I Am That
35. Greatest Guru is Your Inner Self
Questioner: On all sides I hear that freedom from desires and inclinations is the first condition of self-realisation. But I find the condition impossible of fulfilment. Ignorance of oneself causes desires and desires perpetuate ignorance. A truly vicious circle!
Maharaj: There are no conditions to fulfil. There is nothing to be done, nothing to be given up. Just look and remember, whatever you perceive is not you, nor yours. It is there in the field of consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents, nor even the knower of the field. It is your idea that you have to do things that entangle you in the results of your efforts -- the motive, the desire, the failure to achieve, the sense of frustration -- all this holds you back. Simply look at whatever happens and know that you are beyond it.
Q: Does it mean I should abstain from doing anything?
M: You cannot! What goes on must go on. If you stop suddenly, you will crash.
Q: Is it a matter of the known and the knower becoming one?
M: Both are ideas in the mind, and words that express them. There is no self in them. The self is neither, between nor beyond. To look for it on the mental level is futile. Stop searching, and see -- it is here and now -- it is that 'I am' you know so well. All you need to do is to cease taking yourself to be within the field of consciousness. Unless you have already considered these matters carefully, listening to me once will not do. Forget your past experiences and achievements, stand naked, exposed to the winds and rains of life and you will have a chance.
Q: Has devotion (bhakti) any place in your teaching?
M: When you are not well, you go to a physician who tells you what is wrong and what is the remedy. If you have confidence in him, it makes things simple: you take the medicine, follow the diet restrictions and get well. But if you do not trust him, you may still take a chance, or you may study medicine yourself! In all cases it is your desire for recovery that moves you, not the physician. Without trust there is no peace. Somebody or other you always trust -- it may be your mother, or your wife. Of all the people the knower of the self, the liberated man, is the most trust-worthy. But merely to trust is not enough. You must also desire. Without desire for freedom of what use is the confidence that you can acquire freedom? Desire and confidence must go together. The stronger your desire, the easier comes the help. The greatest Guru is helpless as long as the disciple is not eager to learn. Eagerness and earnestness are all-important. Confidence will come with experience. Be devoted to your goal -- and devotion to him who can guide you will follow. If your desire and confidence are strong, they will operate and take you to your goal, for you will not cause delay by hesitation and compromise. The greatest Guru is your inner self. Truly, he is the supreme teacher. He alone can take you to your goal and he alone meets you at the end of the road. Confide in him and you need no outer Guru. But again you must have the strong desire to find him and do nothing that will create obstacles and delays. And do not waste energy and time on regrets. Learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them.
Q: If you do not mind my asking a personal question...?
M: Yes, go ahead.
Q: I see you sitting on an antelope skin. How does it tally with non-violence?
M: All my working life I was a cigarette-maker, helping people to spoil their health. And in front of my door the municipality has put up a public lavatory, spoiling my health. In this violent world how can one keep away from violence of some kind or other?
Q: Surely all avoidable violence should be avoided. And yet in India every holy man has his tiger, lion, leopard or antelope skin to sit on.
M: Maybe because no plastics were available in ancient times and a skin was best to keep the damp away. Rheumatism has no charm, even for a saint! Thus the tradition arose that for lengthy meditations a skin is needed. Just like the drum-hide in a temple, so is the antelope skin of a Yogi. We hardly notice it.
Q: But the animal had to be killed.
M: I have never heard of a Yogi killing a tiger for his hide. The killers are not Yogis and the Yogis are not killers.
Q: Should you not express your disapproval by refusing to sit on a skin?
M: What an idea! I disapprove of the entire universe, why only a skin?
Q: What is wrong with the universe?
M: Forgetting yourself is the greatest injury; all the calamities flow from it. Take care of the most important, the lesser will take care of itself. You do not tidy up a dark room. You open the windows first. Letting in the light makes everything easy. So, let us wait with improving others until we have seen ourselves as we are -- and have changed. There is no need to turn round and round in endless questioning; find yourself and everything will fall into its proper place.
Q: The urge to return to the source is very rare. Is it at all natural?
M: Outgoing is natural in the beginning, ingoing -- in the end. But in reality the two are one, just like breathing in and out are one.
Q: In the same way are not the body and the dweller in the body one?
M: Events in time and space -- birth and death, cause and effect -- these may be taken as one; but the body and the embodied are not of the same order of reality. The body exists in time and space, transient and limited, while the dweller is timeless and spaceless, eternal and all-pervading. To identify the two is a grievous mistake and the cause of endless suffering. You can speak of the mind and body as one, but the body-mind is not the underlying reality.
Q: Whoever he may be, the dweller is in control of the body and, therefore, responsible for it.
M: There is a universal power which is in control and is responsible.
Q: And so, I can do as I like and put the blame on some universal power? How easy!
M: Yes, very easy. Just realise the One Mover behind all that moves and leave all to Him. If you do not hesitate, or cheat, this is the shortest way to reality. Stand without desire and fear, relinquishing all control and all responsibility.
Q: What madness!
M: Yes, divine madness. What is wrong in letting go the illusion of personal control and personal responsibility? Both are in the mind only. Of course, as long as you imagine yourself to be in control, you should also imagine yourself to be responsible. One implies the other.
Q: How can the universal be responsible for the particular?
M: All life on earth depends on the sun. Yet you cannot blame the sun for all that happens, though it is the ultimate cause. Light causes the colour of the flower, but it neither controls, nor is responsible for it directly. It makes it possible, that is all.
Q: What I do not like in all this is taking refuge in some universal power.
M: You cannot quarrel with facts.
Q: Whose facts? Yours or mine?
M: Yours. You cannot deny my facts, for you do not know them. Could you know them, you would not deny them. Here lies the trouble. You take your imagining for facts and my facts for imagination. I know for certain that all is one. Differences do not separate. Either you are responsible for nothing, or for everything. To imagine that you are in control and responsible for one body only is the aberration of the body-mind.
Q: Still, you are limited by your body.
M: Only in matters pertaining to the body. This I do not mind. It is like enduring the seasons of the year. They come, they go -- they hardly affect me. In the same way body-minds come and go -- life is forever in search of new expressions.
Q: As long as you do not put all the burden of evil on God, I am satisfied. There may be a God for all I know, but to me he is a concept projected by the human mind. He may be a reality to you, but to me society is more real than God, for I am both its creature and its prisoner. Your values are wisdom and compassion; society's sagacious selfishness. I live in a world quite different from yours.
M: None compels.
