Find Out Who You Are – Jean Dunn

Jean Dunn speaks about life with Nisargadatta Maharaj. This interview was recorded by Malcolm Tillis in 1981, while Jean was living in Bombay, India.

Jean Dunn: I am just a normal person of fifty-nine who has been searching all her life until, ten years ago, she heard of Ramana Maharshi. She visited his ashram, went back to the States, then returned to India, where she has been living for the past four years. Two years ago she met Nisargadatta Maharaj, and he became her guru.

Did he give you some form of initiation?
He gave me a mantra and initiation.

How did you first hear about him?
At Ramana Maharshi’s ashram. Many people come to see him; ­there seems to be a tie.

Is it because of the similarity of Self-Inquiry?
It’s no longer that. Maharaj has had cancer of the throat for the past year, so his teachings have been polished; he is saying he’s no longer the consciousness, he observes the consciousness—he’s the Absolute. His teachings are now on that line.

Can you tell me something about his book, I Am That?
It’s in the form of questions and answers. The fifth edition is just coming out. It came out in two volumes in 1973, having been collected and edited by Maurice Frydman, who in late life became a disciple of Maharaj. There has been no further book published. Last year I asked Maharaj—I had been recording all his question and answer periods—if he wanted me to put them together for a book. He said yes. So Seeds of Consciousness will come out this year. Another volume will appear later: Beyond Consciousness.

In spite of his illness he gives darshan every day?
He is in much pain at times but manages to talk twice a day. He is one of the hidden saints, so he only draws a few people at a time. His teachings aren’t for the general public—we are blessed to listen to him.

How does he usually teach?
Up until his illness, it was by questions and answers. Now he will no longer teach the ABCs—he doesn’t have the physical strength; ­ he tells us the position, then it’s up to us.

He seemed to insist that I ask questions.
He wants questions to come out; then there will be silence so that remaining questions will be answered within yourself.

His following is mainly Western, by what I saw.
Westerners are in predominance; thousands have seen him—some for a few days, some stay for months. Some he makes leave at once. He says he doesn’t know why he sends people away, although they want to stay.

Are you living in India on a permanent basis?
Yes, I have a residency permit. I have finished work on the second book; the work is complete. Everything he has to say has been said.

Do you ever miss Western society, your home life?
Never.

Can you say something about your personal relationship to your guru?
There are no words to describe that . . .

Do you have an aim in life? For instance, to become one with him?
My aim in life is to lose an aim in life—that’s his teaching. There’s no purpose to this life; it’s just entertainment. That’s all.

That sounds rather Krishnamurthi-esque.
Many of Krishnamurthi’s followers come here—ten came recently.

How did Maharaj attain enlightenment?
You will find that in the first part of I Am That. I can tell you this: the first time he met his guru— his friend insisted on taking him; he even had to buy the garland to present to the guru—he never wanted to go.

Was he very young then?
He was in his thirties. The bidi (Indian cigarette) shop at the corner belongs to him; his son runs it. He had eight shops, but when his guru died, he left everything—his family and business. He wandered for months all over India, until he met a fellow disciple who convinced him it was better to live in the world. He returned to Bombay, but all the shops had gone except this one. He didn’t want anything; all worldly ambition had gone. When people started coming to him, he built that upstairs room.

It’s minute. What are the dimensions?
Oh, about nine by twelve. I’ve seen that room crowded, mostly by Westerners. He says Indians are not ready for his teachings.

Do you think it was because he didn’t want personal publicity that he appeared to be annoyed with me?
That’s correct. I feel sure that was the idea. He doesn’t want disciples—if they come, it’s fine; if not, that’s also fine. He gains nothing. He has reached the peak because he isn’t enamored of any­thing the world can offer.

Does he ever talk about other gurus and their methods?
He talks about the self-styled gurus who propagate their own con­cepts; but there’s nothing wrong with that at that level.

Does he admire any living teachers?
As far as I know, J. Krishnamurti. In the past, Ramana Maharshi. The other day he said, “Krishnamurti, Ramana and myself are one.”

Does he advocate a vegetarian diet?
That pertains to the body; he doesn’t teach anything to do with that. All he wants you to do is find out who you are.

His followers can drink and indulge in free relationships?
Whatever comes naturally to each person, he should do.

