I Am That
86. The Unknown is the Home of the Real
Questioner: Who is the Guru and who is the supreme Guru?
Maharaj: All that happens in your consciousness is your Guru. And pure awareness beyond consciousness is the supreme Guru.
Q: My Guru is Sri Babaji. What is your opinion of him?
M: What a question to ask! The space in Bombay is asked what is its opinion of the space in Poona. The names differ, but not the space. The word ‘Babaji’ is merely as address. Who lives under the address? You ask questions when you are in trouble. Enquire who is giving trouble and to whom.
Q: I understand everybody is under the obligation to realise. Is it his duty, or his destiny?
M: Realisation is of the fact that you are not a person. Therefore, it cannot be the duty of the person whose destiny is to disappear. Its destiny is the duty of him who imagines himself to be the person. Find out who he is and the imagined person will dissolve. Freedom is from something. What are you to be free from? Obviously, you must be free from the person, you take yourself to be, for it is the idea you have of yourself that keeps you in bondage.
Q: How is the person removed?
M: By determination. Understand that it must go and wish it to go -- it shall go if you are earnest about it. Somebody, anybody, will tell you that you are pure consciousness, not a body-mind. Accept it as a possibility and investigate earnestly. You may discover that it is not so, that you are not a person bound in space and time. Think of the difference it would make!
Q: If I am not a person, then what am I?
M: Wet cloth looks, feels, smells differently as long as it is wet. When dry it is again the normal cloth. Water has left it and who can make out that it was wet? Your real nature is not like what you appear to be. Give up the idea of being a person, that is all. You need not become what you are anyhow. There is the identity of what you are and there is the person superimposed on it. All you know is the person, the identity -- which is not a person -- you do not know, for you never doubted, never asked yourself the crucial question -- ‘Who am I’. The identity is the witness of the person and sadhana consists in shifting the emphasis from the superficial and changeful person to the immutable and ever-present witness.
Q: How is it that the question ‘Who am I’ attracts me little? I prefer to spend my time in the sweet company of saints.
M: Abiding in your own being is also holy company. If you have no problem of suffering and release from suffering, you will not find the energy and persistence needed for self-enquiry. You cannot manufacture a crisis. It must be genuine.
Q: How does a genuine crisis happen?
M: It happens every moment, but you are not alert enough. A shadow on your neighbour’s face, the immense and all-pervading sorrow of existence is a constant factor in your life, but you refuse to take notice. You suffer and see others suffer, but you don’t respond.
Q: What you say is true, but what can I do about it? Such indeed is the situation. My helplessness and dullness are a part of it.
M: Good enough. Look at yourself steadily -- it is enough. The door that locks you in, is also the door that lets you out. The ‘I am’ is the door. Stay at it until it opens. As a matter of fact, it is open, only you are not at it. You are waiting at the non-existent painted doors, which will never open.
Q: Many of us were taking drugs at some time, and to some extent. People told us to take drugs in order to break through into higher levels of consciousness. Others advised us to have abundant sex for the same purpose. What is your opinion in the matter?
M: No doubt, a drug that can affect your brain can also affect your mind, and give you all the strange experiences promised. But what are all the drugs compared to the drug that gave you this most unusual experience of being born and living in sorrow and fear, in search of happiness, which does not come, or does not last. You should enquire into the nature of this drug and find an antidote. Birth, life, death -- they are one. Find out what had caused them. Before you were born, you were already drugged. What kind of drug was it? You may cure yourself of all diseases, but if you are still under the influence of the primordial drug, of what use are the superficial cures?
Q: Is it not karma that causes rebirth?
M: You may change the name, but the fact remains. What is the drug which you call karma or destiny? It made you believe yourself to be what you are not. What is it, and can you be free of it? Before you go further you must accept, at least as a working theory, that you are not what you appear to be, that you are under the influence of a drug. Then only will you have the urge and the patience to examine the symptoms and search for their common cause. All that a Guru can tell you is: ‘My dear Sir, you are quite mistaken about yourself. You are not the person you think yourself to be.’ Trust nobody, not even yourself. Search, find out, remove and reject every assumption till you reach the living waters and the rock of truth. Until you are free of the drug, all your religions and sciences, prayers and Yogas are of no use to you, for based on a mistake, they strengthen it. But if you stay with the idea that you are not the body nor the mind, not even their witness, but altogether beyond, your mind will grow in clarity, your desires -- in purity, your actions -- in charity and that inner distillation will take you to another world, a world of truth and fearless love. Resist your old habits of feeling and thinking; keep on telling yourself: ‘No, not so, it cannot be so; I am not like this, I do not need it, I do not want it’, and a day will surely come when the entire structure of error and despair will collapse and the ground will be free for a new life. After all, you must remember, that all your preoccupations with yourself are only in your waking hours and partly in your dreams; in sleep all is put aside and forgotten. It shows how little important is your waking life, even to yourself, that merely lying down and closing the eyes can end it. Each time you go to sleep you do so without the least certainty of waking up and yet you accept the risk.
Q: When you sleep, are you conscious or unconscious?
M: I remain conscious, but not conscious of being a particular person.
Q: Can you give us the taste of the experience of self-realisation?
M: Take the whole of it! It is here for the asking. But you do not ask. Even when you ask, you do not take. Find out what prevents you from taking.
Q: I know what prevents -- my ego.
M: Then get busy with your ego -- leave me alone. As long as you are locked up within your mind, my state is beyond your grasp.
Q: I find I have no more questions to ask.
M: Were you really at war with your ego, you would have put many more questions. You are short of questions because you are not really interested. At present you are moved by the pleasure-pain principle which is the ego. You are going along with the ego, you are not fighting it. You are not even aware how totally you are swayed by personal considerations. A man should always revolt against himself, for the ego, like a crooked mirror, narrows down and distorts. It is the worst of all the tyrants, it dominates you absolutely.
Q: When there is no ‘I’ who is free?
M: The world is free of a mighty nuisance. Good enough.
Q: Good for whom?
M: Good for everybody. It is like a rope stretched across the street, it snarls up the traffic. Roll up, it is there, as mere identity, useful when needed. Freedom from the ego-self is the fruit of self-enquiry.
Q: There was a time when I was most displeased with myself. Now I have met my Guru and I am at peace, after having surrendered myself to him completely.
