Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ramana: Absence of thoughts does not mean a blank; Sathya Sai: Nothingness (in mind) is not the absence of something

In my Facebook share of Ramana Maharishi post, https://www.facebook.com/RamanaMaharshi/photos/a.10151536385544631.1073741831.9944414630/10155380754839631/?type=3, which has a pic of Ramana Maharishi with the message, "Absence of thoughts does not mean a blank. There must be one to know the blank." attributed to "Talk 245".

My Facebook share, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1927271467489421, dated 24th June 2017, of the above post, has the following share-comment of mine:

Superb!

In my initial intellectual (as against experiential) understanding of such mind states of absence of thought, I did get troubled by arguments against it as being a negative approach where one is being escapist and embracing a void.

Later I understood that it is not so. That when thoughts cease there is another awareness which was always there even when the mind was full of thoughts, but which one was not aware of (I think the pun is appropriate here). So when the thoughts cease - mind goes blank, so to speak - it is not nothingness that one gets into, though it may seem that way for some time for new practitioners of thoughtless state of being. While in such thoughtless states, eventually the unchanging awareness/consciousness gets observed or recognized and identified with as the core of our being, as our existential reality.

For me, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's words on this are the authoritative revelation: I am searching for the exact quote but meanwhile I will share what I remember of his words. He said something like, the ultimate reality (your/our reality) is a nothingness. But not a nothingness that signifies the absence of something. Instead a nothingness which has the power to project this whole universe.

Update: I got the quote of Bhagavan. In Page 12 of Sathya Sai Newsletter [USA], Winter 1992, Vol. 16, No. 2, http://us.sathyasai.org/ssn/1992/1992%20Winter.pdf (note that file is 26 MB size and the download of it can be slow), we have the following statements:

Awaken your true, fine, beautiful qualities. Above you--nothing. Below you--nothing. To the right of you--or to the left of you--nothing; and dissolve yourself into that nothingness. That would be the best way you could explain the realization of the Self And, yet, that nothingness is not the absence of something. That nothingness is the fullness of everything--it is the power of the existence of that which appears to be everything.
- [Words of] Sathya Sai Baba
From [the book] 'My Baba and I' by Jack Hislop

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