Advices from Nisargadatta (Part 2)

Omkaradatta's picture



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Here's a continuation of a recent series of postings from my guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj. This excerpt is from "I Am That", chapter 51.

Questioner: Sometimes the wonderful state of joyful peace dawns on me and I look and wonder: how easily it comes and how intimate it seems, how totally my own. Where was the need to strive so hard for a state so near at hand? This time, surely, it has come to stay. Yet how soon it all dissolves and leaves me wondering -- was it a taste of reality or another aberration. If it was reality, why did it go? Maybe some unique experience is needed to fix me for good in the new state and until the crucial experience comes, this game of hide and seek must continue.

Nisargadatta Maharaj: Your expectation of something unique and dramatic, of some wonderful explosion, is merely hindering and delaying your self-realisation. You are not to expect an explosion, for the explosion has already happened -- at the moment when you were born, when you realised yourself as being-knowing-feeling.

There is only one mistake you are making: you take the inner for the outer and the outer for the inner. What is in you, you take to be outside you and what is outside, you take to be in you. The mind and feelings are external, but you take them to be intimate. You believe the world to be objective, while it is entirely a projection of your psyche. That is the basic confusion and no new explosion will set it right. You have to think yourself out of it. There is no other way.

Questioner: How am I to think myself out when my thoughts come and go as they like. Their endless chatter distracts and exhausts me.

Maharaj: Watch your thoughts as you watch the street traffic. People come and go; you register without response. It may not be easy in the beginning, but with some practice you will find that your mind can function on many levels at the same time and you can be aware of them all. It is only when you have a vested interest in any particular level, that your attention gets caught in it and you black out on other levels. Even then the work on the blacked out levels goes on, outside the field of consciousness. Do not struggle with your memories and thoughts; try only to include in your field of attention the other, more important questions, like 'Who am l?' 'How did I happen to be born?' 'Whence this universe around me?'. 'What is real and what is momentary?' No memory will persist, if you lose interest in it, it is the emotional link that perpetuates the bondage.

You are always seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, always after happiness and peace. Don't you see that it is your very search for happiness that makes you feel miserable? Try the other way: indifferent to pain and pleasure, neither asking, nor refusing, give all your attention to the level on which 'I am' is timelessly present. Soon you will realise that peace and happiness are in your very nature and it is only seeking them through some particular channels, that disturbs. Avoid the disturbance, that is all. To seek there is no need; you would not seek what you already have.

You yourself are God, the Supreme Reality. To begin with, trust me, trust the Teacher. It enables you to make the first step -- and then your trust is justified by your own experience. In every walk of life initial trust is essential; without it little can be done. Every undertaking is an act of faith. Even your daily bread you eat on trust! By remembering what I told you you will achieve everything.

I am telling you again: You are the all-pervading, all transcending reality. Behave accordingly: think, feel and act in harmony with the whole and the actual experience of what I say will dawn upon you in no time. No effort is needed. Have faith and act on it. Please see that I want nothing from you. It is in your own interest that l speak, because above all you love yourself, you want yourself secure and happy. Don't be ashamed of it, don't deny it. It is natural and good to love oneself. Only you should know what exactly do you love. It is not the body that you love, it is Life --perceiving, feeling, thinking, doing, loving, striving, creating. It is that Life you love, which is you, which is all. realise it in its totality, beyond all divisions and limitations, and all your desires will merge in it, for the greater contains the smaller. Therefore find yourself, for in finding that you find all.

Everybody is glad to be. But few know the fullness of it. You come to know by dwelling in your mind on 'I am', 'I know', 'I love' -- with the will of reaching the deepest meaning of these words.

Questioner: Can I think 'I am God'?

Maharaj: Don't identify yourself with an idea. If you mean by God the Unknown, then you merely say: 'I do not know what I am'. If you know God as you know your self, you need not say it. Best is the simple feeling 'I am'. Dwell on it patiently. Here patience is wisdom; don't think of failure. There can be no failure in this undertaking.

Questioner: My thoughts will not let me.

Maharaj: Pay no attention. Don't fight them. Just do nothing about them, let them be, whatever they are. Your very fighting them gives them life. Just disregard. Look through. Remember to remember: 'whatever happens -- happens because I am'. All reminds you that you are. Take full advantage of the fact that to experience you must be. You need not stop thinking. Just cease being interested. It is disinterestedness that liberates. Don't hold on, that is all.

The world is made of rings. The hooks are all yours. Make straight your hooks and nothing can hold you. Give up your addictions. There is nothing else to give up. Stop your routine of acquisitiveness, your habit of looking for results and the freedom of the universe is yours. Be effortless.



seeker's picture

nice piece

Nice piece.

One comment: Maharaj has changed some of his concepts since "I Am That", this is demonstrated in latter books such as "The Ultimate Medicine" and "Seeds of Consciousness". While I feel they are much more complicated and less direct (and thus somehow may lack the beauty of simplicity of "I Am That"), it is recommended to read these books as they reflect a more advanced Maharaj (this btw shows that enlightenment is not a one last stop but also a developing process...)

seeker | Wed, 12/17/2008 - 12:43
Lee's picture

Quotes from 'Seeds Of Consciousness'

You have to go within. Whatever great things have happened in nature, however powerful, still they disappear right here. These situations appear and disappear. This is actually abstract, what is solid here is the knowledge ’I am’. The seen and seeing disappear. I tell this only to those who are prepared to listen. Whatever appears is bound to disappear.

The greatest appearance is the knowledge ‘I am’. It is invisible before the birth and after the death of the body, and while it is visible it is a solid thing. Many great sages have appeared and disappeared because of the powerful seed ‘I am’.

The knowledge ‘I am’ is time bound, all your knowledge sprouts from the concept that you are. This infinitesimal seed contains the universe. You miss the point; you do not understand me properly. This principle ‘I am’ I am telling you about again and again. All questions will be over once you solve the riddle of ‘I am’.

The knowledge ‘I am’ is the soul of the entire world. The witness of the knowledge ‘I am’ is prior to the knowledge ‘I am’. Try to understand yourself as you are, do not add any qualifications.

The ‘I am’ is the sum total of everything you perceive. It appears spontaneously and disappears, it has no dwelling place. It is like a dream world. Do not try to be something, even a spiritual person. You are the manifested. The tree is already there in the seed. Such is the ‘I am’. Just see it as it is.

You are separate from ‘I am’. ‘I am’ is itself an illusion. The knowledge ‘I am’ and the world are tricks of Maya. There is no substance in them. There are no words actually; you speak words for your satisfaction.

The ‘I amness’ is pulsating ‘I am, I am’. The feeling of ‘I amness’ is there because of the essence of the food body and vital breath, when these are gone the pulsation of ‘I amness’ will not be there. Beingness goes into no-beingness.

Because of the knowledge ‘I am’ we conduct all activities. In the morning when you wake up you get the first guaranty, that conviction of ‘I am’. Then because you are not in a position to sustain or tolerate that ‘I amness’ you bestir yourself. You get up and move around here and there and the activity starts.

That attention of ‘I amness’ is always there in the waking state, but we are not alert to watch it. There is no other attention to be followed. Be attentive to that attention ‘I am’.

Deal with the knowledge ‘I am’. This ‘I amness’ is there first, isn’t it? – primary. That ‘I’ must be there before you receive this sickness of ‘samskara’ (obstacles). Initially you have to understand that the knowledge ‘I am’ is a product of the food essence. When you know that you are, the world also is.

The Guru, God, your own knowledge – these three are one. If you know that, you become quiet Guru means knowledge and knowledge means ‘I am’. The ‘I amness’ is itself the Guru.

That state in which you were before you acquired this knowledge ‘I am’ is the real state. Only after you got this knowledge you identified with the body-mind. Whatever you have acquired, including the body-mind, that will go, and it is useless, and that is that. But your original state, before you acquired the body, is the Truth, is the Real state, and it will remain.

The beginning and the end of this understanding is the knowledge ‘I am’. The beginning of concepts started with the primary concept ‘I am’. Having wandered through all the concepts, and rejected them, you have to get rid of this last or the first concept.

To start with you have to be in that beingness or ‘I am’ without the body sense. You feel that you are the body now but when you abide in that beingness you will know then how you are without the body sense.. But don’t forget, at the same time; that body and the vital breath are very necessary. Once you understand these three entities correctly (body, vital breath and the message ‘I am’), then you are apart.

This knowledge ‘I am’ comes to you after your body is born, after that the body of childhood grows on its own and becomes old. What remains in the end is only one thing ‘I am’. So all through life you have to remember to investigate who is this ‘I am’. Otherwise birth and death will have no meaning for your beingness, because that beingness will also be dissolved after the death of the body.

