Unborn Children – Nisargadatta Maharaj

11th December 1979

Maharaj:

In sleep consciousness is dormant, when you get up consciousness says, ‘I had a good sleep’. You can give it any name you like –body, mind but it is an attribute that was dormant in sleep, it is not the senses telling you. The food-body will always have desires; beingness is the fragrance of the same body. Prior to it I did not know myself; it was an experience less state, suddenly the eight clues (five elements and three gunas) of experience and knowingness were fed lots of information – birth, body and so forth, with all this I started suffering. My Guru initiated me into an inquiry about myself. Did I experience my birth and parents? I hadn’t, so I rejected it. In the process I started investigating my own beingness; it was a temporary state, so I have disposed it off. I am free from fear now as I know this state will go. I have no fear of my beingness because I will experience the same (the going of beingness). Because of concepts I considered myself a personality and due to this conceptual state my true state suffered.

Just as I admonish you, I listen to my friends, their thoughts talk to me, even visions appear, I tell them to shut up. I admonish thoughts and visions. Will anybody quarrel with his thoughts? When these foreign or alien thoughts are kept aside, the Self starts sprouting and imparting knowledge. Then it is the realized principle that prevails which was never created, but behaves as though created. Who observes or witnesses then? ‘I the Absolute’ If there are no thoughts then there is no fear, and then the Self sprouts.

In the absence of beingness, what have I been doing? My unborn children, what are they doing? The same that I did prior to the appearance of this beingness. World, mind and all are expansive, how did this calamity occur- with the arrival of beingness? So I must investigate the cause of the trouble that is, beingness. Think how you came into this body complex instead of investigating the world.

The body falls down but what happened to me? For that principle for which you get no reply, is perfect, whatever answer you get is wrong. If I think of this world, why should I not inquire about prior to consciousness? If I tackle this question, I must investigate what is this principle of ‘I am’? I would prefer to play with that child not born because eternal Parabrahman and unborn children are alike.

You want to have knowledge. What do you mean by that? Hold on to that principle which  understands, recognizes thoughts, and then be quiet. For your sake, what are you? Investigate that. Forget who is torturing whom; stabilize in your most confidential being as ‘you are’. What are you?

Investigate the problems of manifest world can be solved later. There is no right answer to ‘who are you?’ no answer is the most correct one; any reply you get is not eternal. That eternal, unborn principle is now talking which has been accused of birth. ‘I feel I am guilty’. Whatever guilt you accept you have to suffer. In a country not visited a robbery occurs, the Police arrest you here. If you accept, you suffer, maybe a life term. I don’t accept the charge; I have not visited that place. I am not a robber. I plead that – ‘my only guilt is that I accept that I am born’. Give it up! I was not born on my own with my knowledge; I had no knowledge of my beingness. The Absolute has no scope, it’s unborn. Prior to my appearance ( beingness) it never occurred to me that I was, so where is the scope for feeling guilty either? If you had wisdom, you would reject beingness. No body means no knowingness, no consciousness, in the original state the five elements and the three gunas are not there.

The one, who assimilates what I say now, has no reason to be unhappy. The world is full of emotional unhappiness. A worm spawns out of decomposed food. I am not that worm, although made of food, beingness is a product of food.

In order to realize the Self, catch hold of the knowledge that ‘you are’. Do so at the feet of your Guru- your beingness means ‘Iswara’ that is Guru too, that is the Self. Feet means ‘charan’, char – to move- that gives you movement, that principle [beingness] starts movement. The merging of the individual with the universal comes to be by Sadhana (practice).

The five senses of action and five senses of knowledge do they act on their own? The five elements give rise to the five senses of knowledge. For manifestation, eight of them – the five elements and three gunas produce the essence. The Sattva guna produces the manifest world of forms, the knowledge that ‘I am’ is simultaneously created. What is created is the knowledge of existence; the individual assumes that this knowledge belongs to him. There is individual existence in this room. But the whole manifest world is Ishwara, Ishwara is like a city, He is there. As you believe that you are an individual, you die, the difference is that the individual dies while Ishwara, the entire manifestation, does not die; it has no limitations like those of the individual.

I am experiencing the manifest world but prior to it I experience the ‘Bindu’, the point. When I am that Bindu, everything is, the world also is. The Bindu and the world are not two. ‘Bin’ means without and ‘du’ means two, so, no duality. Bindu – the point of ‘I amness’, I experience that. What is it? It is the very experience of the five elements and the three gunas – the whole universe. That is my intimate relationship with that ‘I am’ only –Bindu only.

