Seek the Source of Consciousness – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: We were talking the other day about the ways of the modern Western mind and the difficulty it finds in submitting to the moral and intellectual discipline of the Vedanta. One of the obstacles lies in the young European’s or American’s preoccupation with the disastrous condition of the world and the urgent need of setting it right.

They have no patience with people like you who preach personal improvement as a pre-condition for the betterment of the world. They say it is neither possible nor necessary. Humanity is ready for a change of systems — social, economic, political. A world-government, world-police, world-planning and the abolition of all physical and ideological barriers: this is enough, no personal transformation is needed. No doubt, people shape society, but society shapes people too. In a humane society people will be humane; besides, science provides the answer to many questions which formerly were in the domain of religion.

Maharaj: No doubt, striving for the improvement of the world is a most praiseworthy occupation. Done selflessly, it clarifies the mind and purifies the heart. But soon man will realise that he pursues a mirage. Local and temporary improvement is always possible and was achieved again and again under the influence of a great king or teacher; but it would soon come to an end, leaving humanity in a new cycle of misery. It is in the nature of all manifestation that the good and the bad follow each other and in equal measure. The true refuge is only in the unmanifested.

Q: Are you not advising escape?

M: On the contrary. The only way to renewal lies through destruction. You must melt down the old jewellery into formless gold before you can mould a new one. Only the people who have gone beyond the world can change the world. It never happened otherwise. The few whose impact was long lasting were all knowers of reality. Reach their level and then only talk of helping the world.

Q: It is not the rivers and mountains that we want to help, but the people

M: There is nothing wrong with the world, but for the people who make it bad. Go and ask them to behave.

Q: Desire and fear make them behave as they do.

M: Exactly. As long as human behaviour is dominated by desire and fear, there is not much hope.

And to know how to approach the people effectively, you must yourself be free of all desire and fear.

Q: Certain basic desires and fears are inevitable, such as are connected with food, sex and death.

M: These are needs and, as needs, they are easy to meet.

Q: Even death is a need?

M: Having lived a long and fruitful life you feel the need to die. Only when wrongly applied, desire and fear are destructive. By all means desire the right and fear the wrong. But when people desire what is wrong and fear what is right, they create chaos and despair.

Q: What is right and what is wrong?

M: Relatively, what causes suffering is wrong, what alleviates it is right. Absolutely, what brings you back to reality is right and what dims reality is wrong.

Q: When we talk of helping humanity, we mean a struggle against disorder and suffering.

M: You merely talk of helping. Have you ever helped, really helped, a single man? Have you ever put one soul beyond the need of further help? Can you give a man character, based on full realisation of his duties and opportunities at least, if not on the insight into his true being? When you do not know what is good for yourself, how can you know what is good for others?

Q: The adequate supply of means of livelihood is good for all. You may be God himself, but you need a well-fed body to talk to us.

M: It is you that need my body to talk to you. I am not my body, nor do I need it. I am the witness only. I have no shape of my own. You are so accustomed to think of yourselves as bodies having consciousness that you just cannot imagine consciousness as having bodies. Once you realise that bodily existence is but a state of mind, a movement in consciousness, that the ocean of consciousness is infinite and eternal, and that, when in touch with consciousness, you are the witness only, you will be able to withdraw beyond consciousness altogether.

Q: We are told there are many levels of existences. Do you exit and function on all the levels? While you are on earth, are you also in heaven (swarga)?

M: I am nowhere to be found! I am not a thing to be given a place among other things. All things are in me, but I am not among things. You are telling me about the superstructure while I am concerned with the foundations. The superstructures rise and fall, but the foundations last. I am not interested in the transient, while you talk of nothing else.

Q: Forgive me a strange question. If somebody with a razor sharp sword would suddenly severe your head, what difference would it make to you?

M: None whatsoever. The body will lose its head, certain lines of communication will be cut, that is all. Two people talk to each other on the phone and the wire is cut. Nothing happens to the people, only they must look for some other means of communication. The Bhagavad Gita says: “the sword does not cut it”. It is literally so. It is in the nature of consciousness to survive its vehicles. It is like fire. It burns up the fuel, but not itself. Just like a fire can outlast a mountain of fuel, so does consciousness survive innumerable bodies.

Q: The fuel affects the flame.

M: As long as it lasts. Change the nature of the fuel and the colour and appearance of the flame will change.

Now we are talking to each other. For this presence is needed; unless we are present, we cannot talk. But presence by itself is not enough. There must also the the desire to talk.

