Nisargadatta on attachment and awakening

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Nisargadatta Maharaj: It is ignorance of yourself that makes you afraid and also unaware that you are afraid. Don't try not to be afraid. Break down the wall of ignorance first.

People are afraid to die, because they do not know what is death. The jnani has died before his death, he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being, you are afraid of nothing. Death gives freedom and power. To be free in the world, you must die to the world. Then the universe is your own, it becomes your body, an expression and a tool. The happiness of being absolutely free is beyond description. On the other hand, he who is afraid of freedom cannot die.

Questioner: You mean that one who cannot die, cannot live?

NM: Put it as you like; attachment is bondage, detachment is freedom. To crave is to slave.

Q: Does it follow that if you are saved, the world is saved?

NM: As a whole the world does not need saving. Man makes mistakes and creates sorrow; when it enters the field of awareness, the consciousness of a jnani, it is set right. Such is his nature.

Q: We can observe what may be called spiritual progress. A selfish man turns religious, controls himself, refines his thoughts and feelings, takes to spiritual practice, realises his true being. Is such progress ruled by causality, or is it accidental?

NM: From my point of view everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously. But man imagines that he works for an incentive, towards a goal. He has always a reward in mind and strives for it.

Q: A crude, unevolved man will not work without a reward. Is it not right to offer him incentives?

NM: He will create for himself incentives anyhow. He does not know that to grow is in the nature of consciousness. He will progress from motive to motive and will chase Gurus for the fulfilment of his desires. When by the laws of his being he finds the way of return (nivritti) he abandons all motives, for his interest in the world is over. He wants nothing -- neither from others nor from himself. He dies to all and becomes the All. To want nothing and do nothing -- that is true creation! To watch the universe emerging and subsiding in one's heart is a wonder.

Q: The great obstacle to inner effort is boredom. The disciple gets bored.

NM: Inertia and restlessness (tamas and rajas) work together and keep clarity and harmony (sattva) down. Tamas and Rajas must be conquered before Sattva can appear. It will all come in due course, quite spontaneously.

Q: Is there no need of effort then?

NM: When effort is needed, effort will appear. When effortlessness becomes essential, it will assert itself. You need not push life about. Just flow with it and give yourself completely to the task of the present moment, which is the dying now to the now. For living is dying. Without death life cannot be.

Get hold of the main thing that the world and the self are one and perfect. Only your attitude is faulty and needs readjustment.

This process or readjustment is what you call sadhana. You come to it by putting an end to indolence and using all your energy to clear the way for clarity and charity. But in reality, these all are signs of inevitable growth. Don't be afraid, don't resist, don't delay. Be what you are. There is nothing to be afraid of. Trust and try. Experiment honestly. Give your real being a chance to shape your life. You will not regret.