65. A Quiet Mind is All You Need

Questioner: I am not well. I feel rather weak. What am I to do? Maharaj: Who is unwell, you or the body?
Q: My body, of course.
M: Yesterday you felt well. What felt well?
Q: The body.

M: You were glad when the body was well and you are sad when the body is unwell. Who is glad one day and sad the next?
Q: The mind.
M: And who knows the variable mind?
Q: The mind.
M: The mind is the knower. Who knows the knower?

Q: Does not the knower know itself?
M: The mind is discontinuous. Again and again it blanks out,
like in sleep or swoon, or distraction. There must be something continuous to register discontinuity.

Q: The mind remembers. This stands for continuity.
M: Memory is always partial, unreliable and evanescent. It does not explain the strong sense of identity pervading con- sciousness, the sense ‘I am’. Find out what is at the root of it.

Q: However deeply I look, I find only the mind. Your words ‘beyond the mind’ give me no clue.
M: While looking with the mind, you cannot go beyond it. To go beyond, you must look away from the mind and its contents.

Q: In what direction am I to look?
M: All directions are within the mind! I am not asking you to look in any particular direction. Just look away from all that happens in your mind and bring it to the feeling ‘I am’. The ‘I am’ is not a direction. It is the negation of all direction. Ultimately even the ‘I am’ will have to go, for you need not keep on asserting what is obvious. Bringing the mind to the feeling ‘I am’ merely helps in turning the mind away from everything else.

Q: Where does it all lead me?
M: When the mind is kept away from its preoccupations, it be- comes quiet. If you do not disturb this quiet and stay in it, you find that it is permeated with a light and a love you have never known; and yet you recognize it at once as your own nature. Once you have passed through this experience, you will never be the same man again; the unruly mind may break its peace and obliterate its vision; but it is bound to return, provided the ef- fort is sustained; until the day when all bonds are broken, delu- sions and attachments end and life becomes supremely con- centrated in the present.

Q: What difference does it make?
M: The mind is no more. There is only love in action.
Q: How shall I recognize this state when I reach it?
M: There will be no fear.

Q: Surrounded by a world full of mysteries and dangers, how can I remain unafraid?
M: Your own little body too is full of mysteries and dangers, yet you are not afraid of it, for you take it as your own. What you do not know is that the entire universe is your body and you need not be afraid of it. You may say you have two bodies; the per- sonal and the universal. The personal comes and goes, the uni- versal is always with you. The entire creation is your universal body. You are so blinded by what is personal, that you do not see the universal. This blindness will not end by itself — it must be undone skilfully and deliberately. When all illusions are un- derstood and abandoned, you reach the error-free and perfect state in which all distinctions between the personal and the uni- versal are no more.

As you dive deep into yourself in search of your true nature, you will discover that only your body is small and only your memory is short; while the vast ocean of life is yours.

Anyhow, begin by realizing that the world is in you, not you in the world.

Q: Howcanitbe?Iamonlyapartoftheworld.Howcanthe whole world be contained in the part, except by reflection, mir- ror like?
M: What you say is true. Your personal body is a part in which the whole is wonderfully reflected. But you have also a universal body. You cannot even say that you do not know it, because you see and experience it all the time. Only you call it ‘the world’ and are afraid of it.

Q: Even if I accept your doctrine of the universal body as a working theory, in what way can I test it and of what use is it to me?
M: Knowing yourself as the dweller in both the bodies you will disown nothing. All the universe will be your concern; every liv- ing thing you will love and help most tenderly and wisely. There will be no clash of interests between you and others. All exploi- tation will cease absolutely. Your every action will be beneficial, every movement will be a blessing.

Q: It is all very tempting, but how am I to proceed to realize my universal being?
M: You have two ways: you can give your heart and mind to self-discovery, or you accept my words on trust and act accordingly. In other words, either you become totally self-concerned, or totally un-self-concerned. It is the word ‘totally’ that is impor- tant. You must be extreme to reach the Supreme.

Realize yourself as the ocean of consciousness in which all happens. This is not difficult. A little of attentiveness, of close observation of oneself, and you will see that no event is outside your consciousness.

Q: The world is full of events which do not appear in my con- sciousness.
M: Even your body is full of events which do not appear in your consciousness. This does not prevent you from claiming your body to be your own. You know the world exactly as you know your body — through your senses. It is your mind that has sepa- rated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition. This created fear and hatred and all the miseries of living.

there can be no experience beyond con- sciousness. Yet there is the experience, of just being. There is a state beyond consciousness, which is not unconscious. Some call it super-consciousness, or pure consciousness, or supreme consciousness. It is pure awareness free from the subject- object nexus.

Consciousness is intermittent, full of gaps. Yet there is the continuity of identity. What is this sense of identity due to, if not to something beyond consciousness?

Q: If I am beyond the mind, how can I change myself?
M: Look at your mind dispassion- ately; this is enough to calm it. When it is quiet, you can go beyond it. Do not keep it busy all the time. Stop it — and just be. If you give it rest, it will settle down and recover its purity and strength. Constant thinking makes it decay.

Q: Ifmytruebeingisalwayswithme,howisitthatIamignorant of it?
M: Because it is very subtle and your mind is gross, full of gross thoughts and feelings. Calm and clarify your mind and you will know yourself as you are.

