Chapter 100 - Abandon Memories and Expectations
Questioner: I am an American by birth and for the last one year I was staying in an Ashram in Madhya Pradesh, studying Yoga in its many aspects. We had a teacher, whose Guru, a disciple of the great Sivananda Saraswati, stays in Monghyr. I stayed at Ramanashram also. While in Bombay I went through an intensive course of Burmese meditation managed by one Goenka. Yet I have not found peace. There is an improvement in self-control and day-to-day discipline, but that is all. I cannot say exactly what caused what. I visited many holy places. How each acted on me, I cannot say.
Maharaj: Good results will come, sooner or later. At Sri Ramanashram did you get some instructions?
Q: Yes, some English people were teaching me and also an Indian follower of jnana yoga , residing there permanently, was giving me lessons.
M:What are your plans?
Q: I have to return to the States because of visa difficulties. I intend to complete my B.Sc., study Nature Cure and make it my profession.
M:A good profession, no doubt.
Q: Is there any danger in pursuing the path ofYoga at all cost?
M:Is a match-stick dangerous when the house is on fire? The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live. But if your motive is love of truth and life, you need not be afraid.
Q: I am afraid of my own mind. It is so unsteady!
M:In the mirror of your mind images appear and disappear. The mirror remains. Learn to distinguish the immovable in the movable, the unchanging in the changing, till you realise that all differences are in appearance only and oneness is a fact. This basic identity -- you may call God, or Brahman, or the matrix (Prakriti), the words matters little -- is only the realisation that all is one. Once you can say with confidence born from direct experience: '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. The senseless sorrow of mankind becomes your sole concern.
Q: So even a jnanihas his problems!
M:Yes, but they are no longer of his own creation. His suffering is not poisoned by a sense of guilt. There is nothing wrong with suffering for the sins of others. Your Christianity is based on this.
Q: Is not all suffering self-created?
M:Yes, as long as there is a separate self to create it. In the end you know that there is no sin, no guilt, no retribution, only life in its endless transformations. With the dissolution of the personal 'I' personal suffering disappears. What remains is the great sadness of compassion, the horror of the unnecessary pain.
Q: Is there anything unnecessary in the scheme of things?
M:Nothing is necessary, nothing is inevitable. Habit and passion blind and mislead. 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 directs. You need not worry about action, look after your mind and heart. Stupidity and selfishness are the only evil.
Q: What is better -- repetition of God's name, or meditation?
M:Repetition will stabilise your breath. With deep and quiet breathing vitality will improve, which will influence the brain and help the mind to grow pure and stable and fit for meditation. Without vitality little can be done, hence the importance of its protection and increase. Posture and breathing are a part of Yoga, for the body must be healthy and well under control, but too much concentration on the body defeats its own purpose, for it is the mind that is primary in the beginning. When the mind has been put to rest and disturbs no longer the inner space (chidakash), the body acquires a new meaning and its transformation becomes both necessary and possible.
Q: I have been wandering all over India, meeting many Gurus and learning in driblets several Yogas. Is it all right to have a taste of everything?
M:No, this is but an introduction. You will meet a man who will help you find your own way.
Q: I feel that the Guru of my own choice can not be my real Guru. To be real he must come unexpected and be irresistible.
M:Not to anticipate is best. The way you respond is decisive.
Q: Am I the master of my responses?
M:Discrimination and dispassion practised now will yield their fruits at the proper time. If the roots are healthy and well-watered, the fruits are sure to be sweet. Be pure, be alert, keep ready.
Q: Are austerities and penances of any use?
M:To meet all the vicissitudes of life is penance enough! You need not invent trouble. To meet cheerfully whatever life brings is all the austerity you need.
Q: What about sacrifice?
M:Share willingly and gladly all you have with whoever needs -- don't invent self-inflicted cruelties.
Q: What is self-surrender?
M:Accept what comes.
Q: I feel I am too weak to stand on my own legs. I need the holy company of a Guru and of good people. Equanimity is beyond me. To accept what comes as it comes, frightens me. I think of my returning to the States with horror.