Q: None compels you, but I am compelled. My world is an evil world, full of tears, toil and pain. To explain it away by the intellectualising, by putting forth theories of evolution and karma is merely adding insult to injury. The God of an evil world is a cruel God.
M: You are the god of your world and you are both stupid and cruel. Let God be a concept -- your own creation. Find out who you are, how did you come to live, longing for truth, goodness and beauty in a world full of evil. Of what use is your arguing for or against God. When you just do not know who is God and what are you talking about. The God born of fear and hope, shaped by desire and imagination, cannot be the Power That is, the Mind and the Heart of the universe.
Q: I agree that the world I live in and the God I believe in are both creatures of imagination. But in what way are they created by desire? Why do I imagine a world so painful and a God so indifferent? What is wrong with me that I should torture myself so cruelly? The enlightened man comes and tells me: 'it is but a dream to put an end to', but is he not himself a part of the dream? I find myself trapped and see no way out. You say you are free. Of what are you free? For heaven's sake, don't feed me on words, enlighten me, help me to wake up, since it is you who sees me tossing in my sleep.
M: When I say I am free, I merely state a fact. If you are an adult, you are free from infancy. I am free from all description and identification. Whatever you may hear, see, or think of, I am not that. I am free from being a percept, or a concept.
Q: Still, you have a body and you depend on it.
M: Again you assume that your point of view is the only correct one. I repeat: I was not, am not, shall not be a body. To me this is a fact. I too was under the illusion of having been born, but my Guru made me see that birth and death are mere ideas -- birth is merely the idea: 'I have a body'. And death -- 'I have lost my body'. Now, when I know I am not a body, the body may be there or may not -- what difference does it make? The body-mind is like a room. It is there, but I need not live in it all the time.
Q: Yet, there is a body and you do take care of it.
M: The power that created the body takes care of it.
Q: We are jumping from level to level all the time.
M: There are two levels to consider -- the physical -- of facts, and mental -- of ideas. I am beyond both. Neither your facts, nor ideas are mine. What I see is beyond. Cross over to my side and see with me.
Q: What I want to say is very simple. As long as I believe: 'I am the body', I must not say: 'God will look after my body'. God will not. He will let it starve, sicken and die.
M: What else do you expect from a mere body? Why are you so anxious about it? Because you think you are the body, you want it indestructible. You can extend its life considerably by appropriate practices, but for what ultimate good?
Q: It is better to live long and healthy. It gives us a chance to avoid the mistakes of childhood and youth, the frustrations of adulthood, the miseries and imbecility of old age.
M: By all means live long. But you are not the master. Can you decide the days of your birth and death? We are not speaking the same language. Yours is a make-believe talk, all hangs on suppositions and assumptions. You speak with assurance about things you are not sure of.
Q: Therefore, I am here.
M: You are not yet here. I am here. Come in! But you don't. You want me to live your life, feel your way, use your language. I cannot, and it will not help you. You must come to me. Words are of the mind and the mind obscures and distorts. Hence the absolute need to go beyond words and move over to my side.
Q: Take me over.
M: I am doing it, but you resist. You give reality to concepts, while concepts are distortions of reality. Abandon all conceptualisation and stay silent and attentive. Be earnest about it and all will be well with you.
36. Killing Hurts the Killer, not the Killed
Questioner: A thousand years ago a man lived and died. His identity (antahkarana) re-appeared in a new body. Why does he not remember his previous life? And if he does, can the memory be brought into the conscious?
Maharaj: How do you know that the same person re-appeared in the new body? A new body may mean a new person altogether.
Q: Imagine a pot of ghee. (Indian clarified butter). When the pot breaks, the Ghee remains and can be transferred to another pot. The old pot had its own scent, the new -- its own. The Ghee will carry the scents from pot to pot. In the same way the personal identity is transferred from body to body.
M: It is all right. When there is the body, its peculiarities affect the person. Without the body we have the pure identity in the sense of 'I am'. But when you are reborn in a new body, where is the world formerly experienced?
Q: Everybody experiences its own world.
M: In the present body the old body -- is it merely an idea, or is it a memory?
Q: An idea, of course. How can a brain remember what it has not experienced?
M: You have answered your own question. Why play with ideas? Be content with what you are sure of. And the only thing you can be sure of is 'I am'. Stay with it, and reject everything else. This is Yoga.
Q: I can reject only verbally. At best I remember to repeat the formula: 'This is not me, this is not mine. I am beyond all this'.
M: Good enough. First verbally, then mentally and emotionally, then in action. Give attention to the reality within you and it will come to light. It is like churning the cream for butter. Do it correctly and assiduously and the result is sure to come.
Q: How can the absolute be the result of a process?
M: You are right, the relative cannot result in the absolute. But the relative can block the absolute, just as the non-churning of the cream may prevent the butter from separating. It is the real that creates the urge; the inner prompts the outer and the outer responds in interest and effort. But ultimately there is no inner, nor outer; the light of consciousness is both the creator and the creature, the experiencer and the experience, the body and the embodied. Take care of the power that projects all this and your problems will come to an end.
Q: Which is the projecting power?
M: It is imagination prompted by desire.
Q: I know all this, but have no power over it.
M: This is another illusion of yours, born from craving for results.
Q: What is wrong with purposeful action?
M: It does not apply. In these matters there is no question of purpose, nor of action. All you need is to listen, remember, ponder. It is like taking food. All you can do is to bite off, chew and swallow. All else is unconscious and automatic. Listen, remember and understand -- the mind is both the actor and the stage. All is of the mind and you are not the mind. The mind is born and reborn, not you. The mind creates the world and all the wonderful variety of it. Just like in a good play you have all sorts of characters and situations, so you need a little of everything to make a world.
Q: Nobody suffers in a play.
M: Unless one identifies himself with it. Don't identify yourself with the world and you will not suffer.
Q: Others will.
M: Then make your world perfect, by all means. If you believe in God, work with Him. It you do not, become one. Either see the world as a play or work at it with all your might. Or both.
Q: What about the identity of the dying man? What happens to it when he is dead? Do you agree that it continues in another body.
M: It continues and yet it does not. All depends how you look at it. What is identity, after all? Continuity in memory? Can you talk of identity without memory?
Q: Yes, I can. The child may not know its parents, yet the hereditary characteristics will be there.
M: Who identifies them? Somebody with a memory to register and compare. Don't you see that memory is the warp of your mental life. And identity is merely a pattern of events in time and space. Change the pattern and you have changed the man.
