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)

What Am I Looking For – Osho

What am I looking for? 

Deva Parmita, man is a search for the self – not for A self but for THE self. Man is constantly seeking the lost paradise: somewhere deep in the recesses of human beings, the nostalgia persists. We have known something that is only a far faraway memory. The memory is not even conscious; we have lost all track of it, where it is. But the fragrance goes on arising.

Hence religion is not an accidental phenomenon. It is not going to disappear from the world; no communism, no fascism can make it disappear. Religion is going to remain, because it is very essential. Unless a man surpasses humanity, unless a man becomes a Buddha, religion remains relevant. Only for a Buddha is religion irrelevant. He has arrived: now there is no need for any search.

Parmita, there are not different searches for different human beings. The search is singular, it is one, it is universal. The search is for the self, the supreme self. One wants to know, “Who am I?” because everything else is secondary. Without knowing oneself, whatsoever one is doing is pointless. Unless I know exactly who I am, my whole life is going to remain futile. It will not bring fruition, it will not bring flowering, it will not bring fulfillment.

The first step has to be that of self-knowledge. But the paradox is that if you start searching for A self you will miss THE self. By “a self” I mean the ego, the process of egoing. That is a false self: because we cannot find the true, we start creating the false, just to console ourselves. It is a substitute. But the substitute can never become the truth, and the substitute becomes a bondage.

Truth liberates. Substitutes for truth create prisons. The ego is the greatest prison that man has yet invented; you are all feeling suffocated, crushed. It is not that somebody else is doing it to you: you are the doer of it. You have taken a wrong step. Rather than searching for that which is, you have started substituting something for it – a toy, a pseudo thing. It may console you, but it cannot bring celebration to your life. And all consolation is suicidal, because while you remain consoled, time goes on slipping out of your hands.

THE self is not A self. The self is exactly a no-self: there is no idea of ‘I’ in it, it is universal. All ideas arise in it, but it cannot be identified with any idea that arises in it. All ideas arise in it, all ideas dissolve in it. It is the sky, the context of all contexts, it is the space in which everything happens. But the space itself never happens – it abides, it is always there, and because it is always there, it is easy to miss it. Because it is so much there and always there, you never become aware of its presence.

It is like the air: you don’t become aware of its presence. It is like the ocean that surrounds the fish: the fish never becomes aware of it. It is like the pressure of the air: the pressure is so much, it has always been there, but you are not aware of it. It is like gravitation: it is so much, but you are not aware of it. It is like the earth rushing with great speed round and round the sun: the earth is a spaceship, but nobody is aware of it. We are aboard a spaceship, and it is going at a great speed. Still we are not aware of it.

Awareness needs some gaps. When there are no gaps you fall asleep; you cannot remain aware.

If one has always been healthy, one will not be aware of health. Awareness needs gaps – sometimes you should not be healthy. You should fall ill, then you can have a sense of health. If there was no darkness in the world and there was only light, nobody would have ever known light; people would have missed it.

That’s how we go on missing the original self – you can call it God or nirvana, it doesn’t matter. Sufis have two beautiful words. One is fana: fana means dissolving the ego, dissolving the false substitute. And the other word is baqa: baqa means the arrival, the arising, of the real self.

The real self is universal. How to find it? It is not far away, so you are not to make a long journey to it. It is so close that no journey is needed at all. It is within you. Rather than journeying, you will have to learn how to sit silently.

That’s what meditation is all about – just sitting silently doing nothing. Thoughts arise: you watch. Desires arise: you watch. But you remain the watcher. You don’t become a victim of the desires and the thoughts that are arising; you remain a watcher. You remain the context of all contexts, you remain the space before which everything appears. But the space never appears before itself – it cannot, it is impossible.

The mirror cannot mirror itself, the eyes cannot see themselves. I cannot catch hold of my hand with the same hand; it is impossible.

This is the most fundamental thing to remember, Parmita. You are the watcher and never the watched, you are the observer and never the observed, you are the witness and never the witnessed. You are pure subjectivity. You never appear as an object – how can you appear as an object in front of yourself? Whatsoever appears in front of you is not you.

Go on eliminating the contents. Go on saying, “Neti neti, I am not this, I am not this.” Go on eliminating, and a moment comes when there is nothing left to eliminate. There is pure silence: no content moves in front of you, the mirror reflects nothing. That is the moment when self-knowing arises in you. You become illumined, you are enlightened.

So these few fundamentals are to be remembered: the self is a no-self. The self is not personal, it is universal. The self is the space or context in which all “positionality” in life appears, occurs, arises. It is the screen of life, but the screen itself never appears on the screen, it cannot. Everything else appears on it, it itself remains hidden. It is pure subjectivity.

This pure subjectivity is the ultimate goal everybody is searching for. But it seems difficult. We are so prone to become identified with the contents. So rather than searching for the real, we create something unreal, which is easy. The artificial is always easy, you can manufacture it.

Your ego is a manufactured phenomenon. And once you have manufactured the ego…

How is the ego manufactured? “I am a Hindu”: now you are on the way to creating an ego. “I am beautiful, I am intelligent, I am this, I am that” – you are bringing more and more bricks to make the prison called ego.

