This morning, a European who was sitting in front of Bhagavan said through an interpreter:

“It is stated in the Mandukyopanishad that, unless samadhi, i.e., the 8th and last stage of yoga, is also experienced, there can be no liberation (moksha) however much meditation (dhyana) or austerities (tapas) are performed. Is that so?”

Bhagavan: “Rightly understood, they are the same. It makes no difference whether you call it meditation or austerities or absorption, or anything else. That which is steady, continuous like the flow of oil, is austerity, meditation and absorption. To be one’s own Self is samadhi.”

Questioner: “But it is said in the Mandukyopanishad that samadhi must necessarily be experienced before attaining liberation.”

Bhagavan: “And who says that it is not so? It is stated not only in the Mandukyopanishad but in all the ancient books. But it is true samadhi only if you know your Self. What is the use of sitting still for some time like a lifeless object?

Suppose you get a boil on your hand and have it operated under chloroform; you don’t feel any pain at the time, but does that mean that you were in samadhi? It is the same with this too. One has to know what samadhi is. And how can you know it without knowing your Self? If the Self is known, samadhi will be known automatically.”

Meanwhile, a Tamil devotee opened the Tiruvachakam and began singing the “Songs on Pursuit”. Towards the end comes the passage,

“Oh, Ishwara (personal God), You are trying to flee, but I am holding You fast. So where can You go and how can You escape from me?”

Bhagavan commented with a smile: “So it seems that He is trying to flee and they are holding Him fast! Where could He flee to? Where is He not present? Who is He? All this is nothing but a pageant. There is another sequence of ten songs in the same book, one which goes,

‘O my Lord! You have made my mind Your abode. You have given Yourself upto me and in return have taken me into You. Lord, which of us is the cleverer? If You have given Yourself up to me, I enjoy endless bliss, but of what use am I to You, even though You have made of my body Your Temple out of Your boundless mercy to me? What is it I could do for you in return? I have nothing now that I could call my own.’

This means that there is no such thing as ‘I’. See the beauty of it! Where there is no such thing as ‘I’, who is the doer and what is it that is done, whether it be devotion or Self-enquiry or samadhi?”

8th September, 1947
Letters from Sri Ramanasramam