MOTHER AND MAHARSHI

 

We have noted in past that similarities in the sayings and behaviour of the Mother at Jillellamudi and Ramana Maharshi. Their lives and training being widely different, it is a matter of pleasant surprise that their attitudes to similar situations and their replies to similar questions were similar. Maharshi described his state as Sahara Samadhi, while Mother says that hers is Sahara Sahana

 

Maharshi renounced the life of the worldly, he sought to know the Seer in himself. He sought silence and solitude to turn inward (as Kathopanishad puts it) and found “the seer fall head-long into an ocean of consciousness throbbing with the awareness ‘I, I ". Remembering that, when he turned his attention inward, there were TWO-his awareness AND the ‘I’ consciousness he pursued-in the field of attention, we may infer that finally those two coaslesced into the ocean of consciousness with I-awareness. He himself described that state as Samadhi itself, only, a yogi forcibly suppresses his thoughts and leads his mind-likened to a cow-into the cave of his lshta daivam or mantrabhaava through beating off the minds diverse tendencies. “The cow is beaten into the cave" as Maharshi explained. The jijnaasu, on the other hand, posing a question “Where is the I-thought' arising from?" offers this sheaf of grass to the mind-cow to follow and leads it into the cave of I-I consciousness. It is the same as Nirvikalpa Samudhi (Talk 247)." Maharshi thus gives us yet another description of an Samadhi state. lt is the awareness of an infinite ‘I consciousness,' resembling wakeful sleep.

 

After the attainment of this state, Maharshi continued m his hill residence till he descended to the Humana Ashram in 1922. The Sahara state in which the uniformity of the Nirvikalpa samadhi and the (Divine) variety of the Savikalpa samadhi coalesce in the consciousness of the Sahara yogi reached its fullness now in the Maharsbi. [Earlier, in the viroopaaksha cave, slight traces of subtle modes of mind, indicating the presence of dualities, manifested in him according to his own statement:

 

The Jillellamudi Mother tells us of an experience of hers in the weeks following her mother's death. Having heard from her grandpa that the cat in which breathing stopped "was dead," She held her own breath to know if that could be death. A Minute earlier, she had a doubt if she could see herself in her own eyes. We do not know for certain if her attempt to see herself in her eyes and this holding of the breath coincided, but we learn that she was unconscious to her surroundings, when she now held her breath. We do not become unconscious when we hold our breath and she too was not recently when I saw her holding her breath sitting on her cot. What could be holding all her attention to' the exclusion of outward consciousness in those childhood days, When she held her breath and became externally unconscious? I presume it could only be her attempt to look at herself in her eyes. This is same as Maharshi’s trial to see the seer"!

 

We don't hear of any other reference to this experience of mother’s in the later accounts of her life. I presume she 'saw' herself but was not impressed by that featureless infinite awareness'. She felt the incontrovertible existence of this too solid solid earth and universe round us. And she had n’t heard by then the make believe midhya theory of the advaitins.

 

A second problem too arose in her mind after her mothers death. She went inside a temple and finding the priest busy with his routine put the flowers she had taken in or the floor of the vestibule before the inner Sanctum. The priest shouted, why do you put them on the earth and desecrate them? She did not understand why they should get desecrated if put on the floor. “They come from a tree, which is on the earth. Is it wrong then for the tree to be on the earth?" she asked. Traditions are based on sentiments and do not stand the test of reason. He didn't answer but Mother continued her reasoning even after coming out. The flowers fruits, incense, clothes, ornaments and even (the figure symbol of) the deity comes from the earth. But for the earth or the universe, which is the ‘earth’ on a macroscopic scale - gods goddesses, worship, eating and living etc., would not be possible. The Great Mother Earth provides us with all but is silent as if she is not concerned. It is Mother Earth that deserves all worship". With this realisation, unconsciously she imbibed the tolerance, patience and fortitude, of Mother Earth. Whether she was kicked beaten or abused. She emulated the Earth and never minded or reacted to treatment. She is to this day a personification of the patience of the Earth. Come what may she takes it calmly and coolly as something that is sent to her by the All Mother Earth, God, husband (whom tradition teaches the hindu housewife To revere as God) All have coalesced in her understanding into one ALL (Sarvam). Everything is HE or SHE or IT, God, Devior Brahman. There is nothing that is not THAT, All forms, Thoughts, Acts, Results, Feelings are HIS.