And this is what we go on doing in our whole life. Earn more money, have a bigger bank balance, and your ego will feel more grounded, more supported, more secure. Become famous: the more people know about you, the more you will think you are.

Hence the constant search for attention. If nobody pays any attention to you, you are reduced to nothing. If you move on the street and nobody says hello, people go on passing by, not even taking any note of you, suddenly you start feeling the earth disappearing underneath your feet. What has happened? They are not feeding your ego. But people feed each other’s egos, because that’s how THEY can be fed. Somebody says, “How are you?” He is really saying, “Ask ME, ‘How are you?’” He is simply asking for mutual gratification. And people do gratify each other; we support each other’s egos: somebody praises you, you praise him in return.

That’s what we call society. It depends on mutual satisfactions, and the greatest satisfaction seems to be ego-gratification.

Hence people are interested so much in politics, because politics can gratify you as nothing else can. If you become politically powerful the whole country is in your grip; the whole country has to pay attention to you. You can impose your will on people, you have power.

The power of a politician is the power of violence. Now he controls the whole mechanism of violence: he controls the police, the government, the military, he controls everything. He can impose his will on you. That’s why politicians tend to become violent sooner or later. Politicians hanker deep down for wars, because it is only in war that a politician becomes a great politician. If you go through history you will see the point.

Winston Churchill would not have been such a great leader if there had been no second world war. Neither would Adolf Hitler have been such a power if there had been no second world war, not would Mussolini. The war created the context: they were able to be as violent as possible. They were able to butcher people, to murder people, in millions.

People immediately pay attention when you are violent. If you live a peaceful life, no newspaper is going to report about you in your whole life. But if you kill somebody or you commit suicide, you will be immediately in the newspapers.

Just a few days ago, Reverend Jones committed suicide with all of his nine hundred disciples. You had never heard about this poor man before, nobody knew that there was anybody like that. Now the whole world knows.

They had lived in that commune for many years, but nobody would take any note of them. It is possible that had you taken note of them, they might not have needed to go to such an extreme, they might not have committed suicide. This is his way of making the whole world feel his presence – this is a very pathological way, ugly, but this is the same phenomenon again. People are searching for the ego: if they cannot find it through being creative, they will find it through being destructive. If they cannot find it by being a great saint, they will find it by being a great sinner.

Somebody asked George Bernard Shaw, “Where would you like to go when you die – to heaven or to hell?” He said, “It all depends.”

The man said, “What do you mean, ‘It all depends’?”

He said, “If I am going to be the first in heaven, then to heaven. If I am going to be second there, no. Then it is better to be in hell but be first.”

He is joking, but he is telling a truth – a truth about you, a truth about the whole humanity, the way it lives through ambition, through egoing.

Remember, the real self has nothing to do with anybody else paying attention to you. Note the difference: the false self needs others’ attention to be paid to you, and the real self only needs your attention – just your attention, and that’s enough.

If you turn your attention inwards, you will know the real self. If you go on seeking others’ attention, you will continuously live in a false entity which is always ready to disappear if you don’t feed it continuously. It has to be supported.

The ego is not an entity. It is not a noun, it is a verb. That’s why I am saying it is egoing. You cannot remain satisfied with any attention paid to you, you have to ask and hanker for more. You have to go on egoing; it is only through egoing that the ego can exist. It is a process – and it is so false and its demands are so ugly! It is a lie. It demands more and more lies from you, and to gratify it you have to become utterly false. You have to become a personality.

A personality means a false phenomenon, a mask. You have to become an actor; you are no longer a real person, you are no longer authentic. You don’t have any substance, you are just a shadow. And because of this shadow there is always fear of death, because any moment this shadow can disappear.

Your bank can go bankrupt, and immediately you are gone, you are nobody. Your power can be lost, because there are other competitors pushing you. This whole life is a constant pushing and pulling, hence there is so much agony.

Do you know the root of the word agony? It comes from ag: ag means pushing. You are continuously being pushed, and in your turn you are pushing others; that creates agony.

The whole world lives in anguish and agony. Only the person who comes to know his real self goes beyond it and enters into the world of ecstasy. And there are the two states: agony and ecstasy.

Parmita, you are in agony, as everybody else is. And the search is for ecstasy. Remember always, your commitments, your ideologies, your so-called ultimate values, your theologies, philosophies and religions provide contexts, often valuable contexts, for individual existence. But they are not what you are.

You are not even your body. You are not your mind. You are neither black nor white, you are neither Indian nor German. You cannot be defined in any way, all definitions will fall short. You are indefinable; you are something that surpasses all definitions. You are the vast sky in which planets appear and earths appear, and sun and moon and stars – and they all disappear, and the sky remains as it has remained always. The sky knows no change. You are that unchanging sky. Clouds come and go, you are always here.

When Raman Maharshi was dying, somebody asked, “Bhagwan, soon you will be leaving your body; where will you go?” He opened his eyes, laughed and said, “Where can I go? I have been here, I will be here. Where can I go – WHERE? There is nowhere to go. I am everywhere: I have been here and I will remain here for ever and ever.”

He is saying that he has come to know his being as the sky; he is no longer a cloud.

If you really want to search for the real self, don’t get attached to any commitment, to any program, to any idea. Remain unattached, flexible, fluid; don’t become stagnant. Always remain in a state of unfrozenness; don’t freeze. The moment you freeze, you have something false in your hands; a cloud has arisen. Remain in a state of meltedness, don’t become committed to any form or name. And then something tremendous starts happening to you: for the first time you start feeling who you are.

The feeling does not come from the outside, it arises from the inner depths of your being. It floods you. It is light, utter light, it is bliss, utter bliss. It is divine. It is another name for God.

Never become crystallized; if you become crystallized in something, you are encaged. Remain free, remain freedom. All identity creates fixation; and every fixation, every identification, is a liability. The more fixed one’s identity, the less the experience of which one is capable. The point is not to lack a position, but not to be positional.

I am not saying to become unthinking. Remain intelligent, capable of thinking, but never get identified with any thought. Use the thought as a tool, as an instrument; remember that you are the master.

Not to be attached to whatever position one has at any particular moment is the beginning of self-knowledge. One IS, one experiences aliveness, to the extent to which one can transcend particular positions and can assume other viewpoints.

That’s what I mean by remaining fluid, flowing. One should remain available to the present. Die to the past each moment, so that nothing about you remains fixed. Don’t carry a character around yourself; all characters are armors, imprisonments.

The real man of character is characterless – you will be surprised by this. The real man of character is characterless: he has consciousness, but he has no character. He lives moment to moment. Responsible he is, but he responds out of the moment, not out of past contexts. He carries no ready-made programs in his being. The more you have ready-made programs, the more you are an ego. When you have none – no programs, nothing ready-made in you – when each moment you are as fresh as if you are born anew, to me that is freedom. And only a free consciousness can know the true self.

This is the search, Parmita. Nothing else will ever satisfy, nothing else can ever satisfy. All are consolations – and it is better to drop them, it is better to become aware that consolations are not going to help.

This is what I call sannyas: dropping consolations, renouncing consolations – not the world but consolations – renouncing all that is false, becoming true, becoming simple, natural, spontaneous. That’s my vision of a sannyasin, the vision of total freedom.

And in those beautiful moments of total freedom, the first rays of light enter you, the first glimpses of who you are. And the grandeur of it is such, and the splendor of it is such, that you will be surprised to find that you have been carrying the kingdom of God within you and you have remained so unaware, and for so long. You will be surprised that it was possible not to know such a treasure. Such an inexhaustible treasure is within you.

Jesus goes on repeating again and again, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Call it the kingdom of God or the supreme self or nirvana or whatever you will, that is our search – everyone’s, not only of human beings but of all beings. Even trees are growing towards it, even birds are searching for it, even rivers are rushing towards it. The whole existence is an adventure.

And that is the beauty of this existence. If it was not an adventure, life would be absolute boredom. Life is a celebration because it is an adventure.

-OSHO

From Unio Mystica, V.2, Chapter Two

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Unio Mystica, V.2

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Does the World Say that it Exists? – Ramana Maharshi

 

Ramana_Maharshi_faceDr. Bernhard Bey, an American Chemist who had interested himself in Vedanta for the last twenty years, now in India, came on a visit to the Master. He asked: “How is abhyasa to be made? I am trying to find the Light.” (He himself explained abhyasa as concentration = one-pointedness of mind.)

The Master asked, what was his abhyasa till now.

The visitor said he concentrated on the nasal base, but his mind wandered.

M.: Is there a mind?

Another devotee gently put in: The mind is only a collection of thoughts.

M.: To whom are the thoughts? If you try to locate the mind, the mind vanishes and the Self alone remains. Being alone, there can be no one-pointedness or otherwise.

D.: It is so difficult to understand this. If something concrete is said, it can be readily grasped. Japa, dhyana, etc., are more concrete.

M.: ‘Who am I?’ is the best japa.

What could be more concrete than the Self? It is within each one’s experience every moment. Why should he try to catch anything outside, leaving out the Self? Let each one try to find out the known Self instead of searching for the unknown something beyond.

D.: Where shall I meditate on the Atman? I mean in which part of the body?

M.: The Self should manifest itself. That is all that is wanted.

A devotee gently added: On the right of the chest, there is the Heart, the seat of the Atman.

Another devotee: The illumination is in that centre when the Self is realised.

M.: Quite so.

D.: How to turn the mind away from the world?

M.: Is there the world? I mean apart from the Self? Does the world say that it exists? It is you who say that there is a world. Find out the Self who says it.

-Ramana Maharshi

From Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Talk 81, 15th October, 1935

 

The Mind is Not Your Friend – Robert Adams

Robert: Some of you look so serious. This is not a serious satsang, it’s a lot of fun, feel happy. Happiness is your real nature. You might as well get used to it, it’s going to overtake you whether you like it or not.

I want you to ask yourself a question: Why am I here at satsang? Why did I come here? Did you come to observe the speaker? To compare him to other speakers? Most of you have gone to so many meetings, you’re totally confused. Going to meetings for some of you is like going to the movies. You ask, “What’s playing this week?” The same way you ask, “Who’s speaking this week?” But, some of you never do anything about it. You listen to the message and then you go home and then you say, “Well wasn’t he or she an eloquent speaker, that was great! What are we going to do now? Let’s go bowling. Let’s go watch TV” And you forget all about the meeting until next time.

Some of you have been going to meetings for thirty years or more. What have you accomplished? You have read every book that has been written. Where are you? Are you happy? Are you liberated? Are you free? Ask yourself.

What we offer here, is absolutely nothing, no thing. It’s all in the invisible. It all has to do with consciousness and consciousness is your real nature. It’s really what you are. When you identify with consciousness, you become your real Self. When you don’t, you’re a part of humanity, struggling, trying to become free.

In order to understand the body-mind phenomena, that you are not the body-mind, you first have to understand what the mind is. What is the mind? It is merely a conglomeration of energy, of thoughts, thoughts about the past and the future. That’s all the mind is. The mind is not your friend. But you can use the mind to accomplish many things. We’ve all been programmed, brainwashed. It started, when you were in your mother’s womb. All of her feelings, all of her negation or positiveness, all of her energy was transferred into you. Not only that, but you have samskaras, past life tendencies, fears, prejudices that also go into your subconscious before you were born.

When you come out into the world, you’re put in your crib and you pick up the vibrations of your house, people fighting, parents hitting each other, loving each other, all that goes into your subconscious mind and makes up you. When you’re at the age when you walk you go outside and play with some friends and your environment soaks into your subconscious mind. Then you go to school, you go to church, temple, synagogue and all those teachings go into your subconscious. Then you grow up you get a job, have a family and here you are. You’re a product of preconceived ideas, of concepts. But is that really you? It’s you as long as you believe it’s you.

When you get tired of playing games, something within you gives you a push.  That’s called the inner guru. It pushes you from within and something outside leads you to the right person, to the right book, to the right environment that you have to be, because you have given up playing games. In other words you’ve become tired of the world and you want liberation. Wanting liberation is very funny to me. It’s like a person taking a shower saying, “I want to get wet.” Liberation is your very nature, you have to wake up to it, to realize it’s you. So you are a conglomeration of thoughts, of energy, that has programmed you since you were a baby. And here you are. So, now that you’re here and you know how you’ve been programmed, what are you going to do about it?

But let’s talk a little bit about the mind a little more. If you know about the mind, you will know what you have to get rid of. The mind doesn’t really exist. But you’ve been programmed to believe that the mind is an entity, that it does exist. Therefore you have to play this game, getting rid of the mind. Let’s see again how the mind works. Let us compare the mind to the earth.

A farmer has two seeds. One is of Nightshade, a deadly poison and the other is of corn. The seeds are thoughts. The farmer plants both seeds. And once the seeds are planted, the earth has no alternative but to grow in abundance, whatever has been planted. In the same way, when you accept certain thoughts, your mind grows those thoughts until they become your experience. And this is why you have the problems that you’ve got today. You have created them yourself.

Take another example. Have you ever planted seeds? Sure you have, some of you have. Say a farmer plants a rose seed, a tulip seed, a carrot seed and let us imagine that these seeds are like us. They can think and talk like humans. And the rose seed says to itself, “look at that beautiful rose, they say that I will grow into a rose. I will become a rose.

But that sounds impossible. How can I ever be a beautiful rose like that. It’s virtually impossible for me to do that.” By that very thought the seeds would stagnate and not grow. The carrot seed says the same thing, “I’m just a nothing, a nobody, how can I ever grow into a beautiful carrot?” By that very thought the seed would stagnate.

In the same way I say to you, “You are absolute reality. You are Brahman, infinite awareness, consciousness.” But you say, “How can that be? That sounds impossible. I’m just a lowly person, I’m nobody important.” And you keep identifying with your body and your mind. As long as you identify with your body and your mind, the lord of karma, Ishvara, becomes your Master. And you’re under the jurisdiction of the Lord of Karma. Therefore you keep coming back again and again to this earth. And then you become sort of earth bound, until you become totally free. But you have to do this by yourself. You have to practice certain techniques.

Somebody asked me just recently, “You say that consciousness, reality, is like a screen and the body, the world are all images on the screen.” And the question is “Since I believe I’m an image, can I change my image to a better one?” In other words, as long as you believe that you’re an image and you are not consciousness, can you improve your lot? Can you improve your lifestyle and change your image?

Now, that is up to the lord of karma. As most of you know everything has been preordained, determined before you took up your body. But you have certain freedom, depending on your karma. And the question really is, “Can you make a sick body well? Can you make a poor person rich? Can you make a depressed person happy?” You’re working at a mind level when you do this. You’re not going to the ultimate truth, but you’re working from your mind. And you can never find freedom and liberation by working from your mind.

As an example: Let’s say for instance, you manipulate you mind enough and you’ve got cancer. You’ve been working on yourself for fifteen years. You use imaging techniques, you use mind control. You imagine that the white blood corpuscles are attacking the cancer and you finally heal yourself of cancer. You get written up in the “National Inquirer.” You appear on “Phil Donahue.” And you feel great and proud of yourself, you’ve healed yourself of cancer. Next month you’re crossing the street, a truck hits you and you’re dead. That’s what happens through mind manipulation.

Let’s take another case. You’re working on yourself to become rich. You take the proper real estate courses. You learn business administration. You use mind control. And after twenty years you become a multimillionaire. You get married and have three children. Then your wife and children get killed in an automobile accident. Somebody kidnaps you and holds you for ransom. And you have to pay out ten million dollars. And you’re back where you started from.

What I’m trying to say is, working with the mind is not the answer. We bypass the mind. We realize the mind is not our friend. The idea is to annihilate the mind. To annihilate thought. How we do this? Through the method of Jnana Marga, through the method of vichara, self-inquiry, this is the fastest method to liberate you from confusion and ignorance.

When you have a problem, when you have some sort of confusion. You simply ask yourself the question, “To whom does this come? Who has this problem? Or who has this karma?” And pretty soon the answer will come by itself, “I do.” Then you further ask, “From where does this I come from? What is the source of I?” You abide in the I, you hold onto the I. You start to use a meditation called, “I-I,” You simply abide in the I as long as you can. And you follow the I thread into your spiritual heart. You say to yourself, “I, I, I, I, I, I.” You remember that everything in the world is attached to I. Isn’t it?

Think of all the times in your life you’ve said, “I. I feel sick. I feel depressed. I feel happy. I feel out of sorts.” Who is this I that you’re talking about? Is it your body? It can’t be your body. Because when you sleep and you wake up you say, “I slept.” When you dream, you wake up you say, “I dreamt.” And when you’re awake you say, “I’m awake.” To whom are you referring when you say, “I?”

Find out, go within, ask yourself, “Who am I? Where did I come from?” But never answer, just pose the question, “What is this source of I?” and one day you will realize that I does not exist. When you follow I to the source, one day there will be like a big explosion and you will see myriads of light particles all around you. You will then realize that the whole universe is nothing but a bunch of light particles. Yet this is not the answer. For where did the light particles come from? They come from no thing, from nothing. And nothing is consciousness.

Consciousness is like space. It has no shape. Yet it takes the shape of every creation. It appears to take the shape of the world, of people. Everything is consciousness. Consciousness is like a chalkboard. And the objects of the world are like images on the chalkboard. You can draw any image that you like. You can draw an Indian. You can draw two people fighting. Two people making love. And then you erase it and draw something else. But the chalkboard never changes. The chalkboard is always the same. So it is with you. You go through all kinds of experiences. But the realization is that you are not the experiences you’re going through. You are consciousness, that is your real nature. Think about that.

My real nature to you.

I am not a preacher, nor a philosopher. I am not a minister nor a lecturer. I can only share with you the way that I feel. When I use the word, “I-am,” I-am referring to all of you. I-am is another word for God, the first name of God. Another word for consciousness, omnipresence is I-am. I feel that I-am not the body nor the mind. I am absolute awareness.  I am ultimate oneness. I-am infinite intelligence, nirvana, emptiness, I-am that I-am. I am sat-chit-ananda. I am parabrahman. I was never born and I can never die. I Am That I Am.

The world is a product of my imagination. I see the world as consciousness. I see the reality, perfection, peace, love, happiness. This is the real Self and nothing else exists.

(silence)

Welcome to satsang. Satsang is where we sit around and rejoice in each other. And if there are any questions you wish to ask feel free to do so. If you wish to make a statement or say anything you like, this is the time to do it. For you don’t expect me to keep talking do you? Feel free to ask any question about the spiritual path, or about anything else.

SL: Robert, I know that when we try to meditate or just clear our minds, you said that we could do it by asking the “I” question. Someone also mentioned before about clearing the mind by just trying to listen is that also another way?

R: It makes no difference what method you use to clear your mind. The idea is to make your mind quiescent. To make your mind still and calm. When your mind is still and calm you solve the problem. All the methods, self-inquiry, breath control, yoga, everything is to quiet the mind. Use whatever method suits you. You can become the witness to your thoughts. You can watch your thoughts as they go by. When you become the witness and you do not interfere with the thought process, the thoughts automatically begin to weaken by themselves, until they dissipate entirely.

You can ask yourself, “To whom comes these thoughts?” Whatever method you use is fine. But by all means do something to still the mind. And again when the mind is still and quiet, everything will take care of itself. The secret is to quiet the mind. Your real nature is self-realization. When the mind is stilled, you just return to your real nature, to what you always were.

SL: Earlier you said that, something was the fastest path to self-realization? That versus what?

R: Versus anything. It has been proven that vichara is the fastest path to awaken. Vichara means self-inquiry. By inquiring within yourself and finding the source of your existence, your body-mind disappears. And you become your Self once again. But it’s not for everyone. Most people seem to have some kind of difficulty. Then you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and do whatever helps you. Breath control, mantras, japa, repetition of Gods name, everything brings you to the top. But by all means do something.

This is why I share these various methods of meditation with you. If you get tired of one you can use another one. If you practice something will give eventually. Something will happen to the one who practices.

-Robert Adams

robert-adams

From the Collected Works of Robert Adams, transcript #15, 14th October, 1990

Saradamma’s Realization

SaradammaThe next morning she [Saradamma] came out of samadhi with a strong awareness that her ‘I’-thought was still existing. She remembered the peace of the previous day and night when she had been in samadhi, with the ‘I’-thought temporarily gone, and she decided to see if she could enter the same state again. She closed her eyes and within a few minutes her ‘I’- thought subsided into the Heart and she went back into samadhi again. The ‘I’-thought emerged from the Heart several times during the day, but each time it subsided Sarada was convinced that she had realised the Self. She was still able to talk and Swamy, thinking that her realisation was near, placed a small tape- recorder near her to record her words. Sarada spoke in short, quiet sentences, with frequent pauses as she was overwhelmed by the bliss of the Self.

‘I have no body. I have no “I”. I am not the body. How I am talking, I do not know. Some power is talking through me.’

Swamy asked her if she was looking, and she replied: ‘Even though I am looking, I am not looking. Where is the “I” to look. When the mind enters the Heart, there is no “I” to tell that there is no “I”. My “I” is dead.’

Swamy then asked her how she was feeling. ‘My whole body is filled with peace and bliss. I cannot describe it. Everything is filled with peace. The Self is pulling me towards it and I am not able to open my eyes. The whole body is weak.’

Swamy remarked, ‘It is like an elephant entering a weak hut. The hut cannot stand the strain. Is it beyond time and death?’

‘It is beyond time and death as there is no mind. As the “I” is dead I don’t wish to eat anymore. I am not able to eat. However tasty the food I cannot eat. I have no desire to eat. Everything is filled with peace and bliss. I am content with my realisation. I have recognised my own Self, so I am content.’ Swamy then told her that her “I” was not yet dead and that she had not yet reached the final state. Sarada replied: ‘As the “I” is dead, there is no you.’

‘Have you no mother or father?’ asked Swamy. ‘No father, no mother, no world. Everything is peace and bliss. Why do I have to eat when there is no “I”? The body is inert; it cannot eat. A corpse will not eat. It is like that because the “I” is dead. As I cannot eat, I cannot talk. Who is talking, I do not know.’

‘Then who is talking?’ asked Swamy. Sarada remained silent, and so Swamy answered his own question. ‘The Self is talking.’

Sarada continued: ‘Even though I am seeing, I am not seeing. Even though I am talking, I am not talking. Whatever I do I am not doing it because the “I” is dead. I have no body. All the nerves are filled with peace and bliss. All is Brahman . All is bliss. In the veins instead of blood, love and bliss are flowing. A great power has entered into me.’

Three months before Swamy had told Sarada, ‘Even though I sleep I am not sleeping’. Sarada remembered this, repeated Swamy’s words and said that she was finally able to understand what he had meant. Sarada continued to talk: ‘I have no thought of doing anything. I have no fear of death. Before, I feared death, but not anymore. I don’t care about death. I have nothing more to do. I shall give up the body.’

Swamy asked her to stay but Sarada answered: ‘What is death to die now? The body is inert, how can it die? My “I” is dead, what is there left to die? Why then fear death?’

Swamy then reminded her that her ‘I’ was not dead and that she was not yet in the final sahaja state. Swamy then stopped the tape we were listening to and talked a little about the state that Sarada was experiencing when she spoke these words.

‘Anyone whose mind completely subsides into the Heart for a short time can talk like an enlightened person. Their experience of the Self is the same as that of a realised person. However, their “I”-thought is not dead and it is likely to re-emerge at any time. Such an experience is not the final state because it is not permanent.’

He then played the final portion of Sarada’s comments on her experience.

‘I am everywhere. I am not the body. I have no body so I have no fear. I am immobile. Whatever I may do, I am immobile. I am shining as the Self. Everything is a great void [maha- sunya]. How can I describe the Self in words? It is neither light nor dark. No one can describe what it is. In the past, present and future no one can describe what it is. It is difficult to describe. Self is Self, that is all.’

Throughout that day Sarada’s mind kept sinking into the Self, but on each occasion it came out again. At 4 p.m. the “I”-thought went from the Heart to the brain and started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada said later that it was like an axe trying to split her head open from the inside. Since she was not able to bear the pain she came forward, took Swamy’s hand and placed it on her head. The “I”-thought went back to the Heart, but again it was only a temporary subsidence, Three minutes later it rose again and once again started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada came forward, placed her head on Swamy’s feet and a few seconds later the “I”-thought returned to its source and died forever.

With her “I”-thought permanently gone, Sarada had realised the Self. Swamy says that in the final few minutes her “I”-thought was trying to escape and take birth again, and that had he not been present, the “I”-thought would have killed her and escaped.

[…]

Saradamma: People look at Swamy and me and think that realization must be relatively easy to achieve because we both realized the Self in a short time. However, we are exceptions. It is rare for someone to have the determination and dispassion that Swamy had during his sadhana, and it is equally rare for a devotee to be as God-intoxicated as I was.

Complete surrender or earnest self-enquiry can only be effectively practiced by advanced devotees. Even Ramana Maharshi sometimes said that self-enquiry was for ripe souls only.

Most people need a long period of purification to get their minds pure enough for total surrender or effective self-enquiry. Devotees ask for grace to realize the Self, but most devotees are nowhere near ready for realization; if they were given a large amount of grace the shock would kill them. For most people a preliminary period of mind purification, such as can be produced by japa or pranayama will be most useful.

From  No Mind,  I Am the Self, David Godman

 

The following can be seen at http://mathrusrisarada.org/

Sri Sarada was given the name Mathru Sri Sarada by Bhagavan Sri Lakshmana Swamy when Sri Sarada realised her self. Mathru means mother. Mathru Sri Sarada realised her self through her intense love and surrender to Bhagavan, thus becoming one with him. The book, No Mind, I am the Self, contains details about them.

Brief Life Sketch (based on No Mind, I am the Self):

Ramanadham, Saradamma’s father, was a childhood friend of Lakshmana Swamy. However, they lost touch of each other after their college days. Ramanadham and his wife, Bhanumathy, were devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Therefore, when Saradamma was born in 1959, they named her after Sarada Ma, wife of Sri Ramakrishna.

Though initially healthy, Saradamma was afflicted with many ailments as a child, thereby losing her good health and her light complexion. Saradamma had a curiously ascetic nature, not caring for good clothes or food. Many people mistook her for a servant because of her dark complexion and poor clothes. Saradamma was indifferent to such views. Young Saradamma also had a very generous disposition.

Ramanadham, on becoming aware that his childhood friend had become a great yogi, started visiting Lakshmana Swamy for the annual and eventually bi-annual darshans. Lakshmana Swamy became more accessible in 1972 but it was not until 1974 that Saradamma started visiting Lakshmana Swamy regularly. Lakshmana Swamy’s face would light up with a big smile whenever he looked at her. He recognised her as an advanced devotee who was capable of realising her self.

Saradamma started having dreams of Lakshmana Swamy after each darshan. Shortly, Saradamma started to meditate on Swamy’s form and accepted him as her Guru. Within a year, the frequency with which Saradamma had Lakshmana Swamy’s darshan increased. During this time, apart from going to school, Saradamma would spend her evenings and weekends with Lakshmana Swamy. Eventually, she was spending so much time thinking about Lakshmana Swamy that her studies suffered. Saradamma’s education ended when she was in her 8th standard. Recognizing her devotion and love for him, Lakshmana Swamy informally adopted Saradamma as his daughter.

Details about the period between 1975 and 1978 are sketchy since Saradamma had stopped maintaining her diary by then. Lakshmana Swamy’s mother, jealous of Saradamma’s increasing prominence, harassed her in numerous ways. Lakshmana Swamy also tested Saradamma’s devotion and faith many times. During this time, Saradamma would do japa or meditate on Lakshmana Swamy’s form for up to 20 hours a day. In the remaining four hours she would be dreaming about him.

The holy mountain, Arunachala, has had a significant positive influence on Saradamma’s spiritual progress. During her third visit to Arunachala, as Lakshmana Swamy, Saradamma and other devotees were sitting on its slopes; Lakshmana Swamy looked and smiled at Saradamma. Saradamma lost thought and body consciousness. During the next few days, whenever Saradamma looked at Lakshmana Swamy during darshan she would go into the same state.

On returning back to Gudur, Saradamma resumed her meditation. She discovered that she could enter into the thought free state whenever she was in the presence of Lakshmana Swamy. During all these years, Lakshmana Swamy tried a few times to persuade Saradamma to do self-inquiry. However, self-inquiry had no attraction for Saradamma. Her path was that of surrender.

It was at Bangalore, where Saradamma had gone to help her sister, that Saradamma had her first experience of Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This was in October of 1978. The last few weeks of her stay there were spent in either a thought-free state or Samadhi.

Saradamma returned back to Gudur on the 16th of December, 1978. The next day, Saradamma went to the Ashramam and sat before Lakshmana Swamy. She went back into a thought-free state and eventually into Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. She remained so all day and night. The next day, Lakshmana Swamy, realising that she was close to self-realisation, recorded her words using a tape recorder. Her ‘I’ thought repeatedly sank into her heart, but every time it came back up into her brain, banging against her skull causing intense pain. Saradamma unable to bear this pain took Lakshmana Swamy’s hand and placed it on her head. This made her ‘I’ thought go back into the heart. Three minutes later it again came back causing similar pain. Saradamma placed her head on Lakshmana Swamy’s feet, upon which her ‘I’ thought returned to its source and died forever. Saradamma had realised her self permanently on 18th December 1978.

Lakshmana Swamy gave Saradamma a new name Mathru Sri Sarada. Mathru means mother and Sri is a common Hindu honorific. Initially, Saradamma wanted to give up her body; however, Lakshmana Swamy wanted her to retain it, since sincere devotees would be benefited by her bodily presence. The next one year was a struggle for Lakshmana Swamy to keep Saradamma alive. She would lose body consciousness and withdraw into the self almost daily. She was also not interested in the outside world. Lakshmana Swamy was able to keep her interested in the world by making her play with dolls. In the next phase, Saradamma spent the whole day playing with dolls. People would not believe that she was a Jnani, but she did not care. Jnanis do not care for name or fame.

Slowly, over the years, Saradamma has taken up the role of catering to devotees’ needs. Now-a-days, it is she who interacts with devotees, Lakshmana Swamy having become more reserved. While neither of them is available to the general public, Saradamma occasionally gives darshan to some devotees.

Self-Enquiry – Ramana Maharshi

 

Disciple: Master! What is the means to gain the state of eternal bliss, ever devoid of misery?

Master: Apart from the statement in the Veda that wherever there is body there is misery, this is also the direct experience of all people; therefore, one should enquire into one’s true nature which is ever bodiless, and one should remain as such. This is the means to gaining that state.

D: What is meant by saying that one should enquire into one’s true nature and understand it?

M: Experiences such as “I went; I came; I was; I did” come naturally to everyone. From these experiences, does it not appear that the consciousness “I” is the subject of those various acts?
Enquiry into the true nature of that consciousness, and remaining as oneself is the way to understand, through enquiry, one’s true nature.

D: How is one to enquire: “Who am I?”

M: Actions such as ‘going’ and ‘coming’ belong only to the body. And so, when one says “I went, I came”, it amounts to saying that the body is “I”. But, can the body be said to be the consciousness “I”, since the body was not before it was born, is made up of the five elements, is non-existent in the state of deep sleep, and becomes a corpse when dead? Can this body which is inert like a log of wood be said to shine as “I” “I”? Therefore, the “I” consciousness which at first arises in respect of the body is referred to variously as self-conceit (tarbodham), egoity (ahankara), nescience (avidya), maya, impurity (mala), and individual soul (jiva) . Can we remain without enquiring into this? Is it not for our redemption through enquiry that all the scriptures declare that the destruction of “self-conceit” is release (mukti)? Therefore, making the corpse-body remain as a corpse, and not even uttering the word “I”, one should enquire keenly thus: “Now, what is it that rises as ‘I’”. Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of the form ‘I’ ‘I’. That is, there would shine of its own accord the pure consciousness which is unlimited and one, the limited and the many thoughts having disappeared. If one remains quiescent without abandoning that (experience), the egoity, the individual sense, of the form ‘I am the body’ will be totally destroyed, and at the end the final thought, viz. the ‘I’- form also will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor.* The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is release.

D: When one enquires into the root of ‘self-conceit’ which is of the form ‘I’, all sorts of different thoughts without number seem to rise; and not any separate ‘I’ thought.

M: Whether the nominative case, which is the first case, appears or not, the sentences in which the other cases appear have as their basis the first case; similarly, all the thoughts that appear in the heart have as their basis the egoity which is the first mental mode ‘I’, the cognition of the form ‘I am the body’; thus, it is the rise of egoity that is the cause and source of the rise of all other thoughts; therefore, if the self-conceit of the form of egoity which is the root of the illusory tree of samsara (bondage consisting of transmigration) is destroyed, all other thoughts will perish completely like an uprooted tree. Whatever thoughts arise as obstacles to one’s sadhana (spiritual discipline) – the mind should not be allowed to go in their direction, but should be made to rest in one’s self which is the Atman; one should remain as witness to whatever happens, adopting the attitude ‘Let whatever strange things happen, happen; let us see!’ This should be one’s practice. In other words, one should not identify oneself with appearances; one should never relinquish one’s self. This is the proper means for destruction of the mind (manonasa) which is of the nature of seeing the body as self, and which is the cause of all the aforesaid obstacles. This method which easily destroys egoity deserves to be called devotion (bhakti), meditation (dhyana), concentration (yoga), and knowledge (jnana). Because God remains of the nature of the Self, shining as ‘I’ in the heart, because the scriptures declare that thought itself is bondage, the best discipline is to stay quiescent without ever forgetting Him (God, the Self), after resolving in Him the mind which is of the form of the ‘I’-thought, no matter by what means. This is the conclusive teaching of the Scriptures.

*i.e., without leaving any sediment.

-Ramana Maharshi

From Self – Enquiry (Vicharasangraham) of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Here you can download a PDF of the entire book.

Only One Real Choice – Annamalai Swami

Question:  Bhagavan (Ramana Maharshi) once remarked that free will is non-existent, that all our activities are predetermined and that our only real choice is either to identify with the body that is performing the actions or with the underlying Self in which the body appears.

Someone once said to him: ‘If I drop this fan, will that be an act that has always been destined to happen in this moment?’

And Bhagavan replied, ‘It will be a predestined act’.

I assume that these predestined acts are all ordained by God, and that as a consequence, nothing happens that is not God’s will, because we, as individuals, have no power to deviate from God’s ordained script.

A question arises out of this. If I remember the Self, is this God’s will? And if I forget to remember at a certain moment, is this also God’s will?

Or, taking my own case, if I make an effort to listen to the sound ‘I-I, is this God’s will, or is it individual effort?

Annamalai Swami:  Forgetfulness of the Self happens because of non-enquiry. So I say, ‘Remove the forgetfulness through enquiry’. Forgetfulness or non-forgetfulness is not a part of your destiny. It is something you can choose from moment to moment. That is what Bhagavan said. He said that you have the freedom either to identify with the body and its activities, and in doing so forget the Self, or you can identify with the Self and have the understanding that the body is performing its predestined activities, animated and sustained by the power of the Self.

If you have an oil lamp and you forget to put oil in it, the light goes out. It was your forgetfulness and your lack of vigilance that caused the light to go out. Your thoughts were elsewhere. They were not on tending the lamp.

In every moment you only have one real choice: to be aware of the Self or to identify with the body and the mind. If you choose the latter course, don’t blame God or God’s will, or predestination. God did not make you forget the Self. You yourself are making that choice every second of your life.

-Annamalai Swami

From Final Talks, page 38