Robert Adams on Enlightenment and Gurus – Ed Muzika

Robert Adams never named a successor. He told me once that there was a book he had just read by Lakshman, who claimed that Ramana Maharshi had named Lakshman as his successor. Robert said that Ramana never named a successor and he should know since he was there. A few years later, I met Ganeshan, the editor of the Mountain Path, the publication of Ramana Ashrama, as well as Ramana’s nephew, who said he too never heard of a successor.

Perhaps Ramana gave a secret transmission, as did the Fifth Buddhist Patriarch to the Sixth Patriarch, so that the latter would survive. As it was, the latter was pursued for 12 years, sought by both jealous wannabes, who wanted his succession bowl and robes and those who wanted enlightenment at the point of a sword. But, what would be the point of a secret transmission?

There is and was no need for a line of succession from Robert’s point of view. Robert laughed at that idea and said, “What’s the point?” He hadn’t needed to be named a successor. He saw the whole concept of imaginary succession of imaginary students within an unreal mental space as the ultimate joke.

Robert’s only wish was to have his students find their true selves and be liberated from imagined suffering and death. He left it to his students to find and teach their own way, without the public relations boost to build their “practice.” If anything, he went out of his way to tear down anyone with an ego declaring that he/she was his successor or being enlightened, and there were so many around Robert. He never even claimed that for himself; however, he never denied it either. We just knew it by his bearing and his teachings themselves.

Robert almost always refused to comment on whether he thought one or another teacher was enlightened. I remember asking him once about Rajneesh, because he had the bearing, far off look and soft voice of Robert. Robert nodded and said yes, that he was. All of the other times I asked any such nonsense questions about anybody, he would say no. For Robert, enlightenment was a rare, rare thing.

My friend Swami Shankarananda calls the endless list of those claiming successorship of one Advaitin guru or another, “California Advaitins.” This is very apt.

The point of this is, is that no one knows who has it or not. Just try the only practice Robert Adams ever taught, namely self-inquiry, Atman Vichara, and watch the impact on your imaginary self. Of course, to do that, you need to have faith, and that is an entirely different story.

More of Robert’s last days:

Robert’s health had been seriously deteriorating beginning sometime during 1993 or 94. The L Dopa medication he had been taking to control his Parkinson’s symptoms was becoming ineffective. He was finding it increasingly difficult to move or talk. His voice had grown very weak and sometimes, if his medication was not working, he was almost impossible to understand.

Before going to lunch with a student (this was his way of giving private teachings, which was to go the a vegetarian restaurant near his home called Follow Your Heart), he’d take his L Dopa an hour ahead of time so that he could move and be understood. The same with Satsang. On rare occasions, but increasingly so, he would sit before the audience in his chair and just stare out into the audience. He would do this for a long time, then suddenly get up and briskly walk out. He could not talk, and his walk seemed off balance.

His close students knew something was wrong.

By 1994, he had grown very weak. His wife, Nicole Adams, later told me that Robert knew that there was something wrong with his body and that is one of the reasons he wanted to move to Sedona, thinking he might have better health there.

As related elsewhere on this site, by 1994 the number of people coming to Satsang had increased dramatically. During the last six months before he moved to Sedona in 1995, it was obvious he was very ill. People were coming to Satsang from all over the world.

One day at Satsang, we had an exceptionally large audience. Just before Satsang began and people were milling about and talking, Robert leaned over and whispered in my ear, “They are all coming to see the dying guru. The day I die, the place will be packed.”

Before Robert moved to Sedona, I believe in September of 1995 (I am chronologically challeneged.), his wife, Nichole would spend much of the day taking care of his daily needs. Robert was barely functional before he took his L-dopa and another medication the name of which I forgot.

After he moved to Sedona, Mary Skene, one of the last of the old-timers, began to assume the task of taking care of him.

Robert had liver cancer. After a while the pain gave way, as he described it, to a “tingling.” He gradually ate less and less as the disease progressed and became quite thin. Other students would come over and do the shopping and sometimes prepare meals.

Robert became evermore silent. He wanted quiet throughout the house. When I came to visit the last time, he would pace back and forth between the bedroom and the living room where I was sitting. He wanted to be with me, as he knew this was our last meeting, but he had a hard time socializing and being up out of bed.

Robert died in 1997. The picture above was taken about six months before he died. It seems that all Advaitin teachers and most Zen masters die of cancer. Anyway, after he died, wannabe gurus from all over the world began to descend on Los Angles and Sedona giving talks and workshops. It was apparent they were trying to glean Robert’s students. I felt them to be spiritual vultures.

