The Nectar of Immortality – Nisargadatta Maharaj

nisargadatta_250Maharaj:

If one obtains and relishes the nectar of the Lord’s feet, the charan-amrita, the mind can be conquered. This means that the mind will no longer hold sway over us; its mastery imposed from childhood will no longer oppress us. This is called manojaya—victory over the mind. But this is made possible only with His Grace. Without Grace, we cannot relish the nectar.

However, only a true devotee, a bhakta, a god, can obtain the charan-amrita. But who and what is this devotee? It is nothing else but the consciousness, the sense of being, the knowledge that “we are,” which has appeared unknowingly and spontaneously in us. The consciousness is the charan-amrita, the nectar of the Lord’s feet.

The entire cosmos in its vibrant, stirring movement is represented by the consciousness, the feet of the Lord, and the whole universe is the body of the consciousness. But what is its relationship with all beings? It dwells in the core of all beings as the knowledge “I am,” the love “to be,” the charan-amrita.

One who drinks the nectar of the Lord’s feet is a true devotee. He abides in the knowledge “I am.” He is godly. Thus, when one sips continuously this nectar by witnessing the consciousness or the sense of being, one’s mind, which assesses and differentiates persons observed as males and females, gradually removes itself from the focus of attention, leaving the consciousness in its innate glory.

But how can such a state be attained? Only if one totally accepts the knowledge “I am” as oneself with full conviction and faith and firmly believes in the dictum “I am that by which I know ‘I am’.” This knowledge “I am” is the charan-amrita. Why is it called amrita--the nectar? Because, it is said, by drinking nectar one becomes immortal. Thus, a true devotee, by abiding in the knowledge “I am” transcends the experience of death and attains immortality. But so long as the mind remains unconquered, the experience of death is inevitable.

Although my talks go on and on with many visitors, my standpoint remains unchanged. Why? Because my standpoint is stabilized at the charan-amrita. It stays put in the consciousness, the source of concepts and language. Out of it emanates the language from its subtlest formation to the grossest vocal expression, as para, pashyanti, madhyama, and vaikhari.

If you could just give up all other spiritual efforts and disciplines and absorb yourself in relishing the charan-amrita, by abidance in the consciousness, the mind will release you from its clutches. At present, you meekly accept whatever the mind dictates as your own. If the mind goes into silence, where and what are you?

Once you subside into the consciousness, the factual state of Reality shall be revealed to you with the knowledge that will emanate out of you intuitively. like spring water. This will enable you to discern not what is real and unreal, but most importantly, to realize what “I am.”

What am I for myself alone? What is this life? Once these questions are resolved intuitively and the Reality emerges, the mind cannot predominate any longer. However, functioning of the mind will go on, but the quality of its functioning will be totally different. One who has attained such a state of the mind remains unaffected by any happenings, since the blabberings of the mind can have no effect. And who could be that one? Surely not an individual who is trapped in the mind-shell. But that one is the knowledge “I am”–the consciousness.

It is said that we should break off the shackles that attach us to the body and the world. What does that mean? Whatever is seen and perceived is at the bodily or worldly level. An attachment is developed with objects perceived, and then we identify with a body as ourselves and claim the objects as our own. Attachment is the nature of the mind, and it obstinately persists in these attachments. But if you drink the charan-amrita by stabilizing in the consciousness, everything will be resolved and you will be enlightened. You need not go to anybody to clear your doubts.

While doing my normal chores and singing bhajans in praise of God and so on, to you I appear to be deeply involved in these activities. But actually I remain apart from myself, bereft of the body and mind sense, and then witnessing of the activities happens to Me. I wonder if you have marked this! Many persons are related to me in some way or another. Although seemingly I hobnob with them, I am apart from them. For myself, I have fully realized what “I am,” and right now it is absolutely clear to me what and how ‘I am.” But what these persons think “they are,” only they know. They presume to have acquired knowledge, to have reached a spiritual status higher than others…and so forth. This is bound to be, because they are still slaves to their mind. In my case, it cannot happen. I have totally imbibed the nectar of the Lord’s feet–the  consciousness.

