Ramana Maharshi – Sphurana, Sacred Vibrations
D: Please give me some more details about Heart and its movements.
M: The Heart is the seat of knowledge and the knot of ignorance. It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller than the smallest pin-point, which is always shut. When the mind drops down in ‘Kevala Nirvikalpa’, it opens but shuts again after it. When sahaja is attained it opens for good.
The knot which ties the insentient body to the consciousness, which functions in it is the ‘knot of ignorance’. That is why when it is loosened temporarily as in Kevala Nirvikalpa when there is no body consciousness. I used to feel the vibrations of the Heart, which resemble those of a dynamo, even in school. When I developed rigor mortis many years ago in Tiruvannamalai, every object and sensation disappeared, except these vibrations. It was as if a dark screen was drawn before my eyes and shut the world completely from me, but of course I was all along conscious of the Self, with a vague feeling that some one was crying near me. This state continued till just before I regained physical consciousness, when I felt something rush from the Heart to the left chest and re-established life in the body. A sudden fear, sudden joy, or a shock makes the Heart vibrate very forcefully, so that it can be felt by anyone who pays attention to it. Otherwise it is felt only in Samadhi.
D: Does the enquiry “Who am I?” lead to any spot in the body?
M: All self-consciousness is in relation to the individual himself, and therefore has to be experienced in his being, with a centre in the body as the centre of experience.
It resembled the dynamo of a machine, which gives rise to all sorts of electrical works.
Not only it maintains the life of the body and the activities of all its parts and organs, conscious and unconscious, but also the relation between the physical and the subtler planes on which the individual functions.
Also like the dynamo it vibrates, and can be felt by the calm mind that pays attention to it. It is known to the yogis and seekers by the name ‘sphurana’, which heart ‘I’-‘I’ throb ever scintillates with consciousness in the natural state.
D: Is the vibratory movement of the Centre felt simultaneously with the experience of Pure Consciousness, or before or after it?
M: They are both one and the same. But Spurana can be felt in a subtle way even when meditation has sufficiently stabilized and depend, and the Ultimate Consciousness is very near, or during a sudden great fright or shock, when the mind comes to a standstill. It draws attention to itself, so that the meditator’s mind, rendered sensitive by calmness, may become aware of it, gravitate towards it, and finally plunge into the Self.
D: What is sphurana (a kind of indescribable but palpable sensation in the heart center)?
M: Sphurana is felt on several occasions, such as in fear, excitement, etc. Although it is always and all over, yet it is felt at a particular center and on particular occasions.
It is also associated with antecedent causes and confounded with the body. Whereas, it is all alone and pure; it is the Self. If the mind be fixed on the sphurana and one senses it continuously and automatically it is realization.
‘Sphurana’ is pure. The subject and object proceed from it. If the man mistakes himself for the subject, objects must necessarily appear different from him. They are periodically withdrawn and projected, creating the world and the subject’s enjoyment of the same. If, on the other hand, the man is aware (and the light which makes perception possible) to be the screen on which the subject and object are projected there can be no confusion. One can then remain watching their appearance and disappearance without any perturbation to the Self.
D: What is the nature of the Heart? Does the spiritual Heart beat? If it does not beat, then how is it to be felt?
M: This heart is different from the physical heart; beating is the function of the latter. The former is the seat of spiritual experience. That is all that can be said of it. Just as a dynamo supplies motive power to whole systems of lights, fans, etc., so the original Primal Force supplies energy to the beating of the heart, respiration, etc.