He gives no ethical guidance?
No. As long as you think you are a person and this world is real, then you live by certain rules. Once you understand the complete thing, your life lives itself … There are no rules, no good, no bad—I should do this, I shouldn’t do that. If you think about it, all this is taking place in this life span, in this span of consciousness, and when this consciousness goes, what difference does it make?

Does he not advise detachment from worldly activities?
This comes naturally. The main and only thing he teaches is to find out who you are. The closer you come to this, the more detached you become from the world; that will happen naturally. You can’t do anything to make that happen. This idea of doing something is an ego idea “I” can accomplish. Maharaj says the consciousness drags you there by the ear because it wants to know about itself, your true nature.

What has he said about leaving the body at physical death?
For him, it will be a great festival— he’s looking forward to it. For those thinking they are the body, it will be a traumatic experience. For an enlightened person, it’s a joyous time.

When he gives you meditation, does he ask what you see inside?
There has to be somebody to see something! (laughter) . . . No, he doesn’t. Visions and experiences take place in consciousness; they have no meaning whatsoever. Before you were born, did you know anything about this world? When you die—will you know anything about this world? You didn’t know you existed—you exist as the Absolute, but you aren’t aware of your existence. When this con­sciousness comes, spontaneously, you know “I am.” You grab a body and become identified with that. He wants you to go back, back, away from this into your true nature. Right now it’s consciousness; the longer we abide in that consciousness only and observe it, we see that everything we see is not ours—there’s a “you” seeing this.

But what does he teach about God?
Without me, there’s no God.

Really?
Yes.

And he’s teaching that?
Yes. Was there a God before you were? Without you, is there a God?

What brought me back into this body?
Do you remember a previous body?

Many people have that recollection. Are you saying we have never taken birth before?
There’s no “we”; there’s no entity; there is universal consciousness, which is continually expressing itself through these bodies.

Maharaj doesn’t believe in karma and reincarnation?
Correct.

Ramana Maharshi taught that, surely?
They will talk to you on this level if this is your level. But if you un­derstand what I’m saying—there’s only universal consciousness ex­pressing itself; there’s no individual—then he will bring you there. He will no longer speak of this. If you die with concepts, these concepts take another form, but they will not be you— you don’t know what that form will be. Concepts will come again until they are all gone.

What does Maharaj teach about selfless service, helping others?
On their level, it’s good. But his teaching is that there are no others, no individual entities; everything happens spontaneously; there’s no doer. He teaches: Let this life live itself and understand you are not this.

We are not “this” then we are “that.” What is “that”?
“That” is consciousness right now.

Right now? What will it be when we leave the body?
The Absolute.

Then what comes back?
Consciousness is continually renewing itself. You throw a piece of food into a corner; within a few days, worms will come—life, con­sciousness. The same consciousness in that worm is in you. It’s not “my” consciousness, “your” consciousness; it’s one universal con­sciousness, and that universal consciousness is you.

At our level of understanding, aren’t all these concepts? Didn’t you find these theories confusing at first?
The first day I came to Maharaj, he said, “My beingness is a product of food . . .  and the same consciousness in the donkey was in Sri Krishna.” I went to get a reservation back home; none was available, so as something inside knew this was true, I went back. He had jerked the rug from under my feet, and he kept on doing this until I lost any place to put my feet. He forces you to let go of all concepts.

Does he often send people away who come to see him?
Often. He never knows why, though. Every moment watching him is like a spectacular movie; every person’s need is taken care of­. I’ve watched that happen. You can sit quietly, but questions you have inside will be answered. Everything happens according to your need. There’s no him; he has no purpose of his own: that’s why this can happen. There’s no ego there to bump against.

Living so close to an enlightened being can’t be easy.
It’s not easy if you have any ego left.

Can you say something about the positive side?
There are no words for it; everything is taken care of automatically. There’s no “you” to thank God for anything anymore. You let go of everything. There’s no you, no separate entity; everything is hap­pening spontaneously. It’s like there’s a quiet space where you are, yet everything is happening around you.

What work did you do in America?
I worked on newspapers.

Is there a reason why people get involved with imperfect teachers?
We as human beings think there’s a reason for everything; there are no reasons, no causes—it’s a causeless happening. As long as we are on this human level and think there’s a cause, we will be able to come up with one. If some people are taken for a ride by false gurus, you can say this is happening to them to get rid of something­—whatever happens is perfect. We are just to understand there’s no personal consciousness; everything is impersonal, you see.

