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61. Matter is Consciousness Itself
I was lucky to have holy company all my life. Is it enough for self-realisation?
Maharaj: It depends what you make of it.
Q: I was told that the liberating action of satsang is automatic. Just like
a river carries one to the estuary, so the subtle and silent influence of good
people will take me to reality.
M: It will take you to the river, but the crossing is your own. Freedom cannot
be gained nor kept without will-to-freedom. You must strive for liberation;
the least you can do is uncover and remove the obstacles diligently. If you
want peace you must strive for it. You will not get peace just by keeping quiet.
Q: A child just grows. He does not make plans for growth, nor has he a pattern;
nor does he grow by fragments, a hand here a leg there; he grows integrally
M: Because he is free of imagination. You can also grow like this, but you must
not indulge in forecasts and plans, born of memory and anticipation. It is one
of the peculiarities of a jnani that he is not concerned with the future. Your
concern with future is due to fear of pain and desire for pleasure, to the jnani
all is bliss: he is happy with whatever comes.
Q: Surely, there are many things that would make even a jnani miserable
M: A jnani may meet with difficulties, but they do not make him suffer. Bringing
up a child from birth to maturity may seem a hard task, but to a mother the
memories of hardships are a joy. There is nothing wrong with the world. What
is wrong is in the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads
you. Without imagination there is no world. Your conviction that you are conscious
of a world is the world. The world you perceive is made of consciousness; what
you call matter is consciousness Itself. You are the space (akash) in which
it moves, the time in which it lasts, the love that gives it life. Cut off imagination
and attachment and what remains?
Q: The world remains. I remain.
M: Yes. But how different it is when you can see it as it is, not through the
screen of desire and fear.
Q: What for are all these distinctions -- reality and illusion, wisdom and ignorance,
saint and sinner? Everyone is in search of happiness, everyone strives desperately;
everyone is a Yogi and his life a school of wisdom. Each learns his own way
the lessons he needs. Society approves of some, disapproves of others; there
are no rules that apply everywhere and for all time.
M: In my world love is the only law. I do not ask for love, I give it. Such
is my nature.
Q: I see you living your life according to a pattern. You run a meditation class
in the morning, lecture and have discussions regularly; twice daily there is
worship (puja) and religious singing (bhajan) in the evening. You seem to adhere
to the routine scrupulously.
M: The worship and the singing are as I found them and I saw no reason to interfere.
The general routine is according to the wishes of the people with whom I happen
to live or who come to listen. They are working people, with many obligations
and the timings are for their convenience. Some repetitive routine is inevitable.
Even animals and plants have their time-tables.
Q: Yes, we see a regular sequence in all life. Who maintains the order? Is there
an inner ruler, who lays down laws and enforces order?
M: Everything moves according to its nature. Where is the need of a policeman?
Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralises the action.
Everything happens, but there is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end
it is as if nothing happened.
Q: Do not console me with final harmonies. The accounts tally, but the loss
M: Wait and see. You may end up with a profit good enough to justify the outlays.
Q: There is a long life behind me and I often wonder whether its many events
took place by accident, or there was a plan. Was there a pattern laid down before
I was born by which I had to live my life? If yes, who made the plans and who
enforced them? Could there be deviations and mistakes? Some say destiny is immutable
and every second of life is predetermined; others say that pure accident decides
M: You can have it as you like. You can distinguish in your life a pattern or
see merely a chain of accidents. Explanations are meant to please the mind.
They need not be true. Reality is indefinable and indescribable.
Q: Sir, you are escaping my question! I want to know how you look at it. Wherever
we look we find structure of unbelievable intelligence and beauty. How can I
believe that the universe is formless and chaotic? Your world, the world in
which you live, may be formless, but it need not be chaotic.
M: The objective universe has structure, is orderly and beautiful. Nobody can
deny it. But structure and pattern, imply constraint and compulsion. My world
is absolutely free; everything in it is self-determined. Therefore I keep on
saying that all happens by itself. There is order in my world too, but it is
not Imposed from outside. It comes spontaneously and immediately, because of
its timelessness. Perfection is not in the future. It is now.
Q: Does your world affect mine?
M: At one point only -- at the point of the now. It gives it momentary being,
a fleeting sense of reality. In full awareness the contact is established. It
needs effortless, un-self-conscious attention.
Q: Is not attention an attitude of mind?
M: Yes, when the mind is eager for reality, it gives attention. There is nothing
wrong with your world, it is your thinking yourself to be separate from it that
creates disorder. Selfishness is the source of all evil.
Q: I am coming back to my question. Before I was born, did my inner self decide
the details of my life, or was it entirely accidental and at the mercy of heredity
M: Those who claim to have selected their father and mother and decided how
they are going to live their next life may know for themselves. I know for myself.
I was never born.
Q: I see you sitting in front of me and replying my questions.
M: You see the body only which, of course, was born and will die.
Q: It is the life-story of thus body-mind that I am interested in. Was it laid
down by you or somebody else, or did it happen accidentally?
M: There is a catch in your very question. I make no distinction between the
body and the universe. Each is the cause of the other; each is the other, in
truth. But I am out of it all. When I am telling you that I was never born,
why go on asking me what were my preparations for the next birth? The moment
you allow your imagination to spin, it at once spins out a universe. It is not
at all as you imagine and I am not bound by your imaginings.
Q: It requires intelligence and energy to build and maintain a living body.
Where do they come from?
M: There is only imagination. The intelligence and power are all used up in
your imagination. It has absorbed you so completely that you just cannot grasp
how far from reality you have wandered. No doubt imagination is richly creative.
Universe within universe are built on it. Yet they are all in space and time,
past and future, which just do not exist.
Q: I have read recently a report about a little girl who was very cruelly handled
in her early childhood. She was badly mutilated and disfigured and grew up in
an orphanage, completely estranged from its surroundings. This little girl was
quiet and obedient, but completely indifferent. One of the nuns who were looking
after the children, was convinced that the girl was not mentally retarded, but
merely withdrawn, irresponsive. A psychoanalyst was asked to take up the case
and for full two years he would see the child once a week and try to break the
wall of isolation. She was docile and well-behaved, but would give no attention
to her doctor. He brought her a toy house, with rooms and movable furniture
and dolls representing father, mother and their children. It brought out a response,
the girl got interested. One day the old hurts revived and came to the surface.
Gradually she recovered, a number of operations brought back her face and body
to normal and she grew into an efficient and attractive young woman. It took
the doctor more than five years, but the work was done. He was a real Guru!
He did not put down conditions nor talk about readiness and eligibility. Without
faith, without hope, out of love only he tried and tried again.
M: Yes, that is the nature of a Guru. He will never give up. But, to succeed,
he must not be met with too much resistance. Doubt and disobedience necessarily
delay. Given confidence and pliability, he can bring about a radical change
in the disciple speedily. Deep insight in the Guru and earnestness in the disciple,
both are needed. Whatever was her condition, the girl in your story suffered
for lack of earnestness in people. The most difficult are the intellectuals.
They talk a lot, but are not serious.
What you call realisation is a natural thing. When you are ready, your Guru
will be waiting. Sadhana is effortless. When the relationship with your teacher
is right you grow. Above all, trust him. He cannot mislead you.
Q: Even when he asks me to do something patently wrong?
M: Do it. A Sanyasi had been asked by his Guru to marry. He obeyed and suffered
bitterly. But his four children were all saints and seers, the greatest in Maharashtra.
Be happy with whatever comes from your Guru and you will grow to perfection
Q: Sir, have you any wants or wishes. Can I do anything for you?
M: What can you give me that I do not have? Material things are needed for contentment.
But I am contented with myself. What else do I need?
Q: Surely, when you are hungry you need food and when sick you need medicine.
M: Hunger brings the food and illness brings the medicine. It is all nature's
Q: lf I bring something I believe you need, will you accept it?
M: The love that made you offer will make me accept.
Q: If somebody offers to build you a beautiful Ashram?
M: Let him, by all means. Let him spend a fortune, employ hundreds, feed thousands.
Q: Is it not a desire?
M: Not at all. I am only asking him to do it properly, not stingily, half-heartedly.
He is fulfilling his own desire, not mine. Let him do it well and be famous
among men and gods.
Q: But do you want it?
M: I do not want it.
Q: Will you accept it?
M: I don't need it.
Q: Will you stay in it?
M: If I am compelled.
Q: What can compel you?
M: Love of those who are in search of light.
Q: Yes, I see your point. Now, how am I to go into samadhi?
M: If you are in the right state, whatever you see will put you into samadhi.
After all, samadhi is nothing unusual. When the mind is intensely interested,
it becomes one with the object of interest -- the seer and the seen become one
in seeing, the hearer and the heard become one in hearing, the lover and the
loved become one in loving. Every experience can be the ground for samadhi.
Q: Are you always in a state of samadhi?
M: Of course not Samadhi is a state of mind, after all. I am beyond all experience,
even of samadhi. I am the great devourer and destroyer: whatever I touch dissolves
into void (akash).
Q: I need samadhis for self-realisation.
M: You have all the self-realisation you need, but you do not trust it. Have
courage, trust yourself, go, talk, act; give it a chance to prove itself. With
some, realisation comes imperceptibly, but somehow they need convincing. They
have changed, but they do not notice it. Such non-spectacular cases are often
the most reliable.
Q: Can one believe himself to be realised and be mistaken?
M: Of course. The very idea 'I am self-realised' is a mistake. There is no 'I
am this'. 'I am that' in the Natural State.
62. In the Supreme the Witness Appears
Questioner: Some forty years ago J. Krishnamurti said that there is
life only and all talk of personalities and individualities has no foundation
in reality. He did not attempt to describe life -- he merely said that while
life need not and cannot be described, it can be fully experienced, if the obstacles
to its being experienced are removed. The main hindrance lies in our idea of,
and addiction to, time, in our habit of anticipating a future in the light of
the past. The sum total of the past becomes the 'I was', the hoped for future
becomes the 'I shall be' and life is a constant effort of crossing over from
what 'I was' to what "I shall be'. The present moment, the. 'now' is lost sight
of. Maharaj speaks of 'I am'. Is it an illusion, like 'I was' and 'I shall be',
or is there something real about it? And if the "I am' too is an illusion, how
does one free oneself from it? The very notion of I am free of 'I am' is an
absurdity. Is there something real, something lasting about the 'I am' in distinction
from the 'I was', or "I shall be', which change with time, as added memories
create new expectations?
Maharaj: The present 'I am' is as false as the 'I was' and 'I shall be'. It
is merely an idea in the mind, an impression left by memory, and the separate
identity it creates is false. this habit of referring to a false centre must
be done away with, the notion 'I see', 'I feel', 'I think', 'I do', must disappear
from the field of consciousness; what remains when the false is no more, is
Q: What is this big talk about elimination of the self? How can the self eliminate
itself? What kind of metaphysical acrobatics can lead to the disappearance of
the acrobat? In the end he will reappear, mightily proud of his disappearing.
M: You need not chase the 'I am' to kill it. You cannot. All you need is a sincere
longing for reality. We call it atma-bhakti, the love of the Supreme: or moksha-sankalpa,
the determination to be free from the false. Without love, and will inspired
by love, nothing can be done. Merely talking about Reality without doing anything
about it is self-defeating. There must be love in the relation between the person
who says 'I am' and the observer of that 'I am'. As long as the observer, the
inner self, the 'higher' self, considers himself apart from the observed, the
'lower' self, despises it and condemns it, the situation is hopeless. It is
only when the observer (vyakta) accepts the person (vyakti) as a projection
or manifestation of himself, and, so to say, takes the self into the Self, the
duality of 'I' and 'this' goes and in the identity of the outer and the inner
the Supreme Reality manifests itself.
This union of the seer and the seen happens when the seer becomes conscious
of himself as the seer, he is not merely interested in the seen, which he is
anyhow, but also interested in being interested, giving attention to attention,
aware of being aware. Affectionate awareness is the crucial factor that brings
Reality into focus.
Q: According to the Theosophists and allied occultists, man consists of three
aspects: personality, individuality and spirituality. Beyond spirituality lies
divinity. The personality is strictly temporary and valid for one birth only.
It begins with the birth of the body and ends with the birth of the next body.
Once over, it is over for good; nothing remains of it except a few sweet or
The individuality begins with the animal-man and ends with the fully human.
The split between the personality and individuality is characteristic of our
present-day humanity. On one side the individuality with its longing for the
true, the good and the beautiful; on the other side an ugly struggle between
habit and ambition, fear and greed, passivity and violence.
The spirituality aspect is still in abeyance. It cannot manifest itself in an
atmosphere of duality. Only when the personality is reunited with the individuality
and becomes a limited, perhaps, but true expression of it, that the light and
love and beauty of the spiritual come into their own.
You teach of the vyakti, vyakta, avyakta (observer, observed and ground of observation).
Does it tally with the other view?
M: Yes, when the vyakti realises its non-existence in separation from the vyakta,
and the vyakta sees the vyakti as his own expression, then the peace and silence
of the avyakta state come into being. In reality, the three are one: the vyakta
and the avyakta are inseparable, while the vyakti is the sensing-feeling-thinking
process, based on the body made of and fed by the five elements.
Q: What is the relation between the vyakta and the avyakta?
M: How can there be relation when they are one? All talk of separation and relation
is due to the distorting and corrupting influence of 'I-am-the-body' idea. The
outer self (vyakti) is merely a projection on the body-mind of the inner self
(vyakta), which again is only an expression of the Supreme Self (avyakta) which
is all and none.
Q: There are teachers who will not talk of the higher self and lower self. They
address the man as if only the lower self existed. Neither Buddha nor Christ
ever mentioned a higher self. J. Krishnamurti too fights shy of any mention
of the higher self. Why is it so?
M: How can there be two selves in one body? The 'I am' is one. There is no "higher
I-am' and "lower I-am'. All kinds of states of mind are presented to awareness
and there is self-identification with them. The objects of observation are not
what they appear to be and the attitudes they are met with are not what they
need be. If you think that Buddha, Christ or Krishnamurti speak to the person,
you are mistaken. They know well that the vyakti, the outer self, is but a shadow
of the vyakta, the inner self, and they address and admonish the vyakta only.
They tell him to give attention to the outer self, to guide and help it, to
feel responsible for it; in short, to be fully aware of it. Awareness comes
from the Supreme and pervades the inner self; the so-called outer self is only
that part of one's being of which one is not aware. One may be conscious, for
every being is conscious, but one is not aware. What is included in awareness
becomes the inner and partakes of the inner. You may put it differently: the
body defines the outer self, consciousness the inner, and in pure awareness
the Supreme is contacted.
Q: You said the body defines the outer self. Since you have a body, do you have
also an outer self?
M: I would, were I attached to the body and take it to be myself.
Q: But you are aware of it and attend to its needs.
M: The contrary is nearer to truth -- the body knows me and is aware of my needs.
But neither is really so. This body appears in your mind; in my mind nothing
Q: Do you mean to say you are quite unconscious of having a body?
M: On the contrary, I am conscious of not having a body.
Q: I see you smoking!
M: Exactly so. You see me smoking. Find out for yourself how did you come to
see me Smoking, and you will easily realise that it is your 'I-am-the-body'
state of mind that is responsible for this 'I-see-you-smoking' idea.
Q: There is the body and there is myself. I know the body. Apart from it, what
M: There is no 'I' apart from the body, nor the world. The three appear and
disappear together. At the root is the sense 'I am'. Go beyond it. The idea:
'I-am-not-the-body' is merely an antidote to the idea 'I-am-the-body' which
is false. What is that 'I am"? Unless you know yourself, what else can you know?
Q: From what you say I conclude that without the body there can be no liberation.
If the idea: 'I-am-not-the-body' leads to liberation, the presence of the body
M: Quite right. Without the body, how can the idea: "I-am-not-the-body' come
into being? The idea "I-am-free' is as false as the idea 'I-am-in-bondage'.
Find out the "I am' common to both and go beyond.
Q: All is a dream only.
M: All are mere words, of what use are they to you? You are entangled in the
web of verbal definitions and formulations. Go beyond your concepts and ideas;
in the silence of desire and thought the truth is found.
Q: One has to remember not to remember. What a task!
M: It cannot be done, of course. It must happen. But it does happen when you
truly see the need of it. Again, earnestness is the golden key.
Q: At the back of my mind there is a hum going on all the time. Numerous weak
thoughts swarm and buzz and this shapeless cloud is always with me. Is it the
same with you? What is at the back of your mind?
M: Where there is no mind, there is no back to it. I am all front, no back!
The void speaks, the void remains.
Q: Is there no memory left?
M: No memory of past pleasure or pain is left. Each moment is newly born.
Q: Without memory you cannot be conscious.
M: Of course I am conscious, and fully aware of it. I am not a block of wood!
Compare consciousness and its content to a cloud. You are inside the cloud,
while I look at. You are lost in it, hardly able to see the tips of your fingers,
while I see the cloud and many other clouds and the blue sky too and the sun,
the moon, the stars. Reality is one for both of us, but for you it is a prison
and for me it is a home.
Q: You spoke of the person (vyakti), the witness (vyakta) and the Supreme (avyakta).
Which comes first?
M: In the Supreme the witness appears. The witness creates the person and thinks
itself as separate from it. The witness sees that the person appears in consciousness
which again appears in the witness. This realisation of the basic unity is the
working of the Supreme. It is the power behind the witness, the source from
which all flows. It cannot be contacted, unless there is unity and love and
mutual help between the person and the witness, unless the doing is in harmony
with the being and the knowing. The Supreme is both the source and the fruit
of such harmony. As I talk to you, I am in the state of detached but affectionate
awareness (turiya). When this awareness turns upon itself, you may call it the
Supreme State, (turiyatita). But the fundamental reality is beyond awareness,
beyond the three states of becoming, being and not-being.
Q: How is it that here my mind is engaged in high topics and finds dwelling
on them easy and pleasant. When I return home I find myself forgetting all l
have learnt here, worrying and fretting, unable to remember my real nature even
for a moment. What may be the cause?
M: It is your childishness you are returning to. You are not fully grown up;
there are levels left undeveloped because unattended. Just give full attention
to what in you is crude and primitive, unreasonable and unkind, altogether childish,
and you will ripen. It is the maturity of heart and mind that is essential.
It comes effortlessly when the main obstacle is removed -- inattention, unawareness.
In awareness you grow.
63. Notion of Doership is Bondage
Questioner: We have been staying at the Satya Sai Baba Ashram for some
time. We have also spent two months at Sri Ramanashram at Tiruvannamalai. Now
we are on our way back to the United States.
Maharaj: Did India cause any change in you?
Q: We feel we have shed our burden. Sri Satya Sai Baba told us to leave everything
to him and just live from day to day as righteously as possible. 'Be good and
leave the rest to me', he used to tell us.
M: What were you doing at the Sri Ramanashram?
Q: We were going on with the mantra given to us by the Guru. We also did some
meditation. There was not much of thinking or study; we were just trying to
keep quiet. We are on the bhakti path and rather poor in philosophy. We have
not much to think about -- just trust our Guru and live our lives.
M: Most of the bhaktas trust their Guru only as long as all is well with them.
When troubles come, they feel let down and go out in search of another Guru.
Q: Yes, we were warned against this danger. We are trying to take the hard along
with the soft. The feeling: 'All is Grace' must be very strong. A sadhu was
walking eastwards, from where a strong wind started blowing. The sadhu just
turned round and walked west. We hope to live just like that -- adjusting ourselves
to circumstances as sent us by our Guru.
M: There is only life. There is nobody who lives a life.
Q: That we understand, yet constantly we make attempts to live our lives instead
of just living. Making plans for the future seems to be an inveterate habit
M: Whether you plan or don't, life goes on. But in life itself a little whorl
arises in the mind, which indulges in fantasies and imagines itself dominating
and controlling life. Life itself is desireless. But the false self wants to
continue -- pleasantly. Therefore it is always engaged in ensuring one's continuity.
Life is unafraid and free. As long as you have the idea of influencing events,
liberation is not for you: The very notion of doership, of being a cause, is
Q: How can we overcome the duality of the doer and the done?
M: Contemplate life as infinite, undivided, ever present, ever active, until
you realise yourself as one with it. It is not even very difficult, for you
will be returning only to your own natural condition.
