Recently we had a discussion about near-death experiences and Bhagavan's ego-death (manonasa) in 1896.
A friend said:
'Reinhard, if no person comes back because all his vasanas are destroyed, as it happened to Bhagavan, how can it be a near-death experience? Venkataraman had died, the ego with all its mental vasanas had died, therefore is it not a complete death and not a near death? When a person (the ego) has a near-death experience, they come back, as many people have, and that often changes them, but they are still with the ego (but a less dense one). Could you say a little more about why Bhagavan's death was a near death, because I always see it as a total death. Thank you.
Reinhard: As I said, there is certainly a big difference, at least in degree. But I have read about a few near-death experiences (and posted some on my site over the years) that sounded a lot like deep samadhi.
We examine all of this with our intellect and intuition and recognize these characteristics. But what I know for sure and what I try to follow as sadhana: We always experience some element of this pure being as the basis of our mind. And we have vasanas, thoughts. Every moment we emphasize this being, the thought activity is harmonized. The closer we get to this inner source, the clearer our mind becomes.
Why did I make this pivot to our own experience? At least for me, this is the direction in which all these discussions should go. As disciples of Sri Ramana, we should not be content to discuss only spiritual concepts, as Bhagavan's experience should be for us. But this sense of being, he always maintained, is already a part of our experience and it is egoless (admittedly we may not experience it in its purity). The recognition of concepts is shravana. When we contemplate them, it can be manana. When we become one with them, it can be nididhyasana, leading to samadhi. I hope you don't mind this little digression. It is the practice that interests me the most! Namo Ramana
Friend. Thank you, Reinhard.