To understand more clearly take the example of the dream world. You are in deep sleep and suddenly you feel ‘I am’ and that ‘I amness’ creates a dream world. Similarly this manifest world is created by that ‘I amness’. You will realize this later in the search for truth. The last progress will be for you to transcend this ‘I amness’ and get stabilized in the ultimate.

The knowledge ‘I am’ is the first ignorance and whatever knowledge you acquire with it is ignorance. Go back to the source of your ignorance.

Whatever is called God or Self is because there is the beingness, the feeling that ‘I am’. That is the fundamental principle, the basis of all your knowledge, but you are identifying yourself with the body.

With greatest interest you get absorbed in your Self. By giving attention only to your ‘I’ consciousness you can reach it. Without giving attention to the body but to the sense ‘I am’.

The consciousness that has come out of the five elements, through the body, is the quality of beingness, the knowledge that ‘I am’. That state of beingness will perish. There is no necessity for following any particular path, everything is the same. Think of that which is the center of the cosmos, don’t let your attention stray in any way from the knowledge of beingness, ‘I am’. Keep on knowing that ‘I am’ and through this insistence you will know the state you want to reach.

Before this knowledge ‘I am’ appeared on you, you were absolutely unattached. As soon as this knowledge dawned on you became attached to everything around you. Only that false ‘I’ is attached. Everything is just happening and that false ‘I’ is taking the credit for doing things.

All this conceptual cycle is created by you because you have the concept ‘I am’, which you must eradicate yourself. When you are in deep sleep is there any experience of pleasure and pain or birth and death? What does that mean? It means that concept ‘I am’ has vanished.

You must meditate on that ‘I am’ without holding on to the body and mind. As you nursed at your mother’s breast when you were a baby, so must you nurse at this ‘I am’, the knowledge of your beingness. Remember and meditate on this also ‘ I have no fear, I am beyond fear’. I am telling you that this fear will gradually lessen and will go completely, because I say so. The medicine for that fear is my word.

The Absolute state does not know itself, but the Absolute is offered and opportunity to understand itself through the food product, the ‘I am’. The very core of all atoms is permeated by that knowledge ‘I am’. Embrace all the atoms of the universe with the feeling that all of them have come inside us in the form of the knowledge ‘I am’.

You are so used to support of concepts that when your concepts leave you, although it is your true state, you get frightened and try to cling to them again. This is the meeting point of that immanent principle and the Eternal, the borderland. Why is the intellect puzzled here? That beingness which you are experiencing is melting away. When the concept of ‘I am’ goes, intellect also goes. So the intellect gets that frightening experience of ‘I am going’.

When you become one with that knowledge you will realize that the knowledge ‘I am’ is the very Guru of the universe. Don’t make use of anything except the knowledge ‘I am’. Forget everything else. Consider a magnificent tree with many branches and leaves. Go to the root and not the branches.

The ‘I am’ connotes the three states, waking, dream and deep sleep. ‘I am’ means that you are these three states, when these are gone the memory is also gone.

The appearance of the primary concept ‘I am’ is the beginning of duality. I started counting with myself, before this counting starts. That has no number. That is the Absolute. With that little movement ‘I am’ this counting started.

What you must witness is not your thoughts but the consciousness ‘I am’. Everything is an expression of the ‘I am,’ but you are not that; you are prior to the ‘I am’.

There is the true Awareness, from which comes consciousness, which is your feeling ‘I am’, be one with your consciousness and that is all that you can do, the Ultimate must come to you. You can only watch what happens – there is nothing you can do to get it.

The Guru is the same all-pervading consciousness ‘I am’. The Sat-Guru has gone beyond all these concepts, including the primary concept ‘I am’.

There is no proprietor behind that feeling of awareness. It only is, it is beyond description, and words cannot be of any use. That is the permanent state and this manifestation is only its movement. Nobody becomes a ‘Parabrahman’, nobody ‘can’ become a ‘Parabrahman’: It is. Before the knowledge ‘I am’ appeared on you, that is ‘Parabrahman’. If you revert properly, the consciousness ‘I am’ will disappear. There is no movement.

When you feel that you are separate from the feeling ‘I am’ isn’t there something or someone who knows that there is a difference? Find out, are you separate unknowingly?

Are we all here because of our volition to be born or has this knowingness appeared in us unknowingly? This beingness has come to you without your knowledge, but you are using it according to your own volition. I want to sentence that inviduality to death. Is it not justice that I pronounce this sentence? So think carefully. The individuality must go. ‘Parabrahman’ is purest justice and Truth.