Once you realise that all comes from within, that the world in which you live
has not been projected onto you but by you, your fear comes to an end. Without
this realisation you identify yourself with the externals, like the body, mind,
society, nation, humanity, even God or the Absolute. But these are all escapes
from fear. It is only when you fully accept your responsibility for the little
world in which you live and watch the process of its creation, preservation
and destruction, that you may be free from your imaginary bondage.
Q: Why should I imagine myself so wretched?
M: You do it by habit only. Change your ways of feeling and thinking, take stock
of them and examine them closely. You are in bondage by inadvertence. Attention
liberates. You are taking so many things for granted. Begin to question. The
most obvious things are the most doubtful. Ask yourself such questions as: "Was
I really born?' 'Am I really so-and-so?" 'How do I know that I exist? 'Who are
my parents?" 'Have they created me, or have I created them?' 'Must I believe
all I am told about myself?' "Who am I, anyhow?'. You have put so much energy
into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. In
fact, demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered. All
hangs on the idea 'I am'. Examine it very thoroughly. It lies at the root of
every trouble. It is a sort of skin that separates you from the reality. The
real is both within and without the skin, but the skin itself is not real. This
'I am' idea was not born with you. You could have lived very well without it.
It came later due to your self-identification with the body. It created an illusion
of separation where there was none. It made you a stranger in your own world
and made the world alien and inimical. Without the sense of 'I am' life goes
on. There are moments when we are without the sense of 'I am'. at peace and
happy. With the return of the 'I am' trouble starts.
Q: How is one to be free from the 'I'-sense?
M: You must deal with the 'I'-sense if you want to be free of it. Watch it in
operation and at peace, how it starts and when it ceases, what it wants and
how it gets it, till you see clearly and understand fully. After all, all the
Yogas, whatever their source and character, have only one aim: to save you from
the calamity of separate existence, of being a meaningless dot in a vast and
You suffer because you have alienated yourself from reality and now you seek
an escape from this alienation. You cannot escape from your own obsessions.
You can only cease nursing them.
It is because the "I am' is false that it wants to continue. Reality need not
continue -- knowing itself indestructible, it is indifferent to the destruction
of forms and expressions. To strengthen, and stabilise the 'I am' we do all
sorts of things -- all in vain, for the 'I am' is being rebuilt from moment
to moment. It is unceasing work and the only radical solution is to dissolve
the separative sense of 'I am such-and-such person' once and for good. Being
remains, but not self-being.
Q: I have definite spiritual ambitions. Must I not work for their fulfilment?
M: No ambition is spiritual. All ambitions are for the sake of the 'I am'. If
you want to make real progress you must give up all idea of personal attainment.
The ambitions of the so-called Yogis are preposterous. A man's desire for a
woman is innocence itself compared to the lusting for an everlasting personal
bliss. The mind is a cheat. The more pious it seems, the worse the betrayal.
Q: People come to you very often with their worldly troubles and ask for help.
How do you know what to tell them?
M: I just tell them what comes to my mind at the moment. I have no standardised
procedure in dealing with people.
Q: You are sure of yourself. But when people come to me for advice, how am I
to be sure that my advice is right?
M: Watch in what state you are, from what level you talk. If you talk from the
mind, you may be wrong. If you talk from full insight into the situation, with
your own mental habits in abeyance your advice may be a true response. The main
point is to be fully aware that neither you nor the man in front of you are
mere bodies; If your awareness is clear and full. a mistake is less probable.
64. Whatever pleases you, Keeps you Back
Questioner: I am a retired chartered accountant and my wife is engaged
in social work for poor women. Our son is leaving for the United States and
we came to see him off. We are Panjabis but we live in Delhi. We have a Guru
of the Radha-Soami faith and we value satsang highly. We feel very fortunate
to be brought here. We have met many holy people and we are glad to meet one
Maharaj: You have met many anchorites and ascetics, but a fully realised man
conscious of his divinity (swarupa) is hard to find. The saints and Yogis, by
immense efforts and sacrifices, acquire many miraculous powers and can do much
good in the way of helping people and inspiring faith, yet it does not make
them perfect. It is not a way to reality, but merely an enrichment of the false.
All effort leads to more effort; whatever was built up must be maintained, whatever
was acquired must be protected against decay or loss. Whatever can be lost is
not really one's own; and what is not your own of what use can it be to you?
In my world nothing is pushed about, all happens by itself. All existence is
in space and time, limited and temporary. He who experiences existence is also
limited and temporary. I am not concerned either with 'what exists' or with
'who exists'. I take my stand beyond, where I am both and neither.
The persons who, after much effort and penance, have fulfilled their ambitions
and secured higher levels of experience and action, are usually acutely conscious
of their standing; they grade people into hierarchies, ranging from the lowest
non-achiever to the highest achiever. To me all are equal. Differences in appearance
and expression are there, but they do not matter. Just as the shape of a gold
ornament does not affect the gold, so does man's essence remain unaffected.
Where this sense of equality is lacking it means that reality had not been touched.
Mere knowledge is not enough; the knower must be known. The Pandits and the
Yogis may know many things, but of what use is mere knowledge when the self
is not known? It will be certainly misused. Without the knowledge of the knower
there can be no peace.
Q: How does one come to know the knower?
M: I can only tell you what I know from my own experience. When I met my Guru,
he told me: 'You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are.
Watch the sense 'I am', find your real self'. I obeyed him, because I trusted
him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself
in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon! It took me only three
years to realise my true nature. My Guru died soon after I met him, but it made
no difference. I remembered what he told me and persevered. The fruit of it
is here, with me.
Q: What is it?
M: I know myself as I am in reality. I am neither the body, nor the mind, nor
the mental faculties. I am beyond all these.
Q: Are you just nothing?
M: Come on, be reasonable. Of course I am, most tangibly. Only I am not what
you may think me to be. This tells you all.
Q: It tells me nothing.
M: Because it cannot be told. You must gain your own experience. You are accustomed
to deal with things, physical and mental. I am not a thing, nor are you. We
are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind. Once you have a glimpse
of your own being, you will not find me difficult to understand.
We believe in so many things on hearsay. We believe in distant lands and people,
in heavens and hells, in gods and goddesses, because we were told. Similarly,
we were told about ourselves, our parents, name, position, duties and so on.
We never cared to verify. The way to truth lies through the destruction of the
false. To destroy the false, you must question your most inveterate beliefs.
Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst. With the body comes the
world, with the world -- God, who is supposed to have created the world and
thus it starts -- fears, religions, prayers, sacrifices, all sorts of systems
-- all to protect and support the child-man, frightened out of his wits by monsters
of his own making. realise that what you are cannot be born nor die and with
the fear gone all suffering ends.
What the mind invents, the mind destroys. But the real is not invented and cannot
be destroyed. Hold on to that over which the mind has no power. What I am telling
you about is neither in the past nor in the future. Nor is it in the daily life
as it flows in the now. It is timeless and the total timelessness of it is beyond
the mind. My Guru and his words: 'You are myself' are timelessly with me. In
the beginning I had to fix my mind on them, but now it has become natural and
easy. The point when the mind accepts the words of the Guru as true and lives
by them spontaneously and in every detail of daily life is the threshold of
realisation. In a way it is salvation by faith, but the faith must be intense
However, you must not think that faith itself is enough. Faith expressed in
action is a sure means to realisation. Of all the means it is the most effective.
There are teachers who deny faith and trust reason only. Actually it is not
faith they deny, but blind beliefs. Faith is not blind. It is the willingness
Q: We were told that of all forms of spiritual practices the practice of the
attitude of a mere witness is the most efficacious. How does it compare with
M: The witness attitude is also faith; it is faith in oneself. You believe that
you are not what you experience and you look at everything as from a distance.
There is no effort in witnessing. You understand that you are the witness only
and the understanding acts. You need nothing more, just remember that you are
the witness only. If in the state of witnessing you ask yourself: 'Who am I?',
the answer comes at once, though it is wordless and silent. Cease to be the
object and become the subject of all that happens; once having turned within,
you will find yourself beyond the subject. When you have found yourself, you
will find that you are also beyond the object, that both the subject and the
object exist in you, but you are neither.
Q: You speak of the mind, of the witnessing consciousness beyond the mind and
of the Supreme, which is beyond awareness. Do you mean to say that even awareness
is not real?
M: As long as you deal in terms: real -- unreal; awareness is the only reality
that can be. But the Supreme is beyond all distinctions and to it the term 'real'
does not apply, for in it all is real and, therefore, need not be labelled as
such. It is the very source of reality, it imparts reality to whatever it touches.
It just cannot be understood through words. Even a direct experience, however
sublime, merely bears testimony, nothing more.
Q: But who creates the world?
M: The Universal Mind (chidakash) makes and unmakes everything. The Supreme
(paramakash) imparts reality to whatever comes into being. To say that it is
the universal love may be the nearest we can come to it in words. Just like
love it makes everything real, beautiful, desirable.
Q: Why desirable?
M: Why not? Wherefrom come all the powerful attractions that make all created
things respond to each other, that bring people together, if not from the Supreme?
Shun not desire; see only that it flows into the right channels. Without desire
you are dead. But with low desires you are a ghost.
Q: What is the experience which comes nearest to the Supreme?
M: Immense peace and boundless love. realise that whatever there is true, noble
and beautiful in the universe, it all comes from you, that you yourself are
at the source of it. The gods and goddesses that supervise the world may be
most wonderful and glorious beings; yet they are like the gorgeously dressed
servants who proclaim the power and the riches of their master.
Q: How does one reach the Supreme State?
M: By renouncing all lesser desires. As long as you are pleased with the lesser,
you cannot have the highest. Whatever pleases you, keeps you back. Until you
realise the unsatisfactoriness of everything, its transiency and limitation,
and collect your energies in one great longing, even the first step is not made.
On the other hand, the integrity of the desire for the Supreme is by itself
a call from the Supreme. Nothing, physical or mental, can give you freedom.
You are free once you understand that your bondage is of your own making and
you cease forging the chains that bind you.
Q: How does one find the faith in a Guru?
M: To find the Guru and also the trust in him is rare luck. It does not happen
Q: Is it destiny that ordains?
M: Calling it destiny explains little. When it happens you cannot say why it
happens and you merely cover up your ignorance by calling it karma or Grace,
or the Will of God.
Q: Krishnamurti says that Guru is not needed.
