57. Beyond Mind, there is no Suffering
I am like a cinema screen — clear and empty — the pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before. In no way is the screen affected by the pic- tures, nor are the pictures affected by the screen. The screen in- tercepts and reflects the pictures, it does not shape them. It has nothing to do with the rolls of films.
And what about you? Do you shape your life or are you shaped by it?
The character will become a person, when he begins to shape his life instead of accepting it as it comes, and identifying himself with it.
You identify yourself with everything so easily; I find it impossible. The feeling: ‘I am not this or that, nor is anything mine’ is so strong in me that as soon as a thing or a thought ap- pears, there comes at once the sense ‘this I am not’.
By the grace of my Guru I have realized once and for good that I am neither object nor subject and I do not need to remind myself all the time.
Look, my thumb touches my forefinger. Both touch and are touched. When my attention is on the thumb, the thumb is the feeler and the forefinger — the self. Shift the focus of attention and the relationship is reversed. I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at and ex- perience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing. I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness — love; you may give it any name you like. Love says: ‘I am everything’. Wisdom says: ‘I am nothing’ Between the two my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.
Having realized that I am one with, and yet beyond the world, I became free from all desire and fear.
Man’s fivefold body (physical etc.) has potential powers beyond our wildest dreams. Not only is the entire universe re- flected in man, but also the power to control the universe is wait- ing to be used by him.
Pain is merely a signal that the body is in danger and requires attention. Similarly, suffering warns us that the structure of memories and habits, is threatened by loss or change.
Pain is essential for the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwilling- ness to move on, to flow with life.
What was born, must die; what was never born cannot die.
You will not admit that your conclusions bind no- body but you. Do see that the image you have of me may be al- together wrong. Your image of yourself is wrong too, but that is your problem.
58. Perfection, Destiny of All
The very fact of observation alters the observer and the observed. After all, what prevents the insight into one’s true nature is the weakness and obtuseness of the mind and its ten- dency to skip the subtle and focus the gross only. When you fol- low my advice and try to keep your mind on the notion of ‘I am’ only, you become fully aware of your mind.
you want to know yourself. For this keep steadily in the focus of consciousness the only clue you have: your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm of reality.
The urge to find oneself is a sign that you are getting ready. The impulse always comes from within. Unless your time has come, you will have neither the desire nor the strength to go for self-enquiry whole-heartedly.
The only way you can judge is by the change in yourself when you are in his company. If you feel more at peace and happy, if you understand yourself with more than usual clarity and depth, it means you have met the right man. Take your time, but once you have made up your mind to trust him, trust him absolutely and follow every instruction fully and faithfully.
Half-heartedness is a serious drawback and the cause of much self-created sorrow. The mistake is never the Guru’s; it is always the obtuseness and cussedness of the discipline that is at fault.
The entire universe is your Guru. You learn from everything, if you are alert and intelligent. Were your mind clear and your heart clean, you would learn from every passerby. It is because you are indolent or restless, that your inner Self manifests as the outer Guru and makes you trust him and obey.
The ultimate value of the body is that it serves to discover the cosmic body, which is the universe in its entirety. As you realize yourself in manifestation, you keep on discovering that you are ever more than what you have imagined.
The mind must know itself in every mood. Nothing is a mistake unless repeated.
59. Desire and Fear: Self-centred States
What puzzles me is that we derive pleasure from things and states of mind, which have nothing to do with survival. On the contrary, our pleasures are usually destructive. They damage or destroy the object, the instrument and also the subject of plea- sure. Otherwise, pleasure and pursuit of pleasure would be no problem. This brings me to the core of my question: why is pleasure destructive? Why, in spite of its destructiveness, is it wanted?
ranging from the grossest, like overeating, to the most refined. Addiction to pleasure, at whatever cost, is so universal that there must be something sig- nificant at the root of it.
you know only pleasure, not the bliss of pure being.
Q: Pain is not acceptable.
M: Why not? Did you ever try? Do try and you will find in pain a joy which pleasure cannot yield, for the simple reason that ac- ceptance of pain takes you much deeper than pleasure does.