M: If you watch your daily life you will see that you have surrendered nothing. You have merely added the word ‘surrender’ to your vocabulary and made your Guru into a peg to hang your problems on. Real surrender means doing nothing, unless prompted by your Guru. You step, so to say, aside and let your Guru live your life. You merely watch and wonder how easily he solves the problems which to you seemed insoluble.
Q: As I sit here, I see the room, the people. I see you too. How does it look at your end? What do you see?
M: Nothing. I look, but I do not see in the sense of creating images clothed with judgements. I do not describe nor evaluate. I look, I see you, but neither attitude nor opinions cloud my vision. And when I turn my eyes away, my mind does not allow memory to linger; it is at once free and fresh for the next impression.
Q: As I am here, looking at you, I cannot locate the event in space and time. There is something eternal and universal about the transmission of wisdom that is taking place. Ten thousand years earlier, or later, make no difference -- the event itself is timeless.
M: Man does not change much over the ages. Human problems remain the same and call for the same answers. Your being conscious of what you call transmission of wisdom shows that wisdom has not yet been transmitted. When you have it, you are no longer conscious of it. What is really your own, you are not conscious of. What you are conscious of is neither you nor yours. Yours is the power of perception, not what you perceive. It is a mistake to take the conscious to be the whole of man. Man is the unconscious, conscious and the super-conscious, but you are not the man. Yours is the cinema screen, the light as well as the seeing power, but the picture is not you.
Q: Must I search for the Guru, or shall I stay with whomever I have found?
M: The very question shows that you have not yet found one. As long as you have not realised, you will move from Guru to Guru, but when you have found yourself, the search will end. A Guru is a milestone. When you are on the move, you pass so many milestones. When you have reached your destination, it is the last alone that mattered. In reality all mattered at their own time and none matters now.
Q: You seem to give no importance to the Guru. He is merely an incident among others.
M: All incidents contribute, but none is crucial. On the road each step helps you reach your destination, and each is as crucial as the other, for each step must be made, you cannot skip it. If you refuse to make it, you are stuck!
Q: Everybody sings the glories of the Guru, while you compare him to a milestone. Don’t we need a Guru?
M: Don’t we need a milestone? Yes and no. Yes, if we are uncertain, no if we know our way. Once we are certain in ourselves, the Guru is no longer needed, except in a technical sense. Your mind is an instrument, after all, and you should know how to use it. As you are taught the uses of your body, so you should know how to use your mind.
Q: What do I gain by learning to use my mind?
M: You gain freedom from desire and fear, which are entirely due to wrong uses of the mind. Mere mental knowledge is not enough. The known is accidental, the unknown is the home of the real. To live in the known is bondage, to live in the unknown is liberation.
Q: I have understood that all spiritual practice consists in the elimination of the personal self. Such practice demands iron determination and relentless application. Where to find the integrity and energy for such work?
M: You find it in the company of the wise?
Q: How do I know who is wise and who is merely clever?
M: If your motives are pure, if you seek truth and nothing else, you will find the right people. Finding them is easy, what is difficult is to trust them and take full advantage of their advice and guidance.
Q: Is the waking state more important for spiritual practice than sleep?
M: On the whole we attach too much importance, to the waking state. Without sleep the waking state would be impossible; without sleep one goes mad or dies; why attach so much importance to waking consciousness, which is obviously dependent on the unconscious? Not only the conscious but the unconscious as well should be taken care of in our spiritual practice.
Q: How does one attend to the unconscious?
M: Keep the ‘I am’ in the focus of awareness, remember that you are, watch yourself ceaselessly and the unconscious will flow into the conscious without any special effort on your part. Wrong desires and fears, false ideas, social inhibitions are blocking and preventing its free interplay with the conscious. Once free to mingle, the two become one and the one becomes all. The person merges into the witness, the witness into awareness, awareness into pure being, yet identity is not lost, only its limitations are lost. It is transfigured, and becomes the real Self, the sadguru, the eternal friend and guide. You cannot approach it in worship. No external activity can reach the inner self; worship and prayers remain on the surface only; to go deeper meditation is essential, the striving to go beyond the states of sleep, dream and waking. In the beginning the attempts are irregular, then they recur more often, become regular, then continuous and intense, until all obstacles are conquered.
Q: Obstacles to what?
M: To self-forgetting.
Q: If worship and prayers are ineffectual why do you worship daily, with songs and music, the image of your Guru!
M: Those who want it, do it. I see no purpose in interfering.
Q: But you take part in it.
M: Yes, it appears so. But why be so concerned with me? Give all your attention to the question: ‘What is it that makes me conscious?’, until your mind becomes the question itself and cannot think of anything else.
Q: All and sundry are urging me to meditate. I find no zest in meditation, but I am interested in many other things; some I want very much and my mind goes to them; my attempts at meditation are so half-hearted. What am I to do?
M: Ask yourself: ‘To whom it all happens?’ Use everything as an opportunity to go within. Light your way by burning up obstacles in the intensity of awareness. When you happen to desire or fear, it is not the desire or fear that are wrong and must go, but the person who desires and fears. There is no point in fighting desires and fears which may be perfectly natural and justified; It is the person, who is swayed by them, that is the cause of mistakes, past and future. The person should be carefully examined and its falseness seen; then its power over you will end. After all, it subsides each time you go to sleep. In deep sleep you are not a self-conscious person, yet you are alive. When you are alive and conscious, but no longer self-conscious, you are not a person anymore. During the waking hours you are, as if, on the stage, playing a role, but what are you when the play is over? You are what you are; what you were before the play began you remain when it is over. Look at yourself as performing on the stage of life. The performance may be splendid or clumsy, but you are not in it, you merely watch it; with interest and sympathy, of course, but keeping in mind all the time that you are only watching while the play -- life -- is going on.
Q: You are always stressing the cognition aspect of reality. You hardly ever mention affection, and will -- never?
M: Will, affection, bliss, striving and enjoying are so deeply tainted with the personal, that they cannot be trusted. The clarification and purification needed at the very start of the journey, only awareness can give. Love and will shall have their turn, but the ground must be prepared. The sun of awareness must rise first -- all else will follow.
87. Keep the Mind Silent and You shall Discover
Questioner: Once I had a strange experience. I was not, nor was the world, there was only light -- within and without -- and immense peace. This lasted for four days and then I returned to the every- day consciousness. Now I have a feeling that all I know is merely scaffolding, covering and hiding the building under construction. The architect, the design, the plans, the purpose -- nothing I know; some activity is going on, things are happening; that is all I can say. I am that scaffolding, something very flimsy and short-lived; when the building is ready, the scaffolding will be dismantled and removed. The ‘I am’ and the ‘What am I’ are of no importance, because once the building is ready, the ‘I’ will go as a matter of course, leaving no questions about itself to answer.