Q: The pattern is significant and important. It has its own value. By saying that a woven design is merely coloured threads you miss the most important -- the beauty of it. Or by describing a book as paper with ink stains on it, you miss the meaning. Identity is valuable because it is the basis of individuality; that which makes us unique and irreplaceable. 'I am', is the intuition of uniqueness.
M: Yes and no. Identity, individuality, uniqueness -- they are the most valuable aspects of the mind, yet of the mind only. 'I am all there is' too is an experience equally valid. The particular and the universal are inseparable. They are the two aspects of the nameless, as seen from without and from within. Unfortunately, words only mention, but don't convey. Try to go beyond the words.
Q: What dies with death?
M: The idea 'I am this body' dies; the witness does not.
Q: The Jains believe in a multiplicity of witnesses, forever separate.
M: That is their tradition based on the experience of some great people. The one witness reflects itself in the countless bodies as 'I am'. As long as the bodies, however subtle, last, the 'I am' appears as many. Beyond the body there is only the One.
M: The Creator is a person whose body is the world. The Nameless one is beyond all gods.
Q: Sri Ramana Maharshi died. What difference did it make to him?
M: None. What he was, he is -- the Absolute Reality.
Q: But to the common man death makes a difference.
M: What he thinks himself to be before death he continues to be after death. His self-image survives.
Q: The other day there was a talk about the use by the jnani of animal skins for meditation etc. I was not convinced. It is easy to justify everything by referring to custom and tradition. Customs may be cruel and tradition corrupt. They explain, but do not justify.
M: I never meant to say that lawlessness follows self-realisation. A liberated man is extremely law- abiding. But his laws are the laws of his real self, not of his society. These he observes, or breaks according to circumstances and necessity. But he will never be fanciful and disorderly.
Q: What I cannot accept is justification by custom and habit.
M: The difficulty lies in our differing points of view. You speak from the body-mind's. Mine is of the witness. The difference is basic.
Q: Still, cruelty is cruelty
M: None compels you to be cruel.
Q: Taking advantage of other people's cruelty is cruelty by proxy.
M: If you look into living process closely, you will find cruelty everywhere, for life feeds on life. This is a fact, but it does not make you feel guilty of being alive. You began a life of cruelty by giving your mother endless trouble. To the last day of your life you will compete for food, clothing, shelter, holding on to your body, fighting for its needs, wanting it to be secure, in a world of insecurity and death. From the animal's point of view being killed is not the worst form of dying; surely preferable to sickness and senile decay. The cruelty lies in the motive, not in the fact. Killing hurts the killer, not the killed.
Q: Agreed; then one must not accept the services of hunters and butchers.
M: Who wants you to accept?
Q: You accept.
M: That is how you see me! How quickly you accuse, condemn, sentence and execute! Why begin with me and not with yourself?
Q: A man like you should set an example.
M: Are you ready to follow my example? I am dead to the world, I want nothing, not even to live. Be as I am, do as I do. You are judging me by my clothes and food; while I only look at your motives; if you believe to be the body and the mind and act on it you are guilty of the greatest cruelty -- cruelty to your own real being. Compared to it all other cruelties do not count.
Q: You are taking refuge in the claim that you are not the body. But you are in control of the body and responsible for all it does. To allow the body full autonomy would be imbecility, madness!
M: Cool down. I am also against all killing of animals for flesh or fur, but I refuse to give it first place. Vegetarianism is a worthy cause, but not the most urgent; all causes are served best by the man who has returned to his source.
Q: When I was at Sri Ramanashram, I felt Bhagwan all over the place, all-pervading, all-perceiving.
M: You had the necessary faith. Those who have true faith in him will see him everywhere and at all times. All happens according to your faith and your faith is the shape of your desire.
Q: The faith you have in yourself, is not that too a shape of a desire?
M: When I say: 'I am', I do not mean a separate entity with a body as its nucleus. I mean the totality of being, the ocean of consciousness, the entire universe of all that is and knows. I have nothing to desire for I am complete forever.
Q: Can you touch the inner life of other people?
M: I am the people.
Q: I do not mean identity of essence or substance, nor similarity of form. I mean the actual entering into the minds and hearts of others and participating in their personal experiences. Can you suffer and rejoice with me, or you only infer what I feel from observation and analogy?
M: All beings are in me. But bringing down into the brain the content of another brain requires special training. There is nothing that cannot be achieved by training.
Q: I am not your projection, nor are you mine. I am on my own right, not merely as your creation. This crude philosophy of imagination and projection does not appeal to me. You are depriving me of all reality. Who is the image of whom? You are my image or am I yours. Or am I an image in my own image! No, something is wrong somewhere.
M: Words betray their hollowness. The real cannot be described, it must be experienced. I cannot find better words for what I am now. What I say may sound ridiculous. But what the words try to convey is the highest truth. All is one, however much we quibble. And all is done to please the one source and goal of every desire, whom we all know as the 'I am'.
Q: It is pain that is at the root of desire. The basic urge is to escape from pain.
M: What is the root of pain? Ignorance of yourself. What is the root of desire? The urge to find yourself. All creation toils for its self and will not rest until it returns to it.
Q: When will it return?
M: It can return whenever you want it.
Q: And the world?
M: You can take it with you.
Q: Must I wait with helping the world until I reach perfection?
M: By all means help the world. You will not help much, but the effort will make you grow. There is nothing wrong in trying to help the world.
Q: Surely there were people, common people, who helped greatly.
M: When the time comes for the world to be helped, some people are given the will, the wisdom and the power to cause great changes.
37. Beyond Pain and Pleasure there is Bliss
Maharaj: You must realise first of all that you are the proof of everything, including yourself. None can prove your existence, because his existence must be confirmed by you first. Your being and knowing you owe nobody. Remember, you are entirely on your own. You do not come from somewhere, you do not go anywhere. You are timeless being and awareness.
Questioner: There is a basic difference between us. You know the real while I know only the workings of my mind. Therefore what you say is one thing, what I hear is another. What you say is true; what I understand is false, though the words are the same. There is a gap between us. How to close the gap?
M: Give up the idea of being what you think yourself to be and there will be no gap. By imagining yourself as separate you have created the gap. You need not cross it. Just don't create it. All is you and yours. There is nobody else. This is a fact.
Q: How strange! The very same words which to you are true, to me are false. 'There is nobody else'. How obviously untrue!
M: Let them be true or untrue. Words don't matter. What matters is the idea you have of yourself, for it blocks you. Give it up.