When pain is accepted for what it is, a lesson and a warning, and deeply looked into and heeded, the separation between pain and pleasure breaks down, both become experience — painful when resisted, joyful when accepted.
Q: How can I possibly enjoy pain? Physical pain calls for ac- tion.
M: Of course. And so does mental. The bliss is in the aware- ness of it, in not shrinking, or in any way turning away from it. All happiness comes from awareness. The more we are con- scious, the deeper the joy. Acceptance of pain, non-resistance, courage and endurance — these open deep and perennial sources of real happiness, true bliss.
Q: Why should pain be more effective than pleasure?
M: Pleasure is readily accepted, while all the powers of the self reject pain. As the acceptance of pain is the denial of the self, and the self stands in the way of true happiness, the wholehearted acceptance of pain releases the springs of hap- piness.
Q: How can I set right a tangle which is entirely below the level of my consciousness?
M: By being with yourself, the ‘I am’; by watching yourself in your daily life with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than to judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and consciousness with its cap- tive energies. This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert atten- tion is the mother of intelligence.
Q: One more question. Why does pleasure end in pain?
M: Everything has a beginning and an end and so does pleas- ure. Don’t anticipate and don’t regret, and there will be no pain. It is memory and imagination that cause suffering.
Of course pain after pleasure may be due to the misuse of the body or the mind. The body knows its measure, but the mind does not. Its appetites are numberless and limitless. Watch your mind with great diligence; for there lies your bondage and also the key to freedom.
When the mind takes over, remembers and anticipates, it exaggerates, it distorts, it overlooks. The past is projected into future and the future betrays the expectations. The organs of sensation and action are stimulated beyond capacity and they inevitably break down. The objects of pleasure cannot yield what is expected of them and get worn out, or destroyed, by misuse. It results in excess of pain where pleasure was looked for.
Q: But I am not alone to suffer. There are others.
M: When you go to them with your desires and fears, you merely add to their sorrows. First be free of suffering yourself and then only hope of helping others. You do not even need to hope — your very existence will be the greatest help a man can give his fellowmen.
60. Live Facts, not Fancies
Do not be misled by my eating and smoking, read- ing and talking. My mind is not here, my life is not here. Your world, of desires and their fulfillments, of fears and their es- capes, is definitely not my world. I do not even perceive it, ex- cept through what you tell me about it. It is your private dream- world and my only reaction to it is to ask you to stop dreaming.
Q: A dream cannot be shared.
M: Nor can the waking state. All the three states — of waking, dreaming and sleeping — are subjective, personal, intimate. They all happen to and are contained within the little bubble in consciousness, called ‘I’. The real world lies beyond the self.
Contradiction is the mark of the false; the real never contradicts itself.
For instance, you complain that people are abjectly poor. Yet you do not share your riches with them. You mind the war next door, but you hardly give it a thought when it is in some far off country. The shifting fortunes of your ego determine your val- ues; ‘I think’, ‘l want’, ‘I must’ are made into absolutes.
Insanity is universal. Sanity is rare. Yet there is hope, be- cause the moment we perceive our insanity, we are on the way to sanity. This is the function of the Guru — to make us see the madness of our daily living. Life makes you conscious, but the teacher makes you aware.
Q: The Ramas and the Krishnas, the Buddhas and the Christs have come and gone and we are as we were; wallowing in sweat and tears. What have the great ones done, whose lives we witnessed? What have you done, Sir, to alleviate the world’s thrall?
M: You alone can undo the evil you have created. Your own callous selfishness is at the root of it. Put first your own house in order and you will see that your work is done.
There is no wall, because there is no good and no evil. In every concrete situation there is only the necessary and the un- necessary. The needful is right, the needless is wrong.
Every situation is a challenge which demands the right response. When the response is right, the challenge is met and the problem ceases. If the response is wrong, the challenge is not met and the problem remains unsol- ved. Your unsolved problems — that is what constitutes your karma. Solve them rightly and be free.
The world problems were created by numberless people like you, each full of his own desires and fears. Who can free you of your past, personal and social, except yourself? And how will you do it unless you see the urgent need of your being first free of cravings born of illusion? Hove can you truly help, as long as you need help yourself?
