87. Keep the Mind Silent and You shall Discover
Be careful. The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstrac- tions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind. Words create words, reality is silent.
Q: When you talk, I hear you. Is it not a fact?
M: That you hear is a fact. What you hear — is not. The fact can be experienced, and in that sense the sound of the word and the mental ripples it causes are experienced. There is no other reality behind it. Its meaning is purely conventional, to be re- membered; a language can be easily forgotten, unless prac- tised.
Q: If words have no reality in them why talk at all.
M: They serve their limited purpose of inter-personal communi- cation. Words do not convey facts, they signal them. Once you are beyond the person, you need no words.
Q: What can take me beyond the person? How to go beyond consciousness?
M: Words and questions come from the mind and hold you there. To go beyond the mind, you must be silent and quiet. Peace and silence, silence and peace — this is the way beyond. Stop asking questions.
Q: What am I to wait for?
M: For the centre of your being to emerge into consciousness. The three states — sleeping, dreaming and waking are all in consciousness, the manifested; what you call unconsciousness will also be manifested — in time; beyond consciousness al- together lies the unmanifested. And beyond all, and pervading all, is the heart of being which beats steadily — manifested- unmanifested; manifested-unmanifested (saguna-nirguna).
You can do nothing. What time has brought about, time will take away.
All that happens, happens in and to the mind, not to the source of the ‘I am’. Once you realize that all happens by itself, you remain as witness only, understanding and enjoying, but not perturbed.
Q: Somehow I feel responsible for what happens around me.
M: You are responsible only for what you can change. All you can change is only your attitude. There lies your responsibility.
Q: You are advising me to remain indifferent to the sorrows of others!
M: It is not that you are not indifferent. All the sufferings of man- kind do not prevent you from enjoying your next meal. The wit- ness is not indifferent. He is the fulness of understanding and compassion. Only as the witness you can help another.
Q: All my life I was fed on words. The number of words I have heard and read goes into billions. Did it benefit me? Not at all!
M: The mind shapes the language and the language shapes the mind. Both are tools, use them but don’t misuse them. Words can bring you only up to their own limit; to go beyond, you must abandon them. Remain as the silent witness only.
You are like the point of the pencil — by mere contact with you the mind draws its picture of the world. You are single and simple — the picture is complex and extensive. Don’t be misled by the picture — remain aware of the tiny point — which is everywhere in the picture.
What is, can cease to be; what is not, can come to be; but what neither is nor is not, but on which being and non-being de- pend, is unassailable; know yourself to be the cause of desire and fear, itself free from both.
Q: How am I the cause of fear?
M: All depends on you. It is by your consent that the world ex- ists. Withdraw your belief in its reality and it will dissolve like a dream. Time can bring down mountains; much more you, who are the timeless source of time. For, without memory and expec- tation there can be no time.
Q: Is the ‘I am’ the Ultimate?
M: Before you can say: ‘I am’, you must be there to say it. Being need not be self-conscious. You need not know to be, but you must be to know.
Do understand that you cannot ask a valid question about yourself, because you do not know whom you are asking about. In the question ‘Who am I?’ the ‘I’ is not known and the question can be worded as: “I do not know what I mean by ‘I’”
What you are, you must find out. I can only tell you what you are not. You are not of the world, you are not even in the world. The world is not, you alone are.
You create the world in your imagination like a dream. As you cannot separate the dream from yourself, so you cannot have an outer world independent of yourself. You are indepen- dent, not the world.
Don’t be afraid of a world you yourself have created. Cease from looking for happiness and reality in a dream and you will wake up. You need not know all the ‘why’ and ‘how’, these is no end to questions. Abandon all desires, keep your mind silent and you shall discover.
88. Knowledge by the Mind, not True Knowledge
Questioner: Do you experience the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping just as we do, or otherwise?
Maharaj: All the three states are sleep to me. My waking state is beyond them. As I look at you, you all seem asleep, dreaming up words of your own. I am aware, for I imagine nothing. It is not samadhi, which is but a kind of sleep. It is just a state unaffected by the mind, free from the past and future. In your case it is dis- torted by desire and fear, by memories and hopes; in mine it is as it is — normal. To be a person is to be asleep.
In my view there is no such thing as beginning or end — these are all related to time. Timeless being is entirely in the now.
Desires are strong. It is desire that causes repetition. There is no recurrence where desire is not.
Desire is of the past, fear is of the future. The memory of past suffering and the fear of its recurrence make one anxious about the future.
Until we can look at fear and accept it as the shadow of per- sonal existence, as persons we are bound to be afraid. Aban- don all personal equations and you shall be free from fear. It is not difficult.
Desirelessness comes on its own when desire is recognized as false. Ulti- mately, it is an urge to happiness, which is natural as long as there is sorrow. Only see that there is no happiness in what you desire.
Q: We settle for pleasure.
M: Each pleasure is wrapped in pain. You soon discover that you cannot have one without the other.
Q: There is the experiencer and there is his experience. What created the link between the two?
M: Nothing created it. It is. The two are one.
Q: I feel there is a catch somewhere, but I do not know where. M: The catch is in your mind, which insists on seeing duality where there is none.
Q: I can make out that the cause of anxiety and fear is memory. What are the means for putting an end to memory?
M: Don’t talk of means, there are no means. What you see as false, dissolves. It is the very nature of illusion to dissolve on in- vestigation. Investigate — that is all. You cannot destroy the false, for you are creating it all the time. Withdraw from it, ignore it, go beyond, and it will cease to be.
Ambition is personal, liberation is from the personal. In lib- eration both the subject and the object of ambition are no longer.
Earnestness is not a yearning for the fruits of one’s en- deavours. It is an expression of an inner shift of interest away from the false, the unessential, the personal.
Liberation is not the result of some means skilfully applied, nor of circumstances. It is beyond the causal process. Nothing can compel it, nothing can prevent it.
Q: Then why are we not free here and now?
M: But we are free ‘here and now’. It is only the mind that im- agines bondage.
Q: What will put an end to imagination?