Q: From early childhood I was taught to think that I am limited to my name and shape. A mere statement to the contrary will not erase the mental groove. A regular brain-washing is needed -- if at all it can be done.
M: You call it brain-washing, I call it Yoga -- levelling up all the mental ruts. You must not be compelled to think the same thoughts again and again. Move on!
Q: Easier said than done.
M: Don't be childish! Easier to change, than to suffer. Grow out of your childishness, that is all.
Q: Such things are not done. They happen.
M: Everything happens all the time, but you must be ready for it. Readiness is ripeness. You do not see the real because your mind is not ready for it.
Q: If reality is my real nature, how can I ever be unready?
M: Unready means afraid. You are afraid of what you are. Your destination is the whole. But you are afraid that you will lose your identity. This is childishness, clinging to the toys, to your desires and fears, opinions and ideas. Give it all up and be ready for the real to assert itself. This self- assertion is best expressed in words: 'I am'. Nothing else has being. Of this you are absolutely certain
Q: 'I am', of course, but 'I know' also. And I know that I am so and so, the owner of the body, in manifold relations with other owners.
M: It is all memory carried over into the now.
Q: I can be certain only of what is now. Past and future, memory and imagination, these are mental states, but they are all I know and they are now. You are telling me to abandon them. How does one abandon the now?
M: You are moving into the future all the time whether you like it or not.
Q: I am moving from now into now -- I do not move at all. Everything else moves -- not me.
M: Granted. But your mind does move. In the now you are both the movable and the immovable. So far you took yourself to be the movable and overlooked the immovable. Turn your mind inside out. Overlook the movable and you will find yourself to be the ever-present, changeless reality, inexpressible, but solid like a rock.
Q: If it is now, why am I not aware of it?
M: Because you hold on to the idea that you are not aware of it. Let go the idea.
Q: It does not make me aware.
M: Wait. You want to be on both sides of the wall at the same time. You can, but you must remove the wall. Or realise that the wall and both sides of it are one single space, to which no idea like 'here' or 'there' applies.
Q: Similes prove nothing. My only complaint is this: why do I not see what you see, why your words do not sound true in my mind. Let me know this much; all else can wait. You are wise and I am stupid; you see, I don't. Where and how shall I find my wisdom?
M: If you know yourself to be stupid, you are not stupid at all!
Q: Just as knowing myself sick does not make me well, so knowing myself foolish cannot make me wise.
M: To know that you are ill must you not be well initially?
Q: Oh, no. I know by comparison. If I am blind from birth and you tell me that you know things without touching them, while I must touch to know, I am aware that I am blind without knowing what does it mean to see. Similarly, I know that I am lacking something when you assert things which I cannot grasp. You are telling me such wonderful things about myself; according to you I am eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, supremely happy, creator, preserver and destroyer of all there is, the source of all life, the heart of being, the lord and the beloved of every creature. You equate me with the Ultimate Reality, the source and the goal of all existence. I just blink, for I know myself to be a tiny little bundle of desires and fears, a bubble of suffering, a transient flash of consciousness in an ocean of darkness.
M: Before pain was, you were. After pain had gone, you remained. Pain is transient, you are not.
Q: I am sorry, but I do not see what you see. From the day I was born till the day I die, pain and pleasure will weave the pattern of my life. Of being before birth and after death I know nothing. I neither accept nor deny you. I hear what you say, but I do not know it.
M: Now you are conscious, are you not?
Q: Please do not ask me about before and after. I just know only what is now.
M: Good enough. You are conscious. Hold on to it. There are states when you are not conscious. Call it unconscious being.
Q: Being unconscious?
M: Consciousness and unconsciousness do not apply here. Existence is in consciousness, essence is independent of consciousness.
Q: It is void? Is it silence?
M: Why elaborate? Being pervades and transcends consciousness. Objective consciousness is a part of pure consciousness, not beyond it.
Q: How do you come to know a state of pure being which is neither conscious nor unconscious? All knowledge is in consciousness only. There may be such a state as the abeyance of the mind. Does consciousness then appear as the witness?
M: The witness only registers events. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense 'I am' dissolves. There is no 'I am' without the mind.
Q: Without the mind means without thoughts. 'I am' as a thought subsides. 'I am' as the sense of being remains.
M: All experience subsides with the mind. Without the mind there can be no experiencer nor experience.
Q: Does not the witness remain?
M: The witness merely registers the presence or absence of experience. It is not an experience by itself, but it becomes an experience when the thought: 'I am the witness' arises.
Q: All I know is that sometimes the mind works and sometimes it stops. The experience of mental silence I call the abeyance of the mind.
M: Call it silence, or void, or abeyance, the fact is that the three -- experiencer, experiencing, experience -- are not. In witnessing, in awareness, self-consciousness, the sense of being this or that, is not. Unidentified being remains.
Q: As a state of unconsciousness?
M: With reference to anything, it is the opposite. It is also between and beyond all opposites. It is neither consciousness nor unconsciousness, nor midway, nor beyond the two. It is by itself, not with reference to anything which may be called experience or its absence.
Q: How strange! You speak of it as if it were an experience.
M: When I think of it -- it becomes an experience.
Q: Like the invisible light, intercepted by a flower, becoming colour?
M: Yes, you may say so. It is in the colour but not the colour.
Q: The same old four-fold negation of Nagarjuna: neither this nor that, nor both, nor either. My mind reels!
M: Your difficulty stems from the idea that reality is a state of consciousness, one among many. You tend to say: "This is real. That is not real. And this is partly real, partly unreal", as if reality were an attribute or quality to have in varying measures.
Q: Let me put it differently. After all, consciousness becomes a problem only when it is painful. An ever-blissful state does not give rise to questions. We find all consciousness to be a mixture of the pleasant and the painful. Why?
M: All consciousness is limited and therefore painful. At the root of consciousness lies desire, the urge to experience.
Q: Do you mean to say that without desire there can be no consciousness? And what is the advantage of being unconscious? If I have to forego pleasure for the freedom from pain, I better keep both.
M: Beyond pain and pleasure there is bliss.
Q: Unconscious bliss, of what use is it?
M: Neither conscious nor unconscious. Real.
Q: What is your objection to consciousness?
M: It is a burden. Body means burden. Sensations, desires, thoughts -- these are all burdens. All consciousness is of conflict.
Q: Reality is described as true being, pure consciousness, infinite bliss. What has pain to do with it?
