Chapter 44 - Only the Self is Real
Maharaj: The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is, and yet is not. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It just happens when we are absent-minded. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it, nor meaning. Only the onlooker is real. Call him Self or Atma. To the Self the world is but a colourful show, which he enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over. Whatever happens on the stage makes him shudder in terror or roll with laughter, yet all the time he is aware that it is but a show. Without desire or fear he enjoys it, as it happens.
Questioner: The person immersed in the world has a life of many flavours. He weeps, he laughs, loves and hates, desires and fears, suffers and rejoices. The desireless and fearless jnani , what life has he? Is he not left high and dry in his aloofness?
M:His state is not so desolate. It tastes of the pure, uncaused, undiluted bliss. He is happy and fully aware that happiness is his very nature and that he need not do anything, nor strive for anything to secure it. It follows him, more real than the body, nearer than the mind itself. You imagine that without cause there can be no happiness. To me dependence on anything for happiness is utter misery. Pleasure and pain have causes, while my state is my own, totally uncaused, independent, unassailable.
Q: Like a play on the stage?
M:The play was written, planned and rehearsed. The world just spouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing.
Q: Is there no creator? Was not the world in the mind of Brahma, before it was created?
M:As long as you are outside my state, you will have Creators, Preservers and Destroyers, but once with me you will know the Self only and see yourself in all.
Q: You function nevertheless.
M:When you are giddy, you see the world running circles round you. Obsessed with the idea of means and end, of work and purpose, you see me apparently functioning. In reality I only look. Whatever is done, is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow life and death, they all are real to the man in bondage; to me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.
I may perceive the world just like you, but you believe to be in it, while I see it as an iridescent drop in the vast expanse of consciousness.
Q: We are all getting old. Old age is not pleasant -- all aches and pains, weakness and the approaching end. How does a jnanifeel as an old man? How does his inner self look at his own senility.
M:As he gets older he grows more and more happy and peaceful. After all, he is going home. Like a traveller nearing his destination and collecting his luggage, he leaves the train without regret.
Q: Surely there is a contradiction. We are told the jnaniis beyond all change. His happiness neither grows nor wanes. How can he grow happier because older, and that in spite of physical weakness and so on?
M:There is no contradiction. The reel of destiny is coming to its end -- the mind is happy. The mist of bodily existence is lifting -- the burden of the body is growing less from day to day.
Q: Let us say, the jnaniis ill. He has caught some flu and every joint aches and burns. What is his state of mind?
M:Every sensation is contemplated in perfect equanimity. There is no desire for it, nor refusal. It is as it is and then he looks at it with a smile of affectionate detachment.
Q: He may be detached from his own suffering, but still it is there.
M:It is there, but it does not matter. Whatever state I am in, I see it as a state of mind to be accepted as it is.
Q: Pain is pain. You experience It all the same.
M:He who experiences the body, experiences its pains and pleasures. I am neither the body, nor the experiencer of the body.
Q: Let us say you are twenty-five years old. Your marriage is arranged and performed, and the household duties crowd upon you. How would you feel?
M:Just as I feel now. You keep on insisting that my inner state is moulded by outer events. It is just not so. Whatever happens, I remain. At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its very nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time -- effortlessly and spontaneously. As long as it is merely aware there are no problems. But when the discriminative mind comes into being and creates distinctions, pleasure and pain arise. During sleep the mind is in abeyance and so are pain and pleasure. The process of, creation continues, but no notice is taken. The mind is a form of consciousness, and consciousness is an aspect of life. Life creates everything but the Supreme is beyond all.
Q: The Supreme is the master and consciousness -- his servant.
M:The master is in consciousness, not beyond it. In terms of consciousness the Supreme is both creation and dissolution, concretion and abstraction, the focal and the universal. It is also neither. Words do not reach there, nor mind.
Q: The jnaniseems to be a very lonely being, all by himself.
M:He is alone, but he is all. He is not even a being. He is the beingness of all beings. Not even that. No words apply. He is what he is, the ground from which all grows.
Q: Are you not afraid to die?
M:I shall tell you how my Guru's Guru died. After announcing that his end was nearing, he stopped eating, without changing the routine of his daily life. On the eleventh day, at prayer time he was singing and clapping vigorously and suddenly died! Just like that, between two movements, like a blown out candle. Everybody dies as he lives. I am not afraid of death, because I am not afraid of life. I live a happy life and shall die a happy death. Misery is to be born, not to die. All depends how you look at it.
Q: There can be no evidence of your state. All I know about it is what you say. All I see is a very interesting old man.
M:You are the interesting old man, not me! I was never born. How can I grow old? What I appear to be to you exists only in your mind. I am not concerned with it.
Q: Even as a dream you are a most unusual dream.
M:I am a dream that can wake you up. You will have the proof of it in your very waking up.
Q: Imagine, news reach you that I have died. Somebody tells you: 'You know so-and-so? He died'. What would be your reaction?
M:I would be very happy to have you back home. Really glad to see you out of this foolishness.
Q: Which foolishness?
M:Of thinking that you were born and will die, that you are a body displaying a mind and all such nonsense. In my world nobody is born and nobody dies. Some people go on a journey and come back, some never leave. What difference does it make since they travel in dream lands, each wrapped up in his own dream. Only the waking up is important. It is enough to know the 'I am' as reality and also love.
Q: My approach is not so absolute, hence my question. Throughout the West people are in search of something real. They turn to science, which tells them a lot about matter, a little about the mind and nothing about the nature and purpose of consciousness. To them reality is objective, outside the observable and describable, directly or by inference; about the subjective aspect of reality they know nothing. It is extremely important to let them know that there is reality and it is to be found in the freedom of consciousness from matter and its limitations and distortions. Most of the people in the world just do not know that there is reality which can be found and experienced in consciousness. It seems very important that they should hear the good news from somebody who has actually experienced. Such witnesses have always existed and their testimony is precious.
M:Of course. The gospel of self-realisation, once heard, will never be forgotten. Like a seed left in the ground, it will wait for the right season and sprout and grow into a mighty tree.
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