In my world even what you call evil is the servant of the good and therefore necessary. It is like boils and fevers that clear the body of impurities. Disease is painful, even dangerous, but if dealt with rightly, it heals.
Q: What is necessary?
M: To grow is necessary. To outgrow is necessary. To leave behind the good for the sake of the better is necessary.
Q: To what end?
M: The end is in the beginning. You end where you start — in the Absolute.
61. Matter is Consciousness Itself
Q: A child just grows. He does not make plans for growth, nor has he a pattern; nor does he grow by fragments, a hand here a leg there; he grows integrally end unconsciously.
M: Because he is free of imagination. You can also grow like this, but you must not indulge in forecasts and plans, born of memory and anticipation. It is one of the peculiarities of a gnani that he is not concerned with the future. Your concern with fu- ture is due to fear of pain and desire for pleasure, to the gnani all is bliss: he is happy with whatever comes.
Bringing up a child from birth to maturity may seem a hard task, but to a mother the memories of hardships are a joy. There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is in the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you.
Your conviction that you are conscious of a world is the world. The world you perceive is made of consciousness; what you call matter is consciousness itself. You are the space (akash) in which it moves, the time in which it lasts, the love that gives it life. Cut off imagination and attachment and what remains?
how different it is when you can see it as it is, not through the screen of desire and fear.
everyone is a Yogi and his life a school of wisdom. Each learns his own way the lessons he needs. Society approves of some, disapproves of others; there are no rules that apply everywhere and for all time.
M: In my world love is the only law. I do not ask for love, I give it. Such is my nature.
Yes, when the mind is eager for reality, it gives attention. There is nothing wrong with your world, it is your thinking your- self to be separate from it that creates disorder. Selfishness is the source of all evil.
M: Those who claim to have selected their father and mother and decided how they are going to live their next life may know for themselves. I know for myself. I was never born.
Q: I see you sitting in front of me and replying my questions.
M: You see the body only which, of course, was born and will die.
Q: It requires intelligence and energy to build and maintain a living body. Where do they come from?
M: There is only imagination. The intelligence and power are all used up in your imagination. It has absorbed you so completely that you just cannot grasp how far from reality you have wan- dered. No doubt imagination is richly creative. Universe within universe are built on it. Yet they are all in space and time, past and future, which just do not exist.
What you call realization is a natural thing. When you are ready, your Guru will be waiting. Sadhana is effortless. When the relationship with your teacher is right you grow. Above all, trust him. He cannot mislead you.
Q: Sir, have you any wants or wishes. Can I do anything for you?
M: What can you give me that I do not have? Material things are needed for contentment. But I am contented with myself. What else do I need?
Q: Surely, when you are hungry you need food and when sick you need medicine.
M: Hunger brings the food and illness brings the medicine. It is all nature’s work.
Q: If I bring something I believe you need, will you accept it? M: The love that made you offer will make me accept.
Q: If somebody offers to build you a beautiful Ashram?
M: Let him, by all means. Let him spend a fortune, employ hun- dreds, feed thousands.
Q: Is it not a desire?
M: Not at all. I am only asking him to do it properly, not stingily,
half-heartedly. He is fulfilling his own desire, not mine. Let him do it well and be famous among men and gods.
Q: What can compel you?
M: Love of those who are in search of light.
When the mind is intensely interested, it becomes one with the object of interest — the seer and the seen become one in seeing, the hearer and the heard became one in hearing, the lover and the loved be- come one in loving. Every experience can be the ground for samadhi.
62. In the Supreme the Witness Appears
He did not attempt to describe life — he merely said that while life need not and cannot be de- scribed, it can be fully experienced, if the obstacles to its being experienced are removed. The main hindrance lies in our idea of, and addiction to, time, in our habit of anticipating a future in the light of the past. The sum total of the past becomes the ‘I was’, the hoped for future becomes the ‘I shall be’ and life is a constant effort of crossing over from what ‘I was’ to what ‘I shall be’. The present moment, the ‘now’ is lost sight of.
