Making Vision Everlasting
February 3, 2011 Comments Off on Making Vision Everlasting
Question: I once before told Sri Bhagavan (Ramana Maharshi) how I had a vision of Siva about the time of my conversion to Hinduism…. These visions are momentary but they are blissful.
I want to know how they might be made permanent and continuous. Without Siva there is no life in what I see around me. I am so happy to think of Him. Please tell me how His vision may be everlasting to me.
Sri Ramana Maharshi: You speak of a vision of Siva. Vision is always of an object. That implies the existence of a subject. The value of the vision is the same as that of the seer. That is to say, the nature of the vision is on the same plane as that of the seer. Appearance implies disappearance also. Whatever appears must also disappear. A vision can never be eternal. But Siva is eternal.
The vision implies the seer. The seer cannot deny the existence of the Self. There is no moment when the Self as consciousness does not exist, nor can the seer remain apart from consciousness. This consciousness is the eternal being. The seer cannot see himself. Does he deny his existence because he cannot see himself with the eyes as in a vision? No. So Pratyaksha (direct experience) does not mean seeing, but being.
When you identify yourself with the body, as in the waking state, you see gross objects. When in the subtle body or in the mental plane as in dreams, you see objects equally subtle. In the absence of identification in deep sleep you see nothing. The objects seen bear a relation to the state of the seer. The same applies to visions of God. By long practice the figure of God, as meditated upon, appears in dreams and may later appear in the waking state also.
Visions and thought-currents are had according to the state of mind. It depends on the individual and not upon the universal presence. Moreover, they are immaterial. What matters is peaceof mind.
What is realisation? Is it to see God with four hands, bearing a conch, a wheel (disc) and a club? Even if God should appear in that form, how is the disciple’s ignorance wiped out? The truth must be eternal realisation. The direct perception is ever-present experience. God Himself is known when He is directly perceived. It does not mean that he appears before the devotee in some particular form. Unless the realisation is eternal it cannot serve any useful purpose. Can the appearance of God with four hands be eternal realisation? It is phenomenal and illusory. There must be a seer. The seer alone is real and eternal.
Let God appear as the light of a million suns. Is it Pratyaksha (direct experience)? To see a vision of God the eyes and the mind are necessary. It is indirect knowledge, whereas the seer is direct experience. The seer alone is Pratyaksha.
[Source:Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi; Miracles and Visions Preamble By David Godman]
Tag: awareness, eternal, experience, form, formless,God,illusion, meditation, perception, reality, seer, visions
“Through selfless work, love of God grows in the heart. Then, through His grace, one realizes Him in course of time. God can be seen. One can talk to Him as I am talking to you.” – Ramakrishna Paramhansa
Readings from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna Recorded by M. Translated by Swami Nikhilananda, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York, Abridged Visit to Vidyasagar August 5, 1882
It is possible to see hallucinations, which rise from the subconscious. Don’t mistake those images for true visions. Hallucinations are an obstacle on the spiritual path. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they represent guidance from above.
How to distinguish between the two?
The first and most important way is to see the effect of your inner experience on your everyday life. Has there been a definite change for the better? Superconscious experience, which includes true visions, will do that for you; hallucinations will not. Be honest with yourself: Don’t look only at the short-range effects: Look at the long range. People naturally want to believe that their visions were true; they may affirm changes in themselves that seem real to them, temporarily. Time, then, will tell whether the change has proved lasting and real. Another way is to observe your underlying consciousness during the experience. Is it intensely peaceful? Is it in fact super conscious? Or is it more or less commonplace? Is the light brilliant within which the vision appears, or is it clouded and dull? If a person in your vision speaks to you, do the words inspire you with a more expanded consciousness, or do they draw your mind downward to your ego?
A vitally important test also is this: Is the teaching you’ve received in harmony with the highest spiritual traditions of the ages? Or does it challenge them? Does it support and respect those teachings, or does it, in referring to them, speak with condescension or familiarity?
For, beyond hallucinations, there are also delusive (because false) manifestations of lower astral entities that can masquerade as angels or great masters, but that have no other aim than to trick you into taking a downward path. Such entities may look beautiful, and may inspire you because of your very desire for a true vision. They will tend, however, to flatter you and make you feel that you are on equal standing with the greatest souls, even if, in your outer life, you are still prone to such human emotions as selfishness, anger, and desire.
Don’t be discouraged by such manifestations. Their very coming signifies a certain degree of spiritual progress on your part—even as, if a con man shows interest in you, it probably means you’ve enough wealth to attract his interest. Confidence tricks, however, work only on people who have the failing of avarice to be worked on. A person who is not interested in quick money-making schemes can’t be conned. And a meditator who has no interest in having his ego flattered cannot be fooled by lower astral entities, whose only interest is in drawing people back to ego-consciousness.
Above all, don’t be attached to the idea of having visions. Don’t seek them. If they come to you, and if you believe them to be true, be divinely grateful for them, but remember that they, as well as any other experience you receive, belong to God; they are not your possessions.
