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.

Perfection, Destiny of All – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: When asked about the means for self-realisation, you invariably stress the importance of the mind dwelling on the sense ‘I am’. Where is the causal factor? Why should this particular thought result in self-realisation? How does the contemplation of ‘I am’ affect me?

Maharaj: The very fact of observation alters the observer and the observed. After all, what prevents the insight into one’s true nature is the weakness and obtuseness of the mind and its tendency to skip the subtle and focus on the gross only. When you follow my advice and try to keep your mind on the notion of ‘I am’ only, you become fully aware of your mind and its vagaries. Awareness, being lucid harmony (sattva) in action, dissolves dullness and quietens the restlessness of the mind and gently, but steadily changes its very substance. This change need not be spectacular; it may be hardly noticeable; yet it is a deep and fundamental shift from darkness to light, from inadvertence to awareness.

Q: Must it be the ‘I am’ formula? Will not any other sentence do? If I concentrate on ‘there is a table’, will it not serve the same purpose?

M: As an exercise in concentration — yes. But it will not take you beyond the idea of a table. You are not interested in tables, you want to know yourself. For this keep steadily in the focus of consciousness the only clue you have: your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm of reality.

Q: Is there any causal link between my focusing the ‘I am’ and the breaking of the shell?

M: The urge to find oneself is a sign that you are getting ready. The impulse always comes from within. Unless your time has come, you will have neither the desire nor the strength to go for self-enquiry whole-heartedly.

Q: Is not the grace of the Guru responsible for the desire and its fulfillment? Is not the Guru’s radiant face the bait on which we are caught and pulled out of this mire of sorrow?

M: It is the Inner Guru (sadguru) who takes you to the Outer Guru, as a mother takes her child to a teacher. Trust and obey your Guru, for he is the messenger of your Real Self. Q: How do I find a Guru whom I can trust?

M: Your own heart will tell you. There is no difficulty in finding a Guru, because the Guru is in search of you. The Guru is always ready; you are not ready. You have to be ready to learn; or you may meet your Guru and waste your chance by sheer inattentiveness and obstinacy. Take my example; there was nothing in me of much promise, but when I met my Guru, I listened, trusted and obeyed.

Q: Must I not examine the teacher before I put myself entirely into his hands?

M: By all means examine! But what can you find out? Only as he appears to you on your own level.

Q: I shall watch whether he is consistent, whether there is harmony between his life and his teaching.

M: You may find plenty of disharmony — so what? It proves nothing. Only motives matter. How will you know his motives?

Q: I should at least expect him to be a man of self-control who lives a righteous life.

M: Such you will find many — and of no use to you. A Guru can show the way back home, to your real self. What has this to do with the character, or temperament of the person he appears to be? Does he not clearly tell you that he is not the person? The only way you can judge is by the change in yourself when you are in his company. If you feel more at peace and happy, if you understand yourself with more than usual clarity and depth, it means you have met the right man. Take your time, but once you have made up your mind to trust him, trust him absolutely and follow every instruction fully and faithfully. It does not matter much if you do not accept him as your Guru and are satisfied with his company only. Satsang alone can also take you to your goal, provided it is unmixed and undisturbed. But once you accept somebody as your Guru, listen, remember and obey. Half-heartedness is a serious drawback and the cause of much self-created sorrow. The mistake is never the Guru’s; it is always the obtuseness and cussedness of the discipline that is at fault.

Q: Does the Guru then dismiss, or disqualify a disciple?

M: He would not be a Guru if he did! He bides his time and waits till the disciple, chastened and sobered, comes back to him in a more receptive mood.

Q: What is the motive? Why does the Guru take so much trouble?

M: Sorrow and the ending of sorrow. He sees people suffering in their dreams and he wants them to wake up. Love is intolerant of pain and suffering. The patience of a Guru has no limits and, therefore, it cannot be defeated. The Guru never fails.

Q: Is my first Guru also my last, or do I have to pass from Guru to Guru?

M: The entire universe is your Guru. You learn from everything, if you are alert and intelligent. Were your mind clear and your heart clean, you would learn from every passer-by;. It is because you are indolent or restless, that your inner Self manifests as the outer Guru and makes you trust him and obey.

Q: Is a Guru inevitable?

M: It is like asking ‘Is a mother inevitable?’ To rise in consciousness from one dimension to another, you need help. The help may not always be in the shape of a human person, it may be a subtle presence, or a spark of intuition, but help must come. The inner Self is watching and waiting for the son to return to his father. At the right time he arranges everything affectionately and effectively. Where a messenger is needed, or a guide, he sends the Guru to do the needful.

Q: There is one thing I cannot grasp. You speak of the inner self as wise and good and beautiful and in every way perfect, and of the person as mere reflection without a being of its own. On the other hand you take so much trouble in helping the person to realise itself. If the person is so unimportant, why be so concerned with its welfare? Who cares for a shadow?

M: You have brought in duality where there is none. There is the body and there is the Self. Between them is the mind, in which the Self is reflected as ‘I am’. Because of the imperfections of the mind, its crudity and restlessness, lack of discernment and insight, it takes itself to be the body, not the Self. All that is needed is to purify the mind so that it can realise its identity with the Self. When the mind merges in the Self, the body presents no problems. It remains what it is, an instrument of cognition and action, the tool and the expression of the creative fire within: The ultimate value of the body is that it serves to discover the cosmic body, which is the universe in its entirety. As you realise yourself in manifestation, you keep on discovering that you are ever more than what you have imagined.

Q: Is there no end to self-discovery?

M: As there is no beginning, there is no end. But what I have discovered by the grace of my Guru is: I am nothing that can be pointed at. I am neither a ‘this’ nor a ‘that’. This holds absolutely.

Q: Then, where comes in the never-ending discovery, the endless transcending oneself into hew dimensions?

M: All this belongs to the realm of manifestation; it is in the very structure of the universe, that the higher can be had only through the freedom from the lower.

Q: What is lower and what is higher?

M: Look at it in terms of awareness. Wider and deeper consciousness is higher. All that lives, works for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness. This is the world’s sole meaning and purpose. It is the very essence of Yoga — ever raising the level of consciousness, discovery of new dimensions, with their properties, qualities and powers. In that sense the entire universe becomes a school of Yoga (yogakshetra).

Q: Is perfection the destiny of all human beings?

M: Of all living beings — ultimately. The possibility becomes a certainty when the notion of enlightenment appears in the mind. Once a living being has heard and understood that deliverance is within his reach, he will never forget, for it is the first message from within. It will take roots and grow and in due course take the blessed shape of the Guru.

Q: So all we are concerned with is the redemption of the mind?

M: What else? The mind goes astray, the mind returns home. Even the word ‘astray’ is not proper. The mind must know itself in every mood. Nothing is a mistake unless repeated.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 58

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