NO MIND - I AM THE SELF
The lives and Teachings of Sri Lakshmana Swamy and Mathru Sri Sarada
by David Godman, p.169:
The next morning, at 10 a.m., she went to the ashram, sat down in front of Swamy and tried to tell him about the thought-free states that she had been experiencing. She was still deeply immersed in such a state and she found it hard to speak. Swamy tried to engage her attention by telling her about a few of the events that had been going on in the ashram in her absence, but Sarada couldn't concentrate on anything he said. When she told Swamy that she wasn't capable of paying attention he stopped trying to engage her in conversation. He had been watching her intently ever since she arrived and he could see that the Self was trying to pull the 'I'-thought towards it. A few minutes later a party of visitors came to look at the ashram. Swamy went into his house because he didn't want to see them, but Sarada remained sitting on his veranda. She remained there for the next two hours, immersed in a state of kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. Sometimes her eyes were half open, but she wasn't aware of seeing anything because her mind had completely subsided into the Heart. When she kept her eyes open for any length of time the 'I'-thought would rise from the Heart to the brain, but Sarada soon discovered that she could easily make it subside again by closing her eyes.
At about midday Bala brought Swamy and Sarada some food. Swamy called Sarada into the house because he thought that she should have something to eat, but Sarada found that she was incapable of moving by herself. Eventually, Bala and Swamy had to help her into the house. Sarada found it very difficult to eat; the first time she tried she only managed to lift her hand half-way to her mouth. After a few false starts, and with Swamy's help, she finally managed to swallow a little food and drink a little water. She spent the rest of the day, and all of the following night, in samadhi. During the course of the day Swamy helped her to walk up and down his veranda a few times, but for the rest of the time he allowed her to remain undisturbed.
The next morning she came out of samadhi with a strong awareness that her 'I'-thought was still existing. She remembered the peace of the previous day and night when she had been in Samadhi, with the 'I'-thought temporarily gone, and she decided to see if she could enter the same state again. She closed her eyes and within a few minutes her 'I'-thought subsided into the Heart and she went back into samadhi again. The 'I'-thought emerged from the Heart several times during the day, but each time it subsided Sarada was convinced that she had realised the Self. She was still able to talk and Swamy, thinking that her realisation was near, placed a small tape-recorder near her to record her words. Sarada spoke in short, quiet sentences, with frequent pauses as she was overwhelmed by the bliss of the Self.
I have no body. I have no 'I'. I am not the body. How I am talking I do not know. Some power is talking through me.
Swamy asked her if she was looking and she replied:
__Even though I am looking, I am not looking. Where is the 'I' to look. When the mind enters the Heart there is no 'I' to tell that there is no 'I'. My 'I' is dead.
Swamy then asked her how she was feeling.
__My whole body is filled with peace and bliss, I cannot describe it. Everything is filled with peace. The Self is pulling me towards it and I am not able to open my eyes. The whole body is weak.
Swamy remarked, "It is like an elephant entering a weak hut. The hut cannot stand the strain. Is it beyond time and death?"
__It is beyond time and death as there is no mind. As the 'I' is dead I don't wish to eat anymore. I am not able to eat. However tasty the food I cannot eat. I have no desire to eat. Everything is filled with peace and bliss. I am content with my realisation. I have recognised my own Self, so I am content.
Swamy then told her that her 'I' was not yet dead and that she had not yet reached the final state. Sarada replied:
__As the 'I' is dead there is no you.
"Have you no mother or father?" asked Swamy.
__No father, no mother, no world. Everything is peace and bliss. Why do I have to eat when there is no 'I'? The body is inert, it cannot eat. A corpse will not eat. It is like that because the 'I' is dead. As I cannot eat I cannot talk. Who is talking I do not know.
"Then who is talking?" asked Swamy. Sarada remained silent and so Swamy answered his own question. "The Self is talking." Sarada continued:
__Even though I am seeing, I am not seeing. Even though I am talking, I am not talking. Whatever I do I am not doing it because the 'I' is dead. I have no body. All the nerves are filled with peace and bliss. All is Brahman. All is bliss. In the veins instead of blood, love and bliss are flowing. A great power has entered into me.
