Thursday, April 17, 2008

Self and World

"The realised being sees only the Self,
just as the goldsmith sees only the gold
while valuing it in various jewels made of gold.
When you identify yourself with the body,
name and form are there.
But when you transcend the body-consciousness,
the others also disappear.
The realised one does not see the world
as different from himself."

"The sage helps the world
merely by being the real Self.
The best way for one to serve the world
is to win the egoless state."
- Shri Ramana Maharshi

In 1938 the novelist Somerset Maugham visited the Self-realised saint Ramana Maharshi, (whom Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has identified as a partial incarnation of Shri Shiva - the ascetic yet joyous aspect of the Divine). Self-realisation can be transmitted from person to person - not so hard to accept when one realises that ultimately there is only one universal person - particularly if the catalyst is highly Self-realised and the recipient is receptive. This seems to have been the case with Maugham - he went on to write The Razor's Edge, basing the character of the wise old man on the Maharshi (no relation to the ridiculous TM guru who died recently in the Netherlands)

The hero of the novel, Larry Darrell, describes his experience of Self-realisation:

"How grand the sight was that was displayed before me as the day broke in its splendour...I was ravished with the beauty of the world. I'd never known such exaltation and such a transcendent joy. I had a strange sensation, a tingling that arose in my feet and traveled up to my head, and I felt as though I were suddenly released from my body and as pure spirit partook of a loveliness I had never conceived. I had a sense that a knowledge more than human possessed me, so that everything that had been confused was clear and everything that had perplexed me was explained. I was so happy that it was pain and I struggled to release myself from it, for I felt that if it lasted a moment longer I should die; and yet it was such rapture that I was ready to die rather than forego it. How can I tell you what I felt? No words can tell the ecstasy of my bliss."

Enlightenment scene in the Himalayas, from the black and white film version of The Razor's Edge.

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