"Talks is the living voice of the greatest sage of the twentieth-century"-Ken Wilber
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Rock bottom, March 2, 2003
FABRICIO M. R. Silva "fabricio" (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) - See all my reviews A devotee comes along and asks "why is there no meditation during dreaming?" Ramana's response: "Ask it in the dream."
Most of the answers from Ramana Maharshi in this huge volume of ultimate spiritual Q&A are as disconcerting as this one -- which by the way has a double entendre for those who know the advaita equalization of waking life and dreams (the devotee did not get he WAS INDEED asking "in the dream"...). What strikes the reader first is the brilliance of this humble man, his razor-sharp intelligence. But as we turn the pages and ponder his words in hundreds of dialogues, little by little we realize we are dealing here with the real thing: a man who has crossed over to the other shore, a jivanmukta ("liberated while alive"). I have read quite a lot in the last few years on philosophy and spirituality, and my feeling regarding this book is one of reaching rock bottom: you simply cannot go deeper.
The question "Did you exist in deep sleep?", for example, sounds to me the best argument for the unreality of the ego, which Ramana sometimes call the "small I". Very ingenious. No one denies, while awake, his own existence in deep sleep. But whence comes our certainty, if we where unconscious? It comes from a silent witness. If you understand that the same witness is the indestructible background of the bundle of thoughts we call "mind", it is game over for the ego and the suffering it brings to you.
My limited exposure to advaita vedanta suggests that it may not be suitable for some (perhaps most) spiritual seekers, because it may be misconstrued as nihilistic. If you want to take the risk, this may be one of the best books to read. Overall, a very fine edition, compleat with sanskrit glossary, anotated vedanta bibliography and full thematic index. A work of love.