M: Somebody must tell you about the Supreme Reality and the way that leads to
it. Krishnamurti is doing nothing else. In a way he is right -- most of the
so-called disciples do not trust their Gurus; they disobey them and finally
abandon them. For such disciples it would have been infinitely better if they
had no Guru at all and just looked within for guidance. to find a living Guru
is a rare opportunity and a great responsibility. One should not treat these
matters lightly. You people are out to buy yourself the heaven and you imagine
that the Guru will supply it for a price. You seek to strike a bargain by offering
little but asking much. You cheat nobody except yourselves.
Q: You were told by your Guru that you are the Supreme and you trusted him and
acted on it. What gave you this trust?
M: Say, I was just reasonable. It would have been foolish to distrust him. What
interest could he possibly have in misleading me?
Q: You told a questioner that we are the same, that we are equals. I cannot
believe it. Since I do not believe it, of what use is your statement to me?
M: Your disbelief does not matter. My words are true and they will do their
work. This is the beauty of noble company (satsang).
Q: Just sitting near you can it be considered spiritual practice?
M: Of course. The river of life is flowing. Some of its water is here, but so
much of it has already reached its goal. You know only the present. I see much
further into the past and future, into what you are and what you can be. I cannot
but see you as myself. It is in the very nature of love to see no difference.
Q: How can I come to see myself as you see me?
M: It is enough if you do not imagine yourself to be the body. It is the 'I-am-the-body'
idea that is so calamitous. It blinds you completely to your real nature. Even
for a moment do not think that you are the body. Give yourself no name, no shape.
In the darkness and the silence reality is found.
Q: Must not I think with some conviction that I am not the body? Where am I
to find such conviction?
M: Behave as if you were fully convinced and the confidence will come. What
is the use of mere words? A formula, a mental pattern will not help you. But
unselfish action, free from all concern with the body and its interests will
carry you into the very heart of Reality.
Q: Where am I to get the courage to act without conviction?
M: Love will give you the courage. When you meet somebody wholly admirable,
love-worthy, sublime, your love and admiration will give you the urge to act
Q: Not everybody knows to admire the admirable. Most of the people are totally
M: Life will make them appreciate. The very weight of accumulated experience
will give them eyes to see. When you meet a worthy man, you will love and trust
him and follow his advice. This is the role of the realised people -- to set
an example of perfection for others to admire and love. Beauty of life and character
is a tremendous contribution to the common good.
Q: Must we not suffer to grow?
M: It is enough to know that there is suffering, that the world suffers. By
themselves neither pleasure nor pain enlighten. Only understanding does. Once
you have grasped the truth that the world is full of suffering, that to be born
is a calamity, you will find the urge and the energy to go beyond it. Pleasure
puts you to sleep and pain wakes you up. If you do not want to suffer, don't
go to sleep. You cannot know yourself through bliss alone, for bliss is your
very nature. You must face the opposite, what you are not, to find enlightenment.
65. A Quiet Mind is All You Need
Questioner: I am not well. I feel rather weak. What am I to do?
Maharaj: Who is unwell, you or the body?
Q: My body, of course.
M: Yesterday you felt well. What felt well?
Q: The body.
M: You were glad when the body was well and you are sad when the body is unwell.
Who is glad one day and sad the next?
Q: The mind.
M: And who knows the variable mind?
Q: The mind.
M: The mind is the knower. Who knows the knower?
Q: Does not the knower know itself?
M: The mind is discontinuous. Again and again it blanks out, like in sleep or
swoon, or distraction. There must be something continuous to register discontinuity.
Q: The mind remembers. This stands for continuity.
M: Memory is always partial, unreliable and evanescent. It does not explain
the strong sense of identity pervading consciousness, the sense 'I am'. Find
out what is at the root of it.
Q: However deeply I look, I find only the mind. Your words 'beyond the mind'
give me no clue.
M: While looking with the mind, you cannot go beyond it. To go beyond, you must
look away from the mind and its contents.
Q: In what direction am I to look?
M: All directions are within the mind! I am not asking you to look in any particular
direction. Just look away from all that happens in your mind and bring it to
the feeling 'I am'. The 'I am' is not a direction. It is the negation of all
direction. Ultimately even the 'I am' will have to go, for you need not keep
on asserting what is obvious. Bringing the mind to the feeling 'I am' merely
helps in turning the mind away from everything else.
Q: Where does it all lead me?
M: When the mind is kept away from its preoccupations, it becomes quiet. If
you do not disturb this quiet and stay in it, you find that it is permeated
with a light and a love you have never known; and yet you recognise it at once
as your own nature. Once you have passed through this experience, you will never
be the same man again; the unruly mind may break its peace and obliterate its
vision; but it is bound to return, provided the effort is sustained; until the
day when all bonds are broken, delusions and attachments end and life becomes
supremely concentrated in the present.
Q: What difference does it make?
M: The mind is no more. There is only love in action.
Q: How shall I recognise this state when I reach it?
M: There will be no fear.
Q: Surrounded by a world full of mysteries and dangers, how can I remain unafraid?
M: Your own little body too is full of mysteries and dangers, yet you are not
afraid of it, for you take it as your own. What you do not know is that the
entire universe is your body and you need not be afraid of it. You may say you
have two bodies; the personal and the universal. The personal comes and goes,
the universal is always with you. The entire creation is your universal body.
You are so blinded by what is personal, that you do not see the universal. This
blindness will not end by itself -- it must be undone skilfully and deliberately.
When all illusions are understood and abandoned, you reach the error-free and
perfect state in which all distinctions between the personal and the universal
are no more.
Q: I am a person and therefore limited in space and time. I occupy little space
and last but a few moments; I cannot even conceive myself to be eternal and
M: Nevertheless you are. As you dive deep into yourself in search of your true
nature, you will discover that only your body is small and only your memory
is short; while the vast ocean of life is yours.
Q: The very words 'I' and 'universal' are contradictory. One excludes the other.
M: They don't. The sense of identity pervades the universal. Search and you
shall discover the Universal Person, who is yourself and infinitely more.
Anyhow, begin by realising that the world is in you, not you in the world.
Q: How can it be? I am only a part of the world. How can the whole world be
contained in the part, except by reflection, mirror like?
M: What you say is true. Your personal body is a part in which the whole is
wonderfully reflected. But you have also a universal body. You cannot even say
that you do not know it, because you see and experience it all the time. Only
you call it 'the world' and are afraid of it.
Q: I feel I know my little body, while the other I do not know, except through
M: Your little body is full of mysteries and wonders which you do not know.
There also science is your only guide. Both anatomy and astronomy describe you.
Q: Even If I accept your doctrine of the universal body as a working theory,
in what way can I test it and of what use is it to me?
M: Knowing yourself as the dweller in both the bodies you will disown nothing.
All the universe will be your concern; every living thing you will love and
help most tenderly and wisely. There will be no clash of interests between you
and others. All exploitation will cease absolutely. Your every action will be
beneficial, every movement will be a blessing.
Q: It is all very tempting, but how am I to proceed to realise my universal
M: You have two ways: you can give your heart and mind to self-discovery, or
you accept my words on trust and act accordingly. In other words, either you
become totally self-concerned, or totally un-self-concerned. It is the word
'totally' that is important. You must be extreme to reach the Supreme.
Q: How can I aspire to such heights, small and limited as I am?
M: realise yourself as the ocean of consciousness in which all happens. This
is not difficult. A little of attentiveness, of close observation of oneself,
and you will see that no event is outside your consciousness.
Q: The world is full of events which do not appear in my consciousness.
M: Even your body is full of events which do not appear in your consciousness.
This does not prevent you from claiming your body to be your own. You know the
world exactly as you know your body -- through your senses. It is your mind
that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put
them in opposition. This created fear and hatred and all the miseries of living.
Q: What I do not follow is what you say about going beyond consciousness. I
understand the words, but I cannot visualise the experience. After all, you
yourself have said that all experience is in consciousness.
M: You are right, there can be no experience beyond consciousness. Yet there
is the experience of just being. There is a state beyond consciousness, which
is not unconscious. Some call it super-consciousness, or pure consciousness,
or supreme consciousness. It is pure awareness free from the subject object
Q: I have studied Theosophy and I find nothing familiar in what you say. I admit
Theosophy deals with manifestation only. It describes the universe and its inhabitants
in great details. It admits many levels of matter and corresponding levels of
experience, but it does not seem to go beyond. What you say goes beyond all
experience. If it is not experienceable, why at all talk about it?
M: Consciousness is intermittent, full of gaps. Yet there is the continuity
of identity. What is this sense of identity due to, if not to something beyond
Q: If I am beyond the mind, how can I change myself?
M: Where is the need of changing anything? The mind is changing anyhow all the
time. Look at your mind dispassionately; this is enough to calm it. When it
is quiet, you can go beyond it. Do not keep it busy all the time. Stop it --
and just be. If you give it rest, it will settle down and recover its purity
and strength. Constant thinking makes it decay.
Q: If my true being is always with me, how is it that I am ignorant of it?
M: Because it is very subtle and your mind is gross, full of gross thoughts
and feelings. Calm and clarify your mind and you will know yourself as you are.
Q: Do I need the mind to know myself?
M: You are beyond the mind, but you know with your mind. It is obvious that
the extent, depth and character of knowledge depend on what instrument you use.
Improve your instrument and your knowledge will improve.
Q: To know perfectly I need a perfect mind.
M: A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind
is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness
affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness inner
energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.
Q: You mean to say that the greatest work is done by not working?
M: Exactly. Do understand that you are destined for enlightenment. Co-operate
with your destiny, don't go against it, don"t thwart it. Allow it to fulfil
itself. All you have to do is to give attention to the obstacles created by
the foolish mind.
66. All Search for Happiness is Misery
Questioner: I have come frown England and I am on my way to Madras.
There I shall meet my father and we shall go by car overland to London. I am
to study psychology, but I do not yet know what I shall do when I get my degree.
I may try industrial psychology, or psychotherapy. My father is a general physician,
I may follow the same line.
But this does not exhaust my interests. There are certain questions which do
not change with time. I understand you have some answers to such questions and
this made me come to see you.
Maharaj: I wonder whether I am the right man to answer your questions. I know
little about things and people. I know only that I am, and that much you also
know. We are equals.
Q: Of course I know that I am. But I do not know what it means.
M: What you take to be the 'I' in the 'I am' is not you. To know that you are
is natural, to know what you are is the result of much investigation. You will
have to explore the entire field of consciousness and go beyond it. For this
you must find the right teacher and create the conditions needed for discovery.