The present ‘I am’ is as false as the ‘I was’ and ‘I shall be’. It is merely an idea in the mind, an impression left by mem- ory, and the separate identity it creates is false. This habit of re- ferring to a false centre must be done away with; the notion: ‘I see’, ‘I feel’, ‘I think’, ‘I do’, must disappear from the field of con- sciousness; what remains when the false is no more, is real.
This union of the seer and the seen happens when the seer becomes conscious of himself as the seer; he is not merely in- terested in the seen, which he is anyhow, but also interested in being interested, giving attention to attention, aware of being aware. Affectionate awareness is the crucial factor that brings Reality into focus.
M: How can there be two selves in one body? The ‘I am’ is one. There is no ‘higher I-am’ and ‘lower I-am’. All kinds of states of mind are presented to awareness and there is self-identification with them. The objects of observation are not what they appear to be and the attitudes they are met with are not what they need be. If you think that Buddha, Christ or Krishnamurti speak to the person, you are mistaken. They know well that the vyakti, the outer self, is but a shadow of the vyakta, the inner self, and they address and admonish the vyakta only. They tell him to give at- tention to the outer self, to guide and help it, to feel responsible for it; in short, to be fully aware of it. Awareness comes from the Supreme and pervades the inner self; the so-called outer self is only that part of one’s being of which one is not aware. One may be conscious, for every being is conscious, but one is not aware. What is included in awareness becomes the inner and partakes of the inner. You may put it differently: the body de- fines the outer self, consciousness the inner, and in pure awareness the Supreme is contacted.
Q: You said the body defines the outer self. Since you have a body, do you have also an outer self?
M: I would, were I attached to the body and take it to be myself.
Q: But you are aware of it and attend to its needs.
M: The contrary is nearer to truth — the body knows me and is aware of my needs. But neither is really so. This body appears in your mind; in my mind nothing is.
Q: Do you mean to say you are quite unconscious of having a body?
M: On the contrary, I am conscious of not having a body.
If the idea: ‘I-am-not-the-body’ leads to lib- eration, the presence of the body is essential.
M: Quite right. Without the body, how can the idea: ‘I- am-not-the-body’ come into being? The idea ‘I-am-free’ is as false as the idea ‘I-am-in-bondage’. Find out the ‘I am’ common to both and go beyond.
M: All are mere words, of what use are they to you? You are en- tangled in the web of verbal definitions and formulations. Go beyond your concepts and ideas; in the silence of desire and thought the truth is found.
Q: One has to remember not to remember. What a task!
M: It cannot be done, of course. It must happen. But it does happen when you truly see the need of it. Again, earnestness is the golden key.
Q: At the back of my mind there is a hum going on all the time. Numerous weak thoughts swarm and buzz and this shape- less cloud is always with me. Is it the same with you? What is at the back of your mind?
M: Where there is no mind, there no back to it. I am all front, no back! The void speaks, the void remains.
Q: Is there no memory left?
M: No memory of past pleasure or pain is left. Each moment is newly born.
Q: Without memory you cannot be conscious.
M: Of course I am conscious, and fully aware of it. I am not a block of wood! Compare consciousness and its content to a cloud. You are inside the cloud, while I look at. You are lost in it, hardly able to see the tips of your fingers, while I see the cloud and many other clouds and the blue sky too and the sun, the moon, the stars. Reality is one for both of us, but for you it is a prison and for me it is a home.
In the Supreme the witness appears. The witness creates the person and thinks itself as separate from it. The witness sees that the person appears in consciousness, which again appears in the witness. This realization of the basic unity is the working of the Supreme. It is the power behind the witness, the source from which all flows. It cannot be contacted, unless there is unity and love and mutual help between the person and the witness, unless the doing is in harmony with the being and the knowing.
63. Notion of Doership is Bondage
Contemplate life as infinite, undivided, ever present, ever active, until you realize yourself as one with it. It is not even very difficult, for you will be returning only to your own natural condi- tion.