But when we meet a perfect teacher, it’s our consciousness which recognizes that, surely?
Yes.

Then our lives change.
Yes.

That’s the new life?
Correct.

That’s part of the divine plan requiring no effort?
No effort.

To round off, could you say what are the benefits gained from coming into contact with your guru.
I’ve gotten rid of the idea there’s somebody going to benefit from something . . . (much laughter)

The Royal Process for Spirituality – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nisargadatta MaharajQuestioner:  May I ask: so consciousness comes into awareness.

Maharaj: Of course, everything is in awareness.

Q. Yeah, okay. First there was awareness, then consciousness.

Translator: He wants you to talk. At the same time he wants you to talk at a very high level.

Q. I do not know if that question is low level or high level.

M. Either way you have to face the music.

Knowingness is consciousness, that I amness. That I amness is a product of or objective to the body.

This is the instrument that says I am, an instrument of awareness. This is like an announcer and for an announcer you have to have this instrument, a psycho-somatic instrument. Awareness is the energy or that which provides the energy.

You see now presently you are starting from the body-mind level. You are a person deeply entrenched in body-mind. You think that you are a human being. Your identity is limited to the body and whatever concepts you are continuously collecting up to now. That is your present identity.

Now when you start the spiritual course, you reject, I am the body, you reject, I am the concepts and you come to this “I am” only. When you think that “I am” only without words also, just the feeling of I am. You have discarded the body and conscious. At that level you are everything. You are not confined into this body also. Because of that feeling “I am”, the moment that feeling “I am” is there, everything is. The world is. If the “I am” is not, the world is not. I am and the world, simultaneously they appear. Therefore your “I am” is totally that world. That is that unity or unicity. When you discard your identity that you are the body and mind but you are only being that is that unity consciousness.

Understand it thoroughly.

Now would you like to feel that unicity consciousness without the body and mind or would you like to get yourself entrenched in the body and mind and become burdened?

This is the basic principle. So I am telling you again and again, understand only this. Don’t try and collect more concepts. Understand this, assimilate this and be this. Be that total unicity consciousness. Then all further things will spontaneously happen.

Give up your idea, that identity that you are the body and mind. Try to stabilize in a situation from where you can observe your body and mind.

Listen to this only, understand this. This is the basic of philosophy of spirituality. Master it, be that. Then you need not come again.

Normally nobody is open to this aspect of spirituality. This is the most important aspect.

Whatever I am giving you hold on to that, be that and the rest will be taken care of spontaneously.

Does this talk make an impact, impression on you?

Q. Yes, I think it over and then I see immediately the difficulties that arise. I try to meditate this week and soon as you meditate it is more difficult than it used to be. It is very difficult to stay in “I am” only and disregard all the concepts.

M. Don’t try to struggle and try to be that. It is as simple as looking at the flowers and to say “I am not the flowers.” I see the flowers. I am not the flowers. I am here the flowers are there. Like that, be yourself and don’t be the body and mind. You are not the body and mind. I am not the body and mind.

Having received this knowledge, important knowledge, I will not allow you to sit or hang on for longer periods because this will be obliterated.

Having got this, either accept this as the truth, the royal process for spirituality, or throw it out and go to somebody else and collect further ideas and concepts about spirituality.

Enjoy the logic and tricks of this spiritual course. Here he said, “you know you’re not the flowers.” It is as simple as that. Later on, since you are involved with the body mind, apply the same logic. Try to observe the body and mind and understand that you are not the body and mind.

Next question is: identifying body and mind, you are not trying to push it out but by understanding you stabilize in a position prior to body. Physically you are not doing anything, just to understand and be at the higher position.

Now next, by doing this step you are the consciousness. Having rejected body and mind you are the consciousness, that total consciousness.

Now the next stage is, you have to understand that this consciousness is due to body. Because of this instrument of body that feeling of consciousness is there and “I” as absolute cannot be that consciousness.

So again try to observe the consciousness as you observe the flowers, in that state, still you have to feel as in the first lesson. Having become the total consciousness or having realized that I am the total consciousness, the next step is to observe the consciousness and all the play happening in the consciousness. Just to understand, it is a critical stage because at the advent of the body and to the consciousness the outcome to the body it is very strong. So to get rid of that or to understand that you are not the consciousness, the product of the body. But that is the next step.

