I have told you the story that one day passing through a street in Vaishali, a fly came and sat on his head. He was talking to Ananda about something. So just automatically the way you do it, he simply waved his hand. Then he suddenly stopped talking to Ananda and again waved his hand. Now there was no fly.
Ananda said, “What are you doing? The fly has gone.”
He said, “The fly has gone, but I acted unconsciously. I waved my hand automatically like a robot. Now I am moving as I should have moved, with full consciousness, awareness.”
So these seem to be two polarities. Both have become a point of great debate as to who is right, because the experience they talk about is the same. My own experience is that mind can be crossed from both ends. One tenth of the mind is conscious, nine tenths of the mind is unconscious. Just think of mind: the upper layer is conscious and nine layers are unconscious. Now mind can be passed from both the ends. You cannot pass from the middle, you will have to travel to the end.
Ramakrishna passed the mind by going deeper and deeper into the unconscious layers. And when the final unconscious layer came, he jumped out of the mind. To the world outside he looked as if he was in a coma. But he reached to the same clear sky although he chose a path which is dark, dismal; he chose the night part of consciousness. But he reached to the same experience.
Buddha never became unconscious in this way. Even walking he was stepping every step fully conscious and gracefully, every gesture fully conscious, gracefully. He transformed his consciousness to such a point that unconscious layers started becoming conscious. The final enlightenment is when all unconscious layers of the mind have become conscious. He also jumps out of the mind.
Both samadhi and prajna are no-mind states, going outside the mind. So the experience is the same but the path is different, very different. One is the white path of light that Buddha followed; one is the path of darkness that Ramakrishna followed. And it is obvious that the people who cannot understand both, who have not followed both the paths and come to the same experience, are going to debate and discuss to no end.
One will say that Ramakrishna’s samadhi is a coma, that he has lost consciousness. Another will say that because Buddha never goes into Ramakrishna-like samadhi, he does not know anything about samadhi. But my experience is, both know the samadhi, both know the prajna. Ramakrishna first knows samadhi and out of samadhi prajna is born. Buddha knows first prajna and then out of prajna samadhi is born. It is only a question of understanding that existence is always contradictory, made of opposites – night and day, life and death.
Ramakrishna’s path is of unconsciousness. Nobody has deliberately considered the point. And Buddha’s path is of pure light, of continuous awareness. Even in sleep Buddha sleeps consciously.
So Nansen has raised a very meaningful question.