You said that really there is no one inside us, there is only a void, an emptiness, but then why do you often call it the being, the center?
Being or non-being, nothing or all – they look contradictory but they both mean the same. All and nothing mean the same. In dictionaries they are opposites but in life they are not. Nobody understands. Look at it in this way: if I say that I love all, or if I say that I love no one, it means the same. If I love someone, then only is there a difference. If I love all, it means the same as loving no one. There is no difference then. The difference is always in degrees, relative. And these are both two extremes, they have no degrees: the total and the zero have no degrees. So you can call the total a zero, or you can call a zero the total. That’s why some enlightened persons have called the inner space emptiness, sunya, the void, nothingness, non-being, anatma – and some have called it the inner being, the absolute being, the Brahma, atma, the supreme self. These are the two ways to describe it. One is positive, the other is negative. Either you have to include all or have to exclude all – you cannot describe it with any term which is relative. An absolute term is needed.
Both the contradictory poles are absolute terms.
But there have been some enlightened persons who have remained totally silent. They have not called it anything, because whatsoever you call it – whether you call it being or non-being – the moment you give it a name, a term, a word, you have erred, because it includes both.
For example, if you say, “God is alive,” or “God is life,” it is meaningless, because then who will be death? He includes all. He must have death in him as completely as life, otherwise to whom will death belong? And if death belongs to someone else and life belongs to God – then there are two Gods, and then there will be many problems which cannot be solved. God must be both life and death. God must be both the creator and the destroyer. If you say God is the creator, then who is the destroyer? If you say God is good, then who will be evil? Because of this difficulty, Christians, Zoroastrians, and many other religions have created a Devil side by side with God, because to whom will the evil belong? They have created a Devil. But nothing is solved – the problem is only pushed one step back because then it can be relevantly asked, “Who has created the Devil?” If God himself creates the Devil, then he is responsible. And if the Devil is something independent, not related to God, then he himself becomes a God, a supreme power. And if God has not created the Devil, how can God destroy him? It is impossible. Theologians go on giving some answers to a question but that answer again creates more questions.
God created Adam, then Adam became evil. He was expelled. He disobeyed God and he was expelled from the heavenly world. It has been asked again and again, and relevantly, why did Adam become evil? The possibility must have been created by God in him – the possibility to be evil, to go wrong, to disobey. If there was no possibility, no inherent tendency, then how could Adam go wrong?
God must have created the tendency. And if the tendency for evil was there, another thing is also certain: the tendency to overcome it was not so strong. The tendency to fight it was not so strong. The evil tendency was stronger. Who created this strength? No one except God can be responsible. Then the whole thing seems to be a hoax. God creates Adam: he creates an evil tendency in him, a strong evil tendency which he cannot control; then he goes wrong; then he is punished. God should be punished, not Adam! Or, you have to accept that some other force exists side by side with God.
And that other force must be stronger than God, because the evil can tempt Adam and God cannot protect him. The Devil can provoke and seduce and God cannot protect. The Devil seems to be a stronger God.
There is a church, recently born in America, called the church of Satan, the church of the Devil. They have a high priest, just like the pope of the Vatican. And they say that history proves that the real God is the Devil. And they look logical. They say, “Your God, the God of good, has always been defeated, and the Devil has always been the victorious. The whole of history proves it. So why worship a weak God who cannot protect you? It is better to follow a strong God who can seduce you but who can protect you also – because he is stronger.” The church of the Devil is now a growing church. And they seem logical. This is what history proves.
This duality – to save God from the negative pole – creates problems. In India we have not created the other pole. We say God is both: the creator and the destroyer, the good and the bad. This is difficult to conceive of because the moment we say “God” we cannot conceive of him being bad. But in India we have tried to penetrate the deepest mystery of existence – that is, oneness. Somehow, good and bad, life and death, negative and positive, meet somewhere, and that meeting point is existence, oneness. What will you call that meeting point? Either you will have to use a positive term, or a negative one, because we don’t have any other terms. If you use positive terms, then you call it “Being” with a capital B – God, Absolute, Brahma. Or if you want to use s negative term, then you call it nirvana, nothingness, sunya, non-being, anatma. Both indicate the same. It is both and your inner being is also both. That is why sometimes I call it being, and sometimes I call it non-being. It is both. It depends on you. If the positive appeals to you, then call it being. If the negative appeals to you, then call it non-being. It depends on you. Whatsoever feels good, whatsoever you feel will give you maturity, growth, evolution, call it that.
There are two types of persons: one who cannot feel any affinity with negativity and the other who cannot feel any affinity with the positive. Buddha is the negative type. He cannot feel affinity with the positive, he feels affinity with the negative. He uses all negative terms. Shankara doesn’t feel affinity with the negative. He talks about the ultimate reality in positive terms. Both say the same thing. Buddha calls it sunya, and Shankara calls it Brahma. Buddha calls it the void, nothing, and Shankara calls it the Absolute, the All. But they are saying exactly the same thing.
Ramanuja, one of Shankara’s greatest critics, says that Shankara is just a hidden Buddhist. He is not a Hindu, he only appears to be because he uses positive terms. That is all the difference there is. Wherever Buddha says nothing, he says Brahma – all else is the same. Ramanuja says that Shankara is the great destroyer of Hinduism because he has brought Buddhism in from the back door by just using a trick – wherever a negative term is used, he uses a positive term, that’s all. He calls him a Prachhana-Bouddha, a crypto-Buddhist. And he is right in a way because there is no difference. The message is the same.
So it depends on you. If you feel an affinity with silence, nothingness, then call that great being Emptiness. If you don’t feel an affinity, if you feel afraid, then call that emptiness The Great Being.
But then your techniques will be different. If you feel scared with emptiness, aloneness, nothingness, then the four techniques I talked about last night will not be of much use to you. Forget them. There are other methods about which I have been talking. Use positive techniques.
But if you are ready and have the courage to be supportless, to move into emptiness, alone, ready to cease completely, then these four techniques will help you tremendously. It depends on you.
Three qualities of space have been given in this technique. Supportless: there can be no support in space. Eternal: it can never end. Still: it will be soundless, it will be silent. Enter this space, it is within you.
But the mind always asks for support. People come to me and if I say to them, “Just sit silently, with closed eyes, and don’t do anything,” they say, “Give me some avalamban, some support. Give me some mantra as a support, because I cannot sit.” Just sitting is difficult. If I give them a mantra, it is okay. They can go on repeating the mantra. Then it is easy. With support you are never empty, that’s why it is easy. Something must go on, you must be doing something. Doing, the doer remains: doing, you are filled. You may be filled with Omkar, Aum, Ram, Jesus, Ave Maria, anything – you may be filled with anything, but you are filled. Then you are okay Mind resists emptiness. It wants always to be filled by something else, because if it is filled it can be. If it is not filled it will disappear. In emptiness you will attain no no-mind. That’s why mind asks for support.
