Path of realisation vs Path of devotion||Acharya Prashant, on Raman Maharshi and Sri Ramkrishna(2019)

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“What is samaadhi?”

“It is the complete merging of the mind in God-Consciousness. The jnani experiences jada samaadhi, in which no trace of ‘I’ is left. The samaadhi attained through the path of bhakti is called ‘chaitanya samaadhi’.”

“In this samaadhi there remains the consciousness of ‘I’ — the ‘I’ of the servant-and-Master relationship, of the lover-and-Beloved relationship, of the enjoyer-and-Food relationship.”

“God is the Master; the devotee is the servant. God is the Beloved; the devotee is the lover. God is the Food, and the devotee is the enjoyer. ‘I don’t want to be sugar. I want to eat it.”

~ Sri Ramkrishna Paramhans

“It is enough that one surrenders oneself. Surrender is to give oneself up to the original cause of one’s being. Do not delude yourself by imagining such source to be some God outside you.”

“One’s source is within yourself. Give yourself up to it. That means that you should seek the source and merge in it. Because you imagine yourself to be out of it, you raise the question “Where is the source?” Some contend that the sugar cannot taste its own sweetness and that a taster must taste and enjoy it.”

“Is God insentient like sugar? How can one surrender oneself and yet retain one’s individuality for supreme enjoyment?”

~ Sri Raman Maharishi

Question: Acharya Ji please explain what the two Masters are trying to convey. Is there any contradiction here?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

There is no contradiction between Truth and Truth.

There can only be contradiction between statements that are uttered in different contexts.

We will appreciate what has been said.

Ramkrishna Paramhans is saying, “What the Gyaani gets is a Samaadhi, is a dissolution, in which no trace of ‘I’ is left.” Then he proceeds to differentiate between the Samaadhi that a Bhakt gets, and a Gyaani gets.

He says, “A Samaadhi that the Bhakt gets, the devotee gets, has a little trace of ‘I’ left in it.” He says, “This ‘I’ exists as the enjoyer of the food, as the lover of the Beloved.” He says that this is what happens.

Then there is Raman Maharishi.

Raman Maharishi is saying, “There is a thing called ‘partial surrender’. To surrender is to give oneself up completely.”

Somebody comes and says to Raman Maharishi, “But you know, I don’t merely want to be sugar. I want to exist to enjoy the sugar, I I do not want to dissolve into the sugar. I do not want to have a final dissolution, or merger, or Yoga with sugar. So, you know please allow me to have a little bit of separation.”

“I want to not merely have God, but also have a little bit of individuality in order to be able to enjoy God. After all, the Beloved is so beautiful. I need to have some separation so that I can enjoy the beauty of the Beloved. Don’t make me merge totally with the Beloved. Please!”

And probably such a person who came to Raman Maharishi, was quoting Paramhans in his defence. He said, “Paramhans too has said that in the marga (path) of Bhakti or Devotion, a little bit of separation exists.”

Yes, a little bit of separation exists for most devotees. But is Ramkrishna saying that such a separation must exist, and is the end and purpose of the path of Devotion? He is not saying that. He is just saying what usually happens to devotees.

This is a usual thing, a normal thing that happen to devotees.

All along their path of Devotion, they have been singing of the beauty of their Beloved Lord. That is what becomes their food, that is what becomes their energy, that is what becomes their identity.

They live on that. They thrive on that.

They say, “My eyes exist to look at you. My legs exist to come to you. This tongue exists, this throat exists to sing of you.” Their entire being gets related to the Lord. And when you say, “The Lord,” the Lord as separate from the worshipper.

That’s how they have made their entire journey. Now when they come to the end of their journey, it’s a problem, because the entire journey has been fueled by a sense of separation. The sense of separation itself has given a sense of appreciation.

Do you understand this?

Because I am separate from you, so I can appreciate you.

That’s how senses operate, correct? That’s how they have been all through their lives. Now when they come to the end of the journey, it becomes very difficult. It became difficult for Ramkrishna Paramhans as well. He knows best. You remember the entire incident? – Totapuri was there, and Ramkrishna was so unwilling to let go the image of Kali. And then Totapuri had to try all kinds of tricks. It was quite difficult.

So, Ramkrishna very well knows that in the path of Bhakti, this happens. But is he saying that this must happen? No! That too he knows. Totapuri didn’t allow him to remain very close to the mother, and yet separated. See, all closeness demands a minimum separation, correct?

You cannot be close until you are separated.

Totapuri said, “No, nothing doing. Come so close that there is no separation at all. But for that, the ‘two’ will have to go. You will have to go, mother too will have to go. So kill mother.” Ramkrishna said, “Impossible! How can I attack mother? How can I make her go?” Totapuri said, “That is what you will have to do. Otherwise all your saadhna will remain incomplete.” That is what Ramkrishna is talking of here.

He is describing a general situation that occurs to the devotee. He is not advocating this situation, he is not defending this situation. And he is himself the best example that this situation can be overcome. Didn’t Ramkrishna himself overcome the sense of separation with the mother, with the aid of his Guru? So if Ramkrishna overcame it, obviously he is not going to advice others to not to overcome it.

Are you getting it?

So, this is the full statement of what Ramkrishna is saying. He is saying, “See this is what happens. But if this happens, do not stop. There is this little bit of separation. You want to not just reach the Lord, but also stay separated from the Lord to keep enjoying him. But such enjoyment is of very little value. So give up this temptation to enjoy. Merge into the Lord.” That’s the full text, or full implication, or full intent of Ramkrishna’s words. I know that. Even if it is not quoted here, I know that. Right?

Now, in the next excerpt you have brought in Raman Maharishi, and Raman Maharishi seems to be disagreeing with Paramhans here, even repudiating. That’s not happening. I said, “Truth and Truth never clash.”

Here, Raman Maharishi is simply educating someone who is trying to quote Paramhans with the intention of maintaining his own egoistic individuality. You can visualize that. Somebody has come to the Maharishi, and he is saying, “Is there really a need to merge completely with the Truth? After all we want to enjoy sugar, not become sugar! In order to enjoy sugar, I should remain separate from the sugar. So I must go close to the sugar, but not merge into the sugar.”

That’s the argument that this particular questioner is giving to Raman Maharishi. And Raman Maharishi obviously destroys the argument. He says, “What do you think, God is sugar?”

Full stop! That’s what, here.

This is Raman Maharishi – “Some contend that the sugar cannot taste its own sweetness and that a taster must taste and enjoy it. Is God insentient like sugar? How can one surrender oneself and yet retain one’s individuality for supreme enjoyment?”

Some contend. He is not disputing Paramhans here, he is disputing some layman who has come over, having read maybe a book from Paramhans, and is now trying to shine in his own knowledge. Raman Maharishi is wiping him clean of his knowledge. He is saying, “How can you surrender and yet retain your individuality?”

What is this lust to remain separately alive to enjoy an object?

When you display this lust, you have committed a double fallacy.

First of all, you have turned God into an object.

Secondly, you have said that your individuality is of greater value than merger into the Truth.

So that is what is happening.

There is no contradiction here.


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