Generally speaking, there are two ways: external and internal. Either you live
with somebody who knows the Truth and submit yourself entirely to his guiding
and moulding influence, or you seek the inner guide and follow the inner light
wherever it takes you. In both cases your personal desires and fears must be
disregarded. You learn either by proximity or by investigation, the passive
or the active way. You either let yourself be carried by the river of life and
love represented by your Guru, or you make your own efforts, guided by your
inner star. In both cases you must move on, you must be earnest. Rare are the
people who are lucky to find somebody worthy of trust and love. Most of them
must take the hard way, the way of intelligence and understanding, of discrimination
and detachment (viveka-vairagya). This is the way open to all.
Q: I am lucky to have come here: though I am leaving tomorrow, one talk with
you may affect my entire life.
M: Yes, once you say 'I want to find Truth', all your life will be deeply affected
by it. All your mental and physical habits, feelings and emotions, desires and
fears, plans and decisions will undergo a most radical transformation.
Q: Once I have made up my mind to find The Reality, what do I do next?
M: It depends on your temperament. If you are earnest, whatever way you choose
will take you to your goal. It is the earnestness that is the decisive factor.
Q: What is the source of earnestness?
M: It is the homing instinct, which makes the bird return to its nest and the
fish to the mountain stream where it was born. The seed returns to the earth,
when the fruit is ripe. Ripeness is all.
Q: And what will ripen me? Do I need experience?
M: You already have all the experience you need, otherwise you would not have
come here. You need not gather any more, rather you must go beyond experience.
Whatever effort you make, whatever method (sadhana) you follow, will merely
generate more experience, but will not take you beyond. Nor will reading books
help you. They will enrich your mind, but the person you are will remain intact.
If you expect any benefits from your search, material, mental or spiritual,
you have missed the point. Truth gives no advantage. It gives you no higher
status, no power over others; all you get is truth and the freedom from the
Q: Surely truth gives you the power to help others.
M: This is mere imagination, however noble! In truth you do not help others,
because there are no others. You divide people into noble and ignoble and you
ask the noble to help the ignoble. You separate, you evaluate, you judge and
condemn -- in the name of truth you destroy it. Your very desire to formulate
truth denies it, because it cannot be contained in words. Truth can be expressed
only by the denial of the false -- in action. For this you must see the false
as false (viveka) and reject it (vairagya). Renunciation of the false is liberating
and energizing. It lays open the road to perfection.
Q: When do I know that I have discovered truth?
M: When the idea 'this is true', 'that is true' does not arise. Truth does not
assert itself, it is in the seeing of the false as false and rejecting it. It
is useless to search for truth, when the mind is blind to the false. It must
be purged of the false completely before truth can dawn on It.
Q: But what is false?
M: Surely, what has no being is false.
Q: What do you mean by having no being? The false is there, hard as a nail.
M: What contradicts itself, has no being. Or it has only momentary being, which
comes to the same. For, what has a beginning and an end has no middle. It is
hollow. It has only the name and shape given to it by the mind, but it has neither
substance nor essence.
Q: If all that passes has no being, then the universe has no being either.
M: Who ever denies it? Of course the universe has no being.
Q: What has?
M: That which does not depend for its existence, which does not arise with the
universe arising, nor set with the universe setting, which does not need any
proof, but imparts reality to all it touches. It is the nature of the false
that it appears real for a moment. One could say that the true becomes the father
of the false. But the false is limited in time and space and is produced by
Q: How am I to get rid of the false and secure the real?
M: To what purpose?
Q: In order to live a better, a more satisfactory life, integrated and happy.
M: Whatever is conceived by the mind must be false, for it is bound to be relative
and limited. The real is inconceivable and cannot be harnessed to a purpose.
It must be wanted for its own sake.
Q: How can I want the inconceivable?
M: What else is there worth wanting? Granted, the real cannot be wanted, as
a thing is wanted. But you can see the unreal as unreal and discard it. It is
the discarding the false that opens the way to the true.
Q: I understand, but how does it look in actual daily life?
M: Self-interest and self-concern are the focal points of the false. Your daily
life vibrates between desire and fear. Watch it intently and you will see how
the mind assumes innumerable names and shapes, like a river foaming between
the boulders. Trace every action to its selfish motive and look at the motive
intently till it dissolves.
Q: To live, one must look after oneself, one must earn money for oneself.
M: You need not earn for yourself, but you may have to -- for a woman and a
child. You may have to keep on working for the sake of others. Even just to
keep alive can be a sacrifice. There is no need whatsoever to be selfish. Discard
every self-seeking motive as soon as it is seen and you need not search for
truth; truth will find you.
Q: There is a minimum of needs.
M: Were they not supplied since you were conceived? Give up the bondage of self-concern
and be what you are -- intelligence and love in action.
Q: But one must survive!
M: You can't help surviving! The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death.
And the body will survive as long as it is needed. It is not important that
it should live long. A full life is better than a long life.
Q: Who is to say what is a full life? It depends on my cultural background.
M: If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all backgrounds, of all
cultures, of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being man
or woman, or even human, should be discarded. The ocean of life contains all,
not only humans. So, first of all abandon all self-identification, stop thinking
of yourself as such-and-such, so-and-so, this or that. Abandon all self-concern,
worry not about your welfare, material or spiritual, abandon every desire, gross
or subtle, stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and
now, you need absolutely nothing.
It does not mean that you must be brainless and foolhardy, improvident or indifferent;
only the basic anxiety for oneself must go. You need some food, clothing and
shelter for you and yours, but this will not create problems as long as greed
is not taken for a need. Live in tune with things as they are and not as they
Q: What am I if not human?
M: That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is but a
dimensionless point of consciousness, a conscious nothing; all you can say about
yourself is: 'I am.' You are pure being -- awareness -- bliss. To realise that
is the end of all seeking. You come to it when you see all you think yourself
to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness of the transient
as transient, imaginary as imaginary, unreal as unreal. It is not at all difficult,
but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the true
so difficult to see. Once you understand that the false needs time and what
needs time is false, you are nearer the Reality, which is timeless, ever in
the now. Eternity in time is mere repetitiveness, like the movement of a clock.
It flows from the past into the future endlessly, an empty perpetuity. Reality
is what makes the present so vital, so different from the past and future, which
are merely mental. If you need time to achieve something, it must be false.
The real is always with you; you need not wait to be what you are. Only you
must not allow your mind to go out of yourself in search. When you want something,
ask yourself: do I really need it? and if the answer is no, then just drop it.
Q: Must I not be happy? I may not need a thing, yet if it can make me happy,
should I not grasp it?
M: Nothing can make you happier than you are. All search for happiness is misery
and leads to more misery. The only happiness worth the name is the natural happiness
of conscious being.
Q: Don't I need a lot of experience before I can reach such a high level of
M: Experience leaves only memories behind and adds to the burden which is heavy
enough. You need no more experiences. The past ones are sufficient. And if you
feel you need more, look into the hearts of people around you. You will find
a variety of experiences which you would not be able to go through in a thousand
years. Learn from the sorrows of others and save yourself your own. It is not
experience that you need, but the freedom from all experience. Don't be greedy
for experience; you need none.
Q: Don't you pass through experiences yourself?
M: Things happen round me, but I take no part in them. An event becomes an experience
only when I am emotionally involved. I am in a state which is complete, which
seeks not to improve on itself. Of what use is experience to me?
Q: One needs knowledge, education.
M: To deal with things knowledge of things is needed. To deal with people, you
need insight, sympathy. To deal with yourself you need nothing. Be what you
are: conscious being and don't stray away from yourself.
Q: University education is most useful.
M: No doubt, It helps you to earn a living. But it does not teach you how to
live. You are a student of psychology. It may help you in certain situations.
But can you live by psychology? Life is worthy of the name only when it reflects
Reality in action. No university will teach you how to live so that when the
time of dying comes, you can say: I lived well I do not need to live again.
Most of us die wishing we could live again. So many mistakes committed, so much
left undone. Most of the people vegetate, but do not live. They merely gather
experience and enrich their memory. But experience is the denial of Reality,
which is neither sensory nor conceptual, neither of the body, nor of the mind,
though it includes and transcends both.
Q: But experience is most useful. By experience you learn not to touch a flame.
M: I have told you already that knowledge is most useful in dealing with things.
But it does not tell you how to deal with people and yourself, how to live a
life. We are not talking. of driving a car, or earning money. For this you need
experience. But for being a light unto yourself material knowledge will not
help you. You need something much more intimate and deeper than mediate knowledge,
to be your self in the true sense of the word. Your outer life is unimportant.
You can become a night watchman and live happily. It is what you are inwardly
that matters. Your inner peace and joy you have to earn. It is much more difficult
than earning money. No university can teach you to be yourself. The only way
to learn is by practice. Right away begin to be yourself. Discard all you are
not and go ever deeper. Just as a man digging a well discards what is not water,
until he reaches the water-bearing strata, so must you discard what is not your
own, till nothing is left which you can disown. You will find that what is left
is nothing which the mind can hook on to. You are not even a human being. You
just are -- a point of awareness, co-extensive with time and space and beyond
both, the ultimate cause, itself uncaused. If you ask me: 'Who are you?' My
answer would be: 'Nothing in particular. Yet, I am.'
Q: If you are nothing in particular, then you must be the universal.
M: What is to be universal -- not as a concept, but as a way of life? Not to
separate, not to oppose, but to understand and love whatever contacts you, is
living universally. To be able to say truly: I am the world., the world is me,
I am at home in the world, the world is my own. Every existence is my existence,
every consciousness is my consciousness, every sorrow is my sorrow and every
joy is my joy -- this is universal life. Yet, my real being, and yours too,
is beyond the universe and, therefore, beyond the categories of the particular
and the universal. It is what it is, totally self-contained and independent.
Q: I find it hard to understand.
M: You must give yourself time to brood over these things. The old grooves must
be erased in your brain, without forming new ones. You must realise yourself
as the immovable, behind and beyond the movable, the silent witness of all that
Q: Does it mean that I must give up all idea of an active life?
