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  • jasonjamesmorgan
    Hello, All who hear the truth, hear my voice . Hear is another presentation of Ramakrishna. Bhavamukha is thus explained.
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2005
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      "All who hear the truth, hear my voice".

      Hear is another presentation of Ramakrishna. Bhavamukha is thus

      is the link

      Om Namah Shivaya
      Jason James Morgan

      'I Love to Eat Sugar,
      I Do Not Want to Become Sugar'

      Scott douglas Niedfeldt

      Scott Niedfeldt, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received his
      Bachelor of Arts Degree in Comparative Religious Studies in May 2001
      from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA.

      A commonly accepted belief today in some societies is that we are
      humans and God is God. We can worship Him and He has made us. God
      dwells in an unknown metaphysical place and we are in the real world.
      This dualistic view of nature is common to the monotheistic religions
      of the West. But one Hindu tradition called the Advaita Vedanta has a
      nondualistic philosophy that God and humans are one. They do not
      believe in the duality of subject--object, instead they believe we
      must go beyond the thought of this world and realize that everything
      is the Absolute Reality (also known as Brahman).

      In order to gain awareness of Brahman one needs to attain a state
      called samadhi, which is the end goal of meditation. Anne Bancroft,
      author of Religions of the East, interprets `samadhi' as meaning
      `together with the Lord.'1 There are two levels of samadhi. The
      person in savikalpa samadhi, the first level, is enlightened and can
      see the Lord face--to--face but is still conscious of the duality of
      the self and the entity perceived. Nirvikalpa samadhi, the second
      level, is the highest state of samadhi when one realizes total
      oneness with Brahman and is no longer conscious of duality. In this
      enlightened state a devoted worshiper is no longer a human being but
      one with God (Brahman) and with all that ever is.

      Once a devoted worshiper is permanently established in nirvikalpa
      samadhi the cycle of samsara is broken. The cycle of samsara occurs
      when the soul is born as a creature and continues to be reborn until
      it has found release from the bonds of karma. Karma is the influence
      of an individual's past actions, both good and bad, on future lives
      or reincarnations. The cycle of continuous rebirth ensnares the soul
      until it is finally broken by moksha (liberation).2

      The obstacle blocking one from achieving nirvikalpa samadhi and
      ultimately moksha is called Maya. Maya is the illusion, that things
      of this world are real in themselves and have names and forms. Maya
      preoccupies one with the phenomenal world rather than with Reality.
      The people and objects of this world are viewed dualistically as an
      aspect, ultimately an illusion, of Maya; they blind one from knowing

      What if a Hindu reached nirvikalpa samadhi and could attain moksha,
      but instead chose to return to a lesser enlightenment to help stop
      human suffering? If people are just an illusion of Maya, why work to
      end human suffering? Is that not just part of the illusion, of Maya?
      Why not stay one with Brahman and accomplish the ultimate spiritual
      goal? If one did come back from nirvikalpa samadhi, how could one
      combine the non-dualistic view of Absolute Reality gained by
      enlightenment and yet return to the dualistic phenomenal world of

      In this essay I will address these questions by examining the life of
      Sri Ramakrishna (1836--1886). He is said to have achieved both
      savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi; I shall discuss his journey through
      these stages of samadhi. We shall see that in order to satisfy his
      hunger for God, Sri Ramakrishna discovered at least two phases of
      Maya and this revealed to him a very different view of God's place in
      the world and this plane of reality. He discovered that immersion
      into God does not prohibit immersion in the world and that the
      transcendence and eternity of God does not preclude God's involvement
      in the world. Many religious traditions discuss the relationship
      between God and the world, but few rise to Sri Ramakrishna's deified
      universe. Finally, we shall be brought closer to the realization that
      this world is divine. Because Sri Ramakrishna looked upon everything
      in this world, including Maya, that is otherwise thought of as an
      obstacle, as God, discussing his spiritual journey will reveal to us
      aspects of the divine that normally lie hidden from us. To view this
      world as divine, Sri Ramakrishna found the words of the poet
      Ramprasad3 that he often quoted to be profoundly true: `I love to eat
      sugar, I do not want to become sugar.'4


      Sri Ramakrishna is the most revered saint in modern Bengal history.
      Sri Ramakrishna was declared an incarnation of God during his
      lifetime by prominent scholars of his day; his life and teachings are
      still revered in India today.