M: Why should you want to put an end to it? Once you know your mind and its miraculous powers, and remove what poisoned it — the idea of a separate and isolated person — you just leave it alone to do its work among things for which it is well suited. To keep the mind in its own place and on it own work is the liberation of the mind.
The infant son of a great man for many years will not know the greatness of his father.
M: Running after saints is merely another game to play. Remember yourself instead and watch your daily life relentlessly. Be earnest, and you shall not fail to break the bonds of inattention and imagina- tion.
Q: Do you want me to struggle all alone?
M: You are never alone. These are powers and presences who serve you all the time most faithfully. You may or may not per- ceive them, nevertheless they are real and active. When you realize that all is in your mind and that you are beyond the mind, that you are truly alone; then all is you.
Q: Can one know the mind of another person?
M: Know your own mind first. It contains the entire universe and with place to spare!
Do not try to know the truth, for knowledge by the mind is not true knowledge. But you can know what is not true — which is enough to liberate you from the false. The idea that you know what is true is dangerous, for it keeps you imprisoned in the mind. It is when you do not know, that you are free to investigate. And there can be no salvation, without investigation, be- cause non-investigation is the main cause of bondage.
It is not the ‘I am’ that is false, but what you take yourself to be. I can see, beyond the least shadow of doubt, that you are not what you believe yourself to be. Logic or no logic, you can- not deny the obvious. You are nothing that you are conscious of. Apply yourself diligently to pulling apart the structure you have built in your mind. What the mind has done the mind must undo.
90. Progress in Spiritual Life
There is nothing new you will find here. The work we are doing is timeless. It was the same ten thousand years ago and will be the same ten thousand years hence. Centuries roll on, but the human problem does not change — the problem of suffering and the ending of suffering.
We do not see it because we look elsewhere; I can only point out at the sky; seeing of the star is your own work. Some take more time before they see the star, some take less; it depends on the clarity of their vision and their earnestness in search. These two must be their own — I can only encourage.
It is the absolute in you that takes you to the absolute beyond you — absolute truth, love, selflessness are the decisive factors in self-realization. With earnestness these can be reached.
It is not on the verbal level that one becomes a disciple, but in the silent depths of one’s being. You do not be- come a disciple by choice; it is more a matter of destiny than self-will.
It does not matter much who is the teacher — they all wish you well. It is the disciple that matters — his honesty and earnestness. The right disciple will always find the right teacher.
Q: I can see the beauty and feel the blessedness of a life de- voted to search for truth under a competent and loving teacher. Unfortunately, we have to return to England.
M: Distance does not matter. If your desires are strong and true, they will mould your life for their fulfilment. Sow your seed and leave it to the seasons.
Q: What are the signs of progress in spiritual life?
M: Freedom from all anxiety; a sense of ease and joy; deep peace within and abundant energy without.
Q: Each Guru will refer me to his own Guru. Where is the start- ing point?
M: There is a power in the universe working for enlightenment — and liberation. We call it Sadashiva, who is ever present in the hearts of men. It is the unifying factor. Unity — liberates. Freedom — unites. Ultimately nothing is mine or yours — every- thing is ours. Just be one with yourself and you will be one with all, at home in the entire universe.
Q: I see so many people sitting here — quietly. What for have they come?
M: To meet themselves. At home the world is too much with them. Here nothing disturbs them; they have a chance to take leave of their daily worries and contact the essential in them- selves.
Q: What is the course of training in self-awareness?
M: There is no need of training. Awareness is always with you. The same attention that you give to the outer, you turn to the inner.
90. Surrender to Your Own Self
When you realize yourself as less than a point in space and time, something too small to be cut and too short-lived to be killed, then, and then only, all fear goes. When you are smaller than the point of the needle, then the needle cannot pierce you — you pierce the needle!
once you know that the body alone dies and not the continuity of memory and the sense of ‘I am’ reflected in it, you are afraid no longer.
Give attention and you will find that birth and death are one, that life pulsates between being and not being, and that each needs the other for completeness. You are born to die and you die to be reborn.
We grow through investigation, and to investigate we need experience. We tend to repeat what we have not understood. If we are sensitive and intelligent, we need not suffer. Pain is a call for attention and the penalty of carelessness. Intelligent and compassionate action is the only remedy.
Q: Why worry about karma? It takes care of itself, anyhow.
M: Most of our karma is collective. We suffer for the sins of others, as others suffer for ours. Humanity is one. Ignorance of this fact does not change it. We could have been much happier people ourselves, but for our indifference to the sufferings of others.
Q: Am I allowed to smoke in your presence? I know that it is not the custom to smoke before a sage and more so for a woman. M: By all means, smoke, nobody will mind. We understand.
Q: I feel the need of cooling down.
M: It is very often so with Americans and Europeans. After a stretch of sadhana they become charged with energy and fran- tically seek an outlet. They organize communities, become teachers of Yoga, marry, write books — anything except keep- ing quiet and turning their energies within, to find the source of the inexhaustible power and learn the art of keeping it under control.
Q: Why do you insist on awareness as the only real? Is not the object of awareness as real; while it lasts?
M: But it does not last! Momentary reality is secondary; it de- pends on the timeless.
abandon all ideas of temporary or permanent, body or mind, man or woman; what remains? What is the state of your mind when all separation is given up?
Do not try to make yourself happy, rather question your very search for happiness. It is because you are not happy that you want to be happy. Find out why you are unhappy. Because you are not happy you seek happiness in pleasure; pleasure brings in pain.
In the mirror of your mind all kinds of pictures appear and disappear. Knowing that they are entirely your own creations, watch them silently come and go, be alert, but not perturbed. This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of Yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture.
What is born and reborn is not you. Let it happen, watch it happen.
You reach a point when nothing can happen to you. Without body, you cannot be killed; without possessions you cannot be robbed; without mind, you cannot be deceived. There is no point where a desire or fear can hook on. As long as no change can happen to you, what else matters?
The person, being a creature of circumstances, necessarily changes along with them, like the flame that changes with the fuel. Only the process goes on and on, creating time and space.
91 Pleasure and Happiness
There is noble virtue in unshakable en- durance of whatever comes, but there is also dignity in the re- fusal of meaningless torture and humiliation.