M: Not at all. There will be marriage, there will be children, there will be
earning money to maintain a family; all this will happen in the natural course
of events, for destiny must fulfil itself; you will go through it without resistance,
facing tasks as they come, attentive and thorough, both in small things and
big. But the general attitude will be of affectionate detachment, enormous goodwill,
without expectation of return, constant giving without asking. In marriage you
are neither the husband nor the wife; you are the love between the two. You
are the clarity and kindness that makes everything orderly and happy. It may
seem vague to you, but if you think a little, you will find that the mystical
is most practical, for it makes your life creatively happy. Your consciousness
is raised to a higher dimension, from which you see everything much clearer
and with greater intensity. You realise that the person you became at birth
and will cease to be at death is temporary and false. You are not the sensual,
emotional and intellectual person, gripped by desires and fears. Find out your
real being. What am l? is the fundamental question of all philosophy and psychology.
Go into it deeply.
67. Experience is not the Real Thing
Maharaj: The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Soon he discovers
that his own body he cannot be. Once the conviction: 'I am not the body' becomes
so well grounded that he can no longer feel, think and act for and on behalf
of the body, he will easily discover that he is the universal being, knowing,
acting, that in him and through him the entire universe is real, conscious and
active. This is the heart of the problem. Either you are body-conscious and
a slave of circumstances, or you are the universal consciousness itself -- and
in full control of every event.
Yet consciousness, individual or universal, is not my true abode; I am not in
it, it is not mine, there is no 'me' in it. I am beyond, though it is not easy
to explain how one can be neither conscious, nor unconscious, but just beyond.
I cannot say that I am in God or I am God; God is the universal light and love,
the universal witness: I am beyond the universal even.
Questioner: In that case you are without name and shape. What kind of being
M: I am what I am, neither with form nor formless, neither conscious nor unconscious.
I am outside all these categories.
Q: You are taking the neti-neti (not this, not this) approach.
M: You cannot find me by mere denial. I am as well everything, as nothing. Nor
both, nor either. These definitions apply to the Lord of the Universe, not to
Q: Do you intend to convey that you are just nothing.
M: Oh, no! I am complete and perfect. I am the beingness of being, the knowingness
of knowing, the fullness of happiness. You cannot reduce me to emptiness!
Q: If you are beyond words, what shall we talk about? Metaphysically speaking,
what you say holds together; there is no inner contradiction. But there is no
food for me in what you say. It is so completely beyond my urgent needs. When
I ask for bread, you are giving jewels. They are beautiful, no doubt, but I
M: It is not so. I am offering you exactly what you need -- awakening. You are
not hungry and you need no bread. You need cessation, relinquishing, disentanglement.
What you believe you need is not what you need. Your real need I know, not you.
You need to return to the state in which I am -- your natural state. Anything
else you may think of is an illusion and an obstacle. Believe me, you need nothing
except to be what you are. You imagine you will increase your value by acquisition.
It is like gold imagining that an addition of copper will improve it. Elimination
and purification, renunciation of all that is foreign to your nature is enough.
All else is vanity.
Q: It is easier said than done. A man comes to you with stomach-ache and you
advise him to disgorge his stomach. Of course, without the mind there will be
no problems. But the mind is there -- most tangibly.
M: It is the mind that tells you that the mind is there. Don't be deceived.
All the endless arguments about the mind are produced by the mind itself, for
its own protection, continuation and expansion. It is the blank refusal to consider
the convolutions and convulsions of the mind that can take you beyond it.
Q: Sir, I am an humble seeker, while you are the Supreme Reality itself. Now
the seeker approaches the Supreme in order to be enlightened. What does the
M: Listen to what I keep on telling you and do not move away from it. Think
of it all the time and of nothing else. Having reached that far, abandon all
thoughts, not only of the world, but of yourself also. Stay beyond all thoughts,
in silent being-awareness. It is not progress, for what you come to is already
there in you, waiting for you.
Q: So you say I should try to stop thinking and stay steady in the idea: 'I
M: Yes, and whatever thoughts come to you in connection with the 'I am', empty
them of all meaning, pay them no attention.
Q: I happen to meet many young people coming from the West and I find that there
is a basic difference when I compare them to the Indians. It looks as if their
psyche (antahkarana) is different. Concepts like Self, Reality, pure mind, universal
consciousness the Indian mind grasps easily. They ring familiar, they taste
sweet. The Western mind does not respond, or just rejects them. It concretises
and wants to utilise at once in the service of accepted values. These values
are often personal: health, well-being, prosperity; sometimes they are social
-- a better society, a happier life for all; all are connected with worldly
problems, personal or impersonal. Another difficulty one comes across quite
often in talking with the Westerners is that to them everything is experience
-- as they want to experience food, drink and women, art and travels, so do
they want to experience Yoga, realisation and liberation. To them it is just
another experience, to be had for a price. They imagine such experience can
be purchased and they bargain about the cost. When one Guru quotes too high,
in terms of time and effort, they go to another, who offers instalment terms,
apparently very easy, but beset with unfulfillable conditions. It is the old
story of not thinking of the grey monkey when taking the medicine! In this case
it is not thinking of the world, 'abandoning all self-hood', 'extinguishing
every desire', 'becoming perfect celibates' etc. Naturally there is vast cheating
going on all levels and the results are nil. Some Gurus in sheer desperation
abandon all discipline, prescribe no conditions, advise effortlessness, naturalness,
simply living in passive awareness, without any pattern of 'must' and 'must
not' And there are many disciples whose past experiences brought them to dislike
themselves so badly that they just do not want to look at themselves. If they
are not disgusted, they are bored. They have surfeit of self-knowledge, they
want something else.
M: Let them not think of themselves, if they do not like it. Let them stay with
a Guru, watch him, think of him. Soon they will experience a kind of bliss,
quite new, never experienced before, except, maybe, in childhood. The experience
is so unmistakably new, that it will attract their attention and create interest;
once the interest is roused, orderly application will follow.
Q: These people are very critical and suspicious. They cannot be otherwise,
having passed through much learning and much disappointment. On one hand they
want experience, on the other they mistrust it. How to reach them, God alone
M: True insight and love will reach them.
Q: When they have some spiritual experience, another difficulty arises. They
complain that the experience does not last, that it comes and goes in a haphazard
way. Having got hold of the lollipop, they want to suck it all the time.
M: Experience, however sublime, is not the real thing. By its very nature it
comes and goes. Self-realisation is not an acquisition. It is more of the nature
of understanding. Once arrived at, it cannot be lost. On the other hand, consciousness
is changeful, flowing, undergoing transformation from moment to moment. Do not
hold on to consciousness and its contents. Consciousness held, ceases. To try
to perpetuate a flash of insight, or a burst of happiness is destructive of
what it wants to preserve. What comes must go. The permanent is beyond all comings
and goings. Go to the root of all experience, to the sense of being. Beyond
being and not-being lies the immensity of the real. Try and try again.
Q: To try one needs faith.
M: There must be the desire first. When the desire is strong, the willingness
to try will come. You do not need assurance of success, when the desire is strong.
You are ready to gamble.
Q: Strong desire, strong faith -- it comes to the same. These people do not
trust either their parents or the society, or even themselves. All they touched
turned to ashes. Give them one experience absolutely genuine, indubitable, beyond
the argumentations of the mind and they will follow you to the world's end.
M: But I am doing nothing else! Tirelessly I draw their attention to the one
incontrovertible factor -- that of being. Being needs no proofs -- it proves
all else. If only they go deeply into the fact of being and discover the vastness
and the glory to which the 'I am' is the door, and cross the door and go beyond,
their life will be full of happiness and light. Believe me, the effort needed
is as nothing when compared with the discoveries arrived at.
Q: What you say is right. But these people have neither confidence nor patience.
Even a short effort tires them. It is really pathetic to see them groping blindly
and yet unable to hold on to the helping hand. They are such nice people fundamentally
but totally bewildered. I tell them: you cannot have truth on your own terms.
You must accept the conditions. To this they answer: Some will accept the conditions
and some will not. Acceptance or non-acceptance are superficial and accidental;
reality is in all; there must be a way for all to tread -- with no conditions
M: There is such a way, open to all, on every level, in every walk of life.
Everybody is aware of himself. The deepening and broadening of self-awareness
is the royal way. Call it mindfulness, or witnessing, or just attention -- it
is for all. None is unripe for it and none can fail.
But, of course, your must not be merely alert. Your mindfulness must include
the mind also. Witnessing is primarily awareness of consciousness and its movements.
68. Seek the Source of Consciousness
Questioner: We were talking the other day about the ways of the modern
Western mind and the difficulty it finds in submitting to the moral and intellectual
discipline of the Vedanta. One of the obstacles lies in the young European's
or American's preoccupation with the disastrous condition of the world and the
urgent need of setting it right.
They have no patience with people like you who preach personal improvement as
a pre-condition for the betterment of the world. They say it is neither possible
nor necessary. Humanity is ready for a change of systems -- social, economic,
political. A world-government, world-police, world-planning and the abolition
of all physical and ideological barriers: this is enough, no personal transformation
is needed. No doubt, people shape society, but society shapes people too. In
a humane society people will be humane; besides, science provides the answer
to many questions which formerly were in the domain of religion.
Maharaj: No doubt, striving for the improvement of the world is a most praiseworthy
occupation. Done selflessly, it clarifies the mind and purifies the heart. But
soon man will realise that he pursues a mirage. Local and temporary improvement
is always possible and was achieved again and again under the influence of a
great king or teacher; but it would soon come to an end, leaving humanity in
a new cycle of misery. It is in the nature of all manifestation that the good
and the bad follow each other and in equal measure. The true refuge is only
in the unmanifested.
Q: Are you not advising escape?
M: On the contrary. The only way to renewal lies through destruction. You must
melt down the old jewellery into formless gold before you can mould a new one.
Only the people who have gone beyond the world can change the world. It never
happened otherwise. The few whose impact was long lasting were all knowers of
reality. Reach their level and then only talk of helping the world.
Q: It is not the rivers and mountains that we want to help, but the people
M: There is nothing wrong with the world, but for the people who make it bad.
Go and ask them to behave.
Q: Desire and fear make them behave as they do.
M: Exactly. As long as human behaviour is dominated by desire and fear, there
is not much hope. And to know how to approach the people effectively, you must
yourself be free of all desire and fear.
Q: Certain basic desires and fears are inevitable, such as are connected with
food, sex and death.
M: These are needs and, as needs, they are easy to meet.
Q: Even death is a need?
