Informal talks on Self-Realization- Golden Gate hall, San Francisco, January 18, 1903
[The following talks deal with the objections raised by the readers of the last lecture on “The Way to Self-Realization” which was printed in a pamphlet form in America—Ed. ]
If we are landed into this state of Super-consciousness where all consciousness stops, where all thought ceases, is not that a state of vacancy or emptiness, is it not a state of senselessness? What is the use of taking all this trouble to enter into a state of unconsciousness? We don’t want it.
To this objection Vedanta replies, “Brother, nay, my own self, just reflect, be not in a hurry. There is a whole world of difference between this state of Realization and the state of fainting or swooning. One thing is common to both, all thought stops in both. In a swoon there is no thought, and in the state of trance or Realization there is no thought, yet there is a world of difference between them.”
In the swoon, the mind stopped thinking and this stopping of the thinking caused excess of inactivity, and through this excess of inactivity the swoon was produced. In the swoon thought stops through lack of activity, the swoon resembles death, but the state of trance or the state of Realization is all energy, all power, all knowledge, all bliss.
You know the absence of light is called darkness, if we enter a room where there is very little light, we are able to see nothing. Super-abundance of light is practically darkness also for the eyes of man. Could you see into the dazzling sun at noon? If the light of the sun were more excessive than what it is to-day, if it were multiplied ten times, no man could ever see. Science tells us of the phenomena of the polarization of light. Where two rays of light are in opposite directions the eyes of man cannot see; there is darkness. Excess of light is also darkness for the eyes of man, and the want or lack of light is also darkness for the eyes of man. Darkness caused by lack of light is one thing, and darkness caused by excess of light is another thing. Similarly, stopping thought by the state of Realization is the opposite to the stopping of thought in a swoon or deep sleep. We mark the difference in the after effects of the two.
One man is suffering from epilepsy, that person when he received the shocks of epilepsy is left enfeebled, weakened, undone, lost; but when suffering from that shock he was senseless.
Another man enters into this state of Realization, or concentration, and all his mental activity has, as it were, stopped for the time, and the stopping of thought in this state is similar to the stopping of thought in the case of the man attacked by epilepsy, but mark the difference. The man in epilepsy is weakened, enfeebled, undone afterward, while the man after descending from those delectable mountains of the state of Realization, after leaving that state of ecstasy, is full of energy, full of strength, full of bliss, and full of knowledge, he can heal and strengthen others, he can raise and elevate others, and is far, far from being himself enfeebled or weakened. So you see that the stopping of thought in Vedantic Realization is quite the-other extreme to the stopping of thought in a swoon or fainting condition.