Find Out Who You Are – Jean Dunn

Jean Dunn speaks about life with Nisargadatta Maharaj. This interview was recorded by Malcolm Tillis in 1981, while Jean was living in Bombay, India.

Jean Dunn: I am just a normal person of fifty-nine who has been searching all her life until, ten years ago, she heard of Ramana Maharshi. She visited his ashram, went back to the States, then returned to India, where she has been living for the past four years. Two years ago she met Nisargadatta Maharaj, and he became her guru.

Did he give you some form of initiation?
He gave me a mantra and initiation.

How did you first hear about him?
At Ramana Maharshi’s ashram. Many people come to see him; ­there seems to be a tie.

Is it because of the similarity of Self-Inquiry?
It’s no longer that. Maharaj has had cancer of the throat for the past year, so his teachings have been polished; he is saying he’s no longer the consciousness, he observes the consciousness—he’s the Absolute. His teachings are now on that line.

Can you tell me something about his book, I Am That?
It’s in the form of questions and answers. The fifth edition is just coming out. It came out in two volumes in 1973, having been collected and edited by Maurice Frydman, who in late life became a disciple of Maharaj. There has been no further book published. Last year I asked Maharaj—I had been recording all his question and answer periods—if he wanted me to put them together for a book. He said yes. So Seeds of Consciousness will come out this year. Another volume will appear later: Beyond Consciousness.

In spite of his illness he gives darshan every day?
He is in much pain at times but manages to talk twice a day. He is one of the hidden saints, so he only draws a few people at a time. His teachings aren’t for the general public—we are blessed to listen to him.

How does he usually teach?
Up until his illness, it was by questions and answers. Now he will no longer teach the ABCs—he doesn’t have the physical strength; ­ he tells us the position, then it’s up to us.

He seemed to insist that I ask questions.
He wants questions to come out; then there will be silence so that remaining questions will be answered within yourself.

His following is mainly Western, by what I saw.
Westerners are in predominance; thousands have seen him—some for a few days, some stay for months. Some he makes leave at once. He says he doesn’t know why he sends people away, although they want to stay.

Are you living in India on a permanent basis?
Yes, I have a residency permit. I have finished work on the second book; the work is complete. Everything he has to say has been said.

Do you ever miss Western society, your home life?
Never.

Can you say something about your personal relationship to your guru?
There are no words to describe that . . .

Do you have an aim in life? For instance, to become one with him?
My aim in life is to lose an aim in life—that’s his teaching. There’s no purpose to this life; it’s just entertainment. That’s all.

That sounds rather Krishnamurthi-esque.
Many of Krishnamurthi’s followers come here—ten came recently.

How did Maharaj attain enlightenment?
You will find that in the first part of I Am That. I can tell you this: the first time he met his guru— his friend insisted on taking him; he even had to buy the garland to present to the guru—he never wanted to go.

Was he very young then?
He was in his thirties. The bidi (Indian cigarette) shop at the corner belongs to him; his son runs it. He had eight shops, but when his guru died, he left everything—his family and business. He wandered for months all over India, until he met a fellow disciple who convinced him it was better to live in the world. He returned to Bombay, but all the shops had gone except this one. He didn’t want anything; all worldly ambition had gone. When people started coming to him, he built that upstairs room.

It’s minute. What are the dimensions?
Oh, about nine by twelve. I’ve seen that room crowded, mostly by Westerners. He says Indians are not ready for his teachings.

Do you think it was because he didn’t want personal publicity that he appeared to be annoyed with me?
That’s correct. I feel sure that was the idea. He doesn’t want disciples—if they come, it’s fine; if not, that’s also fine. He gains nothing. He has reached the peak because he isn’t enamored of any­thing the world can offer.

Does he ever talk about other gurus and their methods?
He talks about the self-styled gurus who propagate their own con­cepts; but there’s nothing wrong with that at that level.

Does he admire any living teachers?
As far as I know, J. Krishnamurti. In the past, Ramana Maharshi. The other day he said, “Krishnamurti, Ramana and myself are one.”

Does he advocate a vegetarian diet?
That pertains to the body; he doesn’t teach anything to do with that. All he wants you to do is find out who you are.

His followers can drink and indulge in free relationships?
Whatever comes naturally to each person, he should do.

He gives no ethical guidance?
No. As long as you think you are a person and this world is real, then you live by certain rules. Once you understand the complete thing, your life lives itself … There are no rules, no good, no bad—I should do this, I shouldn’t do that. If you think about it, all this is taking place in this life span, in this span of consciousness, and when this consciousness goes, what difference does it make?

Does he not advise detachment from worldly activities?
This comes naturally. The main and only thing he teaches is to find out who you are. The closer you come to this, the more detached you become from the world; that will happen naturally. You can’t do anything to make that happen. This idea of doing something is an ego idea “I” can accomplish. Maharaj says the consciousness drags you there by the ear because it wants to know about itself, your true nature.

What has he said about leaving the body at physical death?
For him, it will be a great festival— he’s looking forward to it. For those thinking they are the body, it will be a traumatic experience. For an enlightened person, it’s a joyous time.

When he gives you meditation, does he ask what you see inside?
There has to be somebody to see something! (laughter) . . . No, he doesn’t. Visions and experiences take place in consciousness; they have no meaning whatsoever. Before you were born, did you know anything about this world? When you die—will you know anything about this world? You didn’t know you existed—you exist as the Absolute, but you aren’t aware of your existence. When this con­sciousness comes, spontaneously, you know “I am.” You grab a body and become identified with that. He wants you to go back, back, away from this into your true nature. Right now it’s consciousness; the longer we abide in that consciousness only and observe it, we see that everything we see is not ours—there’s a “you” seeing this.

But what does he teach about God?
Without me, there’s no God.

Really?
Yes.

And he’s teaching that?
Yes. Was there a God before you were? Without you, is there a God?

What brought me back into this body?
Do you remember a previous body?

Many people have that recollection. Are you saying we have never taken birth before?
There’s no “we”; there’s no entity; there is universal consciousness, which is continually expressing itself through these bodies.

Maharaj doesn’t believe in karma and reincarnation?
Correct.

Ramana Maharshi taught that, surely?
They will talk to you on this level if this is your level. But if you un­derstand what I’m saying—there’s only universal consciousness ex­pressing itself; there’s no individual—then he will bring you there. He will no longer speak of this. If you die with concepts, these concepts take another form, but they will not be you— you don’t know what that form will be. Concepts will come again until they are all gone.

What does Maharaj teach about selfless service, helping others?
On their level, it’s good. But his teaching is that there are no others, no individual entities; everything happens spontaneously; there’s no doer. He teaches: Let this life live itself and understand you are not this.