You go on pilgrimages so that good should happen to you as an individual. But you are not an individual, you are the manifest world. That ‘you are’ means the entire world, whatever manifestation you enjoy is universal. This knowledge is for the few rare ones, but instead of that manifestation ‘you are’, you hang on to individuality.

Whatever is observed in the manifest world is your own Self, The observer is ‘I am’.  It is a receptacle of the five elements and three gunas. The entire universe is in activity because of the three gunas. The play of the entire world is based on the five elements and three gunas. But you cling to your body; the body is also a play of the five elements and three gunas. The whole universe is in full play, it is like urination. You are one drop if you consider yourself to be an individual. A drop of ocean is salty and the salty taste is the knowledge ‘I am’. Suppose that drop dries, the ocean does not care – a drop of ocean drying on the rock. Similarly in the five elemental play you are a drop, either survive or die, the elemental ocean is unconcerned. But how to understand this manifest nature? Be the taste, understand the taste. Millions of drops dry up but the ocean is unconcerned. Millions die but how the five elements are concerned?

Because you limit yourself to the body, you suffer. The realized one can entertain no idea of good to himself, for him even if the entire world is destroyed, nothing happens. The realized one is, of course, no more a person. There is nothing else except the core of your Self –Bindu, nothing else is. Only Krishna said there is nothing else. You meditate incessantly to achieve Samadhi but this knowledge will sprout from you only. Since I am prior to that (consciousness) I talked of Bindu.

Now what happens to consciousness, when you are prior to it? In the waking state, how do you find out as though you are asleep? What do you do in deep sleep?

Visitor: Just be.

M: Do you enjoy that ‘just be’?

V: No.

M: Your beingness is not enjoying being is deep sleep. Are you aware of being male or female in deep sleep? Find out what you are, you know ‘you are’, find out, then, whatever are its requirements you will know. The subtle food essence is life; Subtler still is the quality of knowingness. The knowledge ‘you are’ is like a particle of the sky, it is more subtle than space, and it can recognize space.

V: What connection has it with life?

M: The whole life is endured and sustained by the knowledge particle, ‘I am’. Without ‘I am’ there is no life. They are interdependent, not one without the other. I am prior to the ‘I am’, which is true, eternal and immutable. Beingness, world and body are time bound, your life is not forever, it rises and sets like the waking and sleeping states alternate. The totality of manifestation thrives as long as the beingness is there. Rainwater has no taste, but out of it you get so much, you add ingredients to it and drink. I give you pure food but you find it tasteless so you pollute it, you add salt to the food for taste’s sake.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

Taken from I Am Unborn, Chapter 6

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The Stages of the Path – Meher Baba

All persons have to pass through the state of bondage, but this period of bondage is not to be looked upon as a meaningless episode in the evolution of life. One has to experience being caged if one is to appreciate freedom. If in the entire span of its life a fish has not come out of the water even once, it has no chance of appreciating the value of water. From its birth till its death it has lived only in water, and it is not in a position to understand what water really means to its being. But if it is taken out of water even for a moment, it longs for water and becomes qualified by that experience to appreciate the importance of water. In the same way, if life were constantly free and manifested no bondage, man would miss the real significance of freedom. To experience spiritual bondage and know intense desire to be free from it are both a preparation for the full enjoyment of the freedom that is to come.

As the fish that is taken out of the water longs to go back in the water, the aspirant who has perceived the goal longs to be united with God. In fact, the longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time that it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance; but the being is unconscious of the longing till it, as an aspirant, enters the spiritual path. One can in a sense become accustomed to ignorance, just as a person in a train may get accustomed to the darkness of a tunnel when the train has been passing through it for some time. Even then there is a definite discomfort and a vague and undefinable sense of restlessness owing to the feeling that something is missing. This something is apprehended from the very beginning as being of tremendous significance. In the stages of dense ignorance, this something is often inadvertently identified with the variegated things of this mundane world.