Is it clear?

Q. Yes I understand it.

M. Have you thoroughly understood enough?

Q. Yes I understand and at times when I am living quietly it is relatively easy to witness what is happening in the mind and happening….

M. Have you understood it thoroughly? Just say yes or no.

Q. Yes. It is a difficult stage. It is difficult to remain a witness to everything that is happening in the mind, in the heart, in the memory, all those things. We know quite well we are not those things. Our identity isn’t with those formations.

M. What is more important is the witness not whatever is witnessed. You need not keep an inventory of all that you have witnessed. There is no question of noting down in your memory because that is a wrong step again. You employ the memory belonging to the mind to note down everything. That is not important. The focus of the attention must be on the witness that you are.

Q. The difficulty is keeping the attention on witnessing because involvement in other things is very strong like Maharaj just said.

M. The moment you are caught up in the current of mind, be again back into the witnessing, back into the witnessing.

Q. There are many times when it is difficult to return to the witness.

M. Yes it is not easy that is why there are very few self-realized persons. Had it been easy there would be any number of self-realized persons. It is difficult.

Q. I’m not complaining that it is difficult. I’m saying that even though we know….

M. The difficulty, he is not going to solve. Everybody knows.

Only this much and no further will be given or elucidated by Maharaj. That’s all. It is the limit of communication. Further, you have to fend for yourself.

I have no form. I have no identity and exactly I also see you as my self. You are my self only, without form and without identity.

So wrongly you strayed into this place by mistake, you stumbled into this place. Now you are compelled to listen to this talk. So collect all the talk and use it and don’t come again. If you think it is good, use it. Otherwise throw it out.

-From a talk given on January 11, 1981

The Touchstone of Awareness – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: My difficulty is this. As I can see, every experience is its own reality. It is there — experienced. The moment I question it and ask to whom it happens, who is the observer and so on, the experience is over and all I can investigate is only the memory of it. I just cannot investigate the living moment — the now. My awareness is of the past, not of the present. When I am aware, I do not really live in the now, but only in the past. Can there really be an awareness of the present?

Maharaj: What you are describing is not awareness at all, but only thinking about the experience. True awareness (samvid) is a state of pure witnessing, without the least attempt to do anything about the event witnessed. Your thoughts and feelings, words and actions may also be a part of the event; you watch all unconcerned in the full light of clarity and understanding. You understand precisely what is going on, because it does not affect you. It may seem to be an attitude of cold aloofness, but it is not really so. Once you are in it, you will find that you love what you see, whatever may be its nature. This choiceless love is the touchstone of awareness. If it is not there, you are merely interested — for some personal reasons.

Q: As long as there are pain and pleasure, one is bound to be interested.

M: And as long as one is conscious, there will be pain and pleasure. You cannot fight pain and pleasure on the level of consciousness. To go beyond them you must go beyond consciousness, which is possible only when you look at consciousness as something that happens to you and not in you, as something external, alien, superimposed. Then, suddenly you are free of consciousness, really alone, with nothing to intrude. And that is your true state. Consciousness is an itching rash that makes you scratch. Of course, you cannot step out of consciousness for the very idea of stepping out is in consciousness. But if you learn to look at your consciousness as a sort of fever, personal and private, in which you are enclosed like a chick in its shell, out of this very attitude will come the crisis which will break the shell.

—Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 76

I Am That

Until All Obstacles are Conquered – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: How does one attend to the unconscious?

Maharaj: Keep the ‘I am’ in the focus of awareness, remember that you are, watch yourself ceaselessly and the unconscious will flow into the conscious without any special effort on your part. Wrong desires and fears, false ideas, social inhibitions are blocking and preventing its free interplay with the conscious. Once free to mingle, the two become one and the one becomes all. The person merges into the witness, the witness into awareness, awareness into pure being, yet identity is not lost, only its limitations are lost. It is transfigured, and becomes the real Self, the sadguru, the eternal friend and guide. You cannot approach it in worship. No external activity can reach the inner self; worship and prayers remain on the surface only; to go deeper meditation is essential, the striving to go beyond the states of sleep, dream and waking. In the beginning the attempts are irregular, then they recur more often, become regular, then continuous and intense, until all obstacles are conquered.