 

Thus what All is, is God. In Mother's understanding the universe itself is God. There is no illusion but only change. What is before us was, is and shall be always, though not in the form it is now. Materially and metaphorically all gods get absorbed in the All. Maharshi experienced the infinitude of featureless awareness in the depths of the Samadhi state. When he came to normalcy however the wide variety, which is a disparity in the uniformity of Samadhi state presented a problem. He was a great devotee, when he was in Mathurai often seeking refuge from grief or bodily pain in the temple of Sundaresvara In Arunachala he saw the Lord as a Linga in the temple, as a mountain by the side of the town and as God without form all over the universe. When he concentrated on the last as he tells us in his poems-“he entered into the formless and lost his form". So this experience and the experience of the Samadhi state were same and Identical! Through Vichaara he experienced his i-ness “fall headlong into the ocean of consciousness" and through devotion “he merged in the Lord Infinite". The paths of Vichaara and Devotion lead to the same goal" (Maharshi).

 

But what is this solid universe in relation to the ocean of I-consciousness or God the Infinite? The Infinite is nischala (still), it is petrified Existence. The world is characterised by movement. It has form and is limited. So Maharshi said The universe is a current on the surface of the Infinite sea of Atman." May be he was influenced also by the description in Purhshasookta and Svetaasvatara upanishad that He is all over the universe and ten inches beyond." So, Maharshi's picture of the All is “An ocean of Atman on the surface of which flows a current namely the universe," Mothers picture is that “the ALL is like a kaleidoscopic picture characterised by change of the one that is essentially the same". There is nothing still or Acbala staying distinct and unchanging

 

According to Maharshi, Brahman or featureless consciousness is what is all over, and the universe is only a limited current on it. “Now you think you are in the world," said the Maharshi to a questioner, when you realise, the world will be in you". So the universe is likes local movement on the total quiet body of Brahman. Why this microscopic disturbance on the macroscopic body of Brahman?" is a pertinent doubt that arises. “It is unnecessary to know how land whys egos are born at, all" said the Maharshi. So the reason why the world and egos sprung up need not be considered at all! We are reminded of the upanishadic saying “In the beginning there was uniform Seth alone. It wished I shall become many". If It could exist as a uniform totality in the beginning and for some later, why could It have wished at all to become many? No answer! Similarly, to the question Why a limited or partial disturbance of the universe on a calm uniformity of Brahman?" there can be no answer. One should only say Because it is." Maharshi’s world is not Sankara’s vivarta or appearance of Brahman. It is a current on the ocean af Brahman, a permanent feature. It is as real as Brahman is, though not essentially different. Brahman is consciousness at rest, Jagath is consciousness in motion.

 

Mother says the universe with its movement and variety, this itself is Brahman. The All contains the formless and forkful both. The totality is one. The change we see in the world is not an irreversible, unidirectional flow. It is somewhat. like the movement of a mixture of three immiscible organic liquids in a dish. They wrestle continuously due to the difference of their surface tensions. The cattle eat hay, they Work for the growth of the crop. The water cycle, the nitrogen cycle and the nebulae cycle are just examples to illustrate that it is the same one moving through the changes There is variety of movement end so contrast. Rest and motion are relative terms, not absolute ones at all. Absolute rest is unknown even as Brahman will be in the absence of the universe. That is why even the Maharani says “Creation is a mirror that enables Brahman to see Himself".

 

Mother says The one is as the variety Of the universe. It is one, it is also variety. It is NOT ONE only, it is NOT many only, it is ONE, it is MANY. There is nothing which Its NOT. We have heard it said It is not anything we Know”. Mother says It is everything we can know”. Mothers Brahman is indescribable not,because it is NOT any known thing but because It IS every-known thing and not any one in partitular.

 

Maharshis Brahman and Mothers BrahMan are infinite. Maharshis Brahman is mostly attributeless and partly not. Mothers Brahman has All attributes (good, bad, indifferent, tall, short , etc.) being an integral. Mahrshi's Brahman is moving as the universe and nonmoving as Brahman. The two are distinct and appear to be confined to their empires of still expanse as the Atman and moving current as the world. Mothers says, where is the Aiman? It is all over as Shakti in all forms. (The basket has the shakti to contain vegetables and .the vegetables have the shakti to stay in the basket. Water has shakti to flow out of the basket.) Her Brahman is not distinct from the world as Maharshis is. Maharshi's Brahman in movement is all Brahman for Mother. And She does not tell us that there is a changeless aspect of Brahman. Everything- All Brahman is subject to movement or change.

 

Author: 
Dr. S. Gopalakrishna Murty
Source: 
Matrusri (English) | June '77 |