M: Having lived a long and fruitful life you feel the need to die. Only when
wrongly applied, desire and fear are destructive. By all means desire the right
and fear the wrong. But when people desire what is wrong and fear what is right,
they create chaos and despair.
Q: What is right and what is wrong?
M: Relatively, what causes suffering is wrong, what alleviates it is right.
Absolutely, what brings you back to reality is right and what dims reality is
Q: When we talk of helping humanity, we mean a struggle against disorder and
M: You merely talk of helping. Have you ever helped, really helped, a single
man? Have you ever put one soul beyond the need of further help? Can you give
a man character, based on full realisation of his duties and opportunities at
least, if not on the insight into his true being? When you do not know what
is good for yourself, how can you know what is good for others?
Q: The adequate supply of means of livelihood is good for all. You may be God
himself, but you need a well-fed body to talk to us.
M: It is you that need my body to talk to you. I am not my body, nor do I need
it. I am the witness only. I have no shape of my own. You are so accustomed
to think of yourselves as bodies having consciousness that you just cannot imagine
consciousness as having bodies. Once you realise that bodily existence is but
a state of mind, a movement in consciousness, that the ocean of consciousness
is infinite and eternal, and that, when in touch with consciousness, you are
the witness only, you will be able to withdraw beyond consciousness altogether.
Q: We are told there are many levels of existences. Do you exit and function
on all the levels? While you are on earth, are you also in heaven (swarga)?
M: ! am nowhere to be found! I am not a thing to be given a place among other
things. All things are in me, but I am not among things. You are telling me
about the superstructure while I am concerned with the foundations. The superstructures
rise and fall, but the foundations last. I am not interested in the transient,
while you talk of nothing else.
Q: Forgive me a strange question. If somebody with a razor sharp sword would
suddenly severe your head, what difference would it make to you?
M: None whatsoever. The body will lose its head, certain lines of communication
will be cut, that is all. Two people talk to each other on the phone and the
wire is cut. Nothing happens to the people, only they must look for some other
means of communication. The Bhagavad Gita says: "the sword does not cut
it". It is literally so. It is in the nature of consciousness to survive
its vehicles. It is like fire. It burns up the fuel, but not itself. Just like
a fire can outlast a mountain of fuel, so does consciousness survive innumerable
Q: The fuel affects the flame.
M: As long as it lasts. Change the nature of the fuel and the colour and appearance
of the flame will change.
Now we are talking to each other. For this presence is needed; unless we are
present, we cannot talk. But presence by itself is not enough. There must also
he the desire to talk.
Above all, we want to remain conscious. We shall bear every suffering and humiliation,
but we shall rather remain conscious. Unless we revolt against this craving
for experience and let go the manifested altogether, there can be no relief.
We shall remain trapped.
Q: You say you are the silent witness and also you are beyond consciousness.
Is there no contradiction in it? If you are beyond consciousness, what are you
M: I am conscious and unconscious, both conscious and unconscious, neither conscious
nor unconscious -- to all this I am witness -- but really there is no witness,
because there is nothing to be a witness to. I am perfectly empty of all mental
formations, void of mind -- yet fully aware. This I try to express my saying
that I am beyond the mind.
Q: How can I reach you then?
M: Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness. That is
all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that
will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the
desire, the urge, the earnestness that count.
69. Transiency is Proof of Unreality
Questioner: My friend is a German and I was born in England from French
parents. I am in India since over a year wandering from Ashram to Ashram.
Maharaj: Any spiritual practices (sadhanas)?
Q: Studies and meditation.
M: What did you meditate on?
Q: On what I read.
Q: What are you doing, sir?
Q: And what else?
Q: What are you talking about?
M: Do you want a lecture? Better ask something that really touches you, so that
you feel strongly about it. Unless you are emotionally involved, you may argue
with me, but there will be no real understanding between us. If you say: 'nothing
worries me, I have no problems', it is all right with me, we can keep quiet.
But if something really touches you, then there is purpose in talking.
Shall I ask you? What is the purpose of your moving from place to place?
Q: To meet people, to try to understand them.
M: What people are you trying to understand? What exactly are you after?
M: If you want integration, you must know whom you want to integrate.
Q: By meeting people and watching them, one comes to know oneself also. It goes
M: It does not necessarily go together.
Q: One improves the other.
M: It does not work that way. The mirror reflects the image, but the image does
not improve the mirror. You are neither the mirror nor the image in the mirror.
Having perfected the mirror so that it reflects correctly, truly, you can turn
the mirror round and see in it a true reflection of yourself -- true as far
as the mirror can reflect. But the reflection is not yourself -- you are the
seer of the reflection. Do understand it clearly -- whatever you may perceive
you are not what you perceive.
Q: I am the mirror and the world is the image?
M: You can see both the image and the mirror. You are neither. Who are you?
Don't go by formulas. The answer is not in words. The nearest you can say in
words is: I am what makes perception possible, the life beyond the experiencer
and his experience.
Now, Can you separate yourself both from the mirror and the image in the mirror
and stand completely alone, all by yourself?
Q: No, I cannot.
M: How do you know that you cannot? There are so many things you are doing without
knowing how to do it. You digest, you circulate your blood and lymph, you move
your muscles -- all without knowing how. In the same way, you perceive, you
feel, you think without knowing the why and how of it. Similarly you are yourself
without knowing it. There is nothing wrong with you as the Self. It is what
it is to perfection. It is the mirror that is not clear and true and, therefore,
gives you false images. You need not correct yourself -- only set right your
idea of yourself. Learn to separate yourself from the image and the mirror,
keep on remembering: I am neither the mind nor its ideas: do it patiently and
with convictions and you will surely come to the direct vision of yourself as
the source of being -- knowing -- loving, eternal, all-embracing all-pervading.
You are the infinite focussed in a body. Now you see the body only. Try earnestly
and you will come to see the infinite only.
Q: The experience of reality, when it Comes, does it last?
M: All experience is necessarily transient. But the ground of all experience
is immovable. Nothing that may be called an event will last. But some events
purify the mind and some stain it. Moments of deep insight and all-embracing
love purify the mind, while desires and fears, envies and anger, blind beliefs
and intellectual arrogance pollute and dull the psyche.
Q: Is self-realisation so important?
M: Without it you will be consumed by desires and fears, repeating themselves
meaninglessly in endless suffering. Most of the people do not know that there
can be an end to pain. But once they have heard the good news, obviously going
beyond all strife and struggle is the most urgent task that can be. You know
that you can be free and now it is up to you. Either you remain forever hungry
and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and sorrowing,
or go out whole-heartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which
nothing can be added, from which nothing -- taken away. In it all desires and
fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost
Q: So far I have been following you. Now, what am I expected to do?
M: There is nothing to do. Just be. Do nothing. Be. No climbing mountains and
sitting in caves. I do not even say: 'be yourself', since you do not know yourself.
Just be. Having seen that you are neither the 'outer' world of perceivables,
nor the 'inner' world of thinkables, that you are neither body nor mind -- just
Q: Surely, there are degrees of realisation.
M: There are no steps to self-realisation. There is nothing gradual about it.
It happens suddenly and is irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension, seen
from which the previous ones are mere abstractions. Just like on sunrise you
see things as they are, so on self-realisation you see everything as it is.
The world of illusions is left behind.
Q: In the state of realisation do things change? They become colourful and full
M: The experience is quite right, but it is not the experience of reality (sadanubhav),
but of harmony (satvanubhav) of the universe.
Q: Nevertheless, there is progress.
M: There can be progress only in the preparation (sadhana). realisation is sudden.
The fruit ripens slowly, but falls suddenly and without return.
Q: I am physically and mentally at peace. What more do I need?
M: Yours may not be the ultimate state. You will recognise that you have returned
to your natural state by a complete absence of all desire and fear. After all,
at the root of all desire and fear is the feeling of not being what you are.
Just as a dislocated joint pains only as long as it is out of shape, and is
forgotten as soon as it is set right, so is all self-concern a symptom of mental
distortion which disappears as soon as one is in the normal state.
Q: Yes, but what is the sadhana for achieving the natural state?
M: Hold on to the sense 'I am' to the exclusion of everything else. When thus
the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates
with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the
'I am'. Just like emerging from sleep or a state of rapture you feel rested
and yet you cannot explain why and how you come to feel so well, in the same
way on realisation you feel complete, fulfilled, free from the pleasure-pain
complex, and yet not always able to explain what happened, why and how. You
can put it only in negative terms: 'Nothing is wrong with me any longer.' It
is only by comparison with the past that you know that you are out of it. Otherwise
-- you are just yourself. Don't try to convey it to others. If you can, it is
not the real thing. Be silent and watch it expressing itself in action.
Q: If you could tell me what I shall become, it may help me to watch over my
M: How can anybody tell you what you shall become when there is no becoming?
You merely discover what you are. All moulding oneself to a pattern is a grievous
waste of time. Think neither of the past nor of the future, just be.
Q: How can I just be? Changes are inevitable.
M: Changes are inevitable in the changeful, but you are not subject to them.
You are the changeless background, against which changes are perceived.
Q: Everything changes, the background also changes. There is no need of a changeless
background to notice changes. The self is momentary -- it is merely the point
where the past meets the future.
M: Of course the self based on memory is momentary. But such self demands unbroken
continuity behind it. You know from experience that there are gaps when your
self is forgotten. What brings it back to life? What wakes you up in the morning?
There must be some constant factor bridging the gaps in consciousness. If you
watch carefully you will find that even your daily consciousness is in flashes,
with gaps intervening all the time. What is in the gaps? What can there be but
your real being, that is timeless; mind and mindlessness are one to it.
Q: Is there any particular place you would advise me to go to for spiritual
M: The only proper place is within. The outer world neither can help nor hinder.
No system, no pattern of action will take you to your goal. Give up all working
for a future, concentrate totally on the now, be concerned only with your response
to every movement of life as it happens.
Q: What is the cause of the urge to roam about?
M: There is no cause. You merely dream that you roam about. In a few years your
stay in India will appear as a dream to you. You will dream some other dream
at that time. Do realise that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but
the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. No happening affects
your real being -- this is the absolute truth.
Q: Cannot I move about physically and keep steady inwardly?
M: You can, but what purpose does it serve? If you are earnest, you will find
that in the end you will get fed up with roaming and regret the waste of energy
and time. To find your self you need not take a single step.
