An exchange about the unfoldment of the Self
Friend: I am still thinking about the question ... but it is, in short, something like: what do we become after "enlightenment"? Did Ramana ever talk about this?
Reinhard: The question is quite understandable from the usual, personal point of view, but it contains several conceptual errors.
Firstly, the time notion that we 'become something' is not correct, as it is not a future goal or event in time. After all, the Absolute is the basis of all experience even now, just as space accommodates all things (of course, every example is limp). Sri Ramana said, 'If the realization were something new, arising at a point in time, it would also disappear, just as everything that arises also passes away.'
The highest realization was described by Bhagavan in terms of the Ajata doctrine of Advaita Vedanta: there is only pure Selfhood as a Totality, no creation, no being separate, no seeker, and no enlightenment. His life is testimony to the fact that it is not an unworldly abstraction. This is not comprehensible for us ordinary people, because we have no comparison. However, on the inner path, there are various experiences of being that gradually unfold our intuition and let us confidently go in the direction of 'entrusting our human nature back to the dear God'. In any case, the path to liberation is increasingly lighter and more peaceful, purifying and transforming from everything that stands in the way.
Reinhard: As an addendum, I thought of the teaching model of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which illustrates the unfolding of the absolute Self within us. In general, it should be said that he was a disciple of a great master, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who, after having meditated as a hermit for decades, in the last years of his life held the Shankaracharya seat in Jyotir Math. Although TM as a mass movement fell very flat, MMY was a charismatic saint with great power, which I was privileged to know personally when he made me a TM teacher.
As MMY taught us greenhorns (many came from the drug and hippie scene), he developed very cleverly simple teaching models. He described the stages of enlightenment like this:
1. Cosmic consciousness is attained when awareness is experienced 24/7 continuously, in waking, dreaming, and deep sleep a silent awareness remains unbroken, and a natural distance from the outer level of experience.
2. God consciousness is reached when all sensory awareness becomes increasingly subtle, through all levels of creation, astral, and causal, up to the direct awareness of the preferred personal deity (Ishta) with whom the yogi becomes one.
3. Unity consciousness is attained when all outer and inner experience is increasingly experienced in terms of the Self.
4. Brahman consciousness means the culmination and has been described as the Totality and Wholeness that is more than the 'sum of its parts'.
This should correspond to ajata because outside of time, causality. It is, therefore, strictly speaking, not the 4th level. All levels are attained by cultivating the mind. The highest state will be reached when the ego has been dissolved, and the timeline of the mind has ended.
Friend: thanks for that!
Reinhard: Models can decisively promote intuition.