Maharaj: Are you not aware of all this? Is not the fact of awareness the constant factor?
Q: My sense of permanency and identity is due to memory, which is so evanescent and unreliable. How little I remember, even of the recent past! I have lived a life-time, and now what is left with me? A bundle of events, at best a short story.
M: All this takes place within your consciousness.
Q: Within and without. In daytime -- within; in the night -- without. Consciousness is not all. So many things happen beyond its reach. To say that what I am not conscious of does not exist, is altogether wrong.
M: What you say is logical, but actually you know only what is in your consciousness. What you claim exists outside conscious experience is inferred.
Q: It may be inferred and yet it is more real than the sensory.
M: Be careful. The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind. Words create words, reality is silent.
Q: When you talk, I hear you. Is it not a fact?
M: That you hear is a fact. What you hear -- is not. The fact can be experienced, and in that sense the sound of the word and the mental ripples it causes are experienced. There is no other reality behind it. Its meaning is purely conventional, to be remembered; a language can be easily forgotten, unless practiced.
Q: If words have no reality in them why talk at all?
M: They serve their limited purpose of inter-personal communication. Words do not convey facts, they signal them. Once you are beyond the person, you need no words.
Q: What can take me beyond the person? How to go beyond consciousness?
M: Words and questions come from the mind and hold you there. To go beyond the mind, you must be silent and quiet. Peace and silence, silence and peace -- this is the way beyond. Stop asking questions.
Q: Once I give up asking questions, what am I to do?
M: What can you do but wait and watch?
Q: What am I to wait for?
M: For the centre of your being to emerge into consciousness. The three states -- sleeping, dreaming and waking are all in consciousness, the manifested; what you call unconsciousness will also be manifested -- in time; beyond consciousness altogether lies the unmanifested. And beyond all, and pervading all, is the heart of being which beats steadily -- manifested-unmanifested; manifested-unmanifested (saguna-nirguna).
Q: On the verbal level it sounds all right. I can visualise myself as the seed of being, a point in consciousness, with my sense ‘I am’ pulsating, appearing and disappearing alternately. But what am I to do to realise it as a fact, to go beyond into the changeless, wordless Reality?
M: You can do nothing. What time has brought about, time will take away.
Q: Why then all these exhortations to practice Yoga and seek reality? They make me feel empowered and responsible, while in fact it is time that does all.
M: This is the end of Yoga -- to realise independence. All that happens, happens in and to the mind, not to the source of the ‘I am’. Once you realise that all happens by itself, (call it destiny, or the will of God or mere accident), you remain as witness only, understanding and enjoying, but not perturbed.
Q: If I cease trusting words altogether, what will be my condition?
M: There is a season for trusting and for distrusting. Let the seasons do their work, why worry?
Q: Somehow I feel responsible for what happens around me.
M: You are responsible only for what you can change. All you can change is only your attitude. There lies your responsibility.
Q: You are advising me to remain indifferent to the sorrows of others!
M: It is not that you are indifferent. All the sufferings of mankind do not prevent you from enjoying your next meal. The witness is not indifferent. He is the fullness of understanding and compassion. Only as the witness you can help another.
Q: All my life I was fed on words. The number of words I have heard and read go into the billions. Did it benefit me? Not at all!
M: The mind shapes the language and the language shapes the mind. Both are tools, use them but don’t misuse them. Words can bring you only unto their own limit; to go beyond, you must abandon them. Remain as the silent witness only.
Q: How can I? The world disturbs me greatly.
M: It is because you think yourself big enough to be affected by the world. It is not so. You are so small that nothing can pin you down. It is your mind that gets caught, not you. Know yourself as you are -- a mere point in consciousness, dimensionless and timeless. You are like the point of the pencil -- by mere contact with you the mind draws its picture of the world. You are single and simple -- the picture is complex and extensive. Don’t be misled by the picture -- remain aware of the tiny point -- which is everywhere in the picture. What is, can cease to be; what is not, can come to be; but what neither is nor is not, but on which being and non-being depend, is unassailable; know yourself to be the cause of desire and fear, itself free from both.
Q: How am I the cause of fear?
M: All depends on you. It is by your consent that the world exists. Withdraw your belief in its reality and it will dissolve like a dream. Time can bring down mountains; much more you, who are the timeless source of time. For without memory and expectation there can be no time.
Q: Is the ‘I am’ the Ultimate?
M: Before you can say: ‘I am’, you must be there to say it. Being need not be self-conscious. You need not know to be, but you must be to know.
Q: Sir, I am getting drowned in a sea of words! I can see that all depends on how the words are out together, but there must be somebody to put them together -- meaningfully. By drawing words at random the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata could never be produced. The theory of accidental emergence is not tenable. The origin of the meaningful must be beyond it. What is the power that creates order out of chaos? Living is more than being, and consciousness is more than living. Who is the conscious living being?
M: Your question contains the answer: a conscious living being is a conscious living being. The words are most appropriate, but you do not grasp their full import. Go deep into the meaning of the words: being, living, conscious, and you will stop running in circles, asking questions, but missing answers. Do understand that you cannot ask a valid question about yourself, because you do not know whom you are asking about. In the question ‘Who am I?’ the ‘I’ is not known and the question can be worded as: “I do not know what I mean by ‘I’” What you are, you must find out. I can only tell you what you are not. You are not of the world, you are not even in the world. The world is not, you alone are. You create the world in your imagination like a dream. As you cannot separate the dream from yourself, so you cannot have an outer world independent of yourself. You are independent, not the world. Don’t be afraid of a world you yourself have created. Cease from looking for happiness and reality in a dream and you will wake up. You need not know ‘why’ and ‘how’, there is no end to questions. Abandon all desires, keep your mind silent and you shall discover.
88. Knowledge by the Mind, is not True Knowledge
Questioner: Do you experience the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping just as we do, or otherwise?
Maharaj: All the three states are sleep to me. My waking state is beyond them. As I look at you, you all seem asleep, dreaming up words of your own. I am aware, for I imagine nothing. It is not samadhi which is but a kind of sleep. It is just a state unaffected by the mind, free from the past and future. In your case it is distorted by desire and fear, by memories and hopes; in mine it is as it is -- normal. To be a person is to be asleep.
