The book from Paul Brunton: A search in secret India, first published in 1934, made Sri Ramana Maharshi well known in the West.
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This part is from the last chapter of the book, his experiences while meditating in front of Bhagavan (page 303):
I return hastily from an exploration of some usually veiled sanctuaries of the
great temple and enter the hall when the evening meditation period has run out half its life.
I slip quietly to the floor and straightway assume my regular meditation posture.
In a few seconds I compose myself and bring all wandering thoughts to a strong centre.
An intense interiorization of consciousness comes with the closing of eyes.
The Maharishee's seated form floats in a vivid manner before my mind's eye.
Following his frequently repeated instruction I endeavour to pierce through the mental picture into that which is formless, his real being and inner nature, his soul.
To my surprise the effort meets with almost instantaneous success and the picture disappears again, leaving me with nothing more than a strongly felt sense of his intimate presence.
The mental questionings which have marked most of my earlier meditations have lately begun to cease.
I have repeatedly interrogated my consciousness of physical, emotional and mental sensations in turn, but, dissatisfied in the quest of self, have eventually left them all.
I have then applied the attention of consciousness to its own centre, striving to become aware of its place of origin.
Now comes the supreme moment.
In that concentration of stillness, the mind withdrawn into itself, one's familiar world begins to fade off into shadowy vagueness.
One is apparently environed for a while by sheer nothingness, having arrived at a kind of mental blank wall.
And one has to be as intense as possible to maintain one's fixed attention.
But how hard to leave the lazy dalliance of our surface life and draw the mind inwards to a pin-point of concentration!
To-night I flash swiftly to this point, with barely a skirmish against the continuous sequence of thoughts which usually play the prelude to its arrival.
Some new and powerful force comes into dynamic action within my inner world and bears me inwards with resistless speed.
The first great battle is over, almost without a stroke, and a pleasurable, happy, easeful feeling succeeds its high tension.
In the next stage I stand apart from the intellect, conscious that it is thinking, but warned by an intuitive voice that it is merely an instrument.
I watch these thoughts with a weird detachment.
The power to think, which has hitherto been a matter for merely ordinary pride, now becomes a thing from which to escape, for I perceive with startling clarity that I have been its unconscious captive.
There follows the sudden desire to stand outside the intellect and just be.
I want to dive into a place deeper than thought.
I want to know what it will feel like to deliver myself from the constant bondage of the brain, but to do so with all my attention awake and alert.
It is strange enough to be able to stand aside and watch the very action of the brain as though it were someone else's, and to see how thoughts take their rise and then die, but it is stranger still to realize intuitively that one is about to penetrate into the mysteries which hide the innermost recesses of man's soul.
I feel like some Columbus about to land on an uncharted continent.
A perfectly controlled and subdued anticipation quietly thrills me.
But how divorce oneself from the age-old tyranny of thoughts?
I remember that the Maharishee has never suggested that I should attempt to force the stoppage of thinking.
"Trace thought to its place of origin," is his reiterated counsel, "watch for the real self to reveal itself, and then your thoughts will die down of their own accord."
So, feeling that I have found the birthplace of thinking, I let go of the powerfully positive attitude which has brought my attention to this point and surrender myself to complete passivity, yet still keeping as intently watchful as a snake of its prey.
This poised condition reigns until I discover the correctness of the sage's prophecy.
The waves of thought naturally begin to diminish.
The workings of logical rational sense drop towards zero point.
The strangest sensation I have experienced till now grips me.
Time seems to reel dizzily as the antennas of my rapidly growing intuition begin to reach out into the unknown.
The reports of my bodily senses are no longer heard, felt, remembered.
I know that at any moment I shall be standing outside things, on the very edge of the world's secret. . . .
Finally it happens.
Thought is extinguished like a snuffed candle.
The intellect withdraws into its real ground, that is, consciousness working unhindered by thoughts.
I perceive, what I have suspected for some time and what the Maharishee has confidently affirmed, that the mind takes its rise in a transcendental source.
The brain has passed into a state of complete suspension, as it does in deep sleep, yet there is not the slightest loss of consciousness.
I remain perfectly calm and fully aware of who I am and what is occurring.
Yet my sense of awareness has been drawn out of the narrow confines of the separate personality; it has turned into something sublimely all-embracing.
Self still exists, but it is a changed, radiant self.
For something that is far superior to the unimportant personality which was I, some deeper, diviner being rises into consciousness and becomes me.
With it arrives an amazing new sense of absolute freedom, for thought is like a loom-shuttle which is always going to and fro, and to be freed from its tyrannical motion is to step out of prison into the open air.
I find myself outside the rim of world consciousness.
The planet which has so far harboured me, disappears.
I am in the midst of an ocean of blazing light.
The latter, I feel rather than think, is the primeval stuff out of which worlds are created, the first state of matter.
It stretches away into unreliable infinite space, incredibly alive.
I touch, as in a flash, the meaning of this mysterious universal drama which is being enacted in space, and then return to the primal point of my being.
I, the new I, rest in the lap of holy bliss.
I have drunk the Platonic Cup of Lethe, so that yesterday's bitter memories and to-morrow's anxious cares have disappeared completely.
I have attained a divine liberty and an almost indescribable felicity.
My arms embrace all creation with profound sympathy, for I understand in the deepest possible way that to know all is not merely to pardon all, but to love all.
My heart is remoulded in rapture.