The point of all this, is beware of teachers who proclaim some special talent, enlightenment or successorship. Beware of those who do a lot of advertising or give expensive workshops. Robert never charged a dime for someone to come to Satsang and never gave any workshop. As Robert said many times, the best teachers are unknown. They avoid having  large following and are looking for quality not quantity.

However, as he thought very highly of Rajneesh, one of the highest profile teachers of our time, it appears there may be exceptions to this rule.

-Ed Muzika

As seen at:–gurus.html

Thought Birth Control – Osho

The road that leads to samsara, to the world, is the same as the road that leads to the self. Only the direction is different. What has been in front of you for so long will now be behind you and you will have to direct your sight to what was at your back. The road is the same. We must simply turn, do an about-face. We must turn our backs on what we were facing and face that which was at our backs.

Please ask yourself where your face is turned now. What are you seeing? In what direction is the current of your vision, of your consciousness, flowing? Experience it. Observe it. You will find it is flowing outwardly. All your thoughts are about the world outside. All the time you are thinking about external things, about the world outside. When your eyes are open you see outside; when they are closed you see the same outside – because the forms and images of outside things that are imprinted on the mind rise up and surround us even when our eyes are closed. There is a world of objects outside and inside us there is another world of thoughts, the echo of outside things. Although it is inside this other world it is also outside, because the “I”, the ego, is outside as well. The witness also sees the “I”, the ego, so, therefore, that too is outside.

We are surrounded by objects and by thoughts, but you will see on deeper consideration that being encircled by objects is no hindrance on the path of self-realization, while being surrounded by thoughts is an obstacle. Can objects encircle the soul? Objects can only encircle objects. The soul is surrounded by thoughts. The current of vision, of consciousness, flows towards thoughts. Thoughts and thoughts alone are in front of us everywhere and our sight is curtained by them.

We must turn our faces from thoughts towards thoughtlessness. But this change of direction is revolutionary! How can it be done? First we must know how thoughts are born and only then can we stop them from coming into being. Generally so-called seekers begin to suppress thoughts before they understand how they are born. Some of them may go crazy trying but none of them; will ever be free of thoughts. The suppression of thoughts does not help because new thoughts arise every moment. They are like those giants of mythology who, when one head was lopped off, grew ten more.

I do not ask you to destroy thoughts because they die of their own accord every moment. Thoughts are very short-lived; no thought endures for long. A particular thought does not last long but the thought-process does. Thoughts die one after another but the flow of thoughts persists. No sooner does one thought die than another takes its place. This process takes place very quickly and this is the problem. It is not the death of a thought but its quick rebirth that is the real problem. Therefore I do not ask you to kill thoughts. I want you to understand the process of their birth and how you can rid yourselves of this process. One who comprehends the process of the birth of thoughts can easily be freed from it. But one who does not understand the process goes on creating fresh thoughts and at the same time tries to resist them. Instead of thoughts coming to an end, the consequence is that the person fighting them breaks down himself.

Again I repeat: thoughts are not the problem but the birth of thoughts is the problem. How they are born is the problem. If we can stop their coming into being, if we can exercise thought birth-control, the thoughts that have already been born will disappear in a moment. Thoughts die out every second but their total destruction does not happen because new thoughts spring up incessantly. I say it is not that we have to destroy thoughts but that we have to stop their coming into being. Stopping their birth is as good as their destruction. We all know that the mind is fickle. But what does this mean? It means that no thought endures for long. It is born and it passes away. If we can only stop its birth we will be saved from the violence involved in killing it and it will die of its own accord.

How is thought born? The conception and birth of a thought is the result of our reaction to the outside world. There is a world of events and objects outside and our reaction to this world is alone responsible for the birth of thoughts. I look at a flower. Looking is not thinking and if I simply go on looking no thought will be created. But if as soon as I look at it I say, “It is a very beautiful flower,” a thought has been born. If on the other hand I continue looking at the flower I will experience and enjoy its beauty, but no thought will be born. But as soon as we have an experience we begin to express it in words. With this expression of experience through the symbols of words, thought comes into being.

I am looking at you, and if I just keep on looking at you without expressing it in words, what will happen? As you are now you cannot even imagine what will happen. There will be a great revolution, the likes of which has never been seen before. Words get in the way and stop that revolution from taking place. The birth of thoughts hinders that revolution. If I keep on looking at you and do not give it any expression in words, if I simply keep on looking I will find during the process that a wonderful and divine grace descends upon me and that a quality of emptiness, of the void, is spreading all around. And in this emptiness, in this absence of words, the direction of consciousness takes a new turning and then I do not see only you but even the one who watches over us all gradually begins to appear. There is a new awakening on the horizon of our consciousness, as if we are waking from a dream, and our minds are filled with pure light and infinite peace.


