Saturday, March 28, 2009

Arunachala Manolaya

The State of Mental Stillness

"D: When I am engaged in enquiry as to the source
from which the ‘I’ springs, I arrive at a stage of stillness
of mind beyond which I find myself unable to proceed
farther. I have no thought of any kind and there is an
emptiness, a blankness. A mild light pervades and I
feel that it is myself, bodiless. I have neither cognition nor
vision of body and form. The experience lasts nearly half
an hour and is pleasing. Would I be correct in concluding
that all that was necessary to secure eternal happiness (i.e.,
freedom or salvation or whatever one calls it) was to
continue the practice till this experience could be
maintained for hours, days and months together?

B: This does not mean salvation; such a condition
is termed manolaya or temporary stillness of thought.
Manolaya means concentration, temporarily arresting
the movement of thoughts; as soon as this concentration
ceases, thoughts, old and new, rush in as usual and
even though this temporary lulling of mind should last
a thousand years it will never lead to total destruction
of thought, which is what is called salvation or liberation
from birth and death. The practiser must therefore be
ever on the alert and enquire within as to who has this
experience, who realises its pleasantness. Failing this enquiry he will go into a long trance or deep sleep (Yoga nidra).
Due to the absence of a proper guide at this stage of
spiritual practice many have been deluded and fallen a
prey to a false sense of salvation and only a few have, either
by the merit of good acts in their previous births, or by
extreme grace, been enabled to reach the goal safely.
Sri Bhagavan then told the following story:
A Yogi was doing penance (tapas) for a number of
years on the banks of the Ganges. When he had
attained a high degree of concentration, he believed
that continuance in that stage for prolonged periods
constituted salvation and practised it. One day, before
going into deep concentration, he felt thirsty and
called to his disciple to bring a little drinking water
from the Ganges; but before the disciple arrived with
the water, he had gone into samadhi and remained in
that state for countless years, during which time much
water flowed under the bridge. When he woke up
from this experience the first thing he asked for was
‘water! water!’; but there was neither his disciple nor
the Ganges in sight.
The first thing which he asked for was water because,
before going into deep concentration, the topmost layer
of thought in his mind was water and by concentration,
however deep and prolonged it might have been, he had
only been able to temporarily lull his thoughts and when,
therefore, he revoked consciousness this topmost thought
flew up with all the speed and force of a flood breaking
through the dykes. If this is the case with regard to a thought which took shape immediately before he sat for
meditation, there is no doubt that thoughts which have
taken deeper root earlier will still remain unannihilated;
if annihilation of thoughts is salvation can he be said to
have attained salvation?
Sadhakas (seekers) rarely understand the difference
between this temporary stilling of the mind (manolaya)
and permanent destruction of thoughts (manonasa). In
manolaya there is temporary subsidence of thought-waves,
and, though this temporary period may even last for a
thousand years, thoughts, which are thus temporarily
stilled, rise up as soon as the manolaya ceases. One must,
therefore, watch one’s spiritual progress carefully. One must
not allow oneself to be overtaken by such spells of stillness
of thought: the moment one experiences this, one must revive
consciousness and enquire within as to who it is who experiences
this stillness. While not allowing any thoughts to intrude,
he must not, at the same time, be overtaken by this deep
sleep (Yoga nidra) or Self-hypnotism. Though this is a
sign of progress towards the goal, yet it is also the point
where the divergence between the road to salvation and Yoga
nidra takes place. The easy way, the direct way, the shortest
cut to salvation is the Enquiry method. By such enquiry, you
will drive the thought force deeper till it reaches its source
and merges therein. It is then that you will have the response
from within and find that you rest there, destroying all
thoughts, once and for all.This temporary stilling of thought comes automatically
in the usual course of one’s practice and it is a clear sign
of one’s progress but the danger of it lies in mistaking it
for the final goal of spiritual practice and being thus
deceived. It is exactly here that a spiritual guide is necessary
and he saves a lot of the spiritual aspirant’s time and energy
which would otherwise be fruitlessly wasted."

-- Crumbs from His table Chapter 8


  1. Do you notice how the mountain has carved itself in Bhagwan's hairline?

    Its always nice to discover another blog devoted to the Mountain.

  2. Grasshopper,

    Yes I did actually. I was contemplating to post it in the future sometime.

    All the best for your novel.

    I will definitely buy it when it hits the market. Please do let me know.

  3. Dear sir,
    very nice ur devotional blog site. superb. devotional site lists