something very fascinating. But from the Self-realised
      person's point of view, they mean nothing. They are a natural part of
      him. I have got five fingers. I don't crow about it—"I've got five
      fingers! I've got five fingers!" These supernatural powers are as
      natural to the supreme being as having five fingers.

      Theoretically, of course, Self-realised people have all powers. There
      is nothing that they cannot do. But they are generally not interested
      in doing all these things because they know that the whole world is a
      myth, a dream. From myth, they have been awakened. So why would they
      be interested in doing anything in a dream world? You see, when a
      person has dreamt a number of dreams one night and woken up in the
      morning—what value has the dream got for him? Similarly, once the
      Self-realised person has woken up to the supreme Reality, this mortal
      world is a dream, a myth.

      Q. But looking at it from our point of view—if a Self-realised person
      has all powers, why can't he use those powers to solve all the
      problems in the world?

      Why should he solve all the problems in a world that does not exist
      in his state of Consciousness?

      Q. No, but from the human being's stand point?

      But he is in that standpoint. You are referring him to a world to
      which he would say where is this world where you want me to solve the

      Okay, if you oblige him to come to your state of consciousness and
      ask him this question, he will say that the world is God's creation.
      It has been here thousands of years before I came here and he has
      been looking after the world in His own way and the world has been
      going on. And if I leave the scene tomorrow and go away, the world
      will continue to go on. My being there or not being there will not
      even be noticed.

      See, if somebody gets diarrhoea the doctor says, "I `won't give you
      any medicine because some inedible things have gone into your
      intestines and so nature is flushing your system clean. So let us not
      come in the way of nature. Just eat light things and don't come back
      to a normal diet until your system has come back to its normal
      state." You see, the point is that you see things in a fragmentary,
      segmented way—but He sees the whole thing.

      Q. Can a Self-realised person change another person's destiny?

      He can mitigate another's destiny. But he will not change it because
      that destiny has been ordained by God and the Self-realised person
      has no interest in contradicting God. He would rather try to be in
      harmony with God.

      Q. How does he mitigate another person's destiny? What is this power
      to mitigate?

      Read the life of Shirdi Sai Baba. He had an ardent devotee who had
      completely surrendered at Shirdi Sai Baba's feet. But due to some
      past karma, the devotee was destined to be executed by impalement
      with a spear-like object. But this man had completely transformed
      himself. So one day when this man went into the fields, a very sharp
      thorn went very deeply into his foot. He suffered terrible, agonising
      pain and became unconscious. Half of the thorn in fact broke inside
      and other people had to put a sharp instrument inside to remove the
      thorn. The man underwent terrible agony. But by going through this,
      he was saved from the impalement that was due to him. His destiny had
      been mitigated.

      Q. How does one recognise a Self-realised person?

      When you are beside a Self-realised person—no matter how bothered,
      troubled or worried you are—you will, for the time being, experience
      peace. Your mind will be serene and it will be directed towards the
      person before whom you are sitting and not towards the other people
      who may also be sitting there.

      Q. So in general, how do Self-realised people benefit the world?

      A lot. They are fragrance where there is bad. Vibrations of goodwill
      emanate from them because Self-realised people have nothing in their
      heart except that all should be happy, all should be free from
      suffering. Day after day, they wish the well-being of all living
      creatures. That is the only thing they have in them—they have no
      other desire. This thought and this feeling goes out in waves from
      them all over the world. And thoughts have power. Evil thoughts sent
      to someone can disturb the mind of the person to whom they are sent.
      In the same way, thoughts of cosmic love and peace have the effect of
      mitigating the sorrow, suffering and negative thought currents in the

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

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

      Q. Do most Sadhakas go through this?

      Yes. Most people go through this.

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

      Spiritually. All are connected with spiritual life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Q. That is Self-realisation?

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

      Q. So that means Self-realisation doesn't happen in one specific

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

      Effort is necessary in the vast amount of cases. But there are a few
      such people to whom there has been this spontaneous Self-realisation.

      It has been explained that someone could have done all the effort in
      his previous life. He was almost ripe. But just before he could
      attain Self-realisation, his body's Prarabdha was finished and he
      passed away. So when this birth happens, he takes up from where he
      left off in the previous life and there you are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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