Excerpted from The Perfect Way, Discourse #2

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Without Self-Knowledge There is No Meditation – J. Krishnamurti

WHEN the superficial, conscious mind is thus fully aware of all its activities, through that understanding it becomes spontaneously quiet, not drugged by compulsion or regimented by desire; then it is in a position to receive the intimation, the hints of the unconscious, of the many, many hidden layers of the mind — the racial instincts, the buried memories, the concealed pursuits, the deep wounds that are still unhealed. It is only when all these have projected themselves and are understood, when the whole consciousness is unburdened, unfettered by any wound, by any memory whatsoever, that it is in a position to receive the eternal.

Meditation is self-knowledge and without self-knowledge there is no meditation. If you are not aware of all your responses all the time, if you are not fully conscious, fully cognizant of your daily activities, merely to lock yourself in a room and sit down in front of a picture of your guru, of your Master, to meditate, is an escape, because without self-knowledge there is no right thinking and, without right thinking, what you do has no meaning, however noble your intentions are.

Thus prayer has no significance without self-knowledge but when there is self-knowledge there is right thinking and hence right action. When there is right action, there is no confusion and therefore there is no supplication to someone else to lead you out of it. A man who is fully aware is meditating; he does not pray, because he does not want anything. Through prayer, through regimentation, through repetition and all the rest of it, you can bring about a certain stillness, but that is mere dullness, reducing the mind and the heart to a state of weariness. it is drugging the mind; and exclusion, which you call concentration, does not lead to reality — no exclusion ever can.

What brings about understanding is self-knowledge, and it is not very difficult to be aware if there is right intention. If you are interested to discover the whole process of yourself — not merely the superficial part but the total process of your whole being — then it is comparatively easy. If you really want to know yourself, you will search out your heart and your mind to know their full content and when there is the intention to know, you will know. Then you can follow, without condemnation or justification, every movement of thought and feeling; by following every thought and every feeling as it arises you bring about tranquility which is not compelled, not regimented, but which is the outcome of having no problem, no contradiction. It is like the pool that becomes peaceful, quiet, any evening when there is no wind; when the mind is still, then that which is immeasurable comes into being.

– J. Krishnamurti

unknown source

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Spontaneous Stillness – Jean Klein

When you come to the point that you really see that there is nothing to be taught, nothing to become, to attain, then you are free from all expectation, all dynamism to produce. It is a normal, spontaneous stillness. You are open to what you are and the presence that you call a teacher is knowingly established. Poetically speaking, it is a transmission of the flame but there is nothing transmitted. Transmission is only a way of speaking. You are stimulated.

You live mainly in a landscape furnished with many objects. You are attracted by all the objects, but in this attraction you completely lose the sense of space.  When we speak of light it means that there is an absence of all representation. When you do not project an absence of consciousness onto the absence of objects, you will suddenly feel yourself in a completely new dimension of space.

Enlightenment is only the moment when there’s the absolute understanding that what you call the “me,” the “I” is nothing other than a fabrication of the mind. This understanding is the freeing of the mind, the freeing of the self, and you feel yourself in openness, in this not-knowing.

-Jean Klein

From Living Truth, p. 151-152

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What is Beyond Enlightenment? – Osho

What is beyond enlightenment?

Maneesha, beyond enlightenment is only beyondness. Enlightenment is the last host. Beyond it, all boundaries disappear, all experiences disappear. Experience comes to its utmost in enlightenment; it is the very peak of all that is beautiful, of all that is immortal, of all that is blissful — but it is an experience. Beyond enlightenment there is no experience at all, because the experiencer has disappeared. Enlightenment is not only the peak of experience; it is also the finest definition of your being. Beyond it, there is only nothingness; you will not come again to a point which has to be transcended.

Experience, the experiencer, enlightenment — all have been left behind. You are part of the tremendous nothingness that is infinite. This is the nothingness out of which the whole existence comes, the womb; and this is the nothingness in which all the existence disappears.

Science has something parallel; there is bound to be something parallel. The spiritual experience is of the interior world, and science is the exploration of the exterior. But both are wings of the same existence — the inwardness and the outwardness — they always have similar points.

Scientists have come to a strange conclusion in this century, that a few stars suddenly disappear… and stars are not small things; they are not so small as they look to you. They look small because they are so far away, millions of light years away, but they are huge.

Our sun is a star, but of a mediocre size, medium size. In comparison to the earth it is vast, but in comparison to other stars it is a small, medium-sized star. There are stars which are a thousand times bigger than the sun.

And in this century, for the first time we had the instruments of observation and we were very much puzzled: suddenly a star disappears, not even leaving a trace behind of where it has gone. Such a huge phenomenon, and not even footprints — in what direction has it gone? It has just moved simply into nothingness. This was happening continually.

It took almost twenty years to figure out this new phenomenon: that in existence there are black holes. You cannot see them, but they have tremendous gravitation. Even the biggest star, if it comes within their radius of magnetism, will be pulled in. And once it is pulled into a black hole, it disappears. It is the ultimate death. We can only see the effect; we cannot see the black hole, we only see that one star is disappearing.

After the black hole was almost an established theory, scientists started thinking that there must be something like a white hole — there has to be. If it is possible that in a certain gravitation, magnetic force, a big star simply disappears out of existence…. We have been aware that every day stars are born. From where are they coming? – Nobody has asked it before.

In fact, birth we always take for granted; nobody asks from where the babies are coming.

Death we never accept, because we are so much afraid of it.

There is not a single philosophy in the whole history of man which thinks about where the babies come from, but there are philosophies and philosophies thinking about what is dead, where people go on disappearing to, what happens after death.

In my whole life I have come across millions of people, and not a single person has asked what happens before birth — and thousands have asked what happens after death. I have always been thinking, why is birth taken without any question? Why is death not taken in the same way?

We were aware for centuries, almost three centuries, that stars are being born every day—big stars, huge stars — and nobody raised the question, “From where are these stars coming?” But when we came to know about the black holes and we saw the stars disappearing, then the second question became almost an absolute necessity. If black holes can take stars into nothingness, then there must be something like white holes where things… stars come out of nothingness.

I am reminded…. Mulla Nasruddin had applied for a post on a ship. He was interviewed.

The captain and the high officials of the ship were sitting in a room. Mulla entered. The captain asked, “If the seas are in a turmoil, winds are strong, waves are huge and mountainous, what are you going to do to save the ship? It is tossed from here to there….” Mulla Nasruddin said, “It is not much of a problem: I will just drop a huge anchor to keep the ship stable against the winds, against the waves. It is not much of a problem.”

The captain again said, “Suppose another mountainous wave comes and the ship is going to be drowned; what are you going to do?”

He said, “Nothing—another huge anchor.”

The captain looked at him and asked a third time, “Suppose it is a great typhoon and it is impossible to save the ship. What are you going to do?”

He said, “Nothing, the same—a huge anchor.”

The captain said, “From where are you getting these huge anchors?”

He said, “From the same place. From where are you getting these great, mountainous waves, strong winds?—from the same place. You go on getting them; I will go on getting bigger and bigger anchors.”

If there are holes in existence where things simply disappear into non-existence, then there must be holes from where things appear from nothingness — and just a little imagination is needed. Scientists have not worked on it yet.

My suggestion is that a black hole is like a door: from one side it is a black door, a black hole—things go into it and disappear into nothingness. And from the other side of the tunnel—it is the same door, just from the other side — it is a white hole; things are born again, renewed. It is the same womb.

Beyond enlightenment you enter into nothingness.

Experience disappears, experiencer disappears.

Just pure nothingness remains, utter silence.

Perhaps this is the destiny of every human being, sooner or later to be achieved.

We don’t know yet whether there is a white hole or not—there must be.

Just as you enter beyond enlightenment into nothingness, there must be a possibility of coming out of nothingness back into form, back into existence—renewed, refreshed, luminous—on a totally different plane. Because nothing is destroyed, things can only go into a dormant state; things can go only into deep sleep. Then in the morning they wake up again. This is how the existence goes on.

In the West, this idea has never happened in the two thousand years’ history of philosophy. They only think of this creation: “Who created this?” and they get into troubles because whatever the answer is, it is going to create more questions.

In the East we have a conception of circles of existence and non-existence, just like day and night. Creation is followed by de-creation, everything goes into nothingness, just as day is followed by night and everything goes into darkness. And the period is going to be the same: as long as the creation is, so is the resting period going to be; and again there will be a creation of a higher order.

And this will go on from eternity to eternity — creation, de-creation, creation, again de-creation—but each time the morning is more beautiful. Each dawn is more colorful, more alive; the birds are singing better, the flowers are bigger, with more fragrance.

And the East has a tremendous courage of accepting the idea that this will go on forever and forever. There has never been any beginning, and there will be no end.

After enlightenment, you have to disappear. The world is left behind, the body is left behind, the mind is left behind; just your consciousness, as individuality, is still there.

To go beyond enlightenment is to go beyond individuality and to become universal. This way, each individual will go on moving into nothingness. And one day, the whole existence moves into nothingness and a great peace, a great night, a deep, dark womb, a great awaiting for the dawn…. And it has been happening always, and each time you are always born on a higher level of consciousness.

Enlightenment is the goal of human beings. But those who are enlightened cannot remain static; they will have to move, they will have to change. And now they have only one thing to lose—themselves.

They have enjoyed everything. They have enjoyed the purity of individuality; now they have to enjoy the disappearing of individuality. They have seen the beauty of individuality; now they have to see the disappearance and its beauty, and the silence that follows, that abysmal serenity that follows.


From Beyond Enlightenment, Discourse #1


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Seeing Without Eyes – Jean Klein

The starting point of all activities is more or less localized in our heads. But the moment we are invited by our original stillness to be the stillness, then we should go away from this localization. Otherwise, we remain enclosed in the battlefield. When you are invited to be still, consciously relax your optic nerves.

In our sense activities the eyes play a big role and the optic nerves are generally in tension. All the energy employed in seeing is more or less in intention. So, when you feel tension in the eyes you should, with the help of the optic nerves, let the localization go through the left and right brain away from the eye area so that it feels as if the eyes are localized at the base of the brain.

Then you are out of the battlefield. You will feel that all the energy which comes up is more or less localized in the cervical region, very precisely at the seventh vertebra. You should enjoy for a certain moment this localization. Then you may be invited by your deep relaxation to go to the heart. Perhaps the heart is the last door, for there, there is no more outgoing or ingoing.

– Jean Klein

From Living Truth, p. 29

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See Where the Mind Rises – Ramana Maharshi

The Self is Pure Consciousness. Yet a man identifies himself with the body which is insentient and does not itself say: ‘I am the body’. Someone else says so. The unlimited Self does not. Who does? A spurious ‘I’ arises between Pure Consciousness and the insentient body and imagines itself to be limited to the body. Seek this and it will vanish like a phantom. The phantom is the ego or mind or individuality. All the scriptures are based on the rise of this phantom, whose elimination is their purpose. The present state is mere illusion. Its dissolution is the goal and nothing else.

To ask the mind to kill the mind is like making the thief the policeman. He will go with you and pretend to catch the thief, but nothing will be gained. So, you must turn inward and see where the mind rises from and then it will cease to exist.

Of course, we are employing the mind. It is well known and admitted that only with the help of the mind, can the mind be killed. But instead of setting about saying there is a mind and I want to kill it, you begin to seek its source, and then you find it does not exist at all. The mind turned outwards results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards it becomes itself the Self.

By steady and continuous investigation into the nature of the mind, the mind is transformed into That to which ‘I’ refers; and that is in fact the Self. The mind has necessarily to depend for its existence on something gross; it never subsists by itself. It is the mind that is otherwise called the subtle body, ego, jiva or soul.

That which arises in the physical body as ‘I’ is the mind. If one enquires whence the ‘I’-thought arises in the body in the first instance, it will be found that it is from the hrdayam or the Heart. That is the source and stay of the mind. Or again, even if one merely continuously repeats to oneself inwardly ‘I-I’ with the entire mind fixed thereon, that also leads to the same source.

The first and foremost of all thoughts that arise in the mind is the primal ‘I’-thought. It is only after the rise or origin of the ‘I’-thought that innumerable other thoughts arise. In other words, only after the first personal pronoun, ‘I’, has arisen, do the second and third personal pronouns occur to the mind; and they cannot subsist without it. Since every other thought can occur only after the rise of the ‘I’-thought, and since the mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts, it is only through the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ that the mind subsides. Moreover, the integral ‘I’-thought implicit in such enquiry, having destroyed all other thoughts, it itself finally gets destroyed or consumed, just as a stick used for stirring the burning funeral pyre gets consumed.

-Ramana Maharshi

From The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words, Arthur Osborne

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On Cutting the Knot – Ramana Maharshi

Questions asked by Ganapati Muni, Translation by A.R. Natarajan

Verse 1:

On 14th August, at night, I questioned the Maharshi ‘on the cutting of the knot’, regarding which even the learned have doubts.

Verse 2:

The effulgent Bhagavan, Ramana Maharshi, listened to the question, meditated for a while, and spoke in his divine way.

Verse 3:

The ‘knot’ is the link between the Self and the body, Awareness of the body arises because of this link.

Verse 4:

The body is matter, the Self is consciousness. The link between the two is inferred through the intellect.

Verse 5:

It is by the diffused light of consciousness that the body functions. Since there is no awareness of the world in sleep, swoon, and so on, the location of the Self is to be inferred.

Verse 6:

Just as the unseen current passes through the visible wires, the flame of consciousness flows through the various channels of the body.

Verse 7:

The flame of consciousness, taking hold of a centre, lights up the entire body just as the sun illuminates the whole world.

Verse 8:

It is because of the spreading of consciousness that one becomes aware of the body. The sages say that the centre of radiation is the Heart.

Verse 9:

The flow of consciousness is inferred from play of forces in the channels. The forces course through the body, each hugging a particular channel.

Verse 10:

The channel through which consciousness flows is termed ‘susumma’. It is also called ‘atma nadi’, ‘para nadi’ and ‘amrita nadi’.

Verse 11:

Because consciousness pervades the entire body, one gets attached to the body, regards the body as the Self, and views the world as apart from oneself.

Verse 12:

When the discriminating one becomes detached and, giving up the idea that one is the body, single-mindedly enquires, the churning of the channels takes place.

Verse 13:

On such churning of the channels, the self gets separated from them and shines forth by clinging to the supreme channel.

Verse 14:

When consciousness stays in the supreme channel only, then ‘Self alone shines’.

Verse 15:

Even though the objects are near they are not seen as separate. He is aware of the Self as clearly as the ignorant one of his body.

Verse 16:

The one to whom the Self alone shines, within, without and everywhere, as name and form would for the ignorant, has cut the knot.

Verse 17:

The knot is two-fold, one of the channels, and other of mental attachment. The perceiver, though subtle, sees the entire gross world through the channels.

Verse 18:

When the mind is withdrawn from other channels and is in the supreme channel alone, then the link with the body is cut and one abides as the Self.

Verse 19:

The body of one who abides in the Self through self-enquiry is resplendent just as a heated iron-ball appears as a ball of fire.

Verse 20:

The latent tendencies of the past pertaining to the body-mind complex are destroyed. There is no sense of doership because there is no body consciousness.

Verse 21:

It is said that the karma of such a one is destroyed due to the absence of the sense of doership. No doubts arise since the Self only exists for him.

Verse 22:

The one whose knot is cut can never again become bound. This state is one of supreme power and peace.

-Ramana Maharshi

From Sri Ramana Gita, Chapter Nine

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Inside Out

We often speak of going or looking inside. But looking with careful attention, it can be seen there is simply no such thing as inside/outside. When we close our eyes and just watch whatever appears in our awareness, a bird singing, a thought passing, a sensation in the body, there is not any delineation between inside and outside. And it is the same when looking with open eyes. Either everything is outside, meaning outside of the seer and hence seen, or they are all inside, as all being contained in awareness. But I have found no distinction between inside and out.

As a result of finding there is no longer an inside opposed to an outside of me, it is discovered that the belief, that I am some being residing inside this body, is exposed as a mere fabrication. It is much more accurate to describe the situation as the body, and for that matter the rest of the manifestation, as residing inside my awareness. It is a bit like an inside-out sock that one pulls right-side out. It is here that the Zen story applies, “The Goose is Out.”

This revelation is more important than it might first appear. The inside/outside division the mind makes is part and parcel of the me identity, and when one sees, and I mean actually sees, not just intellectually understands, then the very foundation of the ego self is pulled out from under.


This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Order the book Here.



Witnessing is not a Thought – Osho

Osho, it feels that to be a witness is also a kind of thought. So what is the difference between the witness and a thought of the witness?

Satyendra Saraswati,

Witnessing is not a thought but you can start thinking about witnessing, you can make it a thought. The moment you make it a thought, it is no longer witnessing. Either it is witnessing or it is a thought, it cannot be both together.

When you are witnessing you are not thinking that you are witnessing. If you are thinking that you are witnessing, this is not witnessing at all, it is another kind of thought. If the witnessing is simple, there is no thought of witnessing at all. If the thoughts are just passing in front of your vision and you are witnessing them, and no idea arises in you that “I am witnessing,” then it is pure witnessing.

It is not a thought at all, it is a state of no-thought, no-mind. You are simply reflecting whatsoever is passing by.