There are various types of charity, but the greatest charity is the renunciation of the knowledge ‘I am’. When you give that up you escape birth and death. Waking state represents activity; deep sleep represents peace, quiet. When these two are present it means ‘I am’ is there, but you the Absolute are neither the waking state, deep sleep nor ‘I amness’.

What else is there except the touch of ‘I am’? Why do you worry about discovering Maya and Brahma and all that? Understand what this principle ‘I am’ is and you are finished. That ‘I am’ is in bondage because of concepts.

I want to take you to that ‘I am’ concept which is the last outpost of illusion and get rid of it. Understand the quality of these concepts.

What capital is available to you? Only that ‘I am’, it is a product of this five-elemental food essence. First you become the consciousness, then you realize that you are manifestation.

The Bhagavad-Gita says that we have five senses of knowledge; these are very subtle. More subtle than the senses is the mind, subtler than the mind is the intelligence, and subtler than these is the vital breath. And yet more subtle is ‘He’, the beingness, the ‘I am’.

You know you are sitting here. Be attentive to that knowledge only. Just be in your beingness. That knowingness ‘I am’ has created the entire universe. Hold on to that; nothing has to be done. Once you recognize that principle it becomes tranquil. Become one with that and all your needs will be satisfied.

I have been very open, very explicit. I’ve been telling you that you are not the body, you are that knowledge only and that vital breath is your conveyance, a tool by which you carry out your activities, and the knowledge ‘I am’ is very subtle. Because of your knowledge, you are and world is.

Don’t get involved in anything stay in the consciousness ‘I am’ and don’t go on a intellectual binge again. Consciousness indicates to the consciousness, expounds the knowledge; but you will not dwell there, you embrace the body. The knowledge ‘I am’ tells the knowledge about itself to the ‘I am’ only.

You are worrying because of the intellect, but you have only to continue in that ‘I am’ with faith, you have nothing else to do. You are likely to miss that incident if you try to use your intellect. Just let it happen. Hold on to the feeling ‘I am’, don’t pollute that state by holding on to the body sense.

Maya is the primary source of illusion. At that point, love for the Self begins: ‘I am’, the love to be. Its expression is all this manifestation.

After deep sleep, as soon as consciousness dawns on you of ‘I am’ – that is the witness. Before that moment you did not know that you are, there was no witness, no knowledge of ‘I am’.

As long as you identify with the body-mind you are conditioned. Once you stabilize in the knowledge ‘I am’ unconditionally you are the manifest ‘I amness’ – no more an individual. In the manifested state of ‘I amness’ there is no question of your doing, because you are no more an individual. Whatever happens, happens in your consciousness. Whatever happens through this, you also know it will happen, but there is no question of doing or being anything.

In the womb that knowingness is ignorant of its existence, the ‘I am’ is not present but the ‘I am’ principle is started there. All things happen unknowingly, but even to understand that is very difficult, it is beyond our comprehension.

The first film is when that knowingness appears on you. In that knowledge ‘I am’ all is contained. Only in that film when the film started knowing itself, ‘I am’; then you came to know all this. Did you know anything before?

That knowledge ‘I am’ is born out of love, but the illusion has taken such hold of it that love for the ‘I amness’ has gone into the background. To stay with it has become increasingly difficult. Without the manifestation the love was total.

You are a man because you identify with the body. If you do not identify with the body, what sex are you? After leaving the body, the vital breath and the ‘I am’ merge into the substratum. Then where is man or woman?

In my original true state I have no form and no thoughts. I didn’t know I was, but suddenly another state appeared in which I had a form and thought, ‘I am’. How did this appear? The one who explains how these appearances have come about is the Sat-Guru.

Your first step is beingness: embrace the knowledge ‘I am’ be that. I am trying to speak of my most intimate secrets. Just as the dream world, uncalled for, has appeared and you observe it, similarly this world, uncalled for, has appeared and you are compelled to observe it. Just observe. Spontaneously, unknowingly, your beingness has appeared. Knowingly you don’t know ‘ Now I am going to be’; only after the formation of ‘I amness’ do you know ‘I am’.

The knowledge ‘I am’ is the film, the destiny. Finally what is our destiny? It is that birth chemical, that film in which everything is recorded and everything is happening. Where are ‘you’ in this?

What do you mean by study? That means you are only trying to remember the concepts. What I am saying is that you become concept-free. Put an ax to the concepts, including the concept ‘I am’.

