I Am That

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Questioner: How does the jnaniproceed when he needs something to be done? Does he make plans, decide about details and execute them?

Maharaj: Jnani 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 jnani’sidentity 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 cognised, events will move in adequate response. The ordinary man is personally concerned, he counts his risks and chances, while the jnaniremains 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; as it is, as it could be, as it should be. All attributes are personal. The real is beyond all attributes.

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, appears 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, because past and future are only in the mind. ‘Being' applies to the now only.

Q: Is not eternity endless too?

M:Time is endless, though limited, eternity is In the split moment 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.

Q: Is such concentration at all possible?

M:Try. One step at a time is easy. Energy flows from earnestness.

Q: I find I am not earnest enough.

M:Self-betrayal is a grievous matter. It rots the mind like cancer. The remedy lies in clarity and integrity of thinking. Try to understand that you live in a world of illusions, examine them and uncover their roots. The very attempt to do so will make you earnest, for there is bliss in right endeavour.


Q: Where will it lead me?

M:Where can it lead you if not to its own perfection? Once you are well-established in the now, you have nowhere else to go what you are timelessly, you express eternally.

Q: Are you one or many?

M:I am one, but appear as many.

Q: Why does one appear at all?

M:It is good to be, and to be conscious.

Q: Life is sad.

M:Ignorance causes sorrow. Happiness follows understanding.

Q: Why should ignorance be painful?

M:It is at the root of all desire and fear, which are painful states and the source of endless errors.

Q: I have seen people supposed to have realised, laughing and crying. Does it not show that they are not free of desire and fear?

M:They may laugh and cry according to circumstances, but inwardly they are cool and clear, watching detachedly their own spontaneous reactions. Appearances are misleading and more so in the case of a jnani .

Q: I do not understand you.

M:The mind cannot understand, for the mind is trained for grasping and holding while the jnaniis not-grasping and not holding.

Q: What am I holding on to, which you do not?

M:You are a creature of memories; at least you imagine yourself to be so. I am entirely unimagined. I am what I am, not identifiable with any physical or mental state.

Q: An accident would destroy your equanimity.

M:The strange fact is that it does not. To my own surprise, I remain as I am -- pure awareness, alert to all that happens.


Q: Even at the Moment of death?

M:What is it to me that the body dies?

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: The only difference between us seems to be that while I keep on saying that I do not know my real self, you maintain that you know it well; is there any other difference between us?

M:There is no difference between us; nor can I say that I know myself, I know that I am not describable nor definable. There is a vastness beyond the farthest reaches of the mind. That vastness is my home; that vastness is myself. And that vastness is also love.

Q: You see love everywhere, while I see hatred and suffering. The history of humanity is the history of murder, individual and collective. No other living being so delights in killing.

M:If you go into the motives, you will find love, love of oneself and of one's own. People fight for what they imagine they love.

Q: Surely their love must be real enough when they are ready to die for it.

M:Love is boundless. What is limited to a few cannot be called love.

Q: Do you know such unlimited love?

M:Yes, l do.

Q: How does it feel?

M:All is loved and lovable. Nothing is excluded.

Q: Not even the ugly and the criminal?

M:All is within my consciousness; all is my own. It is madness to split oneself through likes and dislikes. I am beyond both. I am not alienated.

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-embracing love.


Q: One has such moments when the mind becomes a flower and a flame, but they do not last and the life reverts to its daily greyness.

M:Discontinuity is the law, when you deal with the concrete: The continuous cannot be experienced, for it has no borders. Consciousness implies alterations, change followings change, when one thing or state comes to an end and another begins; that which has no borderline cannot be experienced in the common meaning of the word. One can only be it, without knowing, but one can know what it is not. It is definitely not the entire content of consciousness which is always on the move.

Q: If the immovable cannot be known, what is the meaning and purpose of its realisation?

M:To realise the immovable means to become immovable. And the purpose is the good of all that lives.

Q: Life is movement. Immobility is death. Of what use is death to life?

M:I am talking of immovability, not of immobility. You become immovable in reticence. You become a power which gets all things right. It may or may not imply intense outward activity, but the mind remains deep and quiet.

Q: As I watch my mind I find it changing all the time, mood succeeding mood in infinite variety, while you seem to be perpetually 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 consciousness. When you reach the deep layers of your true being, you will find that the mind's surface-play affects you very little.

Q: There will be play all the same?

M:A quiet mind is not a dead mind.

Q: Consciousness is always in movement -- it is an observable fact. Immovable consciousness is a contradiction. When you talk of a quiet mind, what is it? Is not mind the same as consciousness?

M:We must remember that words are used in many ways, according to the context. The fact is that there is little difference between the conscious and the unconscious --- they are essentially the same. 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 consciousness, while awareness appears as the witness. The witness usually knows only consciousness. Sadhana consists in the witness turning back first on his conscious, then upon himself in his own awareness. Self-awareness is Yoga.

Q: If awareness is all-pervading, then a blind man, once realised, can see?

M:You are mixing sensation with awareness. The jnaniknows himself as he is. He is also aware of his body being crippled and his mind being deprived of a range of sensory perceptions. But he is not affected by the availability of eyesight, nor by its absence.


Q: My question is more specific; when a blind man becomes a jnaniwill his eyesight be restored to him or not?

M:Unless his eyes and brain undergo a renovation, how can he see?

Q: But will they undergo a renovation?

M:They may or may not. It all depends on destiny and grace. But a jnanicommands a mode of spontaneous, non-sensory perception, which makes him know things directly, without the intermediary of the senses. He is beyond the perceptual and the conceptual, beyond the categories of time and space, name and shape. He is neither the perceived nor the perceiver, but the simple and the universal factor that makes perceiving possible. Reality is within consciousness, but it is not consciousness nor any of its contents.

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?

Q: Am I so hopelessly lonely?

M:You are. as a person. In your real being vow are the whole.

Q: Are you a part of the world which I have in consciousness, or are you independent?

M:What you see is yours and what I see is mine. The two have little in common.

Q: There must be some common factor which unites us.

M:To find the common factor you must abandon all distinctions. Only the universal is in common.

Q: What strikes me as exceedingly strange is that while you say that I am merely a product of my memories and woefully limited, I create a vast and rich world in which. everything is contained, including you and your teaching. How this vastness is created and contained in my smallness is what I find hard to understand. May be you are giving me the whole truth, but I am grasping only a small part of it.

M:Yet, it is a fact -- the small projects the whole, but it cannot contain the whole. However great and complete is your world it is self-contradictory and transitory and altogether illusory.


Q: It may be illusory yet it is marvellous. When I look and listen, touch, smell and taste, think and feel, remember and imagine, I cannot but be astonished at my miraculous creativity. I look through a microscope or telescope and see wonders, I follow the track of an atom and hear the whisper of the stars. If I am the sole creator of all this, then I am God indeed! But if I am God, why do I appear so small and helpless to myself?

M:You are God, but you do not know it.

Q: If I am God, then the world I create must be true.

M:It is true in essence, but not in appearance. Be free of desires and fears and at once your vision will clear and you shall see all things as they are. Or, you may say that the satoguna creates the world, the tamoguna obscures it and the rajoguna distorts.

Q: This does not tell me much, because if I ask what are the gunas, the answer will be: what creates -- what obscures -- what distorts. The fact remains -- something unbelievable happened to me, and I do not understand what has happened, how and why.

M:Well, wonder is the dawn of wisdom. To be steadily and consistently wondering is sadhana.

Q: I am in a world which I do not understand and therefore, I am afraid of it. This is everybody's experience.

M:You have separated yourself from the world, therefore it pains and frightens you. Discover your mistake and be free of fear.

Q: You are asking me to give up the world, while I want to be happy in the world.

M:If you ask for the impossible, who can help you? The limited is bound to be painful and pleasant in turns. 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 understanding which comes with alert perceptivity, eager enquiry and deep investigation. You must work relentlessly for your salvation from sin and sorrow.

Q: What is sin?

M:All that binds you.