M: Pain and pleasure happen, but pain is the price of pleasure, pleasure is the reward of pain. In life too you often please by hurting and hurt by pleasing. To know that pain and pleasure are one is peace.
Q: All this is very interesting, no doubt, but my goal is more simple. I want more pleasure and less pain in life. What am I to do?
M: As long as there is consciousness, there must be pleasure and pain. It is in the nature of the 'I am', of consciousness, to identify itself with the opposites.
Q: Then of what use is all this to me? It does not satisfy.
M: Who are you, who is unsatisfied?
Q: I am, the pain-pleasure man.
M: Pain and pleasure are both ananda (bliss). Here I am sitting in front of you and telling you -- from my own immediate and unchanging experience -- pain and pleasure are the crests and valleys of the waves in the ocean of bliss. Deep down there is utter fullness.
Q: Is your experience constant?
M: It is timeless and changeless.
Q: All I know is desire for pleasure and fear of pain.
M: That is what you think about yourself. Stop it. If you cannot break a habit all at once, consider the familiar way of thinking and see its falseness. Questioning the habitual is the duty of the mind. What the mind created, the mind must destroy. Or realise that there is no desire outside the mind and stay out.
Q: Honestly, I distrust this explaining everything as mind-made. The mind is only an instrument, as the eye is an instrument. Can you say that perception is creation? I see the world through the window, not in the window. All you say holds well together because of the common foundation, but I do not know whether your foundation is in reality, or only in the mind. I can have only a mental picture of it. What it means to you I do not know.
M: As long as you take your stand in the mind, you will see me in the mind.
Q: How inadequate are words for understanding!
M: Without words, what is there to understand? The need for understanding arises from mis- understanding. What I say is true, but to you it is only a theory. How will you come to know that it is true? Listen, remember, ponder, visualise, experience. Also apply it in your daily life. Have patience with me and, above all have patience with yourself, for you are your only obstacle. The way leads through yourself beyond yourself. As long as you believe only the particular to be real, conscious and happy and reject the non-dual reality as something imagined, an abstract concept, you will find me doling out concepts and abstractions. But once you have touched the real within your own being, you will find me describing what for you is the nearest and the dearest.
38. Spiritual Practice is Will Asserted and Re-asserted
Questioner: The Westerners who occasionally come to see you are faced with a peculiar difficulty. The very notion of a liberated man, a realised man, a self-knower, a God-knower, a man beyond the world, is unknown to them. All they have in their Christian culture is the idea of a saint: a pious man, law-abiding, God-fearing, fellow-loving, prayerful, sometimes prone to ecstasies and confirmed by a few miracles. The very idea of a jnani is foreign to Western culture, something exotic and rather unbelievable. Even when his existence is accepted, he is looked at with suspicion, as a case of self- induced euphoria caused by strange physical postures and mental attitudes. The very idea of a new dimension in consciousness seems to them implausible and improbable. What will help them is the opportunity of hearing a jnani relate his own experience of realisation, its causes and beginnings, its progress and attainments and its actual practice in daily life. Much of what he says may remain strange, even meaningless, yet there will remain a feeling of reality, an atmosphere of actual experiencing, ineffable, yet very real, a centre from which an exemplary life can be lived.
Maharaj: The experience may be incommunicable. Can one communicate an experience?
Q: Yes, if one is an artist. The essence of art is communication of feeling, of experience.
M: To receive communication, you must be receptive.
Q: Of course. There must be a receiver. But if the transmitter does not transmit, of what use is the receiver?
M: The jnani belongs to all. He gives himself tirelessly and completely to whoever comes to him. If he is not a giver, he is not a jnani. Whatever he has, he shares.
Q: But can he share what he is?
M: You mean, can he make others into jnanis? Yes and no. No, since jnanis are not made, they realise themselves as such, when they return to their source, their real nature. I cannot make you into what you already are. All I can tell you is the way I travelled and invite you to take it.
Q: This does not answer my question. I have in mind the critical and sceptical Westerner who denies the very possibility of higher states of consciousness. Recently drugs have made a breach in his disbelief, without affecting his materialistic outlook. Drugs or no drugs, the body remains the primary fact and the mind is secondary. Beyond the mind, they see nothing. From Buddha onwards the state of self-realisation was described in negative terms, as 'not this, not that'. Is it inevitable? Is it not possible to illustrate it, if not describe. I admit, no verbal description will do, when the state described is beyond words. Yet it is also within words. Poetry is the art of putting into words the inexpressible.
M: There is no lack of religious poets. Turn to them for what you want. As far as I am concerned, my teaching is simple: trust me for a while and do what I tell you. If you persevere, you will find that your trust was justified.
Q: And what to do with people who are interested, but cannot trust?
M: If they could stay with me, they would come to trust me. Once they trust me, they will follow my advice and discover for themselves.
Q: It is not for the training that I am asking just now, but for its results. You had both. You are willing to tell us all about the training, but when it comes to results, you refuse to share. Either you tell us that your state is beyond words, or that there is no difference; that where we see a difference, you see none. In both cases we are left without any insight into your state.
M: How can you have insight into my state when you are without insight into your own? When the very instrument of insight is lacking, is it not important to find it first? It is like a blind man wanting to learn painting before he regains his eyesight. You want to know my state -- but do you know the state of your wife or servant?
Q: I am asking for some hints only.
M: Well, I gave you a very significant clue -- where you see differences, I don't. To me it is enough. If you think it is not enough, I can only repeat; it is enough. Think it out deeply and you will come to see what I see. You seem to want instant insight, forgetting that the instant is always preceded by a long preparation. The fruit falls suddenly, but the ripening takes time. After all, when I talk of trusting me, it is only for a short time, just enough time to start you moving. The more earnest you are, the less belief you need, for soon you will find your faith in me justified. You want me to prove to you that I am trustworthy! How can I and why should l? After all, what I am offering you is the operational approach, so current in Western science. When a scientist describes an experiment and its results, usually you accept his statements on trust and repeat his experiment as he describes it. Once you get the same or similar results, you need not trust him any more; you trust your own experience. Encouraged, you proceed and arrive in the end at substantially identical results.