Three months before Swamy had told Sarada, "Even though I sleep I am not sleeping". Sarada remembered this, repeated Swamy's words and said that she was finally able to understand what he had meant. Sarada continued to talk:
__I have no thought of doing anything. I have no fear of death. Before, I feared death, but not anymore. I don't care about death. I have nothing more to do. I shall give up the body.
Swamy asked her to stay but Sarada answered:
__What is death to die now? The body is inert, how can it die? My 'I' is dead, what is there left to die? Why then fear death?
Swamy then reminded her that her 'I' was not dead and that she was not yet in the final sahaja state. Swamy then stopped the tape we were listening to and talked a little about the state that Sarada was experiencing when she spoke these words.
"Anyone whose mind completely subsides into the Heart for a short time can talk like an enlightened person. Their experience of the Self is the same as that of a realised person. However, their 'I'-thought is not dead and it is likely to re-emerge at any time. Such an experience is not the final state because it is not permanent." He then played the final portion of Sarada's comments on her experience.
__I am everywhere. I am not the body. I have no body and so I have no fear. I am immobile. Whatever I may do I am immobile. I am shining as the Self. Everything is a great void [mahasunya] How can I describe the Self in words? It is neither light nor dark. No one can describe what it is. In the past, present and future no one can describe what it is. It is difficult to describe. Self is Self, that is all.
Throughout that day Sarada's mind kept sinking into the Self, but on each occasion it came out again. At 4 p.m. the 'I'-thought went from the Heart to the brain and started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada said later that it was like an axe trying to split her head open from the inside. Since she was not able to bear the pain she came forward, took Swamy's hand and placed it on her head. The 'I'-thought went back to the Heart, but again it was only a temporary subsidence. Three minutes later it rose again and once again started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada came forward, placed her head on Swamy's feet and a few seconds later the 'I'-thought returned to its source and DIED FOREVER.
With her 'I'-thought permanently gone Sarada had realised the Self. Swamy says that in the final few minutes her 'I'-thought was trying to escape and take birth again, and that had he not been present, the 'I'-thought would have killed her and escaped.
In the first few minutes after realisation Swamy thought that Sarada was going to give up her body. Her arms and legs went stiff and cold and her blood circulation stopped. Swamy shook her to try and revive her, but she was unable to open her eyes. It occurred to Swamy that if she did give up the body, not only would her family be very angry with him, but he might even be arrested for murder. Eventually he took her to her parents' house in Gudur, but it took five days before Sarada was able to sustain consciousness of her body for any length of time. Throughout this period she was continually saying that she wanted to give up the body, and Swamy had to use all his powers of persuasion to keep her alive.
Swamy gave her the new name of Mathru Sri Sarada; Mathru means mother and Sri is an honorific prefix. He was most anxious that she stay in the body because he felt that she could offer invaluable help to devotees who were seeking the Self. However, he had great difficulty in keeping her alive; Sarada continued to show no interest in retaining her body and for the next twelve months Swamy was engaged in a daily battle to keep her in contact with the world. Almost every day Sarada would lose body consciousness and withdraw into the Self. Each time she did it she would say that she no longer wanted her body and that she was going to give it up. Each time Swamy would have to revive her to keep her alive.
His strategy was to try and get her interested in the outer world so that her body consciousness could be sustained. It was a difficult task; Sarada was now completely without thoughts and this made it almost impossible to interest her in anything. It was only her continuing love for Swamy that kept her alive. Each time she tried to carry out her plan to give up the body, tears would come to his eyes and he would beg her to stay. When this happened she would feel such love for him that she would be no longer capable of severing her link with the body and the world.
Swamy kept her busy by making her play with dolls and by making her construct miniature parks and gardens in his compound. Even though she wanted to obey Swamy's orders she was unable to keep her attention on these play activities for more than a few minutes at a time. The futility of all human activity would suddenly strike her and she would again announce to Swamy that she wanted to give up her body.
After about a year the tide began to turn. The intervals between Sarada's periodic withdrawals into the Self became longer and longer and she finally began to be capable of keeping her attention on the mundane events of everyday life.
According to how some see it not everything comes up roses. See:
TROUBLE AT THE NUNNERY
THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN