The following is an excerpt from Meher Baba’s Discourse on Manonash
Mind is never transformed. Ego is transformed once only. “Ego” means Astitva, which means your very Being as the Real “I.” The transformation should clearly be understood.
Today you feel that you are a man. Tomorrow you die and then your mental impressions give you the feeling that you are a woman. All this is false. Mind’s attitude is changed according to circumstances, but mind remains mind, whether it is lifted up or goes down. Mind can be happy, and it can be miserable. It is the attitude of the mind which thus changes. Mind creates worlds, delusions, illusions, ad infinitum – but mind remains as mind.
Mind cannot be transformed. Why? Because it is not One itself. Mind survives by desires and thoughts, and it is made up of impressions. Ego is One in itself, but this Real Ego – the Real “I” – is now bound by the mind. And this mind which is made up of false impressions makes the Real “I” think itself false. Mind makes you think of birth, death, happiness, misery, et cetera, as real things, but nothing can be more false than this. You are now here, alive in the body, in your senses, and why? Because you always were.
Have you any impression of how you were born and how your birth took place? No. Because you were not born at all! Mind gives you this impression that you are here, there, and so forth. It is the mind which gives you the impression according to which you say: “She is my wife,” or “He is my husband,” and so forth.
Mind always keeps you hopping at a tap dance! If you knew that your wife, children, et cetera, are One, and if you knew that you never die, never suffer, you are then All in all. But the mind is there to baffle you!
Mind says: “Beware, she is your wife; they are your children; these are your things,” ad infinitum. Mind creates such types of impressions.
Therefore mind, which is made up of false impressions, makes the Real “I” think itself false. To think I am the body, I am young, old, I am a man, a woman, I am this or that – are all impressions created by the mind. It never makes itself feel “I am God.” Mind might make you say “I am God,” but it cannot make you feel “I am God.
So long as mind is there, ego cannot be transformed from its false attitude to its real state. Mind thus also makes you say that you are infinite, all-powerful, and so forth, but you do not feel it. Why? Because mind, which is made up of false impressions, makes you feel the “I” as small, limited I.
Now what has happened? If the false ego is to have its real, original state, the mind must go. As long as the mind is there, although its outlook is changed, the real “I-am-God” state cannot be experienced.
In sound sleep, mind has temporarily gone. Ego is there, and the impressions again make the mind wake up, and mind again makes the ego feel false. And so, in innumerable lives and forms, the ego is there. The mind is there, but the mind’s impressions change and so, accordingly, body changes – and also accordingly, experience changes. Therefore, for the false “I” to become Real “I” the mind must go.
The real goal of life is not death of the ego, but of the mind! Therefore when Muhammad or Zarathustra or Jesus talked of being born once or dying once, they meant the death of the mind. Mind is born from the very beginning, even before the stone state. This birth is once, and also the death of the mind takes place only once.
When the mind dies, the false ego is transformed into Reality. Real Ego is never born and never dies. Ego is always real but due to the mind, it feels and acts as limited and false “I.”
Now mind goes on taking bodies according to its good and bad impressions. This taking and leaving the body is not the death either of the mind or the ego. After physical death the mind remains with its impressions. It is the impressions which make the mind take bodies, in order that the impressions might be wiped out. Consequently, the mind takes bodies according to the impressions, and the ego witnesses this. When one body is discarded, another comes up and forms, though there is a certain amount of time lag between the giving up of one body and taking up another.
This jadu (magical spell) of sanskaras has bound you so tight that the more you try to come out, the more you get bound. Because mind has to be destroyed from its root, and who is to destroy it? Mind has to destroy itself. That is an impossible task. The very process of destroying itself creates impressions of trying to destroy it, and so one gets more bound.
As Hafiz has said:
“You yourself are the veil, O Hafiz!
And so remove your self!”
Now, how to remove you self? The very process of removing creates fresh sanskaras.
Thousands have thought of destroying the mind – the main methods being those of action, meditation, knowledge and LOVE. These ways have been chalked out by the Perfect Masters for the purpose of destroying the mind while remaining consciousness.
