Dedicated to the Great Master Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
What I am trying to recapture took place fifty years back, many aspects are quite vague and hazy but some of them are very distinct and clear. The first thing that I can recollect is that a complete blank prevailed; I did not know anything at all. I cannot describe that state except for saying that it was total oblivion, no sound, no light, no colors, nothing!
From conception to that stage it was almost three years and till then everything went along on its own, there was no question of any volition on my part. I was told that during this period I had some illnesses, mishaps and injuries, they must have been troublesome and painful as they are now, but at that time, I did know at all.
Then quite suddenly, quite spontaneously, without any effort on my part, one day I instantaneously came to know 'I am', I had a sense of 'being', I felt that 'I am'. All that I knew that 'I am'. When? Where? How? All this I did not know. Quite simultaneously along with this feeling there was space as well, it was indoors, probably a room. There was a side platform, some sort of settee, above which was a large rectangular space, a window from which light was coming in. Probably the time was somewhere around eight or nine in the morning. All this I can describe now, at that moment I did not know anything apart from seeing only light, space and objects. That was my first 'knowing' and soon I was back into 'not-knowing'. These two states, that of knowing, or 'I am' and not-knowing or 'I am not' was all there was. There weren't the waking, deep sleep or dreaming states which I acquired much later.
The descriptions that follow are now of this state only, which is 'I am' and 'I am not' and I do not know exactly how long this period lasted, probably a year or so. Please remember, I can make these descriptions now with my sense of language well developed and of course, my memory which I feel is reasonably good.
To begin with I remember this girl and that small boy who was always dressed up like a girl. I played a lot with the girl, we ran and ran and laughed a lot. We were probably of the same age and we were living in a valley, there were lots of hills around. We ran along the streams and then there was this bridge over a stream, we used to go below the bridge and play. One day we were running around completely naked, splashing water in the stream which was rather shallow. All this never made any sense then but still it was a carefree life with great fun and there were no demands or desires whatsoever.
Once while running around the lanes on the small hillocks that were closer to us we encountered a not very old man strolling around in a pyjama-kurta and a jacket. He gazed at us intensely and then gave a broad smile, just patted our heads and went on.
Then there was this large banyan tree where lots and lots people used to come and make a lot of noise. When we went there these people would catch us, cuddle us, kiss us and there was a lot of laughter.
I used to go to a hall where other children came as well. A dark, bald man in a white lungi and shirt used to take us to the banks of small streams and tell us to gather pebbles of different shapes. A fat lady was in charge of serving food to us in a dining hall that was behind our house.
Large groups of us children we were taken to the top of a hill and made to watch the sunset in complete silence, here sometimes I again saw the same pleasant looking not so old man whom we had met on the hillocks, his silence appeared quite different and he was unusually calm. I remember once the girl and I managed to enter a big hall where a lot of people were listening to the same man who was talking softly on a platform. We were very restless; we began fidgeting, giggling and creating quite a commotion. I just ran towards the man on the platform and stood looking at him, the girl poking me from behind made me laugh. The audience was distracted, the talk disturbed and there was this Englishman in the front row who glared at us annoyedly. Just then quite suddenly the man caught hold of me and sat me up in his lap, I became absolutely still, calm and quiet, he then continued with his talk.
I very distinctly remember that python in the cage and the rabbits next door and how the python swallowed one of the rabbits by wriggling through a hole between the cages. I also remember how the villagers had brought the python tied to a large pole which was held by two of them at the two ends.
Now the random memories:
1. Moonlight dinners in large numbers
2. Travel by moon light in bullock carts
3. Village festivals and fairs with decorated cattle
4. Seeing jaggery being made
5. Peeping in the dancing huts
6. The injured boy being carried on Diwali day
I have two distinct memories of injuries; one was of my head hitting the tap below which I was bathing. The second injury I remember is of a metal cot falling on the tips of my fingers causing cuts over there. The scars of these injuries are still there on my body, the memory of the event is also there but there is no memory of the pain.
I can now add much more information about then from what my parents told me.The place was Rishi Valley School in Madanapally district, Andhra Pradesh in India, where my father was working as Music teacher. The girl friend was Rekha, the daughter of a lady next door who worked in the school. The calm, not so old man whom we encountered, was J.Krishnamurti, the banyan tree was in fact a famous theatre in the school. The bald man in lungi was one Mr,Raju, the fat lady who conducted food services was one Rama bai. The evening activity on the hillock was called 'Asthachal'; the Englishman who got annoyed was Gordon Pearce, the then principal of the school.
What were the most remarkable features about this period? First of all, I did not know at all who or where I was, nor who my parents were. I did not know that there was something called birth and death. I had no body awareness at all, because I did know what or when I ate, or that there was pain when I was injured. The only two things that I very clearly remember are that either 'I was' or 'I was not' a state of knowing ('I am') and not knowing ('I am not'). I had no sense of time at all nor did I know of the waking, deep sleep or dream states or that there was anything such as daily routine or the cycle of morning, afternoon, evening and night.
Above all, which is the most outstanding feature of this state was the total absence of any verbalization in the form of the spoken word or language. There may have been some stray words in Marathi, my mother tongue, English or Telugu, but I have no memory of them at all and it can hardly be called a genuine meaningful linguistic expression. The states of knowing ('I am') or not-knowing ('I am not') were completely non-verbal and they occurred quite spontaneously without my having any control over them, the question of volition did not occur at all. These two states may also be said to be those of ignorance (not-knowing) and knowledge (knowing).
From here onwards, i.e. approximately from the age of four till the age of forty, I led a life which completely submerged and almost obliterated the beginning. It was the life of a perfectly conditioned man and that is the way it is meant to be according to the traditions laid down in our society. During this period of thirty-six years and even to this day I have not met in person a single human being who could tell me directly that I have got it all wrong. Nobody told me that I am not what I believe myself to be, not a single person told me about my true identity or even give a hint about it. Rather, it was the other way around; I was very much led to believe that I am so and so having this particular position in society and this particular role to play. But I don't blame them or anybody, that's the way it is, all have been designed or conditioned to be customers for the external world. Very few are directed towards the interior life and it is only the rarest of the rare who would realize the interior principle. So you stand a very remote chance of coming across someone living one who has not only realized the interior principle but has himself become 'The Principle' itself!
In the present context, I led in this thirty-six year period is not of much relevance. It was just one of the run-of-the-mill stories that anybody who has been reasonably successful could have had. I did acquire a few useful things during this period that stood me in good stead later. Firstly, I developed an enormous interest in reading books; secondly, I also developed fairly good writing and editing skills. The third thing that I guess came quite naturally to me and grew over the years and that was a keen sense of observation.
I read, and read a lot, but it was around the age of forty that I came across a book called 'The Republic' by Plato, which was a turning point. The Socratic dialogues set the ball rolling and that was my first camp. Then I went on camping, like the climbers of Mount Everest do, and believe me when I camped, I camped firmly, leaving no stone unturned at that particular camp. I studied and read the works at all these camps in great detail; at times I prepared notes and even gave presentations for the sake of my own understanding. Sometimes procuring a particular book was quite difficult but still I usually managed to get it. The arrival of internet on the scene made things very easy and now an enormous amount of information can be procured within moments, something very difficult in my earlier camping days. A camp once left was not left forever, but traveling back forth always continued, links of similarity and harmony in different aspects was appreciated. Here is a list of the camps:
2. Swami Ramdas
3. Saint Jnaneshwara
4. Ramkrishna Paramhansa
5. Sri Aurobindo
9. Eckhart Tolle
10. Ramana Maharshi
11. Sri Ranjit Maharaj
12. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
I have not mentioned the many, many sub-camps that occurred in between and were very helpful throughout my quest. Indeed, hats off to all these great masters from whom I imbibed a lot and will always cherish, I bow to all of them. As to how I arrived at each camp is a story in itself but I wish tell only one of them - the last one, that of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.
It was in the first week of February 2004 that I visited the J.Krishnamurti study centre located at Sanyadhri, near Pune,India. While browsing through the library at the study centre I came across a book 'I Am That' based on the talks of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.
As I began going through it, I just couldn't put it down, 'This is dynamite!' that's the immediate feeling I had. By the time I finished the book I knew that the summit was not far and in all probability this would be the last camp.
I found the talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj to be highly penetrating and many things that were usually vague became quite clear. It was just like the clouds clearing away leaving a perfectly blue spotless sky. After 'I Am That' by Maurice Frydman nine more books followed that covered almost all the talks, these books were:
1. Edited by Jean Dunn: Seeds of Consciousness, Prior to Consciousness and Consciousness and the Absolute.
2. Edited by Robert Powell: The Experience of Nothingness, The Nectar of Immortality and The Ultimate Medicine.
3. Edited Maria Jory: Beyond Freedom
4. E-book,Created by Vijay Deshpande and edited by me: I am Unborn.
5. Mark West's: Gleanings from Nisargadatta.
Throughout all these books the 'I am' theme was highly pre-dominant, so in the first phase I began compiling all the 'I am' quotes and this took quite some time. In all, these quotes were 572 in number of which 521 are available as an e-book at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/4906514/I-AM-The-complete-I-am-quotes-of-Sri-Nisargadatta-Maharaj, http://www.lulu.com/content/2469683 and http://www.nisargadatta.in/WebCMS/CMSPage.aspx?PageID=7
I only managed to procure much later on the last 51 from Mark West's book and they have been included when I began preparing the text of 'The Nisargadatta Gita'.
What actually served as a very strong trigger for preparing The Nisargadatta Gita was the clarification of a doubt that had always lingered at the back of my mind. In my life, so far, I had never met a living Guru, so as the convention goes, is my mere reading or studying of books of the teachings of all these great men of no avail? This last doubt was removed while I was editing the script of 'I am Unborn' where Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj answered this very question asked by one of the visitors, it goes like this:
V: Do books replace a Guru?
M: Yes, books can replace a Guru. At one stage you yourself become a Guru;
then you find out that books are of no use anymore. The Guru is one, who
knows the beginning, continuity and the end of his life and understands the
mind on which the environment has so much impact.( Page, 89, I am Unborn).
This answer came as a big relief and will also come to many like me who have never come across a living Guru in their life.
In the second phase I began a process of condensing the quotes, the idea was to increase the potency by reducing the words to a barest minimum, without distorting the meaning. This brought the number down to 231, approximately 1/3rd of the original 572. In the third and final phase, a short commentary was written on each quote and that is how The Nisargadatta Gita came to be. It has only one chapter: 'I AM' which is the first and the last chapter. The objective behind preparing The Nisargadatta Gita is, for it to be used as a meditative device to get focused on the 'I am', and if possible, transcend it.
So what had Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj done to me that made all the difference? Well life had undergone a full circle; 'the beginning' that I have described in the prelude was made all so important a fact to me. I had never given thought to it or felt that there lay the key to the redemption of all.
The Nisargadatta Gita
I AM : THE FIRST AND THE LAST CHAPTER
1. The 'I am' came first, it's ever present, ever available, refuse all thoughts except 'I am', stay there.
Understanding the 'I am', your sense of 'being' or just 'presence' is extremely important as on it rests the entire outcome of the teaching. Firstly, are you at all aware of your 'being' or of the fact that 'you are'? You have 'to be' before anything else can be, your sense of 'presence' or the feeling 'I am' is really fundamental to anything that has to follow. Secondly, this sense of 'being' or the feeling 'I am', was it not the very first event or happening before any of your living experiences could begin? Apply your mind go back in time to the moment when it dawned on you that 'you are' or 'I am'. This 'I am' is still there with you, ever present, ever available, it was and still is the first thought, refuse all other thoughts and come back there and stay there. So try to understand and grasp this 'beingness' or 'I amness' that is inherent in you. The more precisely and clearly you do it the more rapid will be your progress.
2. Just stay put firmly and establish yourself in the 'I am', reject all that does not go with 'I am'.
Having understood the 'I am' in every way, the next thing is to stay there, establish yourself in your sense of 'being' and not deviate from it at all. The very moment you start thinking about anything else you can rest assured that there have been 'add-ons' on the basic 'I am' and it has lost its purity. Reject anything that is 'I am plus' and so forth because all the rest are contaminants and do not go with it.
3. Consistently and with perseverance separate the 'I am' from 'this' or 'that', just keep in mind the feeling 'I am'.
All this is not as easy as it sounds, it is hard work, your consistency and perseverance are keys to your success. Separate the 'I am' from 'I am this' or' I am that' or 'I am so and so' all these are add-ons and have been loaded onto you by others and society. All these appendages on the 'I am' may be of some value in your day to day living but if your goal or quest is for eternity, then they are impediments. You will have to separate them from the 'I am' and just keep in mind your sense of 'presence' or the feeling 'I am'.
4. Only the 'I am' is certain, it's impersonal, all knowledge stems from it, it's the root, hold on to it and let all else go.
Right from the day you came know that 'you are' to this day you still know that 'you are'. All add-ons have come and gone. They are transient but the fundamental 'I am' has remained unchanged and is the only certainty. This 'I am' is impersonal, it's common to everybody and wordless, the moment you came know that 'you are' you did not know any words or language, which came later. Based on this non-verbal 'I am' you could later on say verbally 'I am' in whatever language you were taught. From this tiny, minuscule 'I am' further knowledge grew leaps and bounds to gigantic proportions. So all knowledge stems from the 'I am', it is absolutely fundamental, the base, the origin, the root of everything. You have to hold on to this 'I am' and let everything else go.
5. You are sure of the 'I am', it's the totality of being, remember 'I am' and it's enough to heal your mind and take you beyond.
You are definitely sure that 'you are', only then everything else is! Not before that. Since the 'I am' lies at the very base of everything and is common to all, does it not form the totality of being? Throwing aside everything, come back to this sense of 'presence' or 'being' in all its purity and it will heal your mind. The use of the word 'heal' is very important as it clearly suggests that the mind or whatever has been loaded on the 'I am' afterwards is a pain, an illness that needs to be cured. There is also here a hint towards something that is beyond the 'I am'.
6. The 'I am' is, it's ever fresh, all else is inference, when the 'I am' goes all that remains is the Absolute.
This sense of 'being' is always there, fresh as ever, it doesn't leave you, it's always available. At whatever stage you are in your life it has stuck to you unchanged. Circumstances, relationships, people, ideas and so forth, everything else has been changing and is inferential but the 'I am' has remained and has stood throughout this turbulence. And what will happen when this 'I am' goes? What will remain? The hint is now more emphatic on something beyond the 'I am', the Absolute.