The moment you say, “Aha! This is witnessing. So I am witnessing. This is what meditation is. This is awareness,” you have missed the point. You have fallen back into the mud of the mind. You are no longer a witness. You have become identified. Witnessing cannot be reduced to a thought.

But your problem is significant. It is encountered by almost every meditator. We have become so habituated to witnessing in a wrong way. We think that we witness. We judge, we evaluate, but we think that we witness. We think that we witness, and it is not witnessing. We are associated with a wrong kind of witnessing, and that idea lingers for a long time.

Secondly: we have become so conditioned to immediately reducing every experience into a thought. We never allow any experience to remain just a pure experience, even for a few moments.

You come across a beautiful rose flower in the garden. The moment you see it, almost instantly you say inside, “How beautiful!” You can’t let that beauty sink in. The thought of beauty becomes a barrier. The moment you say, “How beautiful!” you have already started comparing it with other roses that you have seen in the past. You have started comparing it with all that you have heard about roses. You are no longer seeing this rose. You are missing its suchness. You have gone into the past. You are searching in your memory to discover how many roses you have seen before: “And this is the best one.” But this rose is no longer there in your awareness. Your awareness has become very clouded. So much smoke has come from the past, so much dust has arisen that your mirror is no longer reflecting the beauty. You are not now-here.

Allow the rose and its fragrance and its beauty and its dance in the wind and the sun to penetrate you. Don’t bring your mind in. There is no need to say that this is beautiful. If it is, there is no need to say it; if it is not, then it is false to say it. Either it is or it is not. To create a thought about it in any way is to create ripples in your consciousness. It is like throwing a pebble into a silent lake. Just a moment ago it was reflecting the moon and the stars so beautifully, and your pebble has created ripples, and the moon and the stars have all become distorted.

That’s what happens whenever a thought arises in you: your consciousness is disturbed, starts wavering. Waves start arising in you. Now you are not capable of reflecting that which is.

You will have to learn this new art of seeing things without judging, of seeing things without verbalizing, of seeing things without evaluating. See the rose, see the bird on the wing, see the night full of stars, see the river passing by, see the traffic. Listen to the songs of the birds or a train passing by. Start learning a new art of just being reflective, not bringing any thought in, not saying anything at all.

It will take a little time – old habits die hard – but one day it happens. If you persist, if you are patient enough, if you go on and on working at cleaning your inner world, one day it happens. And the benediction of that day is immense. In fact, that day you are born anew. You start seeing the same world with new eyes because your eyes are so clear, your mirror reflects so deeply, so totally, without distortion, that trees – the same trees that you have seen before thousands of times – are far more green than they have ever been. And their greenness is no ordinary greenness: it is luminous, it is radiating light.

It is the same world, the same people…. A Buddha walks, a Jesus walks in the same world – the same trees, the same rocks, the same people, the same sky – but they live in paradise and you live in hell. The difference is created by the mind.

It will take a little while to drop this mind. It has dominated you for so long that it is difficult in the beginning to suddenly disassociate yourself from it. It clings. It can’t leave its power over you so easily. Hence it goes on coming in from the back door.

You are sitting silently and a beautiful stillness arises, and the mind comes in from the back door and says, “Look, how beautiful this moment is!” And it has taken you away! It came so silently, without making any noise, and you were caught by it in such a subtle way that you could not have been aware of it. You rejoiced, you thanked the mind… but it has destroyed your stillness.

When stillness is really true there is no mind to say anything about it. When witnessing is true you are simply a witness. You don’t think, “I am witnessing.” There is no “I,” there is no thinking, there is only the witness, because all thinking, and the “I” – they have all become contents, objects of your witnessing. And witnessing itself cannot be its own object. No mirror can reflect itself. Your eyes cannot see themselves. Your witness cannot witness itself, that’s impossible.

Your question is relevant. And you will have to be very, very careful, watchful. It is a razor’s edge. One has to be very cautious because if you fall, you fall into a deep abyss. The ordinary people cannot fall; they have nowhere to fall to – they are already at the bottom. But as you start moving higher, the possibility of falling down grows every day. When you reach the Everest of your consciousness, just a little slip, just a little wrong step, and you will go rolling down into a deep abyss.

The greater the meditation, the greater the danger of losing it – naturally; only a rich man can be robbed, not a poor man. That’s why a beggar can sleep under a tree in the afternoon and the noise of the traffic and the marketplace… nothing disturbs him. He can sleep anywhere, he can sleep deeply. He has nothing to lose – no fear.