Once you realize that all comes from within, that the world in which you live has not been projected onto you but by you, your fear comes to an end. Without this realization you identify your- self with the externals, like the body, mind, society, nation, hu- manity, even God or the Absolute. But these are all escapes from fear. It is only when you fully accept your responsibility for the little world in which you live and watch the process of its creation, preservation and destruction, that you may be free from your imaginary bondage.
Change your ways of feeling and thinking, take stock of them and examine them closely. You are in bondage by inadvertence. Attention liberates. You are taking so many things for granted. Begin to question. The most obvi- ous things are the most doubtful. Ask yourself such questions as: Was I really born?’ ‘Am I really so-and-so? ‘How do I know that I exist? ‘Who are my parents?’ ‘Have they created me, or have I created them?’ ‘Must I believe all I am told about myself?’ ‘Who am I, anyhow?’ You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. In fact, demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is disco- vered.
All hangs on the idea ‘I am’. Examine it very thoroughly. It lies at the root of every trouble. It is a sort of skin that separates you from the reality. The real is both within and without the skin, but the skin itself is not real. This ‘I am’ idea was not born with you. You could have lived very well without it. It came later due to your self-identification with the body. It created an illusion of separation where there was none. It made you a stranger in your own world and made the world alien and inimical. Without the sense of ‘I am’ life goes on. There are moments when we are without the sense of ‘I am’, at peace and happy. With the return of the ‘I am’ trouble starts.
64. Whatever Pleases you, Keeps you Back
All effort leads to more effort; whatever was built up must be maintained, whatever was acquired must be protected against decay or loss. Whatever can be lost is not really one’s own; and what is not your own of what use can it be to you?
When I met my Guru, he told me: ‘You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense ‘I am’, find your real self’. I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence.
You must gain your own experi- ence. You are accustomed to deal with things, physical and mental. I am not a thing, nor are you. We are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind. Once you have a glimpse of your own being, you will not find me difficult to understand.
Realize that what you are cannot be born nor die and with the fear gone all suffering ends.
What the mind invents, the mind destroys. But the real is not invented and cannot be destroyed. Hold on to that over which the mind has no power. What I am telling you about is neither in the past nor in the future. Nor is it in the daily life as it flows in the now. It is timeless and the total timelessness of it is beyond the mind.
My Guru and his words: ‘You are myself’ are timelessly with me. In the beginning I had to fix my mind on them, but now it has become natural and easy. The point when the mind ac- cepts the words of the Guru as true and lives by them spon- taneously and in every detail of daily life is the threshold of reali- zation. In a way it is salvation by faith, but the faith must be in- tense and lasting.
Q: How does one reach the Supreme State?
M: By renouncing all lesser desires. As long as you are pleased with the lesser, you cannot have the highest. Whatever pleases you, keeps you back. Until you realize the unsatisfactoriness of everything, its transiency and limitation, and collect your ener- gies in one great longing, even the first step is not made.
On the other hand, the integrity of the desire for the Supreme is by itself a call from the Supreme. Nothing, physical or mental, can give you freedom. You are free once you understand that your bon- dage is of your own making and you cease forging the chains that bind you.
It is the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea that is so calamitous. It blinds you completely to your real nature. Even for a moment do not think that you are the body. Give yourself no name, no shape. In the darkness and the silence reality is found.
Love will give you the courage. When you meet somebody wholly admirable, love-worthy, sublime, your love and admira- tion will give you the urge to act nobly.
Q: Not everybody knows to admire the admirable. Most of the people are totally insensitive.
M: Life will make them appreciate. The very weight of accumu- lated experience will give them eyes to see. When you meet a worthy man, you will love and trust him and follow his advice. This is the role of the realized people — to set an example of perfection for others to admire and love.
By themselves neither pleasure nor pain enlighten: Only understanding does. Once you have grasped the truth that the world is full of suffering, that to be born is a calamity, you will find the urge and the energy to go beyond it. Pleasure puts you to sleep and pain wakes you up. If you do not want to suffer, don’t go to sleep. You cannot know yourself through bliss alone, for bliss is your very nature. You must face the opposite, what you are not, to find enlightenment.