Q: Between the body and pure awareness stands the ‘inner organ’, antahkarana, the ‘subtle body’, the ‘mental body’, whatever the name. Just as a whirling mirror converts sunlight into a manifold pattern of streaks and colours, so does the subtle body convert the simple light of the shining Self into a diversified world. Thus I have understood your teaching. What I cannot grasp is how did this subtle body arise in the first instance?
M: It is created with the emergence of the ‘I am’ idea. The two are one.
Q: How did the ‘I am’ appear?
M: In your world everything must have a beginning and an end. If it does not, you call it eternal. In my view there is no such thing as beginning or end -- these are all related to time. Timeless being is entirely in the now.
Q: The antahkarana, or the ‘subtle body’, is it real or unreal?
M: It is momentary. Real when present, unreal when over.
Q: What kind of reality? Is it momentary?
M: Call it empirical, or actual, or factual. It is the reality of immediate experience, here and now, which cannot be denied. You can question the description and the meaning, but not the event itself. Being and non-being alternate and their reality is momentary. The Immutable Reality lies beyond space and time. Realise the momentariness of being and non-being and be free from both.
Q: Things may be transient, yet they are very much with us, in endless repetition.
M: Desires are strong. It is desire that causes repetition. There is no recurrence where desire is not.
Q: What about fear?
M: Desire is of the past, fear is of the future. The memory of past suffering and the fear of its recurrence make one anxious about the future.
Q: There is also fear of the unknown.
M: Who has not suffered is not afraid.
Q: We are condemned to fear?
M: Until we can look at fear and accept it as the shadow of personal existence, as persons we are bound to be afraid. Abandon all personal equations and you shall be free from fear. It is not difficult. Desirelessness comes on its own when desire is recognised as false. You need not struggle with desire. Ultimately, it is an urge to happiness, which is natural as long as there is sorrow. Only see that there is no happiness in what you desire.
Q: We settle for pleasure.
M: Each pleasure is wrapped in pain. You soon discover that you cannot have one without the other.
Q: There is the experiencer and there is his experience. What created the link between the two?
M: Nothing created it. It is. The two are one.
Q: I feel there is a catch somewhere, but I do not know where.
M: The catch is in your mind, which insists on seeing duality where there is none.
Q: As I listen to you, my mind is all in the now and I am astonished to find myself without questions.
M: You can know reality only when you are astonished.
Q: I can make out that the cause of anxiety and fear is memory. What are the means for putting an end to memory?
M: Don’t talk of means, there are no means. What you see as false, dissolves. It is the very nature of illusion to dissolve on investigation. Investigate -- that is all. You cannot destroy the false, for you are creating it all the time. Withdraw from it, ignore it, go beyond, and it will cease to be.
Q: Christ also speaks of ignoring evil and being child-like.
M: Reality is common to all. Only the false is personal.
Q: As I watch the sadhakas and enquire into the theories by which they live, I find they have merely replaced material cravings by ‘spiritual’ ambitions. From what you tell us it looks as if the words: ‘spiritual’ and ‘ambition’ are incompatible. If ‘spirituality’ implies freedom from ambition, what will urge the seeker on? The Yogis speak of the desire for liberation as essential. Is it not the highest form of ambition?
M: Ambition is personal, liberation is from the personal. In liberation both the subject and the object of ambition are no longer. Earnestness is not a yearning for the fruits of one’s endeavours. It is an expression of an inner shift of interest away from the false, unessential, the personal.
Q: You told us the other day that we cannot even dream of perfection before realisation, for the Self is the source of all perfection and not the mind. If it is not excellence in virtue that is essential for liberation, then what is?
M: Liberation is not the result of some means skilfully applied, nor of circumstances. It is beyond the causal process. Nothing can compel it, nothing can prevent it.
Q: Then why are we not free here and now?
M: But we are free ‘here and now’. It is only the mind that imagines bondage.
Q: What will put an end to imagination?
M: Why should you want to put an end to it? Once you know your mind and its miraculous powers, and remove what poisoned it -- the idea of a separate and isolated person -- you just leave it alone to do its work among things to which it is well suited. To keep the mind in its own place and on its own work is the liberation of the mind.
Q: What is the work of the mind?
M: The mind is the wife of the heart and the world their home -- to be kept bright and happy.
Q: I have not yet understood why, if nothing stands in the way of liberation, it does not happen here and now.
M: Nothing stands in the way of your liberation and it can happen here and now, but for your being more interested in other things. And you cannot fight with your interests. You must go with them, see through them and watch them reveal themselves as mere errors of judgement and appreciation.
Q: Will it not help me if I go and stay with some great and holy man?
M: Great and holy people are always within your reach, but you do not recognise them. How will you know who is great and holy? By hearsay? Can you trust others in these matters, or even yourself? To convince you beyond the shadow of doubt you need more than a commendation, more even than a momentary rapture. You may come across a great and holy man or women and not even know for a long time your good fortune. The infant son of a great man for many years will not know the greatness of his father. You must mature to recognise greatness and purify your heart for holiness. Or you will spend your time and money in vain and also miss what life offers you. There are good people among your friends -- you can learn much from them. Running after saints is merely another game to play. Remember yourself instead and watch your daily life relentlessly. Be earnest, and you shall not fail to break the bonds of inattention and imagination.
Q: Do you want me to struggle all alone?
M: You are never alone. There are powers and presences who serve you all the time most faithfully. You may or may not perceive them, nevertheless they are real and active. When you realise that all is in your mind and that you are beyond the mind, that you are truly alone; then all is you.
Q: What is omniscience? Is God omniscient? Are you omniscient? We hear the expression -- universal witness. What does it mean? Does self-realisation imply omniscience? Or is it a matter of specialised training?
M: To lose entirely all interest in knowledge results in omniscience. It is but the gift of knowing what needs to be known, at the right moment, for error-free action. After all, knowledge is needed for action and if you act rightly, spontaneously, without bringing in the conscious, so much the better.
Q: Can one know the mind of another person?
M: Know you own mind first. It contains the entire universe and with space to spare!
Q: Your working theory seems to be that the waking state is not basically different from dream and the dreamless sleep. The three states are essentially a case of mistaken self-identification with the body. Maybe it is true, but, I feel, it is not the whole truth.