Once, at night, a king came across a very strange man, a very luminous man, standing alert underneath a tree – so silent, so quiet and so alert. The king was curious: ‘Why is he standing there?” From his appearance he looked like a monk, one who has renounced the world. The king was a very cultured man and he thought, “It is not right to disturb him.” But every night it happened.

That was the routine of the king: to go around the capital at night in disguise to see how things were going – whether the guards were on duty or not; mixing and meeting with people, going into the hotels and the theaters to find out how things were going – whether things were all right or not.

Every night he would come across this man. He saw this man so many times that it became impossible to resist the temptation. One day he approached him and asked, “Excuse me, sir, I should not interfere – you look so silent – but why do you go on standing the whole night? What are you guarding? Is there any treasure underneath this tree?”

The mystic laughed. He said, “Not underneath this tree, but within me there is a treasure and I am watching it. And the treasure is growing every day, it is becoming bigger and bigger, hence I have to be more and more alert.”

The mystic said to the king, “You can sleep, you have nothing to lose. I cannot, I have much to lose; and if I can remain awake I have much to gain.”

The king was very much impressed. He asked him to come to his palace, he invited him. The monk agreed. The king was a little puzzled: a monk agreeing so soon without even refusing once is not thought to be right. A monk should say, “No, I cannot come to the palace. I have renounced the world. It is all futile. It is all dream, illusion, maya I cannot come back to the world. I am happy wherever I am.”

But this monk didn’t say anything. He was a Zen Master. The king started thinking in his mind, “Have I been deceived by this man? Was he simply standing there every night just to catch hold of me?”

But now it was too late; he had invited him. The mystic came to the palace, lived with the king. And, of course, he lived more joyously than the king because he had no worries, no cares about the empire, no problems and no anxieties. He enjoyed good food, and the king had given him the best room in the palace – he lived just like an emperor!

Six months passed. Now the king was boiling within himself to ask him, “What kind of renunciation is this? You are enjoying everything – servants and good food and good clothes and a beautiful palace.”

One day, walking in the garden, he asked the mystic, “Can I ask you a question? Forgive me if you feel offended. This is my question: What is the difference now between me and you?”

The mystic looked at the king and he said, “Why did you wait for six months? This question you could have asked me the very first night. The moment you invited me and I accepted your invitation, this question arose in your mind. Why did you wait for six months? You tortured yourself unnecessarily.

I was expecting it at any moment. There is no question of my feeling offended – it is a natural question. “There is a difference, but it is very subtle. And if you really want to know the difference, then come with me. I cannot tell you here. I will tell you in a certain space, at a certain place. Come along with me.”

They both went outside the city. The king said, “Now can you tell me?”

The mystic said, “Come along.”

When they were crossing the boundary of his empire – it was evening – the king said, “What are you doing? Where are you taking me? Now this is the end of my empire. We are entering somebody else’s kingdom and I would like to be answered. What is your answer? And I am feeling very tired.”

And the mystic said, “My answer is that I am going. Are you coming with me or not? I am not going back.”

The king said, “How can I come with you? I have my whole empire, my wife, my children. How can I come with you?”

The mystic said, “That’s the difference. But I am going!”

Again the king saw the light, the beauty of the man, and fell at his feet. He said, “Come back! I am just stupid. I have missed these six months. I have been thinking things which are really ugly. Forgive me and come back.”

The mystic said, “There is no problem for me. I can come back, but you will again think the same. It is better for me now to go ahead – that story is finished, that chapter is closed – so that you can remember the difference.”

The witness lives in the world just like a mirror, reflecting everything. He may be in a hut, he may be in a palace; it makes no difference. What difference does it make to a mirror whether the mirror is in a hut or in a palace? What difference does it make to the mirror whether the mirror is reflecting beautiful diamonds or just ordinary stones? It makes no difference to the mirror.

Witnessing is the art of transcending the world. Witnessing is the very essence of Zen, of religion itself. But don’t make it a thought – it is not a thought at all. Thoughts have to be witnessed. Even if the thought of witnessing arises, witness that thought. Remember that it is not witnessing, it is only a thought – it has to be witnessed. It is there in front of you. You are not it.

The witness is irreducible to any thought; it always goes on sliding back. You cannot catch hold of it through any thought. It can witness each and every thought, the thought of witnessing included; hence, it can never itself become a thought.

Next time when you are meditating, Satyendra Saraswati, remember it. Don’t start enjoying the thought that “This is a beautiful moment. My mind is silent, my being is still. This is witnessing!” The moment you say it, you have lost it.


From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Discourse #5

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