A man who keeps himself in low esteem, will not be able to trust himself, nor anybody else. Therefore, in the beginning the teacher tries his best to reassure the disciple as to his high origin, noble nature and glorious destiny. He relates to him the experiences of some saints as well as his own, instilling confidence in himself and in his infinite possibilities. When self-confidence and trust in the teacher come together, rapid and far-going changes in the disciple’s character and life can take place.
Q: I may not want to change. My life is good enough as it is.
M: You say so because you have not seen how painful is the life you live. You are like a child sleeping with a lollypop in its mouth.
Even your own happiness is so vul- nerable and short-lived, at the mercy of a bank-crash, or a stomach ulcer. It is just a moment of respite, a mere gap bet- ween two sorrows. Real happiness is not vulnerable, because it does not depend on circumstances.
Look at yourself fearlessly and you will at once realize that your happiness depends on conditions and circumstances, hence it is momentary, not real. Real happiness flows from within.
You are quite satisfied with pleasures. There is no place for happiness. Empty your cup and clean it. It cannot be filled otherwise. Others can give you pleasure, but never happiness.
Q: A chain of pleasurable events is good enough.
M: Soon it ends in pain, if not in disaster. What is Yoga after all, but seeking lasting happiness within?
Yoga is the science and the art of self-liberation through self- understanding.
Liberation is a natural process and in the long run, in- evitable.
In a forest only some of the trees are in full bloom at a given moment, yet every one will have its turn.
Sooner or later your physical and mental resources will come to an end. What will you do then?
At that moment you will be fit for conscious Yoga.
Q: Why is there so much suffering in the world?
M: Selfishness is the cause of suffering. There is no other cause.
Unity in diversity is natural and good. It is only with separate- ness and self-seeking that real suffering appears in the world.
92. Go Beyond the I-am-the-body Idea
First realize that your problem exists in your waking state only, that however painful it is, you are able to forget it altogether when you go to sleep.
When you are awake you are conscious; when you are asleep, you are only alive.
What prevents you from knowing yourself as all and beyond all, is the mind based on memory. It has power over you as long as you trust it; don’t struggle with it; just disregard it. Deprived of attention, it will slow down and reveal the mechanism of its working. Once you know its nature and purpose, you will not allow it to create imaginary problems.
What problems can there be which the mind did not create?
It is memory and an- ticipation that create problems of attainment or avoidance, col- oured by like and dislike.
Q: How to bring the mind under control? And the heart, which does not know what it wants?
M: They cannot work in darkness. They need the light of pure awareness to function rightly. All effort at control will merely sub- ject them to the dictates of memory. Memory is a good servant, but a bad master.
It is selfishness, due to a self- identification with the body, that is the main problem and the cause of all other problems. And selfishness cannot be re- moved by effort, only by clear insight into its causes and effects. Effort is a sign of conflict between incompatible desires. They should be seen as they are — then only they dissolve.
While it can not be conveyed through words, it is waiting for you to experi- ence for yourself.
Use every incident of the day to remind you that without you as the witness there would be neither animal nor God. Under- stand that you are both, the essence and the substance of all there is, and remain firm in your understanding.
But what more tangible proof do you need than your own existence? Wherever you go you find yourself. However far you reach out in time, you are there.
Q: Obviously, I am not all-pervading and eternal. I am only here and now.
M: Good enough: The ‘here’ is everywhere and the now — al- ways. Go beyond ‘I-am-the-body’ idea and you will find that space and time are in you and not you in space and time. Once you have understood this, the main obstacle to realization is re- moved.
Q: What is the realization which is beyond understanding?
M: Imagine a dense forest full of tigers and you in a strong steel cage. Knowing that you are well protected by the cage, you watch the tigers fearlessly. Next you find the tigers in the cage and yourself roaming about in the jungle. Last — the cage dis- appears and you ride the tigers!
Each seeker accepts, or invents, a method which suits him, applies it to himself with some earnestness and effort, obtains results according to his temperament and expectations, casts them into the mould of words, builds them into a system, estab- lishes a tradition and begins to admit others into his ‘school of Yoga’. It is all built on memory and imagination. No such school is valueless, nor indispensable;
in each one can progress up to the point, when all desire for progress must be abandoned to make further progress possible. Than all schools are given up, all effort ceases; in solitude and darkness the last step is made which ends ignorance and fear forever.
Under the right teacher the disciple learns to learn, not to re- member and obey. Satsang, the company of the noble, does not mould, it liberates. Beware of all that makes you dependent. Most of the so-called ‘surrenders to the Guru’ end in disap- pointment, if not in tragedy. Fortunately, an earnest seeker will disentangle himself in time, the wiser for the experience.
to know yourself, turn away your attention from the world and turn it within.
Q: I cannot destroy the world.
M: There is no need. Just understand that what you see is not what is. Appearances will dissolve on investigation and the un- derlying reality will come to the surface. You need not burn the house to get out of it. You just walk out. It is only when you can- not come and go freely that the house becomes a jail. I move in and out of consciousness easily and naturally and therefore to me the world is a home, not a prison.
Q: But ultimately is there a world, or is there none?
M: What you see is nothing but your self. Call it what you like, it does not change the fact.
You are the viewer, the light, the picture and the screen.
93. Man is not the Doer
Questioner: From the beginning of my life I am pursued by a sense of incompleteness. From school to college, to work, to marriage, to affluence, I imagined that the next thing will surely give me peace, but there was no peace. This sense of unfulfil- ment keeps on growing as years pass by.
Maharaj: As long as there is the body and the sense of identity with the body, frustration is inevitable. Only when you know yourself as entirely alien to and different from the body, will you find respite from the mixture of fear and craving inseparable from ‘I-am-the-body’ idea. Merely assuaging fears and satisfy- ing desires will not remove this sense of emptiness you are try- ing to escape from; only self-knowledge can help you. By self- knowledge I mean full knowledge of what you are not. Such knowledge is attainable and final; but to the discovery of what you are there can be no end. The more you discover, the more there remains to discover.
Q: It is truth I seek, not peace.
M: You cannot see the true unless you are at peace. A quiet mind is essential for right perception, which again is required for self-realization.
Q: I have so much to do. I just cannot afford to keep my mind quiet.
M: it is because of your illusion that you are the doer. In reality things are done to you, not by you.
Q: If I just let things happen, how can I be sure that they will happen my way? Surely I must bend them to my desire.
M: You may believe that you exert yourself, strive and struggle. Again, it all merely hap- pens, including the fruits of the work. Nothing is by you and for you. All is in the picture exposed on the cinema screen, nothing in the light, including what you take yourself to be, the person. You are the light only.
Q: Since all happens, why should I worry?
M: Exactly. Freedom is freedom from worry. Having realized that you cannot influence the results, pay no attention to your desires and fears. Let them come and go. Don’t give them the nourishment of interest and attention.
Light can not be exhausted even if innumerable pictures are projected by it. So does life fill every shape to the brim and return to its source, when the shape breaks down.
worry is mental pain and pain is invariably a call for attention. The moment you give atten- tion, the call for it ceases.
But often people come with their bodies, brain and minds so mishandled, perverted and weak, that the state of formless attention is beyond them. In such cases, some simpler token of earnestness is appropriate. The repetition of a mantra, or gazing at a picture will prepare their body and mind for a deeper and more direct search.
After all, it is earnestness that is indispensable, the crucial factor.
Sadhana is only a vessel and it must be filled to the brim with earnestness, which is but love in action. For nothing can be done without love.
Q: Does my real being need my love?
M: Your real being is love itself and your many loves are its re- flections according to the situation at the moment.
Q: Yet I do not understand why the various Gurus insist on pre- scribing complicated and difficult sadhanas. Don’t they know better?
M: It is not what you do, but what you stop doing that matters. The people who begin their sadhana are so feverish and rest- less, that they have to be very busy to keep themselves on the track. An absorbing routine is good for them.
The real sadhana is effortless.
Q: I have sometimes the feeling that space itself is my body.
M: When you are bound by the illusion: ‘I am this body’, you are merely a point in space and a moment in time. When the self- identification with the body is no more, all space and time are in your mind, which is a mere ripple in consciousness, which is awareness reflected in nature.
Space and time are the body and the mind of the universal existence. My feeling is that all that happens in space and time happens to me, that every experience is my ex- perience every form is my form. What I take myself to be, be- comes my body and all that happens to that body becomes my mind.
But at the root of the universe there is pure awareness, beyond space and time, here and now.
94. You are Beyond Space and Time
you have never questioned your belief that you are the body which, obviously, is born and dies. While alive, it attracts attention and fascinates so com- pletely that rarely does one perceive one’s real nature.
It is like seeing the surface of the ocean and completely forgetting the immensity beneath. The world is but the surface of the mind and the mind is infinite.
What we call thoughts are just ripples in the mind. When the mind is quiet it reflects reality. When it is motion- less through and through, it dissolves and only reality remains.
This reality is so concrete, so actual, so much more tangible than mind and matter, that compared to it even diamond is soft like butter. This overwhelming actuality makes the world dream- like, misty, irrelevant.
Just see the person you imagine yourself to be as a part of the world you perceive within your mind and look at the mind from the outside, for you are not the mind.
After all, your only problem is the eager self-identification with whatever you perceive. Give up this habit, remember that you are not what you perceive, use your power of alert aloofness.
See yourself in all that lives and your behaviour will express your vision. Once you realize that there is nothing in this world, which you can call your own, you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage, or a picture on the screen, admiring and enjoying, but really unmoved.
As long as you imagine yourself to be something tangible and solid, a thing among things, actually existing in time and space, shortlived and vulnerable, naturally you will be anxious to sur- vive and increase.
But when you know yourself as beyond space and time — in contact with them only at the point of here and now, otherwise all-pervading and all containing, unap- proachable, unassailable, invulnerable — you will be afraid no longer. Know yourself as you are — against fear there is no other remedy.
The world is an ocean of pain and fear, of anxiety and despair. Pleasures are like the fishes, few and swift, rarely come, quickly gone.
A man of low intelligence believes, against all evidence, that he is an exception and that the world owes him happiness. But the world cannot give what it does not have; unreal to the core, it is of no use for real happiness. It cannot be otherwise.
We seek the real because we are unhappy with the unreal. Happiness is our real nature and we shall never rest until we find it. But rarely we know where to seek it.
Once you have understood that the world is but a mistaken view of reality, and is not what it appears to be, you are free of its obsessions.
Only what is compatible with your real being can make you happy and the world, as you perceive it, is its outright denial.
Keep very quiet and watch what comes to the surface of the mind. Reject the known, welcome the so far unknown and reject it in its turn. Thus you come to a state in which there is no know- ledge, only being, in which being itself is knowledge.
To know by being is direct knowledge. It is based on the identity of the seer and the seen.
Indirect knowledge is based on sensation and memory, on proximity of the perceiver and his percept, con- fined with the contrast between the two.
The same with happi- ness. Usually you have to be sad to know gladness and glad to know sadness. True happiness is uncaused and this cannot disappear for lack of stimulation. It is not the opposite of sorrow, it includes all sorrow and suffering.
the inner happiness is overwhelmingly real. Like the sun in the sky, its expressions may be clouded, but it is never absent.
Q: When we are in trouble, we are bound to be unhappy.
M: Fear is the only trouble. Know yourself as independent and you will be free from fear and its shadows.
Q: What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?
M: Pleasure depends on things, happiness does not.
Q: If happiness is independent, why are we not always happy?
M: As long as we believe that we need things to make us happy, we shall also believe that in their absence we must be miserable. Mind always shapes itself according to its beliefs.
Pleasure is a distraction and a nuisance, for it merely increases the false con- viction that one needs to have and do things to be happy when in reality it is just the opposite.
You do not think of happi- ness except when you are unhappy.
A man who says: ‘Now I am happy’, is between two sorrows — past and future.
Q: Please tell us: beyond the mind does consciousness con- tinue, or does it end with the mind?
M: Consciousness comes and goes, awareness shines immu- tably.
Q: Who is aware in awareness?
M: When there is a person, there is also consciousness. ‘I am’, mind, consciousness denote the same state. If you say ‘I am aware’, it only means: ‘I am conscious of thinking about being aware’. There is no ‘I am’ in awareness.
Q: What about witnessing?
M: Witnessing is of the mind. The witness goes with the witnes- sed. In the state of non-duality all separation ceases.
Q: What about you? Do you continue in awareness?
M: The person, the ‘I am this body, this mind, this chain of memories, this bundle of desires and fears’ disappears, but something you may call identity, remains. It enables me to be- come a person when required.
To see everything as imagination, born of desire, is necessary for self-realization. We miss the real by lack of attention and create the unreal by excess of imagination. You have to give your heart and mind to these things and brood over them repeatedly. It is like cooking food. You must keep it on the fire for some time before it is ready.
To act from desire and fear is bondage, to act from love is freedom.
95. Accept Life as it Comes
Every- thing affects everything. In this universe, when one thing changes, everything changes. Hence the great power of man in changing the world by changing himself.
Q: According to your own words, you have, by the grace of your Guru, changed radically some forty years ago. Yet the world remains as it had been before.
M: My world has changed completely. Yours remains the same, for you have not changed.
Q: How is it that your change has not affected me?
M: Because there was no communion between us. Do not con- sider yourself as separate from me and we shall at once share in the common state.
Look at the content of your mind. You are what you think about. Are you not most of the time busy with your own little per- son and its daily needs?
The value of regular meditation is that it takes you away from the humdrum of daily routine and reminds you that you are not what you believe yourself to be. But even remembering is not enough — action must follow conviction. Don’t be like the rich man who has made a detailed will, but refuses to die.
It is because you are not fully convinced. Complete convic- tion generates both desire and courage. And meditation is the art of achieving faith through understanding.
If action does not follow conviction, examine your convictions, don’t ac- cuse yourself of lack of courage. Self-depreciation will take you nowhere.
Action delayed is action abandoned. There may be other chances for other actions, but the present moment is lost — irretrievably lost. All preparation is for the future — you cannot prepare for the present.
Clarity is now, action is now. Thinking of being ready impedes action. And action is the touchstone of reality.
Ultimately, all you do is based on your conviction that the world is real and independent of yourself. Were you convinced of the contrary, your behaviour would have been quite different.
You cannot see yourself as independent of every- thing unless you drop everything and remain unsupported and undefined. Once you know yourself, it is immaterial what you do, but to realize your independence, you must test it by letting go all you were dependent on.
The realized man lives on the level of the absolutes; his wisdom, love and courage are complete, there is nothing relative about him.
just be; don’t strive, don’t struggle, let go every support, hold on to the blind sense of being, brushing off all else.
Refuse attention, let things come and go. Desires and thoughts are also things. Disregard them.
be earnest and patient, that is all. Dis- passion, detachment, freedom from desire and fear, from all self-concern, mere awareness — free from memory and expec- tation — this is the state of mind to which discovery can happen.
96. Abandon Memories and Expectations
Once you can say with confidence born from direct ex- perience: ‘I am the world, the world is myself’, you are free from desire and fear on one hand and become totally responsible for the world on the other.
M: Compassionate awareness heals and redeems. There is nothing we can do, we can only let things happen according to their nature.
Q: Do you advocate complete passivity?
M: Clarity and charity is action. Love is not lazy and clarity di-
rects. You need not worry about action, look after your mind and heart. Stupidity and selfishness are the only evil.
Q: Will compete solitude be of any benefit?
M: It depends on your temperament. You may work with others and for others, alert and friendly, and grow more fully than in soli- tude, which may make you dull or leave you at the mercy of your mind’s endless chatter. Do not imagine that you can change through effort. Violence, even turned against yourself, as in austerities and penance, will remain fruitless.
All you have to do is to abandon all memories and expectations. Just keep yourself ready in utter nakedness and nothingness.
Don’t hold on to the person you take yourself to be. Be- cause you imagine yourself to be a person you take the gnani to be a person too, only somewhat different, better informed and more powerful. You may say that he is eternally conscious and happy, but it is far from expressing the whole truth. Don’t trust definitions and descriptions — they are grossly misleading.
Q: Unless I am told what to do and how to do it, I feel lost.
M: By all means do feel lost! As long as you feel competent and confident, reality is beyond your reach. Unless you accept inner adventure as a way of life, discovery will not come to you.
Q: I am afraid of mistakes. So many things I tried — nothing came out of them.
M: You gave too little of yourself, you were merely curious, not earnest.
Do what you believe in and believe in what you do. All else is waste of energy and time.
97. Mind and the World are not Separate
Know yourself correctly. There is no substitute to self- knowledge.
Q: What proof will I have that I know myself correctly?
M: You need no proofs. The experience is unique and unmis- takable. It will dawn on you suddenly, when the obstacles are removed to some extent. It is like a frayed rope snapping. Yours is to work at the strands. The break is bound to happen. It can be delayed, but not prevented.
Do understand that what you think to be the world is your own mind.
Q: Surely you feel at least compassion when you see a man steeped in sin.
M: Yes, I feel I am that man and his sins are my sins.
By my becoming one with him he becomes one with me. It is not a conscious process, it happens entirely by itself.
Intense and methodical investigation into one’s mind is Yoga.
There is no- thing I can give, or deny, which you do not have already in equal measure.
When the world does not hold and bind you, it be- comes an abode of joy and beauty. You can be happy in the world only when you are free of it.
The body and the mind are limited and there- fore vulnerable; they need protection which gives rise to fear.
As long as you identify yourself with them you are bound to suffer; realize your independence and remain happy.
To believe that you depend on things and people for happiness is due to ignorance of your true na- ture; to know that you need nothing to be happy, except self- knowledge, is wisdom.
The world appears to you so overwhelmingly real, because you think of it all the time; cease thinking of it and it will dissolve into thin mist.
You need not forget; when desire and fear end, bondage also ends. It is the emotional involvement, the pattern of likes and dislikes which we call character and temperament, that create the bondage.
Do not be afraid of freedom from desire and fear. It enables you to live a life so different from all you know, so much more in- tense and interesting, that, truly, by losing all you gain all.
It is because you have not really understood that you are dreaming. This is the essence of bondage — the mixing of the real with unreal. In your present state only the sense ‘I am’ refers to reality; the ‘what’ and the ‘how I am’ are illusions imposed by destiny, or accident.
Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up. But you do not see, because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you will long for the ending of the dream, with all your heart and mind, and be willing to pay any price; the price will be dispassion and detachment, the loss of interest in the dream it- self.
Your very body is a bat- tlefield, of the dead and dying. Existence implies violence.
Do you realize that as long as you have a self to defend, you must be violent?
Know yourself to be the changeless witness of the changeful mind.
98. Freedom from Self-identification
You need not ask any- thing, nor do anything. Such apparently lazy way of spending time is highly regarded in India. It means that for the time being you are free from the obsession with ‘what next’. When you are not in a hurry and the mind is free from anxieties, it becomes quiet and in the silence something may be heard which is ordi- narily too fine and subtle for perception. The mind must be open and quiet to see. What we are trying to do here is to bring our minds into the right state for understanding what is real.
do not make ‘being quiet’ into a task to be performed;
Don’t be restless about ‘being quiet’, miserable about ‘being happy’. Just be aware that you are and remain aware.
Your begging bowl may be of pure gold, but as long as you do not know it, you are a pauper. You must know your inner worth and trust it and express it in the daily sacrifice of desire and fear.
Q: I am quite willing to learn.
M: Learning words is not enough. You may know the theory, but without the actual experience of yourself as the impersonal and unqualified centre of being, love and bliss, mere verbal know- ledge is sterile.
Q: Then, what am I to do?
M: Try to be, only to be. The all-important word is ‘try’. Allot enough time daily for sitting quietly and trying, just trying, to go beyond the personality, with its addictions and obsessions.
If you persevere, there can be no failure.
What matters supremely is sincerity, earnestness;
All you need is to be aware of being, not as a verbal statement, but as an ever-present fact.
The awareness that you are will open your eyes to what you are.
First of all, establish a constant contact with your self, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all bles- sings flow.
All dependence on another is futile, for what others can give others will take away. Only what is your own at the start will re- main your own in the end. Accept no guidance but from within, and even then sift out all memories for they will mislead you.
keep quiet and look within; guidance is sure to come.
The Guru is there for giving you courage because of his experience and success.
But only what you dis- cover through your own awareness, your own effort, will be of permanent use to you.
Remember, nothing you perceive is your own. Nothing of value can come to you from outside; it is only your own feeling and understanding that are relevant and revealing.
Words, heard or read, will only create images in your mind, but you are not a mental image. You are the power of perception and action behind and beyond the image.
A man who knows that he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for.
Or, you may say, he is equally ‘selfish’ on behalf of everybody he meets; everybody’s welfare is his own.
I am the other person, the other person is myself; in name and shape we are different, but there is no separation. At the root of our being we are one.
When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all de- sires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer in- terested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure inten- sity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source.
One suffers along with what one thinks oneself to be. If you feel one with humanity, you suffer with humanity.
Begin from the beginning: give attention to the fact that you are. At no time can you say ‘I was not’ all you can say: ‘I do not remember’.
The acceptance of the unreal as real is the obstacle; to see the false as false and abandon the false brings reality into being.
The states of utter clarity, immense love, utter fearlessness; these are mere words at the present, outlines without colour, hints at what can be. You are like a blind man expecting to see as a result of an operation.
The state I am in words do not matter at all. Nor is there any addiction to words. Only facts matter.
Q: Words are needed for communication.
M: For exchange of information, yes. But awareness expressed in direct action is required. Not what you say, but what you do is that matters.
Words are made by the mind and are meaningful only on the level of the mind. The word ‘bread’: neither can you eat nor live by it.
It acquires meaning only with the actual eating. In the same sense am I telling you that the Normal State is not verbal. I may say it is wise love expressed in action, but these words convey little, unless you experience them in their fulness and beauty.
Q: How can one convey experience except through words?
M: Experience cannot be conveyed through words. It comes with action. A man who is intense in his experience will radiate confidence and courage. Others too will act and gain experi- ence born out of action. Verbal teaching has its use, it prepares the mind for voiding itself of its accumulations.
The world itself is a supreme gift, maintained by loving sacrifice. But the right receivers, wise and humble, are so few. ‘Ask and you shall be given’ is the eternal law.
So-many words you have learnt, so many you have spoken. You know everything, but you do not know yourself. For the self is not known through words — only direct insight will reveal it. Look within, search within.
Q: It is very difficult to abandon words. Our mental life is one continuous stream of words.
M: It is not a matter of easy, or difficult. You have no alternative. Either you try or you don’t. It is up to you.
Q: I have tried many times and failed.
M: Try again. If you keep on trying, something may happen. But if you don’t, you are stuck. You may know all the right words, quote the scriptures, be brilliant in your discussions and yet re- main a bag of bones: Or you may be inconspicuous and hum- ble, an insignificant person altogether, yet glowing with loving kindness and deep wisdom.
99. The Perceived can not be the Perceiver
Re- linquish your habits and addictions, live a simple and sober life, don’t hurt a living being; this is the foundation of Yoga.
To find reality you must be real in the smallest daily action; there can be no deceit in the search for truth.
You cannot be conscious of what does not change. All consciousness is consciousness of change. But the very perception of change — does it not necessitate a changeless background?
What makes the actual unique? Obviously, it is your sense of being present. In memory and anticipation there is a clear feeling that it is a mental state under observation, while in the actual the feel- ing is primarily of being present and aware.
Q: Yes, I can see. It is awareness that makes the difference be- tween the actual and the remembered. One thinks of the past or the future, but one is present in the now.
M: Wherever you go, the sense of here and now you carry with you all the time. It means that you are independent of space and time, that space and time are in you, not you in them. It is your self-identification with the body, which, of course, is limited in space and time, that gives you the feeling of finiteness. In reality you are infinite and eternal.
Q: How am I to be rid of the mind? And is life without mind at all possible on the human level?
M: There is no such thing as mind. There are ideas and some of them are wrong. Abandon the wrong ideas, for they are false and obstruct your vision of yourself.
Q: Which ideas are wrong and which are true?
M: Assertions are usually wrong and denials — right.
Q: One cannot live by denying everything!
M: Only by denying can one live. Assertion is bondage. To question and deny is necessary. It is the essence of revolt and without revolt there can be no freedom.
Both faith and reason tell you that you are neither the body, nor its desires and fears, nor are you the mind with its fanciful ideas, nor the role society compels you to play, the person you are supposed to be. Give up the false and the true will come into its own.
You say you want to know your self. You are your self — you cannot be anything but what you are. Is knowing separate from being? Whatever you can know with your mind is of the mind, not you; about yourself you can only say: ‘I am, I am aware, I like it’.
Q: I find being alive a painful state.
M: You cannot be alive for you are life itself. It is the person you imagine yourself to be that suffers, not you. Dissolve it in aware- ness. It is merely a bundle of memories and habits. From the awareness of the unreal to the awareness of your real nature there is a chasm which you will easily cross, once you have mastered the art of pure awareness.
You can only know your self by being yourself without any attempt at self-definition and self-description.
Once you have understood that you are nothing perceivable or con- ceivable, that whatever appears in the field of consciousness cannot be your self, you will apply yourself to the eradication of all self-identification, as the only way that can take you to a deeper realization of your self.
To know that you are neither in the body nor in the mind, though aware of both, is already self- knowledge.
Q: If I am neither the body nor mind, how am I aware of them? How can I perceive something quite foreign to myself?
M: ‘Nothing is me,’ is the first step. ‘Everything is me’ is the next. Both hang on the idea: ‘there is a world’. When this too is given up, you remain what you are — the non-dual Self. You are it here and now, but your vision is obstructed by your false ideas about your self.
Q: Well, I admit that I am, I was, I shall be; at least from birth to death. I have no doubts of my being, here and now. But I find that it is not enough. My life lacks joy, born of harmony between the inner and the outer. If I alone am and the world is merely a projection, then why is there disharmony?
M: You create disharmony and then complain! When you de- sire and fear, and identify yourself with your feelings, you create sorrow and bondage. When you create, with love and wisdom, and remain unattached to your creations, the result is harmony and peace.
It is only your self-identification with your mind that makes you happy or unhappy. Rebel against your slavery to your mind, see your bonds as self-created and break the chains of attachment and revulsion.
Keep in mind your goal of freedom, until it dawns on you that you are already free, that freedom is not something in the distant future to be earned with painful efforts, but perennially one’s own, to be used!
Liberation is not an acquisition but a matter of courage, the courage to believe that you are free already and to act on it.
You know so many things about yourself, but the knower you do not know. Find out who you are, the knower of the known. Look within diligently, remember to re- member that the perceived cannot be the perceiver. Whatever you see, hear or think of, remember — you are not what hap- pens, you are he to whom it happens.
Delve deeply into the sense ‘I am’ and you will surely discover that the perceiving centre is universal, as universal as the light that illumines the world. All that happens in the universe happens to you, the sil- ent witness. On the other hand, whatever is done, is done by you, the universal and inexhaustible energy.
Before you can know anything directly, nonverbally, you must know the knower. So far, you took the mind for the knower, but it is just not so. The mind clogs you up with images and ideas, which leave scars in memory. You take remembering to be knowledge. True knowledge is ever fresh, new, unexpected.
It wells up from within. When you know what you are, you also are what you know. Between knowing and being there is no gap.
Q: I can only investigate the mind with the mind.
M: By all means use your mind to know your mind. It is perfectly legitimate and also the best preparation for going beyond the mind.
First realize your own being. This is easy because the sense ‘I am’ is always with you. Then meet yourself as the knower, apart from the known. Once you know yourself as pure being, the ecstasy of freedom is your own.
Nothing you do will change you, for you need no change. You may change your mind or your body, but it is always something external to you that has changed, not yourself.
Why bother at all to change? Realize once for all that neither your body nor your mind, nor even your consciousness is yourself and stand alone in your true nature beyond consciousness and unconscious- ness.
No effort can take you there, only the clarity of understand- ing. Trace your misunderstandings and abandon them, that is all. There is nothing to seek and find, for there is nothing lost.
Relax and watch the ‘I am’. Reality is just behind it. Keep quiet, keep silent; it will emerge, or, rather, it will take you in.
Q: Must I got get rid of my body and mind first?
M: You cannot, for the very idea binds you to them. Just under- stand and disregard.
just see the futility of all change. The changeful keeps on chang- ing while the changeless is waiting. Do not expect the change- ful, to take you to the changeless.
Only when the very idea of changing is seen as false and aban- doned, the changeless can come into its own.
In practice a situation must arise, when all the factors necessary for self-realization are present. This need not discourage you. Your dwelling on the fact of ‘I am’ will soon create another chance. For, attitude attracts opportunity. All you know is second-hand. Only ‘I am’ is first-hand and needs no proofs. Stay with it.
100. Understanding leads to Freedom
Pain has to be endured. There is no such thing as overcoming the pain and no training is needed. Training for the future, developing attitudes is a sign of fear.
Just look at yourself as you are, see yourself as you are, accept yourself as you are and go ever deeper into what you are.
Q: Are you serious? Do you really mean that you exist every- where and at all times?
M: Yes, I do. To me it is as obvious, as the freedom of move- ment is to you. Imagine a tree asking a monkey: ‘Do you seri- ously mean that you can move from place to place?’ And the monkey saying: ‘Yes, I do.’
Of what use are small miracles to me when the greatest of miracles is happening all the time? What- ever you see it is always your own being that you see. Go ever deeper into yourself, seek within.
One needs all the courage to go further. What helps is silence. Look at yourself in total silence, do not describe yourself. Look at the being you believe you are and remember — you are not what you see. ‘This I am not — what am I?’ is the movement of self-enquiry.
There are no other means to libera- tion.
Resolutely reject what you are not, till the real Self emerges in its glorious nothingness, its ‘not-a-thing- ness’.
Q: How can I make myself understand?
M: By meditating which means giving attention. Become fully aware of your problem, look at it from all sides, watch how it af- fects your life. Then leave it alone. You can’t do more than that.
101. Gnani does not Grasp, nor Hold
Gnani understands a situation fully and knows at once what needs be done. That is all. The rest happens by itself, and to a large extent unconsciously. The gnani’s identity with all that is, is so complete, that as he responds to the universe, so does the universe respond to him. He is supremely confident that once a situation has been cognized, events will move in adequate response.
The ordinary man is personally concerned, he counts his risks and chances, while the gnani remains aloof, sure that all will happen as it must; and it does not matter much what happens, for ultimately the return to balance and harmony is inevitable. The heart of things is at peace.
Q: I have understood that personality is an illusion, and alert detachment, without loss of identity, is our point of contact with the reality. Will you, please, tell me — at this moment are you a person or a self-aware identity?
M: I am both. But the real self cannot be described except in terms supplied by the person, in terms of what I am not. All you can tell about the person is not the self, and you can tell nothing about the self, which would not refer to the person.
Q: Are you sometimes the self and sometimes the person?
M: How can I be? The person is what I appear to be to other persons. To myself I am the infinite expanse of consciousness in which innumerable persons emerge and disappear in endless succession.
Q: How is it that the person, which to you is quite illusory, ap- pears real to us?
M: You, the self, being the root of all being, consciousness and joy, impart your reality to whatever you perceive. This imparting of reality takes place invariably in the now, at no other time, be- cause past and future are only in the mind. ‘Being’ applies to the now only.
eternity is in the split mo- ment of the now. We miss it because the mind is ever shuttling between the past and the future. It will not stop to focus the now. It can be done with comparative ease, if interest is aroused.
Q: What arouses interest?
M: Earnestness, the sign of maturity.
Q: And how does maturity come about?
M: By keeping your mind clear and clean, by living your life in
full awareness of every moment as it happens, by examining and dissolving one’s desires and fears as soon as they arise.
Try to understand that you live in a world of illusions, examine them and uncover their roots. The very attempt to do so will makes you earnest, for there is bliss in right endeavour.
Once you are well-established in the now, you have nowhere else to go. What you are timelessly, you express eternally.
You are a creature of memories; at least you imagine yourself to be so. I am entirely unimagined. I am what I am, not iden- tifiable with any physical or mental state.
Q: Don’t you need it to contact the world?
M: I do not need the world. Nor am I in one. The world you think of is in your own mind. I can see it through your eyes and mind, but I am fully aware that it is a projection of memories; it is touched by the real only at the point of awareness, which can be only now.
Q: To be free from like and dislike is a state of indifference.
M: It may look and feel so in the beginning. Persevere in such indifference and it will blossom into an all-pervading and all-em- bracing love.
Q: As I watch my mind I find it changing all the time, mood suc- ceeding mood in infinite variety, while you seem to be perpetu- ally in the same mood of cheerful benevolence.
M: Moods are in the mind and do not matter. Go within, go beyond. Cease being fascinated by the content of your con- sciousness. When you reach the deep layers of your true being, you will find that the mind’s surface-play affects you very little.
The waking state differs from deep sleep in the presence of the witness. A ray of awareness illumines a part of our mind and that part becomes our dream or waking con- sciousness, while awareness appears as the witness. The wit- ness usually knows only consciousness. Sadhana consists in the witness turning back first on his conscious, then upon him- self in his own awareness. Self-awareness is Yoga.
Q: What is false, the world, or my knowledge of it?
M: Is there a world outside your knowledge? Can you go beyond what you know? You may postulate a world beyond the mind, but it will remain a concept, unproved and unprovable.
Your experience is your proof, and it is valid for you only. Who else can have your experience, when the other person is only as real as he appears in your experience?
wonder is the dawn of wisdom. To be steadily and consistently wondering is sadhana.
If you seek real happiness, unassailable and unchangeable, you must leave the world with its pains and pleasures behind you.
Q: How is it done?
M: Mere physical renunciation is only a token of earnestness, but earnestness alone does not liberate. There must be under- standing which comes with alert perceptivity, eager enquiry and deep investigation. You must work relentlessly for your salvation from sin and sorrow.
Appendix 1: Nisarga Yoga
The mind was originally a tool in the struggle for biological survival. It had to learn the laws and ways of Nature in order to conquer it. That it did, and is doing, for mind and Nature working hand-in-hand can raise life to a higher level.
But, in the process the mind acquired the art of symbolic thinking and communication, the art and skill of language. Words became important. Ideas and abstractions acquired an appear- ance of reality, the conceptual replaced the real, with the result that man now lives in a verbal world, crowded with words and dominated by words.
Obviously, for dealing with things and people words are ex- ceedingly useful. But they make us live in a world totally symbolic and, therefore, unreal. To break out from this prison of the verbal mind into reality, one must be able to shift one’s focus from the word to what it refers to, the thing itself.
The most commonly used word and most pregnant with feel- ings, and ideas is the word ‘I’. Mind tends to include in it anything and everything, the body as well as the Absolute. In practice it stands as a pointer to an experience which is direct, immediate and immensely significant. To be, and to know that one is, is most important.
For, the ultimate aim of every desire is to en- hance and intensify this sense of existence, while all fear is, in its essence, the fear of self-extinction.
To delve into the sense of ‘I’ — so real and vital — in order to reach its source is the core of the Nisarga Yoga. Not being continuous, the sense of ‘I’ must have a source from which it flows and to which it returns. This timeless source of conscious being is what Maharaj calls the self-nature, self-being, swarupa.
When the mind is dark or turbulent: the source is not perceived. When it is clear and luminous, it becomes a faithful reflection of the source. The source is always the same — beyond darkness and light, beyond life and depth, beyond the conscious and the unconscious.
Maharaj most lucidly describes this natural, spontaneous state, but as the man born blind cannot visualize light and col- ours, so is the unenlightened mind unable to give meaning to such descriptions.
As Maharaj puts it: words are pointers, they show the direction but they will not come along with us. Truth is the fruit of earnest action, words merely point the way.