By Nisargadatta Maharaj
41. Develop the Witness Attitude
What is the daily and hourly state of mind of a realised man? How does he see,
hear, eat, drink, wake and sleep, work and rest? What proof is there of his
state as different from ours? Apart from the verbal testimony of the so-called
realised people, is there no way of verifying their state objectively. Are there
not some observable differences in their physiological and nervous responses,
in their metabolism, or brain waves, or in their psychosomatic structure?
Maharaj: You may find differences, or you may not. All depends on your capacity of observation. The objective differences are however, the least important. What matters is their outlook, their attitude, which is that of total detachment, aloofness, standing apart.
Q: Does not a jnani feel sorrow when his child dies, does he not suffer?
M: He suffers with those who suffer. The event itself is of little importance, but he is full of compassion for the suffering being, whether alive or dead, in the body or out of it. After all, love and compassion are his very nature. He is one with all that lives and love is that oneness in action.
Q: People are very much afraid of death.
M: The jnani is afraid of nothing. But he pities the man who is afraid. After all to be born, to live and to die is natural. To be afraid is not. To the event, of course, attention is given.
Q: Imagine you are ill -- high fever, aches, shivers. The doctor tells you the condition is serious, there are only a few days to live. What would be your first reaction?
M: No reaction. As it is natural for the incense stick to burn out, so it is natural for the body to die. Really, it is a matter of very little importance. What matters is that I am neither the body nor the mind. I am.
Q: Your family will be desperate, of course. What would you tell them?
M: The usual stuff: fear not, life goes on, God will protect you, we shall be soon together again and so on. But to me the entire commotion is meaningless, for I am not the entity that imagines itself alive or dead. I am neither born nor can I die. I have nothing to remember or to forget.
Q: What about the prayers for the dead?
M: By all means pray for the dead. It pleases them very much. They are flattered. The jnani does not need your prayers. He is himself the answer to your prayers.
Q: How does the jnani fare after death?
M: The jnani is dead already. Do you expect him to die again?
Q: Surely, the dissolution of the body is an important event even to a jnani.
M: There are no important events for a jnani, except when somebody reaches the highest goal. Then only his heart rejoices. All else is of no concern. The entire universe is his body, all life is his life. As in a city of lights, when one bulb burns out, it does not affect the network, so the death of a body does not affect the whole
Q: The particular may not matter to the whole, but it does matter to the particular. The whole is an abstraction, the particular, the concrete, is real.
M: That is what you say. To me it may be the other way -- the whole is real, the part comes and goes. The particular is born and reborn, changing name and shape, the jnani is the Changeless Reality, which makes the changeful possible. But he cannot give you the conviction. It must come with your own experience. With me all is one, all is equal.
Q: Are sin and virtue one and the same?
M: These are all man-made values! What are they to me? What ends in happiness is virtue, what ends in sorrow is sin. Both are states of mind. Mine is not a State of mind.
Q: We are like the blind people at a loss to understand what does it mean to see.
M: You can put it as you like.
Q: Is the practice of silence as a sadhana effective?
M: Anything you do for the sake of enlightenment takes you nearer. Anything you do without remembering enlightenment puts you off. But why complicate? Just know that you are above and beyond all things and thoughts. What you want to be, you are it already. Just keep it in mind.
Q: I hear you saying it, but I cannot believe.
M: I was in the same position myself. But I trusted my Guru and he proved right. Trust me, if you can. Keep in mind what I tell you: desire nothing, for you lack nothing. The very seeking prevents you from finding.
Q: You seem to be so very indifferent to everything!
M: I am not indifferent, I am impartial. I give no preference to the me and the mine. A basket of earth and a basket of jewels are both unwanted. Life and death are all the same to me.
Q: Impartiality makes you indifferent.
M: On the contrary, compassion and love are my very core. Void of all predilections, I am free to love.
Q: Buddha said that the idea of enlightenment is extremely important. Most people go through their lives not even knowing that there is such a thing as enlightenment, leave alone the striving for it. Once they have heard of it, a seed was sown which cannot die. Therefore, he would send his bhikhus to preach ceaselessly for eight months every year.
M: 'One can give food, clothes, shelter, knowledge, affection, but the highest gift is the gospel of enlightenment', my Guru used to say. You are right, enlightenment is the highest good. Once you have it, nobody can take it away from you.
Q: If you would talk like this in the West, people would take you for mad.
M: Of course, they would! To the ignorant all that they can not understand is madness. What of it? Let them be as they are. I am as I am, for no merit of mine and they are as they are, for no fault of theirs. The Supreme Reality manifests itself in innumerable ways. Infinite in number are its names and shapes. All arise, all merge in the same ocean, the source of all is one. Looking for causes and results is but the pastime of the mind. What is, is lovable. Love is not a result, it is the very ground of being. Wherever you go, you will find being, consciousness and love. Why and what for make preferences?
Q: When by natural causes thousands and millions of lives are extinguished (as it happens in floods and earthquakes), I do not grieve. But when one man dies at the hand of man, I grieve extremely. The inevitable has its own majesty, but killing is avoidable and, therefore, ugly and altogether horrible.
M: All happens as it happens. Calamities, whether natural or man-made, happen, and there is no need to feel horrified.
Q: How can anything be without cause?
M: In every event the entire universe is reflected. The ultimate cause is untraceable. The very idea of causation is only a way of thinking and speaking. We cannot imagine, uncaused emergence. This, however, does not prove the existence of causation.
Q: Nature is mindless, hence irresponsible. But man has a mind. Why is it so perverse?
M: The causes of perversity are also natural -- heredity, environment and so on. You are too quick to condemn. Do not worry about others. Deal with your own mind first. When you realise that your mind too is a part of nature, the duality will cease.
Q: There is some mystery in it which I cannot fathom. How can the mind be a part of nature?
M: Because nature is in the mind; without the mind where is nature?
Q: If nature is in the mind and the mind is my own, I should be able to control nature, which is not really the case. Forces beyond my control determine my behaviour.
M: Develop the witness attitude and you will find in your own experience that detachment brings control. The state of witnessing is full of power, there is nothing passive about it.
42. Reality can not be Expressed
Questioner: I have noticed a new self emerging in me, independent of the old self. They somehow co-exist. The old self goes on its habitual ways; the new lets the old be, but does not identify itself with it.
Maharaj: What is the main difference between the old self and the new?
Q: The old self wants everything defined and explained. It wants things to fit each other verbally. The new does not care for verbal explanations -- it accepts things as they are and does not seek to relate them to things remembered.
M: Are you fully and constantly aware of the difference between the habitual and the spiritual. What is the attitude of the new self to the old?
Q: The new just looks at the old. It is neither friendly nor inimical. It just accepts the old self along with everything else. It does not deny its being, but does not accept its value and validity.
M: The new is the total denial of the old. The permissive new is not really new. It is but a new attitude of the old. The really new obliterates the old completely. The two cannot be together. Is there a process of self-denudation, a constant refusal to accept the old ideas and values, or is there just a mutual tolerance? What is their relation?
Q: There is no particular relation. They co-exist.
M: When you talk of the old self and new, whom do you have in mind? As there is continuity in memory between the two, each remembering the other, how can you speak of two selves?
Q: One is a slave to habits, the other is not. One conceptualises, the other is free from all ideas.
M: Why two selves? Between the bound and the free there can be no relationship. The very fact of co-existence proves their basic unity. There is but one self -- it is always now. What you call the other self -- old or new -- is but a modality, another aspect of the one self. The self is single. You are that self and you have ideas of what you have been or will be. But an idea is not the self. Just now, as you are sitting in front of me, which self are you? The old or the new?
Q: The two are in conflict.
M: How can there be conflict between what is and what is not? Conflict is the characteristic of the old. When the new emerges the old is no longer. You cannot speak of the new and the conflict in the same breath. Even the effort of striving for the new self is of the old. Wherever there is conflict, effort, struggle, striving, longing for a change, the new is not. To what extent are you free from the habitual tendency to create and perpetuate conflicts?
Q: I cannot say that I am now a different man. But I did discover new things about myself, states so unlike what I knew before that I feel justified in calling them new.
M: The old self is your own self. The state which sprouts suddenly and without cause, carries no stain of self; you may call it 'god'. What is seedless and rootless, what does not sprout and grow, flower and fruit, what comes into being suddenly and in full glory, mysteriously and marvellously, you may call that 'god'. It is entirely unexpected yet inevitable, infinitely familiar yet most surprising, beyond all hope yet absolutely certain. Because it is without cause, it is without hindrance. It obeys one law only; the law of freedom. Anything that implies a continuity, a sequence, a passing from stage to stage cannot be the real. There is no progress in reality, it is final, perfect, unrelated.
Q: How can I bring it about?
M: You can do nothing to bring it about, but you can avoid creating obstacles. Watch your mind, how it comes into being, how it operates. As you watch your mind, you discover your self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown is the source of knowledge. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there. It is not in the sky nor in the all-pervading ether. God is all that is great and wonderful; I am nothing, have nothing, can do nothing. Yet all comes out of me -- the source is me; the root, the origin is me.
When reality explodes in you, you may call it experience of God. Or, rather, it is God experiencing you. God knows you when you know yourself. Reality is not the result of a process; it is an explosion. It is definitely beyond the mind, but all you can do is to know your mind well. Not that the mind will help you, but by knowing your mind you may avoid your mind disabling you. You have to be very alert, or else your mind will play false with you. It is like watching a thief -- not that you expect anything from a thief, but you do not want to be robbed. In the same way you give a lot of attention to the mind without expecting anything from it.
Or, take another example. We wake and we sleep. After a day's work sleep comes. Now, do I go to sleep or does inadvertence -- characteristic of the sleeping state -- come to me? In other words -- we are awake because we are asleep. We do not wake up into a really waking state. In the waking state the world emerges due to ignorance and takes one into a waking-dream state. Both sleep and waking are misnomers. We are only dreaming. True waking and true sleeping only the jnani knows. We dream that we are awake, we dream that we are asleep. The three states are only varieties of the dream state. Treating everything as a dream liberates. As long as you give reality to dreams, you are their slave. By imagining that you are born as so-and-so, you become a slave to the so-and-so. The essence of slavery is to imagine yourself to be a process, to have past and future, to have history. In fact, we have no history, we are not a process, we do not develop, nor decay; also see all as a dream and stay out of it.
Q: What benefit do I derive from listening to you?
M: I am calling you back to yourself. All I ask you is to look at yourself, towards yourself, into yourself.
Q: To what purpose?
M: You live, you feel, you think. By giving attention to your living, feeling and thinking, you free yourself from them and go beyond them. Your personality dissolves and only the witness remains. Then you go beyond the witness. Do not ask how it happens. Just search within yourself.
Q: What makes the difference between the person and the witness?
M: Both are modes of consciousness. In one you desire and fear, in the other you are unaffected by pleasure and pain and are not ruffled by events. You let them come and go.
Q: How does one get established in the higher state, the state of pure witnessing?
M: Consciousness does not shine by itself. It shines by a light beyond it. Having seen the dreamlike quality of consciousness, look for the light in which it appears, which gives it being. There is the content of consciousness as well as the awareness of it.
Q: I know and I know that I know.
M: Quite so, provided the second knowledge is unconditional and timeless. Forget the known, but remember that you are the knower. Don't be all the time immersed in your experiences. Remember that you are beyond the experience ever unborn and deathless. In remembering it, the quality of pure knowledge will emerge, the light of unconditional awareness.
Q: At what point does one experience reality?
M: Experience is of change, it comes and goes. Reality is not an event, it cannot be experienced. It is not perceivable in the same way as an event is perceivable. If you wait for an event to take place, for the coming of reality, you will wait for ever, for reality neither comes nor goes. It is to be perceived, not expected. It is not to be prepared for and anticipated. But the very longing and search for reality is the movement, operation, action of reality. All you can do is to grasp the central point, that reality is not an event and does not happen and whatever happens, whatever comes and goes, is not reality. See the event as event only, the transient as transient, experience as mere experience and you have done all you can. Then you are vulnerable to reality, no longer armoured against it, as you were when you gave reality to events and experiences. But as soon as there is some like or dislike, you have drawn a screen.
Q: Would you say that reality expresses itself in action rather than in knowledge? Or, is it a feeling of sorts?
M: Neither action, nor feeling, nor thought express reality. There is no such thing as an expression of reality. You are introducing a duality where there is none. Only reality is, there is nothing else. The three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping are not me and I am not in them. When I die, the world will say -- 'Oh, Maharaj is dead!' But to me these are words without content; they have no meaning. When the worship is done before the image of the Guru, all takes place as if he wakes and bathes and eats and rests, and goes for a stroll and returns, blesses all and goes to sleep. All is attended to in minutest details and yet there is a sense of unreality about it all. So is the case with me. All happens as it needs, yet nothing happens. I do what seems to be necessary, but at the same time I know that nothing is necessary, that life itself is only a make-belief.
Q: Why then live at all? Why all this unnecessary coming and going, waking and sleeping, eating and digesting?
M: Nothing is done by me, everything just happens I do not expect, I do not plan, I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.
Q: Were you always like this from the first moment of enlightenment?
M: The three states rotate as usual -- there is waking and sleeping and waking again, but they do not happen to me. They just happen. To me nothing ever happens. There is something changeless, motionless, immovable, rocklike, unassailable; a solid mass of pure being-consciousness-bliss. I am never out of it. Nothing can take me out of it, no torture, no calamity.
Q: Yet, you are conscious!
M: Yes and no. There is peace -- deep, immense, unshakeable. Events are registered in memory, but are of no importance. I am hardly aware of them.
Q: If I understand you rightly, this state did not come by cultivation.
M: There was no coming. It was so -- always. There was discovery and it was sudden. Just as at birth you discover the world suddenly, as suddenly I discovered my real being.
Q: Was it clouded over and your sadhana dissolved the mist? When your true state became clear to you, did it remain clear, or did it get obscured again? Is your condition permanent or intermittent?
M: Absolutely steady. Whatever I may do, it stays like a rock -- motionless. Once you have awakened into reality, you stay in it. A child does not return to the womb! It is a simple state, smaller than the smallest, bigger than the biggest. It is self-evident and yet beyond description.
Q: Is there a way to it?
M: Everything can become a way, provided you are interested. Just puzzling over my words and trying to grasp their full meaning is a sadhana quite sufficient for breaking down the wall. Nothing troubles me. I offer no resistance to trouble -- therefore it does not stay with me. On your side there is so much trouble. On mine there is no trouble at all. Come to my side. You are trouble-prone. I am immune. Anything may happen -- what is needed is sincere interest. Earnestness does it.
Q: Can I do it?
M: Of course. You are quite capable of crossing over. Only be sincere.
43. Ignorance can be Recognised, not Jnana
Questioner: From year to year your teaching remains the same. There seems to be no progress in what you tell us.
Maharaj: In a hospital the sick are treated and get well. The treatment is routine, with hardly any change, but there is nothing monotonous about health. My teaching may be routine, but the fruit of it is new from man to man.
Q: What is realisation? Who is a realised man? By what is the jnani recognised?
M: There are no distinctive marks of jnana. Only ignorance can be recognised, not jnana. Nor does a jnani claim to be something special. AII those who proclaim their own greatness and uniqueness are not jnanis. They are mistaking some unusual development for realisation. The jnani shows no tendency to proclaim himself to be a jnani. He considers himself to be perfectly normal, true to his real nature. Proclaiming oneself to be an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipotent deity is a clear sign of ignorance.
Q: Can the jnani convey his experience to the ignorant? Can jnana be transmitted from one man to another?
M: Yes, it can. The words of a jnani have the power of dispelling ignorance and darkness in the mind. It is not the words that matter, but the power behind them.
Q: What is that power?
M: The power of conviction, based on personal realisation, on one's own direct experience.
Q: Some realised people say that knowledge must be won, not got. Another can only teach, but the learning is one's own.
M: It comes to the same.
Q: There are many who have practiced Yoga for years and years without any result. What may be the cause of their failure?
M: Some are addicted to trances, with their consciousness in abeyance. Without full consciousness what progress can there be?
Q: Many are practicing samadhis (states of rapturous absorption). In samadhis consciousness is quite intense, yet they do not result in anything.
M: What results do you expect? And why should jnana be the result of anything? One thing leads to another, but jnana is not a thing to be bound by causes and results. It is beyond causality altogether. It is abidance in the self. The Yogi comes to know many wonders, but of the self he remains ignorant. The jnani may look and feel quite ordinary, but the self he knows well.
Q: There are many who strive for self-knowledge earnestly, but with scant results. What may be the cause of it?
M: They have not investigated the sources of knowledge sufficiently, their sensations, feelings and thoughts they do not know well enough. This may be one cause of delay. The other: some desires may still be alive.
Q: Ups and downs in sadhana are inevitable. Yet the earnest seeker plods on in spite of all. What can the jnani do for such a seeker?
M: If the seeker is earnest, the light can be given. The light is for all and always there, but the seekers are few, and among those few, those who are ready are very rare. Ripeness of heart and mind is indispensable.
Q: Did you get your own realisation through effort or by the grace of your Guru?
M: His was the teaching and mine was the trust. My confidence in him made me accept his words as true, go deep into them, live them, and that is how I came to realise what I am. The Guru's person and words made me trust him and my trust made them fruitful.
Q: But can a Guru give realisation without words, without trust, just like this, without any preparation?
M: Yes, one can, but where is the taker? You see, I was so attuned to my Guru, so completely trusting him. there was so little of resistance in me, that it all happened easily and quickly. But not everybody is so fortunate. Laziness and restlessness often stand in the way and until they are seen and removed, the progress is slow. All those who have realised on the spot, by mere touch, look or thought, have been ripe for it. But such are very few. The majority needs some time for ripening. Sadhana is accelerated ripening.
Q: What makes one ripe? What is the ripening factor?
M: Earnestness of course, one must be really anxious. After all, the realised man is the most earnest man. Whatever he does, he does it completely, without limitations and reservations. Integrity will take you to reality.
Q: Do you love the world?
M: When you are hurt, you cry. Why? Because you love yourself. Don't bottle up your love by limiting it to the body, keep it open. It will be then the love for all. When all the false selfidentifications are thrown away, what remains is all-embracing love. Get rid of all ideas about yourself, even of the idea that you are God. No self-definition is valid.
Q: I am tired of promises. I am tired of sadhanas, which take all my time and energy and bring nothing. I want reality here and now. Can I have it?
M: Of course you can, provided you are really fed up with everything, including your sadhanas. When you demand nothing of the world, nor of God, when you want nothing, seek nothing, expect nothing then the Supreme State will come to you uninvited and unexpected!
Q: If a man engrossed in family life and in the affairs of the world does his sadhana strictly as prescribed by his scriptures, will he get results?
M: Results he will get, but he will be wrapped up in them like in a cocoon.
Q: So many saints say that when you are ripe and ready, you will realise. Their words may be true, but they are of little use. There must be a way out, independent of ripening which needs time, of sadhana which needs effort.
M: Don't call it a way; it is more a kind of skill. It is not even that. Stay open and quiet, that is all. What you seek is so near you, that there is no place for a way.
Q: There are so many ignorant people in the world and so few jnanis. What may be the cause of it?
M: Don't concern yourself with others, take care of yourself. You know that you are. Don't burden yourself with names, just be. Any name or shape you give yourself obscures your real nature.
Q: Why should seeking end before one can realise?
M: The desire for truth is the highest of all desires, yet, it is still a desire. All desires must be given up to the real to be. Remember that you are. This is your working capital. Rotate it and there will be much profit.
Q: Why should there be seeking at all.
M: Life is seeking, one cannot help seeking. When all search ceases, it is the Supreme State.
Q: Why does the Supreme State come and go?
M: It neither comes nor goes. It is.
Q: Do you speak from your own experience?
M: Of course. It is a timeless state, ever present.
Q: With me it comes and goes, with you it does not. Why this difference?
M: Maybe because I have no desires. Or you do not desire the Supreme strongly enough. You must feel desperate when your mind is out of touch.
Q: All my life I was striving and achieved so little. I was reading, I was listening -- all in vain.
M: Listening and reading became a habit with you.
Q: I gave it up too. I do not read nowadays.
M: What you gave up is of no importance now. What have you not given up?. Find that out and give up that. Sadhana is a search for what to give up. Empty yourself completely.
Q: How can a fool desire wisdom? One needs to know the object of desire, to desire it. When the Supreme is not known, how can it be desired?
M: Man naturally ripens and becomes ready for realisation.
Q: But what is the ripening factor?
M: Self-remembrance, awareness of 'l am' ripens him powerfully and speedily. Give up all ideas about yourself and simply be.
Q: I am tired of all the ways and means and skills and tricks, of all these mental acrobatics. Is there a way to perceive reality directly and immediately?
M: Stop making use of your mind and see what happens. Do this one thing thoroughly. That is all.
Q: When I was younger, I had strange experiences, short but memorable, of being nothing, just nothing, yet fully conscious. But the danger is that one has the desire to recreate from memory the moments that have passed.
M: This is all imagination. In the light of consciousness all sorts of things happen and one need not give special importance to any. The sight of a flower is as marvellous as the vision of God. Let them be. Why remember them and then make memory into a problem? Be bland about them; do not divide them into high and low, inner and outer, lasting and transient. Go beyond, go back to the source, go to the self that is the same whatever happens. Your weakness is due to your conviction that you were born into the world. In reality the world is ever recreated in you and by you. See everything as emanating from the light which is the source of your own being. You will find that in that light there is love and infinite energy.
Q: If I am that light, why do I not know it?
M: To know, you need a knowing mind, a mind capable of knowing. But your mind is ever on the run, never still, never fully reflecting. How can you see the moon in all her glory when the eye is clouded with disease?
Q: Can we say that while the sun is the cause of the shadow one cannot see the sun in the shadow. One must turn round.
M: Again you have introduced the trinity of the sun, the body and shadow. There is no such division in reality. What I am talking about has nothing to do with dualities and trinities. Don't mentalise and verbalise. Just see and be.
Q: Must I see, to be?
M: See what you are. Don't ask others, don't let others tell you about yourself. Look within and see. All the teacher can tell you is only this. There is no need of going from one to another. The same water is in all the wells. You just draw from the nearest. In my case the water is within me and I am the water.
44. 'I am' is True, all else is Inference
Maharaj: The perceiver of the world, is he prior to the world, or does he come into being along with the world?
Questioner: What a strange question! Why do you ask such questions?
M: Unless you know the correct answer, you will not find peace.
Q: When I wake up in the morning, the world is already there, waiting for me. Surely the world comes into being first. I do, but much later, at the earliest at my birth. The body mediates between me and the world. Without the body there would be neither me nor the world.
M: The body appears in your mind, your mind is the content of your consciousness; you are the motionless witness of the river of consciousness which changes eternally without changing you in any way. Your own changelessness is so obvious that you do not notice it. Have a good look at yourself and all these misapprehensions and misconceptions will dissolve. Just as all the little watery lives are in water and cannot be without water, so all the universe is in you and cannot be without you.
Q: We call it God.
M: God is only an idea in your mind. The fact is you. The only thing you know for sure is: 'here and now I am'. Remove, the 'here and now' the 'I am' remains, unassailable. The word exists in memory, memory comes into consciousness; consciousness exists in awareness and awareness is the reflection of the light on the waters of existence.
Q: Still I do not see how can the world be in me when the opposite 'I am in the world' is so obvious.
M: Even to say 'I am the world, the world is me', is a sign of ignorance. But when I keep in mind and confirm in life my identity with the world, a power arises in me which destroys the ignorance, burns it up completely.
Q: Is the witness of ignorance separate from ignorance? Is not to say: 'I am ignorant' a part of ignorance?
M: Of course. All I can say truly is: 'I am', all else is inference. But the inference has become a habit. Destroy all habits of thinking and seeing. The sense 'I am' is the manifestation of a deeper cause, which you may call self, God, reality or by any other name. The 'I am' is in the world; but it is the key which can open the door out of the world. The moon dancing on the water is seen in the water, but it is caused by the moon in the sky and not by the water.
Q: Still the main point seems to escape me. l can admit that the world in which I live and move and have my being is of my own creation, a projection of myself, of my imagination, on the unknown world, the world as it is, the world of 'absolute matter', whatever this matter may be. The world of my own creation may be quite unlike the ultimate, the real world, just like the cinema screen is quite unlike the pictures projected onto it. Nevertheless, this absolute world exists, quite independent of myself.
M: Quite so, the world of Absolute Reality, onto which your mind has projected a world of relative unreality is independent of yourself, for the very simple reason that it is yourself.
Q: Is there no contradiction in terms? How can independence prove identity?
M: Examine the motion of change and you will see. What can change while you do not change, can be said to be independent of you. But what is changeless must be one with whatever else is changeless. For, duality implies interaction and interaction meats change. In other words, the absolutely material and the absolutely spiritual, the totally objective and the totally subjective are identical, both in substance and essence.
Q: Like in a tri-dimensional picture, the light forms its own screen.
M: Any comparison will do. The main point to grasp is that you have projected onto yourself a world of your own imagination, based on memories, on desires and fears, and that you have imprisoned yourself in it. Break the spell and be free.
Q: How does one break the spell?
M: Assert your independence in thought and action. After all, all hangs on your faith in yourself, on the conviction that what you see and hear, think and feel is real. Why not question your faith? No doubt, this world is painted by you on the screen of consciousness and is entirely your own private world. Only your sense 'I am', though in the world, is not of the world. By no effort of logic or imagination can you change the 'I am' into 'I am not'. In the very denial of your being you assert it. Once you realise that the world is your own projection, you are free of it. You need not free yourself of a world that does not exist, except in your own imagination! However is the picture, beautiful or ugly, you are painting it and you are not bound by it. realise that there is nobody to force it on you, that it is due to the habit of taking the imaginary to be real. See the Imaginary as imaginary and be free of fear.
Just as the colours in this carpet are brought out by light but light is not the colour, so is the world caused by you but you are not the world.
That which creates and sustains the world, you may call it God or providence, but ultimately you are the proof that God exists, not the other way round. For, before any question about God can be put, you must be there to put it.
Q: God is an experience in time, but the experiencer is timeless.
M: Even the experiencer is secondary. Primary is the infinite expanse of consciousness, the eternal possibility, the immeasurable potential of all that was, is, and will be. When you look at anything, it is the ultimate you see, but you imagine that you see a cloud or a tree.
Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion: that is all. Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realise that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear.
Even the sense of 'I am' is composed of the pure light and the sense of being. The 'I' is there even without the 'am'. So is the pure light there whether you say 'I' or not. Become aware of that pure light and you will never lose it. The beingness in being, the awareness in consciousness, the interest in every experience -- that is not describable, yet perfectly accessible, for there is nothing else.
Q: You talk of reality directly -- as the all-pervading, ever-present, eternal, all-knowing, all-energizing first cause. There are other teachers, who refuse to discuss reality at all. They say reality is beyond the mind while all discussions are within the realm of the mind, which is the home of the unreal. Their approach is negative; they pinpoint the unreal and thus go beyond it into the real.
M: The difference lies in the words only. After all, when l talk of the real, I describe it as not-unreal, space-less, time-less, cause-less, beginning-less and end-less. It comes to the same. As long as it leads to enlightenment, what does the wording matter? Does it matter whether you pull the cart or push it, as long as it is kept rolling? You may feel attracted to reality at one time and repelled from the false at another; these are only moods which alternate; both are needed for perfect freedom. You may go one way or another -- but each time it will be the right way at the moment; just go whole-heartedly, don't waste time on doubting or hesitating. Many kinds of food are needed to make the child grow, but the act of eating is the same. Theoretically -- all approaches are good. In practice, and at a given moment, you proceed by one road only. Sooner or later you are bound to discover that if you really want to find, you must dig at one place only -- within.
Neither your body nor mind can give you what you seek -- the being and knowing your self and the great peace that comes with it.
Q: Surely there is something valid and valuable in every approach.
M: In each case the value lies in bringing you to the need of seeking within. Playing with various approaches may be due to resistance to going within, to the fear of having to abandon the illusion of being something or somebody in particular. To find water you do not dig small pits all over the place, but drill deep in one place only. Similarly, to find your self you have to explore yourself. When you realise that you are the light of the world, you will also realise that you are the love of it; that to know is to love and to love is to know.
Of all the affections the love of oneself comes first. Your love of the world is the reflection of your love of yourself, for your world is of your own creation. Light and love are impersonal, but they are reflected in your mind as knowing and wishing oneself well. We are always friendly towards ourselves. but not always wise. A Yogi is a man whose goodwill is allied to wisdom.
45. What Comes and Goes has no Being
Questioner: I have come to be with you, rather than to listen. Little can be said in words, much more can be conveyed in silence.
Maharaj: First words, then silence. One must be ripe for silence.
Q: Can I live in silence?
M: Unselfish work leads to silence, for when you work selflessly, you don't need to ask for help. Indifferent to results, you are willing to work with the most inadequate means. You do not care to be much gifted and well equipped. Nor do you ask for recognition and assistance. You just do what needs be done, leaving success and failure to the unknown. For everything is caused by innumerable factors, of which your personal endeavour is but one. Yet such is the magic of man's mind and heart that the most improbable happens when human will and love pull together.
Q: What is wrong with asking for help when the work is worthy?
M: Where is the need of asking? It merely shows weakness and anxiety. Work on, and the universe will work with you. After all the very idea of doing the right thing comes to you from the unknown. Leave it to the unknown as far as the results go, just go through the necessary movements. You are merely one of the links in the long chain of causation. Fundamentally, all happens in the mind only. When you work for something whole-heartedly and steadily, it happens, for it is the function of the mind to make things happen. In reality nothing is lacking and nothing is needed, all work is on the surface only. In the depths there is perfect peace. All your problems arise because you have defined and therefore limited yourself. When you do not think yourself to be this or that, all conflict ceases. Any attempt to do something about your problems is bound to fail, for what is caused by desire can be undone only in freedom from desire. You have enclosed yourself in time and space, squeezed yourself into the span of a lifetime and the volume of a body and thus created the innumerable conflicts of life and death, pleasure and pain, hope and fear. You cannot be rid of problems without abandoning illusions.
Q: A person is naturally limited.
M: There is no such thing as a person. There are only restrictions and limitations. The sum total of these defines the person. You think you know yourself when you know what you are. But you never know who you are. The person merely appears to be, like the space within the pot appears to have the shape and volume and smell of the pot. See that you are not what you believe yourself to be. Fight with all the strength at your disposal against the idea that you are nameable and describable. You are not. Refuse to think of yourself in terms of this or that. There is no other way out of misery, which you have created for yourself through blind acceptance without investigation. Suffering is a call for enquiry, all pain needs investigation. Don't be too lazy to think.
Q: Activity is the essence of reality. There is no virtue in not working. Along with thinking something must be done.
M: To work in the world is hard, to refrain from all unnecessary work is even harder.
Q: For the person I am all this seems impossible.
M: What do you know about yourself? You can only be what you are in reality; you can only appear what you are not. You have never moved away from perfection. All idea of self-improvement is conventional and verbal. As the sun knows not darkness, so does the self know not the non-self. It is the mind, which by knowing the other, becomes the other. Yet the mind is nothing else but the self. It is the self that becomes the other, the notself, and yet remains the self. All else is an assumption. Just as a cloud obscures the sun without in any way affecting it, so does assumption obscure reality without destroying it. The very idea of destruction of reality is ridiculous; the destroyer is always more real than the destroyed. Reality is the ultimate destroyer. All separation, every kind of estrangement and alienation is false. All is one -- this is the ultimate solution of every conflict.
Q: How is it that in spite of so much instruction and assistance we make no progress?
M: As long as we imagine ourselves to be separate personalities, one quite apart from another, we cannot grasp reality which is essentially impersonal. First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centres of observation, and then realise that immense ocean of pure awareness, which is both mind and matter and beyond both.
Q: Whatever I may be in reality, yet I feel myself to be a small and separate person, one amongst many.
M: Your being a person is due to the illusion of space and time; you imagine yourself to be at a certain point occupying a certain volume; your personality is due to your self-identification with the body. Your thoughts and feelings exist in succession, they have their span in time and make you imagine yourself, because of memory, as having duration. In reality time and space exist in you; you do not exist in them. They are modes of perception, but they are not the only ones. Time and space are like words written on paper; the paper is real, the words merely a convention. How old are you?
M: What makes you say forty-eight? What makes you say: I am here? Verbal habits born from assumptions. The mind creates time and space and takes its own creations for reality. All is here and now, but we do not see it. Truly, all is in me and by me. There is nothing else. The very idea of 'else' is a disaster and a calamity.
Q: What is the cause of personification, of self-limitation in time and space?
M: That which does not exist cannot have a cause. There is no such thing as a separate person. Even taking the empirical point of view, it is obvious that everything is the cause of everything, that everything is as it is, because the entire universe is as it is.
Q: Yet personality must have a cause.
M: How does personality, come into being? By memory. By identifying the present with the past and projecting it into the future. Think of yourself as momentary, without past and future and your personality dissolves.
Q: Does not 'I am' remain?
M: The word 'remain' does not apply. 'I am' is ever afresh. You do not need to remember in order to be. As a matter of fact, before you can experience anything, there must be the sense of being. At present your being is mixed up with experiencing. All you need is to unravel being from the tangle of experiences. Once you have known pure being, without being this or that, you will discern it among experiences and you will no longer be misled by names and forms.
Self-limitation is the very essence of personality.
Q: How can I become universal?
M: But you are universal. You need not and you cannot become what you are already. Only cease imagining yourself to be the particular. What comes and goes has no being. It owes its very appearance to reality. You know that there is a world, but does the world know you? All knowledge flows from you, as all being and all joy. realise that you are the eternal source and accept all as your own. Such acceptance is true love.
Q: All you say sounds very beautiful. But how has one to make it into a way of living?
M: Having never left the house you are asking for the way home. Get rid of wrong ideas, that is all. Collecting right ideas also will take you nowhere. Just cease imagining.
Q: It is not a matter of achievement, but of understanding.
M: Don't try to understand! Enough if you do not misunderstand. Don't rely on your mind for liberation. It is the mind that brought you into bondage. Go beyond it altogether.
What is beginningless cannot have a cause. It is not that you knew what you are and then you have forgotten. Once you know, you cannot forget. Ignorance has no beginning, but can have an end. Enquire: who is ignorant and ignorance will dissolve like a dream. The world is full of contradictions, hence your search for harmony and peace. These you cannot find in the world, for the world is the child of chaos. To find order you must search within. The world comes into being only when you are born in a body. No body -- no world. First enquire whether you are the body. The understanding of the world will come later.
Q: What you say sounds convincing, but of what use is it to the private person, who knows itself to be in the world and of the world?
M: Millions eat bread, but few know all about wheat. And only those who know can improve the bread. Similarly, only those who know the self, who have seen beyond the world, can improve the world. Their value to private persons is immense, for they are their only hope of salvation. What is in the world cannot save the world; if you really care to help the world you must step out of it.
Q: But can one step out of the world?
M: Who was born first, you or the world? As long as you give first place to the world, you are bound by it; once you realise, beyond all trace of doubt that the world is in you and not you in the world, you are out of it. Of course your body remains in the world and of the world, but you are not deluded by it. All scriptures say that before the world was, the Creator was. Who knows the Creator? He alone who was before the Creator, your own real being, the source of all the worlds with their creators.
Q: All you say is held together by your assumption that the world is your own projection. You admit that you mean your personal, subjective world, the world given you through your senses and your mind. In that sense each one of us lives in a world of his own projection. These private worlds hardly touch each other and they arise from and merge into the 'I am' at their centre. But surely behind these private worlds there must be a common objective world, of which the private worlds are mere shadows. Do you deny the existence of such an objective world, common to all?
M: Reality is neither subjective nor objective, neither mind nor matter, neither time nor space. These divisions need somebody to whom to happen, a conscious separate centre. But reality is all and nothing, the totality and the exclusion, the fullness and the emptiness, fully consistent, absolutely paradoxical. You cannot speak about it, you can only lose your self in it. When you deny reality to anything, you come to a residue which cannot be denied .
All talk of jnana is a sign of ignorance. It is the mind that imagines that it does not know and then comes to know. Reality knows nothing of these contortions. Even the idea of God as the Creator is false. Do I owe my being to any other being? Because I am, all is.
Q: How can it be? A child is born into the world, not the world into the child. The world is old and the child is new.
M: The child is born into your world. Now, were you born into your world, or did your world appear to you? To be born means to create a world round yourself as the centre. But do you ever create yourself? Or did anyone create you? Everyone creates a world for himself and lives in it, imprisoned by one's ignorance. All we have to do is to deny reality to our prison.
Q: Just as the waking state exists in seed form during sleep, so does the world the child creates on being born exist before its birth. With whom does the seed lie?
M: With him who is the witness of birth and death, but is neither born nor dies. He alone is the seed of creation as well as its residue. Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation.
46. Awareness of Being is Bliss
Questioner: By profession I am a physician. I began with surgery, continued with psychiatry and also wrote some books on mental health and healing by faith. I came to you to learn the laws of spiritual health.
Maharaj: When you are trying to cure a patient, what exactly are you trying to cure? What is cure? When can you say that a man is cured?
Q: I seek to cure the body as well as improve the link between the body and the mind. I also seek to set right the mind.
M: Did you investigate the connection between the mind and the body? At what point are they connected?
Q: Between the body and the indwelling consciousness lies the mind.
M: Is not the body made of food? And can there be a mind without food?
Q: The body is built and maintained by food. Without food the mind usually goes weak. But the mind is not mere food. There is a transforming factor which creates a mind in the body. What is that transforming factor?
M: Just like the wood produces fire which is not wood, so does the body produce the mind which is not the body. But to whom does the mind appear? Who is the perceiver of the thoughts and feelings which you call the mind? There is wood, there is fire and there is the enjoyer of the fire. Who enjoys the mind? Is the enjoyer also a result of food, or is it independent?
Q: The perceiver is independent.
M: How do you know? Speak from your own experience. You are not the body nor the mind. You say so. How do you know?
Q: I really do not know. I guess so.
M: Truth is permanent. The real is changeless. What changes is not real, what is real does not change. Now, what is it in you that does not change? As long as there is food, there is body and mind. When the food is stopped, the body dies and the mind dissolves. But does the observer perish?
Q: I guess it does not. But I have no proof.
M: You yourself are the proof. You have not, nor can you have any other proof. You are yourself, you know yourself, you love yourself. Whatever the mind does, it does for the love of its own self. The very nature of the self is love. It is loved, loving and lovable. It is the self that makes the body and the mind so interesting, so very dear. The very attention given to them comes from the self.
Q: If the self is not the body nor the mind, can it exist without the body and the mind?
M: Yes, it can. It is a matter of actual experience that the self has being independent of mind and body. It is being -- awareness -- bliss. Awareness of being is bliss.
Q: It may be a matter of actual experience to you, but it is not my case. How can I come to the same experience? What practices to follow, what exercises to take up?
M: To know that you are neither body nor mind, watch yourself steadily and live unaffected by your body and mind, completely aloof, as if you were dead. It means you have no vested interests, either in the body or in the mind.
M: I am not asking you to commit suicide. Nor can you. You can only kill the body, you cannot stop the mental process, nor can you put an end to the person you think you are. Just remain unaffected. This complete aloofness, unconcern with mind and body is the best proof that at the core of your being you are neither mind nor body. What happens to the body and the mind may not be within your power to change, but you can always put an end to your imagining yourself to be body and mind. Whatever happens, remind yourself that only your body and mind are affected, not yourself. The more earnest you are at remembering what needs to be remembered, the sooner will you be aware of yourself as you are, for memory will become experience. Earnestness reveals being. What is imagined and willed becomes actuality -- here lies the danger as well as the way out.
Tell me, what steps have you taken to separate your real self, that in you which is changeless, from your body and mind?
Q: I am a medical man, I have studied a lot, I imposed on myself a strict discipline in the way of exercises and periodical fasts and I am a vegetarian.
M: But in the depth of your heart what is it that you want?
Q: I want to find reality.
M: What price are you willing to pay for reality? Any price?
Q: While in theory I am ready to pay any price, in actual life again and again I am being prompted to behave in ways which come in between me and reality. Desire carries me away.
M: Increase and widen your desires till nothing but reality can fulfil them. It is not desire that is wrong, but its narrowness and smallness. Desire is devotion. By all means be devoted to the real, the infinite, the eternal heart of being. Transform desire into love. All you want is to be happy. All your desires, whatever they may be, are expressions of your longing for happiness. Basically, you wish yourself well.
Q: I know that I should not…
M: Wait! Who told you that you should not? What is wrong with wanting to be happy?
Q: The self must go, l know.
M: But the self is there. Your desires are there. Your longing to be happy is there. Why? Because you love yourself. By all means love yourself -- wisely. What is wrong is to love yourself stupidly, so as to make yourself suffer. Love yourself wisely. Both indulgence and austerity have the same purpose in view -- to make you happy. Indulgence is the stupid way, austerity is the wise way.
Q: What is austerity?
M: Once you have gone through an experience, not to go through it again is austerity. To eschew the unnecessary is austerity. Not to anticipate pleasure or pain Is austerity. Having things under control at all times is austerity. Desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience.
It is the choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing -- food. sex, power, fame -- will make you happy is to deceive yourself. Only something as vast and deep as your real self can make you truly and lastingly happy.
Q: Since there is nothing basically wrong in desire as an expression of love of self, how should desire be managed?
M: Live your life intelligently, with the interests of your deepest self always in mind. After all, what do you really want? Not perfection; you are already perfect. What you seek is to express in action what you are. For this you have a body and a mind. Take them in hand and make them serve you.
Q: Who is the operator here? Who is to take the body-mind in hand?
M: The purified mind is the faithful servant of the self. It takes charge of the instruments, inner and outer, and makes them serve their purpose.
Q: And what is their purpose?
M: The self is universal and its aims are universal. There is nothing personal about the self. Live an orderly life, but don't make it a goal by itself. It should be the starting point for high adventure.
Q: Do you advise me to come to India repeatedly?
M: If you are earnest, you don't need moving about. You are yourself wherever you are and you create your own climate. Locomotion and transportation will not give you salvation. You are not the body and dragging the body from place to place will take you nowhere. Your mind is free to roam the three worlds -- make full use of it.
Q: If I am free, why am I in a body?
M: you are not in the body, the body is in you! The mind is in you. They happen to you. They are there because you find them interesting. Your very nature has the infinite capacity to enjoy. It is full of zest and affection. It sheds its radiance on all that comes within its focus of awareness and nothing is excluded. It does not know evil nor ugliness, it hopes, it trusts, it loves. You people do not know how much you miss by not knowing your own true self. You are neither the body nor the mind, neither the fuel nor the fire. They appear and disappear according to their own laws.
That which you are, your true self, you love it, and whatever you do, you do for your own happiness. To find it, to know it, to cherish it is your basic urge. Since time immemorial you loved yourself, but never wisely. Use your body and mind wisely in the service of the self, that is all. Be true to your own self, love your self absolutely. Do not pretend that you love others as yourself. Unless you have realised them as one with yourself, you cannot love them Don't pretend to be what you are not, don't refuse to be what you are. Your love of others is the result of self-knowledge, not its cause. Without self-realisation, no virtue is genuine. When you know beyond all doubting that the same life flows through all that is and you are that life, you will love all naturally and spontaneously. When you realise the depth and fullness of your love of yourself, you know that every living being and the entire universe are included in your affection. But when you look at anything as separate from you, you cannot love it for you are afraid of it. Alienation causes fear and fear deepens alienation. It is a vicious circle. Only self-realisation can break it. Go for it resolutely.
47. Watch Your Mind
Questioner: In one's search for the essential, one soon realises one's inadequacy and the need for a guide or a teacher. This implies a certain discipline for you are expected to trust your guide and follow implicitly his advice and instruction. Yet the social urgencies and pressures are so great, personal desires and fears so powerful, that the simplicity of mind and will, essential in obedience, are not forthcoming. How to strike a balance between the need for a Guru and the difficulty in obeying him implicitly?
Maharaj: What is done under pressure of society and circumstances does not matter much, for it is mostly mechanical, mere reacting to impacts. It is enough to watch oneself dispassionately to isolate oneself completely from what is going on. What has been done without minding, blindly, may add to one's karma (destiny), otherwise it hardly matters. The Guru demands one thing only; clarity and intensity of purpose, a sense of responsibility for oneself. The very reality of the world must be questioned. Who is the Guru, after all? He who knows the state in which there is neither the world nor the thought of it, he is the Supreme Teacher. To find him means to reach the state in which imagination is no longer taken for reality. Please, understand that the Guru stands for reality, for truth, for what is. He is a realist in the highest sense of the term. He cannot and shall not come to terms with the mind and its delusions. He comes to take you to the real; don't expect him to do anything else.
The Guru you have in mind, one who gives you information and instructions, is not the real Guru. The real Guru is he who knows the real, beyond the glamour of appearances. To him your questions about obedience and discipline do not make sense, for in his eyes the person you take yourself to be does not exist, your questions are about a non-existing person. What exists for you does not exist for him. What you take for granted, he denies absolutely. He wants you to see yourself as he sees you. Then you will not need a Guru to obey and follow, for you will obey and follow your own reality. realise that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that while all happens, comes and goes, you alone are, the changeless among the changeful, the self-evident among the inferred. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications.
Q: In order to find the reality, one should discard all that stands in the way. On the other hand, the need to survive within a given society compels one to do and endure many things. Does one need to abandon one's profession and one's social standing in order to find reality?
M: Do your work. When you have a moment free, look within. What is important is not to miss the opportunity when it presents itself. If you are earnest you will use your leisure fully. That is enough.
Q: In my search for the essential and discarding the unessential, is there any scope for creative living? For instance, I love painting. Will it help me if I give my leisure hours to painting?
M: Whatever you may have to do, watch your mind. Also you must have moments of complete inner peace and quiet, when your mind is absolutely still. If you miss it, you miss the entire thing. If you do not, the silence of the mind will dissolve and absorb all else.
Your difficulty lies in your wanting reality and being afraid of it at the same time. You are afraid of it because you do not know it. The familiar things are known, you feel secure with them. The unknown is uncertain and therefore dangerous. But to know reality is to be in harmony with it. And in harmony there is no place for fear.
An infant knows its body, but not the body-based distinctions. It is just conscious and happy. After all, that was the purpose for which it was born. The pleasure to be is the simplest form of self-love, which later grows into love of the self. Be like an infant with nothing standing between the body and the self. The constant noise of the psychic life is absent. In deep silence the self contemplates the body. It is like the white paper on which nothing is written yet. Be like that infant, instead of trying to be this or that, be happy to be. You will be a fully awakened witness of the field of consciousness. But there should be no feelings and ideas to stand between you and the field.
Q: To be content with mere being seems to be a most selfish way of passing time.
M: A most worthy way of being selfish! By all means be selfish by foregoing everything but the Self. When you love the Self and nothing else, you go beyond the selfish and the unselfish. All distinctions lose their meaning. Love of one and love of all merge together in love, pure and simple, addressed to none, denied to none. Stay in that love, go deeper and deeper into it, investigate yourself and love the investigation and you will solve not only your own problems but also the problems of humanity. You will know what to do. Do not ask superficial questions; apply yourself to fundamentals, to the very roots of your being.
Q: Is there a way for me to speed up my self-realisation?
M: Of course there is.
Q: Who will do this speeding up? Will you do it for me?
M: Neither you will do it, nor me. It will just happen.
Q: My very coming here has proved it. Is this speeding up due to holy company? When I left last time, I hoped to come back. And I did! Now I am desperate that so soon I have to leave for England.
M: You are like a newly born child. It was there before but not conscious of its being. At its birth a world arose in it, and with it the consciousness of being. Now you have just to grow in consciousness, that is all. The child is the king of the world -- when it grows up, it takes charge of its kingdom. Imagine that in its infancy it fell seriously ill and the physician cured it. Does it mean that the young king owes his kingdom to the physician? Only, perhaps as one of the contributing factors. There were so many others; all contributed. But the main factor, the most crucial, was the fact of being born the son of a king. Similarly, the Guru may help. But the main thing that helps is to have reality within. It will assert itself. Your coming here definitely helped you. It is not the only thing that is going to help you. The main thing is your own being. Your very earnestness testifies to it.
Q: Does my pursuing a vocation deny my earnestness?
M: I told you already. As long as you allow yourself an abundance of moments of peace, you can safely practice your most honourable profession. These moments of inner quiet will burn out all obstacles without fail. Don't doubt its efficacy. Try it.
Q: But, I did try!
M: Never faithfully, never steadily. Otherwise you would not be asking such questions. You are asking because you are not sure of yourself. And you are not sure of yourself because you never paid attention to yourself, only to your experiences. Be interested in yourself beyond all experience, be with yourself, love yourself; the ultimate security is found only in self-knowledge. The main thing is earnestness. Be honest with yourself and nothing will betray you. Virtues and powers are mere tokens for children to play with. They are useful in the world, but do not take you out of it. To go beyond, you need alert immobility, quiet attention.
Q: What then becomes of one's physical being?
M: As long as you are healthy, you live on.
Q: This life of inner immobility, will it not affect one's health?
M: Your body is food transformed. As your food, gross and subtle, so will be your health.
Q: And what happens to the sex instinct? How can it be controlled?
M: Sex is an acquired habit. Go beyond. As long as your focus is on the body, you will remain in the clutches of food and sex, fear and death. Find yourself and be free.
48. Awareness is Free
Questioner: I have just arrived from Sri Ramanashram. I have spent seven months there.
Maharaj: What practice were you following at the Ashram?
Q: As far as I could, I concentrated on the 'Who am l'?
M: Which way were you doing it? Verbally?
Q: In my free moments during the course of the day. Sometimes I was murmuring to myself 'Who am l?' 'I am, but who am l?' Or, I did it mentally. Occasionally I would have some nice feeling, or get into moods of quiet happiness. On the whole I was trying to be quiet and receptive, rather than labouring for experiences.
M: What were you actually experiencing when you were in the right mood?
Q: A sense of inner stillness, peace and silence.
M: Did you notice yourself becoming unconscious?
Q: Yes, occasionally and for a very short time. Otherwise I was just quiet, inwardly and outwardly.
M: What kind of quiet was it? Something akin to deep sleep, yet conscious all the same. A sort of wakeful sleep?
Q: Yes. Alertly asleep. (jagrit-sushupti).
M: The main thing is to be free of negative emotions -- desire, fear etc., the 'six enemies' of the mind. Once the mind is free of them, the rest will come easily. Just as cloth kept in soap water will become clean, so will the mind get purified in the stream of pure feeling.
When you sit quiet and watch yourself, all kinds of things may come to the surface. Do nothing about them, don't react to them; as they have come so will they go, by themselves. All that matters is mindfulness, total awareness of oneself or rather, of one's mind.
Q: By 'oneself' do you mean the daily self?
M: Yes, the person, which alone is objectively observable. The observer is beyond observation. What is observable is not the real self.
Q: I can always observe the observer, in endless recession.
M: You can observe the observation, but not the observer. You know you are the ultimate observer by direct insight, not by a logical process based on observation. You are what you are, but you know what you are not. The self is known as being, the not-self is known as transient. But in reality all is in the mind. The observed, observation and observer are mental constructs. The self alone is.
Q: Why does the mind create all these divisions?
M: To divide and particularise is in the mind's very nature. There is no harm in dividing. But separation goes against fact. Things and people are different, but they are not separate. Nature is one, reality is one. There are opposites, but no opposition.
Q: I find that by nature I am very active. Here I am advised to avoid activity. The more I try to remain inactive, the greater the urge to do something. This makes me not only active outwardly, but also struggling inwardly to be what by nature I am not. Is there a remedy against longing for work?
M: There is a difference between work and mere activity. All nature works. Work is nature, nature is work. On the other hand, activity is based on desire and fear, on longing to possess and enjoy, on fear of pain and annihilation. Work is by the whole for the whole, activity is by oneself for oneself.
Q: Is there a remedy against activity?
M: Watch it, and it shall cease. Use every opportunity to remind yourself that you are in bondage, that whatever happens to you is due to the fact of your bodily existence. Desire, fear, trouble, joy, they cannot appear unless you are there to appear to. Yet, whatever happens, points to your existence as a perceiving centre. Disregard the pointers and be aware of what they are pointing to. It is quite simple, but it needs be done. What matters is the persistence with which you keep on returning to yourself.
Q: I do get into peculiar states of deep absorption into myself, but unpredictably and momentarily. I do not feel myself to be in control of such states.
M: The body is a material thing and needs time to change. The mind is but a set of mental habits, of ways of thinking and feeling, and to change they must be brought to the surface and examined. This also takes time. Just resolve and persevere, the rest will take care of itself.
Q: I seem to have a clear idea of what needs be done, but I find myself getting tired and depressed and seeking human company and thus wasting time that should be given to solitude and meditation.
M: Do what you feel like doing. Don't bully yourself. Violence will make you hard and rigid. Do not fight with what you take to be obstacles on your way. Just be interested in them, watch them, observe, enquire. Let anything happen -- good or bad. But don't let yourself be submerged by what happens.
Q: What is the purpose in reminding oneself all the time that one is the watcher?
M: The mind must learn that beyond the moving mind there is the background of awareness, which does not change. The mind must come to know the true self and respect it and cease covering it up, like the moon which obscures the sun during solar eclipse. Just realise that nothing observable, or experienceable is you, or binds you. Take no notice of what is not yourself.
Q: To do what you tell me I must be ceaselessly aware.
M: To be aware is to be awake. Unaware means asleep. You are aware anyhow, you need not try to be. What you need is to be aware of being aware. Be aware deliberately and consciously, broaden and deepen the field of awareness. You are always conscious of the mind, but you are not aware of yourself as being conscious.
Q: As I can make out, you give distinct meanings to the words 'mind', 'consciousness', and 'awareness'.
M: Look at it this way. The mind produces thoughts ceaselessly, even when you do not look at them. When you know what is going on in your mind, you call it consciousness. This is your waking state -- your consciousness shifts from sensation to sensation, from perception to perception, from idea to idea, in endless succession. Then comes awareness, the direct insight into the whole of consciousness, the totality of the mind. The mind is like a river, flowing ceaselessly in the bed of the body; you identify yourself for a moment with some particular ripple and call it: 'my thought'. All you are conscious of is your mind; awareness is the cognisance of consciousness as a whole.
Q: Everybody is conscious, but not everybody is aware.
M: Don't say: 'everybody is conscious'. Say: 'there is consciousness', in which everything appears and disappears. Our minds are just waves on the ocean of consciousness. As waves they come and go. As ocean they are infinite and eternal. Know yourself as the ocean of being, the womb of all existence. These are all metaphors of course; the reality is beyond description. You can know it only by being it.
Q: Is the search for it worth the trouble?
M: Without it all is trouble. If you want to live sanely, creatively and happily and have infinite riches to share, search for what you are.
While the mind is centred in the body and consciousness is centred in the mind, awareness is free. The body has its urges and mind its pains and pleasures. Awareness is unattached and unshaken. It is lucid, silent, peaceful, alert and unafraid, without desire and fear. Meditate on it as your true being and try to be it in your daily life, and you shall realise it in its fullness.
Mind is interested in what happens, while awareness is interested in the mind itself. The child is after the toy, but the mother watches the child, not the toy.
By looking tirelessly, I became quite empty and with that emptiness all came back to me except the mind. I find I have lost the mind irretrievably.
Q: As you talk to us just now, are you unconscious?
M: I am neither conscious nor unconscious, I am beyond the mind and its various states and conditions. Distinctions are created by the mind and apply to the mind only. I am pure Consciousness itself, unbroken awareness of all that is. I am in a more real state than yours. I am undistracted by the distinctions and separations which constitute a person. As long as the body lasts, it has its needs like any other, but my mental process has come to an end.
Q: You behave like a person who thinks.
M: Why not? But my thinking, like my digestion, is unconscious and purposeful.
Q: If your thinking is unconscious, how do you know that it is right?
M: There is no desire, nor fear to thwart it. What can make it wrong? Once I know myself and what I stand for, I do not need to check on myself all the time. When you know that your watch shows correct time, you do not hesitate each time you consult it.
Q: At this very moment who talks, if not the mind?
M: That which hears the question, answers it.
Q: But who is it?
M: Not who, but what. I'm not a person in your sense of the word, though I may appear a person to you. I am that infinite ocean of consciousness in which all happens. I am also beyond all existence and cognition, pure bliss of being. There is nothing I feel separate from, hence I am all. No thing is me, so I am nothing.
The same power that makes the fire burn and the water flow, the seeds sprout and the trees grow, makes me answer your questions. There is nothing personal about me, though the language and the style may appear personal. A person is a set pattern of desires and thoughts and resulting actions; there is no such pattern in my case. There is nothing I desire or fear -- how can there be a pattern?
Q: Surely, you will die.
M: Life will escape, the body will die, but it will not affect me in the least. Beyond space and time I am, uncaused, uncausing, yet the very matrix of existence.
Q: May I be permitted to ask how did you arrive at your present condition?
M: My teacher told me to hold on to the sense 'I am' tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realised within myself the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am -- unbound.
Q: Was your realisation sudden or gradual.
M: Neither. One is what one is timelessly. It is the mind that realises as and when it get cleared of desires and fears.
Q: Even the desire for realisation?
M: The desire to put an end to all desires is a most peculiar desire, just like the fear of being afraid is a most peculiar fear. One stops you from grabbing and the other from running. You may use the same words, but the states are not the same. The man who seeks realisation is not addicted to desires; he is a seeker who goes against desire, not with it. A general longing for liberation is only the beginning; to find the proper means and use them is the next step. The seeker has only one goal in view: to find his own true being. Of all desires it is the most ambitious, for nothing and nobody can satisfy it; the seeker and the sought are one and the search alone matters.
Q: The search will come to an end. The seeker will remain.
M: No, the seeker will dissolve, the search will remain. The search is the ultimate and timeless reality.
Q: Search means lacking, wanting, incompleteness and imperfection.
M: No, it means refusal and rejection of the incomplete and the imperfect. The search for reality is itself the movement of reality. In a way all search is for the real bliss, or the bliss of the real. But here we mean by search the search for oneself as the root of being conscious, as the light beyond the mind. This search will never end, while the restless craving for all else must end, for real progress to take place.
One has to understand that the search for reality, or God, or Guru and the search for the self are the same; when one is found, all are found. When 'I am' and 'God is' become in your mind indistinguishable, then something will happen and you will know without a trace of doubt that God is because you are, you are because God is. The two are one.
Q: Since all is preordained, is our self-realisation also preordained? Or are we free there at least?
M: Destiny refers only to name and shape. Since you are neither body nor mind, destiny has no control over you. You are completely free. The cup is conditioned by its shape, material, use and so on. But the space within the cup is free. It happens to be in the cup only when viewed in connection with the cup. Otherwise it is just space. As long as there is a body, you appear to be embodied. Without the body you are not disembodied -- you Just are.
Even destiny is but an idea. Words can be put together in so many ways! Statements can differ, but do they make any change in the actual? There are so many theories devised for explaining things -- all are plausible, none is true. When you drive a car, you are subjected to the laws of mechanics and chemistry: step out of the car and you are under the laws of physiology and biochemistry.
Q: What is meditation and what are its uses?
M: As long as you are a beginner certain formalised meditations, or prayers may be good for you. But for a seeker for reality there is only one meditation -- the rigorous refusal to harbour thoughts. To be free from thoughts is itself meditation.
Q: How is it done?
M: You begin by letting thoughts flow and watching them. The very observation slows down the mind till it stops altogether. Once the mind is quiet, keep it quiet. Don't get bored with peace, be in it, go deeper into it.
Q: I heard of holding on to one thought in order to keep other thoughts away. But how to keep all thoughts away? The very idea is also a thought.
M: Experiment anew, don't go by past experience. Watch your thoughts and watch yourself watching the thoughts. The state of freedom from all thoughts will happen suddenly and by the bliss of it you shall recognise it.
Q: Are you not at all concerned about the state of the world? Look at the horrors in East Pakistan [1971, now Bangla Desh]. Do they not touch you at all?
M: I am reading newspapers, I know what is going on! But my reaction is not like yours. You are looking for a cure, while I am concerned with prevention. As long as there are causes, there must also be results. As long as people are bent on dividing and separating, as long as they are selfish and aggressive, such things will happen. If you want peace and harmony in the world, you must have peace and harmony in your hearts and minds. Such change cannot be imposed; it must come from within. Those who abhor war must get war out of their system. Without peaceful people how can you have peace in the world? As long as people are as they are, the world must be as it is. I am doing my part in trying to help people to know themselves as the only cause of their own misery. In that sense I am a useful man. But what I am in myself, what is my normal state cannot be expressed in terms of social consciousness and usefulness.
I may talk about it, use metaphors or parables, but I am acutely aware that it is just not so. Not that it cannot be experienced. It is experiencing itself! But it cannot be described in the terms of a mind that must separate and oppose in order to know.
The world is like a sheet of paper on which something is typed. The reading and the meaning will vary with the reader, but the paper is the common factor, always present, rarely perceived. When the ribbon is removed, typing leaves no trace on the paper. So is my mind -- the impressions keep on coming, but no trace is left.
Q: Why do you sit here talking to people? What is your real motive?
M: No motive. You say I must have a motive. I am not sitting here, nor talking: no need to search for motives. Don't confuse me with the body. I have no work to do, no duties to perform. That part of me which you may call God will look after the world. This world of yours, that so much needs looking after, lives and moves in your mind. Delve into it, you will find your answers there and there only. Where else do you expect them to come from? Outside your consciousness does anything exist?
Q: It may exist without my ever knowing it.
M: What kind of existence would it be? Can being be divorced from knowing? All being, like all knowing, relates to you. A thing is because you know it to be either in your experience or in your being. Your body and your mind exist as long as you believe so. Cease to think that they are yours and they will just dissolve. By all means let your body and mind function, but do not let them limit you. If you notice imperfections, just keep on noticing: your very giving attention to them will set your heart and mind and body right.
Q: Can I cure myself of a serious illness by merely taking cognisance of it?
M: Take cognisance of the whole of it, not only of the outer symptoms. All illness begins in the mind. Take care of the mind first, by tracing and eliminating all wrong ideas and emotions. Then live and work disregarding illness and think no more of it. With the removal of causes the effect is bound to depart.
Man becomes what he believes himself to be. Abandon all ideas about yourself and you will find yourself to be the pure witness, beyond all that can happen to the body or the mind.
Q: If I become anything I think myself to be, and I start thinking that I am the Supreme Reality, will not my Supreme Reality remain a mere idea?
M: First reach that state and then ask the question.
49. Mind Causes Insecurity
Questioner: People come to you for advice. How do you know what to answer?
Maharaj: As I hear the question, so do I hear the answer.
Q: And how do you know that your answer is right?
M: Once I know the true source of the answers, I need not doubt them. From a pure source only pure water will flow. I am not concerned with people's desires and fears. I am in tune with facts, not with opinions. Man takes his name and shape to be himself, while I take nothing to be myself. Were I to think myself to be a body known by its name, I would not have been able to answer your questions. Were I to take you to be a mere body, there would be no benefit to you from my answers. No true teacher indulges in opinions. He sees things as they are and shows them as they are. If you take people to be what they think themselves to be, you will only hurt them, as they hurt themselves so grievously all the time. But if you see them as they are in reality, it will do them enormous good. If they ask you what to do, what practices to adopt, which way of life to follow, answer: 'Do nothing, just be. In being all happens naturally.'
Q: It seems to me that in your talks you use the words 'naturally' and 'accidentally' indiscriminately. I feel there is a deep difference in the meaning of the two words. The natural is orderly, subject to law; one can trust nature; the accidental is chaotic, unexpected, unpredictable. One could plead that everything is natural, subject to nature's laws; to maintain that everything is accidental, without any cause, is surely an exaggeration.
M: Would you like it better if I use the word 'spontaneous' instead of 'accidental'?
Q: You may use the word 'spontaneous' or 'natural' as opposed to 'accidental'. In the accidental there is the element of disorder, of chaos. An accident is always a breach of rules, an exception, a surprise.
M: Is not life itself a stream of surprises?
Q: There is harmony in nature. The accidental is a disturbance.
M: You speak as a person, limited in time and space, reduced to the contents of a body and a mind. What you like, you call 'natural' and what you dislike, you call 'accidental'.
Q: I like the natural, and the law-abiding, the expected and I fear the law-breaking, the disorderly, the unexpected, the meaningless. The accidental is always monstrous. There may be so-called 'lucky accidents', but they only prove the rule that in an accident-prone universe life would be impossible.
M: I feel there is a misunderstanding. By 'accidental' I mean something to which no known law applies. When I say everything is accidental, uncaused, I only mean that the causes and the laws according to which they operate are beyond our knowing, or even imagining. If you call what you take to be orderly, harmonious, predictable, to be natural, then what obeys higher laws and is moved by higher powers may be called spontaneous. Thus, we shall have two natural orders: the personal and predictable and the impersonal, or super-personal, and unpredictable. Call it lower nature and higher nature and drop the word accidental. As you grow in knowledge and insight, the borderline between lower and higher nature keeps on receding, but the two remain until they are seen as one. For, in fact, everything is most wonderfully inexplicable!
Q: Science explains a lot.
M: Science deals with names and shapes, quantities and qualities, patterns and laws; it is all right in its own place. But life is to be lived; there is no time for analysis. The response must be instantaneous -- hence the importance of the spontaneous, the timeless. It is in the unknown that we live and move. the known is the past.
Q: I can take my stand on what I feel I am. I am an individual, a person among persons. Some people are integrated and harmonised, and some are not. Some live effortlessly, respond spontaneously to every situation correctly, doing full justice to the need of the moment, while others fumble, err and generally make a nuisance of themselves. The harmonised people may be called natural, ruled by law, while the disintegrated are chaotic and subject to accidents.
M: The very idea of chaos presupposes the sense of the orderly, the organic, the inter-related. Chaos and cosmos: are they not two aspects of the same state?
Q: But you seem to say that all is chaos, accidental, unpredictable.
M: Yes, in the sense that not all the laws of being are known and not all events are predictable. The more you are able to understand, the more the universe becomes satisfactory, emotionally and mentally. Reality is good and beautiful; we create the chaos.
Q: If you mean to say that it is the free will of man that causes accidents, I would agree. But we have not yet discussed free will.
M: Your order is what gives you pleasure and disorder is what gives you pain.
Q: You may put it that way, but do not tell me that the two are one. Talk to me in my own language -- the language of an individual in search of happiness. I do not want to be misled by non-dualistic talks.
M: What makes you believe that you are a separate individual?
Q: I behave as an individual. I function on my own. I consider myself primarily, and others only in relation to myself. In short, I am busy with myself.
M: Well, go on being busy with yourself. On what business have you come here?
Q: On my old business of making myself safe and happy. I confess I have not been too successful. I am neither safe nor happy. Therefore, you find me here. This place is new to me, but my reason for coming here is old: the search for safe happiness, happy safety. So far I did not find it. Can you help me?
M: What was never lost can never be found. Your very search for safety and joy keeps you away from them. Stop searching, cease losing. The disease is simple and the remedy equally simple. It is your mind only that makes you insecure and unhappy. Anticipation makes you insecure, memory -- unhappy. Stop misusing your mind and all will be well with you. You need not set it right -- it will set itself right, as soon as you give up all concern with the past and the future and live entirely in the now.
Q: But the now has no dimension. I shall become a nobody, a nothing !
M: Exactly. As nothing and nobody you are safe and happy. You can have the experience for the asking. Just try.
But let us go back to what is accidental and what is spontaneous, or natural. You said nature is orderly while accident is a sign of chaos. I denied the difference and said that we call an event accidental when its causes are untraceable. There is no place for chaos in nature. Only in the mind of man there is chaos. The mind does not grasp the whole -- its focus is very narrow. It sees fragments only and fails to perceive the picture. Just as a man who hears sounds, but does not understand the language, may accuse the speaker of meaningless jabbering, and be altogether wrong. What to one is a chaotic stream of sounds is a beautiful poem to another.
King Janaka once dreamt that he was a beggar. On waking up he asked his Guru -- Vasishta: Am I a king dreaming of being a beggar, or a beggar dreaming of being a king? The Guru answered: You are neither, you are both. You are, and yet you are not what you think yourself to be. You are because you behave accordingly; you are not because it does not last. Can you be a king or a beggar for ever? All must change. You are what does not change. What are you? Janaka said: Yes, I am neither king nor beggar, I am the dispassionate witness. The Guru said. This is your last illusion that you are a jnani, that you are different from, and superior to, the common man. Again you identify yourself with your mind, in this case a well-behaved and in every way an exemplary mind. As long as you see the least difference, you are a stranger to reality. You are on the level of the mind. When the 'I am myself' goes, the 'I am all' comes. When the 'I am all' goes, 'I am' comes. When even 'I am' goes, reality alone is and in it every 'I am' is preserved and glorified. Diversity without separateness is the Ultimate that the mind can touch. Beyond that all activity ceases, because in it all goals are reached and all purposes fulfilled.
Q: Once the Supreme State is reached, can it be shared with others?
M: The Supreme State is universal, here and now; everybody already shares in it. It is the state of being -- knowing and liking. Who does not like to be, or does not know his own existence? But we take no advantage of this joy of being conscious, we do not go into it and purify it of all that is foreign to it. This work of mental self-purification, the cleansing of the psyche, is essential. Just as a speck in the eye, by causing inflammation, may wipe out the world, so the mistaken idea: 'I am the body-mind' causes the self-concern, which obscures the universe. It is useless to fight the sense of being a limited and separate person unless the roots of it are laid bare. Selfishness is rooted in the mistaken ideas of oneself. Clarification of the mind is Yoga.
50. Self-awareness is the Witness
Questioner: You told me that I can be considered under three aspects: the personal (vyakti), the super-personal (vyakta) and the impersonal (avyakta). The Avyakta is the universal and real pure 'I'; the Vyakta is its reflection in consciousness as "I am'; the Vyakti is the totality of physical and vital processes. Within the narrow confines of the present moment, the super-personal is aware of the person, both in space and time; not only one person, but the long series of persons strung together on the thread of karma. It is essentially the witness as well as the residue of the accumulated experiences, the seat of memory, the connecting link (sutratma). It is man's character which life builds and shapes from birth to birth. The universal is beyond all name and shape, beyond consciousness and character, pure unselfconscious being. Did I put down your views rightly?
Maharaj: On the level of the mind -- yes. Beyond the mental level not a word applies.
Q: I can understand that the person is a mental construct, a collective noun for a set of memories and habits. But, he to whom the person happens, the witnessing centre, is it mental too?
M: The personal needs a base, a body to identify oneself with, just as a colour needs a surface to appear on. The seeing of the colour is independent of the colour -- it is the same whatever the colour. One needs an eye to see a colour. The colours are many, the eye is single. The personal is like the light in the colour and also in the eye, yet simple, single, indivisible and unperceivable, except in its manifestations. Not unknowable, but unperceivable, un-objectival, inseparable. Neither material nor mental, neither objective nor subjective, it is the root of matter and the source of consciousness. Beyond mere living and dying, it is the all-inclusive, all-exclusive Life, in which birth is death and death is birth.
Q: The Absolute or Life you talk about, is it real, or a mere theory to cover up our ignorance?
M: Both. To the mind, a theory; in itself -- a reality. It is reality in its spontaneous and total rejection of the false. Just as light destroys darkness by its very presence, so does the absolute destroy imagination. To see that all knowledge is a form of ignorance is itself a movement of reality. The witness is not a person. The person comes into being when there is a basis for it, an organism, a body. In it the absolute is reflected as awareness. Pure awareness becomes self-awareness. When there is a self, self-awareness is the witness. When there is no self to witness, there is no witnessing either. It is all very simple; it is the presence of the person that complicates. See that there is no such thing as a permanently separate person and all becomes clear. Awareness -- mind -- matter -- they are one reality in its two aspects as immovable and movable, and the three attributes of inertia, energy and harmony.
Q: What comes first: consciousness or awareness?
M: Awareness becomes consciousness when it has an object. The object changes all the time. In consciousness there is movement; awareness by itself is motionless and timeless, here and now.
Q: There is suffering and bloodshed in East Pakistan at the present moment. How do you look at it? How does it appear to you, how do you react to it?
M: In pure consciousness nothing ever happens.
Q: Please come down from these metaphysical heights! Of what use is it to a suffering man to be told that nobody is aware of his suffering but himself? To relegate everything to illusion is insult added to injury. The Bengali of East Pakistan is a fact and his suffering is a fact. Please, do not analyse them out of existence! You are reading newspapers, you hear people talking about it. You cannot plead ignorance. Now, what is your attitude to what is happening?
M: No attitude. Nothing is happening.
Q: Any day there may be a riot right in front of you, perhaps people killing each other. Surely you cannot say: nothing is happening and remain aloof.
M: I never talked of remaining aloof. You could as well see me jumping into the fray to save somebody and getting killed. Yet to me nothing happened.
Imagine a big building collapsing. Some rooms are in ruins, some are intact. But can you speak of the space as ruined or intact? It is only the structure that suffered and the people who happened to live in it. Nothing happened to space itself. Similarly, nothing happens to life when forms break down and names are wiped out. The goldsmith melts down old ornaments to make new. Sometimes a good piece goes with the bad. He takes it in his stride, for he knows that no gold is lost.
Q: It is not death that I rebel against. It is the manner of dying.
M: Death is natural, the manner of dying is man-made. Separateness causes fear and aggression, which again cause violence. Do away with man-made separations and all this horror of people killing each other will surely end. But in reality there is no killing and no dying. The real does not die, the unreal never lived. Set your mind right and all will be right. When you know that the world is one, that humanity is one, you will act accordingly. But first of all you must attend to the way you feel, think and live. Unless there is order in yourself, there can be no order in the world.
In reality nothing happens. Onto the screen of the mind destiny forever projects its pictures, memories of former projections and thus illusion constantly renews itself. The pictures come and go -- light intercepted by ignorance. See the light and disregard the picture.
Q: What a callous way of looking at things! People are killing and getting killed and here you talk of pictures.
M: By all means go and get killed yourself -- if that is what you think you should do. Or even go and kill, if you take it to be your duty. But that is not the way to end the evil. Evil is the stench of a mind that is diseased. Heal your mind and it will cease to project distorted, ugly pictures.
Q: What you say I understand, but emotionally I cannot accept it. This merely idealistic view of life repels me deeply. I just cannot think myself to be permanently in a state of dream.
M: How can anybody be permanently in a state caused by an impermanent body? The misunderstanding is based on your idea that you are the body. Examine the idea, see its inherent contradictions, realise that your present existence is like a shower of sparks, each spark lasting a second and the shower itself -- a minute or two. Surely a thing of which the beginning is the end, can have no middle. Respect your terms. Reality cannot be momentary. It is timeless, but timelessness is not duration.
Q: I admit that the world in which I live is not the real world. But there is a real world, of which I see a distorted picture. The distortion may be due to some blemish in my body or mind. But when you say there is no real world, only a dream world in my mind, I just cannot take it. I wish I could believe that all horrors of existence are due to my having a body. Suicide would be the way out.
M: As long as you pay attention to ideas, your own or of others, you will be in trouble. But if you disregard all teachings, all books, anything out into words and dive deeply within yourself and find yourself, this alone will solve all your problems and leave you in full mastery of every situation, because you will not be dominated by your ideas about the situation. Take an example. You are in the company of an attractive woman. You get ideas about her and this creates a sexual situation. A problem is created and you start looking for books on continence, or enjoyment. Were you a baby, both of you could be naked and together without any problem arising. Just stop thinking you are the bodies and the problems of love and sex will lose their meaning. With all sense of limitation gone, fear, pain and the search for pleasure -- all cease. Only awareness remains.