      Sri Ramakrishna was born in 1836 into an orthodox Brahmin family. At
      the age of six, Sri Ramakrishna, whose given name was Gadadhar, had
      his first religious experience. He lost consciousness and fell into
      an ecstasy filled with incredible joy. At the age of nine, Gadadhar
      was initiated into Brahminhood--the priestly caste. As a young adult,
      Sri Ramakrishna worshiped in the garden temple of Dakshineswar. In
      the temple of Dakshineswar the Lord was worshiped as a Trinity: Kali,
      the Universal Mother; Shiva, the Absolute; and Radhakanta, Love. At
      the age of twenty Sri Ramakrishna became a priest, and soon picked
      the godhead Kali, the Divine Mother, to worship. His entire soul
      began to immerse itself in adoration for Kali. Sri Ramakrishna was
      obsessed to be in the service of the Divine Mother. He craved to see
      Her face in all Her glory. Nothing else would stop the hunger of his
      soul. Sri Ramakrishna was not satisfied with ritualistic observances
      like other priests. He felt so close to the Mother and longed to see
      Her face to face. Unable to bear with the pain any longer, he decided
      to end his own life. He rushed toward a sword that was hanging in the
      sanctuary of Kali when suddenly he felt the veil torn aside--giving
      him an experience of samadhi. Sri Ramakrishna describes his

      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 Bliss...
      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.5

      This vision lasted for two days and then stopped. Once again he
      yearned for his Divine Mother to reveal Herself. Sri Ramakrishna's
      pain grew so unbearable that he lost outward consciousness. He saw
      before him a vision of his Divine Mother in all her splendour; now he
      could see Her with his eyes shut or open. The Divine Mother continued
      to appear before him and guided him in his daily duties. Eventually,
      the scales fell completely from his eyes and he could see a vision of
      his Mother without meditation or trance. Sri Ramakrishna's visions of
      his Mother made him feel so close to Her, he clung to Her like a
      baby. He was no longer restrained by the codes of ritualistic
      worship. His heart was filled with divine love. According to Swami
      Nirvedananda, Sri Ramakrishna saw before him his beloved Mother more
      clearly than any object on earth.6 As time went on, even seeing the
      vision of Kali alone did not satisfy Sri Ramakrishna. He began to
      crave for and eventually be blessed with visions of other forms of


      In 1862, an ascetic nun of the Tantric School7, also known as the
      Bhairavi Brahmani, was in search of a particular blessed soul to whom
      she felt she had been commissioned by a vision of God to deliver a
      message. At the very first sight of Sri Ramakrishna, the Bhairavi
      Brahmani was convinced that he was the blessed child of God for whom
      she had been looking. After observing him, she informed Sri
      Ramakrishna that he had passed through the highest states of sadhana
      (spiritual discipline) and had attained mahabhava, the highest phase
      of ecstatic love for God. After recognizing his bewildering power of
      transmitting his own spiritual force, she gathered an assembly of
      devotees and scholars, well educated in the Vaishnava and Tantric
      scriptures.8 The mental and physical states Sri Ramakrishna had been
      going through were compared to the descriptions in the scriptures,
      convincing the devotees and scholars that Sri Ramakrishna was an
      Incarnation of God. 9

      After conferring with his Divine Mother, Sri Ramakrishna then placed
      himself on the path led by the ascetic nun. He had already gone
      through the Tantric initiation and now wanted to be led by the
      Bhairavi to spiritual practices according to Tantric texts.10 Tantra
      offered practical methods of realizing the ultimate truth--the
      essential unity of the devotee's soul with God. After completing the
      entire course of Tantric practices, Sri Ramakrishna still felt the
      craving for God.

      Guided by his guru, the Brahmin nun, Sri Ramakrishna embarked on the
      path of Vaishnavism, the worship of Vishnu. Vaishnavism is the Hindu
      tradition that has the highest attitude toward bhakti, or love. For
      bhaktas, a passionate attachment to the Lord leads to the Divine.
      Bhakti is love with no limits; Sri Ramakrishna radiated this love. To
      make this love grow stronger, Vaishnavism temporarily humanizes God
      as a master, friend, parent etc. until eventually that disappears as
      communion with God occurs. The Vaishnavite seeks to remain in the
      love of God, worshipping God as a Supreme Person. The bhakta must
      pick a godhead to whom to dedicate oneself. To have his Divine Mother
      as his godhead filled Sri Ramakrishna with joy. According to
      Lemaitre, Sri Ramakrishna had reached the hyperconscious state when
      all vanishes, except for the Divinethis was union with Brahman
      according to the bhakti philosophy.11


      Sri Ramakrishna's guru had guided him along the spiritual journey
      with admiration, but Sri Ramakrishna felt his Divine Mother calling
      him to go beyond the visions and dreams of dualism. After his
      devotion to a Personal God, Sri Ramakrishna was to follow the path of
      devotion to the Impersonal Absolute in Advaita Vedanta. God was not
      thought of as a Personal God to worship and love, the Advaita Vedanta
      School believed in union with the Absolute, the universe that is
      Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna's new spiritual guide was Totapuri, a monk
      of the Advaita Vedanta School, the path of Jnana (Knowledge).
      Totapuri stopped at the Dakshineswar temple in 1864 during his
      pilgrimage. He had tested his philosophy for forty years rejecting
      all objects of earthly attachment.

      Totapuri headed a monastery in India and trained others in the
      methods of the Advaita Vedanta, the view of the world as a mere
      illusion. For the Advaita Vedanta School, if one realizes this world
      to be unreal, the world does not vanish; the illusion that the world
      is true vanishes. Guided by this philosophy, Totapuri did not care
      about rituals and tangible objects of the phenomenal world; he based
      his identity on union with the Absolute. Totapuri took Sri
      Ramakrishna under his wings as a student of the Advaita Vedanta after
      Sri Ramakrishna had permission from his Divine Mother. Totapuri
      emphasized to Sri Ramakrishna that, even though the power of Maya
      produces names and tries to impose forms onto Brahman, Brahman is the
      only Reality. Once Sri Ramakrishna could overcome Maya and realize
      his identity with Brahman, he would then experience nirvikalpa

      Totapuri instructed Sri Ramakrishna to forget the phenomenal world,
      to rid himself of all attachments, names and forms, and to fix his
      mind solely on Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna tried but failed. He could
      forget his body and the phenomenal world, but he could not forget the
      form of his Divine Mother. The event that occurred next would be
      difficult to condone if it were not done for the purpose of spiritual
      attainment. After Sri Ramakrishna told Totapuri of his struggle,
      Totapuri took up a piece of glass and pierced Sri Ramakrishna's
      forehead between the eyebrows. Totapuri commanded Sri Ramakrishna to
      use all his mental energy to forget all forms, including that of his
      Divine Mother and to concentrate on the spot where his forehead had
      been pierced by the glass. As soon as the Divine Mother's form
      appeared before him again, Sri Ramakrishna sliced the vision in two,
      using his thought as the sword. According to Lemaitre, he was lost in
      the experience of nirvikalpa samadhi.12 Totapuri was bewildered to
      see his own disciple realize in one day what he himself had taken
      forty years to attain. Sri Ramakrishna remained in the plane of
      nirvikalpa samadhi for three days. Nirvikalpa samadhi is the most
      difficult of all samadhis. It is a state in which the
      differenciations regarding subject and object vanish altogether.
      According to Lemaitre, the Books of the Vedanta state that after a
      devotee is established in nirvikalpa samadhi the body becomes like a
      withered leaf and dies.13 Only those who have Divine missions are
      chosen to come down again to help mankind and radiate with Divine
      Glory. According to Swami Narayanananda, the ordinary man lives in
      the state of this samadhi for twenty--one days and then leaves the
      body forever. `For, when a drop of water once enters the ocean how
      can it retain its individuality?'14 But during the rest of Sri
      Ramakrishna's life he went back and forth between both the stages of
      nirvikalpa and savikalpa samadhis, at one point remaining in the
      intense mood of nirvikalpa samadhi continuously for six months.15 Sri
      Ramakrishna spent the rest of his life teaching devotees and shaping
      their lives in the light of the highest spiritual ideal. He never
      wrote or lectured, but delivered all his teachings by informal
      conversations, some of which were recorded by his disciples. He
      taught more by his life than by his words.


      Totapuri extended his visit at Dakshineswar for eleven months and
      eventually became a follower of his own former disciple. But before
      becoming a follower, Totapuri viewed Maya as a stumbling block. The
      followers of the Advaita School, including Totapuri, wanted to be
      separate from the world because, to them, Maya's power was over a
      world filled with ignorance and illusion-- the cause of bondage.
      Reality is disguised by her world of appearance. Even an ordinary
      human being is an illusion that must be overcome. For the Advaita
      School, Maya is the enemy and overcoming her is the way of attaining
      absolute freedom and perfection. But even after obtaining freedom and
      perfection, if the devotee returns, She may broaden his world vision.
      Sri Ramakrishna agreed with his guru, Totapuri, that the world has an
      illusory appearance, but he now accepted, not feared, the power of
      Maya in the phenomenal world. He viewed Her from a perspective of
      respect and love, as an aspect of Brahman, a mysterious expression of
      Divinity. As Sri Ramakrishna puts it, `After having directly
      perceived God in His attributeless aspect, one realizes that the same
      Deity Who is eternal by nature has assumed the form of the world in a
      playful mood.'16 To Sri Ramakrishna, Maya is God because everything
      is God. God alone exists. Everything that has names and forms is of
      Maya, the transparent veil of Kali that hides Reality from us. The
      veil and the veil-maker are Brahman.

