Chapter 35 - Do not Undervalue Attention
Questioner: As I look at you, you seem to be a poor man with very limited means, facing all the problems of poverty and old age, like everybody else.
Maharaj: Were I very rich, what difference would it make? I am what I am. What else can I be? I am neither rich nor poor, I am myself.
Q: Yet, you are experiencing pleasure and pain.
M:I am experiencing these in consciousness, but I am neither consciousness, nor its content.
Q: You say that in our real being we are all equal. How is it that your experience is so different from ours.
M:My actual experience is not different. It is my evaluation and attitude that differ. I see the same world as you do, but not the same way. There is nothing mysterious about it. Everybody sees the world through the idea he has of himself. As you think yourself to be, so you think the world to be. If you imagine yourself as separate from the world, the world will appear as separate from you and you will experience desire and fear. I do not see the world as separate from me and so there is nothing for me to desire, or fear.
Q: You are a point of light in the world. Not everybody is.
M:There is absolutely no difference between me and others, except in my knowing myself as I am. I am all. I know it for certain and you do not.
Q: So we differ all the same.
M:No, we do not. The difference is only in the mind and temporary. I was like you, you will be like me.
Q: God made a most diversified world.
M:The diversity is in you only. See yourself as you are and you will see the world as it is -- a single block of reality, indivisible, indescribable. Your own creative power projects upon it a picture and all your questions refer to the picture.
Q: A TibetanYogi wrote that God creates the world for a purpose and runs it according to a plan. The purpose is good and the plan is most wise.
M:All this is temporary, while I am dealing with the eternal. Gods and their universes come and go, avatars follow each other in endless succession, and in the end we are back at the source. I talk only of the timeless source of all the gods with all their universes, past, present and future.
Q: Do you know them all? Do you remember them?
M:When a few boys stage a play for fun, what is there to see and to remember?
Q: Why is half humanity male and half female?
M:For their happiness. The impersonal (avyakta) becomes the personal (vyakta) for the sake of happiness in relationship. By the grace of my Guru I can look with equal eye on the impersonal as well as the personal. Both are one to me. In life the personal merges in the impersonal.
Q: How does the personal emerge from the impersonal?
M:The two are but aspects of one Reality. It is not correct to talk of one preceding the other. All these ideas belong to the waking state.
Q: What brings in the waking state?
M:At the root of all creation lies desire. Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other. The fourth state (turiya) is a state of pure witnessing, detached awareness, passionless and wordless. It is like space, unaffected by whatever it contains. Bodily and mental troubles do not reach it -- they are outside, 'there', while the witness is always 'here'.
Q: What is real, the subjective or the objective? I am inclined to believe that the objective universe is the real one and my subjective psyche is changeful and transient. You seem to claim reality for your inner, subjective states and deny all reality to the concrete, external world.
M:Both the subjective and the objective are changeful and transient. There is nothing real about them. Find the permanent in the fleeting, the one constant factor in every experience.
Q: What is this constant factor?
M:My giving it various names and pointing it out in many ways will not help you much, unless you have the capacity to see. A dim-sighted man will not see the parrot on the branch of a tree, however much you may prompt him to look. At best he will see your pointed finger. First purify your vision, learn to see instead of staring, and you will perceive the parrot. Also you must be eager to see. You need both clarity and earnestness for self-knowledge. You need maturity of heart and mind, which comes through earnest application in daily life of whatever little you have understood. There is no such thing as compromise in Yoga.
If you want to sin, sin wholeheartedly and openly. Sins too have their lessons to teach the earnest sinner, as virtues -- the earnest saint. It is the mixing up the two that is so disastrous. Nothing can block you so effectively as compromise, for it shows lack of earnestness, without which nothing can be done.
Q: I approve of austerity, but in practice I am all for luxury. The habit of chasing pleasure and shunning pain is so ingrained in me, that all my good intentions, quite alive on the level of theory, find no roots in my day-to-day life. To tell me that I am not honest does not help me, for I just do not know how to make myself honest.
M:You are neither honest nor dishonest -- giving names to mental states is good only for expressing your approval or disapproval. The problem is not yours -- it is your mind's only. Begin by disassociating yourself from your mind. Resolutely remind yourself that you are not the mind and that its problems are not yours.
Q: I may go on telling myself: 'I am not the mind, I am not concerned with its problems,' but the mind remains and its problems remain just as they were. Now, please do not tell me that it is because I am not earnest enough and I should be more earnest! I know it and admit it and only ask you -- how is it done?
M:At least you are asking! Good enough, for a start. Go on pondering, wondering, being anxious to find a way. Be conscious of yourself, watch your mind, give it your full attention. Don't look for quick results; there may be none within your noticing. Unknown to you, your psyche will undergo a change, there will be more clarity in your thinking, charity in your feeling, purity in your behaviour. You need not aim at these -- you will witness the change all the same. For, what you are now is the result of inattention and what you become will be the fruit of attention.
Q: Why should mere attention make all the difference?
M:So far your life was dark and restless (tamas and rajas). Attention, alertness, awareness, clarity, liveliness, vitality, are all manifestations of integrity, oneness with your true nature (sattva). It is in the nature of sattva to reconcile and neutralise tamas and rajas and rebuild the personality in accordance with the true nature of the self. Sattva is the faithful servant of the self; ever attentive and obedient.
Q: And I shall come to it through mere attention?
M:Do not undervalue attention. It means interest and also love. To know, to do, to discover, or to create you must give your heart to it -- which means attention. All the blessings flow from it.
Q: You advise us to concentrate on 'I am'. Is this too a form of attention?
M:What else? Give your undivided attention to the most important in your life -- yourself. Of your personal universe you are the centre -- without knowing the centre what else can you know?
Q: But how can I know myself? To know myself I must be away from myself. But what is away from myself cannot be myself. So, it looks that I cannot know myself, only what I take to be myself.
M:Quite right. As you cannot see your face, but only its reflection in the mirror, so you can know only your image reflected in the stainless mirror of pure awareness.
Q: How am I to get such stainless mirror?
M:Obviously, by removing stains. See the stains and remove them. The ancient teaching is fully valid.
Q: What is seeing and what is removing?
M:The nature of the perfect mirror is such that you cannot see it. Whatever you can see is bound to be a stain. Turn away from it, give it up, know it as unwanted.
Q: All perceivables, are they stains?
M:All are stains.
Q: The entire world is a stain.
M:Yes, it is.
Q: How awful! So, the universe is of no value?
M:It is of tremendous value. By going beyond it you realise yourself.
Q: But why did it come into being in the first instance?
M:You will know it when it ends.
Q: Will it ever end?
M:Yes, for you.
Q: When did it begin?
Q: When will it end?
Q: It does not end now?
M:You don't let it.
Q: I want to let it.
M:You don't. All your life is connected with it. Your past and future, your desires and fears, all have their roots in the world. Without the world where are you, who are you?
Q: But that is exactly what I came to find out.
M:. And I am telling you exactly this: find a foothold beyond and all will be clear and easy.
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