Questioner: I have noticed a new self emerging in me, independent of the old self. They somehow co-exist. The old self goes on its habitual ways; the new lets the old be, but does not identify itself with it.
Maharaj: What is the main difference between the old self and the new?
Q: The old self wants everything defined and explained. It wants things to fit each other verbally. The new does not care for verbal explanations -- it accepts things as they are and does not seek to relate them to things remembered.
M:Are you fully and constantly aware of the difference between the habitual and the spiritual. What is the attitude of the new self to the old?
Q: The new just looks at the old. It is neither friendly nor inimical. It just accepts the old self along with everything else. It does not deny its being, but does not accept its value and validity.
M:The new is the total denial of the old. The permissive new is not really new. It is but a new attitude of the old. The really new obliterates the old completely. The two cannot be together. Is there a process of self-denudation, a constant refusal to accept the old ideas and values, or is there just a mutual tolerance? What is their relation?
Q: There is no particular relation. They co-exist.
M:When you talk of the old self and new, whom do you have in mind? As there is continuity in memory between the two, each remembering the other, how can you speak of two selves?
Q: One is a slave to habits, the other is not. One conceptualises, the other is free from all ideas.
M:Why two selves? Between the bound and the free there can be no relationship. The very fact of co-existence proves their basic unity. There is but one self -- it is always now. What you call the other self -- old or new -- is but a modality, another aspect of the one self. The self is single. You are that self and you have ideas of what you have been or will be. But an idea is not the self. Just now, as you are sitting in front of me, which self are you? The old or the new?
Q: The two are in conflict.
M:How can there be conflict between what is and what is not? Conflict is the characteristic of the old. When the new emerges the old is no longer. You cannot speak of the new and the conflict in the same breath. Even the effort of striving for the new self is of the old. Wherever there is conflict, effort, struggle, striving, longing for a change, the new is not. To what extent are you free from the habitual tendency to create and perpetuate conflicts?
Q: I cannot say that I am now a different man. But I did discover new things about myself, states so unlike what I knew before that I feel justified in calling them new.
M:The old self is your own self. The state which sprouts suddenly and without cause, carries no stain of self; you may call it 'god'. What is seedless and rootless, what does not sprout and grow, flower and fruit, what comes into being suddenly and in full glory, mysteriously and marvellously, you may call that 'god'. It is entirely unexpected yet inevitable, infinitely familiar yet most surprising, beyond all hope yet absolutely certain. Because it is without cause, it is without hindrance. It obeys one law only; the law of freedom. Anything that implies a continuity, a sequence, a passing from stage to stage cannot be the real. There is no progress in reality, it is final, perfect, unrelated.
Q: How can I bring it about?
M:You can do nothing to bring it about, but you can avoid creating obstacles. Watch your mind, how it comes into being, how it operates. As you watch your mind, you discover your self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown is the source of knowledge. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there. It is not in the sky nor in the all-pervading ether. God is all that is great and wonderful; I am nothing, have nothing, can do nothing. Yet all comes out of me -- the source is me; the root, the origin is me.
When reality explodes in you, you may call it experience of God. Or, rather, it is God experiencing you. God knows you when you know yourself. Reality is not the result of a process; it is an explosion. It is definitely beyond the mind, but all you can do is to know your mind well. Not that the mind will help you, but by knowing your mind you may avoid your mind disabling you. You have to be very alert, or else your mind will play false with you. It is like watching a thief -- not that you expect anything from a thief, but you do not want to be robbed. In the same way you give a lot of attention to the mind without expecting anything from it.
Or, take another example. We wake and we sleep. After a day's work sleep comes. Now, do I go to sleep or does inadvertence -- characteristic of the sleeping state -- come to me? In other words -- we are awake because we are asleep. We do not wake up into a really waking state. In the waking state the world emerges due to ignorance and takes one into a waking-dream state. Both sleep and waking are misnomers. We are only dreaming. True waking and true sleeping only the jnaniknows. We dream that we are awake, we dream that we are asleep. The three states are only varieties of the dream state. Treating everything as a dream liberates. As long as you give reality to dreams, you are their slave. By imagining that you are born as so-and-so, you become a slave to the so-and- so. The essence of slavery is to imagine yourself to be a process, to have past and future, to have history. In fact, we have no history, we are not a process, we do not develop, nor decay; also see all as a dream and stay out of it.
Q: What benefit do I derive from listening to you?