When one’s experience of this world is sufficiently mature, however, the repeated disillusionments in life set one on the right track to discover what is missing. From that moment the individual seeks a reality that is deeper than changing forms. This moment might aptly be described as the first initiation of the aspirant. From the moment of initiation into the path, the longing to unite with the source from which he has been separated becomes articulate and intense. Just as the person in the tunnel longs for light all the more intensely after he sees a streak of light coming from the other end, the person who has had a glimpse of the goal longs to hasten toward it with all the speed he can command.

On the spiritual path there are six stations, the seventh station being the terminus, or the goal. Each intermediate station is, in its own way, a kind of imaginative anticipation of the goal. The veil that separates man from God consists of false imagination, and this veil has many folds. Before entering the path the person is shrouded in this veil of manifold imagination, with the result that he cannot even entertain the thought of being other than a separate, enclosed, finite individual. The ego-consciousness has crystallized out of the working of the manifold false imagination; and the conscious longing for union with God is the first shaking of the entire structure of the ego, which has been built during the period of the false working of imagination.

Traversing the spiritual path consists in undoing the results of the false working of imagination, or dropping several folds of the veil, which has created a sense of unassailable separateness and irredeemable isolation. Thus far, the person had clung firmly to the idea of his separate existence and secured it behind the formidable walls of thick ignorance, but from now on he enters into some kind of communication with the larger Reality. The more he communes with Reality, the thinner becomes the veil of ignorance. With the gradual wearing out of separateness and egoism, he gains an increasing sense of merging in the larger Reality.

The building up of a sense of separateness is a result of flights of imagination. Therefore the breaking through of the self-created sense of separateness and being united with Reality is secured through reversing the false working of imagination. The act of getting rid of imagination altogether may be compared with the act of awakening from deep sleep. The different stages in the process of ridding oneself of false imagination might be compared with the dreams that often serve as a bridge between deep sleep and full wakefulness. The process of getting rid of the manifold working of false imagination is gradual and has seven stages.

The shedding of one fold of the veil of imagination is decidedly an advance toward Light and Truth, but it does not amount to becoming one with Reality. It merely means renouncing the more false imagination in favor of the less false imagination. There are different degrees of falseness of imagination corresponding to the degrees of the sense of separateness constituted by ego-consciousness. Each stage in the process of ridding oneself of false imagination is a definite wearing out of the ego. But all intermediate stages on the path, until final realization of the Goal, consist in leaving one flight of imagination for another. They do not amount to cessation of imagination.

These flights of imagination do not bring about any real change in the true being of the Self as it is. What changes is not the Self but its idea of what it is. Suppose in a daydream or fantasy you imagine yourself to be in China while your body is actually in India. When the fantasy comes to an end, you realize that your body is actually not in China but in India. From the subjective point of view, this is like returning from China to India. In the same way, gradual non-identification with the body and progressive identification with the Oversoul is comparable to the actual traversing of the path, though in fact the different intermediate stages on the path are all equally creations of the play of imagination.

The six ascending stages are thus all within the domain of imagination. However at each stage, breaking down the sense of separateness and discovering a merging in the larger Reality are both so strong and clear that the person often has a pseudo sense of Realization. Just as when a person climbing a mountain comes upon a deep valley and is so fascinated by the sight of it that he forgets the real goal and believes for a time that he has arrived at his goal, the aspirant also mistakes the intermediate stages for the goal itself. But a person who is really in earnest about climbing the mountain realizes after a while that the valley has to be crossed, and the aspirant also realizes sooner or later that the intermediate stage has to be transcended. The pseudo sense of Realization that comes at the intermediate stages is like an individual dreaming that he has awakened from sleep although he is actually still asleep. After becoming awake he realizes that his first feeling of awakening was really a dream.

Each definite stage of advancement represents a state of consciousness, and advancement from one state of consciousness to another proceeds side by side with crossing the inner planes. Thus six intermediate planes and their states of consciousness have to be experienced before reaching the seventh plane, which is the end of the journey and where there is final realization of the God state. A plane is comparable to a railway station where a train halts for some time, and the state of consciousness is comparable to the movements of the passenger after getting down at the station.

After entering a new plane of consciousness, a person usually takes some time before he can freely function on that plane. As there is a radical change in the total conditions of mental life, the person experiences a sort of paralysis of mental activity known as samadhi. When the pilgrim enters a new plane, he merges into the plane before he can experience the state characteristic of that plane. Just as a pilgrim who is tired by the strain of a journey sometimes goes to sleep, consciousness-which has made the effort of ascending to a new plane-goes through a period of lowered mental activity comparable to sleep. However, samadhi is fundamentally different from sleep. A person is totally unconscious in sleep; whereas in samadhi he is conscious of bliss or light or power, although he is unconscious of his body and surroundings. After a period of comparative stillness, the mind begins to function on the new plane and experiences a state of consciousness that is utterly different from the state it has left behind.

