Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sri Ramana Maharshi's Enlightenment, July 17 1896

This is a first person account by Ramana of his enlightenment: “One day I was alone in the first floor of my uncle’s house. I was in my usual state of health. But a sudden and unmistakable fear of death seized me. I felt I was going to die. Why I should have so felt cannot now be explained by anything else in the body. I did not however trouble myself to discover if the fear was well grounded. I did not care to consult doctors or elders or even friends. I felt I had to solve the problem myself then and there.”

“The actual inquiry and discovery of ‘Who am I?’ was over on the very first day, after a short time. Instinctively I held my breath and began to dive inward with my inquiry into my own nature … I stretched myself like a corpse and it seemed to me that my body had actually become rigid—‘I’ was not dead—‘I’ was, on the other hand conscious of being alive, in existence. So the question arose in me, “What was this ‘I’?” I felt that it was a force or current working, despite the rigidity or activity of the body, though existing in connection with it. It was that current or force or center that constituted my personality, that kept me acting, moving, etc. The fear of death dropped off. I was absorbed in the contemplation of that current. So further development or activity was issuing from the new life and not from any fear.”

What happened after this was narrated by Ramana to Narashima Swami.

“That changed my mental attitude and habits. I had formerly some preferences and aversions. All these dropped off and all food was swallowed with equal indifference. I would put up with every burden imposed on me at home, every slight at my expense by the boys. Studies and duties became a matter of utter indifference and I was going through studies turning over pages mechanically.”

After his enlightenment, there was no change in the state of Ramana’s steady Self-abidance.


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