Paul Brunton’s Blissful Experience
I enter the hall and straight away assume my regular meditation posture. An intense interiorization of consciousness comes with the closing of eyes. The Maharshi’s seated form floats in a vivid manner before my mind’s eye. Then the picture disappears leaving me with nothing more than a strongly felt sense of his intimate presence.
Tonight I flash swiftly to a pin-point of concentration. Some new and powerful force comes into dynamic action within my inner world and bears me inwards with resistless speed. In the next stage, I stand apart from the intellect, conscious that it is thinking, and watch 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.
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 realise intuitively that one is about to penetrate into the mysteries which hide in the innermost recesses of man’s soul. I feel like some Columbus about to land on an uncharted continent.
Finally it happens. Thought is extinguished like a snuffed candle. The mind takes its rise in a transcendental source. 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. With it arrives an amazing new sense of absolute freedom, for thought is like a loom-shuttle which always is 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 untellable infinite space, incredibly alive.
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 tomorrow’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.
With the fall of dusk I take my farewells of everyone except the Maharshi. I feel quietly content because my battle for spiritual certitude has been won, and because I have won it without sacrificing my dearly held rationalism for a blind credulity. Yet when the Maharshi comes to the courtyard with me a little later, my contentment suddenly deserts me.
This man has strangely conquered me and it deeply affects my feelings to leave him. He has grappled me to his own soul with unseen hooks that are harder than steel, although he has sought only to restore a man to himself, to set him free and not to enslave him.
He has taken me into the benign presence of my spiritual self and helped me, dull Westerner that I am, to translate a meaningless term into a living and blissful experience. My adventure in self-metamorphosis is now over.
Face to Face with Ramana Maharshi