When the aspirant enters a new plane, he is merged into it; and along with the slowing down of mental activity, he experiences a substantial diminution in the ego-life. This curtailment of the ego-life is different from the final annihilation of the ego, which takes place at the seventh plane. But like the final annihilation at the seventh plane, the different stages of the curtailment of the ego at the intermediate six planes deserve special mention owing to their relative importance. In the Sufi spiritual tradition, the final annihilation of the ego is described as Fana-Fillah. And the earlier samadhi of the six planes of duality have also been recognized as kinds of fana, since they also involve a partial annihilation of the ego.

Through all these fanas of ascending order there is a continuity of progression toward the final Fana-Fillah, and each has some special characteristic. When the pilgrim arrives at the first plane, he experiences his first fana, or minor annihilation of the ego. The pilgrim is temporarily lost to his limited individuality and experiences bliss. Many pilgrims thus merged think they have realized God and hence get stuck in the first plane. If the pilgrim keeps himself free from self-delusion or comes to realize that his attainment is really a transitional phase in his journey, he advances further on the spiritual path and arrives at the second plane.

The merging into the second plane is called fana-e-batili, or the annihilation of the false. The pilgrim is now absorbed in bliss and infinite light. Some think that they have attained the goal and get stranded in the second plane, but others who keep themselves free from self-delusion march onward and enter the third plane. The merging into the third plane is called fana-e-zahiri, or the annihilation of the apparent. Here the pilgrim loses all consciousness of his body and his world for days and experiences infinite power. Since he has no consciousness of the world, he has no occasion for the expression of this power. This is videh samadhi, or the state of divine coma. Consciousness is now completely withdrawn from the entire world.

If the pilgrim advances still further, he arrives at the fourth plane. The merging into the fourth plane is called fana-e-malakuti, or the annihilation leading toward freedom. The pilgrim experiences a peculiar state of consciousness at the fourth plane, since he now not only feels infinite power but also has plenty of occasion for the expression of that power. Further, he not only has occasion for the use of his powers but has a definite inclination to express them. If he falls prey to this temptation, he goes on expressing these powers and gets caught up in the alluring possibilities of the fourth plane. For this reason the fourth plane is one of the most difficult and dangerous to cross. The pilgrim is never spiritually safe, and his reversion is always possible until he has successfully crossed the fourth plane and arrived at the fifth.

The merging into the fifth plane is called fana-e-jabruti, or the annihilation of all desires. Here the incessant activity of the lower intellect comes to a standstill. The pilgrim does not think in the ordinary way, and yet he is indirectly a source of many inspiring thoughts. He sees, but not with the physical eyes. Mind speaks with mind, and there is neither worry nor doubt. He is now spiritually safe and beyond the possibility of a downfall; and yet many a pilgrim on this exalted plane finds it difficult to resist the delusion that he has attained Godhood. In his self-delusion he thinks and says, “I am God,” and believes himself to have arrived at the end of the spiritual path.

But if he moves on, he perceives his mistake and advances to the sixth plane. The merging into the sixth plane is called fana-e-mahabubi, or the annihilation of the self (lover) in the Beloved. Now the pilgrim sees God as directly and as clearly as an ordinary person sees the different things of this world. This continual perception and enjoyment of God does not suffer a break even for an instant. Yet the wayfarer does not become one with God, the Infinite.

If the pilgrim ascends to the seventh plane, he experiences the last merging, which is called Fana-Fillah, or the final annihilation of the self in God. Through this merging the pilgrim loses his separate existence and becomes permanently united with God. He is now one with God and experiences himself as being none other than God. This seventh plane Fana-Fillah is the terminus of the spiritual path, the goal of all search and endeavor. It is the Nirvikalpa state, which is characteristic of conscious Godhood. It is the only real awakening. The pilgrim has now reached the opposite shore of the vast ocean of imagination, and he realizes that this last Truth is the only Truth and that all the other stages on the path are entirely illusory. He has arrived at the final destination.

-Meher Baba

Taken from Discourses

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