      Through realization of Divine Immanence, Sri Ramakrishna believed
      there are two distinct phases of Maya: Avidya and Vidya.17 Avidya
      Maya, or ignorance, is the Maya that fixes the devotee on the
      perceptions of the phenomenal world and makes him believe that the
      things of this world are real within themselves. This perspective of
      Maya is the aspect that the Advaita School is correct in trying to
      overcome. But Sri Ramakrishna realized that this Maya might be
      overcome when one returns from nirvikalpa samadhi and understands
      that Maya is just another aspect of the Divine Mother to love and
      respect--this phase is Vidya Maya. Sri Ramakrishna realized that
      after identifying with the Supreme Brahman in nirvikalpa samadhi a
      devotee would return and see Maya as through new eyes. The Divine
      Mother utilizes Vidya Maya as a game to release one from bondage.
      Maya was no longer an obstacle for Sri Ramakrishna; her power
      disappeared in his eyes. To him everything is the glorious
      manifestation of the Divine Mother become Brahman. He was able to
      enjoy the play of the Divine Mother and yet spend time with people in
      need. According to Lemaitre, Sri Ramakrishna saw himself in everyone
      and everyone in himself. Frequently, he had the experience of merging
      with the Absolute, but immediately after the ecstasy of nirvikalpa
      samadhi he would return to view things with Divine love and a heart
      for the suffering.18 Recalling Sri Ramakrishna's insistence on the
      necessity for empathy with all creatures, we may infer that his
      reason for refusing to merge permanently with the Absolute was in
      order to remain in the phenomenal world for the sake of humanity,
      because loving humanity is the same as loving another form of God.
      Sri Ramakrishna's way of perceiving God changed; he combined the
      bhakti, the philosophy of the Bhairavi nun, and the jnana, the
      philosophy of Totapuri. Sri Ramakrishna now adored the Personal God
      and worshiped the Impersonal Absolute, both while being dedicated to
      his Divine Mother Kali. Sri Ramakrishna became a master of
      appropriating certain aspects of a spiritual path as well as seeing
      the limitations of that path. The jnanis concentrated almost solely
      on the transcendental aspect of Brahman, the rest being an aspect of
      illusion. The bhaktas focused on the immanence of God and ignored the
      transcendental, which they felt would restrain their love for God.
      They loved the taste of sugar, but did not see why one would need to
      become one with it. According to Swami Nirvedananda, however, Sri
      Ramakrishna combined the two.19 Back from nirvikalpa samadhi, Sri
      Ramakrishna understood both the transcendental and immanent aspects
      of the Divine. God is both with form and without form. According to

      God the absolute and God the personal are one and the same. A belief
      in the one implies a belief in the other. Fire cannot be thought of
      apart from its burning power; nor can its burning power be thought of
      apart from it. But you must hold on to your particular view until you
      realize God; and then everything would be clear.20


      Sri Ramakrishna had two options: either to stay permanently in
      nirvikalpa samadhi and attain moksha or give that all up to come back
      from nirvikalpa samadhi to stay on earth for the welfare of others.
      Most would pick the first option, but Sri Ramakrishna chose what he
      believed was the greater enlightenment of staying on this plane of
      consciousness, enjoying the manifestations of Kali (Brahman), and
      helping humankind. We may infer that this was even greater than
      nirvikalpa samadhi itself. `I love to eat sugar, I do not want to
      become sugar.' The sugar is Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna could not let
      himself be permanently lost in nirvikalpa samadhi because he would
      then no longer be able to see the shade of dualism that allowed him
      to have love and devotion to both Kali and humankind. He realized
      something that made him take the lesser enlightenment and pass up
      moksha. To do this, however, he had to stay within the realm of
      dualism to some extent to see God everywhere. If he became one with
      God permanently attaining moksha, the dualistic love would be lost.
      But Sri Ramakrishna could love this way only after returning from
      nirvikalpa samadhi and looking upon Maya as Vidya Maya. He retained
      the ego, the `I,' to serve and worship God. He stayed immersed in the
      world to be immersed in God, but not to be God. Immersion with the
      world can be immersion with God if looked upon through the Vidya Maya
      knowledge. For even he himselfh knew he was a form of God, but only
      under savikalpa samadhi could he love and devote himself to God
      through the eyes of dualism. He viewed his Divine Mother and all
      humanity on the same plane of reality, and toward them he kept an
      equal attitude of love and devotion. Sri Ramakrishna's hunger for
      Brahman was finally replenished.

      Different devotees from different philosophies guided him as he took
      elements from each. Little did he know then that the people who
      guided him, the Maya that he wished to overcome, and even his Divine
      Mother, were all the sugar--Brahman (God). `I love to eat sugar, I do
      not want to become sugar.' Once he realized what sugar truly was,
      then he could love this deified universe. In order to love sugar he
      had to know what sugar was, if he became sugar he would lose that.
      For Sri Ramakrishna, the highest love and devotion to Brahman was not
      losing sight of what sugar was.
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