Now, the path of Action (Karma Yoga), which is meant for this goal of Manonash, which transforms the false “I” into the Real “I,” has to be considered – because the main activity of mind through the body is of actions. The Perfect Masters saw that actions which have false ego and an impression-filled mind as its background, instead of destroying the mind, feed it. They saw that everyone has to do actions. Even the laziest of men has to do actions, such as eating, drinking, sleeping, et cetera. Therefore, the Masters thought of “actionless actions.” That means to do actions, but to do them in such a way that the effect is as if no action was done. If this is done, the past impressions of actions get spent up mentally by experiences of happiness or misery, but no new impressions are created.
Suppose you do an action of helping someone without any thought of self-interest, and while doing so, you are beaten, and the police, on the other hand, arrest you and put you in jail. These happenings spend up some of your old sanskaras, but since you had no self-interest, no fresh sanskaras are formed. This process, however, is so long and complicated that one can attain Manonash through action only after yugas (cycles of time).
So, Perfect Masters wanted actions to kill actions; that is, actions done in such a way that the effect of the impressions becomes impotent – hence no result, no binding. For example, a scorpion by nature wags its tail and stings anyone who comes near it. Now, suppose the scorpion’s dangerous stinger is broken and removed. The scorpion goes on wagging its tail and continues to behave as before. But the action is rendered impotent in the matter of its dangerous results; that is, the bad effect of actions is remove. If actions have to be without binding, the effect leading to the binding has to be eliminated.
The world and its activities are really speaking worthless. Actions continue, whether they are good or bad, and therefore the Perfect Masters said: “Act in such a way that the actions do not bind you and impressions are not created.” This is almost an impossible task, as about to be explained. There are three ways by which actions can be done without creating impressions and the consequent bindings: First: To act, but having absolutely no thought that you are acting. This must be a continuous process. That means that the ego does not give even one moment to the mind to exert its influence. In fact, you act for others, and not for yourself. This selfless action, which is also called selfless service, is also almost impossible because the moment you think: “I am serving others, I must help, I must uplift a certain cause,” you are caught. And for leaders it is very risky, unless this thought about themselves is given up one hundred percent continuously.
This point may be explained further. If a leader asks others to sacrifice everything for some cause with the best of motives and with no self-interest, but fails to do so himself continuously one hundred percent, without any thought of self, then the result is disastrous. All the sanskaras of the whole group fall on him, and even his followers are caught in the impressions, even though they might have acted with the best of intentions. A similar disaster occurs in the case of a guru and disciple if there is any thought of self on either side. Even pity for others should not be there. In short, when action has to be effectless, then it must be done without self-interest, which is almost impossible.
The second way is that whatever you do, good or bad, you dedicate it to God, or your Master. This is also almost impossible, because the dedication has to be continuous, without a moment’s break. If you are able to do so, then the impressions are not created by actions. But if there is a break, even once, the reaction is disastrous, and all the sanskaras gather on you.
The third way is to do whatever you are asked to do by One who is free from impressions and whose mind is destroyed. Such actions do not bind you. This too is most difficult. You must have one hundred percent unflinching faith in the Master; even a moment’s doubt is fatal. Krishna had to convince Arjuna that he was in every being, and that none died – all were dead already. Then, what Arjuna did was “action without action.”
These three ways are thus almost impossible to attain. So how should one act? To be involved in mere “sansar” (worldly matters) with your wife, children, business, et cetera, and to act, results in getting bound with hooks of iron. But submissive, weak and loose impressions are created by actions which are done without self-interest, even if at times thoughts of helping or pitying others come into the mind, as mentioned. Mind’s part is to make the ego, through the body, feel false and to experience the sanskaras. But when the mind sees that the false ego is not so ready to accept its dictatorship, then the impressions formed by actions of this type are weak. Such actions are therefore eventually of help toward attaining Manonash.
