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Copyright 2001 Realization.org.



Nothing Ever Happened VOLUME 1

Papaji asked Sri Ramana Maharshi to show him God when they met for the first time. The answer was a surprise.


IT WAS IN THE SPRINGTIME that it happened.

Several r of my usual consciousness open and off its hinges, splitting me in two. In the gaping space that appeared, what I had previously called "me" was forcefully pushed out of its usual location inside me into a new location that was approximately a foot behind and to the left of my head. "I" was now behind my body looking out at the world without using the body's eyes.

From a non-localized position somewhere behind and to the left, I could see my body in front and very far away. All the body's signals seemed to take


Reprinted with permission from
Nothing Ever Happened Volume 1
By David Godman
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
The definitive three-volume biography of Sri Ramana Maharshi's most famous disciple.


Published by the Avadhuta Foundation (1998). Paperback.

Volume 1
416 pages.
ISBN 0-9638022-2-4

3-volume boxed set
1297 pages.
ISBN 0-9638022-5-9

"I shook

I shook my head a few times, hoping to rattle my consc to pull the cord to signal the driver to let



The bus arrived at my stop on the rue Lecourbe, and I got off. As I walked the three blocks home, I attempted to pull myself back intofamiliar and foreign. There was an incomprehensible attachment to that body, although it no longer felt like "mine." It continued to send out signals of its sensory perceptions, yet how or where those signals were being received was beyond comprehension.    

"The witness was absolutely distinct from the mind, the bo

Incapable of making sense of this state, the mind alternated between racing wildly in an attempt to put "me" back together and shutting down completely, leaving only the empty humming of space reverberating in the ears. The wit


The whole thing was nightmarish beyond belief. The mind (I could no longer even call it "my" minption. After telling Claude that I didn't want to be disturbed, I lay down in bed and fell into what I thought would be the welcome oblivion of sleep. Sleep came, b awake.


"There was no explaining this one to Claude,n't want to pursue."

The moment the eyes opened the next morning, the mind exploded in worry. Is this insanity? Psychosis? Schizophrenia? Is this what people call a nervous breakdown? Depression? What had happened? And would it ever stop? Claude had started to notice my agitation and was apparently waiting for an explanation. I attem


"After mo."

After months of this mystifying witness awareness, something changed yet again: The witness was literally no more experience of a "me" at all. The experience of personal identity switched off and was never to appear again.

The personal self was gone, yet here was a body and a mind that still existed empty of anyone who occupied them. The experience of living without a personal identity, without an experience of being somebody, an "I" or a "me," is exceedingly difficult to describe, but it is absolutely unmistakable. It can't be confused with having a bad day or coming down with the flu or feeling upset or angry or spaced out. When the personal self disappears, there is no one inside who can be located as being you. The body is only an outline, empty of everything of which it had previously felt so full.

The mind, body, and emotions no longer referred to anyone — there was no one who thought, no one who felt, no one who perceived. Yet the mind, body, normal from the outside, as if the same old Suzanne was going about her life as she always had.


In an attempt to understand what had occurred, the mind began working overtime, generating endless questions, all unanswerable. Who thought? Who felt? Who was afraid? Who were people talking to when they spoke to me? Who were they looking at? Why was theroken koan, forever unsolvable, forever mysterious, completely out of reach of the mind's capacity to comprehend.


"There was no

The oddest moments occurred when any reference was made to my name. If I had to write it on a checturning motion of the mind became the most bizarre of experiences when time and again it found total emptiness where it had previously found an object to perceive, a self-concept.

The more baffled the mind became, the greater the fear. By this time, the body had locked into a pitch of terror that generated continuous shaking in the extremities and copious sweating. My clothing was constantly damp, and the sheets on the bed needed to be hung out to dry every morning. Worst of all, consciousness contained the awareness that there was no one who was awake.

Copyright 1998 Avadhuta Foundation. Reprinted by permission.

David Godman is the author of many books about Sri Ramana Maharshi and his direct disciples. He lives in India and was the librarian at the ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi for eight years.

    This article is reprinted with permission from the book Nothing Ever Happened Volume 1. To order a copy from the publisher, click here.  

This page was published on September 23, 2001.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org. All rights reserved.