7. Give all your attention to the 'I am', which is timeless presence, the 'I am' applies to all, come back to it repeatedly.
Use your memory to go back in time to the stage when you just came to know that 'you are' without words. Did you have a sense of time then? Did you know who you are or who your parents are? Did you know where you were geographically located?
You knew none of these, it was a timeless presence, you did of course know space which came with the 'I am', but not time, and this timeless presence applies to all. Come back to this timeless and wordless 'I am' again and again.
8. Hang on to the 'I am' and go beyond it, without the 'I am' you are at peace and happy.
Right now you have this 'I am', hang on to it, it is the only means you have to go beyond, and there is nothing else. And what has this 'I am' given you but conflict and misery? It came, it identified with the body and you became an individual, now go back, come to the 'I am', transcend it and be peaceful and happy.
9. Hold on to the 'I am' to the exclusion of everything else, the 'I am' in movement creates the world, the 'I am' at peace becomes the Absolute.
Leave everything aside and just grab hold of the 'I am'. Just observe its power, its stirrings, and its movements that created the world along with which came all this turmoil and misery. Come back to the 'I am' and let the 'I am' be in the 'I am'. Then it becomes still and disappears, and then there is peace, for there is only the Absolute now.
10. Immortality is freedom from the feeling 'I am', to have that freedom remain in the sense 'I am', it's simple, it's crude, yet it works!
The feeling 'I am' is dormant at birth, it appears spontaneously say around the age of three. It is the essence of the five elements that make up the body or the food body. The body is a limitation, and as long as the 'I am' identifies itself with the body there is no chance of freedom, and death is certain. Eternity or immortality is possible only when you are free from the 'I am'. For this freedom to accrue you have to be after the 'I am', understand it, abide in it and transcend it. Judging from the enormous amount of spiritual literature available, the understanding, abidance and transcendence of the 'I am' appears to be too simple and crude a 'Sadhana' or practice, yet it works!
11. The 'I am' appears spontaneously on your True state, it is wordless and can be used to go beyond.
This sense of being came onto you without your willing it; it came on its own and when it came there was no question of any words being there. Though wordless, yet if you keenly observe, this feeling 'I am' can be caught hold of and then it can serve as a means for going beyond towards your True state.
12. The 'I am' has brought you in, the 'I am' will take you out, the 'I am' is the door, stay at it! It's open!
The feeling 'I am' very clearly qualifies as the port of entry or doorway through which you came into this world and thus it also qualifies as the way out. And there is no other way out! Stay at it and you shall see that this door is always open, it was never closed. Unless you go back and stay in the 'I am' for a sufficiently long time you won't come to know this fact.
13. You have to be there before you can say 'I am', the 'I am' is the root of all appearance.
There definitely was a substratum on which this knowledge 'I am' arose, it was a wordless feeling. It was only when you learnt a language that you could say 'I am'. Along with the wordless 'I am' also came space and the world, so the 'I am' is at the root of whatever you perceive.
14. The 'I am' is the permanent link in the succession of events called life, be at the link 'I am' only and go beyond it.
Conception, birth and infancy, these are the beginnings of your being where the 'I am' lies dormant. Then there is the spontaneous appearance of the non-verbal feeling 'I am' around say three years of age. On this foundation of the knowledge 'I am' is built a large structure of words, ideas and concepts and very soon it is 'I am so and so' and so forth. The pure 'I am' is contaminated and it piles on right from childhood to old age, but in all the succession of events, the 'I am' lies at the base and has always been there. The 'I am' is an unbroken link throughout your life, so come back to it, abide there and try to transcend it, for there lies your True being.
15. The 'I am' is the sum total of all that you perceive, it's time-bound, the 'I am' itself is an illusion, you are not the 'I am' you are prior to it.
Since the 'I am' is the continuous link throughout all the events in your life it quite obviously forms the sum total of all your perception. It is the very basis of your perception, no 'I am' no perception. This 'I am' is an illusion, for like a dream it has spontaneously appeared on you and one day it will disappear. All that appears and disappears cannot be true and since you are a witness to it you stand apart. You are not the 'I am' but prior to it.
16. The 'I am' is your greatest foe and greatest friend, foe when binding to the illusion as body, friend when taking out of the illusion as body.
When the sense or feeling 'I am' appeared on you it duped you into believing that you are the body, and later on that you are so-and-so. It strengthened the illusion all the more as time went by and thus began all the turmoil and suffering, in this sense it is your foe. But now the Guru tells you to come back to the 'I am', understand it, stay there, make friends with it or rather make it your guide, God or Guru. Doing so the 'I am' shall help you break the illusion and it will itself lead you to the source.
17. The beginning and the end of knowledge is the 'I am', be attentive to the 'I am', once you understand it, you are apart from it.
Whatever the volume of knowledge maybe it has to begin with the primary knowledge or concept 'I am'. The 'I am' is the one, and then with two, three, four and so forth the structural labyrinth of knowledge builds. You have to go back, retrace the steps in the maze and when you do so correctly you will end up at the 'I am'. Give all your attention to this 'I am', by and by you shall come to understand it and all its implications as well. The clearer your understanding of the 'I am' is, the more distinctly apart from it you are.
18. You must meditate on the 'I am' without holding on to the body-mind, the 'I am' is the first ignorance, persist on it and you will go beyond it.
Bring all your attention to the 'I am', meditate on it; try to do it by keeping the body-mind totally aside. In the beginning the body-mind will resist this abidance in 'I am', but with practice they will automatically not interfere. Remember, this 'I am' has tricked you into believing the unreal so you may call it the first ignorance. You have to be after this 'I am' constantly only then can you go beyond it; otherwise it will continue playing games with you.
19. Your Guru, your God, is the 'I am', with its coming came duality and all activity, stay on the 'I am', you are before the 'I am' appeared.
The entire process of perception and all activity is based on duality: the subject and the object, the observer and the observed, the doer and the done. It is only after the appearance of 'I am' that all duality and activity began, not before that, so at the root lies the 'I am' that triggered everything. Track down the 'I am' and stay on it, only then will you realize that you are before the 'I am' appeared.
20. The 'I am' concept is the last outpost of the illusion, hold on to it, stabilize in the 'I am', then you are no more and individual.
Moving out of a country, at the border, there are checkpoints and then it is 'no-man's land' till another country begins its checkpoints. Similarly, to move out of this country or illusion the 'I am' is the last and only outpost, there is no other way out. Stay at this outpost, stabilize yourself over there in the 'I am', and when you do so you are no more an individual.
21. Without doing anything you have the knowledge 'I am', it has come spontaneously and unwillingly on you, stay there and put an ax to the 'I am'.
See the beauty of it, this knowledge 'I am' has dawned on you without any effort on your part; it has come on its own without you willing it to be so.
This 'I am' will also go on its own without asking or telling you, but before that happens, stabilize in the 'I am' and liquidate it, then there is no death for you.
22. Your only capital is the 'I am', it's the only tool you can use to solve the riddle of life, the 'I am' is in all and movement inherent in it.
You may have earned a lot of money, you may have established an empire but it's all worthless compared to the value of 'I am'. In fact the knowledge 'I am' is the only capital and the only tool you have to crack this puzzle that life presents, at times completely baffling you and making you miserable. The knowledge 'I am' is present in all and movement inherent in it; the type of activity or expression depends on the combination of the five elements and three qualities.