Some Perfect Masters chalked out ways of destroying the mind through mind itself – through meditation and concentration. When mind becomes concentrated, its further function is weakened, and the impressions wipe out themselves, because impressions are like worms and exhaust themselves. But this process of meditation and concentration makes Manonash almost impossible because mind has its habit of getting impressions spent. When the mind feels frustrated, it gets more desperate. The moment you sit for meditation, sometimes thoughts which you never did think before come to you, and eventually one of the following three things happens:
1st: You get fed up because you cannot concentrate; or 2nd: You get sleepy or dreamy; or 3rd: More bad thoughts enter your mind, and you have to give up your attempts. But if you have a brave heart and patiently persist, then, in a very few cases, the mind is temporarily stilled. Now, this results in one of two things: one either enters into a trance or samadhi. This trance (hal) and samadhi are not Manonash. Samadhi becomes a profession, in some cases; and trance becomes like a dope – one gets addicted to it. One enjoys the trance, but it is temporary. There have been cases of those going into samadhi and, while coming down to normal consciousness, their first thought is the same thought which they had while going into samadhi. Thus, if they had thought of money before entering into samadhi, they get the same thought of money while coming out of it.
Some Perfect Masters thought that the best way was to forget oneself and to give the mind no chance of having new impressions. The question is one of how to forget oneself. The answer is: through Devotion (Bhakti Yoga). When one is devoted one hundred percent, then one forgets oneself. But this is also practically impossible, because such devotion and forgetfulness have to be continuous.
Hafiz has said:
“If you want the presence of the Beloved,
do not absent yourself from the memory of the Beloved.”
You must not be, even for one moment, without this devotion, without this self-forgetfulness, which is almost an impossibility. This is the path of Devotion, or Bhakti Marg. Therefore, one Perfect Master has said: “One moment with the Master is better than one hundred years of sincere piety.”
Some Perfect Masters thought that the mind must be diverted if it is to be killed. Mind makes the ego say: “I am body.” Therefore, make the mind say: “I am not the body, I am not this, I am not that, I am God!” Now, this too is almost impossible, because mind has false impressions, and to make this false mind say what it feels to be false is like a hypocritical act. Thus, for example, the mind knows that it is “Mr. So-and-so.” Now, if this person’s mind says: “I am not a human being, but I am God,” then, at that very moment, the mind feels that it is lying. The result is that this tires out the heart, emotions and any love. The mind cannot do actionless actions since it says: “I am God. What have I to act for?” Mind cannot forget itself in devotion because it says: “I am God. To whom to pray?”
So, Manonash is impossible. But if selfless action, even if not perfect, is persistently done, a stage is reached when mind is permanently at peace. It sees God, but it is not yet destroyed. If through bhakti yoga a stage of devotion is reached by which constant devotion is attained, then this peace of mind and seeing of God comes. So, if one says: “I am God; I am not the body,” and persists in this saying with one hundred percent faithfulness at the cost of everything, then this peace of mind is achieved. But for Manonash there is always one thing. One who is free can uproot the minds of others, even of the masses. Even the past Prophets and Avatars had to have the help and grace of the Perfect Ones in order to achieve the annihilation of their minds.
In short, there are all these ways to attain Manonash and to make you feel that you are God, Infinite, Eternal. But it is rightly said that:
“When you cannot step out of your nature,
how can you aspire to enter the threshold of the Beloved?”
Following different paths, different people encounter different difficulties. Some who do not know the technique of meditation become mad. Some say that they should not see even a woman. They get so nervous about sex.
The fact is that we are God, but we are misled by this shameless mind. The mind is so shameless that the more you wish to get rid of it, the more you become entangled in it – just as when you try to take out one foot from the mud, your other foot gets more deeply stuck. All the same, you have to get rid of this trouble.
Manonash is real samadhi (bliss) for the mind. Mind is uprooted and then its death occurs and the ego immediately feels: “I am everything, and have no concern with the body.” At that moment, either the shock is too strong and the body falls, or the momentum keeps the body for some time, and then it falls, as in the case of the majzoobs.
Real Ego is the Goal. Some who reach the Manonash stage and have to perform certain duties continue to remain in their body with an impressionless mind to help others in seeing themselves in everyone.
Call it “Impressionless Mind,” call it “Real I,” call it “Transformed Ego,” or call it “Real Mind” – it is One and the same Infinite Truth, beginningless and endless. You are All in all. All that you need is emancipation from all that is false which has fallen to your lot.
Excerpt from Meher Baba’s Discourse on Manonash
Published in Lord Meher, the 20-volume biography of Avatar Meher Baba.
The entire 20 volume biography can be viewed at: http://www.lordmeher.org/index.jsp