If you want to enter inner space, don’t ask for support. Drop all supports, mantras, gods, scriptures, whatsoever gives you a support. If you feel you are supported, drop it, and just move inside – supportless. It will be fearful; you will feel scared. You are moving to where you can be lost completely. You may not be able to come back because all supports will be lost. Your contact with the bank is lost and where this river will lead you, no one knows. Your support is lost. You may fall into an infinite abyss. Hence, fear grips you, and you ask for some support. Even if it is a false support, you enjoy it. Even a false support is helpful. Because for the mind it makes no difference whether a support is real or false – it must be a support, that’s the point. You are not alone, something is there and supporting you. […]
It happened once that a man came to me. He was living in a house where he felt there were spirits and ghosts. And he was very worried. Through worries, he started seeing more illusions. Through worries, he became ill, weak. His wife said, “If you live any longer in this house, I am leaving.” His children were sent to some relative’s house.
The man came to me and he said, “It has become very difficult now. I see them clearly. They walk in the night. The whole house is filled with spirits. You help me.”
So I gave him one of my pictures and said, “Take it. Now I will tackle those spirits. You simply sleep silently, you need not worry. Really, I will tackle them, I will see to them. Now it is my business. And don’t interfere. Now you need not be concerned.”
The man came the next day. He said, “I slept, it was so beautiful! You have done a miracle!” And I had not done anything but give a support. Through support the mind was filled. It was no longer vacant; someone was there.
In ordinary life you are leaning on many false supports, but they help. And unless you become strong enough, you will need them. That’s why I say that this is the ultimate technique – no support.
Buddha was dying and Anand asked him, “Now you are leaving us, what shall we do? How shall we attain? How shall we proceed now? When the master is gone, we will be wandering in darkness for many, many lives. No one is there to lead us, to guide us, the light is going out.”
So Buddha said, “It will be good for you. When I am no more, you become your own light. Move alone, don’t ask for any support, because support is the last barrier.”
And it happened. Anand had not become enlightened. For forty years he was with Buddha, he was the closest disciple, he was just like a shadow to Buddha, moving with him, living with him; he had had the longest contact with him. For forty years Buddha’s compassion was falling over him, raining over him – for forty years. But nothing happened; Anand remained as ignorant as ever. And the day after Buddha died, Anand became enlightened – the next day, the very next day. The very support had been the barrier. When there was no more Buddha, Anand could not find any support. It is difficult. If you live with a Buddha, and the Buddha goes, then no one can be a support to you. Now no one will be worth clinging to. One who has been clinging to a Buddha cannot cling to anybody else in this world. This whole world will be vacant. Once you have known a Buddha and his love and compassion, then no love, no compassion can compare. Once you have tasted that, nothing else is worth tasting. So Anand was alone for the first time in forty years, totally alone. There was no way to find a support. He had known the highest support; now lower supports would not do. The next day he became enlightened. He must have moved into the inner space, supportless, eternal, still. […]
So remember, don’t try to find any support. Be supportless. If you are trying to do this technique, then be supportless. That is what Krishnamurti is teaching, “Be supportless. Don’t cling to a master. Don’t cling to anything.”
That is what every master has been doing. A master’s whole effort is first to attract you towards him, so that you start clinging to him. When you start clinging to him, when you become close and intimate with him, then he knows that the clinging must be cut. And you cannot cling to anyone else now – that is finished. You cannot move to anyone else – that is impossible. Then he cuts the clinging and suddenly you are left supportless. It will be miserable in the beginning. You will cry and you will weep and you will scream and the whole being will feel that you are lost. Into the very deepest depth of misery you will fall. But from there one arises alone, supportless.
Enter space, supportless, eternal, still.
That space has no beginning, no end. And that space is absolutely soundless. There is nothing – not even a sound vibrating, not even a ripple. Everything is still.
That point is just within you. Any moment you can enter it. If you have the courage to be supportless, this very moment you can enter it. The door is open. The invitation is for all, all and everyone. But courage is needed; courage to be alone, courage to be empty, courage to dissolve and melt, courage to die. And if you can die within to your inner space, you will attain to the life which never dies, you will attain to amrit, to immortality.
Dr. Bernhard Bey, an American Chemist who had interested himself in Vedanta for the last twenty years, now in India, came on a visit to the Master. He asked: “How is abhyasa to be made? I am trying to find the Light.” (He himself explained abhyasa as concentration = one-pointedness of mind.)
The Master asked, what was his abhyasa till now.
The visitor said he concentrated on the nasal base, but his mind wandered.
M.: Is there a mind?
Another devotee gently put in: The mind is only a collection of thoughts.
M.: To whom are the thoughts? If you try to locate the mind, the mind vanishes and the Self alone remains. Being alone, there can be no one-pointedness or otherwise.
D.: It is so difficult to understand this. If something concrete is said, it can be readily grasped. Japa, dhyana, etc., are more concrete.
M.: ‘Who am I?’ is the best japa.
What could be more concrete than the Self? It is within each one’s experience every moment. Why should he try to catch anything outside, leaving out the Self? Let each one try to find out the known Self instead of searching for the unknown something beyond.
D.: Where shall I meditate on the Atman? I mean in which part of the body?
M.: The Self should manifest itself. That is all that is wanted.
A devotee gently added: On the right of the chest, there is the Heart, the seat of the Atman.
Another devotee: The illumination is in that centre when the Self is realised.
M.: Quite so.
D.: How to turn the mind away from the world?
M.: Is there the world? I mean apart from the Self? Does the world say that it exists? It is you who say that there is a world. Find out the Self who says it.
From Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Talk 81, 15th October, 1935
Questioner: May I ask: so consciousness comes into awareness.
Maharaj: Of course, everything is in awareness.
Q. Yeah, okay. First there was awareness, then consciousness.
Translator: He wants you to talk. At the same time he wants you to talk at a very high level.
Q. I do not know if that question is low level or high level.
M. Either way you have to face the music.
Knowingness is consciousness, that I amness. That I amness is a product of or objective to the body.
This is the instrument that says I am, an instrument of awareness. This is like an announcer and for an announcer you have to have this instrument, a psycho-somatic instrument. Awareness is the energy or that which provides the energy.
You see now presently you are starting from the body-mind level. You are a person deeply entrenched in body-mind. You think that you are a human being. Your identity is limited to the body and whatever concepts you are continuously collecting up to now. That is your present identity.
Now when you start the spiritual course, you reject, I am the body, you reject, I am the concepts and you come to this “I am” only. When you think that “I am” only without words also, just the feeling of I am. You have discarded the body and conscious. At that level you are everything. You are not confined into this body also. Because of that feeling “I am”, the moment that feeling “I am” is there, everything is. The world is. If the “I am” is not, the world is not. I am and the world, simultaneously they appear. Therefore your “I am” is totally that world. That is that unity or unicity. When you discard your identity that you are the body and mind but you are only being that is that unity consciousness.
Understand it thoroughly.
Now would you like to feel that unicity consciousness without the body and mind or would you like to get yourself entrenched in the body and mind and become burdened?
This is the basic principle. So I am telling you again and again, understand only this. Don’t try and collect more concepts. Understand this, assimilate this and be this. Be that total unicity consciousness. Then all further things will spontaneously happen.
Give up your idea, that identity that you are the body and mind. Try to stabilize in a situation from where you can observe your body and mind.
Listen to this only, understand this. This is the basic of philosophy of spirituality. Master it, be that. Then you need not come again.
Normally nobody is open to this aspect of spirituality. This is the most important aspect.
Whatever I am giving you hold on to that, be that and the rest will be taken care of spontaneously.
Does this talk make an impact, impression on you?
Q. Yes, I think it over and then I see immediately the difficulties that arise. I try to meditate this week and soon as you meditate it is more difficult than it used to be. It is very difficult to stay in “I am” only and disregard all the concepts.
M. Don’t try to struggle and try to be that. It is as simple as looking at the flowers and to say “I am not the flowers.” I see the flowers. I am not the flowers. I am here the flowers are there. Like that, be yourself and don’t be the body and mind. You are not the body and mind. I am not the body and mind.
Having received this knowledge, important knowledge, I will not allow you to sit or hang on for longer periods because this will be obliterated.
Having got this, either accept this as the truth, the royal process for spirituality, or throw it out and go to somebody else and collect further ideas and concepts about spirituality.
Enjoy the logic and tricks of this spiritual course. Here he said, “you know you’re not the flowers.” It is as simple as that. Later on, since you are involved with the body mind, apply the same logic. Try to observe the body and mind and understand that you are not the body and mind.
Next question is: identifying body and mind, you are not trying to push it out but by understanding you stabilize in a position prior to body. Physically you are not doing anything, just to understand and be at the higher position.
Now next, by doing this step you are the consciousness. Having rejected body and mind you are the consciousness, that total consciousness.
Now the next stage is, you have to understand that this consciousness is due to body. Because of this instrument of body that feeling of consciousness is there and “I” as absolute cannot be that consciousness.
So again try to observe the consciousness as you observe the flowers, in that state, still you have to feel as in the first lesson. Having become the total consciousness or having realized that I am the total consciousness, the next step is to observe the consciousness and all the play happening in the consciousness. Just to understand, it is a critical stage because at the advent of the body and to the consciousness the outcome to the body it is very strong. So to get rid of that or to understand that you are not the consciousness, the product of the body. But that is the next step.
Is it clear?
Q. Yes I understand it.
M. Have you thoroughly understood enough?
Q. Yes I understand and at times when I am living quietly it is relatively easy to witness what is happening in the mind and happening….
M. Have you understood it thoroughly? Just say yes or no.
Q. Yes. It is a difficult stage. It is difficult to remain a witness to everything that is happening in the mind, in the heart, in the memory, all those things. We know quite well we are not those things. Our identity isn’t with those formations.
M. What is more important is the witness not whatever is witnessed. You need not keep an inventory of all that you have witnessed. There is no question of noting down in your memory because that is a wrong step again. You employ the memory belonging to the mind to note down everything. That is not important. The focus of the attention must be on the witness that you are.
Q. The difficulty is keeping the attention on witnessing because involvement in other things is very strong like Maharaj just said.
M. The moment you are caught up in the current of mind, be again back into the witnessing, back into the witnessing.
Q. There are many times when it is difficult to return to the witness.
M. Yes it is not easy that is why there are very few self-realized persons. Had it been easy there would be any number of self-realized persons. It is difficult.
Q. I’m not complaining that it is difficult. I’m saying that even though we know….
M. The difficulty, he is not going to solve. Everybody knows.
Only this much and no further will be given or elucidated by Maharaj. That’s all. It is the limit of communication. Further, you have to fend for yourself.
I have no form. I have no identity and exactly I also see you as my self. You are my self only, without form and without identity.
So wrongly you strayed into this place by mistake, you stumbled into this place. Now you are compelled to listen to this talk. So collect all the talk and use it and don’t come again. If you think it is good, use it. Otherwise throw it out.
The following is transcribed from the tape of a talk given at the Briggs residence in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday 24 January 1970. Franklin Wolff spoke very slowly and with long pauses, so you may want to read it that way, particularly pausing after each paragraph.
Tonight, something I have never attempted before, nor do I know of a precedent. But I assume it must have been done, or I wouldn’t have thought of it. What we seek to do is deliberately produce, if possible, inductions. In the past thirty-three years [the period since his enlightenment experience, which occurred in 1936, and which is described in his Pathways Through to Space – Ed.] we have known many inductions. But always they came spontaneously, as something that happened when it would. Now I shall have to tell you what we are talking about. We do not know whether we will be successful — but there’s a good chance.
There is That which is called Realization. It is the Awakening to another way of Consciousness. It is on the order of a ladder. At the lowest level one may know a little entering wedge of this Consciousness and may advance, usually through several lifetimes, step by step until, at the crown, he attains full Enlightenment and is a Buddha. A glimpse will tell the sadhaka, that is the aspirant, more than a million words. For he’ll step from mere knowledge about, to some glimpse, at least, of acquaintance with.
Now it is fundamental that no one should ever be forced to take a step this way against his will. I’m going to ask you to answer this question before we proceed. And if your answer is negative, we’ll ask you to step into the front room. I want no coercion of any person whatsoever. The question will be: Do you WISH to attain Enlightenment? I’m not asking a question that’s only for this life alone. I’m asking a question that may involve the commitment of many lives. But this I can say, that the consciousness in which we commonly live here, the consciousness of Samsara [the bondage of life, death and rebirth] is a consciousness preeminently of suffering, a
consciousness in which problems arise for which we are unable to find solutions, such as the difficulties you can see in the world about us now. And furthermore, there is for all men in bodies the problem of Death. Is it an end? Or is it but a phase — a movement in the whole of Life? Enlightenment among other things answers such a question.
And in addition I want you to answer this question: Are you willing to cooperate, to participate in an effort that will be a sort of very brief resumé of the steps in actual Yoga? Now, we’ll start with Bob, who is next to me, and I put the question: Do you wish Enlightenment and are you willing to participate in our effort tonight? [Answers follow: Most definitely, Yes. Yes, I do, etc. around the circle of perhaps thirty people.]
All right, now it may hurt. One of the first steps is a step of purification. This is kindergarten stuff, by the way. We may not think so, but it’s very true. You cannot go through this in any comprehensive way; only on one point will we deal with it.
But I’ll say that ultimately it involves the excision of the five lusts [the five senses], of the recognition and the confession of all guilts, of all traumas, self examination that is severe. And I know that when one has loosened these things out of his nature and offers them to the Guru, hardly a man or a woman can do it without being reduced to tears. Now this is Yoga, serious. It’s no drug matter, no shortcuts, no hocus pocus. But it implies the giving of all and in turn one must see all. It calls for absolute honesty. No psychological device to hide from one’s self something that may involve guilt and so on.
But there’s one point we’re going to deal with tonight, the point of hostility. In the sangha and for tonight, at least in part, and at least continuingly, this is a sangha, that is the community of the sadhakas, the seekers — a Brotherhood.
Remove from yourself (this takes an act of real will, it’s an operation if you do it really, like removing a kind of cancer) any hostility you feel, first for anybody whatsoever. Second, most important, remove any hostility you feel for anyone here present. Look into yourself. Don’t veil it from yourself. I’m not asking anyone to speak out. I do not believe in public confessionals a single bit, they are pretty muddy and sordid. Just look within yourself.
Now, there’s something very curious about these persistent qualities that one has to struggle with, like a hostility, like a lust, lust for food and so on. Like a guilt, like a habit that you feel as a guilt that goes on just the same. They are not obstructions.
Strangely, it can be like a concrete substance, and I’m talking from experience. I’ve received offerings of this sort, and I have been once outside of the fire, and I experienced what it was. A strange, utterly alien, psychical mass, that was in me, foreign — alien to my own psychical processes. It took me an hour to clear it up. I was grateful for the experience, for I learned something there: if the fire is burning, and this is a mystic term, it [i.e., that which is alien] vanishes.
Now if you have drawn out of yourself any such feeling of hostility, and now here’s the point, I only ask what you can do. It may cling and so forth, you can’t grab it and so forth, leave that to the Higher Power, but do your part.
I’ve gone through this in the last couple days, in the preparation for this meeting. It was a hostility I found not for anybody here, not for anybody so far as I know in the world today, but for something very far back in an ancient day. Drawing it out called for a gut pain, which means in the vicinity of the solar plexus, or manapura, or in the vital nature. This is a sample of purification of the vital, not now of the mental. We’ll take that up later. Cast it, in your mind, at my feet. And don’t be concerned about me.
And if you have doubts, here is something that most of you never heard, a few of you have. There is power here. On December 27th, 1936, there spoke through Sherifa [his wife] a great Master, the one that repeats every phrase three times. There is still living in the world one witness of that event. The witness is here tonight.
Turning to the four present and indicating Yogi (that’s the way they addressed me), he said: “I would that ye make the Sun to shine within the hearts of men. I would that ye make the true Moon to arise within their minds. I would that ye make the star of Initiation to shine within their Soul. I will direct the fire that consumes the dross, this dross you throw at my feet. I will cause the Light from those flames to descend again as a rain of a Spiritual Fire falling like pearls within the mind and as dew upon the parched hearts of men.”
The power here is not only what you see. That is merely a bit of the vital purification. Beyond that is the mental purification. And this may be even more difficult. For tonight, remove from your mind, as far as may be, all predilections, all preconceptions, all orientations to preferred philosophies. When you leave the door you may take them back. It’s emptying the mind. Retain all your mental powers, at the keenest edge you can maintain, but cast aside all collection that has been garnered, as of ideas in your life so far, until you are outside the door. Empty that mind of preconceptions, of preferences, any predilection, of preferred philosophies. For some this goes deeper than the earlier one of which I spoke. If you have succeeded in this then you have become, in the true sense, as little children. Not the ignorance of children, for you retain every capacity of the mind. All of its powers of self-analysis, all of its capacity for judgment, discernment, discrimination, are to be kept at as acute a level as possible. Only the empty mind can be filled. There’s no room in an overfilled mind. So this is the attitude, the real meaning, of becoming as little children — the openness.
All of this that is covered so far is very brief, and is only the kindergarten stage of Yoga. Oh yes, you may feel grief, you may weep, in going through this. (Or of going through the whole thing, of which I’ve given you a little sample.) You may feel that everything is going away from you, all of your beloved values, and so on. This may make a demand of faith.
Next we’ll come to the question of dedication. What we’ve considered so far is what the Greeks call the “catharsis,” the Purification, and this, in its ideal form, is very thoroughgoing. I’ll quote to you a verse from St. Luke that people have great difficulty in understanding, due to the unfortunate use of a word, that doesn’t have the meaning it had at the time of translation, namely the word hate: “He who does not hate his father and his mother and his brothers and sisters and his wife and children cannot be my disciple.” The key to the difficulty is that the word had a different meaning then: it meant “does not value more or value less than something else.” This is the real meaning of it: that all personal relationships take subordination to the Search. Now the goal may be named differently by different ones, and I’m not a stickler for what you call it. You may call it God Realization, Self Realization, the attainment of Parabraham, the attainment of Tao, the reaching to the Ground, spelled with a capital “G.” That means the Support upon which all rests. Or the Transcendental Modulus, which is quite impersonal, Alayavijnana, and so on. The term that counts in your nature, like the attainment of Buddhahood, does not matter to me. But in any case is the supreme value — THAT, without which nothing else could be. The dedication to this, to be effective, I believe is single-pointed, subordinating every other interest, every other orientation or every other possession, to this prime dedication — a dedication that will go so far that one would be willing to lose all, even life itself, if that were necessary.
Now most human beings don’t reach these perfections of attitude, perhaps; maybe no one ever does completely. But I’m formulating as clearly as I can and as I see it, the Law. There is indeed adjustment to human relativity. This absolute perfection of attitude may not be reached, but it should always be the ideal held before one. He should be satisfied with nothing less than THAT, and at the same time be content with that which he has. That is satisfied contentment, if you please. The office of the Redeemer and the Guru is the bridge that makes the crossing to the other side humanly possible.
But while we cannot attain in general this absolute perfection of attitude, we should never content ourselves, or satisfy ourselves, with anything less. Aim at it always. But be not discouraged because you do not succeed in attaining it now. And as I say, this is the kindergarten part. It may seem a little rough even so. That’s all it is, compared to what follows.
The Ways of Union
There are different ways of Yoga, primarily three: the Yoga of Devotion, the Yoga of Action, or of the Will, and the Yoga of Knowledge. There are technical forms of Yoga, such as Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and so on. These are not really so much different forms as technical additives. The three forms are Devotion, corresponding to feeling; Karma, corresponding to the activistic element in consciousness (the technical term for it is conation); and Jnana Yoga, which is oriented to the cognitive faculties, the cognitive side. We’ll not go into the relative valuation of these different forms of Yoga. Each will find his own way, ultimately. Aurobindo recommends a synthetic Yoga which involves going through all three forms, successively, or simultaneously. It’s not necessary, but he may have a good idea there.
The valuation of them, as to which leads the furthest and so forth, is different with different writers. There’s a tendency in human nature to regard the form which I take as therefore being the highest. Any “I am.” I’m speaking to the I in you. In other words, there is a bit of egoism in that. Shankara places Jnana Yoga as the highest. Aurobindo rates Bhakti Yoga as the highest. It affords two different ways of interpreting the Bhagavad Gita, which deals with these three different forms of Yoga, the trimarga. Shankara would say the first, which is treated in the second chapter of the Gita, the Yoga of Knowledge, is the highest. But if you’re unable to meet that altitude, then there is provided for you at a somewhat simpler and easier level, the Yoga of Action. And if that too is a little too much for you, there is the final form of the Yoga of Devotion, an orientation to the Person of the Divine, if you please, rather than to the Power or the Wisdom of the Divine, to use the religious form of language.
But what we’ll sketch tonight will belong to Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Knowledge, the Yoga I know. I sympathize with all who choose the other paths. There is no rejection whatever. But this I know.
Now I’ll outline a philosophic position, to orient an attitude favorable to Jnana Yoga. It’s for you to place, for the time being, in your emptied minds, not something you are forced to agree with. I ask you to take a journey with me and see how you like the scenery. If it is not to your taste, then you may turn otherwhere; it is perfectly all right. Just a journey, to see the scenery, if you can.
A Philosophic Position
The position is radically antimaterialistic, radically antibehavioristic, and radically anti-Tantric. I’ll explain. I do not mean a materialistic orientation attains no truth. In fact, practically all our Western orientation is materialistic, in the broad sense of the word, since it’s extroverted. It’s oriented to the object, the thing, mechanism, wealth, externalities. And these are the sources of value. In the broad sense, that’s materialism. And materialism is not simply that which is so known, technically, in Philosophy, or by the Marxists, which is a particular heavy, dense, dark form of materialism.
Antibehavioristic because this [i.e., behaviorism] is a view developed in the study of animal behavior and extended to human beings in an important part of sociality, in which, essentially, you treat the animals or the humans as nonconscious beings. You treat them as though they were no more than computers, something that receives stimuli and responds to it. And, while most men would not go so far as to say there is no such thing as consciousness in a human being, the behaviorists and materialists would say it doesn’t count — it’s a byproduct. As one man said, “It is only a bump on the log of evolution and is totally irrelevant.”
Now our position is radically anti-Tantric. Some of you no doubt know what we’re referring to. It is a large subject. The thesis of the proponents of Tantra is that it is the form of Yoga available in Kali Yuga [the Dark Age], that the other forms of Yoga belong to the other Yugas [ages]. Man in his density needs the aid of something he can grasp with his ordinary capacities [the senses]. So the stunt of sitting in certain difficult postures and breathing in a certain way and performing a number of difficult acts involving the body and certain specific concentrations within his understanding, will enable him to attain, through an external approach, to an effect. What they say is Shakti, the Divine Mother, leads you to Shiva. Not a direct approach through the powers of Consciousness itself, which is the way of Jnana Yoga. If you read any of the “Mahatma Letters” you’ll find some pretty strong criticisms of Tantra. Tantra lends itself to misuse because, like drugs, it can force a condition for which the Sadhaka is not yet prepared morally, mentally or spiritually. I’m strongly anti-Tantric.
The Power of Introverted Mind
Now another point, dealing with Psychology. I want to read you something from Carl Jung. This is very pertinent. It’s about two pages:
Speaking of the Oriental position, the Psyche is therefore all important. It is the all pervading Breath, the Buddha Essence, it is the Buddha Mind, the One, the Dharmakaya. All Existence emanates from It and all separate forms dissolve back into It. This is the basic Psychological prejudice that permeates Eastern man in every fiber of his being, seeping into all his thoughts, feelings and deeds, no matter what creed he professes. In the same way Western man is Christian, no matter to what denomination his Christianity belongs. For him man is small inside, he is next to nothing. Moreover, as Kierkegaard says, “Before God, man is always wrong.” By fear, repentance, promises of submission, self abasement, good deeds and praise he propitiates the Great Power, which is not himself, but totally alien, the wholly other, altogether perfect and outside the only reality.
If you shift the formula a bit and substitute for God some other power, for instance the World, or money, you get a complete picture of Western man: assiduous, fearful, devout, self abasing, enterprising, greedy and violent in his pursuit of the goods of this world, possessions, health, knowledge, technical mastery, public welfare, political power, conquest and so on.
What are the great popular movements of our time? Attempts to grab the money, or property, of others and to protect our own. The mind is chiefly employed in devising suitable “isms” to hide the real motives, or to get more loot. I refrain from describing what would happen to Eastern man should he forget his Ideal of Buddhahood, for I do not want to give such an unfair advantage to my Western prejudices. But I cannot help raising the question of whether it is possible, or indeed advisable, for either to imitate the other’s standpoint. You cannot mix fire and water. The Eastern attitude stultifies the Western, and vice versa. You cannot be a good Christian and redeem yourself nor can you be a Buddha and worship God. It is much better to accept the conflict, for it admits only of an irrational solution, if any.
Now he [i.e. Jung] goes on and modifies that a bit:
By an inevitable decree of fate, the West is becoming acquainted with the peculiar facts of Eastern spirituality. It is useless either to belittle these facts or to build false and treacherous bridges over yawning gaps. Instead of learning the spiritual techniques of the East by heart and imitating them in a thoroughly Christian way, imitatio Christi, with a correspondingly forced attitude, it would be far more — and this is an important part of it — it would be far more to the point to find out whether there exists in the Unconscious an introverted tendency similar to that which has become the guiding spiritual principle of the East. We should then be in a position to build on our own ground, with our own methods.
And right there is the point we’re dealing with here: using the despised stone discarded by the builders, as the foundation of our temple — the power of the introverted Western mind. And to this, I believe, I’ve contributed something. The power and the prospect opened by the introverted Western mind…. [Several words were inaudible here, ending with the phrase “open by the Eastern introverted mind.”] It’s the neglected door.
We are all one in the last analysis. But we are different facets of an ultimate Reality. The right method used by the wrong man leads to wrong results. And merely imparting that which is valid to one with the Eastern psychology into and for Western man is not enough. It amounts to his taking upon himself a false facade.
But our door to the Eternal has been neglected. It has been overgrown with vines and debris collected around it. But that door exists and it is not now closed as it once was. But he who goes this way may be despised by his Western brothers. For it is the way of deep introversion, a positive power. There is weak introversion, just as there is weak extroversion. There is the introversion that is only a narcissistic interest in one’s own ego, that is to be sure. But I’m talking of the power of the introverted mind to unlock doors that are hopelessly closed to the extroverted mind. This is not now a matter of technology, not now a matter of the collection of worldly goods, but it is a matter of penetrating into the depths of consciousness.
Now let’s start a little analysis. This calls for philosophic action, the kind of thinking that goes on in philosophy.
Do you know any mountain, any house, any tree, as it is in itself? If you’re really good at analysis you’ll have to admit that all you know is a psychic imago [i.e., an idealized image in our minds], which you call mountain, tree, house, human being, animal or what not. This is all we ever contact. Now it is our custom to suppose that corresponding to these imagoes there is a nonconscious thing out there, a mountain, house, tree and so on. But actually that is blind belief, just as blind as belief in an extra-cosmic God. I never, nor did you nor anyone else, ever experience anything but an imago in his psyche which he calls mountain, house, tree and so forth. You may say you believe there is something out there. Dr. Jung says, “Yes, I believe there’s something out there.” He doesn’t know it. And I maintain there is no good reason for that belief. At least we can dispense with it.
Let us build upon that which we know and not upon this belief in a nonconscious existence out there. This is rigorous now. Most everybody, as a matter of course, acts as though that was out there, and he pretends to be rigorous and isn’t really rigorous. He never has contacted that out there, he’s contacted only the imagoes in his psyche. And one will raise this doubt: but I have to come to terms with these objects; I can’t act as though the mountain were not, as though the house were not, or the tree was not, as therefore it must be. Ah, yes, in some sense it is. But you do not need to use the hypothesis of an external nonconscious existence. There is, and we can know this from our analysis of consciousness if it goes deeply, that which Jung called the “collective unconscious.” And we will see presently that it is only apparently unconscious. Actually it is an inversion of consciousness and can be experienced as consciousness. Nonetheless it is objective to us as individuals. And the basis of that objectivity, to which we must adjust, can be seen as a presentiment out of this collective unconscious. And that is why we have to come to terms with it.
And then, here’s a thought. Suppose you had so far penetrated into the myriad resources of Yoga and moved within this collective unconscious, realized as another way of consciousness — and then you might say to that mountain, “Disappear,” and it would disappear. Not consciousness moving a nonconscious mass, but consciousness molding the stuff of Consciousness Itself. If you can get this orientation, Jnana Yoga becomes a lot easier, it’s rational, much simpler — and the ultimate meaning of Enlightenment is clarified. And we’ll see the reason where the Buddhists, in their Sutras, speak of the Voidness of all things. They are void because they are not self existences in themselves, but formations in Consciousness, and that alone.
So we come to the first stage of self analysis. It runs generally this way: I ask, “What am I?” And first it occurs to me that the idea that I am this body is a delusion, because this body is an object before my consciousness. I speak as though it were my body, I speak as though I possess it. It is therefore external to me. I am not the body.
And then we come to dealing with our vital nature, our feelings. We get into a roaring rage, we fall in love, we are delighted with the beauties of a symphony and strongly reach out toward it. Are those feelings of “I”? No, for I experience them. I but experience them. They are different from me. I can identify them and name them, and that itself is enough proof that they are not I. Now, are you ready? I am very deliberately violating the rules of grammar, for the I of which I speak is never an object, never a me. You can’t write these things and be grammatically correct.
Am I this body of thoughts in my mind? No. One gets a little closer to his thoughts than to anything else, and it’s a little harder to untangle this. But if he watches and studies closely enough, the thoughts come to me. I accept or reject them. That which accepts or rejects them is different from the thought. And then I finally reach this point where I find that I must be this something, in some sense, different from other people. I’m not the mind, I’m not the feelings, I’m not the body — that I see. But I surely am, I surely am an individual, apart from others.
Now what you’ve gotten a hold of is a very difficult fellow — it’s your ego. He can sneak around and confuse you like the dickens. You can spend years trying to get behind him. And what you do, you can get into an infinite regression. You look at your ego. All right, here am I and all of a sudden it dawns upon you that that which is looking at the ego is really the I. So you stick that one out in front. You look at it again, but then your realize it couldn’t be, because here is a something that is observable. At last it finally dawns that I AM THAT which is never an object before Consciousness. And mayhap, at that moment, in your analysis — the Heavens will open.
One time I went through this analysis in 1937 and as I finished it, somehow or other, there was induced in me a state that was later identified as waking samadhi. It seemed like a great pillar of force surrounding me with its center apparently coalescing with the spine. And I would have estimated, as it felt to be, about six feet in diameter, and within that, energies were rising and descending. The body began to get stiff. It was difficult to walk over to the podium. I had been at the blackboard and I rested on the podium. Speech became lower in register. Maintaining function objectively was difficult without breaking the state. I saw that the whole audience was involved. You could see it in their faces and so on. I described the state to them for a short time. And when I felt there had been enough of it, because this would be rather strong for one that was green to it, I turned it off. Now that was an easy thing to do. There’s just a little valve somewhere in one’s total psyche — I call it the butterfly valve. You flip it as easy as you would move a finger. It shifts your consciousness to another way and all of this began running down, like an engine with a flywheel on which the power is turned off. And I had them, the students, give me a report on their experiences. Almost every student had an induction that night. The experiences were of a sort that compared well with those reported in Dr. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness. That is what I mean by an induction.
Now a little bit more of this analysis. We’re getting a little more subtle. You break a leg, you have an attack of colic, or somebody shoots you and you say, “I suffer.” There is certainly something in you that is involved in a state of suffering. There’s no question about that. Or again, you may be having a delightful experience, eating something you enjoy, or dancing, or looking at a moving picture that is very attractive, or scenery in the wild, and so forth. You say, “I am delighted.” Something does participate in the modification of consciousness, no doubt about that. But if you are subtle enough in your analysis, the sense of I suffering, or I enjoying, has standing above it a sense of I that only witnesses suffering and enjoyment and all these states, and is not in the least affected by it. This “I” that suffers and enjoys goes through all conditions and will say, “I am in these states,” which is our ordinary way of language, is less than that I. Probably you should properly call it ego.
Now if your analysis has been subtle enough to isolate this that witnesses, that stands aloof and untouched, the most intimate part of all your being, then you can Transcend — then and there — all conditioning; witnessing all, but conditioned by nothing. Witnessing time, among other things, but unconditioned by time. And then, you may know — not believe, not have faith in, but know — your own indestructibility. Not because the Scriptures say so, not because anyone else says so, but because for yourself you have discovered your identity in That which merely witnesses time and is not conditioned by it. That which is unconditioned by time is birthless and deathless and eternal. And you have solved with knowledge, once for all, one of the greatest uncertainties that badgers man.
Oh, it doesn’t mean that you are proven an immortal organism. You have proven your own deathlessness, not the immutability of equipment — that is another matter. Equipment may be made to last longer than it does with us ordinarily. But that which is born inevitably passes away, and sometimes that is quite fortunate, for that which is born may be suffering, and it will pass away. But this which you have discovered as “I” never was born and transcends time; witnesses, as you discovered it, witnesses time and even space. Thus beyond time and space and law, know that I AM. And when I say that, I speak for the I in each and every one of you. For this I is One and Alone. It is apparently many, just as the Sun shining appears again in the dew drops as a little sun, but yet the Sun is One Alone.
So it is that the I in me and the I in thee is the One and Only I. Atman is identical with Paramatman. Not because the book says so, but because you have been there and found it so. And this at last is knowledge, not information about, but the saving and redeeming knowledge. You are liberated. You are liberated by the power of the introverted mind. Not by reason of someone having to be tortured to death upon the cross and by your believing in that One who was said to rise again out of the grave. The extroverted mind is a weak sissy in this field. The very power that is despised by the Western builder is the power by which we can gain redemption.
I’m a little belligerent on this point because of the general attitude of the West. I’m a heretic here. I have said some things at other times that already were heretical from a Buddhist, or the Vedantist, or the Christian point of view. But also — this is the worst heresy of all — the heresy against the great Western prejudice and the great Western religion: the worshipping of the extroverted mind. Christianity is only something added on. And that is why we are in such a mess. The helpless extroverted mind can make a mess that it can’t clean up.
The Threshold of Nirvana
Now you’ve gone far enough to be at the threshold of Nirvana. You may sample, oh, the unbelievable delight and unbearable sweetness that is all encompassing, the peace that is ever enduring beyond the greatest imagination, and you may well say though I suffered through a hundred lives as the price, yet that price would be as naught compared with this. Yes, now the real steps come, the hard ones — yes, the really hard ones.
It is possible to accept this wonder, to enter and have the door closed behind you and to be separated, for what you might call forever — it isn’t actually so, but for all practical purposes it is — from your suffering mankind out there in the world beyond. Are you satisfied with that? Could you be fully happy knowing that though all problems for you are resolved, the suffering out there has not ceased? You may choose, then, and this I urge, that you will not enter into a selfish Bliss, but you will take of the resources that you have garnered and become one of the redeemers among men. The picture in the literature stops at this point.
The Picture Beyond the Literature
And what I’ll say now goes beyond the literature. Whether this is the door open to all who take this step, whether this of which I am about to speak is the door open to all, I know that it came to me and there walked into my consciousness THAT which transcended the nirvanic as the nirvanic transcended the sangsaric. It’s quality was totally different. Not one of this delight, but a Principle of Equilibrium that united all pairs of opposites including Samsara and Nirvana. In some ways a kind of neutral Consciousness that knew that it could enter the nirvanic state and leave it at will, enter the sangsaric state and leave it at will. Nowhere in literature did I find any reference to anything of this sort. And then, at its peak, the sense of I vanished and the object of consciousness, which now had appeared as the Robe of the Divine, also vanished, and only Consciousness remained. Not the consciousness of some entity, but Consciousness Self-existent, and the Source of all selves and all worlds. This is Enlightenment. This is the KEY to the Buddhist scriptures, the Doctrine of the Voidness, and so forth.
Now one knows that the appearance, which is so familiar with us upon Earth, of consciousness seeming to be the weak sister that depends upon things without, is an inversion of the Reality. And that Consciousness in the end is the Root Source, the Support and the Substance of all things. Not consciousness merely in the sense of cognition, but Consciousness in a substantive sense — eternal, deathless, the Source of all phenomena, permitting him who is there to evolve worlds and systems and so forth, if he so chooses, out of the Substance of that Consciousness. At last, Enlightenment!And no longer is there any renunciation anywhere. Samsara and Nirvana below, free entry to both, functioning between them and, mayhap, by opening the door of Nirvana so that its saving Substance may flow through the stygian hall of Samsara, mankind may be so transformed that he’ll find the way to solve his unsolvable problems. He will find a way where war will be no more, and clashing and conflict of interest will be no more. The sangsaric world will remain a purified, cleansed zone in which Consciousness plays its games in happiness and delight, and from this height you now may descend, and among men you may carry That which is Real.
Now I don’t expect that everyone here climbed all the way. I am giving you a glimpse of the journey, a journey the key to which is that one dedicates the whole of what he is and his whole life. And I can assure you that it is well worth all that it may cost.
Now I think this is enough. It didn’t take two hours. I’ll close with a certain mantram that comes from the Prajnaparamita [Sutra] and then I will leave. But before that I wish that all of you who are driving cars would see [X] first and get her okay. If she doesn’t give you an okay and tells you to wait a while, do so by all means. You may not be experienced with a state of light trance. And I know from my experience it is very dangerous to try to drive a car in light trance. I have studied it a good deal and decided you have got to definitely extrovert there. You may be more or less in trance this evening. So, I wish you would go to X and ask her if it’s all right for you to drive. If it isn’t all right for you, it might be for some other one in your party. I know what I’m talking about. Don’t think this is nonsense. There may be those of you who are experienced in this matter and can take care of yourselves, but if you are not, you may think you are in your perfectly normal consciousness and yet there may be an overlapping of a trance consciousness. There has been some here tonight. So take that check.
And now I wish some of you, if you have had any experiences, I wish you would write them down and send them to me. We may meet again when we come back from Douglas about Monday.
Now let us close with this Mantra: Tadyatha — Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha. [Gone, gone, gone to the other shore; safely passed to that other shore.]
* * *
You are looking for an experience, for God, for beauty. This means you see what you are looking for as an object. I would say: Simply inquire who is looking. When you really inquire, you will see that the looker is what you are really looking for. That is the shortest way, if one can still speak of a way.
Be clear in your mind that what you are looking for can never be an object. Because you are what you are looking for, so you can never see it, never comprehend it. You can only be it. Being it means you have no representation, no idea of it. You are free from all concepts. When the mind sees this it comes to a stop. Then you find yourself in a kind of nakedness. You are this nakedness free from all qualification. So, be it really. Be completely attuned to it.
Living Truth, page 213
When the seen points to the seeing, live the seeing. That is your homeground. When the seen points to the seeing, there is no one who sees and nothing is seen. There is only seeing. This seeing can never be objectified because you are it. It is your homeground. So every object can bring you back to your real nature. So when we ask for the reason for the existence of an object, it is only to reveal this homeground, the ultimate subject.
Robert: Some of you look so serious. This is not a serious satsang, it’s a lot of fun, feel happy. Happiness is your real nature. You might as well get used to it, it’s going to overtake you whether you like it or not.
I want you to ask yourself a question: Why am I here at satsang? Why did I come here? Did you come to observe the speaker? To compare him to other speakers? Most of you have gone to so many meetings, you’re totally confused. Going to meetings for some of you is like going to the movies. You ask, “What’s playing this week?” The same way you ask, “Who’s speaking this week?” But, some of you never do anything about it. You listen to the message and then you go home and then you say, “Well wasn’t he or she an eloquent speaker, that was great! What are we going to do now? Let’s go bowling. Let’s go watch TV” And you forget all about the meeting until next time.
Some of you have been going to meetings for thirty years or more. What have you accomplished? You have read every book that has been written. Where are you? Are you happy? Are you liberated? Are you free? Ask yourself.
What we offer here, is absolutely nothing, no thing. It’s all in the invisible. It all has to do with consciousness and consciousness is your real nature. It’s really what you are. When you identify with consciousness, you become your real Self. When you don’t, you’re a part of humanity, struggling, trying to become free.
In order to understand the body-mind phenomena, that you are not the body-mind, you first have to understand what the mind is. What is the mind? It is merely a conglomeration of energy, of thoughts, thoughts about the past and the future. That’s all the mind is. The mind is not your friend. But you can use the mind to accomplish many things. We’ve all been programmed, brainwashed. It started, when you were in your mother’s womb. All of her feelings, all of her negation or positiveness, all of her energy was transferred into you. Not only that, but you have samskaras, past life tendencies, fears, prejudices that also go into your subconscious before you were born.
When you come out into the world, you’re put in your crib and you pick up the vibrations of your house, people fighting, parents hitting each other, loving each other, all that goes into your subconscious mind and makes up you. When you’re at the age when you walk you go outside and play with some friends and your environment soaks into your subconscious mind. Then you go to school, you go to church, temple, synagogue and all those teachings go into your subconscious. Then you grow up you get a job, have a family and here you are. You’re a product of preconceived ideas, of concepts. But is that really you? It’s you as long as you believe it’s you.
When you get tired of playing games, something within you gives you a push. That’s called the inner guru. It pushes you from within and something outside leads you to the right person, to the right book, to the right environment that you have to be, because you have given up playing games. In other words you’ve become tired of the world and you want liberation. Wanting liberation is very funny to me. It’s like a person taking a shower saying, “I want to get wet.” Liberation is your very nature, you have to wake up to it, to realize it’s you. So you are a conglomeration of thoughts, of energy, that has programmed you since you were a baby. And here you are. So, now that you’re here and you know how you’ve been programmed, what are you going to do about it?
But let’s talk a little bit about the mind a little more. If you know about the mind, you will know what you have to get rid of. The mind doesn’t really exist. But you’ve been programmed to believe that the mind is an entity, that it does exist. Therefore you have to play this game, getting rid of the mind. Let’s see again how the mind works. Let us compare the mind to the earth.
A farmer has two seeds. One is of Nightshade, a deadly poison and the other is of corn. The seeds are thoughts. The farmer plants both seeds. And once the seeds are planted, the earth has no alternative but to grow in abundance, whatever has been planted. In the same way, when you accept certain thoughts, your mind grows those thoughts until they become your experience. And this is why you have the problems that you’ve got today. You have created them yourself.
Take another example. Have you ever planted seeds? Sure you have, some of you have. Say a farmer plants a rose seed, a tulip seed, a carrot seed and let us imagine that these seeds are like us. They can think and talk like humans. And the rose seed says to itself, “look at that beautiful rose, they say that I will grow into a rose. I will become a rose.
But that sounds impossible. How can I ever be a beautiful rose like that. It’s virtually impossible for me to do that.” By that very thought the seeds would stagnate and not grow. The carrot seed says the same thing, “I’m just a nothing, a nobody, how can I ever grow into a beautiful carrot?” By that very thought the seed would stagnate.
In the same way I say to you, “You are absolute reality. You are Brahman, infinite awareness, consciousness.” But you say, “How can that be? That sounds impossible. I’m just a lowly person, I’m nobody important.” And you keep identifying with your body and your mind. As long as you identify with your body and your mind, the lord of karma, Ishvara, becomes your Master. And you’re under the jurisdiction of the Lord of Karma. Therefore you keep coming back again and again to this earth. And then you become sort of earth bound, until you become totally free. But you have to do this by yourself. You have to practice certain techniques.
Somebody asked me just recently, “You say that consciousness, reality, is like a screen and the body, the world are all images on the screen.” And the question is “Since I believe I’m an image, can I change my image to a better one?” In other words, as long as you believe that you’re an image and you are not consciousness, can you improve your lot? Can you improve your lifestyle and change your image?
Now, that is up to the lord of karma. As most of you know everything has been preordained, determined before you took up your body. But you have certain freedom, depending on your karma. And the question really is, “Can you make a sick body well? Can you make a poor person rich? Can you make a depressed person happy?” You’re working at a mind level when you do this. You’re not going to the ultimate truth, but you’re working from your mind. And you can never find freedom and liberation by working from your mind.
As an example: Let’s say for instance, you manipulate you mind enough and you’ve got cancer. You’ve been working on yourself for fifteen years. You use imaging techniques, you use mind control. You imagine that the white blood corpuscles are attacking the cancer and you finally heal yourself of cancer. You get written up in the “National Inquirer.” You appear on “Phil Donahue.” And you feel great and proud of yourself, you’ve healed yourself of cancer. Next month you’re crossing the street, a truck hits you and you’re dead. That’s what happens through mind manipulation.
Let’s take another case. You’re working on yourself to become rich. You take the proper real estate courses. You learn business administration. You use mind control. And after twenty years you become a multimillionaire. You get married and have three children. Then your wife and children get killed in an automobile accident. Somebody kidnaps you and holds you for ransom. And you have to pay out ten million dollars. And you’re back where you started from.
What I’m trying to say is, working with the mind is not the answer. We bypass the mind. We realize the mind is not our friend. The idea is to annihilate the mind. To annihilate thought. How we do this? Through the method of Jnana Marga, through the method of vichara, self-inquiry, this is the fastest method to liberate you from confusion and ignorance.
When you have a problem, when you have some sort of confusion. You simply ask yourself the question, “To whom does this come? Who has this problem? Or who has this karma?” And pretty soon the answer will come by itself, “I do.” Then you further ask, “From where does this I come from? What is the source of I?” You abide in the I, you hold onto the I. You start to use a meditation called, “I-I,” You simply abide in the I as long as you can. And you follow the I thread into your spiritual heart. You say to yourself, “I, I, I, I, I, I.” You remember that everything in the world is attached to I. Isn’t it?
Think of all the times in your life you’ve said, “I. I feel sick. I feel depressed. I feel happy. I feel out of sorts.” Who is this I that you’re talking about? Is it your body? It can’t be your body. Because when you sleep and you wake up you say, “I slept.” When you dream, you wake up you say, “I dreamt.” And when you’re awake you say, “I’m awake.” To whom are you referring when you say, “I?”
Find out, go within, ask yourself, “Who am I? Where did I come from?” But never answer, just pose the question, “What is this source of I?” and one day you will realize that I does not exist. When you follow I to the source, one day there will be like a big explosion and you will see myriads of light particles all around you. You will then realize that the whole universe is nothing but a bunch of light particles. Yet this is not the answer. For where did the light particles come from? They come from no thing, from nothing. And nothing is consciousness.
Consciousness is like space. It has no shape. Yet it takes the shape of every creation. It appears to take the shape of the world, of people. Everything is consciousness. Consciousness is like a chalkboard. And the objects of the world are like images on the chalkboard. You can draw any image that you like. You can draw an Indian. You can draw two people fighting. Two people making love. And then you erase it and draw something else. But the chalkboard never changes. The chalkboard is always the same. So it is with you. You go through all kinds of experiences. But the realization is that you are not the experiences you’re going through. You are consciousness, that is your real nature. Think about that.
My real nature to you.
I am not a preacher, nor a philosopher. I am not a minister nor a lecturer. I can only share with you the way that I feel. When I use the word, “I-am,” I-am referring to all of you. I-am is another word for God, the first name of God. Another word for consciousness, omnipresence is I-am. I feel that I-am not the body nor the mind. I am absolute awareness. I am ultimate oneness. I-am infinite intelligence, nirvana, emptiness, I-am that I-am. I am sat-chit-ananda. I am parabrahman. I was never born and I can never die. I Am That I Am.
The world is a product of my imagination. I see the world as consciousness. I see the reality, perfection, peace, love, happiness. This is the real Self and nothing else exists.
Welcome to satsang. Satsang is where we sit around and rejoice in each other. And if there are any questions you wish to ask feel free to do so. If you wish to make a statement or say anything you like, this is the time to do it. For you don’t expect me to keep talking do you? Feel free to ask any question about the spiritual path, or about anything else.
SL: Robert, I know that when we try to meditate or just clear our minds, you said that we could do it by asking the “I” question. Someone also mentioned before about clearing the mind by just trying to listen is that also another way?
R: It makes no difference what method you use to clear your mind. The idea is to make your mind quiescent. To make your mind still and calm. When your mind is still and calm you solve the problem. All the methods, self-inquiry, breath control, yoga, everything is to quiet the mind. Use whatever method suits you. You can become the witness to your thoughts. You can watch your thoughts as they go by. When you become the witness and you do not interfere with the thought process, the thoughts automatically begin to weaken by themselves, until they dissipate entirely.
You can ask yourself, “To whom comes these thoughts?” Whatever method you use is fine. But by all means do something to still the mind. And again when the mind is still and quiet, everything will take care of itself. The secret is to quiet the mind. Your real nature is self-realization. When the mind is stilled, you just return to your real nature, to what you always were.
SL: Earlier you said that, something was the fastest path to self-realization? That versus what?
R: Versus anything. It has been proven that vichara is the fastest path to awaken. Vichara means self-inquiry. By inquiring within yourself and finding the source of your existence, your body-mind disappears. And you become your Self once again. But it’s not for everyone. Most people seem to have some kind of difficulty. Then you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and do whatever helps you. Breath control, mantras, japa, repetition of Gods name, everything brings you to the top. But by all means do something.
This is why I share these various methods of meditation with you. If you get tired of one you can use another one. If you practice something will give eventually. Something will happen to the one who practices.