Above all, we want to remain conscious. We shall bear every suffering and humiliation, but we shall rather remain conscious. Unless we revolt against this craving for experience and let go the manifested altogether, there can be no relief. We shall remain trapped.

Q: You say you are the silent witness and also you are beyond consciousness. Is there no contradiction in it? If you are beyond consciousness, what are you witnessing?

M: I am conscious and unconscious, both conscious and unconscious, neither conscious nor unconscious — to all this I am witness — but really there is no witness, because there is nothing to be a witness to. I am perfectly empty of all mental formations, void of mind — yet fully aware. This I try to express by my saying that I am beyond the mind.

Q: How can I reach you then?

M: Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness. That is all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the earnestness that count.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That, chapter 68.

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Transiency is Proof of Unreality – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: My friend is a German and I was born in England from French parents. I am in India since over a year wandering from Ashram to Ashram.

Maharaj: Any spiritual practices (sadhanas)?

Q: Studies and meditation.

M: What did you meditate on?

Q: On what I read.

M: Good.

Q: What are you doing, sir?

M: Sitting.

Q: And what else?

M: Talking.

Q: What are you talking about?

M: Do you want a lecture? Better ask something that really touches you, so that you feel strongly about it. Unless you are emotionally involved, you may argue with me, but there will be no real understanding between us. If you say: ‘nothing worries me, I have no problems’, it is all right with me, we can keep quiet. But if something really touches you, then there is purpose in talking.

Shall I ask you? What is the purpose of your moving from place to place?

Q: To meet people, to try to understand them.

M: What people are you trying to understand? What exactly are you after?

Q: Integration.

M: If you want integration, you must know whom you want to integrate.

Q: By meeting people and watching them, one comes to know oneself also. It goes together.

M: It does not necessarily go together.

Q: One improves the other.

M: It does not work that way. The mirror reflects the image, but the image does not improve the mirror. You are neither the mirror nor the image in the mirror. Having perfected the mirror so that it reflects correctly, truly, you can turn the mirror round and see in it a true reflection of yourself — true as far as the mirror can reflect. But the reflection is not yourself — you are the seer of the reflection. Do understand it clearly — whatever you may perceive you are not what you perceive.

Q: I am the mirror and the world is the image?

M: You can see both the image and the mirror. You are neither. Who are you? Don’t go by formulas. The answer is not in words. The nearest you can say in words is: I am what makes perception possible, the life beyond the experiencer and his experience.

Now, Can you separate yourself both from the mirror and the image in the mirror and stand completely alone, all by yourself?

Q: No, I cannot.

M: How do you know that you cannot? There are so many things you are doing without knowing how to do it. You digest, you circulate your blood and lymph, you move your muscles — all without knowing how. In the same way, you perceive, you feel, you think without knowing the why and how of it. Similarly you are yourself without knowing it. There is nothing wrong with you as the Self. It is what it is to perfection. It is the mirror that is not clear and true and, therefore, gives you false images. You need not correct yourself — only set right your idea of yourself. Learn to separate yourself from the image and the mirror, keep on remembering: I am neither the mind nor its ideas: do it patiently and with convictions and you will surely come to the direct vision of yourself as the source of being — knowing — loving, eternal, all-embracing all-pervading. You are the infinite focussed in a body. Now you see the body only. Try earnestly and you will come to see the infinite only.

Q: The experience of reality, when it Comes, does it last?

M: All experience is necessarily transient. But the ground of all experience is immovable. Nothing that may be called an event will last. But some events purify the mind and some stain it. Moments of deep insight and all-embracing love purify the mind, while desires and fears, envies and anger, blind beliefs and intellectual arrogance pollute and dull the psyche.

Q: Is self-realisation so important?

M: Without it you will be consumed by desires and fears, repeating themselves meaninglessly in endless suffering. Most of the people do not know that there can be an end to pain. But once they have heard the good news, obviously going beyond all strife and struggle is the most urgent task that can be. You know that you can be free and now it is up to you. Either you remain forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and sorrowing, or go out whole-heartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing — taken away. In it all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost their meaning.

Q: So far I have been following you. Now, what am I expected to do?

M: There is nothing to do. Just be. Do nothing. Be. No climbing mountains and sitting in caves. I do not even say: ‘be yourself’, since you do not know yourself. Just be. Having seen that you are neither the ‘outer’ world of perceivables, nor the ‘inner’ world of thinkables, that you are neither body nor mind — just be.

Q: Surely, there are degrees of realisation.

M: There are no steps to self-realisation. There is nothing gradual about it. It happens suddenly and is irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension, seen from which the previous ones are mere abstractions. Just like on sunrise you see things as they are, so on self-realisation you see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

Q: In the state of realisation do things change? They become colourful and full of meaning?

