Sri Ramakrishna on
Vedantic Non-dualism, Planes of the mind and What
happens after samadhi
Sri Ramakrishna -
"The forms and aspects of God disappear when one
discriminates in accordance with the Vedanta philosophy.
The ultimate conclusion of such discrimination is that
Brahman alone is real and this world of names and forms
illusory. It is possible for a man to see the forms of
God, or to think of Him as a Person, only so long as he
conscious that he is a devotee. From the standpoint of
discrimination this 'ego of a devotee' keeps him a
little away from God.
"Do you know why images of Krishna or Kali are three and
a half cubits high? Because of distance. Again, on
account of distance the sun appears to be small. But if
you go near it you will find the sun so big that you
won't be able to comprehend it. Why have images of
Krishna and Kali a dark-blue colour? That too is on
distance, like the water of a lake, which appears green,
blue, or black from a distance. Go near, take the water
in the palm of your hand, and you will find that it has
The sky also appears blue from a distance. Go near and
you will see that it has no colour at all. "Therefore I
say that in the light of Vedantic reasoning Brahman has
no attributes. The real nature of Brahman cannot be
described. But so long as your individuality is real,
the world also is real, and equally real are the
different forms of God and the feeling that God is a
Person. "Yours is the path of bhakti. That is very good;
it is an easy path. Who can fully
know the infinite God? and what need is there of knowing
Having attained this rare human birth, my supreme need
is to develop love for the Lotus Feet of God. "If a jug
of water is enough to remove my thirst, why should I
measure the quantity of water in a lake? I become drunk
on even half a bottle of wine—what is the use of my
calculating the quantity of liquor in the tavern? What
need is there
of knowing the Infinite? "The various states of mind of
the Brahmajnani are described in the Vedas. The path of
knowledge is extremely difficult. One cannot obtain
jnana if one has the least trace of worldliness and the
slightest attachment to 'woman and gold'. This is not
the path for the Kaliyuga.
Seven planes of the mind
Sri Ramakrishna -
"The Vedas speak of seven planes where the mind dwells.
When the mind is immersed in worldliness it dwells in
the three lower planes— at the naval, the organ of
generation, and the organ of evacuation. In that state
the mind loses all its higher visions—it broods only on
'woman and gold'. The fourth plane of the mind is at the
heart. When the mind dwells there, one has the first
glimpse of spiritual consciousness.
One sees light all around. Such a man, perceiving the
divine light, becomes speechless with wonder and says:
'Ah! What is this? What is this?' His mind does not go
downward to the objects of the world. "The fifth plane
of the mind is at the throat. When the mind reaches
this, the aspirant becomes free from all ignorance and
illusion. He does not enjoy talking or hearing about
anything but God. If people talk about worldly things,
he leaves the place at once.
"The sixth plane is at the forehead. When the mind reaches it, the
aspirant sees the form of God day and night. But even
then a little trace of ego remains. At the sight of that
incomparable beauty of God's form, one becomes
intoxicated and rushes forth to touch and embrace it.
But one doesn't succeed. It is like the light inside a
lantern. One feels as if one could touch the light, but
one cannot on account of the pane of glass.
"In the top of the head is the seventh plane. When the
mind rises there, one goes into samadhi. Then the
Brahmajnani directly perceives Brahman. But in that
state his body does not last many days. He remains
unconscious of the outer world. If milk is poured into
his mouth, it runs out. Dwelling on this plane of
consciousness, he gives up his body in twenty-one days.
That is the condition of the Brahmajnani. But yours is
the path of devotion. That is a very good and easy path.
"Once a man said to me, 'Sir, can you teach me quickly
the thing you call samadhi?' (All laugh.)
Duties drop away with deepening of spiritual mood "After
a man has attained samadhi all his actions drop away.
All devotional activities, such as worship, japa, and
the like, as well as all worldly duties, cease to exist
for such a person. At the beginning there is much ado
about work. As a man makes progress toward God, the
outer display of his work becomes less and less—so much
so that he cannot even sing the name and glories of God.
(To Shivanath) As long as you were not here at the
meeting, people talked a great deal about you and
discussed your virtues. But no sooner did you arrive
here than all that stopped. Now the very sight of you
makes everyone happy. People now simply say, 'Ah! Here
is Shivanath Babu.' All other talk about you has
What happens after samadhi
Sri Ramakrishna -
"After attaining samadhi, I once went to the
Ganges to perform tarpan. But as I took water in the
palm of my hand, it trickled down through my fingers.
Weeping, I said to Haladhari, 'Cousin, what is this?'
Haladhari replied, 'It is called galitahasta5 in the
holy books.' After the vision of God, such duties as the
performance of tarpan drop away.
"In the kirtan the devotee first sings, 'Nitai amar mata
hati.'6 As the devotional mood deepens, he simply sings,
'Hati! Hati!' Next, all he can sing is 'Hati'. And last
of all he simply sings, 'Ha!' and goes into samadhi.
The man who has been singing all the while then becomes
speechless. "Again, at a feast given to the brahmins one
at first hears much noise of talking. When the guests
sit on the floor with leaf-plates in front of them, much
noise ceases. Then one hears only the cry, 'Bring some
As they partake of the luchi and other dishes, three
quarters of the noise subsides. When the curd, the last
course, appears, one hears only the sound 'soop, soop'
as the guests eat the curd with their fingers. Then
there is practically no noise. Afterwards all retire to
sleep, and absolute silence reigns. "Therefore I say, at
the beginning of religious life a man makes much ado
about work, but as his mind dives deeper into God, he
becomes less active.
Last of all comes the renunciation of work, followed by
samadhi. "Generally the body does not remain alive after
the attainment of samadhi. The only exceptions are such
sages as Narada, who keep their bodies alive in order to
bring spiritual light to others. It is also true of
Divine Incarnations, like Chaitanya. After the well is
dug, one generally throws away the spade and the basket.
But some keep them in order to help their neighbours.
The great souls who retain their bodies after samadhi
feel compassion for the suffering of others.
They are not so selfish as to be satisfied with their
own illumination.You are well aware of the nature of
selfish people. If you ask them to spit at a particular
place, they won't, lest it should do you good. If you
ask them to bring a sweetmeat worth a cent from the
store, they will perhaps lick it on the way back. (All
"But the manifestations of Divine Power are different in
different beings. Ordinary souls are afraid to teach
others. A piece of worthless timber may itself somehow
float across the water, but it sinks even under the
weight of a bird. Sages like Narada are like a heavy log
of wood, which not only floats on the water but also can
carry men, cows, and even elephants.
Source: from book "Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna"
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