That NOW Which is the Harmony of Reason and Love – J. Krishnamurti

The following was a morning talk given in Ommen, Holland in 1929.

This morning I want to go over the whole of my subject in a condensed form, so that if you will use your keenest intelligence there will be no possibility of misunderstanding. It is very difficult to pierce through the illusion of words. Many of you here understand English and many do not; but even those who understand English will interpret the words in their own manner, and that is where the difficulty lies. I wish it were possible to invent a new language! Please give me your intelligent attention, analyze, criticize and make up your minds. Either what I say is entirely false or it is entirely true. If it is false, then every one of you must shout it down, destroy it. If it is true, then everything else must go, because Truth cannot exist with, cannot be set beside falsehood. Truth and falsehood cannot exist together. My purpose this morning is to make myself perfectly clear, so that you will be able to decide if what I say is true. If it is, then you must shout from the housetops, then you must live it, then it must be the one thing that matters for you. But if it is false, do not make a weak compromise with it -set about to destroy it. You must either be for the Truth entirely, or against it entirely, you cannot compromise. You cannot build in any other manner. You cannot stand in the shade and worship the sun; you must come out of the shade and delight in the sun, rejoice in its purity, so that you yourself become pure, perfect, incorruptible. You cannot compromise, for Truth does not lie in dead hopes.

In the minds of the majority who listen to me, there is an inclination to believe that what I say is purely destructive, and hence negative, that I am all the time merely pulling down, that as I do not put anything in the place of what I pull down I am not constructive. What I say is neither constructive nor destructive, because I speak of Life, and in Life there is neither destruction nor construction. It is the foolish that divide Life into the destructive and the creative. But when I say that certain things are childish, unnecessary, foolish, unessential, false, it is because I wish to make the one essential thing clear, positive, outstanding, and distinctive. On you alone therefore, on every individual alone, depends the destruction and the rebuilding. In the very process of pulling down you are building. That is what you do not realize. As soon as you have withdrawn from all childish things, from all crutches, from all unessential, futile, trivial things, inside you begins to grow that assured certainty, which is above all transient things, which is constant, which is your true measure of understanding. So it is not a matter of destruction, but rather of the desire to discover for yourself the true value, the true meaning, the true purpose of life. To discover that, you must set aside everything that is of little value, as otherwise your mind is perverted, your judgment made crooked.

As the river must go to the sea, must wander through many lands, urged on by the great volume of water behind it, so must every individual, through his own experience, through his own struggles, through his own suffering, ecstasy, rejoicing, enter that sea, which is boundless, limitless, immeasurable, which is Eternity itself. The sea cannot enter the river; the river is too limited. So the river must go to the sea. In like manner I have attained. All your worships, your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions have thrilled me, your hopes, your gurus, your discipleships have held me, but only by putting all these aside have I found. You must come to that Truth unburdened, fearless. You must not come to it with a prejudiced mind, with preconceived ideas, with false hopes, false fears, ambitions and personal glory. By putting aside everything which I held as glory before, I found that which is everlasting, unconditioned, which is Truth itself; by cutting away the past entirely, ruthlessly within myself, I found that which is eternal, which is neither past nor future, which has no beginning, no end, which is Eternal. Having by this means found that which is everlasting -and there is no other means- I would give of that understanding to others.

What is it therefore that all of you, who gather here year after year, are seeking? Please, when I ask this question, put it to yourselves, do not let it pass by. What is it that everyone is seeking? Why do you attend these Camps? To enjoy a pleasure resort? To pass a few days together with those whom you have not met for a whole year? To indulge yourselves in your petty passions? To listen to words of comfort? To be made certain in your doubtful beliefs? What is it you are seeking? What is it that every one of you desires? I will tell you what you desire -not what you desire individually, but what the world is seeking.

Ignorance has no beginning but it has an end, and every one of you is seeking to end that ignorance, because ignorance is a limitation and causes sorrow. To be unaware of the self is ignorance, and knowledge is fully to understand the self. Ignorance is the intermingling of the false and the real. Being uncertain, being doubtful, you are not sure of what is true and what is false, of what is essential and what is transient, of what is bitter and what is sweet. To know what is true, to know what is false; to recognize the truth in the true, and the falsehood in the false, is true knowledge of the self. That knowledge of the self creates no barriers and no limitations, and hence gives lasting happiness. You are seeking the power to destroy for yourselves all the limitations that are placed upon you by yourself, and thereby attain freedom, which is happiness. Anything that leads to freedom, to poise, to the boundless, immeasurable vastness of Life leads essentially to Truth. Anything which creates a barrier, a weakness, anything which imposes a bondage, a limitation, a belief, anything which acts as a crutch, which leads to reliance on another, is false, and will not lead you to Truth. So the intermingling of the true (which is the choice of the essential that shall set you free) and the false (which places a limitation on you and hence binds you) is ignorance. The falsehoods, the unessentials, the childishnesses, the weaknesses on which you depend, the fears which you take to your heart, cannot lead you to freedom, and hence they are false, they are a limitation to be set aside.

This constant struggle to discriminate between what is real and what is false, what is bondage and what is freedom, what is misery and what is happiness, this struggle, pain, this constant battle is going on within each one. It is this problem you must solve. It is this to which you must pay attention, give your concentration, and not to the trivial things created by man, not the forms that the perverted life creates. They will exist but they are of little importance. What you have to concern yourself with is how and in what manner you will distinguish for yourself, without the authority of another, that which is true and that which is false. When you have decided for yourself you must no longer play with them, you must be either firmly for one or for the other. There can be no compromise, for compromise cannot exist in spirituality.

What is it for which everyone in the world is struggling, groping, fighting, crying? It is to be sure for himself, to grow for himself, eternally, to acquire that inward peace which cannot be disturbed either by the false or by the true. This is what everyone is seeking, and it is to this that you must give your minds, your hearts, your whole concentration. I tell you that the only manner in which you can find it is as I have found it, by setting aside all trivial things -worships, gurus, fears, paths, everything- to discover this one thing. If you want that happiness you must do likewise. I am not urging you to do it. It is not my authority that should impel you. It is because you are unhappy, because your faces are shrouded with misery, because there are tears, and laughter that is bound by sorrow, that you must seek.

There are two elements in every human being -this is not a dogma or a philosophy or a theory- one eternal and the other progressive. You must concern yourself with changing the progressive self into the eternal. In every human being, in every one of you there is this progressive self that is struggling -struggling to advance to that which is immeasurable, limitless, eternal. In making that progressive self incorruptible, by the union with that which is eternal in you, lies the acquisition of Truth. I am dividing the self into the eternal and the progressive purely for explanation, but do not translate it into other words and make a theory, a dogma, a complicated system out of it, and thereby destroy what you are seeking. The whole process of existence consists in changing the progressive into the eternal. The progressive self that is in limitation, created by itself, is the cause of sorrow. The progressive self, because it is small, because it chooses the unessential, the false, the limited, is constantly creating barriers. That progressive self is constantly asserting itself, and that assertion will exist, must exist, until there is that union with the eternal.

This progressive self is ever seeking that eternity, which is not the eternity of the individual, but of the whole, which is not limited to individuals, but is the consummation of all life, individual as well as universal. The progressive self is in process of advancing, is all the time climbing, through struggle, by the destruction of barriers, and in that advancement, in that climb, it is creating, by its self-assertion, echoes. Those echoes return to it as sorrow, pain, and pleasure. That self-assertion of the progressive self will always exist and is bound to exist, until you are made one with the eternal. Existence itself, that is, the life that you are leading, is self-assertion, and that very self-assertion in limitation creates sorrow and that sorrow perverts your judgement, complicates your life. You are constantly led astray by things that are of no value, by things that are unessential, by things that place greater limitations on your search. If your search is not constantly watched over, guided, helped, encouraged, you are caught up in things that are trivial, absurd, and childish. Therefore, I say again, you cannot escape from the self-assertion, which is the cause of sorrow, but that self-assertion can be made so vast that it becomes boundless. Because what you perceive you desire. Your desire is transformed by that which you perceive. If your perception is narrow, limited, then your desires will be small. But if your perception of life is limitless, vast, whole, complete, then your desire becomes whole, vast, limitless.

The self-assertion of the “I” which does not create sorrow is timeless. The present, the immediate now, is ever the past. The moment I have done something it is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead. Every action, which takes place in the present, instantly becomes the past, and to that past belongs whatever you have understood of the progressive self. Whatever you have understood, whatever you have dominated, conquered, is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead, finished with.

All that you have understood and conquered, dominated brings you nearer to that future which is NOW. To that past which is the ever-changing present, belongs birth, acquisition, renunciation, all the qualities that you have developed. The moment you understand something of the progressive self it is over, it is finished with and belongs to the past. It is dead, dust, and nothing of it remains except that you are nearer to eternity.

The present being the ever-changing past, there remains the future, to which you all look with such delight, with such hopes, with such variation of longing that you create theories, innumerable philosophies, which have very little importance, because, as I will show you, the future is not real.

To that future, which is the mystery in which you take so much delight, to that future belong what remains of the unsolved, progressive self. Whatever you have not solved of the progressive self is a mystery, and in that mystery you are caught. That is the future, because that is the mystery of the self, which you have not conquered, which you have not gained, attained and solved.

So it remains a mystery. To the mystery of the future, which is the unsolved “I”, belongs death, of which you are so afraid. Directly you understand, there is no birth, no death. Whatever remains to be understood has not come to an end. Whatever has not come to an end is a mystery, and in that mystery you place death. Because you do not understand it, it belongs to that unsolved portion of the “I” and from that insoluble mystery comes fear -fear of death, fear of the entanglements of love (love which is not returned, jealousy, envy), fear of loneliness, fear of friendship, fear of all that is of the future and belongs to the unsolved “I”. You should seek that happiness you desire neither in the future nor in the past, but now. What is the good of being happy in ten years’ time? What is the good of being companionable, full of friendship in ten years’ time if you are lonely now, if every moment creates tears, sorrow, and misery? When you are hungry you want to be satisfied immediately, now.

To solve the mystery of the unsolved “I”, of the self, you cannot look to the future, because the future, if you have not solved it, is never-ending; it is continuous. But to the man who understands, the solution is at that point where the past and the present and the future meet, which is now. The moment you understand, there is no mystery.

The eternity, which the progressive self is seeking, is neither in the past nor in the future. If it is neither in the past nor in the future, it is now. Now is the moment of eternity. When you understand that, you have transcended all laws, limitations, karma and reincarnation. These, though they may be facts, have no value, because you are living in the eternal.

You cannot solve your problems in the future; your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions, your deaths and births cannot be solved either in the future or in the past, you must solve them NOW. That progressive self, which is constantly seeking, through its limitations, through its sorrow, to find eternity, must be made incorruptible NOW. Not with whether you will be corruptible or incorruptible in the future, but with whether you are corruptible or incorruptible NOW must you concern yourself, because you are concerned with sorrow now, and not in the future. You must make that progressive self incorruptible, strong, whole, complete in the immediate NOW, which is the moment of eternity.

As you should have nothing to do with the past or with the future (I am afraid you have, but that does not matter!), you must concentrate your whole attention, focus every action, every thought, towards the incorruptibility of the mind and the heart, because there is the seat of self. The moment you are incorruptible, you will be a light and cast no shadow, so that all happiness, all rejoicing will be concentrated in you; then you can truly help, and give light to those around you who dwell in darkness.

To live in that immediate NOW, which is eternity you must withdraw from all trivial things that belong to the past or to the future. Your dead hopes, your false theories, your goals, everything must go, and you must live -as the flower lives, giving its perfume to everyone- fully concentrated in that moment of time, in that NOW which is neither the future nor the past, which is neither distant nor near, that NOW which is the harmony of reason and of love.

That NOW is Truth, because in it is the whole consummation of life. To dwell in that NOW is true creation, for creation is poise, it is absolute, unconditioned, it is the consummation of all life. If you would dwell in that eternity which is now, you must look neither to the future nor to the past, but with the desire to make that progressive self incorruptible, free, unconditioned, you must live concentrated, focused, acute, in every action, in every thought, in every love. Because that NOW exists where ever you are; that NOW abides in each one, whole, complete, unconditioned. It is that eternity which the progressive self, bound in limitation which is sorrow, is ever seeking.

– J. Krishnamurti

From Morning Talk, Ommen, Holland, 1929
Collection of Jiddu Krishnamurti Early Writings

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The Flame – J. Krishnamurti

The following was a talk given in 1928.

Some years ago I was talking with a great friend of mine, one who is not altogether of my way of thinking, though he agrees with me in many things -but he is not quite so uncompromising as I am. He said to me that I was as sweet as the meandering waters without the necessary fire for the destruction of useless things, and the creation of essential things. And he ended up by saying: If you would do anything in life, you must have the white flame to carry through your purpose. Because you will be opposed in your ideas, the sweet meandering waters will be dammed and turned to other purposes of irrigation rather than give life to the parched lands. I have been thinking considerably about what he said during the last two years, and wondering if the time has come for the white flame to burn. I hold that the white flame of which my friend spoke is necessary, but it is also necessary to have patience.

This spring in Ojai I was watching a sparrow, building her nest just outside my sleeping-porch. It was the most precarious nest, because it was built in the sunblind. Any person who came along and unconsciously pulled up that awning would necessarily have destroyed the nest. I watched it day after day, and saw the nest coming into being, the immense efforts of the mother bird, its gigantic struggles to create the lovely nest, in which it laid three eggs successively, night after night. In the building of that nest in that precarious position and in the bringing forth of the young birds in spite of the carelessness of human beings and the cruelty of other animals, that little sparrow was contending against the whole world in its creation. It had the white flame, necessary to contend, struggle and assert itself. And that sparrow gave me the necessary understanding that the white flame comes, not by a sudden onrush but by patience, by continual assertion of the essential truth, by continually contending against the small things of life, against narrowness of belief and small understanding. It would have been very easy for me to have hurled myself against the wall of orthodoxy and tradition and sets of beliefs some years ago, but it would have been unwise, because the wall was much too strong; there were very few people who really understood, and therefore would have helped to create a breach in that wall. But now, since I have been here, that white flame has grown strong within me, and I will not ever again compromise with anything, I will never try to reconcile the things which are not of the truth, I, personally, will never put aside the eternal for the sake of the passing.

I have been wondering how many of you have the flame, how many of you are like the steel, forged by your own hands, by your own understanding and by your own contention against life. I am now certain for myself, I am certain of that of which I speak. Even though everyone disagrees with me, though everyone contends against me, though everyone misunderstands that which I say. The more there is misunderstanding, the more there is divergence of opinion, the more certain I am. I would that you could be likewise, not because of what I say, but because you have perceived for yourself. Then that knowledge and wisdom shall give stability to your understanding, so that nothing can destroy it, so that you will constantly have the white flame that shall burn away the dross, the useless things of life, and destroy your innumerable crutches and the divisions which hold people apart. The sweet meandering waters are very pleasant to behold and delightful to sail upon, but if you would go out to sea where there are many waves, storms and tempests, you will have to leave the sweet meandering waters behind, you will have to put them aside and venture forth to discover your own strength, to contend with your own wisdom and knowledge against those things which are unessential and unimportant. For that one needs to have courage, not the stupid courage born out of lack of thought, but courage born out of understanding, courage born out of intelligence. As perhaps some of you agree with me, and see and feel and know and understand with me: if you will not compromise with the truth, then the realization of happiness and the bringing about of that happiness in the world will become a certainty. But if you who have perceived, who have known, who have considered and understood with me, have not the white flame but are merely meandering as the sweet waters, you will not create, you will not stand against the old beliefs and traditions. The time for sweet meandering is over, not for you perhaps, but for me. Not for those who have not understood, but for those who have seen, who have known, who have understood; not for the people who are all the time concerned with reconciliation and compromise, but for those who have invited doubt and have conquered doubt, and who have set aside reconciliation.

You cannot reconcile with truth -truth cannot be twisted, warped to your purpose. You will never bend truth to your particular understanding, but rather you will have to unbend your understanding to the truth; make straight those things which are crooked in order to understand the truth. In order to straighten out those things which have been made crooked, you need a flame. If you would bend the steel to a particular shape, you heat it; so if you would unbend and make straight those things in yourself, which are crooked, you must be heated by the white-hot flame of truth. You must be like the sea, against which nothing shall stand, whose waters are in continual motion, never still, always destroying those barriers that men create to hold them back. If a person is dying, and you would revive him and bring him back to life, your sweet fear of hurting him does not hold you back from inviting the surgeon who shall heal. It is no true affection that is afraid to hurt; no love that will not contend against false sentiment, vain hopes and fleeting pleasures. If you who have seen will stand for truth without compromise, we shall go forward together; if not, you will be on the sweet meandering waters, sailing smoothly along, with your particular pleasures and your delightful, smooth reconciliation, and Truth and I will be far away.

What is the use of you all agreeing with me, sympathizing with me, smiling with delight at my sayings, if there is not the true alteration of your mind and heart, if there is no straightening of those things that are crooked? I tell you that Truth is much too serious to play with; it is much too dangerous to have one part of your heart in the temple of truth and another part in the temple of unrealities and half-truths. For that way is the way of sorrow, is the way of contention, is the way of vain beliefs which shall decay. If you have not that white flame, which comes from understanding, which is born out of patience, you will not enter into that kingdom where Truth abides. As a sweet flower that decays and perishes, so shall be he who merely holds to sweet enjoyments, but if you would be as the tree that withstands every storm and dances in every breeze, you must delight in truth and walk in the light of truth.

– J. Krishnamurti

From Collection of Jiddu Krishnamurti Early Writing, 1928

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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.

For more posts on Nisargadatta Maharaj see:

To read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj see:

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.

For more posts on Nisargadatta Maharaj see:

To read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj see:

An Interview with Ajja (Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam)

Ajja 1
Ajja (Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam

This interview was conducted by Andrew Cohen and  first appeared in the magazine What Is Enlightenment as part of a longer article. I am posting the interview portion for the benefit of those who have an interest in learning more about Ajja.
Ajja: First, we should introduce ourselves, so there will be mutual understanding and harmony. After that, our conversation can begin. Only then will there be usefulness in this conversation. Otherwise, words are mere words. The other day when we met, you described your experience of awakening, but the others here have not heard it, so could you please describe it again?

Andrew Cohen: I was sixteen years old.

Ajja: Who was sixteen years old?

AC: The individual, the young man, who was convinced that there was a problem, that there was something wrong.

Ajja: You can continue.

AC: Suddenly the doors of perception opened. It seemed like the walls in the room had disappeared and suddenly there was infinite space. And this infinite space was full of energy. And this energy was conscious, it was aware of itself.

Ajja: And what you are now—is it that awareness itself?

AC: Yes.

Ajja: So it’s not this body that you refer to as “I.” The awareness you experienced at that time, is that the “I” you feel now also?

AC: Yes. It’s the same.

Ajja: It’s not this body?

AC: There’s only one “I.”

Ajja: And what happened after that?

AC: Then what happened was that I realized that this energy which was aware of itself was intelligent—there was intelligence—and the nature of it was love. Unbearable love. Excruciating love. And it also became apparent that everything that existed in the manifest universe was of the same substance, which was this consciousness. And in that it became apparent that every point in space was exactly the same point as every other. For example, now we’re here in this room. We just came from Prashanti. Before that I was in Europe. Before that I was in America. While these all seem to be different places, what I realized in that moment was that every place I could be was the same point, literally and actually. Also, there were tears but I wasn’t crying. And my throat was opening and closing.

Eventually this experience faded. But then, six years later, when I was twenty-two, I began to seek for this experience once again, because even though by that time it felt very far away from me, I knew that it had been the most real experience of my life. I began to do sadhana [spiritual practice] and had various experiences and was with many different teachers. And then finally when I met my last teacher, I told him about it. Over the years, I had told many people about this experience and they had never known what to say, but when I told him, he said, “Then you experienced everything.” And when he said this, it began to come back. Then I experienced this overwhelming love and heat and burning for several weeks. After that happened I began to find myself speaking spontaneously about the Absolute—I couldn’t help it; I would start speaking about it and then it would come into the room. And my body would fill up with bliss, and other people would feel the bliss and be drawn into the experience.

Ajja: What is your state now?

AC: That’s what my experience is now. It happens when I’m teaching, when I’m speaking about the Absolute. Then this experience comes, and when I stop speaking about it, then I go back into a more ordinary state. But the difference now is that I have no doubt—self-preoccupation and doubt are gone—and this love that I met at that time is my whole life.

Ajja: In the beginning, the “I” was a constricted “I.” Later, it started becoming expanded, and then you reached a state where there was no time and space, beyond even emotions. In that, “you” and “I” become one—the supreme Divine. We only use the word “I.” Whatever there is in this body, for that we say “I” as a simple indication. We say that it is “me,” but I am nothing. I am not the body. I am not even a power. What really exists is That whose nature is light, its nature is satya [ultimate reality]. It is truth, it is bliss, it is peace, and that is the real existence.

Who is that energy, that power? What is the source of that? Who am I? What is my source? I am that energy. I am that power which is my source. So when I go to search for the source of this “I,” I reach that self-illumination. Then this power that is existing in this body, residing in this body, is also arising from that self-illumination itself. And it has all the qualities and nature of That itself. So when I know this, I start evolving. This “I” starts evolving to become That itself. That is its nature. Total expansion is its nature.

So what is that “I” which we were calling “I”? This body is not “I.” The one who resides in this body is the real I. That power, that shakti, is I. When one goes into that self-illuminated state and recognizes it as his own true nature, he also finds that it has endowed him with the qualities of illumination, expansion, compassion. The individual self has become one with That. Whatever he sees around him, where does it come from? It is evident that it always comes from within; in every instant, it seems to just come springing up from within. To a realized soul, that is how the whole world around us looks.

Everything has come out of that “I.” The most important answers, how do they come? It is not as if they were written down somewhere. These answers have just come out. Not from the individual self, but from this state they have come out. So there is no self! It has just spontaneously come out.
So for the individual soul who aspires to be totally free, what is the easiest and most direct path to freedom from the cycle of birth and death? The answer to that question will come when the mind becomes totally silent. So it is not what I say that is important. We have to get those answers ourselves, and that we can do only by silencing our minds. All of us have the capacity to get those answers, because every question has an answer within silence. When the mind has reached a state of stillness, the answer comes. This will not happen in one or two days, but it is certain that we will get the answer in the silence.

AC: I understand that when the mind is silent there is no problem and therefore no need to find a solution. However, I have some questions I’d like to ask you anyway, for the sake of the many people who will read this.

Ajja: Whatever question you ask, the answer that comes out of here is: “Silence the mind.” You have to first concentrate the mind on itself. If, after that, you still need a perfect answer, my life itself is the answer. By seeing my action, you can understand, you can realize That. That is my message. That is my answer.

AC: Can I ask you a question anyway? It’s a good one.

Ajja: If I answer something, it should be of some use. The importance is for action. When the message is given, will they bring it into practice?

AC: That is what I wanted to ask you about: What is the relationship between nonexistence and action in time and space?

Ajja: One loses his existence through knowledge and action. Through these he becomes free. Then he himself is a jivan mukta [liberated person]. But when that “I” has gone, what is there? Where is the question then?

AC: Even though he is free, isn’t the jnani [Self-realized individual], the jivanmukta, still expressing something through his actions?

Ajja: I don’t have the awareness that “I’m a jnani“or “I’m a jivan mukta.” I don’t have anything. When the “I” has gone, the consciousness does not even raise the feeling of “I.” That is completely gone. So for a jnani that question does not even arise. When there is no question of thinking, then ordinary action in day-to-day life does not take place. Our thoughts are transformed into contemplation. Then our day-to-day routine interactions become spiritual. In that, the regular routine itself becomes spiritual life. That itself is yogic life. That itself is divine life.

AC: There is a mystery that I’m infatuated with. From nothing, there became something; it’s literally the beginning of everything. In the jivanmukta, also, he is nothing, he’s in nothing. And yet, from nothing comes something: words, actions, etc. This is what I want to know about.

Ajja: I have already described how day-to-day interactions themselves can be converted into spiritual actions. Having that objective, when an individual soul is engaged in day-to-day actions and duties, he gets transformed. Then as he advances on the path of evolution, through contemplation on the thought “Who am I?”—who is that individual soul?—then, even while residing in this body, he becomes totally free from the cycle of birth and death. He becomes the Self itself, and the Self is total freedom. This is real freedom. This realization is the objective of human birth. It is for this alone that a human birth is taken. When this objective is fulfilled, our life itself is fulfilled. It is a state from which there is no more birth. It is a life free from duality, and beyond death. This is applicable everywhere in the entire world. This is true for the whole of humanity. When the whole of humanity understands this and puts it into action, then where is this question?

AC: Then there will be no difference between birth and death.

Ajja: Yes. Only when there is birth can there be death. Where is birth in this? We think: “I am this body. All the sense objects that are related to the body are mine. With such a constricted feeling, when a person is involved in action, and is experiencing the joys and sorrows that are resulting from such action, again and again he will take birth in this world. So his lives continue according to his actions. This is the secret of birth, life and death. But when the individual self is freed from the bondage of action, and also the bondage of this body, then he becomes one with the supreme Self, which is his original nature. He becomes the supreme Self itself. When the individual, through contemplation of the question “Who am I?” becomes free from karma, he evolves, he becomes the self-luminous Supreme. That itself is Self. That itself is bliss. That itself is satya, ultimate reality. That itself is Life. That itself is Self-realization.

So Self-realization is for the good of the whole. It brings auspiciousness and good to the whole universe. That is the objective of human life. When we understand the secret of this, we will really understand the relationship between the individual soul, the supreme Soul and the universe. The individual is a part of the cosmos. This body, this “I,” is nothing but a microcosm of that macrocosmic universe. When we understand the micro level, we are bound to understand the macro universe. Anyone who seeks here is bound to reach there, because this individuality is a part of That. And also, it containseverything. All the secrets of That, this also contains. Through the study of the individual—or even the atom—the basis of the whole universe can be understood.

How is this freedom realized? Through action alone does realization come. That is jnana, that is freedom, that is moksha [liberation].We must understand how, by doing action, we can reach that state. What kind of action will help us to become liberated? Chanting the name of God, contemplation, surrender, truth, nonviolence, detached action. One who, during his lifetime, can translate the knowledge of the Self into action, that one deserves to realize that supreme blissful state. Not only that, he becomes bliss itself. “Who am I? What is the secret of my life, my birth?” Understanding this, realizing this through his search, even when he is engaged in actions and duties, he attains his original nature, which is bliss. So it is through action that he becomes transformed.

AC: When you speak about karma yoga, or detached action, are you referring specifically to spiritual practice? Or to any form of detached action?

Ajja: Any action which is done as a duty without the expectation of a result. Any action, if you do it without expectation and selfishness, is transformed into duty. This leads you to a state where there are no emotions. One is doing, but he is not doing. There is no feeling that “I am doing something.” What happened to that “I”?

This evolution is step by step. It doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It has to pass through various stages. However, even the most elementary state of bliss is Bliss itself. The nature of bliss is Bliss itself. Bliss itself is the nature of bliss. Bliss is Bliss itself. Bliss is Bliss. This bliss is eternal reality. This bliss is eternal Truth. That bliss which is eternal reality, that is the eternal bliss. This is the supreme Bliss. This is the Brahmic [Absolute] Bliss. And that itself is Ananda [spiritual bliss]. There is nothing there—no state. Experience and words cannot reach there. The actual nature of the individual self is this bliss itself. And the easiest and the shortest path is to always dwell in that sahaja [natural] state that is our original nature.

The question may arise, “Where is that Bliss?” That Bliss is here and now, ever present. When this jivatma [individual self] is dropped, that Bliss is there, already existing. The individual soul has the bondage of action, but the Supreme doesn’t have that. There is not even birth for the Self. So let us go beyond this dualistic world of action, let us evolve, and reach the paramatma [supreme Self].

For all this, meditation is the starting point. In the beginning you should sit. You should have that internal preparation. One has to discipline oneself. But it is not enough only to sit. It is not merely that the body must sit; your mind must sit also. The mind should not be wandering. Unless the mind is controlled, there is no meditation. The wandering of the mind itself is the world.

AC: Yes. The mind is the world.

Ajja: So in the beginning, the mind should become still. The mind is wandering and that must stop. Through meditation, the mind turns inward. And this should happen not only in meditation, but also in the midst of action.

Nothing that we take to be real in this world actually is. When this world becomes unreal to you, then the true reality reveals itself. That is the beginning. In that, we realize that there is no death, there is no life, there is only existence. At one point or another, we all have to die. But I do not mean the death of this body. There is another kind of death—a death from which there is no rebirth. When the one who keeps coming back for reincarnation, when that one dies, that is the real death—as in my case, where all experiences have passed. Now, here in this state, there is nothing.

AC: When you say there is nothing here, do you mean that you have no experience right now? You seem to be expressing a great deal.

Ajja: Whose experience? Words are coming, it is true. Through this vehicle, some unknown force is acting, some power is working, using this body as an instrument. It is not this body that is speaking. There is a power that is inspiring this body, intellect and mind. In each one of us the same thing is happening, but often we say, “I am speaking.” Here that is not happening. Words are just coming out. That is the difference. I don’t say, “I say, I speak.”

AC: In my own experience, the relationship between this state of bliss, in which there is no “I,” and perfect action in the world of time and space seems to be very mysterious. So I would still like to know more about how you define that relationship for the one who is actually established in that bliss consciousness in which there is no notion of “I.” How do that individual’s actions in this world express the perfection of that condition? What is the relationship between that state and the expression of perfect action in this world of appearances?

Ajja: My level of interaction is totally different. There is no relationship between these two in my actions. What is your understanding about perfect action in the world?

AC: Perfect action means action that comes from pure love, in which there is no sense of individuality and no self-interest whatsoever. There’s no pride, there’s no greed, there’s no egotism, there’s no self-consciousness. And it is also the expression of pure love that has no sense of itself as being separate. But this action does occur. All the realized souls express this.

Ajja: This is difficult to explain, to put into words, but if one spends time in the company of a person who is in such blissful consciousness, then it becomes possible to understand. Such an individual will not tell you anything. He will communicate only in silence. But through contact with him, understanding can happen. One can know this only through experience.

What is love? Are we speaking about a love related to the senses? Or is it beyond the senses? Some people are the embodiment of love but the nature of their love is beyond the senses. You cannot see it with your eyes. You cannot describe that love with your words. They are love embodied. This love is not something to be displayed. It is their original nature. It’s not something they merely express. It is their nature always.

AC: It’s who they are.

Ajja: They exist in this world, but they are not. They are, and they are not. That is what self-illumination is. That itself is Atman [the Self]. That itself is bliss. That itself is truth. That itself is life. Which life is it? It’s not worldly life. It’s a life beyond duality and beyond death.

AC: So how they are, then, is the answer to the question. How they are is the answer to the question of what the relationship is between nothing and something.

Ajja: These things are beyond description. This we cannot explain. This can only be seen and understood. It’s not because they have something to say that they speak. It’s not possible to describe bliss. When you are blissful, it’s an experience, but there is no one there to speak. Words come out, but between the words that come out and that ultimate reality there is no relationship. The real state and the words that describe it are not related. That exists only as Itself. The words show That, they manifest That, but they are not That. The existence of that Supreme is indicated by the word “I” only for the sake of interaction in the world—for the sake of the world, but not for the sake of That.

My experience is of the Universal Soul only, which is energy, light and power—the self-luminous supreme Universal. It has come for evolution and it has evolved. Universal light comes for evolution and it evolves.

AC: The light evolves?

Ajja: Light and power came, but now only light remains in the evolved form. There is no power. The indweller of this physical body is the soul, which is nothing but self-luminous light and power. And in evolution, the power dissolves, leaving only light.

AC: Can you say that again?

Ajja: The indweller of the body is a universal power and light. And in the process of evolution, the power dissolves and the light remains. But the truth of this cannot really be communicated. Only through contact, by being in the proximity of a realized soul, can one understand. This is one of those questions the answer to which can only be discovered when you search for it in silence. Otherwise it becomes mere lecture from which none of us will benefit.

AC: I understand that the most important answer cannot be given in words, that it can only be found by the individual in silence. And yet it is my experience that by asking these kinds of questions sometimes magical and extraordinary things can happen.

Ajja: Even if the truth comes out or if, as you say, magical, miraculous things occur, when words come out, they are still nothing but words.

AC: But the words coming from a jnani have the power to enlighten.

Ajja: That is about the jnani. But where are the jnanis? Who is a jnani? And who is it that recognizes the jnani?

AC: The jnani and the one who recognizes the jnani are one and the same.

Ajja: Is that your experience?

AC: Yes.

Ajja: I do not deny that experience. But a jnani will never have the experience that “I am a jnani.” He is simply what he is. It’s his original state. If an unnatural state comes, he will be amazed. This is the original, natural state for a jnani. There is only bliss. There is no one to experience that bliss. The person who sees has gone. That is evolution. So what is, in that case, is a state which is not a state. This is the original state of every individual. But one must be ready to go to that original state.

AC: One of your disciples told me that when you get to know people more intimately you can see their past lives. Is this true?

Ajja: I am not an astrologer. I don’t read anyone’s mind. This is contradictory for spirituality. Liberation should happen in this life itself. Sometimes we are told that for some reason it’s not possible in this life, that we have to wait for future incarnations. But we don’t know if this is true or not, so here and now we should become free.

AC: I agree with you, and my question is based only on what I’ve heard from other people here. I personally feel that this kind of thing is a complete waste of time and also that it’s the opposite direction one should be looking in if one wants to be free. If one wants to be free, one wants to know the Self one is when there’s no time and no history. Finding out about past lives could never tell you anything about that which never happened.

Ajja: Yes. Let us know about this life. In knowing this you know everything you need to know. Now we are here. It’s now about this. Why should we go back? There is no future and no past. We have come here. We are here. What is this? Who are we? Who am I? Who is the one who has come? That which has come is self-luminous power with light. This itself is the foundation. There are engineers who build the building, but we must look only at the foundation, we are concerned only with the foundation. “Who am I?”—this inquiry is the foundation. When you go in search of That, it is possible to find the answer to every question on this earth. When you go in search of “Who am I?” you will reach a state where there is nothing. “I” means the state where nothing is there. It’s over. No sadhana is required for this—only search.

AC: Direct search.

Ajja: Yes, direct search. When the seeker goes in search of That, the seeker is no more. That state is Atman, which is bliss, which is self-luminous and which is silence. Until then, ego is there. Then it is not.

It sometimes happens in life that due to some incident there is total transformation. In many people’s lives, due to one incident there is total transformation. It is in the biographies of all the great saints of southern India—Valmiki, Tulsi Das, Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti. According to their karma, due to small incidents, they changed. Through all these stories, there is one thread. In my case, for example, there was pain for six months, then no pain. Then contemplation began; worry became contemplation. Untruth became truth. Darkness became light. As with fruit, when it is unripe, it is bitter. When it becomes ripe, it is sweet. But that sweetness was always there. That bitterness is transformed into sweetness.

So worry should become contemplation. For that reason alone we should give importance to thoughts. We should not get agitated or lost when we get worries or problems. We should experience them. Then there is an explosion.

AC: Do you mean that we must face them completely?

Ajja: Yes. Experience that. And how should the mind be when you experience that? During that time, the mind should be focused, the mind should contemplate on that. When the mind is fixed on that, then—

AC: You mean there should be no resistance to experience?

Ajja: No resistance. In this way, the same mind that experiences everything else now goes to contemplation. Beyond that there is no mind at all. So mind itself is both the cause of bondage and the means to liberation. This world is nothing but the roar of mind. When the works of mind are over, there is no mind. Then all desires are gone—desires which the mind imagines. Everything is imagined; all of that is mind. So the mind has to withdraw. All desires should go. Even if one desire is there, you cannot take the mind inward. The mind should go into the heart and begin the search. “Who am I? Who am I? I am here in this body. Who am I?” We should search like that. When you are in the search, in that the mind is gone. We are afraid to touch that place. But the mind must be totally gone. Give it up.

AC: You said earlier that this is universally applicable and true for the whole of humanity.

Ajja: Yes, this is a question for the whole of mankind. We need freedom. No one wants to be in bondage. Everyone wants to be free. My message for the whole universe is not that only one should get free. Others also should become free. The whole world should become free. That is my message.

What is the path to freedom? If you have a clear picture of the experiences I’ve had during my lifetime—joys and sorrows, triumphs and miseries, honor and dishonor, and how I reacted to these—that can help you to find your own way. How I faced those experiences, how I walked in my life, how I accepted death. How action was performed, and how transformation has come. My whole life, once understood, gives a clear picture of the way. When we have understood all these things, then we have to bring that understanding into our practice. Then we become free. If one individual is liberated in this way, then the mission of my life has been fulfilled. That is why I am giving these statements—so that it will be helpful for the public. That is why I have agreed to this interview. Otherwise I would remain in total silence.

The total picture is the integrated evolution of the individual and that power. When we become totally free in our action, only then is our birth fruitful. Then our life is really fulfilled. Freedom is the goal. Everyone should become free. And all have come to life only for that purpose—that freedom itself is bliss for all, for every individual. Every individual should be released from bondage. If I alone become free, it is not enough to make me happy. Everyone should become like that. Every soul has to become free. I have had a glimpse of that possibility, and if all were free, that would be true bliss for me.

AC: So this is for the benefit of mankind.

Ajja: Yes. This message is for the whole of humanity. When there is purity within, mind, heart and action should be one. Mind and heart should be pure and our deeds should be the same. We all have to go beyond thought to that state in which there are no obstacles at all. It is by this true search alone that one becomes a universal soul. And every individual has that capacity. Not just one. Every individual has the capacity to become That.

I am not in mind at all. I am in a state beyond all thoughts and emotions. I am speaking, but I don’t know anything. I don’t think; I read no books. For the true knowledge itself, none of this is necessary. For intellectual discourse, books are necessary, but for Self-experience, nothing is required. If I am in some remote corner, also it doesn’t stop. It spreads through the whole universe, percolates through the whole universe. If one reaches that state of ananda, even if he is in some remote corner, it just spreads. Even if he tries to hide, it just radiates from him. It reaches throughout the whole universe, the entire cosmos.

So . . . what are you going to do with what you have recorded?

AC: It will be part of an article about you—your experience and what you are saying—that will help people in America and other places to benefit from what you have discovered.

Ajja: It feels as if you are very known to us. You do not feel like a stranger to me.

AC: Yes, I feel the same way.

Ajja: There is no America and no India. There is only the whole universe.

This interview was first seen here.

Read about a visit to Ajja’s ashram.

See a video of Ajja.

For more posts on Ajja.

To read more from Ajja.

The Four Dimensions of Man – Osho

Man is not a meaning but an opportunity. The meaning is possible, but is not given. The meaning can be created, but it is not already there. It is a task not a gift. Life is a gift, but life is open opportunity. Meaning is not a gift, meaning is a search. Those who seek will certainly find it. But those who simply wait will go on missing. The meaning, the Logos, has to be created by man. Man has to transform himself into that meaning. It cannot be something exterior to man; it can only be something interior.

Man’s inner being has to become illumined.

Before we enter into these sutras, a few things will be helpful to understand about man, because only then is the work possible.

The first thing to be understood is that man is a four-dimensional space-time continuum, just as the whole existence is. Three dimensions are of space, one dimension is of time. They are not separate: the dimension of time is but the fourth dimension of space. The three dimensions of space are static; the fourth dimension of time brings movement, makes life a process. Then existence is not a thing, but becomes an event.

And so is man. Man is the miniature universe. If you could understand man in his totality, you would have understood the whole existence. Man contains all – in seed. Man is a condensed universe. And these are the four dimensions of man.

The first dimension is what Patanjali calls sushupti, deep sleep, where not even a dream exists. One is utterly silent, not even a thought stirring, no wind blowing. All is absent That absence, in deep sleep, is the first dimension. It is from that that we start. And we have to understand our sleep, only then can we go through a transformation. Only then can we build our house on a rock, otherwise not. But very few people are there who understand their sleep.

You sleep every day, you live one-third of your life in deep sleep, but you don’t understand what it is. You go into it every night, and you also gain much out of it. But it is all unconscious: you don’t know exactly where it leads you. It leads you to the most simple dimension of your life – the first dimension. It is very simple because there is no duality. It is very simple because there is no complexity. It is very simple because there is only oneness. You have not yet arisen as an ego, you have not yet become divided – but the unity is unconscious.

If this unity becomes conscious you will have samadhi instead of sushupti. If this unity becomes conscious, illumined, then you will have attained God. That’s why Patanjali says: Deep sleep and samadhi, the ultimate state of consciousness, are very much alike, alike, because they are simple, alike, because in both there is no duality, alike, because in both the ego exists not.

In the first, the ego has not arisen yet; in the second, the ego has been dissolved – but there is a great difference too. The difference is that in samadhi you know what sleep is. Even while asleep your consciousness is there, your awareness is there. Your awareness goes on burning like a small light inside you.

A Zen Master was asked… It is a very famous saying in Zen:

Thus we are told that before we study Zen the mountains are mountains and the rivers are rivers. While we are studying Zen, however, the mountains are no longer mountains and the rivers are no longer rivers. But then when our study of Zen is completed, the mountains are once again mountains and the rivers are once again rivers.

‘What is meant by this?’ a disciple asked a great Master.

The Master explained this: ‘It simply means that the first and the last states are alike. Only just in the middle… the disturbance. First the mountains are mountains and again in the end the mountains are again mountains. But in the middle the mountains are no more mountains and rivers are no more rivers – everything is disturbed and confused and clouded. That clouding, that confusion, that chaos, exists only in the middle. In sushupti everything is as it should be; in samadhi, again everything is as it should be. Between the two is the problem, is the world, is the mind, is the ego, is the whole complex of misery, hell.

When the Master explained this, the disciple exclaimed ‘Well, if that’s true, then there is no difference between the ordinary man and the enlightened man.’

‘That’s true’ replied the Master. ‘There is no difference really. The only thing is, the enlightened man is six inches off the ground.’

But those six inches make all the difference. Why is the Master six inches off the ground? He lives in the world and is yet not in it – those are the six inches, the difference. He eats, and yet he is not the eater; he remains a witness – those six inches. He is ill, he knows the pain of illness but still he is not in pain; that difference – those six inches. He dies, he knows death is happening, and yet he is not dying: that difference – those six inches. He is asleep and yet he is not asleep, he is alert too.

The first state is of sushupti. We will call it ‘the first dimension’. It is dreamless undividedness, it is unconscious unity, it is ignorance, but very blissful. But the bliss too is unconscious. Only in the morning when you are awake again do you start feeling that there has been a good sleep in the night, that you have been in some faraway land, that you are feeling rejuvenated, that you are feeling very fresh, again young and alive; but only in the morning – not exactly at the time when you are in the sleep, only later on. Just some fragrance remains lingering in the memory. It reminds you that you have been to some inner depth, but where? What? – You cannot figure it out. You cannot give any account of it. Just a vague memory, a remembrance that somewhere you have been in a good space. There is no ego yet, so there is no misery possible, because misery is not possible without the ego.

This is the state where the rocks and the mountains and the rivers and the trees are existing. That’s why trees look so beautiful – an unconscious bliss surrounds them. That’s why mountains look so silent: they are in sushupti, they are in deep sleep, they are continuously in deep sleep. That’s why when you go to the Himalayas; an eternal silence is felt – virgin silence. Nobody has ever been able to disturb it. Just think of a mountain, and suddenly you start feeling silent. Think of trees and you feel life flowing in. The whole of nature exists in the first state, that’s why nature is so simple.


The second dimension is that of dream – what Patanjali calls swabha. The first disturbance in the sleep is dream. Now you are not one any more; the second dimension has arisen. Images have started floating in you: the beginning of the world. Now you are two: the dreamer and the dreamed. Now you are seeing the dream and you are the dream too. Now you are divided. That silence of the deep sleep is no more there, disturbance has entered because division has entered.

Division, duality, disturbance – that is the meaning of the dream. Although the duality is still unconscious, it is there; but not very consciously – not that you know about it. The turmoil is there, the world is born, but things are still undefined. They are just coming out of the smoke; things are taking shape. The form is not yet clear, the form has not yet become concrete, but because of the dualism – even though it is unconscious – misery has entered in. The nightmare is not very far away. The dream will turn into a nightmare.

This is where animals and birds exist. They also have a beauty, because they are very close to sushupti. Birds sitting on a tree are just dreams sitting in sleep. Birds making their nests on a tree are just dreams making their nests in sleep. There is a kind of affinity between the birds and the trees. If trees disappear, birds will disappear; and if birds disappear, trees will not be so beautiful any more. There is a deep relationship; it is one family. When you see parrots screeching and flying around a tree, it almost looks as if the leaves of the tree have got wings. They are not separate… very close. Birds and animals are more silent than man, happier than man. Birds don’t go mad. They don’t need psychiatrists; they don’t need any Freud, any Jung, any Adler. They are utterly healthy.

If you go into the forest and you see the animals, you will be surprised – they are all alike!;  and all healthy. You will not find a single fat animal in the natural state. I am not talking about the zoo. In the zoo things go wrong, because the zoo is no more natural. Zoo animals start following man; they even start going mad and committing suicide. Zoo animals even turn into homosexuals. The state of the zoo is not natural, it is man-created. In nature they are very, very, silent, happy, healthy, but that health too is unconscious – they don’t know what is happening.

This is the second state: when you are in a dream. This is the second dimension. First: dreamless sleep, sushupti – simple one-dimensional; there is no ‘other’. Second: dream, swabha; there are two dimensions: the dreamer and the dreamed, the content and the consciousness – the division has arisen – the looker and the looked at, the observer and the observed. Duality has entered. This is the second dimension.

In the first dimension there is only the present tense. Sleep knows no past, no future. Of course because it knows no past, no future, it cannot know the present either, because the present exists only in the middle. You have to be aware of the past and the future, only then can you be aware of the present. Because there is no past and no future, sleep exists only in the present. It is pure present, but unconscious.

With the dream, the division enters. With the dream, the past becomes very, very important. Dream is past-oriented; all dreams come from the past. They are fragments of the past floating in the mind, dust from the past which has not settled yet.

It’s her old man I feel sorry for. He was in bed the other night fast asleep. Suddenly she noticed he had a smile on his face. She thought ‘Hello, he’s having one of those dreams again.’ So she put down her crisps and her bottle of stout and woke him up.

He said ‘Blimey, you would, wouldn’t you! I was having a lovely dream then! I was at this auction where they were selling mouths. They had small rosebud ones for a quid. Pert little pursed ones for two quid, and little smiling ones for a fiver.’

She said ‘Ooh! Did they have a mouth my size?’

‘Yes. They were holding the auction in it.’

Whatsoever you dream has something to say about your past. It may be that you see an auction – little smiling rosebud mouths are being sold – but the auction is being held in your wife’s mouth.

Maybe you have never said to your wife ‘Shut up, and keep your big mouth closed!’ Maybe you have not said it so clearly, but you have been thinking that so many times. It is lingering in the mind. It is there. Maybe you have never been so true in your waking state as you are when you are asleep. And you can be! You can afford to be true. All dreams float from the past. With the dream, past becomes existential. So the present is there, and the past.

With the third, the third dimension, waking state what Patanjali calls jagrut – multiplicity enters. The first is unity, the second is duality, the third is multiplicity. Great complexity arises. The whole world is born. In sleep you are deep inside you; in dream you are no more that deep inside you and yet you are not out either – just in the middle, on the threshold. With waking consciousness you are outside yourself, you have gone into the world.

You can understand the biblical story of Adam’s expulsion in these three dimensions. When Adam was there in the Garden of Eden and had not yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge it was deep sleep, unconscious – unconscious bliss it was. There was no disturbance, everything was simply beautiful. He had not known of any misery. Then he eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Knowledge arises, images start floating, dreams have started functioning. He is no more the same. He is still in the Garden of Eden but no more part of it – alien, stranger, an outsider. He has not yet been expelled, but in a subtle way he is no more centered there. He is uprooted. This is the state of the dream – the first taste of knowledge, because of the first taste of duality, the distinction of observer and the observed. And then he is being expelled from the Garden of Eden, thrown out – that is the third state, the waking state. Now he cannot even go back; there is no way back. He has forgotten that he has an inside too.

In deep sleep you are inside. In wakefulness you are outside. In dream you are just in the middle, hanging, not settled yet where to go, still indecisive, in doubt, uncertain. With the waking state, the ego enters in. In the dream state there are just rudimentary fragments of the ego arising, but they settle in the third. The ego becomes the most concrete, most solid, most decisive phenomenon. Then whatsoever you do, you do because of the ego.

The third state brings a little consciousness – just one per cent, not much of it, just a flickering consciousness, momentary consciousness. The first was absolutely unconscious, the second was unconsciousness disturbed. The third is the first glimpse of consciousness. And because of that – the momentary glimpse of consciousness – that one per cent of consciousness coming in creates the ego. Now the future also enters in.


First there is only the present unconscious; then there is the past unconscious, now there is future. Past, present, future, and the whole complexity of time revolves around you. This is the state where people are stuck, where you are stuck, where everybody is stuck. And if you go on building your house with these three dimensions, you will be building it on sand, because your whole effort will be unconscious.

To do something in unconsciousness is futile – it is shooting arrows in the dark not knowing where the target is. It is not going to bring much result. First, light is needed. The target has to be looked for, searched for. And enough light is needed so you can move towards the target consciously. That is possible only when the fourth dimension starts functioning. It rarely happens; but whenever it happens, then meaning is really born, Logos is born.

You will live a meaningless life if you live only with these three. You will live a meaningless life because you will not be able to create yourself. How can you create in such unawareness?

The fourth dimension is of awareness, witnessing – what Patanjali calls turiya. And in the Gospels Jesus goes on saying again and again to his disciples: Awake! Beware! Watch! All these words indicate turiya. And it is one of the misfortunes of history that Christianity has not been able to bring this message clearly to the world. It has failed utterly.

Rarely has a religion failed so utterly as Christianity. Jesus was not very fortunate, because the disciples that he found turned out to be very ordinary, and the religion became almost a political organization. The church became not a follower of Jesus but deep down really antagonistic to Jesus. The church has been doing things against Jesus in the name of Jesus.

Buddha was more fortunate. The followers never became a church, they never became so organized politically and they never became so worldly. They carried little bits of Buddha’s message down the ages.

This fourth dimension has to be understood as deeply as possible, because this is the goal. It is pure consciousness, simplicity again. The first was simple but unconscious; the fourth is simple but conscious. Unity again, bliss again – with only one difference: now everything is conscious, the inner light is burning bright. You are fully alert. It is not a dark night inside you but a full-moon night, moonlit. That is the meaning of enlightenment: the inner illumination.

Again there is only one time left – present, but now it is conscious present. Past is no more hanging around. A man who is aware cannot move in the past, because it is no more. A man who is aware cannot move in the future, because it is not yet. A man who is aware lives in the present, herenow. HERE is his only space and NOW is his only time. And because he is only herenow, time as such disappears. Eternity is born, timelessness is born. And when one is totally alert, ego cannot exist.

Ego is a shadow cast in unawareness. When all is light, the ego cannot exist. You will be able to see the falsity of it, the pseudo-ness of it. And in that very seeing is its disappearance.

These are the four dimensions of human consciousness. And people live only in the first three. The fourth carries the meaning; hence the people who live only in the three live a meaningless life. They know it. You know it! If you look into your life you will not find any meaning there, just a haphazard, accidental progression of things. One thing is followed by another, but with no particular consistency, with no particular relevance. One thing is followed by another just accidentally.

That’s what Jean-Paul Sartre means when he says ’Man is a useless passion’: man is accidental.

Yes, he is true if he is talking about the three dimensions: first, second and third; but he is not true about the fourth. And he cannot say anything about the fourth because he has not experienced anything of it. Only a Christ or a Buddha can say something about the fourth.

Christ-consciousness is of the fourth, so is Buddha-consciousness. To remain confined in the three is to be in the world. To enter into the fourth is to enter into nirvana, or call it the ’kingdom of God’. These are only different expressions for the same thing.

A few things more: The second dimension is a shadow of the first: sleep and dream. Dreams cannot exist without sleep, sleep is a must. Sleep can exist without dreams. So sleep is primary, dreams are secondary – just a shadow. And so is the case with the third and the fourth. The third is the shadow of the fourth, because the third can exist only if there is some consciousness. A little bit of consciousness has to be there, only then can the third exist. The third cannot exist without little bit of consciousness in it – a ray of light. It is not much of a light, but a ray of light is needed. The fourth can exist without the third, but the third cannot exist without the fourth. The fourth is awareness, absolute awareness; and the third is just a small ray of light in the dark night. But it exists because of that small ray of light. If that ray of light disappears, it will become the second; it will not be the third any more.

And your life looks like a shadow-life because you are living with the third. And the third is the shadow of the fourth. Only with the fourth do you come home. Only with the fourth are you grounded in existence.

The first is absolute darkness, the fourth is absolute light. Between these two are their two shadows. Those two shadows have become so important to us that we think that is our whole life. That’s why Hindus have been calling the world maya, illusion, because of these two dimensions which have become predominant – the second and the third. We have lost track of the first, and we have not yet searched for the fourth.

And one thing more: If you find the fourth you will find the first. Only one who has found the fourth will be able to know about the first, because once you have come to the fourth you can be asleep and remain alert. Krishna defines the yogi in the Gita as ‘one who is awake while asleep’. That’s his definition for the yogi. A strange definition: who is awake while asleep.

And just the reverse is the situation with you. You are asleep while awake. That is the definition of a non-yogi: asleep while awake. You look awake, and you are not.

It is just an idea, this awake state. Ninety-nine per cent consists of sleep – only one per cent of wakefulness. And that one per cent also goes on changing. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not there at all. It was there; somebody insults you – and it is not there. You have become angry, and you have lost even that small awareness. Somebody treads on your feet – and it is gone. It is very delicate. Anybody can take it and destroy it, and very easily. You were perfectly okay; a letter comes and something is written in the letter, and suddenly you are no more okay. All is disturbed. A single word can create such a disturbance! Your awareness is not very much.

And you are awake only in rare moments: in danger you are awake, because in danger you have to be awake. But when there is no danger, you start snoring. You can hear people snoring – walking down the road, they are snoring. And they are caged in their own unconsciousness.

A drunk bumped into a stop sign. Dazed and disoriented, he stepped back and then advanced in the same direction. Once more he hit the sign. He retreated a few steps, waited awhile, and then marched forward. Colliding with the post again, he embraced it in defeat and said ‘It is no use. I am fenced in. I am stopped in every direction.’

And he has not moved in any other direction. He has been moving again and again to the post. And being hit, naturally he concludes that he has been fenced in from every direction.

And that is the situation of the ordinary human consciousness. You go on moving in the same unconscious way, in the same unconscious direction. And again and again you are hit, and you think ‘Why is there so much misery? Why? Why did God create such a miserable world in the first place? Is God a kind of sadist? Does he want to torture people? Why has he created a life which is almost like a prison, and in which there is no freedom?’

Life is absolutely free. But to see that freedom, first you will have to free your consciousness.

Remember it as a criterion: the more conscious you are, the more free; the less conscious you are, the less free. The more conscious you are, the more blissful; the less conscious you are, the less blissful. It depends on how conscious you are. And there are people who will go on looking into the scriptures to find out ways to become more free, to become more blissful, to attain to truth. That is not going to help, because it is not a question of the scriptures. If you are unconscious and you go on reading the Bible and the Koran and the Vedas and the Gita, it is not going to help, because your unconsciousness cannot be changed by your studies. In fact the scripture cannot change your consciousness, but your unconsciousness will change the scripture – the meaning of the scriptures. You will find your own meanings there. You will interpret in such a way that the Bible, the Veda, the Koran, will start functioning as imprisonments. That’s how Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans are – all imprisoned.

I have heard…

After booking into a large hotel, a self-styled evangelist read in his room for an hour or two – and he was reading the Bible – then went down to the bar, and after a couple of drinks, he struck up a conversation with the red-headed barmaid. He stayed up until closing time and after the girl had cleared up, they both went up to the evangelist’s room.

When he started to interfere with her clothing, the barmaid seemed to have second thoughts. ‘Are you sure this is alright?’ she said ’after all you are a holy man.’

‘My dear’ he replied ‘it’s written in the Bible.’

She took him at his word, and they spent a very pleasant night together. The next morning, however, as the girl was preparing to leave, she said ‘You know, I don’t remember the part of the Bible you spoke about last night.’

The evangelist picked up the Gideon’s Bible from the bedside table, opened the cover, and showed her the flyleaf, on which was inscribed ‘The redheaded barmaid screws.’

Reading the whole Bible for one hour and this was his finding. Somebody had inscribed on the flyleaf…

If you read the Bible, you read it, remember. And the meaning that you give it will] be yours, the interpretation will be yours. It cannot help you, because it cannot even protect itself from you. How can it help you? The only way to have any change in life is to change consciousness. And to change consciousness you will not have to go into the Bible and the Vedas. You will have to go inwards, you will have to go into meditation. Scholarship won’t help.

A blind man was invited to a festivity and there he ate some delicious pudding. He was so enchanted by its taste that he asked someone sitting next him to tell what it looked like.

‘White’ the man said.

‘What is white?’ the blind man asked.

‘White? – like a duck’ came the answer.

‘How does a duck look?’, persisted the blind man.

Puzzled for a moment, the man finally said ‘Here, feel this’ and took the blind man’s hand in his hand and guided it along his other hand and arm, which he bent at the elbow and wrist to resemble the shape of a duck.

At this, the blind man exclaimed ‘Oh, the pudding is crooked!’

That’s what is going to happen. You cannot help the blind man to know what is white, or what is color, or what is light. All your help is going to give him something wrong. There is no way to help the blind man by definitions, by explanations, by theories, by dogmas, by scriptures. The only way to help him is to heal his eyes.

Buddha has said ‘I am a physician. I don’t give you definitions of light; I simply heal your eyes.’ And that’s what Jesus is, and all the miracles that are reported in the Bible are not miracles but parables – that a blind man came to him and he touched his eyes, and the blind man was healed and he could see immediately. If it is just about the physical eye, this is not much. Then Jesus is already out of date, because medical science can do it. Sooner or later, Jesus will have to be completely forgotten. If he was simply curing physical eyes, then it is not going to mean much in the future. This can be done by science. And that which can be done by science should be done by science; religion should not enter into it – there is no need. Religion has far higher things to do.

So I insist again and again that these stories are not miracles but parables. People ARE blind, and the Jesus-touch IS a magic touch. He helps them to see, he helps them to become aware, he helps them to become more conscious. He brings the fourth.

To go into the fourth, work is needed. Work in the sense that Gurdjieff used to use that word. Work means a great effort to transform your being, a great effort to center your being, a great effort to drop all that which creates darkness and to bring all that which can help a little light come in. If a door has to be opened, then open the door and let the light come in. If a wall has to be broken, then break the wall and let the light come in. Work means a conscious effort to search, to inquire to explore into the dimension of the fourth – into light, into awareness – and a conscious effort to drop all that which helps you remain unconscious, to drop all that which keeps you mechanical.

A man bought a farm and a sow. He asked his wife to watch the sow, explaining that if she saw it eating grass it was ready for mating and could be taken to the next farm. A couple of days later his wife told him that the sow had started to eat grass. So the farmer put it on a barrow and took it to the next farm to be mated. When he came back, he told his wife to watch the sow again. ‘If the sow eats grass again, it has not taken’ he explained.

A few days later, his wife reported that the sow was eating grass again. So it was put on the barrow and taken for mating again. The farmer brought it back and again asked his wife to watch it closely. Two days later he asked his wife if it had been eating grass again.

‘No’ she said ‘but it’s sitting in the barrow.’

The mechanical mind, the instinctive mind, the repetitive mind – that has to be broken and dropped. Work means an alchemical change. Great effort is needed. Hard and arduous is the path. It is an uphill task.

– Osho

Excerpted from I Say Unto You, Vol.1, chapter 7

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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