M:Go back and make the best use of your opportunities. Get your B.Sc. degree first. You can always return to India for your Nature Cure studies.
Q: I am quite aware of the opportunities in the States. It is the loneliness that frightens me.
M:You have always the company of your own self -- you need not feel alone. Estranged from it even in India you will feel lonely. All happiness comes from pleasing the self. Please it, after return to the States, do nothing that may be unworthy of the glorious reality within your heart and you shall be happy and remain happy. But you must seek the self and, having found it, stay with it.
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 solitude, 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.
Q: Is there no way of making out who is realised and who is not?
M:Your only proof is in yourself. If you find that you turn to gold, it will be a sign that you have touched the philosopher's stone. Stay with the person and watch what happens to you. Don't ask others. Their man may not be your Guru. A Guru may be universal in his essence, but not in his expressions. He may appear to be angry or greedy or over-anxious about his Ashram or his family, and you may be misled by appearances, while others are not.
Q: Have I not the right to expect all-round perfection, both inner and outer?
M:Inner --- yes. But outer perfection depends on circumstances, on the state of the body, personal and social, and other innumerable factors.
Q: I was told to find a jnaniso that I may learn from him the art of achieving jnanaand now I am told that the entire approach is false, that I cannot make out a jnani , nor can jnanabe conquered by appropriate means. It is all so confusing!
M:It is all due to your complete misunderstanding of reality. Your mind is steeped in the habits of evaluation and acquisition and will not admit that the incomparable and unobtainable are waiting timelessly within your own heart for recognition. All you have to do is to abandon all memories and expectations. Just keep yourself ready in utter nakedness and nothingness.
Q: Who is to do the abandoning?
M:God will do it. Just see the need of being abandoned. Don't resist, don't hold on to the person you take yourself to be. Because you imagine yourself to be a person you take the jnanito 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: Discovery of what?
M:Of the centre of your being, which is free of all directions, all means and ends.
Q: Be all, know all, have all?
M:Be nothing, know nothing, have nothing. This is the only life worth living, the only happiness worth having.
Q: I may admit that the goal is beyond my comprehension. Let me know the way at least.
M:You must find your own way. Unless you find it yourself it will not be your own way and will take you nowhere. Earnestly live your truth as you have found it -- act on the little you have understood. It is earnestness that will take you through, not cleverness -- your own or another's.
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.
Q: I don't know any better.
M:At least that much you know. Knowing them to be superficial, give no value to your experiences, forget them as soon as they are over. Live a clean, selfless life, that is all.
Q: Is morality so important?
M:Don't cheat, don't hurt -- is it not important? Above all you need inner peace -- which demands harmony between the inner and the outer. Do what you believe in and believe in what you do. All else is a waste of energy and time.
Chapter1 - Foreword
Chapter2 - Who is Nisargadatta Maharaj?
Chapter3 - Translators Note
Chapter4 - Editors Note
Chapter5 - The Sense of ‘I am’
Chapter6 - Obsession with the body
Chapter7 - The Living Present
Chapter8 - Real World is Beyond the Mind
Chapter9 - What is Born must Die
Chapter10 - Meditation
Chapter11 - The Mind
Chapter12 - The Self Stands Beyond Mind
Chapter13 - Responses of Memory
Chapter14 - Witnessing
Chapter15 - Awareness and Consciousness
Chapter16 - The Person is not Reality
Chapter17 - The Supreme, the Mind and the Body
Chapter18 - Appearances and the Reality
Chapter19 - The Jnani
Chapter20 - Desirelessness, the Highest Bliss
Chapter21 - The Ever-Present
Chapter22 - To Know What you Are, Find What you Are Not
Chapter23 - Reality lies in Objectivity
Chapter24 - The Supreme is Beyond All
Chapter25 - Who am I?