M: The experience is quite right, but it is not the experience of reality (sadanubhav), but of harmony (satvanubhav) of the universe.

Q: Nevertheless, there is progress.

M: There can be progress only in the preparation (sadhana). realisation is sudden. The fruit ripens slowly, but falls suddenly and without return.

Q: I am physically and mentally at peace. What more do I need?

M: Yours may not be the ultimate state. You will recognise that you have returned to your natural state by a complete absence of all desire and fear. After all, at the root of all desire and fear is the feeling of not being what you are. Just as a dislocated joint pains only as long as it is out of shape, and is forgotten as soon as it is set right, so is all self-concern a symptom of mental distortion which disappears as soon as one is in the normal state.

Q: Yes, but what is the sadhana for achieving the natural state?

M: Hold on to the sense ‘I am’ to the exclusion of everything else. When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the ‘I am’. Just like emerging from sleep or a state of rapture you feel rested and yet you cannot explain why and how you come to feel so well, in the same way on realisation you feel complete, fulfilled, free from the pleasure-pain complex, and yet not always able to explain what happened, why and how. You can put it only in negative terms: ‘Nothing is wrong with me any longer.’ It is only by comparison with the past that you know that you are out of it. Otherwise — you are just yourself. Don’t try to convey it to others. If you can, it is not the real thing. Be silent and watch it expressing itself in action.

Q: If you could tell me what I shall become, it may help me to watch over my development.

M: How can anybody tell you what you shall become when there is no becoming? You merely discover what you are. All moulding oneself to a pattern is a grievous waste of time. Think neither of the past nor of the future, just be.

Q: How can I just be? Changes are inevitable.

M: Changes are inevitable in the changeful, but you are not subject to them. You are the changeless background, against which changes are perceived.

Q: Everything changes, the background also changes. There is no need of a changeless background to notice changes. The self is momentary — it is merely the point where the past meets the future.

M: Of course the self based on memory is momentary. But such self demands unbroken continuity behind it. You know from experience that there are gaps when your self is forgotten. What brings it back to life? What wakes you up in the morning? There must be some constant factor bridging the gaps in consciousness. If you watch carefully you will find that even your daily consciousness is in flashes, with gaps intervening all the time. What is in the gaps? What can there be but your real being, that is timeless; mind and mindlessness are one to it.

Q: Is there any particular place you would advise me to go to for spiritual attainment?

M: The only proper place is within. The outer world neither can help nor hinder. No system, no pattern of action will take you to your goal. Give up all working for a future, concentrate totally on the now, be concerned only with your response to every movement of life as it happens.

Q: What is the cause of the urge to roam about?

M: There is no cause. You merely dream that you roam about. In a few years your stay in India will appear as a dream to you. You will dream some other dream at that time. Do realise that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. No happening affects your real being — this is the absolute truth.

Q: Cannot I move about physically and keep steady inwardly?

M: You can, but what purpose does it serve? If you are earnest, you will find that in the end you will get fed up with roaming and regret the waste of energy and time. To find your self you need not take a single step.

Q: Is there any difference between the experience of the Self (atman) and of the Absolute (brahman)?

M: There can be no experience of the Absolute as it is beyond all experience. On the other hand, the self is the experiencing factor in every experience and thus, in a way, validates the multiplicity of experiences. The world may be full of things of great value, but if there is nobody to buy them, they have no price. The Absolute contains everything experienceable, but without the experience they are as nothing. That which makes the experience possible is the Absolute. That which makes it actual is the Self.

Q: Don’t we reach the Absolute through a gradation of experiences? Beginning with the grossest, we end with the most sublime.

M: There can be no experience without desire for it. There can be gradation between desires, but between the most sublime desire and the freedom from all desire there is an abyss which must be crossed. The unreal may look real, but it is transient. The real is not afraid of time.

Q: Is not the unreal the expression of the real?

M: How can it be? It is like saying that truth expresses itself in dreams. To the real the unreal is not. It appears to be real only because you believe in it. Doubt it, and it ceases. When you are in love with somebody, you give it reality — you imagine your love to be all-powerful and everlasting. When it comes to an end, you say: ‘I thought it was real, but it wasn’t’. Transiency is the best proof of unreality. What is limited in time and space, and applicable to one person only, is not real. The real is for all and forever.

Above everything else you cherish yourself. You would accept nothing in exchange for your existence. The desire to be is the strongest of all desires and will go only on the realisation of your true nature.

Q: Even in the unreal there is a touch of reality.