M: Do not try to know the truth, for knowledge by the mind is not true knowledge. But you can know what is not true -- which is enough to liberate you from the false. The idea that you know what is true is dangerous, for it keeps you imprisoned in the mind. It is when you do not know, that you are free to investigate. And there can be no salvation, without investigation, because non-investigation is the main cause of bondage.
Q: You say that the illusion of the world begins with the sense ‘I am’, but when I ask about the origin of the sense ‘I am’, you answer that it has no origin, for on investigation it dissolves. What is solid enough to build the world on cannot be mere illusion. The ‘I am’ is the only changeless factor I am conscious of; how can it be false?
M: It is not the ‘I am’ that is false, but what you take yourself to be. I can see, beyond the least shadow of doubt, that you are not what you believe yourself to be. Logic or no logic, you cannot deny the obvious. You are nothing that you are conscious of. Apply yourself diligently to pulling apart the structure you have built in your mind. What the mind has done the mind must undo.
Q: You cannot deny the present moment, mind or no mind. What is now, is. You may question the appearance, but not the fact. What is at the root of the fact?
M: The ‘I am’ is at the root of all appearance and the permanent link in the succession of events that we call life; but I am beyond the ‘I am’.
Q: I have found that the realised people usually describe their state in terms borrowed from their religion. You happen to be a Hindu, so you talk of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and use Hindu approaches and imagery. Kindly tell us, what is the experience behind your words? What reality do they refer to?
M: It is my way of talking, a language I was taught to use.
Q: But what is behind the language?
M: How can I put it into words, except in negating them? Therefore, I use words like timeless, spaceless, causeless. These too are words, but as they are empty of meaning, they suit my purpose.
Q: If they are meaningless, why use them?
M: Because you want words where no words apply.
Q: I can see your point. Again, you have robbed me of my question!
89. Progress in Spiritual Life
Questioner: We are two girls from England, visiting India. We know little about Yoga and we are here because we were told that spiritual teachers play an important role in Indian life.
Maharaj: You are welcome. There is nothing new you will find here. The work we are doing is timeless. It was the same ten thousand years ago. Centuries roll on, but the human problem does not change -- the problem of suffering and the ending of suffering.
Q: The other day seven young foreigners have turned up asking for a place to sleep for a few nights. They came to see their Guru who was lecturing in Bombay. I met him -- a very pleasant looking young man is he -- apparently very matter-of-fact and efficient, but with an atmosphere of peace and silence about him. His teaching is traditional with stress on karma Yoga, selfless work, service of the Guru etc. Like the Gita, he says that selfless work will result in salvation. He is full of ambitious plans: training workers who will start spiritual centres in many countries. It seems he gives them not only the authority, but also the power to do the work in his name.
M: Yes, there is such a thing as transmission of power.
Q: When I was with them I had a strange feeling of becoming invisible. The devotees, in their surrender to their Guru surrendered me also! Whatever I did for them was their Guru’s doing and I was not considered, except as a mere instrument. I was merely a tap to turn left or right. There was no personal relationship whatsoever. They tried a little to convert me to their faith; as soon as they felt resistance, they just dropped me from the field of their attention. Even between themselves they did not appear very much related; it is their common interest in their Guru that kept them together. I found it rather cold, almost inhuman. To consider oneself an instrument in God’s hands is one thing; to be denied all attention and consideration because ‘all is God’ may lead to indifference verging on cruelty. After all, all wars are made ‘in the name of God’. The entire history of mankind is a succession of ‘holy wars’. One is never so impersonal as in war!
M: To insist, to resist, are contained in the will to be. Remove the will to be and what remains? Existence and non-existence relate to something in space and time; here and now, there and then, which again are in the mind. The mind plays a guessing game; it is ever uncertain; anxiety-ridden and restless. You resent being treated as a mere instrument of some god, or Guru, and insist on being treated as a person, because you are not sure of your own existence and do not want to give up the comfort and assurance of a personality. You may not be what you believe yourself to be, but it gives you continuity, your future flows into the present and becomes the past without jolts. To be denied personal existence is frightening, but you must face it and find your identity with the totality of life. Then the problem of who is used by whom is no more.
Q: All the attention I got was an attempt to convert me to their faith. When I resisted they lost all interest in me.
M: One does not become a disciple by conversion, or by accident. There is usually an ancient link, maintained through many lives and flowering as love and trust, without which there is no discipleship.
Q: What made you decide to become a teacher?
M: I was made into one by being called so. Who am I to teach and whom? What I am, you are, and what you are -- I am. The ‘I am’ is common to us all; beyond the ‘I am’ there is the immensity of light and love. We do not see it because we look elsewhere; I can only point at the sky; seeing of the star is your own work. Some take more time before they see the star, some take less; it depends on the clarity of their vision and their earnestness in search. These two must be their own -- I can only encourage.
Q: What am I expected to do when I become a disciple?
M: Each teacher has his own method, usually patterned on his Guru’s teachings and on the way he himself has realised, and his own terminology as well. Within that framework adjustments to the personality of the disciple are made. The disciple is given full freedom of thought and enquiry and encouraged to question to his heart’s content. He must be absolutely certain of the standing and competence of his Guru, otherwise his faith will not be absolute nor his action complete. It is the absolute in you that takes you to the absolute beyond you -- absolute truth, love selflessness are the decisive factors in self-realisation. With earnestness these can be reached.
Q: I understand one must give up one’s family and possessions to become a disciple.
M: It varies with the Guru. Some expect their mature disciples to become ascetics and recluses; some encourage family life and duties. Most of them consider a model family life more difficult than renunciation, suitable for a personality more mature and better balanced. At the early stages the discipline of monastic life may be advisable. Therefore, in the Hindu culture students up to the age of 25 are expected to live like monks -- in poverty, chastity and obedience -- to give them a chance to build a character able to meet the hardships and temptations of married life.
Q: Who are the people in this room? Are they your disciples?
M: Ask them. It is not on the verbal level that one becomes a disciple, but in the silent depths of one’s being. You do not become a disciple by choice; it is more a matter of destiny than self-will. It does not matter much who is the teacher -- they all wish you well. It is the disciple that matters -- his honesty and earnestness. The right disciple will always find the right teacher.
Q: I can see the beauty and feel the blessedness of a life devoted to search for truth under a competent and loving teacher. Unfortunately, we have to return to England.
M: Distance does not matter. If your desires are strong and true, they will mould your life for their fulfilment. Sow you seed and leave it to the seasons.