Chapter26 - Life is Love and Love is Life
Chapter27 - Discrimination leads to Detachment
Chapter28 - God is the All-doer, the Jnani a Non-doer
Chapter29 - Hold on to ‘I am’
Chapter30 - Personality, an Obstacle
Chapter31 - The Beginningless Begins Forever
Chapter32 - All Suffering is Born of Desire
Chapter33 - Living is Life’s only Purpose
Chapter34 - You are Free NOW
Chapter35 - Do not Undervalue Attention
Chapter36 - Life is the Supreme Guru
Chapter37 - Everything Happens by Itself
Chapter38 - Mind is restlessness Itself
Chapter39 - Greatest Guru is Your Inner Self
Chapter40 - Killing Hurts the Killer, not the Killed
Chapter41 - Beyond Pain and Pleasure there is Bliss
Chapter42 - Spiritual Practice is Will Asserted and Re-asserted
Chapter43 - By Itself Nothing has Existence
Chapter44 - Only the Self is Real
Chapter45 - Develop the Witness Attitude
Chapter46 - Reality can not be Expressed
Chapter47 - Ignorance can be Recognised, not Jnana
Chapter48 - &39;I am&39; is True, all else is Inference
Chapter49 - What Comes and Goes has no Being
Chapter50 - Awareness of Being is Bliss
Chapter51 - Watch Your Mind
Chapter52 - Awareness is Free
Chapter53 - Mind Causes Insecurity
Chapter54 - Self-awareness is the Witness
Chapter55 - Be Indifferent to Pain and Pleasure
Chapter56 - Being Happy, Making Happy is the Rhythm of Life
Chapter57 - Desires Fulfilled, Breed More Desires
Chapter58 - Body and Mind are Symptoms of Ignorance
Chapter59 - Give up All and You Gain All
Chapter60 - Consciousness Arising, World Arises
Chapter61 - Beyond Mind there is no Suffering
Chapter62 - Perfection, Destiny of All
Chapter63 - Desire and Fear: Self-centred States
Chapter64 - Live Facts, not Fancies
Chapter65 - Matter is Consciousness Itself
Chapter66 - In the Supreme the Witness Appears
Chapter67 - Notion of Doership is Bondage
Chapter68 - Whatever pleases you, Keeps you Back
Chapter69 - A Quiet Mind is All You Need
Chapter70 - All Search for Happiness is Misery
Chapter71 - Experience is not the Real Thing
Chapter72 - Seek the Source of Consciousness
Chapter73 - Transiency is Proof of Unreality
Chapter74 - God is the End of All Desire and Knowledge
Chapter75 - In Self-awareness you Learn about Yourself
Chapter76 - What is Pure, Unalloyed, Unattached is Real
Chapter77 - Death of the Mind is Birth of Wisdom
Chapter78 - Truth is Here and Now
Chapter79 - In Peace and Silence you Grow
Chapter80 - To Know that You do not Know, is True Knowledge
Chapter81 - &39;I&39; and &39;Mine&39; are False Ideas
Chapter82 - All Knowledge is Ignorance
Chapter83 - Person, Witness and the Supreme
Chapter84 - Awareness
Chapter85 - Root Cause of Fear
Chapter86 - Absolute Perfection is Here and Now
Chapter87 - The True Guru
Chapter88 - Your Goal is Your Guru
Chapter89 - ‘I am’: The Foundation of all Experience
Chapter90 - The Unknown is the Home of the Real
Chapter91 - Keep the Mind Silent and You shall Discover
Chapter92 - Knowledge by the Mind, is not True Knowledge
Chapter93 - Progress in Spiritual Life
Chapter94 - Surrender to Your Own Self
Chapter95 - Pleasure and Happiness
Chapter96 - Go Beyond the l-am-the-body Idea
Chapter97 - Man is not the Doer
Chapter98 - You are Beyond Space and Time
Chapter99 - Accept Life as it Comes
Chapter100 - Abandon Memories and Expectations
Chapter101 - Mind and the World are not Separate
Chapter102 - Freedom from Self-identification
Chapter103 - The Perceived can not be the Perceiver
Chapter104 - Understanding leads to Freedom
Chapter105 - Jnani does not Grasp, nor Hold
Chapter106 - Appendix-1: Nisarga Yoga
Chapter107 - Appendix-2: Navnath Sampradaya