We are not “this” then we are “that.” What is “that”?
“That” is consciousness right now.

Right now? What will it be when we leave the body?
The Absolute.

Then what comes back?
Consciousness is continually renewing itself. You throw a piece of food into a corner; within a few days, worms will come—life, con­sciousness. The same consciousness in that worm is in you. It’s not “my” consciousness, “your” consciousness; it’s one universal con­sciousness, and that universal consciousness is you.

At our level of understanding, aren’t all these concepts? Didn’t you find these theories confusing at first?
The first day I came to Maharaj, he said, “My beingness is a product of food . . .  and the same consciousness in the donkey was in Sri Krishna.” I went to get a reservation back home; none was available, so as something inside knew this was true, I went back. He had jerked the rug from under my feet, and he kept on doing this until I lost any place to put my feet. He forces you to let go of all concepts.

Does he often send people away who come to see him?
Often. He never knows why, though. Every moment watching him is like a spectacular movie; every person’s need is taken care of­. I’ve watched that happen. You can sit quietly, but questions you have inside will be answered. Everything happens according to your need. There’s no him; he has no purpose of his own: that’s why this can happen. There’s no ego there to bump against.

Living so close to an enlightened being can’t be easy.
It’s not easy if you have any ego left.

Can you say something about the positive side?
There are no words for it; everything is taken care of automatically. There’s no “you” to thank God for anything anymore. You let go of everything. There’s no you, no separate entity; everything is hap­pening spontaneously. It’s like there’s a quiet space where you are, yet everything is happening around you.

What work did you do in America?
I worked on newspapers.

Is there a reason why people get involved with imperfect teachers?
We as human beings think there’s a reason for everything; there are no reasons, no causes—it’s a causeless happening. As long as we are on this human level and think there’s a cause, we will be able to come up with one. If some people are taken for a ride by false gurus, you can say this is happening to them to get rid of something­—whatever happens is perfect. We are just to understand there’s no personal consciousness; everything is impersonal, you see.

But when we meet a perfect teacher, it’s our consciousness which recognizes that, surely?
Yes.

Then our lives change.
Yes.

That’s the new life?
Correct.

That’s part of the divine plan requiring no effort?
No effort.

To round off, could you say what are the benefits gained from coming into contact with your guru.
I’ve gotten rid of the idea there’s somebody going to benefit from something . . . (much laughter)

The Royal Process for Spirituality – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Let’s listen now to a meeting from 11th January, 1981.

Questioner (Q.):  At times when he is in duality consciousness, you know, consciousness moving, and when he is being an actor in worldly affairs, in those times, does the unity consciousness still remain, or is that somehow . . .you know . . . .  is there both unity consciousness and the moving duality consciousness, can he feel them both when he is being an active agent in the world?

Maharaj (M.):  Whatever activities are happening they are of the unmanifest, activities of the unmanifest, unmanifested. It is not an activity of an individual. unmanifested though that question arises.  It is only one.  Unmanifested is the only reality. All activity is, happens because of that.  There is no duality at all.

One who thinks he is a body and mind, he thinks he is being active, but one who has merged with the consciousness, there is no personality present. A jani is one who has transcended consciousness also.  That is the unmanifest principle. Having the availability of consciousness. 

So a Jani who is self-realized, is the unmanifest speaking or acting, or actions or talking happening, through the consciousness which is available. It is a spontaneous happening.

The self-realized is having the total consciousness.  The total consciousness is there. The self-realized does not identify with the body and mind.  The body also, your body, can you show yourself somewhere?  This is you?

Q. No.  I know the self-realized does not identify himself with the mind and body and their activities.  But there are times when he is aware of the activities of the mind and body.  He doesn’t identify with them but he is aware of them happening.

M.  Nothing happens.

Q.  But when the self-realized is witnessing something or other is the self-realized also aware of the unity consciousness as well as witnessing?

M. Everything is observed in that unity consciousness only. Consciousness is always unity.  What you are calling this duality consciousness – I am the body, I am the mind, that is what you are referring to as duality consciousness?

Q. Yes.

M. Just as you cannot find a goat in a goat that is cut.  You cannot find out a goat inside a goat.

Q. Yes, I understand that.

M. Similarly, can you find out myself in this?  Can I locate you in that one?  What are you? What is a sample? Produce a sample that you are?

Q. I understand that there is no knowing consciousness, is there also no knowing awareness because knowing is a duality thing.  Is it true that there is also no intuitive awareness?  Awareness is a higher thing than knowing so there is no knowing of consciousness because knowing is a duality thing?

M. When the consciousness is there, first you know you are. It is the beginning of knowing.  First of all awareness does not know itself. Awareness by itself . .

Q. Is awareness aware of itself?

M. No.

Q. It’s not. 

M. No. Awareness by itself does not know itself. When consciousness appears then the witnessing of the consciousness happens through awareness.  If our consciousness is not, our consciousness does not know awareness.  So consciousness is knowing “I am”. It is like an advertisement, an announcement, I am.  The word “I am” is not you. Suppose you are saying “I am”, I am the one who is discovering about you, you are something different.  It is not you. You are boasting inside you.  Before saying “I am” you have the feeling of “I am”.  Before you say I am, you have the feeling I am.  You know you are.

Q. That feeling, is that a form of knowledge or a form of awareness?

M. Yes, you see that feeling when it completely subsides into nothingness that I amness, that feeling of I amness, and then no feeling. That is over.

 Q.  May I ask: so consciousness comes into awareness.

M. Of course, everything is in awareness.

Q. Yeah, okay. First there was awareness, then consciousness.

Translator: He wants you to talk. At the same time he wants you to talk at a very high level.

Q. I do not know if that question is low level or high level.

M. Either way you have to face the music.

Knowingness is consciousness, that I amness. That I amness is a product of or objective to the body.

This is the instrument that says I am, an instrument of awareness. This is like an announcer and for an announcer you have to have this instrument, a psycho-somatic instrument. Awareness is the energy or that which provides the energy.

You see now presently you are starting from the body-mind level. You are a person deeply entrenched in body-mind. You think that you are a human being. Your identity is limited to the body and whatever concepts you are continuously collecting up to now. That is your present identity.

Now when you start the spiritual course, you reject, I am the body, you reject, I am the concepts and you come to this “I am” only. When you think that “I am” only without words also, just the feeling of I am. You have discarded the body and conscious. At that level you are everything. You are not confined into this body also. Because of that feeling “I am”, the moment that feeling “I am” is there, everything is. The world is. If the “I am” is not, the world is not. I am and the world, simultaneously they appear. Therefore your “I am” is totally that world. That is that unity or unicity. When you discard your identity that you are the body and mind but you are only being that is that unity consciousness.

Understand it thoroughly.

Now would you like to feel that unicity consciousness without the body and mind or would you like to get yourself entrenched in the body and mind and become burdened?

This is the basic principle. So I am telling you again and again, understand only this. Don’t try and collect more concepts. Understand this, assimilate this and be this. Be that total unicity consciousness. Then all further things will spontaneously happen.

Give up your idea, that identity that you are the body and mind. Try to stabilize in a situation from where you can observe your body and mind.

Listen to this only, understand this. This is the basic of philosophy of spirituality. Master it, be that. Then you need not come again.

Normally nobody is open to this aspect of spirituality. This is the most important aspect. Whatever I am giving you hold on to that, be that and the rest will be taken care of spontaneously.

Does this talk make an impact, impression on you?

Q. Yes, I think it over and then I see immediately the difficulties that arise. I try to meditate this week and soon as you meditate it is more difficult than it used to be. It is very difficult to stay in “I am” only and disregard all the concepts.

M. Don’t try to struggle and try to be that. It is as simple as looking at the flowers and to say “I am not the flowers.” I see the flowers. I am not the flowers. I am here the flowers are there. Like that, be yourself and don’t be the body and mind. You are not the body and mind. I am not the body and mind.

Having received this knowledge, important knowledge, I will not allow you to sit or hang on for longer periods because this will be obliterated.

Having got this, either accept this as the truth, the royal process for spirituality, or throw it out and go to somebody else and collect further ideas and concepts about spirituality.

Enjoy the logic and tricks of this spiritual course. Here he said, “you know you’re not the flowers.” It is as simple as that. Later on, since you are involved with the body mind, apply the same logic. Try to observe the body and mind and understand that you are not the body and mind.

Next question is: identifying body and mind, you are not trying to push it out but by understanding you stabilize in a position prior to body. Physically you are not doing anything, just to understand and be at the higher position.

Now next, by doing this step you are the consciousness. Having rejected body and mind you are the consciousness, that total consciousness.

Now the next stage is, you have to understand that this consciousness is due to body. Because of this instrument of body that feeling of consciousness is there and “I” as absolute cannot be that consciousness.

So again try to observe the consciousness as you observe the flowers, in that state, still you have to feel as in the first lesson. Having become the total consciousness or having realized that I am the total consciousness, the next step is to observe the consciousness and all the play happening in the consciousness. Just to understand, it is a critical stage because at the advent of the body and to the consciousness the outcome to the body it is very strong. So to get rid of that or to understand that you are not the consciousness, the product of the body. But that is the next step.

Is it clear?

Q. Yes I understand it.

M. Have you thoroughly understood enough?

Q. Yes I understand and at times when I am living quietly it is relatively easy to witness what is happening in the mind and happening . . .

M. Have you understood it thoroughly? Just say yes or no.

Q. Yes. It is a difficult stage. It is difficult to remain a witness to everything that is happening in the mind, in the heart, in the memory, all those things. We know quite well we are not those things. Our identity isn’t with those formations.

M. What is more important is the witness not whatever is witnessed. You need not keep an inventory of all that you have witnessed. There is no question of noting down in your memory because that is a wrong step again. You employ the memory belonging to the mind to note down everything. That is not important. The focus of the attention must be on the witness that you are.

Q. The difficulty is keeping the attention on witnessing because involvement in other things is very strong like Maharaj just said.

M. The moment you are caught up in the current of mind, be again back into the witnessing, back into the witnessing.

Q. There are many times when it is difficult to return to the witness.

M. Yes it is not easy that is why there are very few self-realized persons. Had it been easy there would be any number of self-realized persons. It is difficult.

Q. I’m not complaining that it is difficult. I’m saying that even though we know . . . 

M. The difficulty, he is not going to solve. Everybody knows.

Only this much and no further will be given or elucidated by Maharaj. That’s all. It is the limit of communication. Further, you have to fend for yourself.

I have no form. I have no identity and exactly I also see you as my self. You are my self only, without form and without identity.

So wrongly you strayed into this place by mistake, you stumbled into this place. Now you are compelled to listen to this talk. So collect all the talk and use it and don’t come again. If you think it is good, use it. Otherwise throw it out.

-From a talk given on January 11, 1981

This is the audio recording from which the above extract is taken: Nisargadatta Maharaj, Jan. 11, 1981

The Touchstone of Awareness – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: My difficulty is this. As I can see, every experience is its own reality. It is there — experienced. The moment I question it and ask to whom it happens, who is the observer and so on, the experience is over and all I can investigate is only the memory of it. I just cannot investigate the living moment — the now. My awareness is of the past, not of the present. When I am aware, I do not really live in the now, but only in the past. Can there really be an awareness of the present?

Maharaj: What you are describing is not awareness at all, but only thinking about the experience. True awareness (samvid) is a state of pure witnessing, without the least attempt to do anything about the event witnessed. Your thoughts and feelings, words and actions may also be a part of the event; you watch all unconcerned in the full light of clarity and understanding. You understand precisely what is going on, because it does not affect you. It may seem to be an attitude of cold aloofness, but it is not really so. Once you are in it, you will find that you love what you see, whatever may be its nature. This choiceless love is the touchstone of awareness. If it is not there, you are merely interested — for some personal reasons.

Q: As long as there are pain and pleasure, one is bound to be interested.

M: And as long as one is conscious, there will be pain and pleasure. You cannot fight pain and pleasure on the level of consciousness. To go beyond them you must go beyond consciousness, which is possible only when you look at consciousness as something that happens to you and not in you, as something external, alien, superimposed. Then, suddenly you are free of consciousness, really alone, with nothing to intrude. And that is your true state. Consciousness is an itching rash that makes you scratch. Of course, you cannot step out of consciousness for the very idea of stepping out is in consciousness. But if you learn to look at your consciousness as a sort of fever, personal and private, in which you are enclosed like a chick in its shell, out of this very attitude will come the crisis which will break the shell.

—Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 76

I Am That

Until All Obstacles are Conquered – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: How does one attend to the unconscious?

Maharaj: Keep the ‘I am’ in the focus of awareness, remember that you are, watch yourself ceaselessly and the unconscious will flow into the conscious without any special effort on your part. Wrong desires and fears, false ideas, social inhibitions are blocking and preventing its free interplay with the conscious. Once free to mingle, the two become one and the one becomes all. The person merges into the witness, the witness into awareness, awareness into pure being, yet identity is not lost, only its limitations are lost. It is transfigured, and becomes the real Self, the sadguru, the eternal friend and guide. You cannot approach it in worship. No external activity can reach the inner self; worship and prayers remain on the surface only; to go deeper meditation is essential, the striving to go beyond the states of sleep, dream and waking. In the beginning the attempts are irregular, then they recur more often, become regular, then continuous and intense, until all obstacles are conquered.

Q: Obstacles to what?

M: To self-forgetting.

Q: If worship and prayers are ineffectual why do you worship daily, with songs and music, the image of your Guru!

M: Those who want it, do it. I see no purpose in interfering.

Q: But you take part in it.

M: Yes, it appears so. But why be so concerned with me? Give all your attention to the question: ‘What is it that makes me conscious?’, until your mind becomes the question itself and cannot think of anything else.

Q: All and sundry are urging me to meditate. I find no zest in meditation, but I am interested in many other things; some I want very much and my mind goes to them; my attempts at meditation are so half-hearted. What am I to do?

M: Ask yourself: ‘To whom it all happens?’ Use everything as an opportunity to go within. Light your way by burning up obstacles in the intensity of awareness. When you happen to desire or fear, it is not the desire or fear that are wrong and must go, but the person who desires and fears. There is no point in fighting desires and fears which may be perfectly natural and justified; It is the person, who is swayed by them, that is the cause of mistakes, past and future. The person should be carefully examined and its falseness seen; then its power over you will end. After all, it subsides each time you go to sleep. In deep sleep you are not a self-conscious person, yet you are alive. When you are alive and conscious, but no longer self-conscious, you are not a person anymore. During the waking hours you are, as if, on the stage, playing a role, but what are you when the play is over? You are what you are; what you were before the play began you remain when it is over. Look at yourself as performing on the stage of life. The performance may be splendid or clumsy, but you are not in it, you merely watch it; with interest and sympathy, of course, but keeping in mind all the time that you are only watching while the play — life — is going on.

Q: You are always stressing the cognition aspect of reality. You hardly ever mention affection, and will — never?

M: Will, affection, bliss, striving and enjoying are so deeply tainted with the personal, that they cannot be trusted. The clarification and purification needed at the very start of the journey, only awareness can give. Love and will shall have their turn, but the ground must be prepared. The sun of awareness must rise first — all else will follow.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, p. 329

Witnessing – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: I am full of desires and want them fulfilled. How am I to get what I want?

Maharaj: Do you deserve what you desire? In some way or other you have to work for the fulfillment of your desires. Put in energy and wait for the results.

Q: Where am I to get the energy?

M: Desire itself is energy.

Q: Then why does not every desire get fulfilled?

M: Maybe it was not strong enough and lasting.

Q: Yes, that is my problem. I want things, but I am lazy when it comes to action.

M: When your desire is not clear nor strong, it cannot take shape. Besides, if your desires are personal, for your own enjoyment, the energy you give them is necessarily limited; it cannot be more than what you have.

Q: Yet, often ordinary persons do attain what they desire.

M: After desiring it very much and for a long time. Even then, their achievements are limited.

Q: And what about unselfish desires?

M: When you desire the common good, the whole world desires with you. Make humanity’s desire your own and work for it. There you cannot fail,

Q: Humanity is God’s work, not mine. I am concerned with myself. Have I not the right to see my legitimate desires fulfilled? They will hurt no one. My desires are legitimate. They are right desires, why don’t they come true?

M: Desires are right or wrong according to circumstances; it depends on how you look at them. It is only for the individual that a distinction between right and wrong is valid.

Q: What are the guide-lines for such distinction? How am I to know which of my desires are right and which are wrong?

M: In your case desires that lead to sorrow are wrong and those which lead to happiness are right. But you must not forget others. Their sorrow and happiness also count.

Q: Results are in the future. How can I know what they will be?

M: Use your mind. Remember. Observe. You are not different from others. Most of their experiences are valid for you too. Think clearly and deeply, go into the entire structure of your desires and their ramifications. They are a most important part of your mental and emotional make-up and powerfully affect your actions. Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.

Q: What does it mean to know myself? By knowing myself what exactly do I come to know?

M: All that you are not.

Q: And not what I am?

M: What you are, you already are. By knowing what you are not, you are free of it and remain in your own natural state. It all happens quite spontaneously and effortlessly.

Q: And what do I discover?

M: You discover that there is nothing to discover. You are what you are and that is all.

Q: I do not understand!

M: It is your fixed idea that you must be something or other, that blinds you.

Q: How can I get rid of this idea?

M: If you trust me, believe when I tell you that you are the pure awareness that illuminates consciousness and its infinite content. Realise this and live accordingly. If you do not believe me, then go within, enquiring ‘What am I’? or focus your mind on ‘I am’, which is pure and simple being.

Q: On what my faith in you depends?

M: On your insight into other people’s hearts. If you cannot look into my heart, look into your own.

Q: I can do neither.

M: Purify yourself by a well-ordered and useful life. Watch over your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. This will clear your vision.

Q: Must I not renounce everything first, and live a homeless life?

M: You cannot renounce. You may leave your home and give trouble to your family, but attachments are in the mind and will not leave you until you know your mind in and out. First thing first — know yourself, all else will come with it.

Q: But you already told me that I am the Supreme Reality. Is it not self-knowledge?

M: Of course you are the Supreme Reality! But what of it? Every grain of sand is God; to know it is important, but that is only the beginning.

Q: Well, you told me that I am the Supreme Reality. I believe you. What next is there for me to do?

M: I told you already. Discover all you are not. Body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, time, space, being and not-being, this or that — nothing concrete or abstract you can point out to is you. A mere verbal statement will not do — you may repeat a formula endlessly without any result whatsoever. You must watch yourself continuously — particularly your mind — moment by moment, missing nothing. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the self from the not-self.

Q: The witnessing — is it not my real nature?

M: For witnessing, there must be something else to witness. We are still in duality!

Q: What about witnessing the witness? Awareness of awareness?

M: Putting words together will not take you far. Go within and discover what you are not. Nothing else matters.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter Ten

I Am That

Only Oneness Is Complete – Ranjit Maharaj

Question: Would you say that Reality is silence reflecting Itself?

Ranjit: You can see the space, you can observe the space, you can feel the space, but Reality is beyond space. Space is zero. No silence is there, no voice is there, no peace is there, no state is there. All these are conditional things. When you sleep, you feel happy, but here there is no happiness, take it for granted. So, silence is also not He [Reality], peace is not He. Action and reaction are opposite and equal, it is like that. He has got nothing. If anything would have been there, that would have been something other than Reality and not He. Nothing disturbs Him. And why doesn’t It get disturbed? Because It doesn’t exist. When you sleep, nothing exists. Then you feel peace there. Why? Because, for example, suppose a man is running in a race during the whole day. When he wins that race, he is sweating and breathing so much. But that is not the pleasure, winning is the pleasure. Nothing is required for Reality, otherwise that would have disturbed the Reality.

Question: Then, Reality is known by Itself only.

Ranjit: That will do, at least. Otherwise, that is also not there. How can It see anything?

Question: It speaks for Itself.

Ranjit: It doesn’t speak either. Forget this point, it’s easier. There’s no experience in It. What experience have you got when you sleep? Is there something there, some knowledge or some power? Everything goes away. So, nothing is there, not even knowledge. It’s beyond knowledge and beyond zero. It’s beyond ignorance and knowledge. Knowledge is a concept, nothing else. Just yesterday I said, “Darkness and light go together.” When a light goes off, then darkness appears. You have not to even call for it. And if again you turn on the light, darkness automatically disappears.

You have not to say, “Please guy, go out”, because they are one. In the same way, knowledge and ignorance are both one. In my Master’s words, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, “Knowledge is the greatest ignorance.” By knowledge, we know that which is nothing, and that is a trick, nothing else. One should know the trick. A magician does many quick movements, and everything disappears all of a sudden. Here, it is also the same. Master only teaches you this trick. There’s no Master and no aspirant in the Reality. Both are not there, they cannot remain. How can duality be there when there is completeness? When there is duality, there is incompleteness. Only ‘Oneness’ is complete. We have to use the word, ‘Oneness’. Why? Because you see so many things, so you have to use the word ‘Oneness’. But in Reality, there is neither peace, nor any state. ‘Peace’, ‘state’, ‘samadhi’ are only methods. They are the real poison, because they take you away from It, and as a result your ego becomes stronger and stronger.

Then the question may arise from the aspirant, “What should I do?” Do nothing! Words only go up to the space. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “There, from where the words come, that is my Self. That is my Self.” The same thing was said by Christ also, in the Bible, “Know thyself and you know the world.” Go up to that point where thinking ends, go up to That, and there is the Self. So, I always call it, “Self without self”. So, Self realisation is Self without self. As long as realising remains, self remains. The eyes have got the habit to see that which is not. You say, “This is a chair”, but it is not. The child will say, “This is water.” His parents will say, “No, no, it’s called an ocean.” They pour more ignorance into him. On the contrary, he is right, it’s nothing but water. He submits to their instructions. Ignorant people will always like ignorance and will not like knowledge. In the Hindi scripts it is written, “Mind has got the curse not to hear the Master.” Mind doesn’t like it. All the people around you are just full of ignorance and they want to support their ignorance. They don’t want to get rid of their ignorance. People don’t like to go and see a saint and also don’t like it when other people go because they’re afraid to lose a person from their circle. The saint takes you up to That, up to the Reality and says, “Understand yourself.” This is the position.

Question: But life springs out from Reality. Isn’t life under the authority of Reality?

Ranjit: The whole dream reflects from where? From zero. It doesn’t reflect from Reality, it reflects from zero. In ignorance, you forget the Reality and then something comes up. In sleep we forget everything, but when we wake up, everything returns at once, in a fraction of a second. So, from where does it come? Not from Him. If it had come from There, it would have been the Reality and if so, then the world ends there.

-Ranjit Maharaj

Excerpt from Satsang with Ranjit Maharaj

This article was posted on: http://www.inner-quest.org/

The entire satsang can be seen here.

Your Last Trump: The ‘I-am-ness’ – Alexander Smit

Alexander Smit

Visitor: You were talking once about the last trump which everybody is holding back, the last card that is held back in the game of Self-realisation, when one is standing face to face with oneself. Could you say something more about that?

Alexander: At first sight everybody seems to have his own trump-card, but in the end it all boils down to one thing: the ‘I-am’-awareness, your subjectivity. The awareness of ‘I am’ is your last trump, it is the ground from which you can form opinions, hold views, have a certain idea about something or somebody, or have a self-image. The foundation of this is the phenomenon that ‘I am’.

V: Is there a link between that phenomenon and the ego?

A: The word ‘ego’ leads to a confusion of speech. The ego was introduced by psychologists to mean the whole personality-structure, the ‘I’-structure. But at the root of it there is an almost formless sense of… ‘I am’. Nobody doubts that. Even in order to be able to doubt it you have to be there in the first place.

V: But how can this ‘I-am-ness’ be employed as a last trump?

A: The big delusion is this very ‘I-am-ness’, though hardly anyone gets down to that point. This ‘I-am-ness’ is what is called ‘mula maya’ in Sanskrit, the ‘root of illusion’. Whichever way you turn it, some form of self-awareness is there. You could also call it a sort of ‘perceivership’. But don’t be mistaken! What you want in the end is to disappear, to dissolve in love.

Just look at what you are eagerly longing for. All the things you eagerly want are solvents, i.e. means to disappear in love, your true nature. Whether it is playing the violin, sex, eating or dancing, meditation or football. These things give a sense of liberation, a sense of relief. That’s why they are so popular, because there the state of self-awareness is dissolved for the time being—please note: for the time being.

As a matter of fact, this ‘perceivership’ is the same as the self-awareness. Man is struck by a curious fate, for he is—and, at the same time, he perceives that he is. At the same time, which is a peculiar phenomenon. Perhaps one could try and explain this phenomenon in a scientific way on the basis of the structure of the brains etc., but even so! It is inevitable that all such suppositions, all such hypotheses, again, are being perceived.

V: I am still not clear about that trump of yours.

A: The difficulty is that you are stuck with what your senses are dangling before your eyes. Through the play of the five elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—a gigantic creation is being conjured up before you. As a result of a misunderstanding you have begun to look upon yourself as a product of that creation. You were getting consciousness mixed up with its contents. It could hardly be otherwise, for until now the only thing you knew was contents. Such is the game.

All you can possibly perceive—from the waking to the dream state up to deep, dreamless sleep—is the ‘I-am-ness’. With deep, dreamless sleep it is perhaps most difficult to perceive it, for you refer to it as, ‘nothing is there’. You bet there is! There is something there, only your search doesn’t go quite that far! The problem is not that everything is so terribly complex, but that one is not going sufficiently deep.

(8th December, 1978)

-Alexander Smit

From Consciousness, Chapter one

For more from Alexander Smit look here.

Perfection, Destiny of All – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: When asked about the means for self-realisation, you invariably stress the importance of the mind dwelling on the sense ‘I am’. Where is the causal factor? Why should this particular thought result in self-realisation? How does the contemplation of ‘I am’ affect me?