23. Only be the 'I am', just be, the 'I am' has appeared on your homogenous state, the one free of the 'I am' is liberated, you are prior to the 'I am'.
You are absolutely free, homogenous and formless, on this state has the 'I am' appeared and then it tricked you into believing that you are the body-mind. In order to go back to your True state you have to abide in the 'I am', just be, that's all; moreover the 'I am' is closest to your True state so just stay there. Abide in the 'I am' with the understanding that you are not the 'I am' but you are prior to it.
24. Worship the indwelling 'I am' in you, it is the 'I am' that is born, it is the 'I am' that will die, you are not that 'I am'.
This indwelling principle 'I am' that has appeared on your True being is the one that is born and it is the one that will die. You are not the 'I am', but in order to understand this and transcend the 'I am' you have to worship it, stay with it constantly, only then will it be pleased with you and release you from its clutches.
25. Remain focused on the 'I am' till it goes into oblivion, then the eternal is, the Absolute is, Parabrahman is.
Putting aside everything, not allowing anything else to enter your mind, in total earnestness remain with all the strength you have focused on the 'I am'. Persist on this focus or meditation on the 'I am' till you drive it away into oblivion. If your effort is sincere and earnest enough the 'I am' is bound to disappear, for that is its nemesis. Then whatever remains is your True being or Self, call it Eternity, the Absolute or 'Parabrahman'.
26. The knowledge 'I am' is the birth principle, investigate it and you'll finally stabilize in the Absolute Parabrahman.
The knowledge 'I am' is the creator of everything, it likes to assert itself again and again, it is the sheer love of its own existence. It was inherent in your parents and their parents and so on. It was the 'I am' in your parents that was attracted towards itself that led to your procreation and the 'I am' therein. The 'I am' is the birth principle abounding in nature and perpetuating itself all over. Investigate or try to find out how the 'I am' came about on you and it will not only lead you to, but also get you stabilized in the Absolute.
27. All knowledge including the 'I am' is formless, throw out the 'I am' and stay put in quietude.
The root of all knowledge is the 'I am', it's the starting point and it is formless, hence all knowledge is formless. By repeated efforts go back to this knowledge 'I am', catch hold of it and throw it out. The 'I am' is slippery and will evade your efforts, but persist and stabilize in the silence and stillness that prevails on its departure.
28. Prior to birth where was the 'I am'? Don't contaminate the 'I am' with the body idea, I as the Absolute am not the 'I am'.
What were you before you were born? Where was the 'I am'? You were 'Nothing' and there was no 'I am'. On this Nothingness of yours has the 'I am' appeared and it has got contaminated with the body idea. Now, through discrimination you need to undertake a decontamination procedure, free the 'I am' of the body idea, abide in it and transcend it, because you as the Absolute are not the 'I am'.
29. In the absence of 'I am' nothing is required, the 'I am' will go with the body, what remains is the Absolute.
Before the 'I am' appeared did you have any requirements or did you have any demands? None whatsoever, all demands began with the arrival of the 'I am'. What is this 'I am'? It is nothing but the essence of the five elements that make up the body. The 'I am' depends on the body, is as transient as it and will go together with it, so neither of them are true. What remains then? It is only the Absolute.
30. You must not only have the conviction that 'I am' but also that you are free from the 'I am'.
Clearly you can envisage two steps in the process of self-discovery, the first one being the understanding of the knowledge 'I am' and abiding in it. You must develop the strong conviction that 'you are' and stay there. What will happen then? By and by as you abide in the 'I am' the second step will be to realize that you stand apart from the 'I am', you are free from it! You are not the 'I am' but its witness. Thus abidance in the 'I am' and its transcendence is the key to the whole 'Sadhana' (practice).
31. Remember the knowledge 'I am' only and give up the rest, staying in the 'I am' you will realize that it is unreal.
Whatever has added-on to the basic and fundamental knowledge 'I am' has destroyed its purity. Drop aside everything added-on and only remember the 'I am' in all its purity. You have to really get after it and for that you have to reside in it, dwell on it at all times. In the process you will realize that the 'I am' is dependent and destructible and hence unreal, for the real is independent and indestructible.
32. Understand that the knowledge 'I am' has dawned on you and all are its manifestations, in this understanding you realize you are not the 'I am'.
Has this knowledge 'I am' come willingly to you? Was it volitional? In retrospect it doesn't appear to be so. There was that moment and you knew that 'you are' and thenceforth the feeling 'I am' went on getting strengthened. 'I am so and so' got embedded into you and the rest of the activities of your life followed. From this, is it not conclusive that the 'I am' has created your world and not the other way around? This 'I am' has dawned on you and you stand apart from it just as a witness with no participation in any of its activities whatsoever.
33. When this concept 'I am' departs there will be no memory left that 'I was' and 'I had' those experiences, the very memory will be erased.
The knowledge 'I am' is the very seed of memory and all information functions through it, it forms the basis of the mind. It is bound to tire out and hence there is sleep, otherwise you would die if you didn't sleep. But sleep is not the complete departure of the 'I am' it's only held in abeyance and after sleep it gets refreshed and starts its activity again maintaining the continuity. No wonder if your name is called aloud in sleep you wake up and respond saying 'that's me'! Physical death is the total departure of the 'I am' and nothing is retained. For the 'Realized One' who has transcended the 'I am', memory and the 'I am' are available to him, he may or may not use them, they are not 'lodged' in him anymore. Only the 'Realized One' can understand this state.
34. With the arrival of the primary concept 'I am', time began, with its departure time will end; you the Absolute are not the primary concept 'I am'.
The 'I am' is the starter, the initiator, the very beginning of everything including time. In fact all measurement begins with the 'I am' and all measurement including time ends with its departure. It is the primary concept on which is built the entire mansion of other concepts. The knowledge 'I am' and space have appeared simultaneously and spontaneously on you, the Absolute, who stands apart.
35. When you know both the 'I am' and the 'I am not' then you are the Absolute which transcends both knowingness and not-knowingness.
As you abide in the 'I am' for a longer time you shall also realize the state of 'I am not' or there will be a state of 'knowing' and 'not-knowing'. Both these states are states of consciousness in its purity; they are the very beginnings of duality. The very arrival of the concept 'I am' implies the 'I am not' hidden in it or 'knowing' has 'not-knowing' implied in it, they are opposites, they are pairs and always go together and are impossible to separate. But you are the Absolute which transcends both of them; you are a witness to both these states, they have only appeared on you, they never belonged to you and are illusory.
36. Appearance and disappearance, birth and death these are qualities of 'I am', they do not belong to you, the Absolute.
Coming, appearance or birth and going, disappearance or death are qualities of the 'I am', the consciousness or the beingness which only apparently seem to have arisen on your True nature. You are the Absolute and none of these qualities belong to you, in fact they have never actually occurred but only appear to be so.
37. Out of the nothingness, the 'I am' or beingness has come, there is no individual, the knowledge 'I am'- not the individual - has to go back to its source.
It's very difficult to formulate any descriptions or words for the state prior to the 'I am' or beingness. Some words that have been commonly used are: nothingness, emptiness, fullness, void, eternity, totality or even the Absolute or 'Parabrahman'.
Whatever the word, the 'I am' appears to have arisen on it and it is sometimes called its source. The individual comes much later in the picture and as you go back it is the pure 'I am' or beingness that remains, so it this knowledge 'I am' that has to go back to its source. There is no question of a non-existent individual anywhere.
38. By meditating on the knowledge 'I am' it gradually settles down at its source and disappears, then you are the Absolute.
Your entire focus should be on the knowledge 'I am'. Constantly, without break, keep meditating on it. When an object remains in focus for a prolonged period there is a good chance it will disappear, that is bound to happen as that is its opposite. From just 'being' to 'non-being' from 'I am' to 'I am not', when this happens nothing remains anymore, then you are the Absolute, silent , still, without any movement or experience.
39. Go on to know the 'I am' without words, you must be that and not deviate from it for even a moment, and then it will disappear.
The knowledge 'I am', to which you have to come back, is the very first one that appeared on you and you came to know that 'you are'. At that moment you knew nothing about words or language, that sense of being was non-verbal. You will have to apply yourself to grasp that state again, you have lived that state, it was the period from when the 'I am' arose till you were taught to communicate verbally using words. Come back to that state and do not deviate from there for even a moment, you have to relive that state, only then will you understand it and then it will disappear!
40. With the dropping off of the primary experience 'I am' all experiences will vanish and only the Absolute remains.
The arising of the sense of being or the non-verbal feeling 'I am' was your first or primary experience. Without this primary experience none of the other experiences would have followed, you had 'to be' before anything could be. But as your abidance in the 'I am' becomes firm by your 'Sadhana' (practice) a stage comes when the 'I am' drops off and with that all experiences or memory will vanish leaving you in your True Absolute state.
41. On your true state has arisen this subtle principle 'I am', which is the cause of all mischief. No 'I am', no question of mischief.
This subtle principle 'I am', which is subtler than the mind, has appeared on your True state. After it appeared it remained in a pure state for some time and then began the piling up of words, language and concepts. The 'I am' was now verbal and identified itself with body, you became 'so-and-so' living in this world as a person. Your mind developed and became a workshop of mischief, but the root cause was the 'I am'. Now you have come back to that 'I am', the primary mischief-monger, you meditate on it and realize its falseness and it disappears. You have now transcended the 'I am' so where is the question of any mischief?
42. Whatever you try to become that is not you, before even the words 'I am' were said, that is you.
Just look at this mad pursuit that you have been indulging in or have been conditioned to indulge in by society: 'I am so-and-so', 'I must become this' or 'I must become that'- ambition, status, name, fame and what not! It's quite unnatural; you are trying to become what you are not. Even before you could say or feel the 'I am', you are! This feeling 'I am' has appeared on your True state and is dependent, transient and false. The identification of the 'I am' with the body has completely tricked you and now you are trapped. Understand all this and get out of it.
43. The root habit is the 'I am' and it has arisen from the domain of the five elements and three qualities which are unreal.
The 'I am' is the essence of the five elements and three qualities that make up the body and mind and all these are unreal. Why are they unreal? Because they are interdependent, constantly changing and the real is not dependent and never changes. This essential knowledge 'I am' has become a root habit with you and misled you into believing that you are a person with a body born in this world who will die one day. This root habit has got so deeply ingrained into you that it is very difficult to disbelieve it.
44. Abide in the knowledge 'I am' without identifying with the body. How did you function before the arrival of the knowledge 'I am'?
In order to understand this you will have to go back again, apply your mind and just try to recollect that moment when you came to know that 'you are'. This occurred somewhere around the age of three, but before that you were still functioning without any problem from conception to the arrival of 'I am'. What about things prior to conception? Have you ever given any thought to that? You had no requirements whatsoever, even after the arrival of the 'I am' in its nascent non-verbal state there were no problems. During that period of the word-free 'I am' you were not aware of the body at all, that is where you have to come back to and reside.
45. The state of being, which is the message 'I am', without words, is common to all, change begins only with the mind-flow.
That stage when the message 'I am' had just arrived and was word-free is common to all. Everybody goes through this period, the non-verbal state, only knowing that 'you are' or 'I am'. In this stage there only exists the opposite 'you are not' or 'I am not'. Your movements from 'I am' to 'I am not' or vice-versa occur quite spontaneously with no volition at all. Changes begin as soon you are taught words or language and very soon the concepts take over, your verbal life or the mind-flow begins. Along with these come the three states of being awake, dreaming or deep sleep and you believe that you are an individual with a body and mind functioning in this world. Now, you meet the Guru and he tells you to rediscover this long lost wordless, nascent 'I am'. It is still there and you have to relive it - that is the 'Sadhana' (the Practice).
46. The belief in the 'I am' as a body, as an individual is the cause of all fear, in the absence of the 'I am', who is to fear what?
This belief that 'I am so-and-so' with a mind and body, an individual living in this world and society is the cause of all fear. Fears are many and diverse, there is fear of death, loss of wealth, loss of near and dear ones; then there is fear of ill-health, falling into disrepute and the many, many small ones that occur and change from moment to moment. But, for the one who has realized that the 'I am' itself is false - and since all fears are based on the 'I am'- there is no fear anymore. Quite obviously, if there is no individual, who is to fear what?
47. Try to stabilize in the primary concept 'I am' in order to lose that and be free from all other concepts, in understating the unreality of the 'I am' you are totally free.
You are in turmoil, you are in despair, you are afraid, and you are troubled with all this mess that you see around yourself. You seek freedom from all this. You meet the Guru in some form, either human or his words recorded in books, and he explains to you all about the 'I am' and its implications. Once he has done that, it is now up to you to do as he says. Come down to the primary concept 'I am', abide in it and understand its unreality and be totally free. Always bear in mind that whatever the Guru says is from his own experience and not hearsay.
48. Sitting quietly, being one with the knowledge 'I am', you will lose all concern with the world, then the 'I am' will also go, leaving you as the Absolute.
You have gone so far away from the primary 'I am' that you find it almost impossible to disentangle yourself from the conceptual jungle that you are trapped in. Most of us are so deeply enmeshed in this world that there is no time to even think of all this. Only those who are sensitive and observant or have faced a crisis in life realize the futility of it all. Thus begins the quest of your true identity and the meaning of life. The Guru's advice is very simple: first, you have to understand the 'I am' as the primary concept and root of all the trouble. Then you have to sit quietly and become one with knowledge 'I am'. As you do so you will lose all concern with the world. Then, quite spontaneously, if you have been earnest in your abidance, the 'I am' would drop off leaving you free as the Absolute.
49. Putting aside everything, stabilize in the 'I am'. As you continue with this practice, in the process you will transcend the 'I am'.
Just throw aside everything that does not go with the 'I am', get your self firmly established there. Again and again, repeatedly and tirelessly you have to continue with the practice of getting stabilized in the 'I am'. Then, at some moment, when the God 'I am' is pleased with you, he will release his stranglehold and you will transcend it and become the Absolute.
50. The very core of this consciousness is the quality 'I am', there is no personality or individual there, reside there and transcend it.
The feeling that 'you are' or 'I am' is the very core of this consciousness and common to all. It is there at the core in its absolute purity with no appendages or add-ons, and in that state there is no question of any individuality or personality. All your efforts should be directed towards coming to that pure state of 'I am' and reside there only. If you do this with great sincerity and earnestness you are bound to transcend the 'I am' one day. So understand the importance of earnest 'being'.