M: Yes, the reality you impart to it by taking it to be real. Having convinced yourself, you are bound by your conviction. When the sun shines, colours appear. When it sets, they disappear. Where are the colours without the light?

Q: This is thinking in terms of duality.

M: All thinking is in duality. In identity no thought survives.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That, chapter 69.

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God is the End of All Desire and Knowledge – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Maharaj: Where are you coming from? What have you come for?

Questioner: I come from America and my friend is from the Republic of Ireland. I came about six months ago and I was travelling from Ashram to Ashram. My friend came on his own.

M: What have you seen?

Q: I have been at Sri Ramanashram and also I have visited Rishikesh. Can I ask you what is your opinion of Sri Ramana Maharshi?

M: We are both in the same ancient state. But what do you know of Maharshi? You take yourself to be a name and a body, so all you perceive are names and bodies.

Q: Were you to meet the Maharshi, what would happen?

M: Probably we would feel quite happy. We may even exchange a few words.

Q: But would he recognise you as a liberated man?

M: Of course. As a man recognises a man, so a jnani recognises a jnani. You cannot appreciate what you have not experienced. You are what you think yourself to be, but you cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced.

Q: To become an engineer I must learn engineering. To become God, what must I learn?

M: You must unlearn everything. God is the end of all desire and knowledge.

Q: You mean to say that I become God merely by giving up the desire to become God?

M: All desires must be given up, because by desiring you take the shape of your desires. When no desires remain, you revert to your natural state.

Q: How do I come to know that I have achieved perfection?

M: You can not know perfection, you can know only imperfection. For knowledge to be, there must be separation and disharmony. You can know what you are not, but you can not know your real being. You can be only what you are. The entire approach is through understanding, which is in the seeing of the false as false. But to understand, you must observe from outside.

Q: The Vedantic concept of Maya, illusion, applies to the manifested. Therefore our knowledge of the manifested is unreliable. But we should be able to trust our knowledge of the unmanifested.

M: There can be no knowledge of the unmanifested. The potential is unknowable. Only the actual can be known.

Q: Why should the knower remain unknown?

M: The knower knows the known. Do you know the knower? Who is the knower of the knower? You want to know the unmanifested. Can you say you know the manifested?

Q: I know things and ideas and their relations. It is the sum total of all my experiences.

M: All?

Q: Well, all actual experiences. I admit I cannot know what did not happen.

M: If the manifested is the sum total of all actual experiences, including their experiencers, how much of the total do you know? A very small part indeed. And what is the little you know?

Q: Some sensory experiences as related to myself.

M: Not even that. You only know that you react. Who reacts and to what, you do not know. You know on contact that you exist — ‘I am’. The ‘I am this’, ‘I am that’ are imaginary.

Q: I know the manifested because I participate in it. I admit, my part in it is very small, yet it is as real as the totality of it. And what is more important, I give it meaning. Without me the world is dark and silent.

M: A firefly illumining the world! You don’t give meaning to the world, you find it. Dive deep into yourself and find the source from where all meaning flows. Surely it is not the superficial mind that can give meaning.

Q: What makes me limited and superficial?

M: The total is open and available, but you will not take it. You are attached to the little person you think yourself to be. Your desires are narrow, your ambitions — petty. After all, without a centre of perception where would be the manifested? Unperceived, the manifested is as good as the unmanifested. And you are the perceiving point, the non-dimensional source of all dimensions. Know yourself as the total.

Q: How can a point contain a universe?

M: There is enough space in a point for an infinity of universes. There is no lack of capacity. Self-limitation is the only problem. But you cannot run away from yourself. However far you go, you come back to yourself and to the need of understanding this point, which is as nothing and yet the source of everything.

Q: I came to India in search of a Yoga teacher. I am still in search.

M: What kind of Yoga do you want to practice, the Yoga of getting, or the Yoga of giving up?

Q: Don’t they come to the same in the end?

M: How can they? One enslaves, the other liberates. The motive matters supremely. Freedom comes through renunciation. All possession is bondage.

Q: What I have the strength and the courage to hold on to, why should I give up? And if I have not the strength, how can I give up? I do not understand this need of giving up. When I want something, why should I not pursue it? Renunciation is for the weak.

M: If you do not have the wisdom and the strength to give up, just look at your possessions. Your mere looking will burn them up. If you can stand outside your mind, you will soon find that total renunciation of possessions and desires is the most obviously reasonable thing to do. You create the world and then worry about it. Becoming selfish makes you weak. If you think you have the strength and courage to desire, it is because you are young and inexperienced. Invariably the object of desire destroys the means of acquiring it and then itself withers away. It is all for the best, because it teaches you to shun desire like poison.