Maharaj: The very fact of observation alters the observer and the observed. After all, what prevents the insight into one’s true nature is the weakness and obtuseness of the mind and its tendency to skip the subtle and focus on the gross only. When you follow my advice and try to keep your mind on the notion of ‘I am’ only, you become fully aware of your mind and its vagaries. Awareness, being lucid harmony (sattva) in action, dissolves dullness and quietens the restlessness of the mind and gently, but steadily changes its very substance. This change need not be spectacular; it may be hardly noticeable; yet it is a deep and fundamental shift from darkness to light, from inadvertence to awareness.

Q: Must it be the ‘I am’ formula? Will not any other sentence do? If I concentrate on ‘there is a table’, will it not serve the same purpose?

M: As an exercise in concentration — yes. But it will not take you beyond the idea of a table. You are not interested in tables, you want to know yourself. For this keep steadily in the focus of consciousness the only clue you have: your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm of reality.

Q: Is there any causal link between my focusing the ‘I am’ and the breaking of the shell?

M: The urge to find oneself is a sign that you are getting ready. The impulse always comes from within. Unless your time has come, you will have neither the desire nor the strength to go for self-enquiry whole-heartedly.

Q: Is not the grace of the Guru responsible for the desire and its fulfillment? Is not the Guru’s radiant face the bait on which we are caught and pulled out of this mire of sorrow?

M: It is the Inner Guru (sadguru) who takes you to the Outer Guru, as a mother takes her child to a teacher. Trust and obey your Guru, for he is the messenger of your Real Self. Q: How do I find a Guru whom I can trust?

M: Your own heart will tell you. There is no difficulty in finding a Guru, because the Guru is in search of you. The Guru is always ready; you are not ready. You have to be ready to learn; or you may meet your Guru and waste your chance by sheer inattentiveness and obstinacy. Take my example; there was nothing in me of much promise, but when I met my Guru, I listened, trusted and obeyed.

Q: Must I not examine the teacher before I put myself entirely into his hands?

M: By all means examine! But what can you find out? Only as he appears to you on your own level.

Q: I shall watch whether he is consistent, whether there is harmony between his life and his teaching.

M: You may find plenty of disharmony — so what? It proves nothing. Only motives matter. How will you know his motives?

Q: I should at least expect him to be a man of self-control who lives a righteous life.

M: Such you will find many — and of no use to you. A Guru can show the way back home, to your real self. What has this to do with the character, or temperament of the person he appears to be? Does he not clearly tell you that he is not the person? The only way you can judge is by the change in yourself when you are in his company. If you feel more at peace and happy, if you understand yourself with more than usual clarity and depth, it means you have met the right man. Take your time, but once you have made up your mind to trust him, trust him absolutely and follow every instruction fully and faithfully. It does not matter much if you do not accept him as your Guru and are satisfied with his company only. Satsang alone can also take you to your goal, provided it is unmixed and undisturbed. But once you accept somebody as your Guru, listen, remember and obey. Half-heartedness is a serious drawback and the cause of much self-created sorrow. The mistake is never the Guru’s; it is always the obtuseness and cussedness of the discipline that is at fault.

Q: Does the Guru then dismiss, or disqualify a disciple?

M: He would not be a Guru if he did! He bides his time and waits till the disciple, chastened and sobered, comes back to him in a more receptive mood.

Q: What is the motive? Why does the Guru take so much trouble?

M: Sorrow and the ending of sorrow. He sees people suffering in their dreams and he wants them to wake up. Love is intolerant of pain and suffering. The patience of a Guru has no limits and, therefore, it cannot be defeated. The Guru never fails.

Q: Is my first Guru also my last, or do I have to pass from Guru to Guru?

M: The entire universe is your Guru. You learn from everything, if you are alert and intelligent. Were your mind clear and your heart clean, you would learn from every passer-by;. It is because you are indolent or restless, that your inner Self manifests as the outer Guru and makes you trust him and obey.

Q: Is a Guru inevitable?

M: It is like asking ‘Is a mother inevitable?’ To rise in consciousness from one dimension to another, you need help. The help may not always be in the shape of a human person, it may be a subtle presence, or a spark of intuition, but help must come. The inner Self is watching and waiting for the son to return to his father. At the right time he arranges everything affectionately and effectively. Where a messenger is needed, or a guide, he sends the Guru to do the needful.

Q: There is one thing I cannot grasp. You speak of the inner self as wise and good and beautiful and in every way perfect, and of the person as mere reflection without a being of its own. On the other hand you take so much trouble in helping the person to realise itself. If the person is so unimportant, why be so concerned with its welfare? Who cares for a shadow?

M: You have brought in duality where there is none. There is the body and there is the Self. Between them is the mind, in which the Self is reflected as ‘I am’. Because of the imperfections of the mind, its crudity and restlessness, lack of discernment and insight, it takes itself to be the body, not the Self. All that is needed is to purify the mind so that it can realise its identity with the Self. When the mind merges in the Self, the body presents no problems. It remains what it is, an instrument of cognition and action, the tool and the expression of the creative fire within: The ultimate value of the body is that it serves to discover the cosmic body, which is the universe in its entirety. As you realise yourself in manifestation, you keep on discovering that you are ever more than what you have imagined.

Q: Is there no end to self-discovery?

M: As there is no beginning, there is no end. But what I have discovered by the grace of my Guru is: I am nothing that can be pointed at. I am neither a ‘this’ nor a ‘that’. This holds absolutely.

Q: Then, where comes in the never-ending discovery, the endless transcending oneself into hew dimensions?

M: All this belongs to the realm of manifestation; it is in the very structure of the universe, that the higher can be had only through the freedom from the lower.

Q: What is lower and what is higher?

M: Look at it in terms of awareness. Wider and deeper consciousness is higher. All that lives, works for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness. This is the world’s sole meaning and purpose. It is the very essence of Yoga — ever raising the level of consciousness, discovery of new dimensions, with their properties, qualities and powers. In that sense the entire universe becomes a school of Yoga (yogakshetra).

Q: Is perfection the destiny of all human beings?

M: Of all living beings — ultimately. The possibility becomes a certainty when the notion of enlightenment appears in the mind. Once a living being has heard and understood that deliverance is within his reach, he will never forget, for it is the first message from within. It will take roots and grow and in due course take the blessed shape of the Guru.

Q: So all we are concerned with is the redemption of the mind?

M: What else? The mind goes astray, the mind returns home. Even the word ‘astray’ is not proper. The mind must know itself in every mood. Nothing is a mistake unless repeated.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 58

You can download a PDF of the entire book here.

The Way of Nisargadatta Maharaj – Jean Dunn

An Interview with Jean Dunn first posted on September 13, 2010 on the Inner Directions Journal website.

Jean Dunn had the rare opportunity of being close to the contemporary sage, Nisargadatta Maharaj.  With unquestioning faith, she wholeheartedly absorbed the teachings and presence of Maharaj, opening herself up like a reed to the flow of consciousness that Nisargadatta Maharaj was and is.

Jean Dunn

Over the years Jean published three books that contain transcripts of Nisargadatta’s talks, recorded during the years she spent with him.  This is an interview between Jean Dunn and The Inner Directions Journal, followed by a few selections from the personal diary she kept from 1977-1981.

 

IDJ:  Was your introduction to spiritual life through Ramana Maharshi or were there other influences before Ramana?
Jean Dunn:  Well, yes.  That’s a long story.  I was interested in Joel Goldsmith.  All my life, it seems I have been searching for something.  We all are searching but usually in the wrong places; it does lead us on.
IDJ:  Did Joel mention Ramana Maharshi’s name to you?
Jean:   No.  I was told that he was preparing to visit India when he died.

IDJ:  When did you first hear about Nisargadatta Maharaj?
Jean:  About one year before I first saw him.  I was staying in Sri Ramanasramam (the Ashram of Ramana Maharshi), and friends were regularly going to see him (Maharaj) in Bombay.  I felt there was no need to see anyone else since the Maharshi was my teacher.  I put off the trip twice.  The third time friends came and asked me to go, I agreed.  So I did, and that was it.
IDJ:  After seeing Maharaj did you return to Ramanasramam?
Jean:  Yes, I continued to stay at the Ashram.  When Maharaj got very sick, during the last couple of years of his life, I moved to Bombay.

IDJ:  Can you give me a brief description of what took place daily in Maharaj’s flat?  Did he have a special routine?
Jean:  Early in the morning, about 6:00 a.m., there was arati (offering of lights) with a group of us.  I would arrive before it started and help clean up the room from the day before.  After arati I went out for coffee and returned to help Maharaj hang the garlands and put kumkum (vermilion) on the pictures of different saints hanging in the room.  There was a meditation for an hour, then bhajans (devotional singing).  From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Maharaj answered questions from visitors.  When the visitors left, we usually went out for tea or buttermilk.  Maharaj would usually buy something for his granddaughter; he was crazy about her.  When Maharaj rested in the afternoon, I would often go and just sit with him.  There wasn’t another meeting until 5:00 p.m. and this lasted until 7:00 p.m. Following the evening session there were bhajans, then Maharaj read from various Hindu scriptures, explaining the meaning in Marathi, the local language.
IDJ:  Was there a particular reading that Maharaj liked best?
Jean:  Not that I know of, though I never asked.  I sat through them because it didn’t matter to me what he was reading from.
IDJ:  Maharaj did not use traditional Vedantic terminology to describe the approach to Truth and the removal of ignorance.  Would you say that was one of the unique aspects of his teachings?
Jean:  To me it was.  He was so natural, and yet you knew that he knew he was not that body.  He let that body do whatever it was doing, whatever its nature was.  I don’t know how to explain it.

IDJ:  Did Maharaj provide any type of initiation to those who accepted him as a teacher?
Jean:  Yes.  He gave me a mantra.
IDJ:  Did Maharaj recognize a formal Guru-disciple relationship?
Jean:  Well you see we’re not separate.  There’s no separation; we are one.  For the sake of conversation he may have said so, but he told me and the others there, “Don’t imagine any separation; we are one.”

IDJ:  I believe Maharaj’s own spiritual practice was complete in about three years, so he must have been a ripe soul.  Did he ever admit to that?  Did he ever talk about that?
Jean:  No.  He’d often talk before visitors came.  There was a group of us that would come early, and he’d tell us stories.

Maharaj left everything after his Guru died; he was going to the Himalayas and decided to stay there until he got Realization.  Along the way he was walking barefoot in an area where there were no houses to be seen.  As soon as he felt hungry, he noticed smoke coming from a house on his left, so he approached it to ask the residents for food.  The residents fed him and he drank water from their well.  When he went back to the road and turned to look behind, from where he had just come, there was no house there at all.

Later, in the Himalayas he met a fellow disciple who persuaded him that it was more fruitful spiritually, to go back into the world.  So he did and he returned to Bombay.

IDJ:  At the time Maharaj returned to Bombay, was that what we would call a period of sadhana or spiritual practice?
Jean:  Yes.  That’s when he built the room upstairs where we all met.  He only had one business left out of eight, so he took care of that business while all of his spare time was spent upstairs in meditation.  It took him three years, after his teacher died, to realize his true nature.

IDJ:  Is there anything Maharaj specifically said or did that helped to transform your own life spiritually?
Jean:  It was simply what he was.  I probably needed all the teachings; just being in his presence was the key.

IDJ:  Is it correct to say that Maharaj didn’t stress any preconditions for serious seekers?
Jean:  He said you must do your homework.
IDJ:  What do you think he meant by homework?
Jean:  I think he meant one must have been on a spiritual path and have studied the various teachings.
IDJ:  Were there any other restrictions such as diet, etc.?
Jean:  No, Maharaj was not a vegetarian.
IDJ:  What about traditional practices?
Jean:  No, though he did them at one time when he was young.  The only thing he continued to carry on, in a traditional sense, were bhajans.

IDJ:  Maurice Frydman said that “simplicity and humility are keynotes of his life and teachings.”  How would you summarize his message to someone who is reading this for the first time?
Jean:  If you’re seeking the Truth, this is it.  But it’s not something everyone wants.  Most people want something to make their life better:  money, a better house, and so forth.  This has nothing to do with the world.  That’s why loving a Guru is so helpful.  That love is your own Self.
IDJ:  We don’t often find, in reading Maharaj’s teachings, the integration of Love and Wisdom that were manifest in him.  Do you find that this understanding may be missing on the part of the reader?
Jean:  Yes, particularly in European or Western countries.  Until you meet your Guru or become one with the Guru within, the understanding is mostly intellectual.  Maharaj said that this generation is ready for this teaching.  There was a time when devotion to a God was prevalent; now people want Truth and the search is with the intellect.
IDJ:  Could you expand on this further?
Jean:  When you become one with your Self, it’s pure love.  You can’t help but feel love and that love flows out.  This love combines with knowledge, and you yourself are that knowledge.  We have been seeking knowledge outside, but it’s right here where we are.
IDJ:  Maharaj often uses the words I Am or I Amness to describe the gateway to the Absolute.  What is the I Am he refers to?
Jean:  That’s what you are at the present time, Universal Consciousness.  That I Amness is the same as Consciousness, that which lets you know you exist.

IDJ:   Did Maharaj encourage you to record his conversations, or did he have any direct participation in their subsequent publication?
Jean:  No. I had been home to visit my family, and when I came back, there was no recording taking place.  The talks were so deep that Suresh Mehta and I got a tape recorder and asked Vanaja, who attended daily, to record the talks for us.  When she sent me the completed tapes, I just started transcribing them.  It was continuing without anyone mentioning it until Maharaj discovered what I was doing.  He then gave me his blessings, and it just developed into the books.
IDJ:  Did you feel any difference when you returned to the states and practiced Maharaj’s teachings, as compared to being in his presence in India?
Jean:  No, no difference.

IDJ:  Are there certain aspects of Maharaj’s teachings that you would hold forth for those here in the West?
Jean:  He stressed meditation and being your true Self.
IDJ:  While Maharaj often didn’t talk about effort in the conventional way, since no effort is needed to attain one’s own Self, did he encourage effort, understanding that Realization is an effortless state?
Jean:  There is no need for effort, only understanding.  What effort can give you that which you already are?  Simply observe that which you have been identifying with, with detachment, make no judgments; do not try to change anything.  What is this thing which you have identified with?  You will find that it is just like a robot or computer, which has been programmed by others.  A child lives in pure Consciousness at a very young age.  The mother tells it:  “You are a boy (or girl), your name is ——, I am your mother, this is your father.”  The programming starts.  Others, such as teachers, friends, etc. also program the child.  The actions and reactions of that “person” are based on this programming.

From Jean’s Journal

November 18, 1980
Maharaj:
  (to me) Whatever projects you have started, complete them to the best of your ability.  It doesn’t matter if the projects are a success or failure.  Complete what you start to the best of your ability.

Do not talk about the experiences you have with the blooming of the Consciousness; keep it to yourself.  Stabilize in the Consciousness.  Stabilize the Consciousness.  Self must be determined to do this.  You must make a decision.
Questioner:  Is there anything which can be considered sacred?
M:  Yes.  That which does not get polluted with the experiences of the objective world is sacred.


December, 1980

Maharaj:  Perhaps you might be getting some blessings, some benefits from listening to my talks, I don’t know.  A person who is already dead is not worried about anything.  Whether the people like it or not, I don’t care.  All my actions are not through my body and mind but always Universal Consciousness, appearing to work through this body.  So, I don’t remember anything of the past and act.  It is action in the now.
Questioner:  Where does Consciousness come from?
M:  It never comes and goes; it only appears to have come.  It is a feeling that it comes and goes.
Q:  Why does Maharaj know this and we do not?
M:  It is not difficult for you to know also, but what is the identity with which you are asking?
Q:  Can karma be changed? Is it karmic?
M:  It is all Consciousness working, not this one is working and that one; it is all Consciousness working.
Q:  Maharaj said he is not going to die?
M:  No one was born and no one dies.  When people first learned about this illness, those who have affection for me come and talk to me and write to me.  They give so many medicines and advice.  Why should I do that?  Whatever has to happen will happen.  I have no interest.  Why should I run from doctor to doctor?  I don’t have fear, so I don’t have to do anything.  Those who have fear run from doctor to doctor, from medicine to medicine.
Q:  What is Sat-Chit-Ananda (the literal translation is Being-Consciousness-Bliss)?
M:  It is words, language. In the Absolute there is no emotion. You can take it that Sat-Chit-Ananda is the limit which your mind can describe of that state which cannot be described.  The one who experiences Sat-Chit-Ananda is there before the experience.

You see me as tangible you think I am, but actually I am not.  In my true state, I am not.


April 22, 1981

Questioner:  Is stabilizing in Consciousness meditation?
Maharaj:  Who stabilizes?  It is Consciousness that stabilizes in Itself.  (Looking at me) This one has understood her nature.  It is all due to her faith in the Guru.  Unless you have such faith in the Guru, you do not establish in your Self.  These people go from this swami to that swami.  What for?  To gather knowledge from scriptures.  Stick to your Consciousness; remain in that, and all the burden of your concepts will drop off.  Do not take the help of your Consciousness to build up new concepts.
Q:  Habit is a great force which makes one stray off.
M:  The habit of considering Self as the body has influenced everyone so much.  The knowledge “I AM” is your Guru.

Be in the One who continually remains a witness to this “I AM.”  That is Avalia (Avalia is an Urdu word meaning one who is Original).

Who is the one who sings bhajans?  It is the intellect of that Guru; who are you, an intruder?

The actions of the whole world depend on this intellect, but when this intellect reaches its apex, it gets merged into Parabrahman (the Absolute).

This article and many more can be seen at:  http://www.innerdirections.org/journal/dialogues/the-way-of-nisargadatta-maharaj/

God is the Supreme Self, Paramatman – Siddharameshwar Maharaj

If you aspire to be with God, discard Illusion (Maya). The hope that is hidden deep in the innermost layers of your heart and mind is only Illusion. Illusion puts a veil on the Self. The Self is within, and on it, Illusion puts a covering. Brahman is only “Pure Consciousness.” The human mind by nature is normally extroverted, focusing objectively. When the mind becomes desireless, and remains so, it is Brahman. However, do not consider the mind to be Brahman. To be constantly thinking about the objects of the senses is to eclipse the Self. When attention is diverted from the Self towards objects, that is called the beginning of the eclipse. That is the Illusion. That is mind.

To remain without thought is Brahman. Naturalness is the sign of Brahman. There is no worry, no lust, and no desire there. In this naturalness even if one’s whole kingdom is lost, the mind does not feel anxiety. When the objective functioning of the mind is over, the natural state comes into being and one becomes steady in the Self. When the worry and concern about worldly life ceases, the eclipse of the Self is over. The Illusion is then seen as the play of God (Vishnu), and is seen to be only Him. The Illusion when seen as only the play of God, makes the mind desireless and free of all worry. The illusion of the individual (Jiva) remains full of cravings and desire. The desire of the individual ego goes even to the level of expecting that one must get a drop of water in the mouth at the time of death. Meanwhile, the Consciousness which is the Self, never cares for the body. Of what use then is the repetition of a name of God or a Mantra at the time of death, for the Self? This is the key of Desirelessness.

How long is this earthly life? One foot is in the grave while the other foot is in the house. What is the use of this family life? This attitude is the sign of Desirelessness. However, for a man who is attached to worldly life though it is possible that he may die tomorrow, he carries on all his activities as if his life span will be for hundreds of years. The man without desire considers the life span of a hundred thousand years as if but one moment. The attachment in the heart that takes the form of pits towards all the beings is only the illusory play of God, and is nothing but worldliness and worry. We should live for the Supreme Self, Paramatman, and our time should be utilized in the service of Paramatman.                                                         Morning, 20-11-1934

-Siddharameshwar Maharaj

From Master of Self-Realization, Volume One, Chapter Six

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