Q: Obstacles to what?

M: To self-forgetting.

Q: If worship and prayers are ineffectual why do you worship daily, with songs and music, the image of your Guru!

M: Those who want it, do it. I see no purpose in interfering.

Q: But you take part in it.

M: Yes, it appears so. But why be so concerned with me? Give all your attention to the question: ‘What is it that makes me conscious?’, until your mind becomes the question itself and cannot think of anything else.

Q: All and sundry are urging me to meditate. I find no zest in meditation, but I am interested in many other things; some I want very much and my mind goes to them; my attempts at meditation are so half-hearted. What am I to do?

M: Ask yourself: ‘To whom it all happens?’ Use everything as an opportunity to go within. Light your way by burning up obstacles in the intensity of awareness. When you happen to desire or fear, it is not the desire or fear that are wrong and must go, but the person who desires and fears. There is no point in fighting desires and fears which may be perfectly natural and justified; It is the person, who is swayed by them, that is the cause of mistakes, past and future. The person should be carefully examined and its falseness seen; then its power over you will end. After all, it subsides each time you go to sleep. In deep sleep you are not a self-conscious person, yet you are alive. When you are alive and conscious, but no longer self-conscious, you are not a person anymore. During the waking hours you are, as if, on the stage, playing a role, but what are you when the play is over? You are what you are; what you were before the play began you remain when it is over. Look at yourself as performing on the stage of life. The performance may be splendid or clumsy, but you are not in it, you merely watch it; with interest and sympathy, of course, but keeping in mind all the time that you are only watching while the play — life — is going on.

Q: You are always stressing the cognition aspect of reality. You hardly ever mention affection, and will — never?

M: Will, affection, bliss, striving and enjoying are so deeply tainted with the personal, that they cannot be trusted. The clarification and purification needed at the very start of the journey, only awareness can give. Love and will shall have their turn, but the ground must be prepared. The sun of awareness must rise first — all else will follow.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, p. 329

Witnessing – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: I am full of desires and want them fulfilled. How am I to get what I want?

Maharaj: Do you deserve what you desire? In some way or other you have to work for the fulfillment of your desires. Put in energy and wait for the results.

Q: Where am I to get the energy?

M: Desire itself is energy.

Q: Then why does not every desire get fulfilled?

M: Maybe it was not strong enough and lasting.

Q: Yes, that is my problem. I want things, but I am lazy when it comes to action.

M: When your desire is not clear nor strong, it cannot take shape. Besides, if your desires are personal, for your own enjoyment, the energy you give them is necessarily limited; it cannot be more than what you have.

Q: Yet, often ordinary persons do attain what they desire.

M: After desiring it very much and for a long time. Even then, their achievements are limited.

Q: And what about unselfish desires?

M: When you desire the common good, the whole world desires with you. Make humanity’s desire your own and work for it. There you cannot fail,

Q: Humanity is God’s work, not mine. I am concerned with myself. Have I not the right to see my legitimate desires fulfilled? They will hurt no one. My desires are legitimate. They are right desires, why don’t they come true?

M: Desires are right or wrong according to circumstances; it depends on how you look at them. It is only for the individual that a distinction between right and wrong is valid.

Q: What are the guide-lines for such distinction? How am I to know which of my desires are right and which are wrong?

M: In your case desires that lead to sorrow are wrong and those which lead to happiness are right. But you must not forget others. Their sorrow and happiness also count.

Q: Results are in the future. How can I know what they will be?

M: Use your mind. Remember. Observe. You are not different from others. Most of their experiences are valid for you too. Think clearly and deeply, go into the entire structure of your desires and their ramifications. They are a most important part of your mental and emotional make-up and powerfully affect your actions. Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.

Q: What does it mean to know myself? By knowing myself what exactly do I come to know?

M: All that you are not.

Q: And not what I am?

M: What you are, you already are. By knowing what you are not, you are free of it and remain in your own natural state. It all happens quite spontaneously and effortlessly.

Q: And what do I discover?

M: You discover that there is nothing to discover. You are what you are and that is all.

Q: I do not understand!

M: It is your fixed idea that you must be something or other, that blinds you.

Q: How can I get rid of this idea?