M:I am calling you back to yourself. All I ask you is to look at yourself, towards yourself, into yourself.
Q: To what purpose?
M:You live, you feel, you think. By giving attention to your living, feeling and thinking, you free yourself from them and go beyond them. Your personality dissolves and only the witness remains. Then you go beyond the witness. Do not ask how it happens. Just search within yourself.
Q: What makes the difference between the person and the witness?
M:Both are modes of consciousness. In one you desire and fear, in the other you are unaffected by pleasure and pain and are not ruffled by events. You let them come and go.
Q: How does one get established in the higher state, the state of pure witnessing?
M:Consciousness does not shine by itself. It shines by a light beyond it. Having seen the dreamlike quality of consciousness, look for the light in which it appears, which gives it being. There is the content of consciousness as well as the awareness of it.
Q: I know and I know that I know.
M:Quite so, provided the second knowledge is unconditional and timeless. Forget the known, but remember that you are the knower. Don't be all the time immersed in your experiences. Remember that you are beyond the experience ever unborn and deathless. In remembering it, the quality of pure knowledge will emerge, the light of unconditional awareness.
Q: At what point does one experience reality?
M:Experience is of change, it comes and goes. Reality is not an event, it cannot be experienced. It is not perceivable in the same way as an event is perceivable. If you wait for an event to take place, for the coming of reality, you will wait for ever, for reality neither comes nor goes. It is to be perceived, not expected. It is not to be prepared for and anticipated. But the very longing and search for reality is the movement, operation, action of reality. All you can do is to grasp the central point, that reality is not an event and does not happen and whatever happens, whatever comes and goes, is not reality. See the event as event only, the transient as transient, experience as mere experience and you have done all you can. Then you are vulnerable to reality, no longer armoured against it, as you were when you gave reality to events and experiences. But as soon as there is some like or dislike, you have drawn a screen.
Q: Would you say that reality expresses itself in action rather than in knowledge? Or, is it a feeling of sorts?
M:Neither action, nor feeling, nor thought express reality. There is no such thing as an expression of reality. You are introducing a duality where there is none. Only reality is, there is nothing else. The three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping are not me and I am not in them. When I die, the world will say -- 'Oh, Maharaj is dead!' But to me these are words without content; they have no meaning. When the worship is done before the image of the Guru, all takes place as if he wakes and bathes and eats and rests, and goes for a stroll and returns, blesses all and goes to sleep. All is attended to in minutest details and yet there is a sense of unreality about it all. So is the case with me. All happens as it needs, yet nothing happens. I do what seems to be necessary, but at the same time I know that nothing is necessary, that life itself is only a make-belief.
Q: Why then live at all? Why all this unnecessary coming and going, waking and sleeping, eating and digesting?
M:Nothing is done by me, everything just happens I do not expect, I do not plan, I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.
Q: Were you always like this from the first moment of enlightenment?
M:The three states rotate as usual -- there is waking and sleeping and waking again, but they do not happen to me. They just happen. To me nothing ever happens. There is something changeless, motionless, immovable, rocklike, unassailable; a solid mass of pure being-consciousness-bliss. I am never out of it. Nothing can take me out of it, no torture, no calamity.
Q: Yet, you are conscious!
M:Yes and no. There is peace -- deep, immense, unshakeable. Events are registered in memory, but are of no importance. I am hardly aware of them.
Q: If I understand you rightly, this state did not come by cultivation.
M:There was no coming. It was so -- always. There was discovery and it was sudden. Just as at birth you discover the world suddenly, as suddenly I discovered my real being.
Q: Was it clouded over and your sadhana dissolved the mist? When your true state became clear to you, did it remain clear, or did it get obscured again? Is your condition permanent or intermittent?
M:Absolutely steady. Whatever I may do, it stays like a rock -- motionless. Once you have awakened into reality, you stay in it. A child does not return to the womb! It is a simple state, smaller than the smallest, bigger than the biggest. It is self-evident and yet beyond description.
Q: Is there a way to it?
M:Everything can become a way, provided you are interested. Just puzzling over my words and trying to grasp their full meaning is a sadhana quite sufficient for breaking down the wall. Nothing troubles me. I offer no resistance to trouble -- therefore it does not stay with me. On your side there is so much trouble. On mine there is no trouble at all. Come to my side. You are trouble-prone. I am immune. Anything may happen -- what is needed is sincere interest. Earnestness does it.
Q: Can I do it?
M:Of course. You are quite capable of crossing over. Only be sincere.