Q: What are the signs of progress in spiritual life?
M: Freedom from anxiety; a sense of ease and joy; deep peace within and abundant energy without.
Q: How did you get it?
M: I found it all in the holy presence of my Guru -- I did nothing on my own. He told me to be quiet -- and I did it -- as much as I could.
Q: Is your presence as powerful as his?
M: How am I to know? For me -- his is the only presence. If you are with me, you are with him.
Q: Each Guru will refer me to his own Guru. Where is the starting point?
M: There is a power in the universe working for enlightenment -- and liberation. We call it Sadashiva, who is ever present in the hearts of men. It is the unifying factor. Unity -- liberates. Freedom -- unites. Ultimately nothing is mine or yours -- everything is ours. Just be one with yourself and you will be one with all, at home in the entire universe.
Q: You mean to say that all these glories will come with the mere dwelling on the feeling ‘I am’?
M: It is the simple that is certain, not the complicated. Somehow, people do not trust the simple, the easy, the always available. Why not give an honest trial to what I say? It may look very small and insignificant, but it is like a seed that grows into a mighty tree. Give yourself a chance!
Q: I see so many people sitting here -- quietly. What for have they come?
M: To meet themselves. At home the world is too much with them. Here nothing disturbs them; they have a chance to take leave of their daily worries and contact the essential in themselves.
Q: What is the course of training in self-awareness?
M: There is no need of training. Awareness is always with you. The same attention that you give to the outer, you turn to the inner. No new, or special kind of awareness is needed.
Q: Do you help people personally?
M: People come to discuss their problems. Apparently they derive some help, or they would not come.
Q: Are the talks with people always in public, or will you talk to them privately also?
M: It is according to their wish. Personally, I make no distinction between public and private.
Q: Are you always available, or have you other work to do?
M: I am always available, but the hours in the morning and late afternoon are the most convenient.
Q: I understand that no work ranks higher than the work of a spiritual teacher.
M: The motive matters supremely.
90. Surrender to Your Own Self
Questioner: I was born in the United States, and the last fourteen months I have spent in Sri Ramanashram; now I am on my way back to the States where my mother is expecting me.
Maharaj: What are your plans?
Q: I may qualify as a nurse, or just marry and have babies.
M: What makes you want to marry?
Q: Providing a spiritual home is the highest form of social service I can think of. But, of course, life may shape otherwise. I am ready for whatever comes.
M: These fourteen months at Sri Ramanashram, what did they give you? In what way are you different from what you were when you arrived there?
Q: I am no longer afraid. I have found some peace.
M: What kind of peace is it? The peace of having what you want, or not wanting what you do not have?
Q: A little of both, I believe. It was not easy at all. While the Ashram is a very peaceful place, inwardly I was in agonies.
M: When you realise that the distinction between inner and outer is in the mind only, you are no longer afraid.
Q: Such realisation comes and goes with me. I have not yet reached the immutability of absolute completeness.
M: Well, as long as you believe so, you must go on with your sadhana, to disperse the false idea of not being complete. Sadhana removes the super-impositions. When you realise yourself as less than a point in space and time, something too small to be cut and too short-lived to be killed, then, and then only, all fear goes. When you are smaller than the point of a needle, then the needle cannot pierce you -- you pierce the needle!
Q: Yes, that is how I feel sometimes -- indomitable. I am more than fearless -- I am fearlessness itself.
M: What made you go to the Ashram?
Q: I had an unhappy love affair and suffered hell. Neither drink nor drugs could help me. I was groping and came across some books on Yoga. From book to book, from clue to clue -- I came to Ramanashram.
M: Were the same tragedy to happen to you again, would you suffer as much, considering your present state of mind?
Q: Oh no, I would not let myself suffer again. I would kill myself.
M: So you are not afraid to die!
Q: I am afraid of dying, not of death itself. I imagine the dying process to be painful and ugly.
M: How do you know? It need not be so. It may be beautiful and peaceful. Once you know that death happens to the body and not to you, you just watch your body falling off like a discarded garment.
Q: I am fully aware that my fear of death is due to apprehension and not knowledge.
M: Human beings die every second, the fear and the agony of dying hangs over the world like a cloud. No wonder you too are afraid. But once you know that the body alone dies and not the continuity of memory and the sense of ‘I am’ reflected in it, you are afraid no longer.
Q: Well, let us die and see.
M: Give attention and you will find that birth and death are one, that life pulsates between being and non-being, and that each needs the other for completeness. You are born to die and you die to be reborn.
Q: Does not detachment stop the process?
M: With detachment the fear goes, but not the fact.
Q: Shall I be compelled to be reborn? How dreadful!
M: There is no compulsion. You get what you want. You make your own plans and you carry them out.
Q: Do we condemn ourselves to suffer?
M: We grow through investigation, and to investigate we need experience. We tend to repeat what we have not understood. If we are sensitive and intelligent, we need not suffer. Pain is a call for attention and the penalty of carelessness. Intelligent and compassionate action is the only remedy.
Q: It is because I have grown in intelligence that I would not tolerate my suffering again. What is wrong with suicide?
M: Nothing wrong, if it solves the problem. What, if it does not? Suffering caused by extraneous factors -- some painful and incurable disease, or unbearable calamity -- may provide some justification, but where wisdom and compassion are lacking, suicide cannot help. A foolish death means foolishness reborn. Besides there is the question of karma to consider. Endurance is usually the wisest course.
Q: Must one endure suffering, however acute and hopeless?
M: Endurance is one thing and helpless agony is another. Endurance is meaningful and fruitful, while agony is useless.
Q: Why worry about karma? It takes care of itself anyhow.
M: Most of our karma is collective. We suffer for the sins of others, as others suffer for ours. Humanity is one. Ignorance of this fact does not change it. We could have been much happier people ourselves, but for our indifference to the sufferings of others.
Q: I find I have grown much more responsive.
M: Good. When you say it, what do you have in mind? Yourself, as a responsive person within a female body?
Q: There is a body and there is compassion and there is memory and a number of things and attitudes; collectively they may be called a person.
M: Including the ‘I am’ idea?
Q: The ‘I am’ is like a basket that holds the many things that make a person.
M: Or, rather, it is the willow of which the basket is woven. When you think of yourself as a women, do you mean that you are a women, or that your body is described as female?
Q: It depends on my mood. Sometimes I feel myself to be a mere centre of awareness.
