7 8 9
51. Be Indifferent to Pain and Pleasure
I am a Frenchman by birth and domicile and since about ten years I have been
Maharaj: After ten years of work are you anywhere nearer your goal?
Q: A little nearer, maybe. It is hard work, you know.
M: The Self is near and the way to it is easy. All you need doing is doing nothing.
Q: Yet I found my sadhana very difficult.
M: Your sadhana is to be. The doing happens. Just be watchful. Where is the
difficulty in remembering that you are? Your are all the time.
Q: The sense of being is there all the time -- no doubt. But the field of attention
is often overrun by all sorts of mental events -- emotions, images, ideas. The
pure sense of being is usually crowded out.
M: What is your procedure for clearing the mind of the unnecessary? What are
your means, your tools for the purification of the mind?
Q: Basically, man is afraid. He is afraid of himself most. I feel I am like
a man who is carrying a bomb that is going to explode. He cannot defuse it,
he cannot throw it away. He is terribly frightened and is searching frantically
for a solution, which he cannot find. To me liberation is getting rid of this
bomb. I do not know much about the bomb. I only know that it comes from early
childhood. I feel like the frightened child protesting passionately against
not being loved. The child is craving for love and because he does not get it,
he is afraid and angry. Sometimes I feel like killing somebody or myself. This
desire is so strong that I am constantly afraid. And I do not know how to get
free from fear.
You see there is a difference between a Hindu mind and a European mind. The
Hindu mind is comparatively simple. The European is a much more complex being.
The Hindu is basically sattvic. He does not understand the European"s restlessness,
hid tireless pursuit of what he thinks needs be done; his greater general knowledge.
M: His reasoning capacity is so great, that he will reason himself out of all
reason! His self-assertiveness is due to his reliance on logic.
Q: But thinking, reasoning is the mind"s normal state. The mind just cannot
M: It may be the habitual state, but it need not be the normal state. A normal
state cannot be painful, while a habit often leads to chronic pain.
Q: If it is not the natural, or normal state of mind, then how to stop it? There
must be a way to quieten the mind. How often I tell myself: enough, please stop,
enough of this endless chatter of sentences repeated round and round! But my
mind would not stop. I feel that one can stop it for a while, but not for long.
Even the so-called "spiritual" people use tricks to keep their mind quiet. They
repeat formulas, they sing, pray, breathe forcibly or gently, shake, rotate,
concentrate, meditate, chase trances, cultivate virtues -- working all the time,
in order to cease working, cease chasing, cease moving. Were it not so tragic,
it would be ridiculous.
M: The mind exists in two states: as water and as honey. The water vibrates
at the least disturbance, while the honey, however disturbed, returns quickly
Q: By its very nature the mind is restless. It can perhaps be made quiet, but
it is not quiet by itself.
M: You may have a chronic fever and shiver all the time. It is desires and fears
that make the mind restless. Free from all negative emotions it is quiet.
Q: You cannot protect the child from negative emotions. As soon as it is born
it learns pain and fear. Hunger is a cruel master and teaches dependence and
hate. The child loves the mother because she feeds it and hates her because
she is late with food. Our unconscious mind is full of conflicts, which overflow
into the conscious. We live on a volcano; we are always in danger. I agree that
the company of people whose mind is peaceful has a very soothing affect, but
as soon as I am away from them, the old trouble starts. This is why I come periodically
to India to seek the company of my Guru.
M: You think you are coming and going, passing through various states and moods.
I see things as they are, momentary events, presenting themselves to me in rapid
succession, deriving their being from me, yet definitely neither me nor mine.
Among phenomena I am not one, nor subject to any. I am independent so simply
and totally, that your mind, accustomed to opposition and denial, cannot grasp
it. I mean literally what I say; I do not need oppose, or deny, because it is
clear to me that I cannot be the opposite or denial of anything. I am just beyond,
in a different dimension altogether. Do not look for me in identification with,
or opposition to something: I am where desire, and fear are not. Now, what is
your experience? Do you also feel that you stand totally aloof from all transient
Q: Yes, I do -- occasionally. But at once a sense of danger sets in, I feel
isolated, outside all relationship with others. You see, here lies the difference
in our mentalities. With the Hindu, the emotion follows the thought. Give a
Hindu an idea and his emotions are roused. With the Westerner it is the opposite:
give him an emotion and he will produce an idea. Your ideas are very attractive
-- intellectually, but emotionally I do not respond.
M: Set your intellect aside. Don't use it in these matters.
Q: Of what use is an advice which I cannot carry out? These are all ideas and
you want me to respond feelingly to ideas, for without feelings there can be
M: Why do you talk of action? Are you acting ever? Some unknown power acts and
you imagine that you are acting. You are merely watching what happens, without
being able to influence it in any way.
Q: Why is there such a tremendous resistance in me against accepting that I
just can do nothing?
M: But what can you do? You are like a patient under anaesthetics on whom a
surgeon performs an operation. When you wake up you find the operation over;
can you say you have done something?
Q: But it is me who has chosen to submit to an operation.
M: Certainly not. It is your illness on one side and the pressure of your physician
and family on the other that have made you decide. You have no choice, only
the illusion of it.
Q: Yet I feel I am not as helpless as you make me appear. I feel I can do everything
I can think of, only I do not know how. It is not the power I lack, but the
M: Not knowing the means is admittedly as bad as not having the power! But let
us drop the subject for the moment; after all it is not important why we feel
helpless, as long as we see clearly that for the time being we are helpless.
I am now 74 years old. And yet I feel that I am an infant. I feel clearly that
in spite of all the changes I am a child. My Guru told me: that child, which
is you even now, is your real self (swarupa). Go back to that state of pure
being, where the 'I am' is still in its purity before it got contaminated with
'this I am' or 'that I am'. Your burden is of false self-identifications --
abandon them all. My Guru told me -- 'Trust me. I tell you; you are divine.
Take it as the absolute truth. Your joy is divine, your suffering is divine
too. All comes from God. Remember it always. You are God, your will alone is
done'. I did believe him and soon realised how wonderfully true and accurate
were his words. I did not condition my mind by thinking: 'I am God, I am wonderful,
I am beyond'. I simply followed his instruction which was to focus the mind
on pure being 'I am', and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with,
nothing but the 'I am' in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing
love became my normal state. In it all disappeared -- myself, my Guru, the life
I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.
Q: It all looks very simple and easy, but it is just not so. Sometimes the wonderful
state of joyful peace dawns on me and I look and wonder: how easily it comes
and how intimate it seems, how totally my own. Where was the need to strive
so hard for a state so near at hand? This time, surely, it has come to stay.
Yet how soon it all dissolves and leaves me wondering -- was it a taste of reality
or another aberration. If it was reality, why did it go? Maybe some unique experience
is needed to fix me for good in the new state and until the crucial experience
comes, this game of hide and seek must continue.
M: Your expectation of something unique and dramatic, of some wonderful explosion,
is merely hindering and delaying your self-realisation. You are not to expect
an explosion, for the explosion has already happened -- at the moment when you
were born, when you realised yourself as being-knowingfeeling. There is
only one mistake you are making: you take the inner for the outer and the outer
for the inner. What is in you, you take to be outside you and what is outside,
you take to be in you. The mind and feelings are external, but you take them
to be intimate. You believe the world to be objective, while it is entirely
a projection of your psyche. That is the basic confusion and no new explosion
will set it right. You have to think yourself out of it. There is no other way.
Q: How am I to think myself out when my thoughts come and go as they like. Their
endless chatter distracts and exhausts me.
M: Watch your thoughts as you watch the street traffic. People come and go;
you register without response. It may not be easy in the beginning, but with
some practice you will find that your mind can function on many levels at the
same time and you can be aware of them all. It is only when you have a vested
interest in any particular level, that your attention gets caught in it and
you black out on other levels. Even then the work on the blacked out levels
goes on, outside the field of consciousness. Do not struggle with your memories
and thoughts; try only to include in your field of attention the other, more
important questions, like 'Who am l?' 'How did I happen to be born?' 'Whence
this universe around me?'. 'What is real and what is momentary?' No memory will
persist, if you lose interest in it, it is the emotional link that perpetuates
the bondage. You are always seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, always after happiness
and peace. Don't you see that it is your very search for happiness that makes
you feel miserable? Try the other way: indifferent to pain and pleasure, neither
asking, nor refusing, give all your attention to the level on which 'I am' is
timelessly present. Soon you will realise that peace and happiness are in your
very nature and it is only seeking them through some particular channels, that
disturbs. Avoid the disturbance, that is all. To seek there is no need; you
would not seek what you already have. You yourself are God, the Supreme Reality.
To begin with, trust me, trust the Teacher. It enables you to make the first
step -- and then your trust is justified by your own experience. In every walk
of life initial trust is essential; without it little can be done. Every undertaking
is an act of faith. Even your daily bread you eat on trust! By remembering what
I told you you will achieve everything. I am telling you again: You are the
all-pervading, all transcending reality. Behave accordingly: think, feel and
act in harmony with the whole and the actual experience of what I say will dawn
upon you in no time. No effort is needed. Have faith and act on it. Please see
that I want nothing from you. It is in your own interest that l speak, because
above all you love yourself, you want yourself secure and happy. Don't be ashamed
of it, don't deny it. It is natural and good to love oneself. Only you should
know what exactly do you love. It is not the body that you love, it is Life
--perceiving, feeling, thinking, doing, loving, striving, creating. It is that
Life you love, which is you, which is all. realise it in its totality, beyond
all divisions and limitations, and all your desires will merge in it, for the
greater contains the smaller. Therefore find yourself, for in finding that you
Everybody is glad to be. But few know the fullness of it. You come to know by
dwelling in your mind on 'I am', 'I know', 'I love' -- with the will of reaching
the deepest meaning of these words.
Q: Can I think 'I am God'?
M: Don't identify yourself with an idea. If you mean by God the Unknown, then
you merely say: 'I do not know what I am'. If you know God as you know your
self, you need not say it. Best is the simple feeling 'I am'. Dwell on it patiently.
Here patience is wisdom; don't think of failure. There can be no failure in
Q: My thoughts will not let me.
M: Pay no attention. Don't fight them. Just do nothing about them, let them
be, whatever they are. Your very fighting them gives them life. Just disregard.
Look through. Remember to remember: 'whatever happens -- happens because I am'.
All reminds you that you are. Take full advantage of the fact that to experience
you must be. You need not stop thinking. Just cease being interested. It is
disinterestedness that liberates. Don't hold on, that is all. The world is made
of rings. The hooks are all yours. Make straight your hooks and nothing can
hold you. Give up your addictions. There is nothing else to give up. Stop your
routine of acquisitiveness, your habit of looking for results and the freedom
of the universe is yours. Be effortless.
Q: Life is effort. There are so many things to do.
M: What needs doing, do it. Don't resist. Your balance must be dynamic, based
on doing just the right thing, from moment to moment. Don't be a child unwilling
to grow up. Stereotyped gestures and postures will not help you. Rely entirely
on your clarity of thought, purity of motive and integrity of action. You cannot
possibly go wrong . Go beyond and leave all behind.
Q: But can anything be left for good?
M: You want something like a round-the-clock ecstasy. Ecstasies come and go,
necessarily, for the human brain cannot stand the tension for a long time. A
prolonged ecstasy will burn out your brain, unless it is extremely pure and
subtle. In nature nothing is at stand-still, everything pulsates, appears and
disappears. Heart, breath, digestion, sleep and waking -- birth and death everything
comes and goes in waves. Rhythm, periodicity, harmonious alternation of extremes
is the rule. No use rebelling against the very pattern of life. If you seek
the Immutable, go beyond experience. When I say: remember 'I am' all the time,
I mean: 'come back to it repeatedly'. No particular thought can be mind's natural
state, only silence. Not the idea of silence, but silence itself. When the mind
is in its natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every experience
or, rather, every experience happens against the background of silence.
Now, what you have learnt here becomes the seed. You may forget it -- apparently.
But it will live and in due season sprout and grow and bring forth flowers and
fruits. All will happen by itself. You need not do anything, only don't prevent
52. Being Happy, Making Happy is the Rhythm of Life
Questioner: I came from Europe a few months ago on one of my periodical
visits to my Guru near Calcutta. Now I am on my way back home. I was invited
by a friend to meet you and I am glad I came.
Maharaj: What did you learn from your Guru and what practice did you follow?
Q: He is a venerable old man of about eighty. Philosophically he is a Vedantin
and the practice he teaches has much to do with rousing the unconscious energies
of the mind and bringing the hidden obstacles and blockages into the conscious.
My personal sadhana was related to my peculiar problem of early infancy and
childhood. My mother could not give me the feeling of being secure and loved,
so important to the child's normal development. She was a woman not fit to be
a mother; ridden with anxieties and neuroses, unsure of herself, she felt me
to be a responsibility and a burden beyond her capacity to bear. She never wanted
me to be born. She did not want me to grow and to develop, she wanted me back
in her womb, unborn, nonexistent. Any movement of life in me she resisted,
any attempt to go beyond the narrow circle of her habitual existence she fought
fiercely. As a child I was both sensitive and affectionate. I craved for love
above everything else and love, the simple, instinctive love of a mother for
her child was denied me. The child's search for its mother became the leading
motive of my life and I never grew out of it. A happy child, a happy childhood
became an obsession with me. Pregnancy, birth, infancy interested me passionately.
I became an obstetrician of some renown and contributed to the development of
the method of painless childbirth. A happy child of a happy mother -- that was
my ideal all my life. But my mother was always there -- unhappy herself, unwilling
and incapable to see me happy. It manifested itself in strange ways. Whenever
I was unwell, she felt better; when I was in good shape, she was down again,
cursing herself and me too. As if she never forgave me my crime of having been
born, she made me feel guilty of being alive. 'You live because you hate me.
If you love me -- die', was her constant, though silent message. And so I spent
my life, being offered death instead of love. Imprisoned, as I was, in my mother,
the perennial infant, I could not develop a meaningful relation with a woman;
the image of the mother would stand between, unforgiving, unforgiven. I sought
solace in my work and found much; but I could not move from the pit of infancy.
Finally, I turned to spiritual search and I am on this line steadily for many
years. But, in a way it is the same old search for mother's love, call it God
or Atma or Supreme Reality. Basically I want to love and be loved; unfortunately
the so-called religious people are against life and all for the mind. When faced
with life's needs and urges, they begin by classifying, abstracting and conceptualising
and then make the classification more important than life itself. They ask to
concentrate on and impersonate a concept. Instead of the spontaneous integration
through love they recommend a deliberate and laborious concentration on a formula.
Whether it is God or Atma, the me or the other, it comes to the same! Something
to think about, not somebody to love. It is not theories and systems that I
need; there are many equally attractive or plausible. I need a stirring of the
heart, a renewal of life, and not a new way of thinking. There are no new ways
of thinking, but feelings can be ever fresh. When I love somebody, I meditate
on him spontaneously and powerfully, with warmth and vigour, which my mind cannot
Words are good for shaping feelings; words without feeling are like clothes
with no body inside -- cold and limp. This mother of mine -- she drained me
of all feelings -- my sources have run dry. Can I find here the richness and
abundance of emotions, which I needed in such ample measure as a child?
M: Where is your childhood now? And what is your future?
Q: I was born, I have grown, I shall die.
M: You mean your body, of course. And your mind. I am not talking of your physiology
and psychology. They are a part of nature and are governed by nature's laws.
I am talking of your search for love. Had it a beginning? Will it have an end?
Q: I really cannot say. It is there -- from the earliest to the last moment
of my life. This yearning for love -- how constant and how hopeless!
M: In your search for love what exactly are you searching for?
Q: Simply this: to love and to be loved.
M: You mean a woman?
Q: Not necessarily. A friend, a teacher, a guide -- as long as the feeling is
bright and clear. Of course, a woman is the usual answer. But it need not be
the only one.
M: Of the two what would you prefer, to love or to be loved?
Q: I would rather have both! But I can see that to love is greater, nobler,
deeper. To be loved is sweet, but it does not make one grow.
M: Can you love on your own, or must you be made to love?
Q: One must meet somebody lovable, of course. My mother was not only not loving,
she was also not lovable.
M: What makes a person lovable? Is it not the being loved? First you love and
then you look for reasons.
Q: It can be the other way round. You love what makes you happy.
M: But what makes you happy?
Q: There is no rule about it. The entire subject is highly individual and unpredictable.
M: Right. Whichever way you put it, unless you love there is no happiness. But,
does love make you always happy? Is not the association of love with happiness
a rather early, infantile stage? When the beloved suffers, don't you suffer
too? And do you cease to love, because you suffer? Must love and happiness come
and go together? Is love merely the expectation of pleasure?
Q: Of course not. There can be much suffering in love.
M: Then what is love? Is it not a state of being rather than a state of mind?
Must you know that you love in order to love? Did you. not love your mother
unknowingly? Your craving for her love, for an opportunity to love her, is it
not the movement of love? Is not love as much a part of you, as consciousness
of being? You sought the love of your mother, because you loved her.
Q: But she would not let me!
M: She could not stop you.
Q: Then, why was I unhappy all my life?
M: Because you did not go down to the very roots of your being. It is your complete
ignorance of yourself, that covered up your love and happiness and made you
seek for what you had never lost. Love is will, the will to share your happiness
with all. Being happy -- making happy -- this is the rhythm of love.
53. Desires Fulfilled, Breed More Desires
Questioner: I must confess I came today in a rebellious mood. I got
a raw deal at the airlines office. When faced with such situations everything
seems doubtful, everything seems useless.
Maharaj: This is a very useful mood. Doubting all, refusing all, unwilling to
learn through another. It is the fruit of your long sadhana. After all one does
not study for ever.
Q: Enough of it. It took me nowhere.
M: Don't say 'nowhere'. It took you where you are -- now.
Q: It is again the child and its tantrums. I have not moved an inch from where
M: You began as a child and you will end as a child. Whatever you have acquired
in the meantime you must lose and start at the beginning.
Q: But the child kicks. When it is unhappy or denied anything it kicks.
M: Let it kick. Just look at the kicking. And if you are too afraid of the society
to kick convincingly look at that too. I know it is a painful business. But
there is no remedy -- except one -- the search for remedies must cease.
If you are angry or in pain, separate yourself from anger and pain and watch
them. Externalisation is the first step to liberation. Step away and look. The
physical events will go on happening, but by themselves they have no importance.
It is the mind alone that matters. Whatever happens, you cannot kick and scream
in an airline office or in a Bank. Society does not allow it. If you do not
like their ways, or are not prepared to endure them, don't fly or carry money.
Walk, and if you cannot walk, don't travel. If you deal with society you must
accept its ways, for its ways are your ways. Your needs and demands have created
them. Your desires are so complex and contradictory -- no wonder the society
you create is also complex and contradictory.
Q: I do see and admit that the outer chaos is merely a reflection of my own
inner disharmony. But what is the remedy?
M: Don't seek remedies.
Q: Sometimes one is in a 'state of grace' and life is happy and harmonious.
But such a state does not last! The mood changes and all goes wrong.
M: If you could only keep quiet, clear of memories and expectations, you would
be able to discern the beautiful pattern of events. It is your restlessness
that causes chaos.
Q: For full three hours that I spent in the airline office I was practising
patience and forbearance. It did not speed up matters.
M: At least it did not slow them down, as your kicking would have surely done!
You want immediate results! We do not dispense magic here. Everybody does the
same mistake: refusing the means, but wanting the ends. You want peace and harmony
in the world, but refuse to have them in yourself. Follow my advice implicitly
and you will not be disappointed. I cannot solve your problem by mere words.
You have to act on what I told you and persevere. It is not the right advice
that liberates, but the action based on it. Just like a doctor, after giving
the patient an injection, tells him: 'Now, keep quiet. Do nothing more, just
keep quiet,' I am telling you: you have got your 'injection', now keep quiet,
just keep quiet. You have nothing else to do. My Guru did the same. He would
tell me something and then said: 'Now keep quiet. Don't go on ruminating all
the time. Stop. Be silent'.
Q: I can keep quiet for an hour in the morning. But the day is long and many
things happen that throw me out of balance. It is easy to say 'be silent', but
to be silent when all is screaming in me and round me -- please tell me how
it is done.
M: All that needs doing can be done in peace and silence. There is no need to
Q: It is all theory which does not fit the facts. I am returning to Europe with
nothing to do there. My life is completely empty.
M: If you just try to keep quiet, all will come -- the work, the strength for
work, the right motive. Must you know everything beforehand? Don't be anxious
about your future -- be quiet now and all will fall in place. The unexpected
is bound to happen, while the anticipated may never come. Don't tell me you
cannot control your nature. You need not control it. Throw it overboard. Have
no nature to fight, or to submit to. No experience will hurt you, provided you
don't make it into a habit. Of the entire universe you are the subtle cause.
All is because you are. Grasp this point firmly and deeply and dwell on it repeatedly.
To realise this as absolutely true, is liberation.
Q: If I am the seed of my universe, then a rotten seed I am! By the fruit the
seed is known.
M: What is wrong with your world that you swear at it?
Q: It is full of pain.
M: Nature is neither pleasant nor painful. It is all intelligence and beauty.
Pain and pleasure are in the mind. Change your scale of values and all will
change. Pleasure and pain are mere disturbances of the senses; treat them equally
and there will be only bliss. And the world is, what you make it; by all means
make it happy. Only contentment can make you happy -- desires fulfilled breed
more desires. Keeping away from all desires and contentment in what comes by
itself is a very fruitful state -- a precondition to the state of fullness.
Don't distrust its apparent sterility and emptiness. Believe me, it is the satisfaction
of desires that breeds misery. Freedom from desires is bliss.
Q: There are things we need.
M: What you need will come to you, if you do not ask for what you do not need.
Yet only few people reach this state of complete dispassion and detachment.
It is a very high state, the very threshold of liberation.
Q: I have been barren for the last two years, desolate and empty and often was
I praying for death to come.
M: Well, with your coming here events have started rolling. Let things happen
as they happen -- they will sort themselves out nicely in the end. You need
not strain towards the future -- the future will come to you on its own. For
some time longer you will remain sleep-walking, as you do now, bereft of meaning
and assurance; but this period will end and you will find your work both fruitful
and easy. There are always moments when one feels empty and estranged. Such
moments are most desirable for it means the soul had cast its moorings and is
sailing for distant places. This is detachment -- when the old is over and the
new has not yet come. If you are afraid, the state may be distressing; but there
is really nothing to be afraid of. Remember the instruction: whatever you come
across -- go beyond.
Q: The Buddhas rule: to remember what needs to be remembered. But I find it
so difficult to remember the right thing at the right moment. With me forgetting
seems to be the rule!
M: It is not easy to remember when every situation brings up a storm of desires
and fears. Craving born of memory is also the destroyer of memory.
Q: How am I to fight desire? There is nothing stronger.
M: The waters of life are thundering over the rocks of objects -- desirable
or hateful. Remove the rocks by insight and detachment and the same waters will
flow deep and silent and swift, in greater volume and with greater power. Don't
be theoretical about it, give time to thought and consideration; if you desire
to be free, neglect not the nearest step to freedom. It is like climbing a mountain:
not a step can be missed. One step less -- and the summit is not reached.
54. Body and Mind are Symptoms of Ignorance
Questioner: We were discussing one day the person -- the witness --
the absolute (vyakti-vyakta-avyakta). As far as I remember, you said that the
absolute alone is real and the witness is absolute only at a given point of
space and time. The person is the organism, gross and subtle, illumined by the
presence of the witness. I do not seem to grasp the matter clearly; could we
discuss it again? You also use the terms mahadakash, chidakash and paramakash.
How are they related to person, witness, and the absolute?
Maharaj: Mahadakash is nature, the ocean of existences, the physical space with
all that can be contacted through the senses. Chidakash is the expanse of awareness,
the mental space of time, perception and cognition. Paramakash is the timeless
and spaceless reality, mindless, undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality,
the source and origin, the substance and the essence, both matter and consciousness
-- yet beyond both. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing
the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and the end of all manifestation,
the root of time and space, the prime cause in every chain of causation.
Q: What is the difference between vyakta and avyakta?
M: There is no difference. It is like light and daylight. The universe is full
of light which you do not see; but the same light you see as daylight. And what
the daylight reveals is the vyakti, The person is always the object, the witness
is the subject and their relation of mutual dependence is the reflection of
their absolute identity. You imagine that they are distinct and separate states.
They are not. They are the same consciousness at rest and in movement, each
state conscious of the other. In chit man knows God and God knows man. In chit
the man shapes the world and the world shapes man. Chit is the link, the bridge
between extremes, the balancing and uniting factor in every experience. The
totality of the perceived is what you call matter. The totality of all perceivers
is what you call the universal mind. The identity of the two, manifesting itself
as perceptibility and perceiving, harmony and intelligence, loveliness and loving,
reasserts itself eternally.
Q: The three gunas, sattva--rajas--tamas, are they only in matter, or also in
M: In both, of course, because the two are not separate. It is only the absolute
that is beyond gunas. In fact, these are but points of view, ways of looking.
They exist only in the mind. Beyond the mind all distinctions cease.
Q: Is the universe a product of the senses?
M: Just as you recreate your world on waking up, so is the universe unrolled.
The mind with its five organs of perception, five organs of action, and five
vehicles of consciousness appears as memory, thought, reason and selfhood.
Q: The sciences have made much progress. We know the body and the mind much
better than our ancestors. Your traditional way, describing and analysing mind
and matter, is no longer valid.
M: But where are your scientists with their sciences? Are they not again images
in your own mind?
Q: Here lies the basic difference! To me they are not my own projections. They
were before I was born and shall be there when I am dead.
M: Of course. Once you accept time and space as real, you will consider yourself
minute and short-lived. But are they real? Do they depend on you, or you on
them? As body, you are in space. As mind, you are in time. But are you mere
body with a mind in it? Have you ever investigated?
Q: I had neither the motive nor the method.
M: I am suggesting both. But the actual work of insight and detachment (viveka-vairagya)
Q: The only motive I can perceive is my own causeless and timeless happiness.
And what is the method?
M: Happiness is incidental. The true and effective motive is love. You see people
suffer and you seek the best way of helping them. The answer is obvious -- first
put yourself beyond the need of help. Be sure your attitude is of pure goodwill,
free of expectation of any kind.
Those who seek mere happiness may end up in sublime indifference, while love
will never rest.
As to method, there is only one -- you must come to know yourself -- both what
you appear to be and what you are. Clarity and charity go together -- each needs
and strengthens the other.
Q: Compassion implies the existence of an objective world, full of avoidable
M: The world is not objective and the sorrow of it is not avoidable. Compassion
is but another word for the refusal to suffer for imaginary reasons.
Q: If the reasons are imaginary, why should the suffering be inevitable?
M: It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears,
the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon
the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy -- truth liberates.
Q: The truth is that I am a mind imprisoned in a body and this is a very unhappy
M: You are neither the body nor in the body -- there is no such thing as body.
You have grievously misunderstood yourself; to understand rightly -- investigate.
Q: But I was born as a body, in a body and shall die with the body, as a body.
M: This is your misconception. Enquire, investigate, doubt yourself and others.
To find truth, you must not cling to your convictions; if you are sure of the
immediate, you will never reach the ultimate. Your idea that you were born and
that you will die is absurd: both logic and experience contradict it.
Q: All right, I shall not insist that I am the body. You have a point here.
But here and now, as I talk to you, I am in my body -- obviously. The body may
not be me, but it is mine.
M: The entire universe contributes incessantly to your existence. Hence the
entire universe is your body. In that sense -- I agree.
Q: My body influences me deeply. In more than one way my body is my destiny.
My character, my moods, the nature of my reactions, my desires and fears --
inborn or acquired -- they are all based on the body. A little alcohol, some
drug or other and all changes. Until the drug wears off I become another man.
M: All this happens because you think yourself to be the body. realise your
real self and even drugs will have no power over you.
Q: You smoke?
M: My body kept a few habits which may as well continue till it dies. There
is no harm in them.
Q: You eat meat?
M: I was born among meat-eating people and my children are eating meat. I eat
very little -- and make no fuss.
Q: Meat-eating implies killing.
M: Obviously. I make no claims of consistency. You think absolute consistency
is possible; prove it by example. Don't preach what you do not practise.
Coming back to the idea of having been born. You are stuck with what your parents
told you: all about conception, pregnancy and birth, infant, child, youngster,
teenager, and so on. Now, divest yourself of the idea that you are the body
with the help of the contrary idea that you are not the body. It is also an
idea, no doubt; treat it like something to be abandoned when its work is done.
The idea that I am not the body gives reality to the body, when in fact, there
is no such thing as body, it is but a state of mind. You can have as many bodies
and as diverse as you like; just remember steadily what you want and reject
Q: I am like a box within box, within box, the outer box acting as the body
and the one next to it -- as the indwelling soul. Abstract the outer box and
the next becomes the body and the one next to it the soul. It is an infinite
series, an endless opening of boxes, is the last one the ultimate soul?
M: If you have a body, you must have a soul; here your simile of a nest of boxes
applies. But here and now, through all your bodies and souls shines awareness,
the pure light of chit. Hold on to it unswervingly. Without awareness, the body
would not last a second. There is in the body a current of energy, affection
and intelligence, which guides, maintains and energises the body. Discover that
current and stay with it.
Of course, all these are manners of speaking. Words are as much a barrier, as
a bridge. Find the spark of life that weaves the tissues of your body and be
with it. It is the only reality the body has.
Q: What happens to that spark of life after death?
M: It is beyond time. Birth and death are but points in time. Life weaves eternally
its many webs. The weaving is in time, but life itself is timeless. Whatever
name and shape you give to its expressions, it is like the ocean -- never changing,
Q: All you say sounds beautifully convincing. yet my feeling of being just a
person in a world strange and alien, often inimical and dangerous, does not
cease. Being a person, limited in space and time, how can I possibly realise
myself as the opposite; a de-personalised, universalised awareness of nothing
M: You assert yourself to be what you are not and deny yourself to be what you
are. You omit the element of pure cognition, of awareness free from all personal
distortions. Unless you admit the reality of chit, you will never know yourself.
Q: What am I to do? I do not see myself as you see me. Maybe you are right and
I am wrong, but how can I cease to be what I feel I am?
M: A prince who believes himself to be a beggar can be convinced conclusively
in one way only: he must behave as a prince and see what happens. Behave as
if what I say is true and judge by what actually happens. All I ask is the little
faith needed for making the first step. With experience will come confidence
and you will not need me any more. I know what you are and I am telling you.
Trust me for a while.
Q: To be here and now, I need my body and its senses. To understand, I need
M: The body and the mind are only symptoms of ignorance, of misapprehension.
Behave as if you were pure awareness, bodiless and mindless, spaceless and timeless,
beyond 'where' and 'when' and 'how'. Dwell on it, think of it, learn to accept
its reality. Don't oppose it and deny it all the time. Keep an open mind at
least. Yoga is bending the outer to the inner. Make your mind and body express
the real which is all and beyond all. By doing you succeed, not by arguing.
Q: Kindly allow me to come back to my first question. How does the error of
being a person originate?
M: The absolute precedes time. Awareness comes first. A bundle of memories and
mental habits attracts attention, awareness gets focalised and a person suddenly
appears. Remove the light of awareness, go to sleep or swoon away -- and the
person disappears. The person (vyakti) flickers, awareness (vyakta) contains
all space and time, the absolute (avyakta) is.
55. Give up All and You Gain All
Questioner: What is your state at the present moment?
Maharaj: A state of non-experiencing. In it all experience is included
Q: Can you enter into the mind and heart of another man and share his experience?
M: No. Such things require special training. I am like a dealer In wheat. I
know little about breads and cakes. Even the taste of a wheat-gruel I may not
know. But about the wheat grain I know all and well. I know the source of all
experience. But the innumerable particular forms experience can take I do not
know. Nor do I need to know. From moment to moment, the little I need to know
to live my life, I somehow happen to know.
Q: Your particular existence and my particular existence, do they both exist
in the mind of Brahma?
M: The universal is not aware of the particular. The existence as a person is
a personal matter. A person exists in time and space, has name and shape, beginning
and end; the universal includes all persons and the absolute is at the root
of and beyond all.
Q: I am not concerned with the totality. My personal consciousness and your
personal consciousness -- what is the link between the two?
M: Between two dreamers what can be the link?
Q: They may dream of each other.
M: That is what people are doing. Everyone imagines 'others' and seeks a link
with them. The seeker is the link, there is none other.
Q: Surely there must be something in common between the many points of consciousness
M: Where are the many points? In your mind. You insist that your world is independent
of your mind. How can it be? Your desire to know other people's minds is due
to your not knowing your own mind. First know your own mind and you will find
that the question of other minds does not arise at all, for there are no other
people. You are the common factor, the only link between the minds. Being is
consciousness; 'I am' applies to all.
Q: The Supreme Reality (Parabrahman) may be present in all of us. But of what
use is it to us?
M: You are like a man who says: 'I need a place where to keep my things, but
of what use is space to me?' or 'I need milk, tea, coffee or soda, but for water
I have no use'. Don't you see that the Supreme Reality is what makes everything
possible? But if you ask of what use is it to you, I must answer: 'None'. In
matters of daily life the knower of the real has no advantage: he may be at
a disadvantage rather: being free from greed and fear, he does not protect himself.
The very idea of profit is foreign to him; he abhors accretions; his life is
constant divesting oneself, sharing, giving.
Q: If there is no advantage in gaining the Supreme, then why take the trouble?
M: There is trouble only when you cling to something. When you hold on to nothing,
no trouble arises. The relinquishing of the lesser is the gaining of the greater.
Give up all and you gain all. Then life becomes what it was meant to be: pure
radiation from an inexhaustible source. In that light the world appears dimly
like a dream.
Q: If my world is merely a dream and you are a part of it, what can you do for
me? If the dream is not real, having no being, how can reality affect it?
M: While it lasts, the dream has temporary being. It is your desire to hold
on to it, that creates the problem. Let go. Stop imagining that the dream is
Q: You seem to take for granted that there can be a dream without a dreamer
and that I identify myself with the dream of my own sweet will. But I am the
dreamer and the dream too. Who is to stop dreaming?
M: Let the dream unroll itself to its very end. You cannot help it. But you
can look at the dream as a dream, refuse it the stamp of reality.
Q: Here am I, sitting before you. I am dreaming and you are watching me talking
in my dream. What is the link between us?
M: My intention to wake you up is the link. My heart wants you awake. I see
you suffer in your dream and I know that you must wake up to end your woes.
When you see your dream as dream, you wake up. But in your dream itself I am
not interested. Enough for me to know that you must wake up. You need not bring
your dream to a definite conclusion, or make it noble, or happy, or beautiful;
all you need is to realise that you are dreaming. Stop imagining, stop believing.
See the contradictions, the incongruities, the falsehood and the sorrow of the
human state, the need to go beyond. Within the immensity of space floats a tiny
atom of consciousness and in it the entire universe is contained.
Q: There are affections in the dream which seem real and everlasting. Do they
disappear on waking up?
M: In dream you love some and not others. On waking up you find you are love
itself, embracing all. Personal love, however intense and genuine, invariably
binds; love in freedom is love of all.
Q: People come and go. One loves whom one meets, one cannot love all.
M: When you are love itself, you are beyond time and numbers. In loving one
you love all, in loving all, you love each. One and all are not exclusive.
Q: You say you are in a timeless state. Does it mean that past and future are
open to you? Did you meet Vashishta Muni, Rama's Guru?
M: The question is in time and about time. Again you are asking me about the
contents of a dream. Timelessness is beyond the illusion of time, it is not
an extension in time. He who called himself Vashishta knew Vashishta. I am beyond
all names and shapes. Vashishta is a dream in your dream. How can I know him?
You are too much concerned with past and future. It is all due to your longing
to continue, to protect yourself against extinction. And as you want to continue,
you want others to keep you company, hence your concern with their survival.
But what you call survival is but the survival of a dream. Death is preferable
to it . There is a chance of waking up .
Q: You are aware of eternity, therefore you are not concerned with survival.
M: It is the other way round. Freedom from all desire is eternity. All attachment
implies fear, for all things are transient. And fear makes one a slave. This
freedom from attachment does not come with practice; it is natural, when one
knows one's true being. Love does not cling; clinging is not love.
Q: So there is no way to gain detachment?
M: There is nothing to gain. Abandon all imaginings and know yourself as you
are. Self-knowledge is detachment. All craving is due to a sense of insufficiency.
When you know that you lack nothing, that all there is, is you and yours, desire
Q: To know myself must I practise awareness?
M: There is nothing to practise. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself,
stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge.
Don't disturb your mind with seeking.
Q: It will take much time if I Just wait for self-realisation.
M: What have you to wait for when it is already here and now? You have only
to look and see. Look at your self, at your own being. You know that you are
and you like it. Abandon all imagining, that is all. Do not rely on time. Time
is death. Who waits -- dies. Life is now only. Do not talk to me about past
and future -- they exist only in your mind.
Q: You too will die.
M: I am dead already. Physical death will make no difference in my case. I am
timeless being. I am free of desire or fear, because I do not remember the past,
or imagine the future. Where there are no names and shapes, how can there be
desire and fear? With desirelessness comes timelessness. I am safe, because
what is not, cannot touch what is. You feel unsafe, because you imagine danger.
Of course, your body as such is complex and vulnerable and needs protection.
But not you. Once you realise your own unassailable being, you will be at peace.
Q: How can I find peace when the world suffers?
M: The world suffers for very valid reasons. If you want to help the world,
you must be beyond the need of help. Then all your doing as well as not doing
will help the world most effectively.
Q: How can non-action be of use where action is needed?
M: Where action is needed, action happens. Man is not the actor. His is to be
aware of what is going on. His very presence is action. The window is the absence
of the wall and it gives air and light because it is empty. Be empty of all
mental content, of all imagination and effort, and the very absence of obstacles
will cause reality to rush in. If you really want to help a person, keep away.
If you are emotionally committed to helping, you will fail to help. You may
be very busy and be very pleased with your charitable nature, but not much will
be done. A man is really helped when he is no longer in need of help. All else
is just futility.
Q: There is not enough time to sit and wait for help to happen. One must do
M: By all means -- do. But what you can do is limited; the self alone is unlimited.
Give limitlessly -- of yourself. All else you can give in small measures only.
You alone are immeasurable. To help is your very nature. Even when you eat and
drink you help your body. For yourself you need nothing. You are pure giving,
beginning-less, endless, inexhaustible. When you see sorrow and suffering, be
with it. Do not rush into activity. Neither learning nor action can really help.
Be with sorrow and lay bare its roots -- helping to understand is real help.
Q: My death is nearing.
M: Your body is short of time, not you. Time and space are in the mind only.
You are not bound. Just understand yourself -- that itself is eternity.
56. Consciousness Arising, World Arises
Questioner: When an ordinary man dies, what happens to him?
Maharaj: According to his belief it happens, As life before death is but imagination,
so is life after. The dream continues.
Q: And what about the jnani?
M: The jnani does not die because he was never born.
Q: He appears so to others.
M: But not to himself. In himself he is free of things -- physical and mental.
Q: Still you must know the state of the man who died. At least from your own
M: Until I met my Guru I knew so many things. Now I know nothing, for all knowledge
is in dream only and not valid. I know myself and I find no life nor death in
me, only pure being -- not being this or that, but just being. But the moment
the mind, drawing on its stock of memories, begins to imagine, it fills the
space with objects and time with events. As I do not know even this birth, how
can I know past births? It is the mind that, itself in movement, sees everything
moving, and having created time, worries about the past and future. All the
universe is cradled in consciousness (maha tattva), which arises where there
is perfect order and harmony (maha sattva). As all waves are in the ocean, so
are all things physical and mental in awareness. Hence awareness itself is all
important, not the content of it. Deepen and broaden your awareness of yourself
and all the blessings will flow. You need not seek anything, all will come to
you most naturally and effortlessly. The five senses and the four functions
of the mind -- memory, thought, understanding and selfhood; the five elements
-- earth, water, fire, air and ether; the two aspects of creation -- matter
and spirit, all are contained in awareness.
Q: Yet, you must believe in having lived before.
M: The scriptures say so, but I know nothing about it. I know myself as I am;
as I appeared or will appear is not within my experience. It is not that I do
not remember. In fact there is nothing to remember. Reincarnation implies a
reincarnating self. There is no such thing. The bundle of memories and hopes,
called the 'I', imagines itself existing everlastingly and creates time to accommodate
its false eternity: To be, I need no past or future. All experience is born
of imagination; I do not imagine, so no birth or death happens to me. Only those
who think themselves born can think themselves re-born. You are accusing me
of having been born -- I plead not guilty!
All exists in awareness and awareness neither dies nor is reborn. It is
the changeless reality itself.
All the universe of experience is born with the body and dies with the body;
it has its beginning and end in awareness, but awareness knows no beginning,
nor end. If you think it out carefully and brood over it for a long time, you
will come to see the light of awareness in all its clarity and the world will
fade out of your vision. It is like looking at a burning incense stick, you
see the stick and the smoke first; when you notice the fiery point, you realise
that it has the power to consume mountains of sticks and fill the universe with
smoke. Timelessly the self actualises itself, without exhausting its infinite
possibilities. In the incense stick simile the stick is the body and the smoke
is the mind. As long as the mind is busy with its contortions, it does not perceive
its own source. The Guru comes and turns your attention to the spark within.
By its very nature the mind is outward turned; it always tends to seek for the
source of things among the things themselves; to be told to look for the source
within, is, in a way, the beginning of a new life. Awareness takes the place
of consciousness; in consciousness there is the 'I', who is conscious while
awareness is undivided; awareness is aware of itself. The 'I am' is a thought,
while awareness is not a thought, there is no 'I am aware' in awareness. Consciousness
is an attribute while awareness is not; one can be aware of being conscious,
but not conscious of awareness. God is the totality of consciousness, but awareness
is beyond all -- being as well as not-being.
Q: I had started with the question about the condition of a man after death.
When his body is destroyed, what happens to his consciousness? Does he carry
his senses of seeing, hearing etc. along with him or does he leave them behind?
And, if he loses his senses, what becomes to his consciousness?
M: Senses are mere modes of perception. As the grosser modes disappear, finer
states of consciousness emerge.
Q: Is there no transition to awareness after death?
M: There can be no transition from consciousness to awareness, for awareness
is not a form of consciousness. Consciousness can only become more subtle and
refined and that is what happens after death. As the various vehicles of man
die off, the modes of consciousness induced by them also fade away.
Q: Until only unconsciousness remains?
M: Look at yourself talking of unconsciousness as something that comes and goes!
Who is there to be conscious of unconsciousness? As long as the window is open,
there is sunlight in the room. With the windows shut, the sun remains, but does
it see the darkness in the room? Is there anything like darkness to the sun?
There is no such thing as unconsciousness, for unconsciousness is not experienceable.
We infer unconsciousness when there is a lapse in memory or communication. If
I stop reacting, you will say that I am unconscious. In reality I may be most
acutely conscious, only unable to communicate or remember.
Q: I am asking a simple question: there are about four billion people in the
world and they are all bound to die. What will be their condition after death
-- not physically, but psychologically? Will their consciousness continue? And
if it does, in what form? Do not tell me that I am not asking the right question,
or that you do not know the answer, or that in your world my question is meaningless;
the moment you start talking about your world and my world as different and
incompatible, you build a wall between us. Either we live in one world or your
experience is of no use to us.
M: Of course we live in one world. Only I see it as it is, while you don't.
You see yourself in the world, while I see the world in myself. To you, you
get born and die, while to me, the world appears and disappears. Our world is
real, but your view of it is not. There is no wall between us, except the one
built by you. There is nothing wrong with the senses, it is your imagination
that misleads you. It covers up the world as it is, with what you imagine it
to be -- something existing independently of you and yet closely following your
inherited, or acquired patterns. There is a deep contradiction in your attitude,
which you do not see and which is the cause of sorrow. You cling to the idea
that you were born into a world of pain and sorrow; I know that the world is
a child of love, having its beginning, growth and fulfilment in love. But I
am beyond love even.
Q: If you have created the world out of love, why is it so full of pain?
M: You are right -- from the body's point of view. But you are not the body.
You are the immensity and infinity of consciousness. Don't assume what is not
true and you will see things as I see them. Pain and pleasure, good and bad,
right and wrong: these are relative terms and must not be taken absolutely.
They are limited and temporary.
Q: In the Buddhist tradition it is stated that a Nirvani, an enlightened Buddha,
has the freedom of the universe. He can know and experience for himself all
that exists. He can command, interfere with nature, with the chain of causation,
change the sequence of events, even undo the past! The world is still with him
but he is free in it.
M: What you describe is God. Of course, where there is a universe, there will
also be its counterpart, which is God. But I am beyond both. There was a kingdom
in search of a king. They found the right man and made him king. In no way had
he changed. He was merely given the title, the rights and the duties of a king.
His nature was not affected, only his actions. Similarly, with the enlightened
man; the content of his consciousness undergoes a radical transformation. But
he is not misled. He knows the changeless.
Q: The changeless cannot be conscious. Consciousness is always of change. The
changeless leaves no trace in consciousness.
M: Yes and no. The paper is not the writing, yet it carries the writing. The
ink is not the message, nor is the reader's mind the message -- but they all
make the message possible.
Q: Does consciousness come down from reality or is it an attribute of matter?
M: Consciousness as such is the subtle counterpart of matter. Just as inertia
(tamas) and energy (rajas) are attributes of matter, so does harmony (sattva)
manifest itself as consciousness. You may consider it in a way as a form of
very subtle energy. Wherever matter organises itself into a stable organism,
consciousness appears spontaneously. With the destruction of the organism consciousness
Q: Then what survives?
M: That, of which matter and consciousness are but aspects, which is neither
born nor dies.
Q: If it is beyond matter and consciousness, how can it be experienced?
M: It can be known by its effects on both; look for it in beauty and in bliss.
But you will understand neither body nor consciousness, unless you go beyond
Q: Please tell us squarely: are you conscious or unconscious?
M: The enlightened (jnani) is neither. But in his enlightenment (jnana) all
is contained. Awareness contains every experience. But he who is aware is beyond
every experience. He is beyond awareness itself.
Q: There is the background of experience, call it matter. There is the experiencer,
call it mind. What makes the bridge between the two?
M: The very gap between is the bridge. That, which at one end looks like matter
and at the other as mind, is in itself the bridge. Don't separate reality into
mind and body and there will be no need of bridges.
Consciousness arising, the world arises. When you consider the wisdom and the
beauty of the world, you call it God. Know the source of it all, which is in
yourself, and you will find all your questions answered.
Q: The seer and the seen: are they one or two?
M: There is only seeing; both the seer and the seen are contained in it. Don't
create differences where there are none.
Q: I began with the question about the man who died. You said that his experiences
will shape themselves according to his expectations and beliefs.
M: Before you were born you expected to live according to a plan, which you
yourself had laid down. Your own will was the backbone of your destiny.
Q: Surely, karma interfered.
M: Karma shapes the circumstances: the attitudes are your own. Ultimately your
character shapes your life and you alone can shape your character.
Q: How does one shape one's character?
M: By seeing it as it is, and being sincerely sorry. This integral seeing-feeling
can work miracles. It is like casting a bronze image; metal alone, or fire alone
will not do; nor will the mould be of any use; you have to melt down the metal
in the heat of the fire and cast it in the mould.
57. Beyond Mind there is no Suffering
Questioner: I see you sitting in your son's house waiting for lunch
to be served. And I wonder whether the content of your consciousness is similar
to mine, or partly different, or totally different. Are you hungry and thirsty
as I am, waiting rather impatiently for the meals to be served, or are you in
an altogether different state of mind?
Maharaj: There is not much difference on the surface, but very much of it in
depth. You know yourself only through the senses and the mind. You take yourself
to be what they suggest; having no direct knowledge of yourself, you have mere
ideas; all mediocre, second-hand, by hearsay. Whatever you think you are you
take it to be true; the habit of imagining yourself perceivable and describable
is very strong with you.
I see as you see, hear as you hear, taste as you taste, eat as you eat. I also
feel thirst and hunger and expect my food to be served on time. When starved
or sick, my body and mind go weak. All this I perceive quite clearly, but somehow
I am not in it, I feel myself as if floating over it, aloof and detached. Even
not aloof and detached. There is aloofness and detachment as there is thirst
and hunger; there is also the awareness of it all and a sense of Immense distance,
as if the body and the mind and all that happens to them were somewhere far
out on the horizon. I am like a cinema screen -- clear and empty -- the pictures
pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before. In no way
is the screen affected by the pictures, nor are the pictures affected by the
screen. The screen intercepts and reflects the pictures, it does not shape them.
It has nothing to do with the rolls of films. These are as they are, lumps of
destiny (prarabdha), but not my destiny; the destinies of the people on the
Q: You do not mean to say that the people in a picture have destinies! They
belong to the story, the story is not theirs.
M: And what about you? Do you shape your life or are you shaped by it?
Q: Yes, you are right. A life story unrolls itself of which I am one of the
actors. I have no being outside it, as it has no being without me. I am merely
a character, not a person.
M: The character will become a person, when he begins to shape his life instead
of accepting it as it comes, and identifying himself with it.
Q: When I ask a question and you answer, what exactly happens?
M: The question and the answer -- both appear on the screen. The lips move,
the body speaks -- and again the screen is clear and empty.
Q: When you say: clear and empty, what do you mean?
M: I mean free of all contents. To myself I am neither perceivable nor conceivable;
there is nothing I can point out and say: 'this I am'. You identify yourself
with everything so easily, I find it impossible. The feeling: 'I am not this
or that, nor is anything mine' is so strong in me that as soon as a thing or
a thought appears, there comes at once the sense 'this I am not'.
Q: Do you mean to say that you spend your time repeating 'this I am not, that
I am not'?
M: Of course not. I am merely verbalizing for your sake. By the grace of my
Guru I have realised once and for good that I am neither object nor subject
and I do not need to remind myself all the time.
Q: I find it hard to grasp what exactly do you mean by saying that you are neither
the object nor the subject. At this very moment, as we talk, am I not the object
of your experience, and you the subject?
M: Look, my thumb touches my forefinger. Both touch and are touched. When my
attention; is on the thumb, the thumb is the feeler and the forefinger -- the
self. Shift the focus of attention and the relationship is reversed. I find
that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I
look at and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner
witness of the thing. I call this capacity of entering other focal points of
consciousness -- love; you may give it any name you like. Love says: 'I am everything'.
Wisdom says: 'I am nothing' Between the two my life flows. Since at any point
of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I
express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.
Q: You make all these extraordinary statements about yourself. What makes you
say those things? What do you mean by saying that you are beyond space and time?
M: You ask and the answer comes. I watch myself -- I watch the answer and see
no contradiction. It is clear to me that I am telling you the truth. It is all
very simple. Only you must trust me that I mean what I say, that I am quite
serious. As I told you already, my Guru showed me my true nature -- and the
true nature of the world. Having realised that I am one with, and yet beyond
the world, I became free from all desire and fear. I did not reason out that
I should be free -- I found myself free -- unexpectedly, without the least effort.
This freedom from desire and fear remained with me since then. Another thing
I noticed was that I do not need to make an effort; the deed follows the thought,
without delay and friction. I have also found that thoughts become self-fulfilling;
things would fall in place smoothly and rightly. The main change was in the
mind; it became motionless and silent, responding quickly, but not perpetuating
the response. Spontaneity became a way of life, the real became natural and
the natural became real. And above all, infinite affection, love, dark and quiet,
radiating in all directions, embracing all, making all interesting and beautiful,
significant and auspicious.
Q: We are told that various Yogic powers arise spontaneously in a man who has
realised his own true being. What is your experience in these matters?
M: Man's fivefold body (physical etc.) has potential powers beyond our wildest
dreams. Not only is the entire universe reflected in man, but also the power
to control the universe is waiting to be used by him. The wise man is not anxious
to use such powers, except when the situation calls for them. He finds the abilities
and skills of the human personality quite adequate for the business of daily
living. Some of the powers can be developed by specialised training, but the
man who flaunts such powers is still in bondage. The wise man counts nothing
as his own. When at some time and place some miracle is attributed to some person,
he will not establish any causal link between events and people, nor will he
allow any conclusions to be drawn. All happened as it happened because it had
to happen everything happens as it does, because the universe is as it is.
Q: The universe does not seem a happy place to live in. Why is there so much
M: Pain is physical; suffering is mental. Beyond the mind there is no suffering.
Pain is merely a signal that the body is in danger and requires attention. Similarly,
suffering warns us that the structure of memories and habits, which we call
the person (vyakti), is threatened by loss or change. Pain is essential for
the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely
to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow
As a sane life is free of pain, so is a saintly life free from suffering.
Q: Nobody has suffered more than saints.
M: Did they tell you, or do you say so on your own? The essence of saintliness
is total acceptance of the present moment, harmony with things as they happen.
A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that,
considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable
and,. therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter
him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance -- or he lets
things take their course.
Q: He may die.
M: So what? What does he gain by living on and what does he lose by dying? What
was born, must die; what was never born cannot die. It all depends on what he
takes himself to be.
Q: Imagine you fall mortally ill. Would you not regret and resent?
M: But I am dead already, or, rather, neither alive nor dead. You see my body
behaving the habitual way and draw your own conclusions. You will not admit
that your conclusions bind nobody but you. Do see that the image you have of
me may be altogether wrong. Your image of yourself is wrong too, but that is
your problem. But you need not create problems for me and then ask me to solve
them. I am neither creating problems nor solving them.
58. Perfection, Destiny of All
Questioner: When asked about the means for self-realisation, you invariably
stress the importance of the mind dwelling on the sense 'I am'. Where is the
causal factor? Why should this particular thought result in self-realisation?
How does the contemplation of 'I am' affect me?
Maharaj: The very fact of observation alters the observer and the observed.
After all, what prevents the insight into one's true nature is the weakness
and obtuseness of the mind and its tendency to skip the subtle and focus on
the gross only. When you follow my advice and try to keep your mind on the notion
of 'I am' only, you become fully aware of your mind and its vagaries. Awareness,
being lucid harmony (sattva) in action, dissolves dullness and quietens the
restlessness of the mind and gently, but steadily changes its very substance.
This change need not be spectacular; it may be hardly noticeable; yet it is
a deep and fundamental shift from darkness to light, from inadvertence to awareness.
Q: Must it be the 'I am' formula? Will not any other sentence do? If I concentrate
on 'there is a table', will it not serve the same purpose?
M: As an exercise in concentration -- yes. But it will not take you beyond the
idea of a table. You are not interested in tables, you want to know yourself.
For this keep steadily in the focus of consciousness the only clue you have:
your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply
into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm
Q: Is there any causal link between my focussing the 'I am' and the breaking
of the shell?
M: The urge to find oneself is a sign that you are getting ready. The impulse
always comes from within. Unless your time has come, you will have neither the
desire nor the strength to go for self-enquiry whole-heartedly.
Q: Is not the grace of the Guru responsible for the desire and its fulfilment?
Is not the Guru's radiant face the bait on which we are caught and pulled out
of this mire of sorrow?
M: It is the Inner Guru (sadguru) who takes you to the Outer Guru, as a mother
takes her child to a teacher. Trust and obey your Guru, for he is the messenger
of your Real Self.
Q: How do I find a Guru whom I can trust?
M: Your own heart will tell you. There is no difficulty in finding a Guru, because
the Guru is in search of you. The Guru is always ready; you are not ready. You
have to be ready to learn; or you may meet your Guru and waste your chance by
sheer inattentiveness and obstinacy. Take my example; there was nothing in me
of much promise, but when I met my Guru, I listened, trusted and obeyed.
Q: Must I not examine the teacher before I put myself entirely into his hands?
M: By all means examine! But what can you find out? Only as he appears to you
on your own level.
Q: I shall watch whether he is consistent, whether there is harmony between
his life and his teaching.
M: You may find plenty of disharmony -- so what? It proves nothing. Only motives
matter. How will you know his motives?
Q: I should at least expect him to be a man of self-control who lives a righteous
M: Such you will find many -- and of no use to you. A Guru can show the way
back home, to your real self. What has this to do with the character, or temperament
of the person he appears to be? Does he not clearly tell you that he is not
the person? The only way you can judge is by the change in yourself when you
are in his company. If you feel more at peace and happy, if you understand yourself
with more than usual clarity and depth, it means you have met the right man.
Take your time, but once you have made up your mind to trust him, trust him
absolutely and follow every instruction fully and faithfully. It does not matter
much if you do not accept him as your Guru and are satisfied with his company
only. Satsang alone can also take you to your goal, provided it is unmixed and
undisturbed. But once you accept somebody as your Guru, listen, remember and
obey. Half-heartedness is a serious drawback and the cause of much self-created
sorrow. The mistake is never the Guru's; it is always the obtuseness and cussedness
of the discipline that is at fault.
Q: Does the Guru then dismiss, or disqualify a disciple?
M: He would not be a Guru if he did! He bides his time and waits till the disciple,
chastened and sobered, comes back to him in a more receptive mood.
Q: What is the motive? Why does the Guru take so much trouble?
M: Sorrow and the ending of sorrow. He sees people suffering in their dreams
and he wants them to wake up. Love is intolerant of pain and suffering. The
patience of a Guru has no limits and, therefore, it cannot be defeated. The
Guru never fails.
Q: Is my first Guru also my last, or do I have to pass from Guru to Guru?
M: The entire universe is your Guru. You learn from everything, if you are alert
and intelligent. Were your mind clear and your heart clean, you would learn
from every passer-by;. It is because you are indolent or restless, that your
inner Self manifests as the outer Guru and makes you trust him and obey.
Q: Is a Guru inevitable?
M: It is like asking 'Is a mother inevitable?' To rise in consciousness from
one dimension to another, you need help. The help may not always be in the shape
of a human person, it may be a subtle presence, or a spark of intuition, but
help must come. The inner Self is watching and waiting for the son to return
to his father. At the right time he arranges everything affectionately and effectively.
Where a messenger is needed, or a guide, he sends the Guru to do the needful.
Q: There is one thing I cannot grasp. You speak of the inner self as wise and
good and beautiful and in every way perfect, and of the person as mere reflection
without a being of its own. On the other hand you take so much trouble in helping
the person to realise itself. If the person is so unimportant, why be so concerned
with its welfare? Who cares for a shadow?
M: You have brought in duality where there is none. There is the body and there
is the Self. Between them is the mind, in which the Self is reflected as 'I
am'. Because of the imperfections of the mind, its crudity and restlessness,
lack of discernment and insight, it takes itself to be the body, not the Self.
All that is needed is to purify the mind so that it can realise its identity
with the Self. When the mind merges in the Self, the body presents no problems.
It remains what it is, an instrument of cognition and action, the tool and the
expression of the creative fire within: The ultimate value of the body is that
it serves to discover the cosmic body, which is the universe in its entirety.
As you realise yourself in manifestation, you keep on discovering that you are
ever more than what you have imagined.
Q: Is there no end to self-discovery?
M: As there is no beginning, there is no end. But what I have discovered by
the grace of my Guru is: I am nothing that can be pointed at. I am neither a
'this' nor a 'that'. This holds absolutely.
Q: Then, where comes in the never-ending discovery, the endless transcending
oneself into hew dimensions?
M: All this belongs to the realm of manifestation; it is in the very structure
of the universe, that the higher can be had only through the freedom from the
Q: What is lower and what is higher?
M: Look at it in terms of awareness. Wider and deeper consciousness is higher.
All that lives, works for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness.
This is the world's sole meaning and purpose. It is the very essence of Yoga
-- ever raising the level of consciousness, discovery of new dimensions, with
their properties, qualities and powers. In that sense the entire universe becomes
a school of Yoga (yogakshetra).
Q: Is perfection the destiny of all human beings?
M: Of all living beings -- ultimately. The possibility becomes a certainty when
the notion of enlightenment appears in the mind. Once a living being has heard
and understood that deliverance is within his reach, he will never forget, for
it is the first message from within. It will take roots and grow and in due
course take the blessed shape of the Guru.
Q: So all we are concerned with is the redemption of the mind?
M: What else? The mind goes astray, the mind returns home. Even the word 'astray'
is not proper. The mind must know itself in every mood. Nothing is a mistake
59. Desire and Fear: Self-centred States
Questioner: I would like to go again into the question of pleasure
and pain, desire and fear. I understand fear which is memory and anticipation
of pain. It is essential for the preservation of the organism and its living
pattern. Needs, when felt, are painful and their anticipation is full of fear;
we are rightly afraid of not being able to meet our basic needs. The relief
experienced when a need is met, or an anxiety allayed is entirely due to the
ending of pain. We may give it positive names like pleasure, or joy, or happiness,
but essentially it is relief from pain. It is this fear of pain that holds together
our social, economic and political institutions.
What puzzles me is that we derive pleasure from things and states of mind, which
have nothing to do with survival. On the contrary, our pleasures are usually
destructive. They damage or destroy the object, the instrument and also the
subject of pleasure. Otherwise, pleasure and pursuit of pleasure would be no
problem. This brings me to the core of my question: why is pleasure destructive?
Why, in spite of its destructiveness, is it wanted?
I may add, I do not have in mind the pleasure-pain pattern by which nature compels
us to go her way. I think of the man-made pleasures, both sensory and subtle,
ranging from the grossest, like overeating, to the most refined. Addiction to
pleasure, at whatever cost, is so universal that there must be something significant
at the root of it.
Of course, not every activity of man must be utilitarian, designed to meet a
need. Play, for example, is natural and man is the most playful animal in existence.
Play fulfils the need for self-discovery and self-development. But even on his
play man becomes destructive of nature, others and himself.
Maharaj: In short, you do not object to pleasure, but only to its price in pain
Q: If reality itself is bliss, then pleasure in some way must be related to
M: Let us not proceed by verbal logic. The bliss of reality does not exclude
suffering. Besides, you know only pleasure, not the bliss of pure being. So
let us examine pleasure at its own level.
If you look at yourself in your moments of pleasure or pain, you will invariably
find that it is not the thing in itself that is pleasant or painful, but the
situation of which it is a part. Pleasure lies in the relationship between the
enjoyer and the enjoyed. And the essence of it is acceptance. Whatever may be
the situation, if it is acceptable, it is pleasant. If it is not acceptable,
it is painful. What makes it acceptable is not important; the cause may be physical,
or psychological, or untraceable; acceptance is the decisive factor. Obversely,
suffering is due to nonacceptance.
Q: Pain is not acceptable.
M: Why not? Did you ever try? Do try and you will find in pain a joy which pleasure
cannot yield, for the simple reason that acceptance of pain takes you much deeper
than pleasure does. The personal self by its very nature is constantly pursuing
pleasure and avoiding pain. The ending of this pattern is the ending of the
self. The ending of the self with its desires and fears enables you to return
to your real nature, the source of all happiness and peace. The perennial desire
for pleasure is the reflection of the timeless harmony within. It is an observable
fact that one becomes self-conscious only when caught in the conflict between
pleasure and pain, which demands choice and decision. It is this clash between
desire and fear that causes anger, which is the great destroyer of sanity in
life. When pain is accepted for what it is, a lesson and a warning, and deeply
looked into and heeded, the separation between pain and pleasure breaks down,
both become experience -- painful when resisted, joyful when accepted.
Q: Do you advise shunning pleasure and pursuing pain?
M: No, nor pursuing pleasure and shunning pain. Accept both as they come, enjoy
both while they last, let them go, as they must.
Q: How can I possibly enjoy pain? Physical pain calls for action.
M: Of course. And so does Mental. The bliss is in the awareness of it, in not
shrinking, or in any way turning away from it. All happiness comes from awareness.
The more we are conscious, the deeper the joy. Acceptance of pain, non-resistance,
courage and endurance -- these open deep and perennial sources of real happiness,
Q: Why should pain be more effective than pleasure?
M: Pleasure is readily accepted, while all the powers of the self reject pain.
As the acceptance of pain is the denial of the self, and the self stands in
the way of true happiness, the wholehearted acceptance of pain releases the
springs of happiness.
Q: Does the acceptance of suffering act the same way?
M: The fact of pain is easily brought within the focus of awareness. With suffering
it is not that simple. To focus suffering is not enough, for mental life, as
we know it, is one continuous stream of suffering. To reach the deeper layers
of suffering you must go to its roots and uncover their vast underground network,
where fear and desire are closely interwoven and the currents of life's energy
oppose, obstruct and destroy each other.
Q: How can I set right a tangle which is entirely below the level of my consciousness?
M: By being with yourself, the 'I am'; by watching yourself in your daily life
with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than to judge,
in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage
the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and consciousness with
its captive energies. This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles
and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Intelligence
is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence.
Q: One more question. Why does pleasure end in pain?
M: Everything has a beginning and an end and so does pleasure. Don't anticipate
and don't regret, and there will be no pain. it is memory and imagination that
Of course pain after pleasure may be due to the misuse of the body or the mind.
The body knows its measure, but the mind does not. Its appetites are numberless
and limitless. Watch your mind with great diligence, for there lies your bondage
and also the key to freedom.
Q: My question is not yet fully answered: Why are man's pleasures destructive?
Why does he find so much pleasure in destruction? Life's concern lies in protection,
perpetuation and expansion of itself. In this it is guided by pain and pleasure.
At what point do they become destructive?
M: When the mind takes over, remembers and anticipates, it exaggerates, it distorts,
it overlooks. The past is projected into future and the future betrays the expectations.
The organs of sensation and action are stimulated beyond capacity and they inevitably
break down. The objects of pleasure cannot yield what is expected of them and
get worn out, or destroyed, by misuse. It results in excess of pain where pleasure
was looked for.
Q: We destroy not only ourselves, but others too!
M: Naturally, selfishness is always destructive. Desire and fear, both are self-centred
states. Between desire and fear anger arises, with anger hatred, with hatred
passion for destruction. War is hatred in action, organised and equipped with
all the instruments of death.
Q: Is there a way to end these horrors?
M: When more people come to know their real nature, their influence, however
subtle, will prevail and the world's emotional atmosphere will sweeten up. People
follow their leaders and when among the leaders appear some, great in heart
and mind, and absolutely free from self-seeking, their impact will be enough
to make the crudities and crimes of the present age impossible. A new golden
age may come and last for a time and succumb to its own perfection. For, ebb
begins when the tide is at its highest.
Q: Is there no such thing as permanent perfection?
M: Yes, there is, but it includes all imperfection. It is the perfection of
our self-nature which makes everything possible, perceivable, interesting. It
knows no suffering, for it neither likes nor dislikes; neither accepts nor rejects.
Creation and destruction are the two poles between which it weaves its ever-changing
pattern. Be free from predilections and preferences and the mind with its burden
of sorrow will be no more.
Q: But I am not alone to suffer. There are others.
M: When you go to them with your desires and fears, you merely add to their
sorrows. First be free of suffering yourself and then only hope of helping others.
You do not even need to hope -- your very existence will be the greatest help
a man can give his fellowmen.
60. Live Facts, not Fancies
Questioner: You say that whatever you see is yourself. You also admit
that you see the world as we see it. Here is today's newspaper with All the
horrors going on. Since the world is yourself, how can you explain such misbehaviour?
Maharaj: Which world do you have in mind?
Q: Our common world, in which we live.
M: Are you sure we live in the same world? I do not mean nature, the sea and
the land, plants and animals. They are not the problem, nor the endless space,
the infinite time, the inexhaustible power. Do not be misled by my eating and
smoking, reading and talking. My mind is not here, my life is not here. Your
world, of desires and their fulfilments, of fears and their escapes, is definitely
not my world. I do not even perceive it, except through what you tell me about
it. It is your private dream world and my only reaction to it is to ask you
to stop dreaming.
Q: Surely, wars and revolutions are not dreams. Sick mothers and starving children
are not dreams. Wealth, ill-gotten and misused, is not a dream.
M: What else?
Q: A dream cannot be shared.
M: Nor can the waking state. All the three states -- of waking, dreaming and
sleeping -- are subjective, personal, intimate. They all happen to and are contained
within the little bubble in consciousness, called 'I'. The real world lies beyond
Q: Self or no self, facts are real.
M: Of course facts are real! I live among them. But you live with fancies, not
with facts. Facts never clash, while your life and world are full of contradictions.
Contradiction is the mark of the false; the real never contradicts itself.
For instance, you complain that people are abjectly poor. Yet you do not share
your riches with them. You mind the war next door, but you hardly give it a
thought when it is in some far off country. The shifting fortunes of your ego
determine your values; 'I think', 'I want', 'I must' are made into absolutes.
Q: Nevertheless, the evil is real.
M: Not more real than you are. Evil is in the wrong approach to problems created
by misunderstanding and misuse. It is a vicious circle.
Q: Can the circle be broken?
M: A false circle need not be broken. It is enough to see it as it is -- non-existent.
Q: But, real enough to make us submit to and inflict indignities and atrocities.
M: Insanity is universal. Sanity is rare. Yet there is hope, because the moment
we perceive our insanity, we are on the way to sanity. This is the function
of the Guru -- to make us see the madness of our daily living. Life makes you
conscious, but the teacher makes you aware.
Q: Sir, you are neither the first nor the last. Since immemorial times people
were breaking into reality. Yet how little it affected our lives! The Ramas
and the Krishnas, the Buddhas and the Christs have come and gone and we are
as we were; wallowing in sweat and tears. What have the great ones done, whose
lives we witnessed? What have you done, Sir, to alleviate the world's thrall?
M: You alone can undo the evil you have created. Your own callous selfishness
is at the root of it. Put first your own house in order and you will see that
your work is done.
Q: The men of wisdom and of love, who came before us, did set themselves right,
often at a tremendous cost. What was the outcome? A shooting star, however bright,
does not make the night less dark.
M: To judge them and their work you must become one of them. A frog in a well
knows nothing about the birds in the sky.
Q: Do you mean to say that between good and evil there is no wall?
M: There is no wall, because there is no good and no evil. In every concrete
situation there is only the necessary and the unnecessary. The needful is right,
the needless is wrong.
Q: Who decides?
M: The situation decides. Every situation is a challenge which demands the right
response. When the response is right, the challenge is met and the problem ceases.
If the response is wrong, the challenge is not met and the problem remains unsolved.
Your unsolved problems -- that is what constitutes your karma. Solve them rightly
and be free.
Q: You seem to drive me always back into myself. Is there no objective solution
to the world's problems?
M: The world problems were created by numberless people like you, each full
of his own desires and fears. Who can free you of your past, personal and social,
except yourself? And how will you do it unless you see the urgent need of your
being first free of cravings born of illusion? How can you truly help, as long
as you need help yourself?
Q: In what way did the ancient sages help? In what way do you help? A few individuals
profit, no doubt; your guidance and example may mean a lot to them; but in what
way do you affect humanity, the totality of life and consciousness? You say
that you are the world and the world is you; what impact have you made on it?
M: What kind of Impact do you expect?
Q: Man is stupid, selfish, cruel.
M: Man is also wise, affectionate and kind.
Q: Why does not goodness prevail?
M: It does -- in my real world. In my world even what you call evil is the servant
of the good and therefore necessary. It is like boils and fevers that clear
the body of impurities. Disease is painful, even dangerous, but if dealt with
rightly, it heals.
Q: Or kills.
M: In some cases death is the best cure. A life may be worse than death, which
is but rarely an unpleasant experience, whatever the appearances. Therefore,
pity the living, never the dead. This problem of things, good and evil in themselves,
does not exist in my world. The needful is good and the needless is evil. In
your world the pleasant is good and the painful is evil.
Q: What is necessary?
M: To grow is necessary. To outgrow is necessary. To leave behind the good for
the sake of the better is necessary.
Q: To what end?
M: The end is in the beginning. You end where you start -- in the Absolute.
Q: Why all this trouble then? To come back to where I started?
M: Whose trouble? Which trouble? Do you pity the seed that is to grow and multiply
till it becomes a mighty forest? Do you kill an infant to save him from the
bother of living? What is wrong with life, ever more life? Remove the obstacles
to growing and all your personal, social, economic and political problems will
just dissolve. The universe is perfect as a whole and the part's striving for
perfection is a way of joy. Willingly sacrifice the imperfect to the perfect
and there will be no more talk about good and evil.
Q: Yet we are afraid of the better and cling to the worse.
M: This is our stupidity, verging on insanity.
Part 9 >>