The life after enlightenement
Athenians had prosecuted on both religious and a moral grounds. They accused him that he did not believe in the gods of the city-state and instead introduced new ones. Morally, he was charged for having led young men away from Athenian conventions and ideals. Socrates refused all the charges but to reiterated his unyielding dedication urging his fellow citizens into examining their pre-conceptions, thus initiating a process of constant inquiry which he maintained, would help them learn to live virtuous lives, without caring for material possessions but making their souls good and virtuous.
Socrates believed as a firm conviction that ‘Athenians, it seems to me, do not much care if they think a man is cleaver, so long as so long as they do not suspect him of teaching his cleverness to others; but if they think he makes others like himself, they becomes, whether out of jealousy or for some other reason’. Therefore, he took his role, as he tells his inquisitors, ‘a sort of gadfly given to the state by God, and the state is a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to own size and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which God has attached to the State and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you.’. ‘When I say that I am given to you by God, the proof of my mission is this – if I had been like other men, I should not have neglected all my own concerns or patiently seen the neglect of them during all these years and have been during yours, coming to you individually like a father or elder brother exhorting you to regard virtue; such conduct, I say, would be unlike human nature.’
The Oracle, a sign, the divinity, or the voice, which came to Socrates when he was a child continued to guide and initiate him thereafter. There is enough evidence in his dialogues with his disciples to show that Socrates never did anything by his own will and intent but only depending heavily on some thing that prompts him from within, reasoning that his experiences themselves were the involuntary product of such encouragements.
In Phaedo, we find that when Cebes asks him about some poems which Socrates had written putting Aesop’s fables to verse, though he had never earlier composed poems? Socrates’ reply is revealing in that he did not compose them because he wanted to rival others but because, as he puts : ‘I was trying to discover the meaning of some dreams and I wrote the to clear my conscience, in case this was the sort of art that I was told to pursue. The same dream had kept on coming to me from time to time through out my life, taking different forms at different times, but always saying the same thing ‘Socrates pursue the arts and work hard at them’, I formerly used to suppose that that it was urging me to do what I was doing . . . for philosophy is the greatest of all arts and that was my pursuit. I thought just in case the dream meant, after all that I should follow the popular kind of art, I ought to follow it and not disobey. It seemed safer not to depart before salving my conscience by the composition of the poems in obedience to the dream . So I wrote in honour of the god for who the ceremonies were being held . . .’. These dreams were the same as the ‘. . . Oracle or sign which comes to me and is the divinity . . . which is kind of voice . . . (which) always forbids but never commands me to do anything which I am going to do.’ And which ‘I go about the world obedient to the God, and search and make enquiry in to the wisdom of any one , whether citizen or stranger, who appears robe wise, and if he is not wise then in vindication of the Oracle I show him that he is not wise and my occupation quite absorbs me.’
Ramana Maharshi related his enlightenment to his arrival to the ultimate place of his abidance. His brother’s reprimand became the proverbial moment of the detachment of the ripe fruit from the stem which had attached to the tree. He journey and the note which he had left demonstrated the intensity of his detachment or separation of the body form his self and the supreme state in which he was inwith unmistakable signs that his journey from the individual ‘I’ and ‘this’ towards a universal source, ‘the father’ had already begun. His declaration ‘Father, I have come’ was only an acknowledgement of the momentous moment of his being enlightened..
Whether in the precincts of the Tiruvannamalai temple or in the mountains of Arunachala, he lived in an absolute state of renunciation and Bliss. But his idea of‘Renunciation does not mean outward denial of clothes or abandoning home. True renunciation is the renunciation of desires, passions and attachment . . (the merging) himself with the world and (expanding) his love to embrace each one who constitutes the world . . . When your love extends to cover all, when the heart extends to embrace all creation, then there is no question of giving up this or that ; you will drop of your temporal life a ripe fruit that drops from the tree. The whole world then becomes your family ’.
Maharshi did not need the external world nor was he concerned with its illusory existence. For weeks and months he remained scarcely moving and never speaking. It was a great moment of renunciation but he did not seem to encourage others following his step. Detached from all external life, he remained in a trance-like Bliss of Beatitude, which in later days he clarified ‘Some times I opened my eyes and it was morning, sometimes it was evening. I did not know when the Sun rose and when it set’, his actions being misunderstood. If he closed his eyes, people would say that he is in meditation; if he refrained from talking, they would assume that he was observing mauna; if he did not eat, it was taken that he was fasting, though his actions were spontaneous like seeds sprouting, breeze blowing, the rains, the seasons and the birds singing. He would see, listen, smell and touch everything, without any impressions on his Mind.
Those who came to visit the temple would not fail to observe him, some through curiosity and others through faith. Soon he came across some scriptures, which appeared to him authenticating his experiences, making him feel, ‘I did not yet know that there was an Essence or Impersonal Real underlying everything and that God and I were both identical with It. Later at Tiruvannamali . . . I found that they were analyzing and naming what I had felt intuitively without analysis or name’.
Maharshi was an adept, without having to be initiated, was a Guru without professing to be one. Impulse had come for him from within for him, silently and loudly. Others need prodding as one does when the stick used for stirring funeral pyre, the stick itself finally being reduced to ashes once pyre and corpse are burnt. In this manner, without claiming to be one he became a Guru to many removing the ignorance, the ash that had covered the glowing embers of their self and placing them on the Path to Perfection and pointing out the direction which they have to follow. For many Tapas was an arduous effort; for him it was asnatural as breathing. People gathered around him for clarification of doubts and seeking wisdom.