M: Or, an ocean of awareness. But are there moments when you are neither man nor women, not the accidental, occasioned by circumstances and conditions?
Q: Yes, there are, but I feel shy to talk about it.
M: A hint is all that one can expect. You need not say more.
Q: Am I allowed to smoke in your presence? I know that it is not the custom to smoke before a sage and more so for a women.
M: By all means, smoke, nobody will mind. We understand.
Q: I feel the need of cooling down.
M: It is very often so with Americans and Europeans. After a stretch of sadhana they become charged with energy and frantically seek an outlet. They organise communities, become teachers of Yoga, marry, write books -- anything except keeping quiet and turning their energies within, to find the source of the inexhaustible power and learn the art of keeping it under control.
Q: I admit that now I want to go back and live a very active life, because I feel full of energy.
M: You can do what you like, as long as you do not take yourself to be the body and the mind. It is not so much a question of actual giving up the body and all that goes with it, as a clear understanding that you are not the body. A sense of aloofness, of emotional non-involvement.
Q: I know what you mean. Some four years ago I passed through a period of rejection of the physical; I would not buy myself clothes, would eat the simplest foods, sleep on bare planks. It is the acceptance of the privations that matters, not the actual discomfort. Now I have realised that welcoming life as it comes and loving all it offers, is best of it. I shall accept with glad heart whatever comes and make the best of it. If I can do nothing more than give life and true culture to a few children -- good enough; though my heart goes out to every child, I cannot reach all.
M: You are married and a mother only when you are man-women conscious. When you do not take yourself to be the body, then the family life of the body, however intense and interesting, is seen only as a play on the screen of the mind, with the light of awareness as the only reality.
Q: Why do you insist on awareness as the only real? Is not the object of awareness as real, while it lasts?
M: But it does not last! Momentary reality is secondary; it depends on the timeless.
Q: Do you mean continuous, or permanent?
M: There can be no continuity in existence. Continuity implies identity in past, present and future. No such identity is possible, for the very means of identification fluctuate and change. Continuity, permanency, these are illusions created by memory, mere mental projections of a pattern where no pattern can be; Abandon all ideas of temporary or permanent, body or mind, man or women; what remains? What is the state of your mind when all separation is given up? I am not talking of giving up distinctions, for without them there is no manifestation.
Q: When I do not separate, I am happily at peace. But somehow I lose my bearings again and again and begin to seek happiness in outer things. Why is my inner peace not steady, I cannot understand.
M: Peace, after all, is also a condition of the mind.
Q: Beyond the mind is silence. There is nothing to be said about it.
M: Yes, all talk about silence is mere noise.
Q: Why do we seek worldly happiness, even after having tasted one’s own natural spontaneous happiness?
M: When the mind is engaged in serving the body, happiness is lost. To regain it, it seeks pleasure. The urge to be happy is right, but the means of securing it are misleading, unreliable and destructive of true happiness.
Q: Is pleasure always wrong?
M: The right state and use of the body and the mind are intensely pleasant. It is the search for pleasure that is wrong. Do not try to make yourself happy, rather question your very search for happiness. It is because you are not happy that you want to be happy. Find out why you are unhappy. Because you are not happy you seek happiness in pleasure; pleasure brings in pain and therefore you call it worldly; you then long for some other pleasure, without pain, which you call divine. In reality, pleasure is but a respite from pain. Happiness is both worldly and unworldly, within and beyond all that happens. Make no distinction, don’t separate the inseparable and do not alienate yourself from life.
Q: How well I understand you now! Before my stay at Ramanashram I was tyrannised by conscience, always sitting in judgement of myself. Now I am completely relaxed, fully accepting myself as I am. When I return to the States, I shall take life as it comes, as Bhagavan’s grace, and enjoy the bitter along with the sweet. This is one of the things I have learnt in the Ashram -- to trust Bhagavan. I was not like this before. I could not trust.
M: Trusting Bhagavan is trusting yourself. Be aware that whatever happens, happens to you, by you, through you, that you are the creator, enjoyer and destroyer of all you perceive and you will not be afraid. Unafraid, you will not be unhappy, nor will you seek happiness. In the mirror of your mind all kinds of pictures appear and disappear. Knowing that they are entirely your own creations, watch them silently come and go, be alert, but not perturbed. This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of Yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture.
Q: I find that the thought of death frightens me because I do not want to be reborn. I know that none compels, yet the pressure of unsatisfied desires is overwhelming and I may not be able to resist.
M: The question of resistance does not arise. What is born and reborn is not you. Let it happen, watch it happen.
Q: Why then be at all concerned?
M: But you are concerned! And you will be concerned as long as the picture clashes with your own sense of truth, love and beauty. The desire for harmony and peace is in eradicable. But once it is fulfilled, the concern ceases and physical life becomes effortless and below the level of attention. Then, even in the body you are not born. To be embodied or bodyless is the same to you. You reach a point when nothing can happen to you. Without body, you cannot be killed; without possessions you cannot be robbed; without mind, you cannot be deceived. There is no point where a desire or fear can hook on. As long as no change can happen to you, what else matters?
Q: Somehow I do not like the idea of dying.
M: It is because you are so young. The more you know yourself the less you are afraid. Of course, the agony of dying is never pleasant to look at, but the dying man is rarely conscious.
Q: Does he return to consciousness?
M: It is very much like sleep. For a time the person is out of focus and then it returns.
Q: The same person?
M: The person, being a creature of circumstances, necessarily changes along with them, like the flame that changes with the fuel. Only the process goes on and on, creating time and space.
Q: Well, God will look after me. I can leave everything to Him.
M: Even faith in God is only a stage on the way. Ultimately you abandon all, for you come to something so simple that there are no words to express it.
Q: I am just beginning. At the start I had no faith, no trust; I was afraid to let things happen. The world seemed to be a very dangerous and inimical place. Now, at least I can talk of trusting the Guru or God. Let me grow. Don’t drive me on. Let me proceed at my own pace.
M: By all means proceed. But you don’t. You are still stuck in the ideas of man and women, old and young, life and death. Go on, go beyond. A thing recognised is a thing transcended.
Q: Sir, wherever I go people take it to be their duty to find faults with me and goad me on. I am fed up with this spiritual fortune making. What is wrong with my present that it should be sacrificed to a future, however glorious? You say reality is in the now. I want it. I do not want to be eternally anxious about my stature and its future. I do not want to chase the more and the better. Let me love what I have.