51. Worship the knowledge 'I am' as God, as your Guru, the message 'I am' is there, the mind-flow is there, stay in the 'I am' and realize you are neither.
You must not only understand the 'I am', but also realize its extreme importance. Everything is created by the 'I am', worship it as God. It is the only means for your way out, so treat it like your guide or Guru. To begin with what do you have but the knowledge 'I am'- only without words? Later comes the verbal 'I am', your gathering of concepts and thus begins the mind-flow. Now reverse this mind-flow, come to the verbal 'I am' and go past it and stabilize in the non-verbal 'I am'. In this process you shall realize that you are none of these.
52. Presently you are sustaining the memory 'I am', you are not that 'I am', you are the Absolute prior to that 'I am'.
For the continuance of your entire life as an individual you have to sustain the memory 'I am' and that is exactly what you are doing, although you may not be aware of it. Now that it has been pointed out to you by the Guru, come to the 'I am' and see how it has duped you into believing something that you are not! You are not the 'I am' but much before it - the Absolute! Something that you have always been and will always be, it has just slipped your mind. Grasp this True Being and forget about everything else.
53. You feel the 'I am' due to the five elements and three qualities, when they are gone, the 'I am' goes, but you are still there.
This feeling that 'you are' or 'I am' is due to the body-mind, which is a composite of the five elements and the three qualities. The body, along with the elements and the qualities, is perishable, thus you can see that all these, the 'I am', the elements and the qualities are interdependent and destructible. Judging from this criteria how can all these be real? The Truth or the real is never dependent nor is it destructible and that is what you are. The body, the elements and the qualities may come and go but you are there forever because you are none of these.
54. Keep focused on the 'I am' till you become a witness to it, then you stand apart, you have reached the highest.
For the moment or for as long as you believe that you are the body-mind, you must continue with meditation. During meditation, just keep yourself focused on the 'I am' without words. As your 'Sadhana' (Practice) ripens you shall become a witness to the 'I am'. The moment this happens you stand apart from the 'I am' and this is the highest state you can reach.
55. This knowledge 'I am' has come out of the state prior to it and now is the cause of all suffering, before the 'I am' came you were happy, so go back.
If you are sensitive and observant enough you can very clearly discern that this knowledge 'I am' has arisen on the state prior to it. This sense of 'being', knowing that 'you are' or 'I am' has just spontaneously appeared and has become the cause of all suffering. You have experienced those states like the period from conception to the appearance of 'I am', or in deep sleep where the 'I am' lies dormant or is held in abeyance. During any of these states was there any suffering or worry? The Guru has made all this clear to you and now tells you to go back and abide in the 'I am' and transcend it forever and be happy.
56. When you remain in the 'I am' you will realize everything else is useless, and then you are Parabrahman, the Absolute.
Understanding the 'I am' and abidance in it is the only 'Sadhana' (Practice) that has to be done. As your 'Sadhana' matures, you become a witness to the 'I am' and can very clearly see that it is false. In the process you also see that everything has come out of the 'I am' and is thus based on falsehood, so it automatically becomes useless. You are, or all along always were, the Parabrahman or the Absolute. How can anything ever be useful to the formless being?
57. The One who abides in that principle by which he knows 'I am' knows all and does not require anything.
The One who has transcended the 'I am' is the Absolute, he knows the knowledge 'I am' has only spontaneously appeared on him, is utterly false and will spontaneously disappear. He knows the root or the seed very well, hence he knows all. The One abiding in his True Self does not require anything at all, he is above needs and requirements.
58. Just sit and know that 'you are' the 'I am' without words, nothing else has to be done; shortly you will arrive to your natural Absolute state.
There is no escape from the 'Sadhana' (Practice), you have to really go after this knowledge 'I am'. In a sense there is nothing physically to be done. Do you require effort to know 'you are'? It is self-evident. The question is only to sit quietly and go back to the 'I am' without words. If this is earnestly and correctly done - that is by fully understanding the 'I am' and all its implications - it wouldn't take you long to arrive to your natural Absolute state.
59. Erroneously you have handed over this knowledge 'I am' to the body and thereby reduced the limitless to the limited; hence you are afraid of dying.
Just try to recollect the moment when you came to know that 'you are' or the knowledge 'I am' appeared. Initially, in that nascent stage you only knew 'I am' and periodically you drifted into the state of 'I am not'. This lasted for some time and then parents, people and the environment around you began encroaching on the purity of your 'I am'. You were made to wear the uniform or garb of 'so-and-so' and here began the whole error. The limitless was reduced to the limited and you became an individual encased in a body. You were told that you had been born and you inferred you would die one day. You love this 'I am' this 'beingness', you do not want to lose it at any cost, and hence the fear of death prevails.
60. You have to realize that you are not the body or the knowledge 'I am'. You as the Absolute are neither, nor do you require them.
When the knowledge 'I am' arose, you did not know what it was, it was just a feeling 'you are'- absolutely non-verbal. You did not even know whether it was real or unreal, it was just there. When verbalization was thrust on you, you made the first mistake of believing the 'I am' to be real. The second mistake, which was hammered into you, was to believe that you are a person born with a body and living in this world. That you would die one day you inferred by seeing people around you die and these beliefs grew stronger on seeing births and deaths occurring around you almost everyday. What the Guru now tells you challenges all this, he tells you that you are neither the body nor the knowledge 'I am'. He tells you that you are the formless Absolute and you do not require either of them, rather you were never them. The Guru can say so as that is his realization and you have to have faith in his words.
61. Inquire into the validity of the fundamental concept of your individuality, the 'I am', and it will disappear, then you are Parabrahman, the Absolute.
If what you believe yourself to be at present is false, what is the means to be adopted in order to realize your true identity? Self-inquiry is the means that the Guru suggests; you have to inquire into the question: 'Who am I?' As you do so you come to the fundamental concept of 'beingness' or the 'I am' on which rests everything. You are now told to meditate on this 'I am', stay here, abide in it for a reasonable amount of time. As your 'Sadhana' (practice) matures, a day will come when the 'I am' will disappear and then you are Absolute. Through negation you assert your true being, try to perceive the affirmation hidden in the negation of 'I am'.
62. The essential thing to be convinced about is that the original concept 'I am' is false, only accept that which is conducive to this development.
The knowledge 'I am' came quite suddenly on to you, you had never asked for it and it has remained as such for some time. Gradual worldly conditioning has established it as a firm concept which you are now not ready to part with or disbelieve. But the whole key to your redemption lies in realizing that this original concept 'I am' is totally false and is the culprit that has deceived you. Do away with it and do not accept anything that does not go with your developing the conviction that the 'I am' is illusory.
63. Before you occurred to yourself as 'I am' you were the highest: Parabrahman. Now, until the impurity of 'I am the body' disappears stay put in the 'I am' quietude.
You will have to apply your mind and go back to the moment when you first came to know that 'you are' or the 'I am' appeared on you. Now just wait hereï¿½prior to this what were you? Go back furtherï¿½prior to conception what or where you were. Nothing! That's it! You were the highest, the Absolute or the Parabrahman. It's only this total absence that doesn't require anything, is formless, free and above all. On this stateless state appeared the 'I am' and it caught hold of the body and believed 'I am the body'. This very idea is an impurity, do away with it and abide in the stillness and silence of the pure 'I am' without words, only then do you stand a chance of reaching your true identity.