Q: To know perfectly I need a perfect mind.
M: A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.

Q: You mean to say that the greatest work is done by not work- ing?
M: Exactly. Do understand that you are destined for enlighten- ment. Co-operate with your destiny, don’t go against it, don’t thwart it. Allow it to fulfil itself. All you have to do is to give aten- tion to the obstacles created by the foolish mind.

66. All Search for Happiness is Misery

To know that you are is natural, to know what you are is the result of much investigation.

You will have to explore the entire field of con- sciousness and go beyond. it. For this you must find the right teacher and create the conditions needed for discovery. Gene- rally speaking, there are two ways: external and internal. Either you live with somebody who knows the Truth and submit your- self entirely to his guiding and moulding influence, or you seek the inner guide and follow the inner light wherever it takes you. In both cases your personal desires and fears must be dis- regarded. You learn either by proximity or by investigation, the passive or the active way. You either let yourself be carried by the river of life and love represented by your Guru, or you make your own efforts, guided by your inner star.
In both cases you must move on, you must be earnest. Rare are the people who are lucky to find somebody worthy of trust and love. Most of them must take the hard way, the way of intelligence and under- standing, of discrimination and detachment. This is the way open to all.

Q: Once I have made up my mind to find The Reality, what do I do next?
M: It depends on your temperament. If you are earnest, what- ever way you choose will take you to your goal. It is the ear- nestness that is the decisive factor.

Q: What is the source of earnestness?
M: It is the homing instinct, which makes the bird return to its nest and the fish to the mountain stream where it was born. The seed returns to the earth, when the fruit is ripe. Ripeness is all.

Q: And what will ripen me? Do I need experience?
M: Whatever effort you make, whatever method you follow, will merely gene- rate more experience, but will not take you beyond. Nor will reading books help you. They will enrich your mind, but the per- son you are will remain intact.
Truth gives no advantage. It gives you no higher status, no power over others; all you get is truth and the freedom from the false.

Q: Surely truth gives you the power to help others.
M: This is mere imagination, however noble! In truth you do not help others, because there are no others. You divide people into noble and ignobIe and you ask the noble to help the ignoble.
You separate, you evaluate, you judge and condemn — in the name of truth you destroy it. Your very desire to formulate truth denies it, because it cannot be contained in words. Truth can be expressed only by the denial of the false — in action. For this you must see the false as false (viveka) and reject it (vairagya). Renunciation of the false is liberating and energizing. It lays open the road to perfection.

Q: When do I know that I have discovered truth?
M: Truth does not assert itself, it is in the seeing of the false as false and rejecting it. It is useless to search for truth, when the mind is blind to the false. It must be purged of the false completely be- fore truth can dawn on it.

Q: But what is false?
M: Surely, what has no being is false.

Q: If all that passes has no being, then the universe has no being either.
M: Who ever denies it? Of course the universe has no being.
Q: What has?
M: That which does not depend for its existence, which does not arise with the universe arising, nor set with the universe set- ting, which does not need any proof, but imparts reality to all it touches. It is the nature of the false that it appears real for a moment.

Whatever is conceived by the mind must be false, for it is bound to be relative and limited. The real is inconceivable and cannot be harnessed to a purpose. It must be wanted for its own sake.

Self-interest and self-concern are the focal points of the false. Your daily life vibrates between desire and fear.

Q: But one must survive!
M: You can’t help surviving! The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. And the body will survive as long as it is needed. It is not important that it should live long. A full life is better than a long life.

If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all back- grounds, of all cultures, of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being man or woman, or even human, should be discarded. The ocean of life contains all, not only humans. So, first of all abandon all self-identification, stop thinking of yourself as such-and-such, so-and-so, this or that.
Abandon all self-concern, worry not about your welfare, material or spiritual, abandon every desire, gross or subtle, stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing.

It does not mean that you must be brainless and foolhardy, improvident or indifferent; only the basic anxiety for oneself must go.
You need some food, clothing and shelter for you and yours, but this will not create problems as long as greed is not taken for a need. Live in tune with things as they are and not as they are imagined.

Q: What am I if not human?
M: That which makes you think that you are a human is not human.
all you can say about yourself is: ‘I am.’ You are pure being — awareness — bliss. To realize that is the end of all seeking.
You come to it when you see all you think yourself to be as mere imagination and stand aloof in pure awareness of the transient as transient, imaginary as imaginary, unreal as unreal.
It is not at all difficult, but detachment is needed. It is the cling- ing to the false that makes the true so difficult to see. Once you understand that the false needs time and what needs time is false, you are nearer the Reality, which is timeless, ever in the now.
Eternity in time is mere repetitiveness, like the movement of a clock. It flows from the past into the future endlessly, an empty perpetuity.
Reality is what makes the present so vital, so different from the past and future, which are merely mental.
If you need time to achieve something, it must be false. The real is always with you; you need not wait to be what you are.
Only you must not allow your mind to go out of yourself in search. When you want something, ask yourself: do I really need it? and if the answer is no, then just drop it.

Q: Must I not be happy? I may not need a thing, yet if it can make me happy, should I not grasp it?
M: Nothing can make you happier than you are. All search for happiness is misery and leads to more misery. The only happi- ness worth the name is the natural happiness of conscious being.

Q: Don’t I need a lot of experience before I can reach such high level of awareness?
M: Experience leaves only memories behind and adds to the burden which is heavy enough. You need no more experiences. The past ones are sufficient. And if you feel you need more, look into the hearts of people around you. You will find a variety of experiences which you would not be able to go through in a thousand years. Learn from the sorrows of others and save yourself your own. It is not experience that you need, but the freedom from all experience. Don’t be greedy for experience; you need none.

Q: One needs knowledge, education.
M: To deal with things knowledge of things is needed. To deal with people, you need insight, sympathy. To deal with yourself you need nothing. Be what you are: conscious being and don’t stray away from yourself.

Q: University education is most useful.
M: No doubt, it helps you to earn a living. But it does not teach you how to live. You are a student of psychology. It may help you in certain situations. But can you live by psychology?
Life is worthy of the name only when it reflects Reality in action. No university will teach you how to live so that when the time of dying comes, you can say: I lived well, I do not need to live again.
Most of us die wishing we could live again. So many mis- takes committed, so much left undone. Most of the people vege- tate, but do not live. They merely gather experience and enrich their memory.
But experience is the denial of Reality, which is neither sensory nor conceptual, neither of the body, nor of the mind, though it includes and transcends both.

Q: But experience is most useful. By experience you learn not to touch a flame.
M: I have told you already that knowledge is most useful in dea- ling with things. But it does not tell you how to deal with people and yourself, how to live a life. We are not talking of driving a car, or earning money. For this you need experience. But for being a light unto yourself material knowledge will not help you. You need something much more intimate and deeper than mediate knowledge, to be your self in the true sense of the word.
Your outer life is unimportant. You can become a night watchman and live happily.
It is what you are inwardly that mat- ters. Your inner peace and joy you have to earn. It is much more difficult than earning money. No university can teach you to be yourself.
The only way to learn is by practice. Right away begin to be yourself.
Discard all you are not and go ever deeper. Just as a man digging a well discards what is not water, until he reaches the water-bearing strata, so must you discard what is not your own, till nothing is left which you can disown.
You will find that what is left is nothing which the mind can hook on to.
You are not even a human being. ‘You just are — a point of awareness, co-extensive with time and space and beyond both, the ultimate cause, itself uncaused. If you ask me: ‘Who are you?’ My answer would be: ‘Nothing in particular. Yet, I am.’

Not to separate, not to oppose, but to understand and love whatever contacts you, is living universally.
To be able to say truly: I am the world, the world is me, I am at home in the world, the world is my own. Every existence is my existence, every consciousness is my consciousness, every sorrow is my sorrow and every joy is my joy — this is universal life.
Yet, my real being, and yours too, is beyond the universe and, therefore, beyond the categories of the particular and the universal. It is what it is, totally self-contained and independent.

Q: I find it hard to understand.
M: You must give yourself time to brood over these things. The old grooves must be erased in your brain, without forming new ones. You must realize yourself as the immovable, behind and beyond the movable, the silent witness of all that happens.

Q: Does it mean that I must give up all idea of an active life?
M: Not at all. There will be marriage, there will be children, there will be earning money to maintain a family; all this will happen in the natural course of events, for destiny must fulfil itself;
you will go through it without resistance, facing tasks as they come, at- tentive and thorough, both in small things and big.
But the ge- neral attitude will be of affectionate detachment, enormous goodwill, without expectation of return, constant giving without asking.
In marriage you are neither the husband nor the wife; you are the love between the two. You are the clarity and kind- ness that makes everything orderly and happy.
It may seem vague to you, but if you think a little, you will find that the mysti- cal is most practical, for it makes your life creatively happy.
Your consciousness is raised to a higher dimension, from which you see everything much clearer and with greater intensity. You realize that the person you became at birth and will cease to be at death is temporary and false.
You are not the sensual, emo- tional and intellectual person, gripped by desires and fears. Find out your real being. What am I? is the fundamental question of all philosophy and psychology. Go into it deeply.

67. Experience is not the Real Thing

The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Soon he discovers that his own body he cannot be. Once the conviction: ‘I am not the body’ becomes so well grounded that he can no longer feel, think and act for and on behalf of the body, he will easily discover that he is the universal being, knowing, acting, that in him and through him the entire universe is real, conscious and active. This is the heart of the problem. Either you are body-conscious and a slave of circumstances, or you are the universal consciousness itself — and in full control of every event.

I am offering you exactly what you need — awakening. You are not hungry and you need no bread. You need cessation, relinquishing, disentanglement. What you be- lieve you need is not what you need. Your real need I know, not you. You need to return to the state in which I am — your natural state. Anything else you may think of is an illusion and an obsta- cle. Believe me, you need nothing except to be what you are. You imagine you will increase your value by acquisition. It is like gold imagining that an addition of copper will improve it. Elimi- nation and purification, renunciation of all that is foreign to your nature is enough. All else is vanity.

Q: Sir, I am an humble seeker. while you are the Supreme Rea- lity itself. Now the seeker approaches the Supreme in order to be enlightened. What does the Supreme do?
M: Listen to what I keep on telling you and do not move away from it. Think of it all the time and of nothing else. Having reached that far, abandon all thoughts, not only of the world, but of yourself also. Stay beyond all thoughts, in silent being- awareness. It is not progress, for what you come to is already there in you, waiting for you.

Q: When they have some spiritual experience, another difficulty arises. They complain that the experience does not last, that it comes and goes in a haphazard way. Having got hold of the lollypop, they want to suck it all the time.
M: Experience, however sublime, is not the real thing. By its very nature it comes and goes. Self-realization is not an acquisi- tion. It is more of the nature of understanding. Once arrived at, it cannot be lost. On the other hand, consciousness is changeful, flowing, undergoing transformation from moment to moment.
Consciousness held, ceases. To try to perpetuate a flash of insight, or a burst of happiness is destructive of what it wants to preserve. What comes must go. The permanent is beyond all comings and go- ings. Go to the root of all experience, to the sense of being. Beyond being and not-being lies the immensity of the real. Try and try again.

Everybody is aware of himself. The deepening and broadening of self-awareness is the royal way. Call it mindful- ness, or witnessing, or just attention — it is for all. None is unripe for it and none can fail.

68. Seek the Source of Consciousness

Local and temporary improvement is always possible and was achieved again and again under the influence of a great king or teacher; but it would soon come to an end, leaving humanity in a new cycle of misery. It is in the nature of all manifestation that the good and the bad follow each other and in equal measure. The true refuge is only in the unmanifested.
Q: Are you not advising escape?
M: On the contrary. The only way to renewal lies through destruction. You must melt down the old jewellery into formless gold before you can mould a new one. Only the people who have gone beyond the world can change the world. It never happened otherwise. The few whose impact was long lasting were all knowers of reality. Reach their level and then only talk of helping the world.

Q: Desire and fear make them behave as they do.
M: Exactly. As long as human behaviour is dominated by de- sire and fear, there is not much hope. And to know how to ap- proach the people effectively, you must yourself be free of all desire and fear.

Have you ever helped, really helped, a single man? Have you ever put one soul beyond the need of further help? Can you give a man character, based on full realization of his duties and opportunities at least, if not on the insight into his true being? When you do not know what is good for yourself, how can you know what is good for others?

you need a well-fed body to talk to us.
M: It is you that need my body to talk to you. I am not my body, nor do I need it. I am the witness only. I have no shape of my own.

You are so accustomed to think of yourselves as bodies hav- ing consciousness that you just cannot imagine consciousness as having bodies. Once you realize that bodily existence is but a state of mind, a movement in consciousness, that the ocean of consciousness is infinite and eternal, and that, when in touch with consciousness, you are the witness only, you will be able to withdraw beyond consciousness altogether.

Q: Forgive me a strange question. If somebody with a razor- sharp sword would suddenly severe your head, what difference would it make to you?
M: None whatsoever. The body will lose its head, certain lines of communication will be cut, that is all. Two people talk to each other on the phone and the wire is cut. Nothing happens to the people, only they must look for some other means of communi- cation. The Bhagavad Gita says: “the sword does not cut it”. It is literally so. It is in the nature of consciousness to survive its vehi- cles. It is like fire. It turns up the fuel, but not itself. Just like a fire can outlast a mountain of fuel, so does consciousness sur- vive innumerable bodies.

Q: How can I reach you then?
M: Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of con- sciousness. That is all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the ear- nestness that count.

69. Transiency is Proof of Unreality

Q: By meeting people and watching them, one comes to know oneself also. It goes together.
M: It does not necessarily go together.
Q: One improves the other.
M: It does not work that way. The mirror reflects the image but the image does not improve the mirror. You are neither the mir- ror nor the image in the mirror. Having perfected the mirror so that it reflects correctly, truly, you can turn the mirror round and see in it a true reflection of yourself — true as far as the mirror can reflect. But the reflection is not yourself — you are the seer of the reflection. Do understand it clearly — whatever you may perceive you are not what you perceive.

Now, can you separate yourself both from the mirror and the image in the mirror and stand completely alone, all by yourself?
Q: No, I cannot.
M: How do you know that you cannot? There are so many things you are doing without knowing how to do it. You digest, you circulate your blood and lymph, you move your muscles — all without knowing how. In the same way, you perceive, you feel, you think without knowing the why and how of it. Similarly, you are yourself without knowing it. There is nothing wrong with you as the Self. It is what it is to perfection. It is the mirror that is not clear and true and, therefore, gives you false images. You need not correct yourself — only set right your idea of yourself. Learn to separate yourself from the image and the mirror, keep on remembering: I am neither the mind nor its ideas; do it pa- tiently and with conviction and you will surely come to the direct vision of yourself as the source of being — knowing — loving, eternal, all-embracing all-pervading. You are the infinite focus- sed in a body. Now you see the body only. Try earnestly and you will come to see the infinite only.

Q: The experience of reality, where it comes, does it last?
M: All experience is necessarily transient. But the ground of all experience is immovable. Nothing that may be called an event will last. But some events purify the mind and some stain it. Mo- ments of deep insight and all-embracing love purify the mind, while desires and tears, envies and anger, blind beliefs and in- tellectual arrogance pollute and dull the psyche.

Q: Is self-realization so important?
M: Without it you will be consumed by desires and fears, re- peating themselves meaninglessly in endless suffering. Most of the people do not know that there can be an end to pain. But once they have heard the good news, obviously going beyond all strife and struggle is the most urgent task that can be. You know that you can be free and now it is up to you. Either you re- main forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and sorrowing, or go out wholeheartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing — taken away. In it all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but be- cause they have lost their meaning.

Q: So far I have been following you. Now, what am I expected to do?
M: There is nothing to do. Just be. Do nothing. Be. No climbing mountains and sitting in caves. I do not even say: ‘be yourself’, since you do not know yourself. Just be. Having seen that you are neither the ‘outer’ world of perceivabes, nor the ‘inner’ world of thinkables, that you are neither body nor mind — just be.

Q: Surely, there are degrees of realization.
M: There are no steps to self-realization. There is nothing gradual about it. It happens suddenly and is irreversible. You ro- tate into a new dimension, seen from which the previous ones are mere abstractions. Just like on sunrise you see things as they are, so on self-realization you see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

There can be progress only in the preparation (sadhana).
Realization is sudden. The fruit ripens slowly, but falls suddenly and without return.

Q: I am physically and mentally at peace. What more do I need?
M: Yours may not be the ultimate state. You will recognize that you have returned to your natural state by a complete absence of all desire and fear. After all, at the root of all desire and fear is the feeling of not being what you are. Just as a dislocated joint pains only as long as it is out of shape, and is forgotten as soon as it is set right, so is all self-concern a symptom of mental dis- tortion which disappears as soon as one is in the normal state.

When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the ‘I am’. Just like emerging from sleep or a state of rapture you feel rested and yet you cannot explain why and how you come to feel so well, in the same way on realization you feel complete, fulfilled, free from the pleasure-pain complex, and yet not always able to explain what happened, why and how. You can put it only in negative terms: ‘Nothing is wrong with me any longer.’ It is only by com- parison with the past that you know that you are out of it. Other- wise — you are just yourself. Don’t try to convey it to others. If you can, it is not the real thing. Be silent and watch it expressing itself in action.

Think neither of the past nor of the future, just be.
Q: How can I just be? Changes are inevitable.
M: Changes are inevitable in the changeful, but you are not
subject to them. You are the changeless background, against which changes are perceived.

You know from ex- perience that there are gaps when your self is forgotten. What brings it back to life? What wakes you up in the morning? There must be some constant factor bridging the gaps in conscious- ness. If you watch carefully you will find that even your daily consciousness is in flashes, with gaps intervening all the time. What is in the gaps? What can there be but your real being, that is timeless; mind and mindlessness are one to it.

Q: Is there any particular place you would advise me to go to for spiritual attainment?
M: The only proper place is within. The outer world neither can help nor hinder. No system, no pattern of action will take you to your goal. Give up all working for a future, concentrate totally on the now, be concerned only with your response to every move- ment of life as it happens.

You merely dream that you roam about. In a few years your stay in India will appear as a dream to you. You will dream some other dream at that time. Do realize that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. No happening affects your real being — this is the absolute truth.

The world may be full of things of great value, but if there is nobody to buy them, they have no price. The Absolute contains everything experienceable, but without the experiencer they are as nothing. That which makes the ex- perience possible is the Absolute. That which makes it actual is the Self.

The unreal may look real, but it is transient. The real is not afraid of time.

You would ac- cept nothing in exchange for your existence. The desire to be is the strongest of all desires and will go only on the realization of your true nature.

70. God is the End of All Desire and Knowledge

Q: Were you to meet the Maharshi, what would happen?
M: Probably we would feel quite happy. We may even ex- change a few words.

Q: But would he recognize you as a liberated man?
M: Of course. As a man recognizes a man, so a gnani recog- nizes a gnani. You cannot appreciate what you have not experi- enced. You are what you think yourself to be, but you cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced.

You are attached to the little person you think yourself to be. Your desires are narrow, your ambitions — petty. After all, without a centre of perception where would be the manifested? Unper- ceived, the manifested is as good as the unmanifested. And you are the perceiving point, the non-dimensional source of all di- mensions. Know yourself as the total.

Freedom comes through renunciation. All possession is bondage.

I do not understand this need of giving up. When I want something, why should I not pursue it? Renunciation is for the weak.
M: If you do not have the wisdom and the strength to give up, just look at your possessions. Your mere looking will burn them up. If you can stand outside your mind, you will soon find that total renunciation of possessions and desires is the most obvi- ously reasonable thing to do.

You create the world and then worry about it. Becoming self- ish makes you weak. If you think you have the strength and courage to desire, it is because you are young and inexperi- enced. Invariably the object of desire destroys the means of acquiring it and then itself withers away. It is all for the best, be- cause it teaches you to shun desire like poison.

No need of any acts of renunciation. Just turn your mind away, that is all. Desire is merely the fixation of the mind on an idea.

Go back to your attempts till the brush- ing away of every desire and fear, of every reaction becomes automatic.

Q: Why so much insistence on relinquishing all desires and fears? Are they not natural?
M: They are not. They are entirely mind-made. You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and your efforts are meaningless. You imagine that your possessions protect you. In reality they make you vulnerable. Realize yourself as away from all that can be pointed at as ‘this’ or ‘that’. You are unreachable by any sen- sory experience or verbal construction. Turn away from them. Refuse to impersonate.

Q: After I have heard you, what am I to do?
M: Only hearing will not help you much. You must keep it in mind and ponder over it and try to understand the state of mind which makes me say what I say. I speak from truth; stretch your hand and take it. You are not what you think yourself to be, I as- sure you. The image you have of yourself is made up from memories and is purely accidental.

You are already perfect, here and now. The perfectible is not you. You imagine yourself to be what you are not — stop it. It is the cessation that is important, not what you are going to stop.

Q: We were told about karma and reincarnation, evolution and Yoga, masters and disciples. What are we to do with all this knowledge?
M: Leave it all behind you. Forget it. Go forth, unburdened with ideas and beliefs. Abandon all verbal structures, all relative truth, all tangible objectives. The Absolute can be reached by absolute devotion only. Don’t be half-hearted.

It seems real when it appears, it disappears when it is denied. A transient thing is a mys- tery.

Q: If the shape of things is mere appearance, what are they in reality?
M: In reality there is only perception. The perceiver and the perceived are conceptual, the fact of perceiving is actual.

71. In Self-awareness you Learn about Yourself

The Guru knows the Ultimate and relentlessly propels the disciple towards it. The disciple is full of obstacles, which he himself must overcome. The Guru is not very much concerned with the superficialities of the disciple’s life. It is like gravitation. The fruit must fall — when no longer held back.

In reality the disciple is not different from the Guru. He is the same dimensionless centre of perception and love in action. It is only his imagination and self-identification with the imagined, that encloses him and converts him into a person. The Guru is concerned little with the person. His attention is on the inner watcher. It is the task of the watcher to understand and thereby eliminate the person. While there is grace on one side, there must be dedication to the task on the other.

The person is merely the result of a misunderstanding. In reality, there is no such thing. Feelings, thoughts and actions race before the watcher in endless succession, leaving traces in the brain and creating an illusion of continuity. A reflection of the watcher in the mind creates the sense of ‘I’ and the person acquires an apparently independent existence.
In reality there is no person, only the watcher identifying himself with the ‘I’ and the ‘mine’. The teacher tells the watcher: you are not this, there is nothing of yours in this, except the little point of ‘I am’, which is the bridge between the watcher and his dream. ‘I am this, I am that’ is dream, while pure ‘I am’ has the stamp of reality on it.
You have tasted so many things — all came to naught. Only the sense ‘I am’ persisted — unchanged. Stay with the changeless among the changeful, until you are able to go beyond.

You, as the person, imagine that the Guru is interested in you as a person. Not at all. To him you are a nuisance and a hindrance to be done away with. He actually aims at your elimination as a factor in con- sciousness.

Q: If I am eliminated, what will remain?
M: Nothing will remain, all will remain. The sense of identity will remain, but no longer identification with a particular body. Being — awareness — love will shine in full splendour. Liberation is never of the person, it is always from the person.

Q: And no trace remains of the person?
M: A vague memory remains, like the memory of a dream, or early childhood. After all, what is there to remember? A flow of events, mostly accidental and meaningless. A sequence of de- sires and fears and inane blunders. Is there anything worth re- membering? The person is but a shell imprisoning you. Break the shell.

Break the bonds of memory and self-identification and the shell will break by itself. There is a centre that imparts reality to whatever it perceives. All you need is to understand that you are the source of reality, that you give reality instead of getting it, that you need no support and no confirmation. Things are as they are, because you accept them as they are. Stop accepting them and they will dissolve. Whatever you think about with de- sire or fear appears before you as real. Look at it without desire or fear and it does lose substance. Pleasure and pain are momentary. It is simpler and easier to disregard them than to act on them.

if there is sun, how can darkness be? As under a stone there will be darkness, however strong the sunlight, so in the shadow of the ‘I-am-the-body’ consciousness there must be ignorance and illusion.

First you create a world, then the ‘I am’ becomes a person, who is not happy for various reasons. He goes out in search of happiness, meets a Guru who tells him: ‘You are not a person, find who you are’. He does it and goes beyond.

Q: How can I clear my mind?
M: By watching it relentlessly. Inattention obscures, attention clarifies.

Q: Why do the Indian teachers advocate inactivity?
M: Most of people’s activities are valueless, if not outright des- tructive. Dominated by desire and fear, they can do nothing good.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea, and the inner and the outer will become one.

Q: Am I to die?
M: Physical destruction is meaningless. It is the clinging to
sensate life that binds you. If you could experience the inner void fully, the explosion into the totality would be near.

Mere listen- ing, even memorizing, is not enough. If you do not struggle hard to apply every word of it in your daily life, don’t complain that you made no progress. All real progress is irreversible. Ups and downs merely show that the teaching has not been taken to heart and translated into action fully.

You are looking for the causes of being what you are not! It is a futile search. There are no causes, but your ignorance of your real being, which is per- fect and beyond all causation.

Q: In the beginning we may have to pray and meditate for some time before we are ready for self-enquiry.
M: If you believe so, go on. To me, all delay is a waste of time. You can skip all the preparation and go directly for the ultimate search within. Of all the Yogas it is the simplest and the shortest.

72. What is Pure, Unalloyed, Unattached is Real

Immobility and silence are not inactive. The flower fills the space with perfume, the candle — with light. They do nothing yet they change everything by their mere presence. You can photograph the candle, but not its light. You can know the man, his name and appearance, but not his influence. His very pres- ence is action.

Everybody wants to be active, but where do his actions originate?
First find the immutable centre where all movement takes birth.
Whenever a thought or emotion of desire or fear comes to your mind, just turn away from it.
I am not talking of suppression. Just refuse attention.
look between the thoughts, rather than at the thoughts. When you happen to walk in a crowd, you do not fight every man you meet — you just find your way between.

When you fight, you invite a fight. But when you do not resist, you meet with no resistance. When you refuse to play the game, you are out of it.

After all, it is a matter of attitude. Nothing stops you from being a gnani here and now, except fear. You are afraid of being impersonal, of impersonal being. It is all quite simple. Turn away from your desires and fears and from the thoughts they create and you are at once in your natural state.

Enough if you stop acquiring. To give you must have, and to have you must take. Better don’t take.

Something prevents you from seeing that there is nothing you need. Find it out and see-its falseness. It is like having swallowed some poison and suffering from unquenchable craving for water. Instead of drinking beyond all measure, why not eliminate the poison and be free of this burning thirst?

The sense ‘I am a person in time and space’ is the poison.
In a way, time itself is the poison.
In time all things come to an end and new are born, to be devoured in their turn. Do not identify yourself with time, do not ask anxiously: ‘what next, what next?’ Step out of time and see it devour the world. Say: ‘Well, it is in the nature of time to put an end to everything. Let it be. It does not concern me. I am not combustible, nor do I need to collect fuel’.

Witnessing is natural and no problem. The problem is excessive interest, leading to self-identification.

Q: Time consumes the world. Who is the witness of time?
M: He who is beyond time — the Un-nameable. A glowing ember, moved round and round quickly enough, appears as a glowing circle. When the movement ceases, the ember re- mains. Similarly, the ‘I am’ in movement creates the world. The ‘I am’ at peace becomes the Absolute. You are like a man with an electric torch walking through a gallery. You can see only what is within the beam. The rest is in darkness.

Q: If I project the world, l should be able to change it.
M: Of course, you can. But you must cease identifying yourself with it and go beyond. Then you have the power to destroy and re-create.

Q: The world is full of desirable things and people. How can I imagine it non-existent?
M: Leave the desirables to those who desire. Change the cur- rent of your desire from taking to giving. The passion for giving, for sharing, will naturally wash the idea of an external world out of your mind, and of giving as well. Only the pure radiance of love will remain, beyond giving and receiving.

When you walk in a crowded street, you just bypass people. Some you see, some you just glance at, but you do not stop. It is the stopping that creates the bottleneck. Keep moving! Disregard names and shapes, don’t be attached to them; your attachment is your bondage.

A jeweller who wants to re-fashion an ornament, first melts it down to shapeless gold. Similarly, one must return to one’s origi- nal state before a new name and form can emerge. Death is essential for renewal.

Awareness is dynamic, love is being. Awareness is love in action.

Q: How difficult it is to see the world as purely mental! The tangible reality of it seems so very convincing.
M: This is the mystery of imagination, that it seems to be so real. You may be celibate or married, a monk or a family man; that is not the point. Are you a slave of your imagination, or are you not? Whatever decision you take, whatever work you do, it will be invariably based on imagination, on assumptions parading as facts.

Q: Here I am sitting in front of you. What part of it is imagina- tion?
M: The whole of it. Even space and time are imagined.
Q: Does it mean that I don’t exist?
M: I too do not exist. All existence is imaginary.

Q: When you look at me, what do you see?
M: I see you imagining yourself to be.

Be at peace with your inner self and you will be at peace with everybody.

Q: Is there no such thing as free will? Am I not free to desire?
M: Oh no, you are compelled to desire. In Hinduism the very idea of free will is non-existent, so there is no word for it. Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.

73. Death of the Mind is Birth of Wisdom

Questioner: Before one can realize one’s true nature need not one be a person? Does not the ego have its value?
Maharaj: The person is of little use. It is deeply involved in its own affairs and is completely ignorant of its true being. Unless the witnessing consciousness begins to play on the person and it becomes the object of observation rather than the subject, realization is not feasible. It is the witness that makes realization desirable and attainable.

When the darkness is questioned, it dissolves. The desire to question is planted by the Guru. In other words, the dif- ference between the person and the witness is as between not knowing and knowing oneself.

The silence before the words were spoken, is it different from the silence that comes after? The silence is one and without it the words could not have been heard. It is always there — at the back of the words. Shift your attention from words to silence and you will hear it.
The mind craves for experience, the memory of which it takes for know- ledge. The gnani is beyond all experience and his memory is empty of the past. He is entirely unrelated to anything in particu- lar.
But the mind craves for formulations and definitions, always eager to squeeze reality into a verbal shape. Of everything it wants an idea, for without ideas the mind is not. Reality is essen- tially alone, but the mind will not leave it alone — and deals in- stead with the unreal. And yet it is all the mind can do — dis- cover the unreal as unreal.

The reward of self-knowledge is freedom from the personal self. You cannot know the knower, for you are the knower. The fact of knowing proves the knower. You need no other proof. The knower of the known is not knowable. Just like the light is known in colours only, so is the knower known in knowledge.

I know myself by being myself. As you know yourself to be a man by being one. You do not keep on reminding yourself that you are a man. It is only when your humanity is questioned that you assert it. Similarly, I know that I am all. I do not need to keep on repeating: ‘I am all, I am all’. Only when you take me to be a particular, a person, I protest. As you are a man all the time, so I am what I am — all the time. Whatever you are changelessly, that you are beyond all doubt.

When there is a person, you can tell something about it, but when there is no self-identification with the particular, what can be said? You may tell a gnani anything; his question will always be: ‘about whom are you talking? There is no such person’. Just as you cannot say anything about the universe because it includes everything, so nothing can be said about a gnani, for he is all and yet nothing in particular.

To locate a thing you need space, to place an event you need time; but the timeless and spaceless defies all handling. It makes everything perceivable, yet itself it is beyond perception. The mind cannot know what is beyond the mind, but the mind is known by what is beyond it.

You might have been delivering a lecture for two hours; where has it gone when it is over? It has merged into silence in which the beginning, middle and end of the lecture are all to- gether. Time has come to a stop, it was, but is no more. The silen- ce after a life of talking and the silence after a life of silence is the same silence. Immortality is freedom from the feeling: ‘I am’. Yet it is not extinction. On the contrary, it is a state infinitely more real, aware and happy than you can possibly think of. Only self-consciousness is no more.

The man who carries a parcel is anxious not to lose it — he is parcel-conscious. The man who cherishes the feeling ‘I am’ is self-conscious. The gnani holds on to nothing and cannot be said to be conscious. And yet he is not unconscious. He is the very heart of awareness.

The giver is always ready to give. The taker is absent. Freedom means letting go. People just do not care to let go everything.
Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go everything.
But the real giving up is in realizing that there is nothing to give up, for nothing is your own.

74. Truth is Here and Now

Q: Even if I dismiss this body of bones, flesh and blood as not-me, still I remain with the subtle body made up of thoughts and feelings, memories and imaginations. If I dismiss these also as not-me, I still remain with consciousness, which also is a kind of body.
M: You are quite right, but you need not stop there. Go beyond. Neither consciousness, nor the ‘I am’ at the centre of it are you. Your true being is entirely unself-conscious, completely free from all self-identification with whatever it may be, gross, subtle or transcendental.

Q: I can imagine myself to be beyond. But what proof have I? To be, I must be somebody.
M: It is the other way round. To be, you must be nobody. To think yourself to be something, or somebody, is death and hell.

The body is made of food, as the mind is made of thoughts. See them as they are. Non-identification, when natural and spontaneous, is liberation. You need not know what you are. Enough to know what you are not. What you are you will never know, for every discovery reveals new dimensions to conquer. The unknown has no limits.

Q: Does it imply ignorance for ever?
M: It means that ignorance never was. Truth is in the discovery, not in the discovered. And to discovery there is no beginning and no end. Question the limits, go beyond, set yourself tasks apparently impossible — this is the way.

75. In Peace and Silence you Grow

The difficulty lies not with the Guru, inner or outer. The Guru is always available. It is the ripe disciple that is lacking. When a person is not ready, what can be done?

M: When time comes, faith comes. Everything comes in time. The Guru is always ready to share, but there are no takers.
Q: Yes, Sri Ramana Maharshi used to say: Gurus there are many, but where are the disciples?

76. To Know that You do not Know, is True Knowledge

Fear of pain, desire for pleasure. Pleasant is the ending of pain and painful the end of pleasure. They just rotate in endless succession. Investigate the vicious circle until you find yourself beyond it.

Assiduously investigate everything that crosses your field of attention. With practice the field will broaden and investigation deepen, until they become spontaneous and limitless.

You are the way and the goal, there is nothing else to reach except yourself.
Know the world as your own creation and be free.

Thinking yourself to be the body you know the world as a collection of material things. When you know yourself as a centre of consciousness, the world appears as the ocean of the mind. When you know yourself as you are in reality, you know the world as yourself.

Unfulfilled desires are carried over into the next birth. Self-identification with the body creates ever fresh desires and there is no end to them, unless this mechanism of bondage is clearly seen. It is clarity that is libera- ting.

Q: My difficulty is this. As I can see, every experience is its own reality. It is there — experienced. The moment I question it and ask to whom it happens, who is the observer and so on, the ex- perience is over and all I can investigate is only the memory of it. I just cannot investigate the living moment — the now. My awareness is of the past, not of the present. When I am aware, I do not really live in the now, but only in the past. Can there really be an awareness of the present?
M: What you are describing is not awareness at all, but only thinking about the experience. True awareness (samvid) is a state of pure witnessing, without the least attempt to do anything about the event witnessed. Your thoughts and feelings, words and actions may also be a part of the event; you watch all un- concerned in the full light of clarity and understanding. You un- derstand precisely what is going on, because it does not affect you. It may seem to be an attitude of cold aloofness, but it is not really so.
Once you are in it, you will find that you love what you see, whatever may be its nature. This choiceless love is the touchstone of awareness. If it is not there, you are merely in- terested — for some personal reasons.

One who believes himself as having been born is very much afraid of death. On the other hand, to him who knows himself truly, death is a happy event.

In reality there are no others, and by helping yourself you help everybody else.

There is nothing that can help the world more than your put- ting an end to ignorance.