M: You are quite right; do it. Only be honest -- just love what you love -- don’t strive and strain.
Q: This is what I call surrender to the Guru.
M: Why exteriorise? Surrender to your own self, of which everything is an expression.
91. Pleasure and Happiness
Questioner: A friend of mine, a young man about twenty-five, was told that he is suffering from an incurable heart disease. He wrote to me that instead of slow death he preferred suicide. I replied to him that a disease incurable by Western medicine may be cured in some other way. There are yogic powers that can bring almost instantaneous changes in the human body. Effects of repeated fasting also verge on the miraculous. I wrote to him not to be in a hurry to die; rather to give a trial to other approaches. There is a Yogi living not far from Bombay who possesses some miraculous powers. He has specialised in the control of the vital forces governing the body. I met some of his disciples and sent through to the Yogi my friend’s letter and photo. Let us see what happens.
Maharaj: Yes, miracles often take place. But there must be the will to live. Without it the miracles will not happen.
Q: Can such a desire be instilled?
M: Superficial desire, yes. But it will wear out. Fundamentally, nobody can compel another to live. Besides, there were cultures in which suicide had its acknowledged and respected place.
Q: Is it not obligatory to live out one’s natural span of life?
M: Natural -- spontaneously -- easy -- yes. But disease and suffering are not natural. There is noble virtue in unshakable endurance of whatever comes, but there is also dignity in the refusal of meaningless torture and humiliation.
Q: I was given a book written by a siddha. He describes in it many of his strange, even amazing experiences. According to him the way of a true sadhaka ends with his meeting his Guru and surrendering to him body, mind and heart. Henceforth the Guru takes over and becomes responsible for even the least event in the disciple’s life, until the two become one. One may call it realisation through identification. The disciple is taken over by a power he cannot control, nor resist, and feels as helpless as a leaf in the storm. The only thing that keeps him safe from madness and death is his faith in the love and power of his Guru.
M: Every teacher teaches according to his own experience. Experience is shaped by belief and belief is shaped by experience. Even the Guru is shaped by the disciple to his own image. It is the disciple that makes the Guru great. Once the Guru is seen to be the agent of a liberating power, which works both from within and without, whole-hearted surrender becomes natural and easy. Just as a man gripped by pain puts himself completely in the hands of a surgeon, so does the disciple entrust himself without reservation to his Guru. It is quite natural to seek help when its need is felt acutely. But, however powerful the Guru may be, he should not impose his will on the disciple. On the other hand, a disciple that distrusts and hesitates is bound to remain unfulfilled for no fault of his Guru.
Q: What happens then?
M: Life teaches, where all else fails. But the lessons of life take a long time to come. Much delay and trouble is saved by trusting and obeying. But such trust comes only when indifference and restlessness give place to clarity and peace. A man who keeps himself in low esteem, will not be able to trust himself, nor anybody else. Therefore, in the beginning the teacher tries his best to reassure the disciple as to his high origin, noble nature and glorious destiny. He relates to him the experiences of some saints as well as his own, instilling confidence in himself and in his infinite possibilities. When self-confidence and trust in the teacher come together, rapid and far-going changes in the disciple’s character and life can take place.
Q: I may not want to change. My life is good enough as it is.
M: You say so because you have not seen how painful is the life you live. You are like a child sleeping with a lollypop in its mouth. You may feel happy for a moment by being totally self-centred, but it is enough to have a good look at human faces to perceive the universality of suffering. Even your own happiness is so vulnerable and short-lived, at the mercy of a bank-crash, or a stomach ulcer. It is just a moment of respite, a mere gap between two sorrows. Real happiness is not vulnerable, because it does not depend on circumstances.
Q: Are you talking from your own experience? Are you too unhappy?
M: I have no personal problems. But the world is full of living beings whose lives are squeezed between fear and craving. They are like cattle driven to the slaughter house, jumping and frisking, carefree and happy, yet dead and skinned within an hour. You say you are happy. Are you really happy, or are you merely trying to convince yourself. Look at yourself fearlessly and you will at once realise that your happiness depends on conditions and circumstances, hence it is momentary, not real. Real happiness flows from within.
Q: Of what use is your happiness to me? It does not make me happy.
M: You can have the whole of it and more for the mere asking. But you do not ask; you don’t seem to want.
Q: Why do you say so? I do want to be happy.
M: You are quite satisfied with pleasures. There is no place for happiness. Empty your cup and clean it. It cannot be filled otherwise. Others can give you pleasure, but never happiness.
Q: A chain of pleasurable events is good enough.
M: Soon it ends in pain, if not in disaster. What is Yoga after all, but seeking lasting happiness within?
Q: You can speak only for the East. In the West the conditions are different and what you say does not apply.
M: There is no East and West in sorrow and fear. The problem is universal -- suffering and the ending of suffering. The cause of suffering is dependence and independence is the remedy. Yoga is the science and the art of self-liberation through self-understanding.
Q: I do not think I am fit for Yoga.
M: What else are you fit for? All your going and coming, seeking pleasure, loving and hating -- all this shows that you struggle against limitations, self-imposed or accepted. In your ignorance you make mistakes and cause pain to yourself and others, but the urge is there and shall not be denied. The same urge that seeks birth, happiness and death shall seek understanding and liberation. It is like a spark of fire in a cargo of cotton. You may not know about it, but sooner or later the ship will burst in flames. Liberation is a natural process and in the long run, inevitable. But it is within your power to bring it into the now.
Q: Then why are so few liberated people in the world?
M: In a forest only some of the trees are in full bloom at a given moment, yet everyone will have its turn. Sooner or later your physical and mental resources will come to an end. What will you do then? Despair? All right, despair. You will get tired of despairing and begin to question. At that moment you will be fit for conscious Yoga.
Q: I find all this seeking and brooding most unnatural.
M: Yours is the naturalness of a born cripple. You may be unaware but it does not make you normal. What it means to be natural or normal you do not know, nor do you know that you do not know. At present you are drifting and therefore in danger, for to a drifter any moment anything may happen. It would be better to wake up and see your situation. That you are -- you know. What you are -- you don't know. Find out what you are.
Q: Why is there so much suffering in the world?
M: Selfishness is the cause of suffering. There is no other cause.
Q: I understood that suffering is inherent in limitation.
M: Differences and distinctions are not the causes of sorrow. Unity in diversity is natural and good. It is only with separateness and self-seeking that real suffering appears in the world.