The Movement of the Mind – Vimala Thakar

Mount Abu; July 13, 1973

The brain, or the mind, is a sense organ like any other sense organ in the human body. And thinking, feeling, or willing, or, for that matter, any and every cerebral activity, is a sensual activity. This sense organ, the cerebral structure, is invisible; it is invisible but not intangible; it can be touched and felt through machines maneuvered by man. Thus thinking is as much a material activity or physical activity as any other known and identified physical activity. Just as you hear the sound of cars or perceive objects with the eyes and the optical nerves, and you call it audition or perception, in the same way the brain responds to the challenges and the situations that emerge in daily life. That response is called thinking, feeling or sentiment, according to its functional nature.

There is movement in the cerebral organ when you think or feel, when you experience emotions or sentiments. When you remember, recollect, contemplate, ponder, or think, there is a very subtle cerebral movement that spreads all over the body and affects the nervous system of the whole being. It is a movement. It is an activity. It consumes energy. It stimulates energy. So in concentration or in the state of attention or observation, a very subtle kind of movement goes on. It is not meditation. The state of experiencing is not the state of meditation; the state of thinking or feeling is not the state of meditation and in the same way, the state of observation or the state of bare, simple attention is still not the state of meditation.

We saw yesterday that movement indicates energy and energy is the property of matter. Energy exists in matter. If you analyze matter into atoms, electrons, and molecules, you will find that there is energy contained in the finest particle of matter. It is impossible to come across a particle of matter that has no energy and therefore no movement. Matter has energy and energy has movement. Thought is matter. Thinking is a material, sensual activity and has tremendous energy. It has a movement that has been measured by man, qualified, modified, sophisticated, regulated, and controlled by man. Culture and civilization regulate and control cerebral activity and, indirectly, psychophysical and physical activity. They regulate and control psychological and biological movement. The content of culture and civilization is to give cerebral activity a direction, to regulate it, to modify it, so sophisticate it, and so on, and so on. Thus in the state of attention, the brain is moving. The built-in movement of cognition goes on. As the eyes involuntarily see and the ears involuntarily hear, the brain involuntarily is in the state of attention. You may not look at an object, you may only see it, and yet your brain registers the form, the shape, the color, and tells you the name of the object according to your education, culture, and civilization. An Indian villager, for example, will not know what to call a spacecraft or spaceship. He will see a form in the sky. So the brain of a simple villager in India will register the shape, the color, perhaps the material of the spacecraft, but not the name. The villager has not had the education or the cultural upbringing. He does not know the thing. But still the brain registers the color, the shape, the size, the mass, the volume.

If a person does not know Indian music, he will not be able to tell you the raga, the melody, the tila, the time beats, and so on. The person will feel only the volume and perhaps the pitch, if he has the sensitivity. So the registration, the naming, the cognition by the brain take place according to the person’s education, culture, or the context of his life: urban life or agrarian life. But it is an involuntary activity of the brain. So the brain is in the state of attention, and whether you want it to or not, it identifies the shape, the size, the color, and perhaps the name. In other words, it is a response of the brain to the movement of life outside the skin. You don’t make an effort, but yet there is a movement, movement of the energy contained in the brain.

I am trying to share with you something that I have seen. We have been going step by step for the past couple of days into this very complex and subtle region of the human psyche. The brain indicates the color, the shape, the size, and even the name, but the sting of reaction, that is to say, the activity of the ego, the self, the me, does not take place. The distinction between concentration and attention has to be understood and grasped very clearly. In a state of concentration, you react. You resist. But in a state of attention there is no resistance. There is no analysis. There is no reaction of the ego.

In experiencing, the reactions are very gross and understandable by anyone. In concentration, the reactions are subtle, but still noticeable. In attention, there is no reaction, but movement is still there. When a human being sustains the state of attention and the intensity thereof for some time, intelligence begins to unfold itself. Just as out of a bud the flower blossoms and unfolds itself, so, too out of unconditional relaxation (the state of attention that is the involuntary cerebral activity through which one has to go), intelligence begins to unfold itself. Intelligence is the sensitivity of the whole body. Attention is a cerebral activity. Concentration includes psychological reaction in addition to cerebral activity. When the attention is sustained, the sensitivity of the whole body begins to unfold itself, to operate and function, so that there is no longer a cerebral activity, but the total existence becomes eloquent.

Awareness is the existential eloquence of the person, and yet the sensitivity, the intelligence expressing itself in awareness, is not meditation. I am aware of the things around me; I am aware of the stillness of my body; I am aware of the state of attention contained in me; I am aware of the vibrations outside and inside me. That is to say, the I, or the state of awareness, and the surroundings, or the life of which I am aware, are distinctly different from each other. In the state of attention, the brain is active; now the whole being acts and yet there is a distinction. I am aware of the totality, but even then I stand outside the totality to be aware of it.

You may be a witness to the whole universe. It indicates that you are trying to stand outside the universe to be aware of it. Thus awareness is still an individual movement: the individual stands apart from the universe; the individual stands apart from the cosmos. That movement of the individual may be in harmony with the universal movement, and it may be in harmony with the cosmic movement, but there is still movement taking place within the individual. The complex consciousness that man has enables him to be aware that he is in the state of awareness. In awareness, you feel the presence of the life around you; you feel the presence of the life within you. You feel the presence not of specific objects that you would count, compare, and evaluate, but you feel the presence of the totality within you and the totality outside you. You feel the coexistence of the individual totality, that is to say, the universe condensed in the human form; after all, that is what you are. So one is aware of the totality contained in the human form existing side by side with the totality outside the skin.

We are now in the region of what is most difficult to verbalize. When you say I am in the state of awareness, there is no attention or observation. They are left behind. Even in the state of awareness, it seems to me, movement is taking place in the individual. And movement, indicating energy contained in certain forms of matter, is within the field of time and space, and life is much vaster than time and space. Time and space are contained in life. Movement takes place within time and space. But life also exists outside time and space. The is-ness, the to-be-ness of life, has no movement in it. So human consciousness can take you from the field of experiencing, doing, concentrating, observing, and paying attention, to the state of awareness. The human consciousness, or psyche, can carry you up to the region of awareness. Beyond the state of awareness, there is no consciousness, no movement, no time and space. Perhaps that is the state that could be called the state of meditation, the state of samadhi. In meditation, there is no movement. Life has no movement: it is only matter that has movement. Movement and energy are the property of matter. Life is is-ness without any movement whatsoever. That which remains without movement can be called neither individual nor universal. It has no center and no circumference. Intellectual activity has a center, the me, the self, the ego. Awareness as the activity of the intelligence has the whole human body, the human individual, as the center. Beyond awareness, the individual is not at the center. Nothing moves out of the individual. Nothing emanates or radiates from the person. Just as in the state of observation there is no ego-centered activity, so in the state of awareness, the whole cerebral organ does not function. Beyond awareness, the individual entity and the movements contained in the individual entity are simply not there. I wish that I could verbalize this more fully.

In the state of meditation, the ocean of is-ness is left without a ripple. Even that metaphor is imperfect. If I liken it to vast space, even that metaphor does not satisfy me. Because compared to life, space is gross; compared to life, time is gross. The is-ness, the to-be-ness, the suchness of life is something for which one will have to find words to communicate. Mind you, this talk is not an effort to expound anything. This is only a very friendly sharing of something that one sees and something that one lives. But we will proceed with this tomorrow. We talked about concentration, attention, and awareness yesterday. We might talk about movement, vibration, and vibrationless is-ness tomorrow.

– Vimala Thakar

from Blossoms of Friendship. Motilal Banarsidass, 1973. Rodmell Press, 2003.

See Vimala’s next day talk:

https://pgoodnight.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/consciousness-is-matter-vimala-thakar/

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

To read more of Vimala Thakar see:  https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/vimala-thakar/

Consciousness Is Matter – Vimala Thakar

Mount Abu; July 14, 1973

I wonder whether it will be possible for me to communicate through words what I would like to share with you this morning, whether it will be possible for me to communicate it in terms that will make some sense to you. Yet there is an urge to share this unusual approach to meditation.

We saw yesterday that the state of awareness is a state of the whole being in which intelligence functions. Intelligence, being the sensitivity, the uncontaminated movement, of the basic energy contained in the being, is not conditioned by knowledge and experience. Intelligence is neither individual nor collective. Knowledge can be individual as well as collective. There can be individual experiences and collective experiences. Like love, sensitivity, truth, and beauty, intelligence is neither individual nor collective; it is neither personal nor impersonal. Thus it is not conditioned by knowledge and experience. It is unmutilated. It is an undivided whole.

This intelligence begins to operate in the state of awareness. Intelligence is the movement of unconditioned energy, but still it is energy. So in the state of awareness, the movement of unconditioned energy goes on. And there is an intercourse between the movement of awareness in the individual and the movement of intelligence outside the individual in the universe. The cosmic intelligence, the cosmic energy, and the unconditioned energy contained in the individual meet together. There is a kind of consummation. Those energies meet without reservation. There is an unconditional encounter between the intelligence contained in the individual and the intelligence contained in the universe. In other words, the individual unconditioned consciousness and the universal, or cosmic, consciousness meet together, in the state of awareness. They are in a deep embrace as it were. That is what the mystics call the marriage between the individual and the universal. The mystical marriage with the beloved, with God, with the divinity, is what Indians call the marriage between Shiva and Shakti. But still it is the meeting between the unconditioned individual energy and the unconditioned energy outside it.

That is a happening that takes place. In the state of awareness there may not be experiences, but there are happenings. Thus when Jesus of Nazareth came down from the mountain after forty days of solitude, his Apostles could not recognize him. A psychic marriage between the individual and the universal consciousness had taken place. He came down with light shining upon the forehead and speaking in terms indescribably simple and elegant. That very simplicity baffled his followers. He had gone through the happening.

After forty-eight days of fasting and penance under the bodhi tree, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha. Something happened within him; something happened in the unconditioned part of his consciousness. Something happened in the sphere of intelligence contained in his being. And that day is still marked in history as the day of Buddha’s self-realization, the day of Buddha’s nirvana.

After twelve long years of penance and austerity, there took place a happening in the life of Mahavira, the so-called founder of the Jain religion. On the plane of intellect, experiences take place. On the plane of intelligence and awareness, happenings take place: Happenings that cannot be interpreted into the language of the known, happenings that cannot be captured in the framework of an ego-centered experience. And yet a happening is a movement that takes place in the psyche of the individual. Self-realization as a happening took place in the Buddha’s life. One can say that after such a happening, there was light. There was illumination.

The substratum of intelligence is the intellect. The substratum of awareness and intelligence, the substratum of the unconditioned energy, is the conditioned energy, the passively alert brain. It may be passively alert or it may be in choiceless awareness, but it is there as the substratum. You know, in the conditioned psyche, you have the conscious, the subconscious, and the unconscious. Now these three, after becoming a homogeneous whole, go into abeyance, but they are there. Whatever happens on the level of intelligence or awareness has the whole conditioned psyche as the substratum. Otherwise, verbalization of the happening would be impossible. Memory of the happening would be impossible. So the individual as an entity separate from the universe is there. The unconditioned psyche in the individual and unconditioned psyche in the universe meet together, on the soil of the conditioned total human psyche, the racially conditioned psyche.

There have been efforts to verbalize such happenings. Like Aurobindo, you may call it the descent of the divine taking place in the individual psyche. You may call it the moment of illumination in the life of Ramakrishna, when the image of the Mother Kali disappeared while he was sitting before it with a sword in his hand, yearning and pining in agony for realization. The sword dropped from his hands and the only description we got from his lips afterward was “There was light, light, and light.” So at the moment in the psyche of Ramakrishna, something took place.

There is a ripple. There is a happening. Awareness has a movement of unconditioned energy, and energy is the property of matter. Thus even at that level, whatever takes place is not beyond time and space, though it is unrelated to time and space. It is unrelated to time and space in the sense that it cannot use them to bring about this happening. It may be a very significant event because the individual changes. The union with the universal energy, the cosmic consciousness, transforms the individual in many ways. It brings about great changes in his physical and cerebral quality.

And yet I dare say to you, my friends, that this is not silence. And this is not meditation. It is a very significant, romantic thing that can happen to a human being. Man has indulged enough in this romance with the unconditioned energy, the unknown, the unexperienced, the unnamed. He has indulged in this experience, in the East as well as the West, for thousands of years. It has its own beauty. It has its own grandeur. Sensual experience and psychological ecstasy have altogether different qualities from the happening on the level of intelligence or sensitivity. And yet in a way, they are the movements that take place in the individual as an entity separate from the universe. You will be surprised that I call the conditioned psyche the substratum—the undercurrent—of intelligence, or awareness. Why do I call it this? Because those individuals who have gone through such happenings have tried to verbalize them and have said, “It is immeasurable; it is unknowable.” Unless there is a consciousness of the measurableness of a thing, how do you call something immeasurable? People have been trying to describe divinity as that which is unknowable, that which is immeasurable and unnameable; but unless I am conscious of the memory, of the activity of naming, the name and nameableness, how can I call something unnameable and immeasurable? I hope that you see my point that the substratum of the conditioned psyche recognizes the names and the nameableness; the known and the knowableness; the measures and the measurableness. One is aware of all that. Therefore, man has been trying to say, “God is immeasurable, the divinity is unknowable.”

The illusion that there is a dichotomy between the known and the unknown, the measurable and the immeasurable, has been persisting in the human mind for thousands of years. Thus even the state of awareness is not the state of silence. It is a state of quietness, no doubt. It is a state of peacefulness, no doubt. It is a state of the ego, with the whole paraphernalia of knowledge and experience going into abeyance. Yet it is not silence. The state of awareness is a state of passive receptivity for the cosmic consciousness to work upon. It has been called peaceful alertness or choiceless awareness. Krishnaji (Krishnamurti) is the only person in the world today, who brings his audiences to the threshold of the known and points out the direction toward the unknown and unknowable; who points out the frontiers of all human measurements and brings his audiences with terrible intensity to the doorstep of the immeasurable.

As long as it is possible to describe something as immeasurable, unknowable, and unnamable, you are within the frontiers of time and space. So it may be unconditioned energy, but still it is energy with very subtle matter around it. It is only when the state of awareness subsides completely, when there is neither an awareness of the universe around you nor an awareness of the intelligence, sensitivity, or unconditioned energy within yourself, that silence as a dimension comes to life. The conditioned human psyche and the unconditioned human psyche both become quiet. If the conditioned human psyche is quiet and the unconditioned psyche is in a state of passive alertness and choiceless awareness, happenings are bound to take place. I have nothing against these experiences or happenings. Please do not misunderstand me. But one has to see the facts as they are. Just as visions and experiences are the projections of the cosmic and the universal into the individual. Until the state of meditation is reached, one is not in a new dimension of life.

Meditation is a new dimension of life altogether. There one is entirely free of consciousness, which is energy—a very subtle matter contained in the human brain. It is a very daring thing to say that the whole human psyche is very subtle matter, and yet I say that consciousness, whether conditioned or unconditioned, is matter.

– Vimala Thakar

from Blossoms of Friendship. Originally published by Motilal Banarsidass. Recently by Rodmell Press.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

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From the Unitive State to No-Self – Bernadette Roberts

Bernadette Roberts
Bernadette Roberts

An Interview with Bernadette Roberts

In this exclusive interview with Stephan Bodian, (published in the Nov/Dec 1986 issue of YOGA JOURNAL), author Bernadette Roberts describes the path of the Christian contemplative after the experience of oneness with God.

Bernadette Roberts is the author of two extraordinary books on the Christian contemplative journey, The Experience of No-Self (Shambala, 1982) and The Path to No-Self (Shambala, 1985). A cloistered nun for nine years, Roberts reports that she returned to the world after experiencing the “unitive state”, the state of oneness with God, in order to share what she had learned and to take on the problems and experience of others. In the years that followed she completed a graduate degree in education, married, raised four children, and taught at the pre-school, high school, and junior college levels; at the same time she continued her contemplative practice. Then, quite unexpectedly, some 20 years after leaving the convent, Roberts reportedly experienced the dropping away of the unitive state itself and came upon what she calls “the experience of no-self” – an experience for which the Christian literature, she says, gave her no clear road maps or guideposts. Her books, which combine fascinating chronicles of her own experiences with detailed maps of the contemplative terrain, are her attempt to provide such guideposts for those who might follow after her.

Now 55 and once again living in Los Angeles, where she was born and raised, Roberts characterizes herself as a “bag lady” whose sister and brother in law are “keeping her off the streets.” “I came into this world with nothing,” she writes, “and I leave with nothing. But in between I lived fully – had all the experiences, stretched the limits, and took one too many chances.” When I approached her for an interview, Roberts was reluctant at first, protesting that others who had tried had distorted her meaning, and that nothing had come of it in the end. Instead of a live interview, she suggested, why not send her a list of questions to which she would respond in writing, thereby eliminating all possibility for misunderstanding. As a result, I never got to meet Bernadette Roberts face to face – but her answers to my questions, which are as carefully crafted and as deeply considered as her books, are a remarkable testament to the power of contemplation.

Stephan: Could you talk briefly about the first three stages of the Christian contemplative life as you experienced them – in particular, what you (and others) have called the unitive state?

Bernadette: Strictly speaking, the terms “purgative”, “illuminative”, and “unitive” (often used of the contemplative path) do not refer to discrete stages, but to a way of travel where “letting go”, “insight”, and “union”, define the major experiences of the journey. To illustrate the continuum, authors come up with various stages, depending on the criteria they are using. St. Teresa, for example, divided the path into seven stages or “mansions”. But I don’t think we should get locked into any stage theory: it is always someone else’s retrospective view of his or her own journey, which may not include our own experiences or insights. Our obligation is to be true to our own insights, our own inner light.

My view of what some authors call the “unitive stage” is that it begins with the Dark Night of the Spirit or the onset of the transformational process – when the larva enters the cocoon, so to speak. Up to this point, we are actively reforming ourselves, doing what we can to bring about an abiding union with the divine. But at a certain point, when we have done all we can, the divine steps in and takes over. The transforming process is a divine undoing and redoing that culminates in what is called the state of “transforming union” or “mystical marriage”, considered to be the definitive state for the Christian contemplative. In experience, the onset of this process is the descent of the cloud of unknowing, which, because his former light had gone out and left him in darkness, the contemplative initially interprets as the divine gone into hiding. In modern terms, the descent of the cloud is actually the falling away of the ego-center, which leaves us looking into a dark hole, a void or empty space in ourselves. Without the veil of the ego-center, we do not recognize the divine; it is not as we thought it should be. Seeing the divine, eye to eye is a reality that shatters our expectations of light and bliss. From here on we must feel our way in the dark, and the special eye that allows us to see in the dark opens up at this time.

So here begins our journey to the true center, the bottom-most, innermost “point” in ourselves where our life and being runs into divine life and being – the point at which all existence comes together. This center can be compared to a coin: on the near side is our self, on the far side is the divine. One side is not the other side, yet we cannot separate the two sides. If we tried to do so, we would either end up with another side, or the whole coin would collapse, leaving no center at all – no self and no divine. We call this a state of oneness or union because the single center has two sides, without which there would be nothing to be one, united, or non-dual. Such, at least, is the experiential reality of the state of transforming union, the state of oneness.

Stephan: How did you discover the further stage, which you call the experience of no-self?

Bernadette: That occurred unexpectedly some 25 years after the transforming process. The divine center – the coin, or “true self” – suddenly disappeared, and without center or circumference there is no self, and no divine. Our subjective life of experience is over – the passage is finished. I had never heard of such a possibility or happening. Obviously there is far more to the elusive experience we call self than just the ego. The paradox of our passage is that we really do not know what self or consciousness is, so long as we are living it, or are it. The true nature of self can only be fully disclosed when it is gone, when there is no self.

One outcome, then, of the no-self experience is the disclosure of the true nature of self or consciousness. As it turns out, self is the entire system of consciousness, from the unconscious to God-consciousness, the entire dimension of human knowledge and feeling-experience. Because the terms “self” and “consciousness” express the same experiences (nothing can be said of one that cannot be said of the other), they are only definable in the terms of “experience”. Every other definition is conjecture and speculation. No-self, then, means no-consciousness. If this is shocking to some people, it is only because they do not know the true nature of consciousness. Sometimes we get so caught up in the content of consciousness, we forget that consciousness is also a somatic function of the physical body, and, like every such function, it is not eternal. Perhaps we would do better searching for the divine in our bodies than amid the content and experience of consciousness.

Stephan: How does one move from “transforming union” to the experience of no-self? What is the path like?

Bernadette: We can only see a path in retrospect. Once we come to the state of oneness, we can go no further with the inward journey. The divine center is the innermost “point”, beyond which we cannot go at this time. Having reached this point, the movement of our journey turns around and begins to move outward – the center is expanding outward. To see how this works, imagine self, or consciousness, as a circular piece of paper. The initial center is the ego, the particular energy we call “will” or volitional faculty, which can either be turned outward, toward itself, or inward, toward the divine ground, which underlies the center of the paper. When, from our side of consciousness, we can do no more to reach this ground, the divine takes the initiative and breaks through the center, shattering the ego like an arrow shot through the center of being. The result is a dark hole in ourselves and the feeling of terrible void and emptiness. This breakthrough demands a restructuring or change of consciousness, and this change is the true nature of the transforming process. Although this transformation culminates in true human maturity, it is not man’s final state. The whole purpose of oneness is to move us on to a more final state.

To understand what happens next, we have to keep cutting larger holes in the paper, expanding the center until only the barest rim or circumference remains. One more expansion of the divine center and the boundaries of consciousness or self fall away. From this illustration we can see how the ultimate fulfillment of consciousness, or self, is no-consciousness, or no-self. The path from oneness to no-oneness is an egoless one and is therefore devoid of ego-satisfaction. Despite the unchanging center of peace and joy, the events of life may not be peaceful or joyful at all. With no ego-gratification at the center and no divine joy on the surface, this part of the journey is not easy. Heroic acts of selflessness are required to come to the end of self, acts comparable to cutting ever-larger holes in the paper – acts, that is, that bring no return to the self whatsoever.

The major temptation to be overcome in this period is the temptation to fall for one of the subtle but powerful archetypes of the collective consciousness. As I see it, in the transforming process we only come to terms with the archetypes of the personal unconscious; the archetypes of the collective consciousness are reserved for individuals in the state of oneness, because those archetypes are powers or energies of that state. Jung felt that these archetypes were unlimited; but in fact, there is only one true archetype, and that archetype is self. What is unlimited are the various masks or roles self is tempted to play in the state of oneness – savior, prophet, healer, martyr, Mother Earth, you name it. They are all temptations to seize power for ourselves, to think ourselves to be whatever the mask or role may be. In the state of oneness, both Christ and Buddha were tempted in this manner, but they held to the “ground” that they knew to be devoid of all such energies. This ground is a “stillpoint”, not a moving energy-point. Unmasking these energies, seeing them as ruses of the self, is the particular task to be accomplished or hurdle to be overcome in the state of oneness. We cannot come to the ending of self until we have finally seen through these archetypes and can no longer be moved by any of them. So the path from oneness to no-oneness is a life that is choicelessly devoid of ego-satisfaction; a life of unmasking the energies of self and all the divine roles it is tempted to play. It is hard to call this life a “path”, yet it is the only way to get to the end of our journey.

Stephan: In The Experience of No-Self you talk at great length about your experience of the dropping away or loss of self. Could you briefly describe this experience and the events that led up to it? I was particularly struck by your statement “I realized I no longer had a ‘within’ at all.” For so many of us, the spiritual life is experienced as an “inner life” – yet the great saints and sages have talked about going beyond any sense of inwardness.

Bernadette: Your observation strikes me as particularly astute; most people miss the point. You have actually put your finger on the key factor that distinguishes between the state of oneness and the state of no-oneness, between self and no-self. So long as self remains, there will always be a “center”. Few people realize that not only is the center responsible for their interior experiences of energy, emotion, and feeling, but also, underlying these, the center is our continuous, mysterious experience of “life” and “being”. Because this experience is more pervasive than our other experiences, we may not think of “life” and “being” as an interior experience. Even in the state of oneness, we tend to forget that our experience of “being” originates in the divine center, where it is one with divine life and being. We have become so used to living from this center that we feel no need to remember it, to mentally focus on it, look within, or even think about it. Despite this fact, however, the center remains; it is the epicenter of our experience of life and being, which gives rise to our experiential energies and various feelings.

If this center suddenly dissolves and disappears, the experiences of life, being, energy, feeling and so on come to an end, because there is no “within” any more. And without a “within”, there is no subjective, psychological, or spiritual life remaining – no experience of life at all. Our subjective life is over and done with. But now, without center and circumference, where is the divine? To get hold of this situation, imagine consciousness as a balloon filled with, and suspended in divine air. The balloon experiences the divine as immanent, “in” itself, as well as transcendent, beyond or outside itself. This is the experience of the divine in ourselves and ourselves in the divine; in the state of oneness, Christ is often seen as the balloon (ourselves), completing this trinitarian experience. But what makes this whole experience possible – the divine as both immanent and transcendent – is obviously the balloon, i.e. consciousness or self. Consciousness sets up the divisions of within and without, spirit and matter, body and soul, immanent and transcendent; in fact, consciousness is responsible for every division we know of. But what if we pop the balloon – or better, cause it to vanish like a bubble that leaves no residue. All that remains is divine air. There is no divine in anything, there is no divine transcendence or beyond anything, nor is the divine anything. We cannot point to anything or anyone and say, “This or that is divine”. So the divine is all – all but consciousness or self, which created the division in the first place. As long as consciousness remains however, it does not hide the divine, nor is it ever separated from it. In Christian terms, the divine known to consciousness and experienced by it as immanent and transcendent is called God; the divine as it exists prior to consciousness and after consciousness is gone is called Godhead. Obviously, what accounts for the difference between God and Godhead is the balloon or bubble – self or consciousness. As long as any subjective self remains, a center remains; and so, too, does the sense of interiority.

Stephan: You mention that, with the loss of the personal self, the personal God drops away as well. Is the personal God, then, a transitional figure in our search for ultimate loss of self?

Bernadette: Sometimes we forget that we cannot put our finger on anything or any experience that is not transitional. Since consciousness, self, or subject is the human faculty for experiencing the divine, every such experience is personally subjective; thus in my view, “personal God” is any subjective experience of the divine. Without a personal, subjective self, we could not even speak of an impersonal, non-subjective God; one is just relative to the other. Before consciousness or self existed, however, the divine was neither personal nor impersonal, subjective nor non-subjective – and so the divine remains when self or consciousness has dropped away. Consciousness by its very nature tends to make the divine into its own image and likeness; the only problem is, the divine has no image or likeness. Hence consciousness, of itself, cannot truly apprehend the divine.

Christians (Catholics especially) are often blamed for being the great image makers, yet their images are so obviously naive and easy to see through, we often miss the more subtle, formless images by which consciousness fashions the divine. For example, because the divine is a subjective experience, we think the divine is a subject; because we experience the divine through the faculties of consciousness, will, and intellect, we think the divine is equally consciousness, will and intellect; because we experience ourselves as a being or entity, we experience the divine as a being or entity; because we judge others, we think the divine judges others; and so on. Carrying a holy card in our pockets is tame compared to the formless notions we carry around in our minds; it is easy to let go of an image, but almost impossible to uproot our intellectual convictions based on the experiences of consciousness.

Still, if we actually knew the unbridgeable chasm that lies between the true nature of consciousness or self and the true nature of the divine, we would despair of ever making the journey. So consciousness is the marvelous divine invention by which human beings make the journey in subjective companionship with the divine; and, like every divine invention, it works. Consciousness both hides the chasm and bridges it – and when we have crossed over, of course, we do not need the bridge any more. So it doesn’t matter that we start out on our journey with our holy cards, gongs and bells, sacred books and religious feelings. All of it should lead to growth and transformation, the ultimate surrender of our images and concepts, and a life of selfless giving. When there is nothing left to surrender, nothing left to give, only then can we come to the end of the passage – the ending of consciousness and its personally subjective God. One glimpse of the Godhead, and no one would want God back.

Stephan: How does the path to no-self in the Christian contemplative tradition differ from the path as laid out in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions?

Bernadette: I think it may be too late for me to ever have a good understanding of how other religions make this passage. If you are not surrendering your whole being, your very consciousness, to a loved and trusted personal God, then what are you surrendering it to? Or why surrender it at all? Loss of ego, loss of self, is just a by-product of this surrender; it is not the true goal, not an end in itself. Perhaps this is also the view of Mahayana Buddhism, where the goal is to save all sentient beings from suffering, and where loss of ego, loss of self, is seen as a means to a greater end. This view is very much in keeping with the Christian desire to save all souls. As I see it, without a personal God, the Buddhist must have a much stronger faith in the “unconditioned and unbegotten” than is required of the Christian contemplative, who experiences the passage as a divine doing, and in no way a self-doing.

Actually, I met up with Buddhism only at the end of my journey, after the no-self experience. Since I knew that this experience was not articulated in our contemplative literature, I went to the library to see if it could be found in the Eastern Religions. It did not take me long to realize that I would not find it in the Hindu tradition, where, as I see it, the final state is equivalent to the Christian experience of oneness or transforming union. If a Hindu had what I call the no-self experience, it would be the sudden, unexpected disappearance of the Atman-Brahman, the divine Self in the “cave of the heart”, and the disappearance of the cave as well. It would be the ending of God-consciousness, or transcendental consciousness – that seemingly bottomless experience of “being”, “consciousness”, and “bliss” that articulates the state of oneness. To regard this ending as the falling away of the ego is a grave error; ego must fall away before the state of oneness can be realized. The no-self experience is the falling away of this previously realized transcendent state.

Initially, when I looked into Buddhism, I did not find the experience of no-self there either; yet I intuited that it had to be there. The falling away of the ego is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Therefore, it would not account for the fact that Buddhism became a separate religion, nor would it account for the Buddhist’s insistence on no eternal Self – be it divine, individual or the two in one. I felt that the key difference between these two religions was the no-self experience, the falling away of the true Self, Atman-Brahman. Unfortunately, what most Buddhist authors define as the no-self experience is actually the no-ego experience. The cessation of clinging, craving, desire, the passions, etc., and the ensuing state of imperturbable peace and joy articulates the egoless state of oneness; it does not, however, articulate the no-self experience or the dimension beyond. Unless we clearly distinguish between these two very different experiences, we only confuse them, with the inevitable result that the true no-self experience becomes lost. If we think the falling away of the ego, with its ensuing transformation and oneness, is the no-self experience, then what shall we call the much further experience when this egoless oneness falls away? In actual experience there is only one thing to call it, the “no-self experience”; it lends itself to no other possible articulation.

Initially, I gave up looking for this experience in the Buddhist literature. Four years later, however, I came across two lines attributed to Buddha describing his enlightenment experience. Referring to self as a house, he said, “All thy rafters are broken now, the ridgepole is destroyed.” And there it was – the disappearance of the center, the ridgepole; without it, there can be no house, no self. When I read these lines, it was as if an arrow launched at the beginning of time had suddenly hit a bulls-eye. It was a remarkable find. These lines are not a piece of philosophy, but an experiential account, and without the experiential account we really have nothing to go on. In the same verse he says, “Again a house thou shall not build,” clearly distinguishing this experience from the falling away of the ego-center, after which a new, transformed self is built around a “true center,” a sturdy, balanced ridgepole.

As a Christian, I saw the no-self experience as the true nature of Christ’s death, the movement beyond even is oneness with the divine, the movement from God to Godhead. Though not articulated in contemplative literature, Christ dramatized this experience on the cross for all ages to see and ponder. Where Buddha described the experience, Christ manifested it without words; yet they both make the same statement and reveal the same truth – that ultimately, eternal life is beyond self or consciousness. After one has seen it manifested or heard it said, the only thing left is to experience it.

Stephan: You mention in The Path to No-Self that the unitive state is the “true state in which God intended every person to live his mature years,” yet so few of us ever achieve this unitive state. What is it about the way we live right now that prevents us from doing so? Do you think it is our preoccupation with material success, technology, and personal accomplishment?

Bernadette: First of all, I think there are more people in the state of oneness than we realize. For everyone we hear about there are thousands we will never hear about. Believing this state to be a rare achievement can be an impediment in itself. Unfortunately, those who write about it have a way of making it sound more extraordinary and blissful that it commonly is, and so false expectations are another impediment – we keep waiting and looking for an experience or state that never comes. But if I had to put my finger on the primary obstacle, I would say it is having wrong views of the journey.

Paradoxical though it may seem the passage through consciousness or self moves contrary to self, rubs it the wrong way – and in the end, will even rub it out. Because this passage goes against the grain of self, it is, therefore, a path of suffering. Both Christ and Buddha saw the passage as one of suffering, and basically found identical ways out. What they discovered and revealed to us was that each of us has within himself or herself a “stillpoint” – comparable, perhaps to the eye of a cyclone, a spot or center of calm, imperturbability, and non-movement. Buddha articulated this central eye in negative terms as “emptiness” or “void”, a refuge from the swirling cyclone of endless suffering. Christ articulated the eye in more positive terms as the “Kingdom of God” or the “Spirit within”, a place of refuge and salvation from a suffering self.

For both of them, the easy out was first to find that stillpoint and then, by attaching ourselves to it, by becoming one with it, to find a stabilizing, balanced anchor in our lives. After that, the cyclone is gradually drawn into the eye, and the suffering self comes to an end. And when there is no longer a cyclone, there is also no longer an eye. So the storms, crises, and sufferings of life are a way of finding the eye. When everything is going our way, we do not see the eye, and we feel no need to find it. But when everything is going against us, then we find the eye. So the avoidance of suffering and the desire to have everything go our own way runs contrary to the whole movement of our journey; it is all a wrong view. With the right view, however, one should be able to come to the state of oneness in six or seven years – years not merely of suffering, but years of enlightenment, for right suffering is the essence of enlightenment. Because self is everyone’s experience underlying all culture. I do not regard cultural wrong views as an excuse for not searching out right views. After all, each person’s passage is his or her own; there is no such thing as a collective passage.

Interview with Bernadette Roberts Reprinted from the book Timeless Visions, Healing Voices, copyright 1991 by Stephan Bodian (www.stephanbodian.org).

This interview appears at this site: http://spiritualteachers.org/b_roberts_interview.htm

Link to Friends of Bernadette Roberts: http://bernadettesfriends.blogspot.com/2006/06/dvd-available-passage-through-self.html

First and Last Public Talk of U.G. Krishnamurti After His Calamity

U.G. Krishnamurti[At the Indian Institute of World Culture Bangalore in the year 1972]

Let me, at the very outset, thank the authorities of the Indian Institute of World Culture for giving me this opportunity to meet you all here. I was very reluctant to accept the invitation of Mr. Venkataramaiah. But somehow, if I may use that word, I was trapped into this kind of a thing.

As Mr. Kothari pointed out, I don’t like to give talks at all. You all seem to be very fond of listening to speeches, talks, lectures, discussions, discourses, conversations, and so on. I do not know if at any time you realize for yourself and by yourself that you never listen to anybody or anything in this world. You always listen to yourself. I really don’t know what to say. I don’t know what you want to listen to and what I am expected to do.

This is supposed to be a discourse and a dialogue. I very often point out to those who come to see me and talk things over that no dialogue is possible and no dialogue is necessary.   It may sound very strange to you, but, nevertheless, the fact does remain that no dialogue is possible and yet no dialogue is necessary.

If you will permit me, I will say a few words, to set the ball rolling, as it were. That’s a very hackneyed and over-worked expression, but that would serve our purpose.

I am going to say a few words about the state of not knowing. How can anybody say anything about the ‘state of not knowing?’ I have necessarily to use words. Can we use words without indulging in abstract concepts. I say we can. But I do not, at the same time, mean that it is a non-verbal conceptualization. That is a funny thing — there is no such thing as non-verbal conceptualization at all. But, perhaps, a few words like this will enable you to understand [that] the methods of thought prevent you from understanding the limitations of thought as a means to directly experience life and its movements.

This ‘state of not knowing’ is not [just] my particular state. (This I call it a ‘Natural State’ of your being.) This is as much your natural state as it is mine. It is not the state of a God-realized man; it is not the state of a Self-realized man. It is not the state of a holy man. It is the natural state of every one of you here. But since you are looking to somebody else and you are reaching out for some kind of a state of liberation, freedom, or moksha — I don’t know what words you want to use — you are lost.

But, how can one understand the limitations of thought? Naturally, the only instrument we have is the instrument of thought. But what is thought? I can give you a lot of definitions, and you know a lot of definitions about thought. I can say that thought is just matter; thought is vibration; and we are all functioning in this sphere of thought. And we pick up these thoughts because this human organism is an electro-magnetic field. And this electro-magnetic field is the product of culture. It may sound very inappropriate on this occasion to say that in order to be in your natural state, all that man has thought and felt before you must be swept aside and must be brushed aside. And that means the culture in which you are brought up must go down the drain or out of the window. Is it possible? It is possible.   But, at the same time, it is so difficult, because you are the product of that culture and you are that.   You are not different from that. You cannot separate yourself from that culture. And yet, this culture is the stumbling block for us to be in our natural state.

Can this ‘Natural State’ be captured, contained and expressed through words? It cannot. It is not a conscious state of your existence. It can never become part of your conscious thinking. And then why do I talk of this state of not knowing?   For all practical purposes it does not exist at all. It can never become part of your conscious thinking.

Here, I have to explain what I mean by the word ‘consciousness’. You and I mean two different things, probably — I don’t know. When do you become conscious of a thing? Only when the thought comes in between what is there in front of you and what is supposed to be there inside of you. That is consciousness. So,you have to necessarily use thought to become conscious of the things around you, or the persons around you. Otherwise, you are not conscious of the things at all. And, at the same time, you are not unconscious. But there is an area where you are neither conscious nor unconscious. But that ‘consciousness’– if I may use that word — expresses itself in its own way; and what prevents that consciousness to express itself in its own way is the movement of thought.

What can anyone do about this thought? It has a tremendous momentum of millions and millions of years. Can I do anything about that thought? Can I stop it? Can I mold it?  Can I shape it?  Can I do anything about it? But yet, our culture, our civilization, our education — all these have forced us to use that instrument to get something for us.  So, can that instrument be used to understand its own nature? It is not possible. And yet, when you see the tremendous nature of this movement of thought, and that there isn’t anything that you can do about it, it naturally slows down and falls in its natural pattern.

When I say that, I do not, of course, mean what these people in India talk about– that thought must be used in order to get into a thoughtless state or into a meditative state. But there is no such thing as a thoughtless state at all. Thoughts are there;  they will be there all the time. Thoughts will disappear only when you become a dead corpse — let me use these two words – ‘dead corpse’. Otherwise,  thoughts are there and they are going to be there. If all the religious teachers tell us that you are going into a ‘thoughtless state,’ they are taking us all for a ride. They can promise you that in that thoughtless state — in that state of silence, in that state of quietness, or in that state of a ‘Quiet Mind,’ or whatever phrase you want to use — there will be this real ‘bliss,’ ‘beatitude,’ ‘love,’ ‘religious joy,’ and ‘ecstatic state of being’. All that is balderdash. Because, that state — if there is any state like the state of bliss — it can never become part of your consciousness. It can never become part of your conscious existence. So, you might as well throw the whole thing — the whole crap of these ideas, concepts and abstractions about the blissful states — into a cocked hat, if I may use that American slang.

So, what is one to do? Can anybody help you? No outside agency can help you. That means a complete and total rejection, as I said in the beginning, of all that man has thought and felt before you. As long as there is any trace of knowledge, in any shape, in any form, in your consciousness, you are living in a divided state of consciousness.

He [Mr. Kothari] referred to my coming into a state of ‘not knowing’ or ‘the calamity,’ as I myself refer to that.  What happened? I don’t know.  Suddenly thought has fallen into its natural state. The continuity has come to an end.  So, what I am saying is not the product of thinking. It is not manufactured by my thought structure inside.  Nor is it a logically ascertained premise. But what is happening here is only the expression of that state of being where you do not know what is happening. You do not know how this organism is functioning. As he [Mr. Kothari] himself referred to, this is a pure and simple physical and physiological state of being. It has no religious undertones or overtones. It has no mystical content whatsoever.  And, at the same time, this extraordinary thing, the extraordinary intelligence that is there, which is a product of centuries of human evolution, is able to express itself and deal with any problem and any situation without creating  problems for us.

Q: May I interrupt you? I was told by people who are around you that when this calamity befell you, you couldn’t recognize even ordinary things. You were asking like a newborn child, “What is this?” Even if there was a flower in front of you, you did not know if that was a flower.  Then you would ask, “What is this?” And the Swiss lady who was keeping house for you, who was looking after you, Valentine, [she is here with us], said “This is a flower.” Then you would ask again, “What is this?”  You mean to say that at the time when the calamity took place, all recognition was gone?

U.G.: Not only then, but even now,  as I said, this is a state of ‘not knowing’. Since the memory is there in the background, it begins to operate when there is a demand for it. That demand is created by an outside agency, because there is no entity here. There is no center here. There is no self here.  There is no Atman here.  There is no soul here at all. You may not agree. You may not accept it, but that unfortunately happens to be a fact. The totality of thoughts and feelings is not there. But [in you] there is an illusion that there is a totality of your feelings and thoughts.   This human organism is responding to the challenges from outside. You are functioning in the sphere —  so, thousands and thousands, perhaps millions and millions of sensations are bombarding this body. Since there is no center here, since there is no mind here, since there is nothing here, what is it that is happening? What is happening here [is that] this human organism is responding to the challenges, or to the stimuli, if I may put it that way. So, there is nobody here who is translating these sensations in terms of past experiences. But there is a living contact with the things around. That is all that is there.  One sensation after another is hitting this organism. And at the same time there is no coordinator here. This state of not knowing is not in relationship to your Brahman, or your Nirguna Brahman or Saguna Brahman or any such thing.  This state of not knowing is in its relationship to the things that are there around you. You may be looking at a flower. You may think that it is a crazy state.  Perhaps it is — I don’t know. You do not know what you are looking at. But when there is a demand for that — and that demand always comes from outside, [asking] what is that, and then the knowledge, the information that is there, locked up in this organism comes and says that it is a rose, that this is a microphone, that’s a man, that’s a woman, and so on and so forth.  This is not because there is a drive from inside, but the outside challenge brings out this answer. So, I say that this action is always taking place outside of this organism, not inside.

How do I know that these sensations are bombarding or hitting this organism all the time? It is only because there is a consciousness which is conscious of itself and there is nobody who is conscious of the things that are happening. This is a living organism and that living state is functioning in its own way, in its natural way.

Mr. Kothari: U.G., it appears to me this Nirguna Brahman, Atman, whatever it is — when somebody uses the word Bhuma, another uses the word “unknown,” the third man says “akal” [the timeless], the fourth one says something else — all of them say that this cannot be described, “Neti, Neti.”  Probably they meant the same thing; I don’t know.  I think they meant probably what you are saying as “totality.”  As I understand it, Brahman means “totality.”  If I would translate this state into terms of those times, probably this state is the state of Brahman and [it is] thought which is limiting the “alpa“, which is limiting the “bhuma“, which is limiting the limitless, since it does not function like that, creating an individuality within you.  Maybe I am wrong, may be I am translating, but I say that it is possible that the person who listens to you doesn’t know the old terms. You are not going to use the old terms, because the new terms are your terms. And every teacher, every person who has come into some state like this has generally used a different term, a different word, according to his background. But personally I think you mean the same thing.  This is a commentary on what you are saying.

U.G.: What do you want me to say? [Laughter]  If they have understood what there is, they wouldn’t be here. They wouldn’t go to anybody. They wouldn’t ask these questions at all. If they translate what I am saying, in terms of their particular fancy or their particular background, that’s their tragedy; it would be their misery. It hasn’t helped them.  This is my question:  Has it helped you? Why are you hung up on these phrases? They are after all phrases.  When once you realize, when once this is understood — how this mechanism is operating, how automatic it is, how mechanical it is, you will realize that all these phrases have no meaning at all. You may very well ask me why I am using these phrases: [it is] because you and I have created this unfortunate situation where you have put me here on the dais and asked me to talk, and naturally, as I said in the beginning, I have to use words. So, the moment I stop talking, the whole thing has come to a stop inside. Is that so? It is so here [in my case], because there is no continuity of thought.

We go back to the thing he [Mr. Kothari] referred to, about  the things around me. Here there is a table. I don’t know what it is. And, at the same time, if you ask me, “What is that?” I would immediately say, “It’s a chair.” It [the knowledge] is there in the background. It comes automatically, like an arrow. But otherwise, this [the impression I have] is just a reflection of this [the thing in front of me].  I don’t translate this as “bimbavatu [like an image]” at all. But I have to use that word: this is reflecting the thing exactly the way it is. I don’t want to use these metaphysical phrases because you will immediately translate them in terms of your particular parallel. There is no subject here independent of the object at all. So, there is nothing here [inside of me]. What is there is all that is there, and you do not know what it is. So, now you turn there, and this object has just disappeared, there is something else. This has completely and totally disappeared from here and then what is there is a thing that is there in front of me and it is just like this object, exactly the way it is. But you do not know what it is. That is why I say it is a state of not knowing. Probably you will find parallels to these things. What I am trying to point out is the absence of what you are all doing at this moment; [that] is the state that I am describing, and it is not [just] my state [but] that is the way you are [also] functioning.

May I give an example of what is happening in the field of spectroscopy. I don’t read books, but sometimes I read magazines. I get interested in these things. They have developed very powerful lenses to take photos of objects. They have developed micro-seconds, nanoseconds and picoseconds. It doesn’t mean anything to you and me — it’s all technical language. Now they are able to take pictures of objects, say for instance, of this table, every pico second. Every picture is different. In exactly the same way, the reflection of that object was once new; another time,  you turn this side, and look back again — it’s again new. But don’t translate this in terms of newness and oldness.  It cannot be communicated to you at all. This can never become part of your experiencing structure.

I am throwing a lot of conclusions at you. But even a thing like this cannot be experienced by you at all. I don’t know if you understand this. You have necessarily to abstract this in order to experience a thing. So, what I am trying to say is that you can never experience your own natural state. This can never become part of your experiencing structure. And what you are all trying to do all the time is to make that — whatever you want — to realize or discover — part of this experiencing structure. So your experiencing structure and your natural state cannot co-exist at the same time.

Mr. Kothari:  The way you want to say is that everything is in a continuous flux all the time. The human eye being limited and the human ear being limited, and the human senses being limited, [they] cannot respond to the quick movement of existence.  They don’t respond, they don’t reflect. You say, unless there is a need of recognition — which is thought, which is verbalization, which is word — it is just a way of affecting the life within you, and that’s all. There is no need to verbalize, or translate, if possible. Am I describing what I understand of your state?

U.G.: That’s what you understand. [Laughter] [I am not trying to be irreverent.]

Mr. Kothari: [I am Neither.]  What happens is, it seems to me … [is he trying to mislead you by saying?…] that all these persons coming to this have tried to express this in terms of what somebody else has said. It is all the time new. It is all the time fresh. It is all the time indescribably beautiful. When they came into the world they have to say [something about it]. He says it is neither new nor old. It is never old. It is never old because he does not take [it] into the [past] experience. It is not translated, unless, as he says, it is needed for translation. Otherwise, every time, life is indescribably, extraordinarily — all that is outside — is extraordinarily fresh, extraordinarily new, though he doesn’t use the words `fresh’ and `new’.  This is how I understand.

U.G.: This I must stress: that the need for the operation of thought, or the movements of thought to come into being, is decided by factors outside of this organism. When and why and how this translation is to come into being is decided by an action outside. The actions are always taking place outside. When there is a demand, the movement of thought probably separates itself for a while to meet the demands of the situation and then it is back again in the movement of life. So, thought is only functional in value, and it has no other value at all.

What is more is that the continuity of thought is destroying the sensitivity of your senses. When the movement of thought is not continuous, the senses begin to function in an extraordinarily sensitive way. When I use the word sensitivity, I mean the sensitivity of the senses and not the sensitivity of the mind. The sensitivity of the mind is a trick of your mind, and you can create a state of mind where you feel sensitive to the feelings of everybody, to the things around you and wallow in that sickly state of mind and think you are getting somewhere. This is a thing that is there [you are doing this] all the time.

There is nothing to achieve, there is nothing to accomplish, nothing to attain, and no destination to arrive at. And what prevents what is there, this living state, from expressing itself in its own way is the movement of thought which is there only for the purposes of functioning in this world. When the movement of thought is not there — I have to use the clauses in terms of time — but time is thought. When thought is there, time is there. When thought is there, sex is there, when thought is there, God is there. When thought is not there, there is no God, there is no sex, nothing is there. It may sound objectionable to you to accept my statement [Mr. Kothari:” Not at all.”], but the drug of virtues you practice, the practice of virtues is not a foundation for it at all. And the practice of abstinence, continence, and celibacy is not the path to it. But if you want to indulge in them and feel greatly superior, it’s your own business. I am not here to reform you. I am not here to lead you anywhere. But this is a fact.  You have to understand a fact as a fact. It is not a logically ascertained thing, it is not a rational thing [so as] to understand it rationally. A fact is a movement. Truth is movement. Reality is movement. But I don’t want to use these words, because they are all loaded words. You know all about them. The unfortunate thing about the whole business is that you know a lot about these things, and that is the misery of you all. This is a thing which you do not know at all. I am not claiming that I know it.  I myself don’t know. That is why I say I don’t know. It’s a state of not knowing. Let alone God, let alone reality, ultimate or otherwise, I don’t know what I am looking at — the very person who has been with me all the time, day and night. That is my situation. If I tell this to a psychiatrist, he will probably put me on a couch and say something is radically wrong with me. Probably, I am functioning like any other human being. He doesn’t understand that. That’s his problem, it is not my problem anymore.  So, all your search — for truth, God, Reality — you use any phrase you like, is a false thing. You are all on a merry-go-round, and you want to go round and round and round.

How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? You all seem to know. You have an image of this state.   From the description of this state probably you have already created [an image]. What state?  Somebody asked me: “What is the state you are in?” “What State? Mysore State or Tamil Nadu State? What state are you talking about?” This is my response. What is the state you are talking about? This is your natural state. You don’t want to understand that. You don’t want to be in your natural state. It requires an extraordinary intelligence to be in your natural state, to be yourself.

You always want to be somebody else; you want to imitate the life of somebody else — you want to imitate the life of Jesus, you want to imitate the life of Buddha, you want to imitate the life of Shankara. You can’t do it, because you don’t know what is there behind. You will end up changing your robes, from rose to saffron, saffron to yellow, or from yellow to rose, depending upon your particular fancy. How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? That is my question. So, search has no meaning at all. Only when the search comes to an end, what there is will express itself, in its own way. You cannot tamper with that.  You cannot manipulate that. You cannot manipulate the action of the thing which is there, which has an extraordinary intelligence.

To be yourself is the easiest thing. And you don’t want to be in your state. You’d rather be somebody else, imitate the life of somebody else. That’s your problem.  To be yourself doesn’t need any time at all. But you talk of timelessness, which is a mockery. To be yourself, do you need time? To be a good man, to be a marvelously religious man, to be in a state of peace, to be in a state bliss, naturally you need time. That will always be tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, you say, “All right, day after tomorrow.” That is time.  [I am] Not [talking about] this metaphysical or philosophical thing. I am not talking about metaphysical time and timeless. There is no such thing as the timeless.

I am making assertions, statements and conclusions — you will object to them. Take it or leave it. I don’t expect you to accept anything that I am saying. You are not in a position to accept or reject it. You can reject it because it does not fit into your particular framework of your philosophy — Shankara, Gaudapada, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, God knows what — we have too many of them here. So how can you understand this? The only thing to do is to throw in the towel. Turn your back on the whole business. That is why, it takes extraordinary courage, not the courage or the bravado of these people who climb Mount Everest or try to swim across the English Channel, or cross the Pacific or Atlantic — whatever their fancy — on a raft. That is not what I mean. What I mean is the courage. You quote your Bhagavad Gita, or your Brahma Sutras, “kaschid dhirah.” All these phrases. What do they mean? “Abhayam Brahma.” [Fearless is Brahman.] Why do you all repeat these phrases? It has no meaning. It’s a mechanical thing. “How are you?” “I am all right, I am fine. Just fine. I couldn’t be better.” In America, you know, [they say] “How are you this morning,” “I am just fine. I couldn’t be better.” In exactly the same way, you throw these phrases at everybody.   If you understand the way this mechanical structure is functioning inside of you, you see the absurdity of the whole business of discussing these matters everlastingly. Can you throw the whole business out of the window and walk out?

[Mr. Kothari]: I think what he means is… When I meet him…. I have known him for about five years now. And I am many times reminded, on account of my having read the Upanishads and this and that,….  I am reminded of  [the passage in] the Isavasyopanishad, “asmai  nayatu patha,” “Oh fire, takes us on the right path!” I find there is a sort fire in him which sometimes, I fear, would frighten a person who does not understand, quite grasp, even intellectually, what he is trying to convey. As I understand it, he is not advocating anything. His whole approach is….  He has no system.  He says something about these states — that this is your natural state. But the whole thing, this achievement business, to get something, [the state being] like something, comparing something to some imaginary state which one has formulated, an image we got by reading about those things — that he says is all futile. It is strengthening the mental structure, it is strengthening the thought structure, and it is giving a life to it — which, he says, is all useless. It is the cause of your very misery, all the problems. It seems he has seen it himself.  And the structure went phut, the whole thing broke inside, and, as he says, he even does not know [it himself].  That is the state of unknowing. When he says this, I am reminded of the words of Jnaneswar who says, “I don’t know what I am or where I am.” Even avidya has gone, and vidya has gone also. So, I see… only I want to remind some of my listeners here… that the newness of expression … but whatever he is trying to convey, is as old as the hills and as fresh as the vibrations from that thing now. It is as fresh or even fresher than the words I am speaking, the sounds that I am throwing at you. It is more fresh than that.  It is sanatana [ancient] and puratana [old]. But, he says that it requires total courage.

Another thing that I have noticed in him is a kind of — I am talking personally about you —  but, since there is no personality, it doesn’t matter. [Laughter] — is a tremendous, fearlessness, “abhayam tattva samsuptih.”  I would again quote the Gita, the daivika sampatti [the divine qualities], this is something that does not happen in the usual, normal men in whom the animal fear is functioning all the time, as he says. But he does not come out of that [state]. I don’t know how he came to it. But [there is in him] a tremendous fearlessness and a sense of abandonment. He is not a perfect specimen of all the wonderful virtues. He gets annoyed, and he gets angry also.  But, for a moment you see the cloud of anger on his face, and after a minute you see the full moon is again on his face, smiling.  The clouds have disappeared all of a sudden. So, I say, he says there is no system, no matter. Probably, in whatever he conveys, there is some suggestion. He says you don’t have the courage to throw in the towel. You don’t have the fearlessness. “[inaudible]…have got to go.” He says, “You throw out the speaker also.” I hope some of you certainly have got the hang of what he is trying to convey.

Q: [Inaudible]

[Mr. Kothari:] Your question is, when there is hunger and pain in the body, what happens? You mean what happens to him or what happens to you?

U.G.: I will tell you. First of all, there is no hunger at all, in the sense in which we use the word. It’s pure and simple chemistry. And then there is what you call hunger which is like any other sensation, you understand.  The consciousness or life, or whatever you want to call it, becomes conscious of that thing [called hunger]. And [the next moment] it is gone. It is not there. It does not push you to reach out for food. And so, the next sensation is coming. It’s a continuous movement. You are looking at something which is finished. Probably your body will become weaker and weaker, if you don’t eat food. People give me food; so I eat food. Otherwise, there is no such thing as hunger at all. And the pain, there is a physical pain. Since there is no continuity of thought, as I pointed out, there is no continuity of the pain. It comes in impulses like that — just the way you are throwing out words.  There is no continuity of the pain. I don’t want to use the word psychological pain, because it gets us involved in…, because we will begin to tie things in knots. There is only physical pain and there is no other pain. But even that physical pain is not continuous, and so it is not much of a pain, in the sense in which we use the word.

Q: What is the way or method of getting into this state?

U.G.: What state? When the movement in the direction of wanting to be into your own natural state or in the state of God knows whom you want to be, your idol, or your hero or your master [is there] — it is there — this movement in any direction, is taking you away from yourself. That is all that I am pointing out. When the movement is not there, you are your natural state. So, the sadhana or the method, or system, or the technique, is taking you away from yourself in the direction of the state you want to be in and that is the state of somebody else. As I pointed out, you have the knowledge about this state. Unfortunately, so many people have talked about it. I am already doing the mischief, perhaps. Kick them all out, on their backs. [Mr. Kothari:Not now!” — Laughter] Yes, throw stones at me and walk out. [Mr. Kothari: “They don’t have any.”] My interest is to send you packing, as the expression has it. If you can do that, you will never go to listen to anybody. [Someone in the audience: “If I throw stones, I will go to jail.”] I will not take you to jail. That’s a problem with the society in which you are caught. I can’t help you. I will not be the first one to complain about it…. Whose body is it? If it get hit, that’s all probably; that’s the end of it. … Are you not tired? I can go on. That’s enough, I suppose.

I haven’t said anything. What all you think I have said is a `bag’. You think it makes sense. How can this make sense? If you think that it makes sense, you haven’t understood a thing. If you think that it doesn’t make any sense, you haven’t understood it either. It’s just words — [you are] listening to this noise — words, words, words — mechanically coming out of this organism. I don’t know how they are coming. I wish I knew. I wish I knew how I got into … what state? It always irritates me when people ask me “You tell us something ….” About what state? What state are you talking about? I know Mysore State. I am in the Mysore State. How do I know that I am in the Mysore State? Because people tell me that I am in Mysore. So, what state you want to get into? That is your natural state, I am saying.

What takes you away from your state is this movement in the direction of wanting to be in some state other than yourself. To be yourself doesn’t need time. If I am a village idiot, I remain a village idiot. Finish.  I don’t want to be an intelligent man. Even if my neighbor takes advantage of his extraordinary intelligence and exploits [me], good luck. What can I do? To accept the reality, this is the reality of the world. There is no other world. There is no other reality, ultimate reality. This is the only reality. You have to function in this world. You can’t run away from this world. How can you run away from this world? Because you are that world. Where you can you go? Hide yourself in a cave? Yes, you are taking your thoughts wherever you go. You cannot run away from your shadow. It’s there all the time. So, you can’t do a thing about thought. That’s all that I am saying. When you realize the absurdity of all your effort to do something about the thought — it’s creating the problem; it’s misery for you; you can’t do anything — when you can’t do anything, when you realize that you can’t do a thing about it, it’s not there. You are not using it [thought] as a means to get something for you.

I want to say this again. You desire. If you do not want anything, there is no thought at all. You understand? Wanting is thinking, it doesn’t matter what you want — want self-realization, want God-realization — you want anything, that means you have to use this instrument. These are not your thoughts, these are not your feelings. You may not like it. They belong to somebody else. You want to make them your own. You have unfortunately made them your own. That’s why you ask all these questions. Why do you ask all these questions? These questions have been put before to so many people — all the sages, saints and saviors of mankind, the holy men dead and alive. They are all ready to answer. They have composed a lot of lullabies. You go and listen to them and go to sleep, if you want to. That’s what you are interested in. You want somebody else to pat on your back and say, “Oh, fine, just fine, you are doing very well. Do more and more of the same and you will reach the destination you want to arrive at.” What is the destination you want to arrive at? To be gentle, meek, to be soft, to talk in whispers. You know if you go to some of these monasteries in the West, the Trappist, they talk in whispers. They don’t even understand what the other man is saying. That’s the secret to the spiritual path.

Mr. Kothari: When a man is in love, he talks in whispers to his beloved. What objection have you to anybody talking in whispers?

U.G.: I have no objection at all. I wonder if he is really in love. [Laughter] You don’t even have to talk about it. You want to reassure your partner that you are in love with that person. It isn’t worth a tinker’s damn, that love. That’s not love at all. You can call it love. I don’t want to go into that. It’s a forbidden subject.  You will ask me, “Do you have anything to say…?” It’s a four letter word.  It’s like any other word — `dog’, `pig’, `love’. In love, can there be any relationship at all? Can you have any relationship? This is your problem. You are all the time trying to have relationship with  people. You cannot have any relationship with people at all. “Love is relationship.” “Life is relationship.” All that guff. Trite. Crap. You memorize and repeat them [those phrases]. They all become fancy phrases these days. “Freedom,” “first and last freedom,” and “the freedoms that come in between.” What is this nonsense? This is like any other trite [phrase], any other crap that these people are repeating. You have memorized a new set of phrases. That’s all you are doing. You sit and discuss everlastingly all this awareness. What is that awareness you are talking about? How can you be aware of this? Can you at any time be aware of this? If you are aware of this once in your lifetime, the whole structure has collapsed; it has fallen in its proper place. You don’t have to do a thing about it. So, it doesn’t mean a thing at all. You can talk of awareness — choiceless or otherwise — or conditioning. Conditioning — what can you do about it? Conditioning is intelligence. You can’t do a damn thing about it. You can’t free yourself [from it]. If you want to free yourself from your conditioning, or uncondition yourself and all that nonsense that is going on …. How are you going to uncondition yourself? You create another conditioning — instead of repeating Upanishads you will repeat some other books, the fancy books.

Q: What is the secret of total happiness?

U.G.: There is no happiness.   I never ask myself the question. So many people ask me that question: “Are you happy?” What is that question? Funny question. I never ask [myself] that question, “Am I happy?” ‘Total happiness is an invention. [Mr. Kothari: “Invention of the mind, you mean? Naturally.”] There is no mind. There is no such things as the mind at all. Where is the mind? Is the mind separate from the body? Distinguished from the body? Apart from the body? These questions have no meaning at all. You have no way of separating yourself from what is going on. The moment you separate yourself means you have a knowledge about it — the knowledge given by either the biologists, the physiologists, the psychologists or the religious people. So through that you are looking at it. You cannot experience anything without knowledge. You cannot experience this at all, let alone Brahman or reality. You cannot experience this at all. Only through abstraction.  And what is that abstraction? The knowledge you have about it. This has been put there. Your mother told you, or your neighbor or friend told you that this is a table. What the hell is that, you don’t know, apart from what you have been told. Every time you look at this, you have to repeat to yourself that it is a table. What are you doing that for? This is my question. This is the continuity I am talking about. You want to reassure yourself that you are there. The “I” is nothing but this word. There is no “I” independent of this word. Maybe you find some parallel  [to what I am saying] in Shankara or God knows what.

[Mr. Kothari:] Plenty, plenty. Because this is the same thing that they have talked about.
Q: [Inaudible]  …thoughtless state as in “cit, cit, cit.”

U.G.: Yes, yes. “The consciousness I am talking about, is a state where there is no division which says that you are asleep, that you are awake, that you are dreaming …. There is no division at all. I don’t even know if I am alive or dead. This is my state. I have no way of knowing for myself. The doctor can come and say that I want to examine your lung, your lung is functioning all right — there is heartbeat, there is this, that and the other — you are alive. That’s all right. I am delighted. You reassure me that I am a living being. But…

Q: How do you know at any given time that you are in your Natural State?

U.G.: That, as I said, can never become part of your conscious existence. It begins to express itself.  The expression of that is energy; and that is action. It is acting all the time. This is not a mystical term. What I mean by action is [that] the action is taking place always outside. The senses are working at their peak capacity all the time. It’s not because you want to look at a particular thing. There is no time even for the eyelids to blink for a second. They have to stay open all the time. And when they are tired, naturally, it [the body] has its own built-in mechanism, which cuts off the sensation. And then it’s back again.

Q: What is that mechanism?

U.G.: What is that mechanism? Supposing somebody gives you an answer. So, where are you? Can you separate yourself from that mechanism? This is what I am saying. You can separate yourself from the mechanism and look at it only through the knowledge, whether the knowledge is provided by a physician or by a saint or by a sage.  And that [knowledge] is worthless. Because you are projecting this knowledge on what you are looking at, and that knowledge is creating or producing these experiences. That can never become part of that experiencing structure. That’s the trouble. You want to experience this. You can’t experience this at all. Whether it is the consciousness that I am talking of, or the living state or the state of not knowing or the things that are there around you. How is it expressing itself? It is expressing itself as energy; it is expressing itself as action, in its own way. If I use some words, “It is aware of itself, it is aware of its own its incredible depth, it is conscious of itself;” — all these phrases may sound very mystical to you — but you cannot [experience it]. The brain physiologists, if I may quote somebody, — they are trying to understand the brain. And they have to find some means to define [it]. They have defined the brain as an instrument with which we think that we think. They are not so sure. You cannot separate yourself from the brain and its activity and look at the brain. Can you look at your back and tell me something about your back. Somebody else must come and tell you. And he has his own ideas, fancy ideas. “You have a straight back.” … The doctor always observes people. … And from his point of view he says that that man is sick, this man’s back is not correct, and so forth. Or, if I see a painter, his description is something else. So, this is a thing which you cannot communicate to somebody else. Can you communicate your sex experience to somebody else? [Mr. Kothari: “Why sex experience, any experience.”]  Or any experience, for that matter.  That’s what everybody is trying to do — a painter, a poet or a writer. He is trying to communicate some experience, which he calls extraordinary experience, through his medium — writing poetry, sculpture. He is like any other artisan.

Q:  How do you reconcile your existence with the world?

U.G.: I don’t bother. Do I exist in this world? Does the world exist for me? Where is the world? I am not trying to be clever with all these phrases. I don’t know a thing about it. Am I talking, am I saying anything? This is like the howling of a jackal, the barking of a dog or the braying of an ass. If you can put this on that level and just listen to this vibration, you are out, you will walk out, and you will never listen to anybody in your lifetime. Finish. It doesn’t have to be the talk of a self-realized man. You will realize that there is no self to realize. That’s all. There is no center there. It is working in an extraordinary way.

Q: In the extinction of sense organs…, if the sense organs do not function at all, for instance with death, is the state of not knowing still functioning?

U.G.: There is no death. You are never born. You are not born at all. [Laughter] I am not trying to mystify. Because life has no beginning, it has no end. Has it a beginning, has it an end? What creates the beginning is your thought. Why are you concerned about death? There is no such as death at all. Your birth and your death can never become part of that experiencing structure. If you want to experience death, you are not going to be there. [Laughter] Somebody else will be there. It will be somebody else’s misery.

unique early talk of U.G. Krishnamurti:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3jl7cm3LQ0

1998 video of U.G.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0N6auYllMY&feature=related

To read more of U. G. Krishnamurti see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/u-g-krishnamurti-books/

I Felt Myself in Globality – Jean Klein

Jean Klein answers questions about time spent with his Teacher and his subsequent Awakening in Bombay

The following is excerpted from the prologue of The Transmission of the Flame by Jean Klein

How then did you meet your “unknown teacher”?

Some of the friends I met, and with whom I spoke of peace, freedom and joy, had a spiritual guide. One day I met their teacher and on this and several other meetings, I asked him many questions, questions that expressed all my earnestness to find my real center.

It seems that you trusted him at once.

I was open to him. I was struck by his lack of striving, his humility. He never tried to impress or convince. There was simply no personality. All his answers came from nowhere, no one, and yet his gentle openness was apparent. I was struck too by his argument that potentially you are, it only needs actualizing. He never saw anyone as not knowing. He gave no hold to my personality.

He gave me many answers, but during the several weeks that I didn’t see him I became aware that all my questions had been an escape, an evasion of the real question. The existential crisis I had always lived in became acute. I lived with this feeling that I had missed the real question, a question I was not able to formulate. Then I had the opportunity to visit him where he lived in a little room in the Sanskrit College at Bangalore where he was a teacher. Two other young Indians were present and they were talking about the Karikas of Gaudapada and the Mandukya Upanishad. The talk was of the four states, waking, sleeping, dreaming and turiya (the absence of objects). He said that turiya is not properly speaking a state which one enters and leaves. It becomes a non-state (turiya-citta) when you are awake in it. It is the absence of ourself which is our total presence. Then there was a silence, the other students left and he suddenly looked at me and asked, “Do you know yourself?” I was a bit disturbed by this question because I didn’t really know what he meant. I couldn’t find a way to look at it. I said hesitantly, “Yes,” because I was thinking I knew my body, senses and mind very well. He said to me, “You are the knower of your body, senses and mind, but the knower can never be known, because you are it and there’s nobody to know it. It can never become an object of observation because it is your totality.” This saying had a very strong impact on me. I had a glimpse of reality in this moment because it stopped all intellectual faculties. We were silent and I left.

And did this impact remain with you when you got home?

It left a very strong echo in me of freedom from old beliefs. I went home and lived with it free from all conceptualization and felt myself awake in this not-knowing. It was completely new, there was no absence of knowing.

Did life change or go on as usual?

Life went on, eating, meeting people. But there was now a feeling that I was behind all daily activities. I saw Pandiji many times afterwards and realized that he was my guru because this profound impact could only come from a guru. So you see he found me when I was not looking for him!

Were you at any point in the quest convinced that you would one day know your real nature?

Yes. After the first meeting with him in Bangalore. I never formulated it. It was never a goal. The word “enlightenment” never entered my thoughts. Pandiji certainly didn’t use the term. It was simply a lively feeling, without formulation, of being free from myself, free from all restrictions, all ideas, free from the knowing of freedom.

Did you ever spend a lot of time together, live together?

Yes. For three or four months.

Is it important to live with the guru?

No, it’s not important. He stayed in my house purely for practical reasons.

How did you spend the time together?

He was teaching at the college all day. Sometimes we ate together and every morning he knocked on my door very early and we sat together in silence. Sometimes we spoke about the scriptures, because, being a man of tradition, he very often referred his sayings to the scriptures. But he never did so arbitrarily. Each time he spoke this way, it was exactly the moment when I needed to know it. There was really a feeling of oneness. I was not aware of a “me” and a “he” in our being together. There was real love, not in the way we are accustomed to mean it. It was the most exalted being in love. His presence was continually drenched with warm feeling.

Did he ever transmit to you through touch?

That was not his way with me. We communicated mostly through the eyes. Sometimes he touched my shoulder or hand, but our closeness was closer than all touching.

We also walked together. He was an admirer and this appealed to my artistic nature. He loved music and singing and could imitate the sound of any bird.

Were there any disciplines or exercises that he taught you during this time?

Only to be aware of when conditioning comes in in daily life. He emphasized the problem of day-dreaming and strategy-building. He also emphasized that one should never push away conditioning but only see it clearly, and he reminded me to constantly refer to the first insight, the first non-experience.

You mean, to remember it?

Go knowingly in it, not remember it intellectually. It is presence, not a memory.

Did he teach you any yoga exercises?

No, it was not on the program! When we were sitting together he occasionally made me aware of certain patterns. I knew a few yoga postures already and, if he found me doing them, he sometimes corrected them. Mostly, we sat. Our togetherness, our meditation was never intentional. He emphasized only awareness free from objects and not to try to become a better man. Doing things was a defense for him. His presence was all that was needed—and his sayings, the way he brought the truth to me through words which emphasized the silence. He emphasized the silence after the sayings, the silence in which understanding becomes alive, free from words.

Was he in your thoughts very often?

I did not think of him because I could not personify, objectify him. There was a deep feeling of oneness. I was not at all attached to his physical being. Everything he gave was a pearl. I took it as a pearl and lived with it.

There were moments when we were just happy to be together, not talking, not thinking. His presence was my presence and my presence was his presence. His being was the transmission. In a real teacher this is all transmission is. Any intentional transmission is sentimentality, romanticism.

You have often said that you like to be pushed into the corner with questions. Did you do this with your teacher? Did you ask many questions?

Oh yes, many questions! These brought us to the edge of thinking. They exhausted thinking.

Were your questions ever of a practical nature, how to conduct your daily life and so on?

Almost never. I tried to use all my knowledge to solve the problem myself. I had a very great veneration for him and when I really looked at my feelings, I did not want to bother him with things I could solve myself. I left my time with him for other questions.

Would you mind my asking whether you remember any of the questions you asked him?

From time to time I would ask about spontaneity, or about thinking and how it functions in complementarity, how I could not think of light without reference to dark, and so on. So I asked him how I could go beyond complementarity, beyond thinking, how I could go beyond “to be or not to be.”

You obviously have a very good intellect. Would you say your questions were intellectual?

As you say, my intellect was a very good tool and I used it, but my questions arose not from the mind but from my existential conflict. As I had a strong intellect, I went as far as possible with my questions. For me the intellect was a vital element in the search. Sometimes he answered me in the form of a question which gave me no hold. He pushed me to the edge of the thinkable. Sometimes he did not answer verbally and that silent answer was even more tangible.

Would you say your approach was more jnani than bhakti, more the way of knowledge than devotion?

Yes. Not so much bhakti, of course. But all my questions were carried by love. It was never a dry, mental exercise. He also had a great intellect. Traditionally, when you are a pandit there is nothing you must not know. (laughs)

But you can only come to knowledge when there is love, unconditional adoration.

Were you ever curious about him, about his life, his role as a teacher or as a man, possibly as a husband or father, how he related to other students and so on?

No, never. I never asked personal questions and I never spoke personally about him. It was a sacred relationship. It was a profoundly serious togetherness. I never doubted his integrity for a moment.

At this time, even though you knew intellectually that there was nothing to achieve, did you still feel and function as if there was?

No. There was no thought at all of becoming or attaining. The most I could say would be that perhaps there was still a residue of eccentric energy, energy to become. But every time I was with Pandiji, his presence channeled the energy that was dispersed.

Then it is important to spend some time with the teacher?

Oh, yes.

Because you often downplay this…

It is not a question of time. It can happen at any moment in life. But there are people who have a slow intellect, slow understanding, or who are stuck in the garage. It can also be that they have such conditioned minds through years of wrong training that the mind has lost its subtlety and is the same as a slow mind.

You had, I believe, at this time some freedom from family and financial obligations.

Yes. I had previously organized my life to make this possible.

You are aware that many people wonder whether to organize their lives to be more free from their obligations and social responsibilities. Do you think that a serious inquirer into truth should do this?

One should do all in one’s power to realize this for some time. It usually means foregoing material wealth, letting go of a way of living, living in the most functional way: food and sleep.

We often hear, “First I will make money and then I will retire and devote myself to truth-seeking.”

This comes from the calculating mind. It is a statement from complete ignorance. There is nothing functional in this reasoning. It is only postponing. The right moment does not come from the mind. When you feel the urge to leave the competitive world, the desire is very strong. You don’t, of course, avoid your family responsibilities, but you see them in a different way. The reasoning to make enough money to retire on is an escape from what belongs to the immediate moment.

But what if one has several children, for example, and simply cannot change one’s job?

What is important is that you feel the inner need to be. Then your surroundings—what belongs to you—arrange themselves accordingly. Existence on this earth gives everyone the opportunity to know Life and to be awake in Life. What we are looking for is our nearest.

I am interested to know why, though your teacher never emphasized yoga, you pursued your study of it, presumably because you still had an interest in the relation between biology and psychology. Was this why you went to learn yoga with Krishnamacharya?

Yes. But I was not at all attracted to yoga from the exercise or gymnastic point of view. I wanted to become more conscious of the body. I wanted the body to become more subtle, more energized, more expanded. It was for the love of feeling the body elastic and receptive. And he was a lovely man to meet.

Was this before or after the awakening?

Oh, before…

Did you see other teachers on the level of Pandiji while you were in India?

I saw Krishna Menon four or five times later on, and found him highly able in vidya vritti, the formulation of what cannot be formulated. Absolutely a beautiful being.

And Ramana Maharshi?

Unfortunately I never met him because he passed away a few months before I arrived in India.

So while you were a disciple of Pandiji’s you were never drawn to other teachers for clarification?

There was no desire at all in me for that. I didn’t go to India to find a teacher. The teacher found me. There’s only one teacher. I quickly came to the conviction that there is nothing to teach and that what you are looking for doesn’t belong to any teaching or “teacher.” So why look for anyone? It is the presence of the guru that shows there is nothing to teach because the teacher is established in the “I am.” So I realized that only the “I am,” not a mind or a body, can bring you to the “I am.”

How long did you live in this way, seeing Pandiji?

For about three years.

And then you left Bangalore and went to Bombay?

Yes, I went sightseeing.

And during this stay there was the moment of enlightenment?

Yes, it was a total switch-over from the residual conditioned state to the unconditioned state. Awareness expanded completely and I felt myself in globality.

Had this happened before?

No. There had been glimpses, but this was more than a glimpse. There was no going back. I had found my real ground.

Did you know in the moment itself that it would be permanent or did you discover this in the days that followed?

Because of the quality of the switch-over there was no doubt that I could be again taken by duality, and this was confirmed in the days and weeks that followed. I felt a rectification in my body and in my brain, as if all the parts had found their right place, their most comfortable position. I saw all daily events spontaneously appearing in the non-state, in my total absence, real presence.

Could you say what were the exact conditions, physical and mental, before this moment: The Threshold?

There had been, for two years, a retreat of all the energy commonly used in becoming, so that when some flying birds crossed my horizon, instead of becoming lost in them, they were lost in me and I found myself in awareness free from all objects. This time what I admired, the birds, dissolved in my admiring, in presence. And admiring dissolved in the Admired. Before the birds appeared, I had been in a profound and prolonged state of being open to openness. Now I found myself as the openness, identical with openness. Openness was my being. There was no more duality.

Was there any other difference between this time and other times when you had looked at birds?

Before, there was still a looker looking at something. This was a moment when there was simply looking without a looker. Previously, it had become my nature to live in pure perception with objects, not living in the divided mind. I had for a long time ignored the arising of all qualifications.

Ignored?

It belongs to the traditional approach, and so that of my teacher, never to refuse or indulge the coming up of qualification, but simply to ignore, and eventually forget them. Neither to look for freedom nor avoid non-freedom. The mind simply ceased to play a role except in a purely functional way.

So in a certain way you were ripe for the moment?

In other words the moment was waiting for me!

How is life different now?

There is no more identification with time and space, body, senses and mind. All events happen in awareness.

Did your relationships change?

There was no more relationship. As there’s no longer an “I,” there is not another.

Can this non-state be described at all?

It is love where the mind is dissolved in love.

(long pause)

Interview with Jean Klein taken from the prologue of Transmission of the Flame. Third Millenium Publications. 1990. 

To read more from Jean Klein see:  https://o-meditation.com/category/jean-klein/

Enlightenment In Seattle

The Realization of Richard Rose

Excerpted from the transcription of Richard Rose’s April 28, 1984, lecture titled Peace of Mind in Spite of Success, delivered in Akron, Ohio.

QUESTION: Would you describe your experience?

ROSE: What do you think it will do?

Q: I would just like to know.

ROSE: I don’t mind talking about it — but it could be fairy tales. It’s something I can’t validate for you. And I don’t know that it’s something that somebody should copy.
The bad thing about — it’s just like reincarnation. Many of the teachers of the East, when you approach them about the idea of reincarnation, to them it immediately is an excuse for procrastination. This is one of the dangers of it — if you become convinced, or if enough people tell you that there is such a thing as reincarnation.
I had a Rosicrucian write to me one time, and he said, “Oh, you’re fretting about self-definition. You’ve got hundreds of lifetimes ahead of you.” Now how does he know that? How could he presuppose that there were hundreds of lifetimes? He couldn’t remember the last one, perhaps. Again, I say some people have. But it’s more or less — the ones that have, it’s more like a dim scene or like something you’d see in a movie. Not with really specific details.
But what happened was — at different times, I started on this rather actively — I started off in a seminary, and I came to the conclusion that the people there were also hypocrites — running an institution that was not necessarily truth-directed. So I checked out after a while. And I went back to high school and went to a couple years of college and studied chemistry.
Then I decided that a lot of this stuff was nonsense, and it would just be in the road of me putting full time into studying psychology. I didn’t know what door to go to, so I started off through the psychological door. Then I ran into some books on raja yoga. And I tried everything. I lived a totally ascetic type of life. I quit eating meat. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink coffee, I stood on my head a bit and sat in poses and that sort of thing.
And after a few years went by, it seemed like utter nonsense. And sometimes I would decide to throw it all over. I would have gotten drunk, but my body wouldn’t stand it. So back to the drawing board. Or I’d think the smart thing for me to do before all my hair falls out is to hunt a girl up and get married, because that’ s the pattern in this rat race, and I might as well at least give some children a chance to do something.
So I’d go out and I’d look for a girl, and she’d tell me off. There was some guiding power there all the time, protecting me, but I didn’t have sense enough myself, letting something else get in the road.
But anyhow, I was in a high state of frustration at different times, because I felt I was a real fool. I had no tangibles — when you deal in this, there is nothing tangible to go by, that you’re making any step at all. You’re just struggling like a worm underneath somebody’s foot, that’s all. And the exigencies of time and life are the feet.
But I kept at it. I went out to Seattle, Washington with the idea of getting married. Again, I was going to chuck it all and get married. I’m not going to get into that part of it, because it’s a nasty story. I didn’t get married. The girl and I fell out. I was staying in a Japanese hotel out there, and I went back to the hotel. I had a job, and I worked every day, and every evening I would come home from work and get into this posture with my feet under me and sit there and think. The only meditation is what you devise for yourself. The best meditation is just to look at yourself: “Why did I think this?” or “What should I do more dynamically tomorrow?” And I got a pain in the top of my head. It was unbearable. And I thought, “Oh boy, three thousand miles from West Virginia, and this is where I have a stroke.” That is what I thought was coming on. Well, I went unconscious, to a degree, in that I lost the body on the bed. It was daylight yet. Because I worked at night and I was home during the day.
And I went out the window — out this hotel window — and I could see the people on the street, just as clearly as if everything were just as it was. But looking out my window, I could also see snow-covered mountains — I think they’re called the Cascade Mountains — and the next thing you know, I was above the Cascade Mountains. I was gaining altitude. And when I looked down — I was watching this all the time I was going — but when I looked down, the whole scene changed. I had lost this whole dimension. And that’s when I saw — the mountain became just piles of humans, millions, struggling, trying to get a little bit of altitude.
And then I experienced nothingness. I found oblivion. And it was really a shock. I thought, “Oh boy, you wanted the answer — and it’s nothing.” But in the middle of that, while I was doing this, while it was happening, I knew I was watching it and then I realized the watcher and in this little book I’ve written, that’s the reason for the words Psychology of the Observer [used as the title].
The scene, the view, is not the viewer. That which Is, is the viewer. If you look at your body, if you look at your progress, that isn’t you. The viewer is you: The awareness behind, all the time. That type of awareness, when you contemplate it, it’s not really consciousness. You feel — you don’t think. Awareness doesn’t imply thought. And, in some respects, the relative thought does disappear. But that awareness always remains.
And I knew, in the middle of this, that I was observing the whole thing. And that’s when I knew I was immortal. I was nothing, and I was everything — simultaneously.