Q: The Indian mind was made ready for metaphysical experiments by culture and nurture. To the Indian words like 'direct perception of the Supreme Reality' make sense and bring out responses from the very depths of his being. They mean little to a Westerner; even when brought up in his own variety of Christianity, he does not think beyond conformity with God's commandments and Christ's injunctions. First-hand knowledge of reality is not only beyond ambition, but also beyond conceiving. Some Indians tell me: 'Hopeless. The Westerner will not, for he cannot. Tell him nothing about self- realisation; let him live a useful life and earn a rebirth in India. Then only will he have a chance'. Some say: 'Reality is for all equally, but not all are equally endowed with the capacity to grasp it. The capacity will come with desire, which will grow into devotion and ultimately into total self-dedication. With integrity and earnestness and iron determination to overcome all obstacles, the Westerner has the same chance as the Oriental man. All he needs is the rousing of interest'. To rouse his interest in self-knowledge he needs to be convinced about its advantages.
M: You believe it is possible to transmit a personal experience?
Q: I do not know. You speak of unity, identity of the seer with the seen. When all is one, communication should be feasible.
M: To have the direct experience of a country one must go and live there. Don't ask for the impossible. A man's spiritual victory no doubt benefits mankind, but to benefit another individual, a close personal relation is required. Such relation is not accidental and not everybody can claim it. On the other hand, the scientific approach is for all. 'Trust-test-taste'. What more do you need? Why push the Truth down unwilling throats? It cannot be done, anyhow. Without a receiver what can the giver do?
Q: The essence of art is to use the outer form to convey an inner experience. Of course, one must be sensitive to the inner, before the outer can be meaningful. How does one grow in sensitivity?
M: Whichever way you put it, it comes to the same. Givers there are many; where are the takers?
Q: Can you not share your own sensitivity?
M: Yes, I can, but sharing is a two-way street. Two are needed in sharing. Who is willing to take what I am willing to give?
Q: You say we are one. Is this not enough?
M: I am one with you. Are you one with me? If you are, you will not ask questions. If you are not, if you do not see what I see, what can I do beyond showing you the way to improve your vision?
Q: What you cannot give is not your own.
M: I claim nothing as my own. When the 'I' is not, where is the 'mine'?. Two people look at a tree. One sees the fruit hidden among the leaves and the other does not. Otherwise there is no difference between the two. The one that sees knows that with a little attention the other will also see, but the question of sharing does not arise. Believe me, I am not close-fisted, holding back your share of reality. On the contrary, I am all yours, eat me and drink me. But while you repeat verbally: 'give, give', you do nothing to take what is offered. I am showing you a short and easy way to being able to see what I see, but you cling to your old habits of thought, feeling and action and put all the blame on me. I have nothing which you do not have. Self-knowledge is not a piece of property to be offered and accepted. It is a new dimension altogether, where there is nothing to give or take.
Q: Give us at least some insight into the content of your mind while you live your daily life. To eat, to drink, to talk, to sleep -- how does it feel at your end?
M: The common things of life: I experience them just as you do. The difference lies in what I do not experience. I do not experience fear or greed, hate or anger. I ask nothing, refuse nothing, keep nothing. In these matters I do not compromise. Maybe this is the outstanding difference between us. I will not compromise, I am true to myself, while you are afraid of reality.
Q: From the Westerner's point of view there is something disturbing in your ways. To sit in a corner all by oneself and keep on repeating: 'I am God, God I am', appears to be plain madness. How to convince a Westerner that such practices lead to supreme sanity?
M: The man who claims to be God and the man who doubts it -- both are deluded. They talk in their dream.
Q: If all is dreaming, what is waking?
M: How to describe the waking state in dreamland language? Words do not describe, they are only symbols.
Q: Again the same excuse that words cannot convey reality.
M: If you want words, I shall give you some of the ancient words of power. Repeat any of them ceaselessly; they can work wonders.
Q: Are you serious? Would you tell a Westerner to repeat 'Om' or 'Ram' or 'Hare Krishna' ceaselessly, though he lacks completely the faith and conviction born of the right cultural and religious background. Without confidence and fervour, repeating mechanically the same sounds, will he ever achieve anything?
M: Why not? It is the urge, the hidden motive that matters, not the shape it takes. Whatever he does, if he does it for the sake of finding his own real self, will surely bring him to himself.
Q: No need of faith in the efficacy of the means?
M: No need of faith which is but expectation of results. Here the action only counts. Whatever you do for the sake of truth, will take you to truth. Only be earnest and honest. The shape it takes hardly matters.
Q: Then where is the need of giving expression to one's longing?
M: No need. Doing nothing is as good. Mere longing, undiluted by thought and action, pure, concentrated longing, will take you speedily to your goal. It is the true motive that matters, not the manner.
Q: Unbelievable! How can dull repetition in boredom verging on despair, be effective?
M: The very facts of repetition, of struggling on and on and of endurance and perseverance, in spite of boredom and despair and complete lack of conviction are really crucial. They are not important by themselves, but the sincerity behind them is all-important. There must be a push from within and pull from without.
Q: My questions are typical of the West. There people think in terms of cause and effect, means and goals. They do not see what causal connection can there be between a particular word and the Absolute Reality.
M: None whatsoever. But there is a connection between the word and its meaning, between the action and its motive. Spiritual practice is will asserted and re-asserted. Who has not the daring will not accept the real even when offered. Unwillingness born out of fear is the only obstacle.
Q: What is there to be afraid of?
M: The unknown. The not-being, not-knowing, not-doing. The beyond.
Q: You mean to say that while you can share the manner of your achievement, you cannot share the fruits?
M: Of course I can share the fruits and I am doing so all the time. But mine is a silent language. Learn to listen and understand.
Q: I do not see how one can begin without conviction.
M: Stay with me for some time, or give your mind to what I say and do and conviction will dawn.
Q: Not everybody has the chance of meeting you.
M: Meet your own self. Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly. You need no other guide. As long as your urge for truth affects your daily life, all is well with you. Live your life without hurting anybody. Harmlessness is a most powerful form of Yoga and it will take you speedily to your goal. This is what I call nisarga yoga, the Natural yoga. It is the art of living in peace and harmony, in friendliness and love. The fruit of it is happiness, uncaused and endless.
Q: Still, all this presupposes some faith.
M: Turn within and you will come to trust yourself. In everything else confidence comes with experience.
Q: When a man tells me that he knows something I do not know, I have the right to ask: 'what is if that you know, that I do not know?'
M: And if he tells you that it cannot be conveyed in words?
Q: Then I watch him closely and try to make out.
