Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - July 26

The Real Thing

I am very impressed and deeply moved by Ramana Maharshi: not only his life (of which I know only the bare outline) but his doctrine—traditional Advaita—or rather, his experience. Whatever may be the deficiencies of the doctrinal elaboration, and the misleading effect of some of the philosophical concepts, this is the basic experience: God is the ultimate “I” Who is the Self of every self! It is this that Christianity too expresses in and through the doctrines of grace, redemption, Incarnation, Trinity. Sons in the Son by grace, we recognize the Father as Him with Whom we are one—not by nature but by His Gift. But the impact of Maharshi’s experience awakens in us the real depth of this truth, and the love that springs from it. How powerless most Christian writing and teaching is today, in this respect! How lost, how far off the real target! The words are there, the doctrine is there, but the realization is absent. Maharshi has an inadequate doctrine, perhaps, but the real realization.

July 23, 1964, V.130-31

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