14th December, 1938
D.: It is said that Sri Ramakrishna saw life in the image of Kali which
he worshipped. Can it be true?
M.: The life was perceptible(Capable of being perceived by the mind or senses) to Sri Ramakrishna and not to all. The vital force was due to himself. It was his own vital force which manifested as if it were outside and drew him in. Were the image full of life it must have been found so by all. But everything is full of life. That is the fact. Many devotees have had experiences similar to those of Sri Ramakrishna.
D.: How can there be life in stone? It is unconscious.
M.: The whole universe is full of life. You say the stone is unconscious.It is your self-consciousness which now speaks of unconsciousness.When a person wants to see if there is an article in a dark room he takes a lamp to look for it. The light is useful for detecting the presence and the absence of the thing. Consciousness is necessary for discovering if a thing is conscious or not. If a man remains in a dark room one need not take a lamp to find him. If called, he answers. He does not require a lamp to announce his presence.Consciousness is thus self-shining.
Now you say you were unconscious in sleep and self-conscious in the wakeful state. Which is the Reality? The Reality must be continuous and eternal. Neither the unconsciousness nor the self-consciousness of the present is the Reality. But you admit your existence all through. The pure Being is the reality. The others are mere associations. The pure Being cannot be otherwise than consciousness. Otherwise you cannot say that you exist. Therefore consciousness is the reality. When that consciousness is associated with upadhis you speak of self-consciousness,unconsciousness, sub-consciousness, super-consciousness, humanconsciousness,dog-consciousness, tree-consciousness and so on. The unaltering common factor in all of them is consciousness.Therefore the stone is as much unconscious as you are in sleep.Is that totally devoid of consciousness?
D.: But a dog-consciousness is different from my consciousness.I cannot read the Bible to the dog. The tree again does not move whereas I move and act.
M.: Call the tree a standing man; and call the man a moving tree.
An American gentleman who also took part in the conversation would not allow Sri Bhagavan to explain and so it stopped here.
Source: TALKS WITH SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI