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

Keep the Mind Silent and You Shall Discover – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: Once I had a strange experience. I was not, nor was the world, there was only light — within and without — and immense peace. This lasted for four days and then I returned to the every-day consciousness.

Now I have a feeling that all I know is merely a scaffolding, covering and hiding the building under construction. The architect, the design, the plans, the purpose — nothing I know; some activity is going on, things are happening; that is all I can say. I am that scaffolding, some thing very flimsy and short-lived; when the building is ready, the scaffolding will be dismantled and removed. The ‘I am’ and the ‘What am I’ are of no importance, because once the building is ready, the ‘I’ will go as a matter of course, leaving no questions about itself to answer.

Maharaj: Are you not aware of all this? Is not the fact of awareness the constant factor?

Q: My sense of permanency and identity is due to memory, which is so evanescent and unreliable. How little I remember, even of the recent past! I have lived a life-time, and now what is left with me? A bundle of events, at best a short story.

M: All this takes place within your consciousness.

Q: Within and without. In daytime — within; in the night — without. Consciousness is not all. So many things happen beyond its reach. To say that what I am not conscious of does not exist, is altogether wrong.

M: What you say is logical, but actually you know only what is in your consciousness. What you claim exists outside conscious experience is inferred.

Q: It may be inferred and yet it is more real than the sensory.

M: Be careful. The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind. Words create words, reality is silent.

Q: When you talk, I hear you. Is it not a fact?

M: That you hear is a fact. What you hear — is not. The fact can be experienced, and in that sense the sound of the word and the mental ripples it causes are experienced. There is no other reality behind it. Its meaning is purely conventional, to be remembered; a language can be easily forgotten, unless practiced.

Q: If words have no reality in them why talk at all?

M: They serve their limited purpose of inter-personal communication. Words do not convey facts, they signal them. Once you are beyond the person, you need no words.

Q: What can take me beyond the person? How to go beyond consciousness?

M: Words and questions come from the mind and hold you there. To go beyond the mind, you must be silent and quiet. Peace and silence, silence and peace — this is the way beyond. Stop asking questions.

Q: Once I give up asking questions, what am I to do?

M: What can you do but wait and watch?

Q: What am I to wait for?

M: For the centre of your being to emerge into consciousness. The three states — sleeping, dreaming and waking are all in consciousness, the manifested; what you call unconsciousness will also be manifested — in time; beyond consciousness altogether lies the unmanifested. And beyond all, and pervading all, is the heart of being which beats steadily — manifested-unmanifested; manifested-unmanifested (saguna-nirguna).

Q: On the verbal level it sounds all right. I can visualise myself as the seed of being, a point in consciousness, with my sense ‘I am’ pulsating, appearing and disappearing alternately. But what am I to do to realise it as a fact, to go beyond into the changeless, wordless Reality?

M: You can do nothing. What time has brought about, time will take away.

Q: Why then all these exhortations to practice Yoga and seek reality? They make me feel empowered and responsible, while in fact it is time that does all.

M: This is the end of Yoga — to realise independence. All that happens, happens in and to the mind, not to the source of the ‘I am’. Once you realise that all happens by itself, (call it destiny, or the will of God or mere accident), you remain as witness only, understanding and enjoying, but not perturbed.

Q: If I cease trusting words altogether, what will be my condition?

M: There is a season for trusting and for distrusting. Let the seasons do their work, why worry?

Q: Somehow I feel responsible for what happens around me.

M: You are responsible only for what you can change. All you can change is only your attitude. There lies your responsibility.

Q: You are advising me to remain indifferent to the sorrows of others!

M: It is not that you are indifferent. All the sufferings of mankind do not prevent you from enjoying your next meal. The witness is not indifferent. He is the fullness of understanding and compassion. Only as the witness you can help another.

Q: All my life I was fed on words. The number of words I have heard and read go into the billions. Did it benefit me? Not at all!

M: The mind shapes the language and the language shapes the mind. Both are tools, use them but don’t misuse them. Words can bring you only unto their own limit; to go beyond, you must abandon them. Remain as the silent witness only.

Q: How can I? The world disturbs me greatly.

M: It is because you think yourself big enough to be affected by the world. It is not so. You are so small that nothing can pin you down. It is your mind that gets caught, not you. Know yourself as you are — a mere point in consciousness, dimensionless and timeless. You are like the point of the pencil — by mere contact with you the mind draws its picture of the world. You are single and simple — the picture is complex and extensive. Don’t be misled by the picture — remain aware of the tiny point — which is everywhere in the picture.

What is, can cease to be; what is not, can come to be; but what neither is nor is not, but on which being and non-being depend, is unassailable; know yourself to be the cause of desire and fear, itself free from both.

Q: How am I the cause of fear?

M: All depends on you. It is by your consent that the world exists. Withdraw your belief in its reality and it will dissolve like a dream. Time can bring down mountains; much more you, who are the timeless source of time. For without memory and expectation there can be no time.

Q: Is the ‘I am’ the Ultimate?

M: Before you can say: ‘I am’, you must be there to say it. Being need not be self-conscious. You need not know to be, but you must be to know.

Q: Sir, I am getting drowned in a sea of words! I can see that all depends on how the words are out together, but there must be somebody to put them together — meaningfully. By drawing words at random the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata could never be produced. The theory of accidental emergence is not tenable. The origin of the meaningful must be beyond it. What is the power that creates order out of chaos? Living is more than being, and consciousness is more than living. Who is the conscious living being?

M: Your question contains the answer: a conscious living being is a conscious living being. The words are most appropriate, but you do not grasp their full import. Go deep into the meaning of the words: being, living, conscious, and you will stop running in circles, asking questions, but missing answers. Do understand that you cannot ask a valid question about yourself, because you do not know whom you are asking about. In the question ‘Who am I?’ the ‘I’ is not known and the question can be worded as: “I do not know what I mean by ‘I’” What you are, you must find out. I can only tell you what you are not. You are not of the world, you are not even in the world. The world is not, you alone are. You create the world in your imagination like a dream. As you cannot separate the dream from yourself, so you cannot have an outer world independent of yourself. You are independent, not the world. Don’t be afraid of a world you yourself have created. Cease from looking for happiness and reality in a dream and you will wake up. You need not know ‘why’ and ‘how’, there is no end to questions. Abandon all desires, keep your mind silent and you shall discover.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 87

You can download a PDF of the entire book here.

Surrender to Your Own Self – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: I was born in the United States, and the last fourteen months I have spent in Sri Ramanashram; now I am on my way back to the States where my mother is expecting me.

Maharaj: What are your plans?

Q: I may qualify as a nurse, or just marry and have babies.

M: What makes you want to marry?

Q: Providing a spiritual home is the highest form of social service I can think of. But, of course, life may shape otherwise. I am ready for whatever comes.

M: These fourteen months at Sri Ramanashram, what did they give you? In what way are you different from what you were when you arrived there?

Q: I am no longer afraid. I have found some peace.

M: What kind of peace is it? The peace of having what you want, or not wanting what you do not have?

Q: A little of both, I believe. It was not easy at all. While the Ashram is a very peaceful place, inwardly I was in agonies.

M: When you realise that the distinction between inner and outer is in the mind only, you are no longer afraid.

Q: Such realisation comes and goes with me. I have not yet reached the immutability of absolute completeness.

M: Well, as long as you believe so, you must go on with your sadhana, to disperse the false idea of not being complete. Sadhana removes the super-impositions. When you realise yourself as less than a point in space and time, something too small to be cut and too short-lived to be killed, then, and then only, all fear goes. When you are smaller than the point of a needle, then the needle cannot pierce you — you pierce the needle!

Q: Yes, that is how I feel sometimes — indomitable. I am more than fearless — I am fearlessness itself.

M: What made you go to the Ashram?

Q: I had an unhappy love affair and suffered hell. Neither drink nor drugs could help me. I was groping and came across some books on Yoga. From book to book, from clue to clue — I came to Ramanashram.

M: Were the same tragedy to happen to you again, would you suffer as much, considering your present state of mind?

Q: Oh no, I would not let myself suffer again. I would kill myself.

M: So you are not afraid to die!

Q: I am afraid of dying, not of death itself. I imagine the dying process to be painful and ugly.

M: How do you know? It need not be so. It may be beautiful and peaceful. Once you know that death happens to the body and not to you, you just watch your body falling off like a discarded garment.

Q: I am fully aware that my fear of death is due to apprehension and not knowledge.

M: Human beings die every second, the fear and the agony of dying hangs over the world like a cloud. No wonder you too are afraid. But once you know that the body alone dies and not the continuity of memory and the sense of ‘I am’ reflected in it, you are afraid no longer.

Q: Well, let us die and see.

M: Give attention and you will find that birth and death are one, that life pulsates between being and non-being, and that each needs the other for completeness. You are born to die and you die to be reborn.

Q: Does not detachment stop the process?

M: With detachment the fear goes, but not the fact.

Q: Shall I be compelled to be reborn? How dreadful!

M: There is no compulsion. You get what you want. You make your own plans and you carry them out.

Q: Do we condemn ourselves to suffer?

M: We grow through investigation, and to investigate we need experience. We tend to repeat what we have not understood. If we are sensitive and intelligent, we need not suffer. Pain is a call for attention and the penalty of carelessness. Intelligent and compassionate action is the only remedy.

Q: It is because I have grown in intelligence that I would not tolerate my suffering again. What is wrong with suicide?

M: Nothing wrong, if it solves the problem. What, if it does not? Suffering caused by extraneous factors — some painful and incurable disease, or unbearable calamity — may provide some justification, but where wisdom and compassion are lacking, suicide cannot help. A foolish death means foolishness reborn. Besides there is the question of karma to consider. Endurance is usually the wisest course.

Q: Must one endure suffering, however acute and hopeless?

M: Endurance is one thing and helpless agony is another. Endurance is meaningful and fruitful, while agony is useless.

Q: Why worry about karma? It takes care of itself anyhow.

M: Most of our karma is collective. We suffer for the sins of others, as others suffer for ours. Humanity is one. Ignorance of this fact does not change it. We could have been much happier people ourselves, but for our indifference to the sufferings of others.

Q: I find I have grown much more responsive.

M: Good. When you say it, what do you have in mind? Yourself, as a responsive person within a female body?

Q: There is a body and there is compassion and there is memory and a number of things and attitudes; collectively they may be called a person.

M: Including the ‘I am’ idea?

Q: The ‘I am’ is like a basket that holds the many things that make a person.

M: Or, rather, it is the willow of which the basket is woven. When you think of yourself as a women, do you mean that you are a women, or that your body is described as female?

Q: It depends on my mood. Sometimes I feel myself to be a mere centre of awareness.

M: Or, an ocean of awareness. But are there moments when you are neither man nor women, not the accidental, occasioned by circumstances and conditions?

Q: Yes, there are, but I feel shy to talk about it.

M: A hint is all that one can expect. You need not say more.

Q: Am I allowed to smoke in your presence? I know that it is not the custom to smoke before a sage and more so for a women.

M: By all means, smoke, nobody will mind. We understand.

Q: I feel the need of cooling down.

M: It is very often so with Americans and Europeans. After a stretch of sadhana they become charged with energy and frantically seek an outlet. They organise communities, become teachers of Yoga, marry, write books — anything except keeping quiet and turning their energies within, to find the source of the inexhaustible power and learn the art of keeping it under control.

Q: I admit that now I want to go back and live a very active life, because I feel full of energy.

M: You can do what you like, as long as you do not take yourself to be the body and the mind. It is not so much a question of actual giving up the body and all that goes with it, as a clear understanding that you are not the body. A sense of aloofness, of emotional non-involvement.

Q: I know what you mean. Some four years ago I passed through a period of rejection of the physical; I would not buy myself clothes, would eat the simplest foods, sleep on bare planks. It is the acceptance of the privations that matters, not the actual discomfort. Now I have realised that welcoming life as it comes and loving all it offers, is best of it. I shall accept with glad heart whatever comes and make the best of it. If I can do nothing more than give life and true culture to a few children — good enough; though my heart goes out to every child, I cannot reach all.

M: You are married and a mother only when you are man-women conscious. When you do not take yourself to be the body, then the family life of the body, however intense and interesting, is seen only as a play on the screen of the mind, with the light of awareness as the only reality.

Q: Why do you insist on awareness as the only real? Is not the object of awareness as real, while it lasts?

M: But it does not last! Momentary reality is secondary; it depends on the timeless.

Q: Do you mean continuous, or permanent?

M: There can be no continuity in existence. Continuity implies identity in past, present and future. No such identity is possible, for the very means of identification fluctuate and change. Continuity, permanency, these are illusions created by memory, mere mental projections of a pattern where no pattern can be; Abandon all ideas of temporary or permanent, body or mind, man or women; what remains? What is the state of your mind when all separation is given up? I am not talking of giving up distinctions, for without them there is no manifestation.

Q: When I do not separate, I am happily at peace. But somehow I lose my bearings again and again and begin to seek happiness in outer things. Why is my inner peace not steady, I cannot understand.

M: Peace, after all, is also a condition of the mind.

Q: Beyond the mind is silence. There is nothing to be said about it.

M: Yes, all talk about silence is mere noise.

Q: Why do we seek worldly happiness, even after having tasted one’s own natural spontaneous happiness?

M: When the mind is engaged in serving the body, happiness is lost. To regain it, it seeks pleasure. The urge to be happy is right, but the means of securing it are misleading, unreliable and destructive of true happiness.

Q: Is pleasure always wrong?

M: The right state and use of the body and the mind are intensely pleasant. It is the search for pleasure that is wrong. Do not try to make yourself happy, rather question your very search for happiness. It is because you are not happy that you want to be happy. Find out why you are unhappy. Because you are not happy you seek happiness in pleasure; pleasure brings in pain and therefore you call it worldly; you then long for some other pleasure, without pain, which you call divine. In reality, pleasure is but a respite from pain. Happiness is both worldly and unworldly, within and beyond all that happens. Make no distinction, don’t separate the inseparable and do not alienate yourself from life.

Q: How well I understand you now! Before my stay at Ramanashram I was tyrannised by conscience, always sitting in judgment of myself. Now I am completely relaxed, fully accepting myself as I am. When I return to the States, I shall take life as it comes, as Bhagavan’s grace, and enjoy the bitter along with the sweet. This is one of the things I have learnt in the Ashram — to trust Bhagavan. I was not like this before. I could not trust.

M: Trusting Bhagavan is trusting yourself. Be aware that whatever happens, happens to you, by you, through you, that you are the creator, enjoyer and destroyer of all you perceive and you will not be afraid. Unafraid, you will not be unhappy, nor will you seek happiness.

In the mirror of your mind all kinds of pictures appear and disappear. Knowing that they are entirely your own creations, watch them silently come and go, be alert, but not perturbed. This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of Yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture.

Q: I find that the thought of death frightens me because I do not want to be reborn. I know that none compels, yet the pressure of unsatisfied desires is overwhelming and I may not be able to resist.

M: The question of resistance does not arise. What is born and reborn is not you. Let it happen, watch it happen.

Q: Why then be at all concerned?

M: But you are concerned! And you will be concerned as long as the picture clashes with your own sense of truth, love and beauty. The desire for harmony and peace is in eradicable. But once it is fulfilled, the concern ceases and physical life becomes effortless and below the level of attention. Then, even in the body you are not born. To be embodied or bodyless is the same to you. You reach a point when nothing can happen to you. Without body, you cannot be killed; without possessions you cannot be robbed; without mind, you cannot be deceived. There is no point where a desire or fear can hook on. As long as no change can happen to you, what else matters?

Q: Somehow I do not like the idea of dying.

M: It is because you are so young. The more you know yourself the less you are afraid. Of course, the agony of dying is never pleasant to look at, but the dying man is rarely conscious.

Q: Does he return to consciousness?

M: It is very much like sleep. For a time the person is out of focus and then it returns.

Q: The same person?

M: The person, being a creature of circumstances, necessarily changes along with them, like the flame that changes with the fuel. Only the process goes on and on, creating time and space.

Q: Well, God will look after me. I can leave everything to Him.

M: Even faith in God is only a stage on the way. Ultimately you abandon all, for you come to something so simple that there are no words to express it.

Q: I am just beginning. At the start I had no faith, no trust; I was afraid to let things happen. The world seemed to be a very dangerous and inimical place. Now, at least I can talk of trusting the Guru or God. Let me grow. Don’t drive me on. Let me proceed at my own pace.

M: By all means proceed. But you don’t. You are still stuck in the ideas of man and women, old and young, life and death. Go on, go beyond. A thing recognised is a thing transcended.

Q: Sir, wherever I go people take it to be their duty to find faults with me and goad me on. I am fed up with this spiritual fortune making. What is wrong with my present that it should be sacrificed to a future, however glorious? You say reality is in the now. I want it. I do not want to be eternally anxious about my stature and its future. I do not want to chase the more and the better. Let me love what I have.

M: You are quite right; do it. Only be honest — just love what you love — don’t strive and strain.

Q: This is what I call surrender to the Guru.

M: Why exteriorise? Surrender to your own self, of which everything is an expression.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 90

You can download a PDF of the entire book here.

The Reverse Path – Siddharameshwar Maharaj

The “King of Knowledge” (“I Am”) influences all of the senses, and seems to grant these senses “lordship” over the sense objects. It is because of this externalization that the fact that He is present prior to the senses does not attract anyone’s attention. Over many births, the mind and the intellect have acquired the habit of only looking outwards. Therefore to “turn within” has become a very difficult task. This is called “the reverse path” which the Saints follow when they turn in the opposite direction, and behold the mind completely giving up seeing all that is external. Where an ordinary man is asleep, the Saints are awake, and where an ordinary man is awake, the Saints doze off. All beings find themselves awakened to external objects, and have become extremely skillful in this type of awakening. The Saints however, have closed their eyes to external things, and it is the Self, to which other beings are asleep, that keeps the Saints wide awake.

-Siddharameshwar Maharaj

From Master Key to Self-Realization, Chapter One