Q: Is there any difference between the experience of the Self (atman) and of
the Absolute (brahman)?
M: There can be no experience of the Absolute as it is beyond all experience.
On the other hand, the self is the experiencing factor in every experience and
thus, in a way, validates the multiplicity of experiences. The world may be
full of things of great value, but if there is nobody to buy them, they have
no price. The Absolute contains everything experienceable, but without the experience
they are as nothing. That which makes the experience possible is the Absolute.
That which makes it actual is the Self.
Q: Don't we reach the Absolute through a gradation of experiences? Beginning
with the grossest, we end with the most sublime.
M: There can be no experience without desire for it. There can be gradation
between desires, but between the most sublime desire and the freedom from all
desire there is an abyss which must be crossed. The unreal may look real, but
it is transient. The real is not afraid of time.
Q: Is not the unreal the expression of the real?
M: How can it be? It is like saying that truth expresses itself in dreams. To
the real the unreal is not. It appears to be real only because you believe in
it. Doubt it, and it ceases. When you are in love with somebody, you give it
reality -- you imagine your love to be all-powerful and everlasting. When it
comes to an end, you say: 'I thought it was real, but it wasn't'. Transiency
is the best proof of unreality. What is limited in time and space, and applicable
to one person only, is not real. The real is for all and forever.
Above everything else you cherish yourself. You would accept nothing in exchange
for your existence. The desire to be is the strongest of all desires and will
go only on the realisation of your true nature.
Q: Even in the unreal there is a touch of reality.
M: Yes, the reality you impart to it by taking it to be real. Having convinced
yourself, you are bound by your conviction. When the sun shines, colours appear.
When it sets, they disappear. Where are the colours without the light?
Q: This is thinking in terms of duality.
M: All thinking is in duality. In identity no thought survives.
70. God is the End of All Desire and Knowledge
Maharaj: Where are you coming from? What have you come for?
Questioner: I come from America and my friend is from the Republic of Ireland.
I came about six months ago and I was travelling from Ashram to Ashram. My friend
came on his own.
M: What have you seen?
Q: I have been at Sri Ramanashram and also I have visited Rishikesh. Can I ask
you what is your opinion of Sri Ramana Maharshi?
M: We are both in the same ancient state. But what do you know of Maharshi?
You take yourself to be a name and a body, so all you perceive are names and
Q: Were you to meet the Maharshi, what would happen?
M: Probably we would feel quite happy. We may even exchange a few words.
Q: But would he recognise you as a liberated man?
M: Of course. As a man recognises a man, so a jnani recognises a jnani. You
cannot appreciate what you have not experienced. You are what you think yourself
to be, but you cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced.
Q: To become an engineer I must learn engineering. To become God, what must
M: You must unlearn everything. God is the end of all desire and knowledge.
Q: You mean to say that I become God merely by giving up the desire to become
M: All desires must be given up, because by desiring you take the shape of your
desires. When no desires remain, you revert to your natural state.
Q: How do I come to know that I have achieved perfection?
M: You can not know perfection, you can know only imperfection. For knowledge
to be, there must be separation and disharmony. You can know what you are not,
but you can not know your real being. You can be only what you are. The entire
approach is through understanding, which is in the seeing of the false as false.
But to understand, you must observe from outside.
Q: The Vedantic concept of Maya, illusion, applies to the manifested. Therefore
our knowledge of the manifested is unreliable. But we should be able to trust
our knowledge of the unmanifested.
M: There can be no knowledge of the unmanifested. The potential is unknowable.
Only the actual can be known.
Q: Why should the knower remain unknown?
M: The knower knows the known. Do you know the knower? Who is the knower of
the knower? You want to know the unmanifested. Can you say you know the manifested?
Q: I know things and ideas and their relations. It is the sum total of all my
Q: Well, all actual experiences. I admit I cannot know what did not happen.
M: If the manifested is the sum total of all actual experiences, including their
experiencers, how much of the total do you know? A very small part indeed. And
what is the little you know?
Q: Some sensory experiences as related to myself.
M: Not even that. You only know that you react. Who reacts and to what, you
do not know. You know on contact that you exist -- 'I am'. The 'I am this',
'I am that' are imaginary.
Q: I know the manifested because I participate in it. I admit, my part in it
is very small, yet it is as real as the totality of it. And what is more important,
I give it meaning. Without me the world is dark and silent.
M: A firefly illumining the world! You don't give meaning to the world, you
find it. Dive deep into yourself and find the source from where all meaning
flows. Surely it is not the superficial mind that can give meaning.
Q: What makes me limited and superficial?
M: The total is open and available, but you will not take it. You are attached
to the little person you think yourself to be. Your desires are narrow, your
ambitions -- petty. After all, without a centre of perception where would be
the manifested? Unperceived, the manifested is as good as the unmanifested.
And you are the perceiving point, the non-dimensional source of all dimensions.
Know yourself as the total.
Q: How can a point contain a universe?
M: There is enough space in a point for an infinity of universes. There is no
lack of capacity. Self-limitation is the only problem. But you cannot run away
from yourself. However far you go, you come back to yourself and to the need
of understanding this point, which is as nothing and yet the source of everything.
Q: I came to India in search of a Yoga teacher. I am still in search.
M: What kind of Yoga do you want to practice, the Yoga of getting, or the Yoga
of giving up?
Q: Don't they come to the same in the end?
M: How can they? One enslaves, the other liberates. The motive matters supremely.
Freedom comes through renunciation. All possession is bondage.
Q: What I have the strength and the courage to hold on to, why should I give
up? And if I have not the strength, how can I give up? I do not understand this
need of giving up. When I want something, why should I not pursue it? Renunciation
is for the weak.
M: If you do not have the wisdom and the strength to give up, just look at your
possessions. Your mere looking will burn them up. If you can stand outside your
mind, you will soon find that total renunciation of possessions and desires
is the most obviously reasonable thing to do. You create the world and then
worry about it. Becoming selfish makes you weak. If you think you have the strength
and courage to desire, it is because you are young and inexperienced. Invariably
the object of desire destroys the means of acquiring it and then itself withers
away. It is all for the best, because it teaches you to shun desire like poison.
Q: How am I to practice desirelessness?
M: No need of practice. No need of any acts of renunciation. Just turn your
mind away, that is all. Desire is merely the fixation of the mind on an idea.
Get it out of its groove by denying it attention.
Q: That is all?
M: Yes, that is all. Whatever may be the desire or fear, don't dwell upon it.
Try and see for yourself. Here and there you may forget, it does not matter.
Go back to your attempts till the brushing away of every desire and fear, of
every reaction becomes automatic.
Q: How can one live without emotions?
M: You can have all the emotions you want, but beware of reactions, of induced
emotions. Be entirely self-determined and ruled from within, not from without.
Merely giving up a thing to secure a better one is not true relinquishment.
Give it up because you see its valuelessness. As you keep on giving up, you
will find that you grow spontaneously in intelligence and power and inexhaustible
love and joy.
Q: Why so much insistence on relinquishing all desires and fears? Are they not
M: They are not. They are entirely mind-made. You have to give up everything
to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and
your efforts are meaningless. You imagine that your possessions protect you.
In reality they make you vulnerable. realise yourself as away from all that
can be pointed at as 'this' or 'that'. You are unreachable by any sensory experience
or verbal construction. Turn away from them. Refuse to impersonate.
Q: After I have heard you, what am I to do?
M: Only hearing will not help you much. You must keep it in mind and ponder
over it and try to understand the state of mind which makes me say what I say.
I speak from truth; stretch your hand and take it. You are not what you think
yourself to be, I assure you. The image you have of yourself is made up from
memories and is purely accidental.
Q: What I am is the result of my karma.
M: What you appear to be, you are not. Karma is only a word you have learnt
to repeat. You have never been, nor shall ever be a person. Refuse to consider
yourself as one. But as long as you do not even doubt yourself to be a Mr. S0-and-so,
there is little hope. When you refuse to open your eyes, what can you be shown?
Q: I imagine karma to be a mysterious power that urges me towards perfection.
M: That's what people told you. You are already perfect, here and now. The perfectible
is not you. You imagine yourself to be what you are not -- stop it. It is the
cessation that is important, not what you are going to stop.
Q: Did not karma compel me to become what I am?
M: Nothing compels. You are as you believe yourself to be. Stop believing.
Q: Here you are sitting on your seat and talking to me. What compels you is
M: Nothing compels me. I do what needs doing. But you do so many unnecessary
things. It is your refusal to examine that creates karma. It is the indifference
to your own suffering that perpetuates it.
Q: Yes, it is true. What can put an end to this indifference?
M: The urge must come from within as a wave of detachment, or compassion.
Q: Could I meet this urge half way?
M: Of course. See your own condition, see the condition of the world.
Q: We were told about karma and reincarnation, evolution and Yoga, masters and
disciples. What are we to do with all this knowledge?
M: Leave it all behind you. Forget it. Go forth, unburdened with ideas and beliefs.
Abandon all verbal structures, all relative truth, all tangible objectives.
The Absolute can be reached by absolute devotion only. Don't be half-hearted.
Q: I must begin with some absolute truth. Is there any?
M: Yes, there is, the feeling: 'I am'. Begin with that.
Q: Nothing else is true?
M: All else is neither true nor false. It seems real when it appears, it disappears
when it is denied. A transient thing is a mystery.
Q: I thought the real is the mystery.
M: How can it be? The real is simple, open, clear and kind, beautiful and joyous.
It is completely free of contradictions. It is ever new, ever fresh, endlessly
creative. Being and non-being, life and death, all distinctions merge in it.
Q: I can admit that all is false. But, does it make my mind nonexistent?
M: The mind is what it thinks. To make it true, think true.
Q: If the shape of things is mere appearance, what are they in reality?
M: In reality there is only perception. The perceiver and the perceived are
conceptual, the fact of perceiving is actual.
Q: Where does the Absolute come in?
M: The Absolute is the birthplace of Perceiving. It makes perception possible.
But too much analysis leads you nowhere. There is in you the core of being which
is beyond analysis, beyond the mind. You can know it in action only. Express
it in daily life and its light will grow ever brighter.
The legitimate function of the mind is to tell you what is not. But if you want
positive knowledge, you must go beyond the mind.
Q: In all the universe is there one single thing of value?
M: Yes, the power of love.
Part 10 >>