At present, all communications and functionings happen through the medium of the nectar–the consciousness. And what is this medium? It is the knowledge “I am.” It is represented by Lord Vishnu, the highest god who reclines blissfully on the coils of the serpent, sheshashayi, and hence is known as sheshashayi-Bhagavan.

Well it is nice to have such talks, but to imbibe and realize their essence is very difficult indeed. Why? Because you firmly believe that you are the body and live accordingly, while entertaining fond wishes that you will achieve something good in the world, and later still better. These expectations are primarily based on the misconceived notion that you are the body. This wrong identification, however, dissolves in the nectar of the Lord’s feet, when you totally subside in the consciousness and lose your individuality.

Dissolution of individuality is not possible without devotion to the Master–guru-bhakti–which in other words is again the consciousness, the guru-charan-amrita. Abidance in the consciousness removes all past and future problems, and stabilizes one in the present–Here and Now.

Consciousness is the sense of knowingness “I am” without words, and it appeared unknowingly and unsolicited. It is the manifest universal life force and, therefore, cannot be individualistic. It extends inside and outside, like the brilliance of a diamond. You see a dream-world inside you and a perceptible world outside you, provided the consciousness prevails. From the body level, you may say inside and outside the body, but from the standpoint of consciousness, where and what is inside and outside? Only in the realm of knowingness “I am”–the consciousness–can a world be, and so also an experience.

Hold on to this knowingness “I am,” and the fount of knowledge will well up within you, revealing the mystery of the Universe; of your body and psyche; of the play of the five elements, the three gunas and prakritipurush; and of everything else. In the process of this revelation, your individualistic personality confined to the body shall expand into the manifested universe, and it will be realized that you permeate and embrace the entire cosmos as your “body” only. This is known as the “Pure Superknowledge”–shuddhavijnana.

Nevertheless, even in the sublime shuddhavijnana state, the mind refuses to believe that it is a non-entity. But as one subsides in the consciousness, one develops a firm conviction that the knowledge “you are”–the sense of your being–is the very source of your world. This knowledge alone makes you feel “you are” and the world is. Actually, this manifest knowledge, having occupied and permeated the cosmos, dwells in you as the knowledge “you are.” Hold on to this knowledge. Do not try to give it a name or a title.

Now coming to a very subtle situation, what is it in you that understands this knowledge “you are”–or from your standpoint “I am,” without a name, title or word? Subside in that innermost centre and witness the knowledge ” I am” and just be. This is the “bliss of being”–the svarupananda.

You derive pleasure and happiness through various external aids and processes. Some like to enjoy good food, some like to see a picture, some get absorbed in music…and so on. For all these enjoyments some outside factors are essential. But to abide in the “bliss of being” no external aids are required at all. To understand this, take the example of deep sleep. Once you are in deep sleep, no aids or treatments are called for and you enjoy a quiet happiness. Why? Because in that state identity with a body as male or female is totally forgotten.

Some visitors ask me, “Please show us a path that will lead to Reality.” How can I? All paths lead to unreality. Paths are creations within the scope of knowledge. Therefore, paths and movements cannot transport you into Reality, because their function is to enmesh you within the dimension of knowledge, while the Reality prevails prior to it. To apprehend this, you must stay put at the source of your creation, at the beginning of the knowledge “I am.” So long as you do not achieve this, you will be entangled in the chains forged by your mind and get enmeshed in those of others.

Therefore, I repeat, you stabilize at the source of your being and then all the chains will snap asunder and you will be liberated. You will transcend time, with the result that you will be beyond the reach of its tentacles and you shall prevail in Eternity. And this sublime state can be attained only by drinking ceaselessly the nectar of the guru’s sacred feet–the guru-charan-amrita. It is a state of ecstatic beatitude–the self subsiding blissfully in the Self. This ecstasy is beyond words; it is also awareness in total quietude.

The quintessence of the talk is clear. Your most important asset is the “knowledge” that “you are” prior to emanation of mind. Hold on to this “knowledge” and meditate. Nothing is superior to this, not even devotion to a guru–guru-bhakti–or devotion to God-Ishwara-bhakti.

Nisargadatta Maharaj – January 25, 1980

from The Nectar of Immortality. 1987 Joseph Nauwelaerts

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