This knowledge ‘I am’ has appeared out of love and that love comes out of existence. When this knowledge has dawned on the Self it is absolutely happy but after the child is two or three years old, gradually it gets involved in ‘I’ and ‘mine’, and gradually he loses hold of the joy ‘I am’. The result of this involvement is that he comes to the conclusion that he was born and is going to die.

There is no separate God to propitiate and get things done according to our will. Without doing anything you have the knowledge ‘I am’. Immense courage, heroism and conviction that you are – that is ‘ishwara, that is you. I am giving you instructions regarding your beginningless being but you prefer to be that monkey form. You are not prepared to leave that form.

The manifestation of the dynamic immanent Spirit is in the form of the guna (quality) ‘I am’, it understands itself as ‘I am’. Then this guna involves itself in the activities in the world through the three gunas. That is the quality.

‘I am’ is a quality, an attribute, indicating beingness, but the Self is not a quality. For that Ultimate Self no worldly knowledge is necessary. Words are not called for. But for the sustenance of this beingness, these words and worldly knowledge is necessary.

You are dependant for your living on the strength of your body that it gets from the food you eat and the essence of this food and food body is this consciousness ‘I am’. Your beingness is within you not somewhere else.

In the traditional view Brahman is supposed to have created the world, Vishnu to maintain it and Shiva to destroy it. Is not this Brahman who creates the world the same as the Brahma-randhra out of which the sense of ‘I am’ comes? Who is this Brahman other than the ‘I amness’.

The sense of ‘I am’ is always there; only when it identifies with the body it is called the ego.

The message ‘I am’ does not have any form, design, or color. So long as ‘I am’is, this experience of manifestation is, once that ‘I amness’ disappears there is no experience. Once this message ‘I am’ appears in insect, animal, or human being, immediately the manifestation occurs with that beingness. Inside and outside is full of manifestation. These talks are not for general consumption, for the masses.

The message ‘I am’ has no form, it is only a food container. It is there, it has meaning, you cannot perceive it, observe it. The message ‘I am’ is time-bound. The principle to which ‘I am’ refers is beyond time, timeless, eternal.

The knowledge ‘I am’ is the same, whether it is an insect, worm, human being or an avatar (being of the highest order); the basic consciousness is the same in all of these.

There is no reason why this consciousness came about, but once it comes about, it cannot stand still, consciousness is the same as movement. That movement takes place through the three gunas, which are inherent in this knowledge ‘I am’. All movement takes place through these gunas and this consciousness keeps on humming.

Satva is only the essence of the five elements and in that is the knowledge ‘I am’. All that is still of the five elements, so how did this come about? Then my Guru told me, ‘this is what you are’, the whole story; so from my own experience I know that it is all ignorance.

My Guru pointed out to me that originally I had nothing to do with all this and all I have with which to solve this mystery of life is the knowledge ‘I am’; without that there is nothing. So I got hold of it, as my Guru told me, and then I wanted to find out how this body aspect came about without my knowledge and how alone on that any other knowledge come about, and that again is a result of five elements. Therefore, whatever anybody thinks he has is sheer ignorance, and I know it from my own experience.

If this is ignorance, then where is my beingness? My beingness is in a town which is no-town, in a place which is no-place. How did this come about? Because of this knowledge ‘I am’, which is ignorance. Maya, which came about suddenly, without my asking. Once having come about, this Maya liked what it had created and it wanted that beingness to last for all time. Maya embraced it with such fierceness, that, at any cost, it wants to prolong the existence of that beingness as long as it can.

The beingness, the ‘I am’, is merely an instrument, it is not you. It is an instrument of knowledge, and that great instrument of knowledge is called God, which is the quality of the food essence. Out of that alone you will be able to see everything else.

One who is completely rid of coming and going, and finally, one who is completely rid of one’s very own concept that ‘I am’, is completely liberated.

Brahman means the emanation of the world, simultaneously confirming that ‘I am’. In this Brahman everything is illusion, but who understands that? The principle that understands, realizes, and witnesses is the ‘Parabrahman’. Witnessing happens to the ‘Parabrahman’. In this manifest state everything is ever changing, nothing is permanent, and all is illusion.

Lee | Wed, 12/17/2008 - 17:31
george's picture

thanks

What a fascinating compilation!

Thanks for the great effort! It sheds more light on the most important concept of Maharaj.

I should put my hands on these books. I only read I Am That.

(and needless to say: thanks to Omkaradatta for always igniting and keeping warm the teachings of Maharaj here)

george | Wed, 12/17/2008 - 21:24