M: And this is exactly what I want you to do! Be interested, give attention, until a current of mutual understanding is established. Then the sharing will be easy. As a matter of fact, all realisation is only sharing. You enter a wider consciousness and share in it. Unwillingness to enter and to share is the only hindrance. I never talk of differences, for to me there are none. You do, so it is up to you to show them to me. By all means, show me the differences. For this you will have to understand me, but then you will no longer talk of differences. Understand one thing well, and you have arrived. What prevents you from knowing is not the lack of opportunity, but the lack of ability to focus in your mind what you want to understand. If you could but keep in mind what you do not know, it would reveal to you its secrets. But if you are shallow and impatient, not earnest enough to look and wait, you are like a child crying for the moon.
39. By Itself Nothing has Existence
Questioner: As I listen to you I find that it is useless to ask you questions. Whatever the question, you invariably turn it upon itself and bring me to the basic fact that I am living in an illusion of my own making and that reality is inexpressible in words. Words merely add to the confusion and the only wise course is the silent search within.
Maharaj: After all, it is the mind that creates illusion and it is the mind that gets free of it. Words may aggravate illusion, words may also help dispel it. There is nothing wrong in repeating the same truth again and again until it becomes reality. Mother's work is not over with the birth of the child. She feeds it day after day, year after year until it needs her no longer. People need hearing words, until facts speak to them louder than words.
Q: So we are children to be fed on words?
M: As long as you give importance to words, you are children.
Q: All right, then be our mother.
M: Where was the child before it was born? Was it not with the mother? Because it was already with the mother it could be born.
Q: Surely, the mother did not carry the child when she was a child herself.
M: Potentially, she was the mother. Go beyond the illusion of time.
Q: Your answer is always the same. A kind of clockwork which strikes the same hours again and again.
M: It cannot be helped. Just like the one sun is reflected in a billion dew drops, so is the timeless endlessly repeated. When l repeat: 'I am, I am', I merely assert and re-assert an ever-present fact. You get tired of my words because you do not see the living truth behind them. Contact it and you will find the full meaning of words and of silence -- both.
Q: You say that the little girl is already the mother of her future child. Potentially -- yes. Actually -- no.
M: The potential becomes actual by thinking. The body and its affairs exist in the mind.
Q: And the mind is consciousness in motion and consciousness is the conditioned (saguna) aspect of the Self. The unconditioned (nirguna) is another aspect and beyond lies the abyss of the absolute (paramartha).
M: Quite right -- you have put it beautifully.
Q: But these are mere words to me. Hearing and repeating them is not enough, they must be experienced.
M: Nothing stops you but preoccupation with the outer which prevents you from focussing the inner. It cannot be helped, you cannot skip your sadhana. You have to turn away from the world and go within, until the inner and the outer merge and you can go beyond the conditioned, whether inner or outer.
Q: Surely, the unconditioned is merely an idea in the conditioned mind. By itself it has no existence.
M: By itself nothing has existence. Everything needs its own absence. To be, is to be distinguishable, to be here and not there, to be now and not then, to be thus and not otherwise. Like water is shaped by the container, so is everything determined by conditions (gunas). As water remains water regardless of the vessels, as light remains itself regardless of the colours it brings out, so does the real remain real, regardless of conditions in which it is reflected. Why keep the reflection only in the focus of consciousness? Why not the real itself?
Q: Consciousness itself is a reflection. How can it hold the real?
M: To know that consciousness and its content are but reflections, changeful and transient, is the focussing of the real. The refusal to see the snake in the rope is the necessary condition for seeing the rope.
Q: Only necessary, or also sufficient?
M: One must also know that a rope exists and looks like a snake. Similarly, one must know that the real exists and is of the nature of witness-consciousness. Of course it is beyond the witness, but to enter it one must first realise the state of pure witnessing. The awareness of conditions brings one to the unconditioned.
Q: Can the unconditioned be experienced?
M: To know the conditioned as conditioned is all that can be said about the unconditioned. Positive terms are mere hints and misleading.
Q: Can we talk of witnessing the real?
M: How can we? We can talk only of the unreal, the illusory, the transient, the conditioned. To go beyond, we must pass through total negation of everything as having independent existence. All things depend.
Q: On what do they depend?
M: On consciousness. And consciousness depends on the witness.
Q: And the witness depends on the real?
M: The witness is the reflection of the real in all its purity. It depends on the condition of the mind. Where clarity and detachment predominate, the witness-consciousness comes into being. It is just like saying that where the water is clear and quiet, the image of the moon appears. Or like daylight that appears as sparkle in the diamond.
Q: Can there be consciousness without the witness?
M: Without the witness it becomes unconsciousness, just living. The witness is latent in every state of consciousness, just like light in every colour. There can be no knowledge without the knower and no knower without his witness. Not only you know, but you know that you know.
Q: If the unconditioned cannot be experienced, for all experience is conditioned, then why talk of it at all?
M: How can there be knowledge of the conditioned without the unconditioned? There must be a source from which all this flows, a foundation on which all stands. Self-realisation is primarily the knowledge of one's conditioning and the awareness that the infinite variety of conditions depends on our infinite ability to be conditioned and to give rise to variety. To the conditioned mind the unconditioned appears as the totality as well as the absence of everything. Neither can be directly experienced, but this does not make it not-existent.
Q: Is it not a feeling?
M: A feeling too is a state of mind. Just like a healthy body does not call for attention, so is the unconditioned free from experience. Take the experience of death. The ordinary man is afraid to die, because he is afraid of change. The jnani is not afraid because his mind is dead already. He does not think: 'I live'. He knows: 'There is life'. There is no change in it and no death. Death appears to be a change in time and space. Where there is neither time nor space, how can there be death? The jnani is already dead to name and shape. How can their loss affect him? The man in the train travels from place to place, but the man off the train goes nowhere, for he is not bound for a destination. He has nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to become. Those who make plans will be born to carry them out. Those who make no plans need not be born.
Q: What is the purpose of pain and pleasure?
M: Do they exist by themselves, or only in the mind?
Q: Still, they exist. Never mind the mind.
M: Pain and pleasure are merely symptoms, the results of wrong knowledge and wrong feeling. A result cannot have a purpose of its own.
Q: In God's economy everything must have a purpose.
M: Do you know God that you talk of him so freely? What is God to you? A sound, a word on paper, an idea in the mind?
Q: By his power I am born and kept alive.
M: And suffer, and die. Are you glad?
Q: It may be my own fault that I suffer and die. I was created unto life eternal.
M: Why eternal in the future and not in the past. What has a beginning must have an end. Only the beginningless is endless.
Q: God may be a mere concept, a working theory. A very useful concept all the same!
M: For this it must be free of inner contradictions, which is not the case. Why not work on the theory that you are your own creation and creator. At least there will be no external God to battle with.
Q: This world is so rich and complex -- how could I create it?
M: Do you know yourself enough to know what you can do and what you cannot? You do not know your own powers. You never investigated. Begin with yourself now.
Q: Everybody believes in God.
M: To me you are your own God. But if you think otherwise, think to the end. If there be God, then all is God's and all is for the best. Welcome all that comes with a glad and thankful heart. And love all creatures. This too will take you to yourself.
40. Only the Self is Real
Maharaj: The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is, and yet is not. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It just happens when we are absent-minded. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it, nor meaning. Only the onlooker is real. Call him Self or Atma. To the Self the world is but a colourful show, which he enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over. Whatever happens on the stage makes him shudder in terror or roll with laughter, yet all the time he is aware that it is but a show. Without desire or fear he enjoys it, as it happens.
Questioner: The person immersed in the world has a life of many flavours. He weeps, he laughs, loves and hates, desires and fears, suffers and rejoices. The desireless and fearless jnani, what life has he? Is he not left high and dry in his aloofness?
M: His state is not so desolate. It tastes of the pure, uncaused, undiluted bliss. He is happy and fully aware that happiness is his very nature and that he need not do anything, nor strive for anything to secure it. It follows him, more real than the body, nearer than the mind itself. You imagine that without cause there can be no happiness. To me dependence on anything for happiness is utter misery. Pleasure and pain have causes, while my state is my own, totally uncaused, independent, unassailable.
Q: Like a play on the stage?
M: The play was written, planned and rehearsed. The world just spouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing.
Q: Is there no creator? Was not the world in the mind of Brahma, before it was created?
M: As long as you are outside my state, you will have Creators, Preservers and Destroyers, but once with me you will know the Self only and see yourself in all.
Q: You function nevertheless.
M: When you are giddy, you see the world running circles round you. Obsessed with the idea of means and end, of work and purpose, you see me apparently functioning. In reality I only look. Whatever is done, is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow life and death, they all are real to the man in bondage; to me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself. I may perceive the world just like you, but you believe to be in it, while I see it as an iridescent drop in the vast expanse of consciousness.
Q: We are all getting old. Old age is not pleasant -- all aches and pains, weakness and the approaching end. How does a jnani feel as an old man? How does his inner self look at his own senility.
M: As he gets older he grows more and more happy and peaceful. After all, he is going home. Like a traveller nearing his destination and collecting his luggage, he leaves the train without regret.
Q: Surely there is a contradiction. We are told the jnani is beyond all change. His happiness neither grows nor wanes. How can he grow happier because older, and that in spite of physical weakness and so on?
M: There is no contradiction. The reel of destiny is coming to its end -- the mind is happy. The mist of bodily existence is lifting -- the burden of the body is growing less from day to day.
Q: Let us say, the jnani is ill. He has caught some flu and every joint aches and burns. What is his state of mind?
M: Every sensation is contemplated in perfect equanimity. There is no desire for it, or refusal. It is as it is and then he looks at it with a smile of affectionate detachment.
Q: He may be detached from his own suffering, but still it is there.
M: It is there, but it does not matter. Whatever state I am in, I see it as a state of mind to be accepted as it is.
Q: Pain is pain. You experience It all the same.
M: He who experiences the body, experiences its pains and pleasures. I am neither the body, nor the experiencer of the body.
Q: Let us say you are twenty-five years old. Your marriage is arranged and performed, and the household duties crowd upon you. How would you feel?
M: Just as I feel now. You keep on insisting that my inner state is moulded by outer events. It is just not so. Whatever happens, I remain. At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its very nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time -- effortlessly and spontaneously. As long as it is merely aware there are no problems. But when the discriminative mind comes into being and creates distinctions, pleasure and pain arise. During sleep the mind is in abeyance and so are pain and pleasure. The process of, creation continues, but no notice is taken. The mind is a form of consciousness, and consciousness is an aspect of life. Life creates everything but the Supreme is beyond all.
Q: The Supreme is the master and consciousness -- his servant.
M: The master is in consciousness, not beyond it. In terms of consciousness the Supreme is both creation and dissolution, concretion and abstraction, the focal and the universal. It is also neither. Words do not reach there, nor mind.
Q: The jnani seems to be a very lonely being, all by himself.
M: He is alone, but he is all. He is not even a being. He is the beingness of all beings. Not even that. No words apply. He is what he is, the ground from which all grows.
Q: Are you not afraid to die?
M: I shall tell you how my Guru's Guru died. After announcing that his end was nearing, he stopped eating, without changing the routine of his daily life. On the eleventh day, at prayer time he was singing and clapping vigorously and suddenly died! Just like that, between two movements, like a blown out candle. Everybody dies as he lives. I am not afraid of death, because I am not afraid of life. I live a happy life and shall die a happy death. Misery is to be born, not to die. All depends how you look at it.
Q: There can be no evidence of your state. All I know about it is what you say. All I see is a very interesting old man.
M: You are the interesting old man, not me! I was never born. How can I grow old? What I appear to be to you exists only in your mind. I am not concerned with it.
Q: Even as a dream you are a most unusual dream.
M: I am a dream that can wake you up. You will have the proof of it in your very waking up.
Q: Imagine, news reach you that I have died. Somebody tells you: 'You know so-and-so? He died'. What would be your reaction?
M: I would be very happy to have you back home. Really glad to see you out of this foolishness.
Q: Which foolishness?
M: Of thinking that you were born and will die, that you are a body displaying a mind and all such nonsense. In my world nobody is born and nobody dies. Some people go on a journey and come back, some never leave. What difference does it make since they travel in dream lands, each wrapped up in his own dream. Only the waking up is important. It is enough to know the 'I am' as reality and also love.
Q: My approach is not so absolute, hence my question. Throughout the West people are in search of something real. They turn to science, which tells them a lot about matter, a little about the mind and nothing about the nature and purpose of consciousness. To them reality is objective, outside the observable and describable, directly or by inference; about the subjective aspect of reality they know nothing. It is extremely important to let them know that there is reality and it is to be found in the freedom of consciousness from matter and its limitations and distortions. Most of the people in the world just do not know that there is reality which can be found and experienced in consciousness. It seems very important that they should hear the good news from somebody who has actually experienced. Such witnesses have always existed and their testimony is precious.
M: Of course. The gospel of self-realisation, once heard, will never be forgotten. Like a seed left in the ground, it will wait for the right season and sprout and grow into a mighty tree.