M: If you trust me, believe when I tell you that you are the pure awareness that illuminates consciousness and its infinite content. Realise this and live accordingly. If you do not believe me, then go within, enquiring ‘What am I’? or focus your mind on ‘I am’, which is pure and simple being.

Q: On what my faith in you depends?

M: On your insight into other people’s hearts. If you cannot look into my heart, look into your own.

Q: I can do neither.

M: Purify yourself by a well-ordered and useful life. Watch over your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. This will clear your vision.

Q: Must I not renounce everything first, and live a homeless life?

M: You cannot renounce. You may leave your home and give trouble to your family, but attachments are in the mind and will not leave you until you know your mind in and out. First thing first — know yourself, all else will come with it.

Q: But you already told me that I am the Supreme Reality. Is it not self-knowledge?

M: Of course you are the Supreme Reality! But what of it? Every grain of sand is God; to know it is important, but that is only the beginning.

Q: Well, you told me that I am the Supreme Reality. I believe you. What next is there for me to do?

M: I told you already. Discover all you are not. Body, feelings, thoughts, ideas, time, space, being and not-being, this or that — nothing concrete or abstract you can point out to is you. A mere verbal statement will not do — you may repeat a formula endlessly without any result whatsoever. You must watch yourself continuously — particularly your mind — moment by moment, missing nothing. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the self from the not-self.

Q: The witnessing — is it not my real nature?

M: For witnessing, there must be something else to witness. We are still in duality!

Q: What about witnessing the witness? Awareness of awareness?

M: Putting words together will not take you far. Go within and discover what you are not. Nothing else matters.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter Ten

I Am That

Only Oneness Is Complete – Ranjit Maharaj

Question: Would you say that Reality is silence reflecting Itself?

Ranjit: You can see the space, you can observe the space, you can feel the space, but Reality is beyond space. Space is zero. No silence is there, no voice is there, no peace is there, no state is there. All these are conditional things. When you sleep, you feel happy, but here there is no happiness, take it for granted. So, silence is also not He [Reality], peace is not He. Action and reaction are opposite and equal, it is like that. He has got nothing. If anything would have been there, that would have been something other than Reality and not He. Nothing disturbs Him. And why doesn’t It get disturbed? Because It doesn’t exist. When you sleep, nothing exists. Then you feel peace there. Why? Because, for example, suppose a man is running in a race during the whole day. When he wins that race, he is sweating and breathing so much. But that is not the pleasure, winning is the pleasure. Nothing is required for Reality, otherwise that would have disturbed the Reality.

Question: Then, Reality is known by Itself only.

Ranjit: That will do, at least. Otherwise, that is also not there. How can It see anything?

Question: It speaks for Itself.

Ranjit: It doesn’t speak either. Forget this point, it’s easier. There’s no experience in It. What experience have you got when you sleep? Is there something there, some knowledge or some power? Everything goes away. So, nothing is there, not even knowledge. It’s beyond knowledge and beyond zero. It’s beyond ignorance and knowledge. Knowledge is a concept, nothing else. Just yesterday I said, “Darkness and light go together.” When a light goes off, then darkness appears. You have not to even call for it. And if again you turn on the light, darkness automatically disappears.

You have not to say, “Please guy, go out”, because they are one. In the same way, knowledge and ignorance are both one. In my Master’s words, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, “Knowledge is the greatest ignorance.” By knowledge, we know that which is nothing, and that is a trick, nothing else. One should know the trick. A magician does many quick movements, and everything disappears all of a sudden. Here, it is also the same. Master only teaches you this trick. There’s no Master and no aspirant in the Reality. Both are not there, they cannot remain. How can duality be there when there is completeness? When there is duality, there is incompleteness. Only ‘Oneness’ is complete. We have to use the word, ‘Oneness’. Why? Because you see so many things, so you have to use the word ‘Oneness’. But in Reality, there is neither peace, nor any state. ‘Peace’, ‘state’, ‘samadhi’ are only methods. They are the real poison, because they take you away from It, and as a result your ego becomes stronger and stronger.