64. Your fall started with the appearance of 'I am', then you blundered by embracing the body as 'I am', all that gathered thereafter is unreal.
The very appearance of 'I am' was the first deception, more deception followed when the 'I am' embraced the body. This is the deceptive foundation which caused you to blunder and build upon it this mansion of your individuality. Your very base, the 'I am', is false or unreal, so how can anything that followed thereafter be real? Just see how you have been tricked into believing something that is totally unreal.
65. This is no joke, you can become Parabrahman right now! You are Parabrahman right now! Just focus your attention on the 'I am'.
The concept of being born as an individual with a body and mind has been so strongly hammered into you that you simply refuse to accept anything that challenges it. In such a state of being, the truth that you are the Absolute 'Parabrahman' in this very moment may sound too far-fetched, or like a joke. You can even become it right now by simply focusing your attention on the 'I am'. The moment you do so you stand apart from the 'I am' as a witness to it. Now, who is this witness?
66. Who has the knowledge 'I am'? Somebody in you knows the knowledge 'I am', 'you are'. Who is it?
As you stay focused on the 'I am,' the question "Who is watching the 'I am'?" will occur to you. There has to be something in you that knows the 'I am' or that 'you are'. How come 'you were not' and now 'you are'? This transition from 'I am not' to 'I am', how did it occur? Was there any volition in it or did it occur spontaneously? Who is it that knows this appearance and disappearance of 'I am'?
67. Who can know the illusory state 'I am'? Only a non-illusory state can do so, it's the Awareness, the Parabrahman, or the Absolute.
There has to be an unchangeable background that observes all the changes. 'Knowing' and 'not-knowing', 'being' and 'not-being', 'I am' and 'I am not', these are all states of consciousness that occur on an unchangeable substratum. Only a non-illusory state is capable of knowing the illusory state. This real or non-illusory state has been called Awareness, the Absolute or the Parabrahman. In its original state it is devoid of any content or experience, these occur only after the appearance of 'I am'.
68. The primary concept 'I am' is dishonest, a cheat. It has tricked you into believing what is not. Focus sharply on the 'I am' and it'll disappear.
The teaching says that first you must start an inquiry into the nature of this knowledge 'I am', how it appeared on you and what it lead to. In the process of this inquiry you land up with the conclusion that this 'I am' is false and has deceived you into believing something that's not true. You may theoretically agree with this conclusion but in order to actually understand it you have to keep a sharp focus for a prolonged period on the 'I am'. You have to do this repeatedly; in fact this is the 'Sadhana' (practice). What will be the outcome of all this? A moment will come when the 'I am' will disappear and you will end up in your true natural state.
69. Finally, you have to transcend the 'I am' to enter the concept-free Parabrahman state, where you do not even know you are!
Ultimately what is the whole objective of the 'Sadhana' or 'Practice', which cannot be avoided? After understanding the knowledge 'I am' completely, you will have to meditate on it. You just cannot by-pass this step. The whole idea is to transcend the primary concept 'I am', only then will you be free from all concepts and enter your true natural Parabrahman state. This state is ever prevailing, right now, at this very moment itself! In fact you were never out of it. In this state there are no concepts, hence it is devoid of content and there is no question of any experience, thus you won't even know that you are.
70. The Absolute or the Parabrahman is prior to the 'I am', it's the unborn state, so how can it have the knowledge 'I am'?
Your true, natural, Absolute or Parabrahman state is before the knowledge 'I am' appeared. It is the state that ever prevails and knows no birth or death. Whatever is known or seen only appears to have occurred on it using the knowledge 'I am' as a basis for propagation, which is all an illusion. But once the illusion is gone how can it have the knowledge 'I am'? It doesn't even need this knowledge as it is the unborn state. You must have a firm conviction and come to the conclusion that you are unborn.
71. At the moment all you know is the 'I am', which is a product of the five elements, three qualities or the food body, but you are none of these.
The 'I am' emanates from the five elements and three qualities that make up the body-mind which can also be called the food body. It is food that sustains the body using the vital breath. The 'I am' is the very essence of the food body, which is a composite of the elements and qualities. Since this is nothing but an assembly that will disintegrate one day, it is dependent and transient and hence does not qualify as the real or truth. But to understand the unreality of all this, especially the 'I am', you have to meditate on it, then you will know that you are none of these. In fact you were never any of these; it was the deceptive game of 'I am' that made you believe what you are not.
72. One who has realized the knowledge 'I am', which means transcending it as well, for him there is no birth or death nor any karma.
This is something very important to understand - that is, the verbal understanding of the knowledge 'I am' is altogether different from its actual realization. There are many who will verbally or theoretically understand the 'I am', yet the rarest of the rare will realize it. Why so? Because realizing it means transcending it as well, the 'realized one' is no longer an individual, that's why the Guru is not an individual. The 'realized one' knows that 'I am unborn', so there is no question of birth or death for him. How can any Karma, Karmic residue or transmigration, as understood in Hindu doctrine, be applicable to the unborn? It's the end of it all!
73. The primary illusion is only this knowingness 'I am'; it is liberation when the knowingness is transformed to non-knowingness.
The culprit-in-chief is this sense of 'being' or knowing 'I am'. Liberation means to do away with the 'I am', or its complete irreversible disappearance. What would that mean? A state completely devoid of any concepts or any illusion as the primary concept or illusion 'I am' has been transcended. It is a state of not-knowingness, with no content and no experience.
74. You are even before you could say the words 'I am'. Witnessing happens to the state prior to your saying the words 'I am'.
The source, substratum or background has to be there before anything can appear on it. You say 'I am', but 'you' are before that, only because of this can you say 'I am'. Witnessing happens to that formless state which is prior to your being through the 'I am' which has appeared on it. That unborn state is ever present, it is neither the 'I am' nor does it require the 'I am', it is beyond needs or any sort of dependence.
75. When the body dies the 'I am' goes into oblivion and only the Absolute remains. Stay put there, nothing happens to you the Absolute.
The 'I am' is the essence of the five elements and three qualities that form the body-mind. When the body falls off, the 'I am' disappears and only the Absolute remains. As you stay put in the 'I am', a time will come when the 'I am' will disappear and you remain as the Absolute. You are not the body-mind, so you know no death but only the disappearance of 'I am'. In any case the body will drop off and the 'I am' disappear without asking you, so realize 'your' relevance, before you irrelevantly depart.
76. From non-being to being, how is it known? By the knowledge 'I am'. Stay there in the 'I am', then you'll go back from being to non-being.
The way in is the way out, from the unmanifest to the manifest, from absence to presence, from non-being to being. How is this so? It is the knowledge 'I am', which, when it spontaneously appears, makes this possible. So the 'I am' is the connection or gateway in, thus it must also be the means on disconnection or the gateway out. But, for this reversal to occur you have to be in the 'I am', the feeling of the wordless 'I am' must completely engulf you, only then will you be free from its clutches and enter non-being.
77. Right now, right here, you are the Absolute, the Parabrahman. Hold on to the 'I am' very firmly, ever abide in it and it'll dissolve, then you are as you are.