Tags: detachment, discernment, ego, light, meditation, visions
The Bible teaches that, in ancient times, God relayed His messages through the power of the Holy Spirit, to His chosen servants by visions and dreams. These messages were also given to the apostles and prophets (Amos 3:7, scripture” target=”_blank””>Eph. 3:5). We need to make a distinction between visions that come from God and those that come from Satan and his demons. In Matthew 17:1-9, Jesus gave Peter, James and John a vision of the kingdom of God coming to the earth—this is a case of God using a vision. In I Samuel 28:3-20, a “familiar spirit” was “brought up,” disguised as the deceased prophet Samuel, to inform Saul of his impending doom—this is a case of Satan using a vision.
There are many dreams, visions or premonitions that people experience. Their sources are not as easily determined by the untrained. Therefore, we must think twice before assuming they are from God, even if they show supernatural evidence. In scripture” target=”_blank””>I John 4:1 God instructs us to “try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Almost everyone assumes that dreams and visions bear messages from God. This is a very dangerous assumption.
In situations in which visions, dreams or other such experiences result in sickness, fear, anxiety, or similar adverse effects, one should seek God’s intervention and healing. In most situations, however, dreams and
visions are derived from one’s own day-to-day activities and problems.
(Source: What does the Bible say about visions and dreams?
through The Restored Church of God.)
Tags: discernment, God, healing, visions
Visions and Signs
The visions and signs that arise from the practice of meditation are a strange and uncanny affair. They may delude a gullible person of weak judgment into being so convinced of their truth as to lose touch with reality. For this reason, those who practice meditation should be cautious, examining and reflecting on them carefully, as I will now explain.
The signs arising from meditation are of two sorts: visions and signs.
a. Visions: Sometimes, when the mind gathers itself into its own level while we are considering our own body to see its unattractiveness, we will see the body as completely foul and decomposing, or as nothing more than a skeleton or a pile of ashes, etc. There are cases where this has caused people to become so repelled that they commit suicide. In other cases, visions of divine beings or of hell and hungry shades may sometimes appear.
b. As for signs: When the mind gathers, as already mentioned, a whispering voice may appear. It may be the voice of a person we
respect, telling us to examine a particular truth, or to beware of a coming event; or else it may be the voice of an enemy who means to harm us, appearing to us just before he/she will come to do us harm — which shows how the mental currents of different individuals impinge on one another. On the other hand, the same sort of thing may occur involving a person who means us well. Sometimes an unidentified voice may come to tell a truth that’s thought-provoking and worthy of consideration, which meditators in general call the teachings and warnings of the Dhamma, or abhiñña.
It’s not the case that visions and signs will occur to all meditators. With some people, no matter how refined a level their minds attain, visions and signs won’t appear. With others, the mind may gather in a flash for a brief moment, and all sorts of visions and signs will appear. (Be careful not to concoct too many, though.) This depends on the individual’s temperament. With people who are gullible and don’t give much thought to what is reasonable, visions and signs tend to occur quickly and grow all out of bounds, to the point where they can lose their bearings. So treat them with caution.
Question: Are visions and signs true?
Answer: Sometimes yes and sometimes no, because they arise exclusively from jhana, and jhana is a mundane phenomenon — and thus undependable. That is to say, they arise to a person practicing meditation whose mind gathers into the bhavanga without knowing what level it has reached or how it focused on, examined, and put down its object.
Visions and signs, whether or not they arise intentionally, are composed of a great deal of mental concocting and attachment, and are therefore unreliable — because the visions and signs arising when the mind is in the bhavanga are like the dreams of a person who lies down to sleep or simply dozes off. By and large, when they first occur, there tends to be some truth to them, but not much.
(Source:Steps Along the Path by Phra Ajaan Thate Desaransi Translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)
Tags: discernment,truth, visions
Visions and the Middle Path
When intuitive knowledge does arise, it can — if you know how to use it — lead to liberating insight. But if you let yourself get carried away by knowledge of the past or future, you won’t get beyond the mundane level. In other words, if you dabble too much in knowledge of physical things, without gaining wisdom with regard to the workings of the mind, it can leave you spiritually immature.
Say, for example, that a vision arises and you get hooked: You gain knowledge of your past lives and get all excited. Things you never knew before, now you can know. Things you never saw before, now you see — and they can make you overly pleased or upset. Why?
Because you take them all too seriously. You may see a vision of yourself prospering as a lord or master, a great emperor or king, wealthy and influential. If you let yourself feel pleased, that’s indulgence in pleasure. You’ve strayed from the Middle Path. Or you may see yourself as something you wouldn’t care to be: a pig or a dog, a bird or a rat, crippled or deformed. If you let yourself get upset, that’s indulgence in self-affliction — and again, you’ve strayed from the path.
Some people really let themselves get carried away: As soon as they start seeing things, they begin to think that they’re special, somehow better than other people. They let themselves become proud and conceited — and the right path has disappeared without their even knowing it. If you’re not careful, this is where mundane knowledge can lead you.
But if you keep one principle firmly in mind, you can stay right on the path: Whatever appears, good or bad, true or false, don’t let yourself feel pleased, don’t let yourself get upset. Keep the mind balanced and neutral, and discernment will arise. You’ll see that the vision or sign displays the truth of stress: it arises (is born), fades (ages), and disappears (dies).
(Keeping the Breath in Mind,by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo; Translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)
Tags: detachment, insight, intuition, middle path, spiritual path, visions