Then the question may arise from the aspirant, “What should I do?” Do nothing! Words only go up to the space. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “There, from where the words come, that is my Self. That is my Self.” The same thing was said by Christ also, in the Bible, “Know thyself and you know the world.” Go up to that point where thinking ends, go up to That, and there is the Self. So, I always call it, “Self without self”. So, Self realisation is Self without self. As long as realising remains, self remains. The eyes have got the habit to see that which is not. You say, “This is a chair”, but it is not. The child will say, “This is water.” His parents will say, “No, no, it’s called an ocean.” They pour more ignorance into him. On the contrary, he is right, it’s nothing but water. He submits to their instructions. Ignorant people will always like ignorance and will not like knowledge. In the Hindi scripts it is written, “Mind has got the curse not to hear the Master.” Mind doesn’t like it. All the people around you are just full of ignorance and they want to support their ignorance. They don’t want to get rid of their ignorance. People don’t like to go and see a saint and also don’t like it when other people go because they’re afraid to lose a person from their circle. The saint takes you up to That, up to the Reality and says, “Understand yourself.” This is the position.

Question: But life springs out from Reality. Isn’t life under the authority of Reality?

Ranjit: The whole dream reflects from where? From zero. It doesn’t reflect from Reality, it reflects from zero. In ignorance, you forget the Reality and then something comes up. In sleep we forget everything, but when we wake up, everything returns at once, in a fraction of a second. So, from where does it come? Not from Him. If it had come from There, it would have been the Reality and if so, then the world ends there.

-Ranjit Maharaj

Excerpt from Satsang with Ranjit Maharaj

This article was posted on: http://www.inner-quest.org/

The entire satsang can be seen here.

Your Last Trump: The ‘I-am-ness’ – Alexander Smit

Visitor: You were talking once about the last trump which everybody is holding back, the last card that is held back in the game of Self-realisation, when one is standing face to face with oneself. Could you say something more about that?

Alexander: At first sight everybody seems to have his own trump-card, but in the end it all boils down to one thing: the ‘I-am’-awareness, your subjectivity. The awareness of ‘I am’ is your last trump, it is the ground from which you can form opinions, hold views, have a certain idea about something or somebody, or have a self-image. The foundation of this is the phenomenon that ‘I am’.

V: Is there a link between that phenomenon and the ego?

A: The word ‘ego’ leads to a confusion of speech. The ego was introduced by psychologists to mean the whole personality-structure, the ‘I’-structure. But at the root of it there is an almost formless sense of… ‘I am’. Nobody doubts that. Even in order to be able to doubt it you have to be there in the first place.

V: But how can this ‘I-am-ness’ be employed as a last trump?

A: The big delusion is this very ‘I-am-ness’, though hardly anyone gets down to that point. This ‘I-am-ness’ is what is called ‘mula maya’ in Sanskrit, the ‘root of illusion’. Whichever way you turn it, some form of self-awareness is there. You could also call it a sort of ‘perceivership’. But don’t be mistaken! What you want in the end is to disappear, to dissolve in love.

Just look at what you are eagerly longing for. All the things you eagerly want are solvents, i.e. means to disappear in love, your true nature. Whether it is playing the violin, sex, eating or dancing, meditation or football. These things give a sense of liberation, a sense of relief. That’s why they are so popular, because there the state of self-awareness is dissolved for the time being—please note: for the time being.

As a matter of fact, this ‘perceivership’ is the same as the self-awareness. Man is struck by a curious fate, for he is—and, at the same time, he perceives that he is. At the same time, which is a peculiar phenomenon. Perhaps one could try and explain this phenomenon in a scientific way on the basis of the structure of the brains etc., but even so! It is inevitable that all such suppositions, all such hypotheses, again, are being perceived.

V: I am still not clear about that trump of yours.

A: The difficulty is that you are stuck with what your senses are dangling before your eyes. Through the play of the five elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—a gigantic creation is being conjured up before you. As a result of a misunderstanding you have begun to look upon yourself as a product of that creation. You were getting consciousness mixed up with its contents. It could hardly be otherwise, for until now the only thing you knew was contents. Such is the game.

All you can possibly perceive—from the waking to the dream state up to deep, dreamless sleep—is the ‘I-am-ness’. With deep, dreamless sleep it is perhaps most difficult to perceive it, for you refer to it as, ‘nothing is there’. You bet there is! There is something there, only your search doesn’t go quite that fare! The problem is not that everything is so terribly complex, but that one is not going sufficiently deep.

(8th December, 1978)

-Alexander Smit

From Consciousness, Chapter one

For more from Alexander Smit look here.