This very moment you are the Absolute, or the Parabrahman, the only trouble being that you have wandered away far off from the 'I am' and are lost in the add-ons. Here lies the crux of the whole 'Sadhana' (practice) where you have to snip-off all the add-ons or appendages and come to the 'I am' in its total purity - that is, when it dawned on you without words. This done, you now have to hold on to the wordless 'I am' very firmly and always abide in it, then it will disappear and you will be in your true natural state.
78. On the state of non-beingness, beingness as the 'I am' has occurred, who that is, is not important, the 'I am' is important, stay there.
You were never born. This knowledge 'I am' has quite spontaneously occurred on your unborn state without any reason, just like a dream spontaneously occurring with no reason and volition at all. The so-called person or whoever has come to be is of no importance: it is the feeling 'I am', which in its wordless nascent state is important, you have to reside there.
79. First came the 'aham' as 'I am', then 'aham-akar' (identification with body, ego), now go back to 'aham', dwelling there realize 'aham-brahmasmi'
The feeling 'I am' or 'Aham' was the first to appear and then it identified with the body and became 'I am so-and-so' or 'Ahamkar' (Aham= I am+Akar=this shape or form or body=Ahamkar meaning the Ego). Now leave aside the shape or body or 'Akar', revert to and stabilize in the 'Aham' or 'I am'. Dwelling there realize that 'I am Brahman' or 'Ahambrahmasmi'.
80. You are neither the 'I am' nor the activities carried out by the beingness - you as the Absolute are none of these.
This mirage 'I am' has to be understood along with all the tangle of activities that it gets itself caught up in. This illusory 'I am' or 'beingness' is the very root of everything, every activity you engage in, every action that you perform has the 'I am' as its basis. Can you recollect any activity prior to the appearance of 'I am'? No. So what does this suggest? It clearly shows that you stand apart from the 'I am' as the Absolute. The 'I am' has only appeared on you and you have nothing to do with it or its activities.
81. With the transcendence of the knowledge 'I am', the Absolute prevails. The state is called Parabrahman, while the knowledge 'I am' is Brahman.
It is very important to understand that the knowledge 'I am' is Brahman. When you transcend the 'I am' you transcend the Brahma state and prevail as the Parabrahman or Absolute. The Brahman is both with qualities ('Saguna' Brahman) and without qualities ('Nirguna' Brahman). With qualities it is the manifest world and without qualities it is the unmanifest world. The 'I am' and 'I am not', the 'knowing' and 'not-knowing', the 'being' and 'non-being' are all the same. They have simply been designated using opposite terms. The Absolute or Parabrahman state transcends both as there is no duality or opposite there.
82. How were you prior to the message 'I am'? In the absence of the message 'I am' only my eternal Absolute state prevails.
The inquiry has to begin with the question as to what you were before you were born. Or how and what you were prior to the coming of the message 'I am. In the absence of the message 'I am' or in the absence of the feeling that 'you are' do you know anything? You cannot, as on the disappearance of the last concept 'I am' you are totally devoid of content. There is no experience anymore, you are empty! This is your true eternal Absolute state that ever prevails.
83. Who would have witnessed the message 'I am', if your prior state of non-beingness had not been there?
The very answer to such a question, if asked with a deep intensity, can land you into the Absolute state instantly. Prolonged, earnest meditation on the 'I am' holds the potential for such an occurrence. Even if you cannot actually experience this, through pure verbal understanding you can see that there has to be 'someone' that witnesses or knows the 'I am'- otherwise the 'I am' would never have come to be. Meditation on the 'I am', which is the 'Sadhana' (practice), holds the key to knowing and becoming that 'someone'.
84. A true devotee, by abiding in the knowledge 'I am', transcends the experience of death and attains immortality.
Who is a true devotee? The one who not only understands the 'I am', but also abides in it without swerving from it for even a moment over a prolonged period of time. He and only he who has done this 'Sadhana' (practice) with complete devotion is a true devotee. A moment of ripening is bound to come and he will transcend the 'I am', then he will know no death and will attain immortality. It must be understood that it is the 'I am' that is born and dies. You are the Absolute, apart from the 'I am', and know neither of these.
85. Hold on to this knowingness 'I am' without words and every secret of your existence will be revealed to you.
This sense of 'being', or 'knowingness', which has dawned on you, is the best news possible. In order to grasp its true import you have to arrive to its purest nascent state when it was there without words. Once the wordless 'I am' has been grasped do not let it go but hold onto it. That is all you are required to do, nothing else. By and by, as your abidance strengthens the whole secret of your existence will unfold.
86. What is it in you that understands this knowledge 'I am' without a name, title or word? Sink in that innermost center and witness the knowledge 'I am'.
This knowledge 'I am' that has appeared on you has no name, no words, no size or shape. Nobody owns it, and it cannot be handed over to anybody.
It is there on its own without any adjuncts; delve deep into your being and just cut away all the add-ons to the 'I am'. If done deftly you will perceive the 'I am' in its glorious purity. Now stay here and become one with it. The 'I am' should completely engulf you at all times. Then you will know that there is someone in you that understands this knowledge 'I am', is a witness to it and never had anything to with it either.
87. Totally accept the knowledge 'I am' as oneself, and with full conviction and faith firmly believe in the dictum 'I am that by which I know I am'.
After fully understanding the 'I am', firstly, you have to accept that you are the knowledge 'I am' in its totality. When this acceptance comes through your practice, what will happen? You will no longer be an individual, the personality will be gone. Now you will have reached the highest you possibly can. Secondly, remaining in this highest possible state of knowing that 'I am', you will realize that there is someone who knows the 'I am'. Till this realization comes you should at least firmly believe in the dictum 'I am that by which I know I am'.
88. Reality prevails prior to the knowledge 'I am'; you must stay put at the source of your creation, at the beginning of the knowledge 'I am'.
Reality ever prevails; it knows no coming and going, birth and death, creation and destruction - these are attributes of the 'I am'. On the attributeless Reality or the Absolute the 'I am' has appeared and one day will disappear. At present you have wandered away from the 'I am', come back to it again and again and try to abide there for some time. The 'I am' is the very beginning, the source of everything, and in its wordless state is in the closest proximity to the Reality. By residing in the 'I am' you stand a better chance of arriving at your natural state than from anywhere else.
89. When one is established in the final, free Absolute state, the knowledge 'I am' becomes 'non-knowledge'.
The Absolute state is the ultimate state, or you can say that it is the stateless state. After the disappearance of the 'I am', which was the primary and root concept, there is no content anymore. The 'I am' having departed, there is no duality anymore, the knowledge 'I am' becomes 'non-knowledge' as it is not required anymore. The dissolution of the 'I am' is the end of all experience as well, as who is to experience what? The knowledge 'I am' is the initiator of everything, in its absence nothing is left.
90. The first witnessing is that of 'I am', the primary prerequisite for all further witnessing, but to whom is the first witnessing of 'I am' occurring?
The first thing that you came to know was that 'you are' or 'I am'. It is the first thing that you are a witness to, the primary and mandatory prerequisite for all further witnessing to occur. Once this 'I am' takes hold of you it grows to gigantic proportions, this expansion is so enormous that you lose awareness of the 'I am' itself in the process and go about your various activities. It is the 'I am' that is witnessing the world, but who is witnessing the 'I am'? That's the question to which you have to find an answer and that is what all the 'Sadhana' (practice) is for.