Q: Was this God?

ROSE: I felt that if this is God, he’d be lonely.

Q: Was this a death experience?

ROSE: It’s death, and you don’t encourage it. It came to me one other time, and it wasn’t as traumatic because I knew what was happening. But it’s still — there’s a Zen saying: Before you have the experience, the hills are hills and the valleys are valleys; and during the experience, they are no longer hills and valleys; but once you return, again once more the hills are hills and the valleys are valleys.
In other words, you’ve got to enter into the play. This is a stage play. You’ve got to come in and assume the mask of life until you’re ready to check out. You have to eat and drink and whatever is necessary. If you’re sick, you take pills.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Rose: I didn’t have that particular feeling. As I said, I feel that something was — it may have been an anterior self; because I didn’t choose to return.
The only thing was — you know I said that I was very angry. I had an angry period from the time I was a kid until I was thirty years old about the lack of truth available to people, about the phonies.
And young people just generally quit looking. They say, “To hell with it. There are too many lies to trip over, there are too many books that are phony to read.” And they never think of looking inside themselves to find it.
And even looking inside yourself takes help. Just like I’m talking now; if that doesn’t inspire somebody to look inside themselves, I’m wasting my time. Hardly anybody does it alone. Even myself, when I was looking, I read books. I read everything I could get my hands on. But I got a surprise. None of the books told me I’d find what I found.
But I found myself back on that bed. And I wasn’t too happy about it. It was a very miserable experience coming back.

Q: (Inaudible.)

ROSE: Yes, you might call it that. The valleys are once more valleys, but you’re never quite the same. That’s the reason I hesitate to talk about it. When I first came back from Seattle, I talked with Andy’s mother and dad [i.e., Rose’s friend Bob Martin and Bob’s wife] about this happening.
And the funny thing about this is — his dad is a very extensive reader in Buddhist philosophy, and he knew a tremendous lot about books on the subject, and he had a hunch about what had happened. But his mother made a remark I’ll never forget. She was just a young one at the time — I don’t think she was over twenty years of age. She said, “Dick, I think you lost your ego.” I didn’t realize this until much later, that was the procedure — that my egos had collapsed.

Q: (Mentions the head pain.)

ROSE: I think I had help. Something worked on my head to kill me, so to speak; to kill the mundane mind. The mind has to die.

Q: What causes the pain?

ROSE: I don’t know. And I don’t know about other cases. I’ve heard just fragments of stories. Incidentally, there’s a categorization — after years and years of studying other cases and wondering why they were all so different — I found out that they aren’t different. They fall decidedly in certain categories. And if you ever run into a little book by Ramana Maharshi in which he describes Samadhi — Kevala Samadhi and Sahaja Samadhi. Kevala Samadhi is cosmic consciousness. There’s a book written by Richard Bucke, “Cosmic Consciousness,” in which he describes that experience — which is not Sahaja Samadhi.
I had the cosmic consciousness for about seven years, in my twenties. Everything was beautiful. And I realized that the world was beautiful, but I was getting ugly. I wasn’t learning anything. So I knew I had to get away from the intoxication with the mundane harmony.
The blueprint is harmonious — if you don’t mind the fact of the predators and the victims, the pageantry of eat and be eaten, in the beautiful world. Everything’s being eaten and destroyed and killed and slaughtered, etc. Still, it’s a very beautiful pattern. The grass is green in the spring because a lot of things die.
But — I think the pain [Rose is referring to the pain in his head that preceded his self-realization – Ed.] basically comes from physical reaction to the mind being taken out or disconnected from the body, that’s all.
Of course, when I tried to find somebody who knew something about it, I looked for years. I found very little mention of it except in St. John of the Cross. I don’t know how far John of the Cross went — he had an illumination when he was in prison. But a lot of people have had the different illuminations. Under stress — times of death, sometimes before a firing squad — it will happen. In times of tragedy, thinking is forced; you have to think about it, and the mind is opened up.
But there was physical pain. I got out of the body far enough — the circulation in the head might have been down, I don’t know. And people have asked me this, but I never thought to time it. I don’t know how long I was out. I was alone at the time, and —

Questioner: Was there pain when you came back into your body?

ROSE: The pain was when I was leaving. The pain got so intense that I left my body.

Q: I have astral-projected and never experienced any pain.

ROSE: See, this is something a little different I think from astral projection; because I have projected astrally and didn’t have too much trouble. But this seemed to be something tremendously different. Most astral projection, if you notice, is limited to the geography here.

Q: About losing your ego — the ego that you’re talking about is your will to survive, or your life. You left your life — something happened, and you died. That’s the difference between astral projection and this.

ROSE: The thing that I faced, number one, was — I had a lot of little, real lousy, egos that I was trying to put across at the time. But also in the process, when I was sitting there and I knew that death was approaching, I had to face the fact, very quickly, that all of a sudden I was going to be possibly zero.

In a natural death, when a person dies slowly, they go through that change. And I went through it rapidly. I accepted death, knowing that very possibly it could be zero. You have no choice. Any bit of protoplasm — animals do the same thing when they realize that they’ re going to be killed. Nature has the sedative.

Q: This was a mental thing that happened to you, and you mentally accepted the fact that you were dying. It felt reasonable to you because this is what life is about.

ROSE: Yes. The total absurdity of one and the inescapability of the other. Everything just like dominoes — the whole thing went down very rapidly.

Q: You just can’t do that on the spur of the moment; certain things have to fall into place.

ROSE: I couldn’t bring it about, no. I don’t particularly think that I’d care to. I know there’s a difference between whether I astrally stepped out of my body and went to see somebody I knew. (That would be a nice little trip, but I would say also that a bus ticket is cheaper.) It’s not as traumatic. To go through this — you can’t plan it — there’s no way you can plan it — because you’d have to put yourself in a state of mind in which you would be beyond relativity, beyond concern.
© 1978, 1984, 1985 Richard Rose. All right s reserved.

This article and additional descriptions of Richard Rose’s experience can be found at:

http://www.searchwithin.org

Enlightenment is Popping Up Everywhere – Osho

The following was excerpted from Glimpses of a Golden Childhood:

The day my Nani became enlightened, I remember – I have noted it down, it will be somewhere – it was the sixteenth of January, 1967. I say without hesitation that she was my first sannyasin; and not only that, she was my first enlightened sannyasin.

You are both doctors, and you know Doctor Ajit Saraswati well. He has been with me for almost twenty years, and I don’t know anybody else who has been so sincerely with me. You will be surprised to know he is waiting outside… and there is every possibility that he is almost ready to be enlightened. He has come to live here in the ashram. It must have been difficult for him, particularly as an Indian, leaving his wife, his children, and his profession. But he could not live without me. He is ready to renounce all. He is waiting outside. This will be his first interview, and I can feel that this is going to be his enlightenment too. He has earned it, and earned it with great difficulty. To be an Indian and to be totally with me is not an easy job…

The following day Osho continues:

…The first words that Ajit Saraswati uttered to me last night were, “Osho, I never expected that I would ever make it.” Of course those who were present thought he was talking about coming to live in the ashram. And that too is in a way true, relevant, because I remember the first day he came to see me twenty years ago. He had to ask permission from his wife just to see me for a few minutes. So those who were present must have understood, naturally, that he had never expected to move in, leaving his wife and children and a very good business. Renouncing all, just to be here with me… in a true sense of renunciation. But that was not what he meant, and I understood.

I said to him, “Ajit, I am also surprised. Not that I never expected it; I had always expected it, hoped and longed for this moment, and I am happy that you have come.”

Again, the others must have thought I was talking about his coming here to live. I was talking about something else, but he understood. I could see it in his eyes, which have been becoming more and more childlike. I saw that he had understood what coming to a Master really means. It means coming to one’s self. It cannot mean anything else other than self-realization. His smile was absolutely new.

I had been worried about him: he was becoming more serious every day. I was really concerned, because to me seriousness has always been a dirty word, a disease, something far more cancerous than cancer can ever be, and certainly far more infectious than any disease.

But I breathed a great sigh of unburdening; a load disappeared from my heart. He is one of those few people that if I had to die without them becoming enlightened, then I would have had to turn the wheel again, I would have had to be born again. Although it is impossible to turn the wheel… and I know nothing of the mechanics of turning a wheel, particularly the wheel of time. I am not a mechanic, I am not a technician, so it would have been very difficult for me to turn the wheel again… and it has not moved since I was twenty-one.

Twenty-eight years ago the wheel stopped, now everything must be rusted. Even if you poured oil on to it, it would not help. Even my sannyasins could do nothing about it – it is not the wheel of a Rolls Royce. It is the wheel of karma, of action, and the consciousness implied in every action. I am finished with it. But for a man like Ajit, I would have tried to come back again whatever the cost.

I am determined that I will leave this body only when at least one thousand and one of my disciples are enlightened, not before that. Raj Bharti, remember it! It is not going to be difficult – the basic work has been done – it is just a question of a little patience.

Gudia just said as I was coming in, on hearing that Ajit had become enlightened, “It is strange, Enlightenment is popping up everywhere.” It has to pop up everywhere, that’s my work. And those one thousand and one people are almost ready to pop at any moment. Just a little breeze and the flower opens… or the first ray of the sun and the bud opens her heart to it – just anything. Now, what was it that helped Ajit?

In these twenty years that I have known him, I have always been loving towards him. I have never hit him – there has never been a need. Even before I said anything to him, he received it already. Before saying, he heard it. In these twenty years he has been following me as closely as it is possible. He is my Mahakashyapa.

What caused the thing last night? It was just because he had been thinking of me every moment. The moment he saw me, all that thinking disappeared – and that was the only thinking that had been surrounding him, like a cloud. And I don’t think that he understood the exact meaning of his words!

It takes time. And the words come so suddenly. He just said, as if in spite of himself, “I had never expected, Osho, that I would be able to make it.”

I said, “Don’t be worried. I was always certain it was going to happen sooner or later, but it was going to happen.”

He looked a little puzzled. He was talking about coming and I was talking about happening. Then, just as if a window opened and you see – just like that – a window opened and he saw. He touched my feet with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face. To see tears and smiles mixing and merging is beautiful. It is an experience in itself…

…He has been, without interfering in any way, present, just around the corner, waiting, only waiting. Such trust is rare, although with me there are thousands of sannyasins with the same kind of reverence. Knowing it or not, that does not matter; what matters is the presence of reverence.

Ajit Saraswati has a Hindu background, so naturally it is easier for him to have that kind of reverence, trust. But he was educated in the West; perhaps that is why he could come close to me. A Hindu background and a western scientific mind. Having these two things together is a rare phenomenon, and he is a unique man.

And, Gudia, more are to follow. Yes, they are going to pop! Here, there, and everywhere. They have to pop quickly because I don’t have much time. But the sound of a man popping into existence is not the sound of pop music, it is not even classical music; it is pure music, not capable of being classified… not even to be heard but only to be felt.

Now, do you see the nonsense? I am talking of a music that has to be felt and not heard. Yes, that’s what I am talking about; that’s what enlightenment is. All becomes silent, as if Basho’s frog had never jumped into the ancient pond… never, never… as if the pond has remained without any ripples, forever reflecting the sky, undisturbed.

This haiku of Basho is beautiful. I repeat it so many times because it is always so new, and always pregnant with a new meaning. It is for the first time that I am saying that the frog has not jumped, and there is no plop. The ancient pond is neither ancient nor new; it knows nothing of time. There are no ripples on its surface. In it you can see all the stars more glorified, more magnificent, than they are in the sky above. The depth of the pond contributes immensely to their richness. They become more of the same stuff dreams are made of.

When one pops into enlightenment, then one knows the frog had not jumped… the ancient pond was not ancient. Then one knows what is.

-Osho

From Glimpses of a Golden Childhood, Chapter 16

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