Q: How am I to practice desirelessness?

M: No need of practice. No need of any acts of renunciation. Just turn your mind away, that is all. Desire is merely the fixation of the mind on an idea. Get it out of its groove by denying it attention.

Q: That is all?

M: Yes, that is all. Whatever may be the desire or fear, don’t dwell upon it. Try and see for yourself. Here and there you may forget, it does not matter. Go back to your attempts till the brushing away of every desire and fear, of every reaction becomes automatic.

Q: How can one live without emotions?

M: You can have all the emotions you want, but beware of reactions, of induced emotions. Be entirely self-determined and ruled from within, not from without. Merely giving up a thing to secure a better one is not true relinquishment. Give it up because you see its valuelessness. As you keep on giving up, you will find that you grow spontaneously in intelligence and power and inexhaustible love and joy.

Q: Why so much insistence on relinquishing all desires and fears? Are they not natural?

M: They are not. They are entirely mind-made. You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and your efforts are meaningless. You imagine that your possessions protect you. In reality they make you vulnerable. realise yourself as away from all that can be pointed at as ‘this’ or ‘that’. You are unreachable by any sensory experience or verbal construction. Turn away from them. Refuse to impersonate.

Q: After I have heard you, what am I to do?

M: Only hearing will not help you much. You must keep it in mind and ponder over it and try to understand the state of mind which makes me say what I say. I speak from truth; stretch your hand and take it. You are not what you think yourself to be, I assure you. The image you have of yourself is made up from memories and is purely accidental.

Q: What I am is the result of my karma.

M: What you appear to be, you are not. Karma is only a word you have learnt to repeat. You have never been, nor shall ever be a person. Refuse to consider yourself as one. But as long as you do not even doubt yourself to be a Mr. S0-and-so, there is little hope. When you refuse to open your eyes, what can you be shown?

Q: I imagine karma to be a mysterious power that urges me towards perfection.

M: That’s what people told you. You are already perfect, here and now. The perfectible is not you. You imagine yourself to be what you are not — stop it. It is the cessation that is important, not what you are going to stop.

Q: Did not karma compel me to become what I am?

M: Nothing compels. You are as you believe yourself to be. Stop believing.

Q: Here you are sitting on your seat and talking to me. What compels you is your karma.

M: Nothing compels me. I do what needs doing. But you do so many unnecessary things. It is your refusal to examine that creates karma. It is the indifference to your own suffering that perpetuates it.

Q: Yes, it is true. What can put an end to this indifference?

M: The urge must come from within as a wave of detachment, or compassion.

Q: Could I meet this urge half way?

M: Of course. See your own condition, see the condition of the world.

Q: We were told about karma and reincarnation, evolution and Yoga, masters and disciples. What are we to do with all this knowledge?

M: Leave it all behind you. Forget it. Go forth, unburdened with ideas and beliefs. Abandon all verbal structures, all relative truth, all tangible objectives. The Absolute can be reached by absolute devotion only. Don’t be half-hearted.

Q: I must begin with some absolute truth. Is there any?

M: Yes, there is, the feeling: ‘I am’. Begin with that.

Q: Nothing else is true?

M: All else is neither true nor false. It seems real when it appears, it disappears when it is denied. A transient thing is a mystery.

Q: I thought the real is the mystery.

M: How can it be? The real is simple, open, clear and kind, beautiful and joyous. It is completely free of contradictions. It is ever new, ever fresh, endlessly creative. Being and non-being, life and death, all distinctions merge in it.

Q: I can admit that all is false. But, does it make my mind nonexistent?

M: The mind is what it thinks. To make it true, think true.

Q: If the shape of things is mere appearance, what are they in reality?

M: In reality there is only perception. The perceiver and the perceived are conceptual, the fact of perceiving is actual.

Q: Where does the Absolute come in?

M: The Absolute is the birthplace of Perceiving. It makes perception possible.

But too much analysis leads you nowhere. There is in you the core of being which is beyond analysis, beyond the mind. You can know it in action only. Express it in daily life and its light will grow ever brighter. The legitimate function of the mind is to tell you what is not. But if you want positive knowledge, you must go beyond the mind.

Q: In all the universe is there one single thing of value?

M: Yes, the power of love.

– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I Am That, chapter 70.

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The Nectar of Immortality – Nisargadatta Maharaj

nisargadatta_250Maharaj:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Nisargadatta Maharaj – January 25, 1980

From The Nectar of Immortality. 1987 Joseph Nauwelaerts

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