Chapter 71 - Experience is not the Real Thing
Maharaj: The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Soon he discovers that his own body he cannot be. Once the conviction: 'I am not the body' becomes so well grounded that he can no longer feel, think and act for and on behalf of the body, he will easily discover that he is the universal being, knowing, acting, that in him and through him the entire universe is real, conscious and active. This is the heart of the problem. Either you are body-conscious and a slave of circumstances, or you are the universal consciousness itself -- and in full control of every event.
Yet consciousness, individual or universal, is not my true abode; I am not in it, it is not mine, there is no 'me' in it. I am beyond, though it is not easy to explain how one can be neither conscious, nor unconscious, but just beyond. I cannot say that I am in God or I am God; God is the universal light and love, the universal witness: I am beyond the universal even.
Questioner: In that case you are without name and shape. What kind of being have you?
M:I am what I am, neither with form nor formless, neither conscious nor unconscious. I am outside all these categories.
Q: You are taking the neti-neti (not this, not this) approach.
M:You cannot find me by mere denial. I am as well everything, as nothing. Nor both, nor either. These definitions apply to the Lord of the Universe, not to me.
Q: Do you intend to convey that you are just nothing.
M:Oh, no! I am complete and perfect. I am the beingness of being, the knowingness of knowing, the fullness of happiness. You cannot reduce me to emptiness!
Q: If you are beyond words, what shall we talk about? Metaphysically speaking, what you say holds together; there is no inner contradiction. But there is no food for me in what you say. It is so completely beyond my urgent needs. When I ask for bread, you are giving jewels. They are beautiful, no doubt, but I am hungry.
M:It is not so. I am offering you exactly what you need -- awakening. You are not hungry and you need no bread. You need cessation, relinquishing, disentanglement. What you believe you need is not what you need. Your real need I know, not you. You need to return to the state in which I am -- your natural state. Anything else you may think of is an illusion and an obstacle. Believe me, you need nothing except to be what you are. You imagine you will increase your value by acquisition. It is like gold imagining that an addition of copper will improve it. Elimination and purification, renunciation of all that is foreign to your nature is enough. All else is vanity.
Q: It is easier said than done. A man comes to you with stomach-ache and you advise him to disgorge his stomach. Of course, without the mind there will be no problems. But the mind is there -- most tangibly.
M:It is the mind that tells you that the mind is there. Don't be deceived. All the endless arguments about the mind are produced by the mind itself, for its own protection, continuation and expansion. It is the blank refusal to consider the convolutions and convulsions of the mind that can take you beyond it.
Q: Sir, I am an humble seeker, while you are the Supreme Reality itself. Now the seeker approaches the Supreme in order to be enlightened. What does the Supreme do?
M:Listen to what I keep on telling you and do not move away from it. Think of it all the time and of nothing else. Having reached that far, abandon all thoughts, not only of the world, but of yourself also. Stay beyond all thoughts, in silent being-awareness. It is not progress, for what you come to is already there in you, waiting for you.
Q: So you say I should try to stop thinking and stay steady in the idea: 'I am'.
M:Yes, and whatever thoughts come to you in connection with the 'I am', empty them of all meaning, pay them no attention.
Q: I happen to meet many young people coming from the West and I find that there is a basic difference when I compare them to the Indians. It looks as if their psyche (antahkarana) is different. Concepts like Self, Reality, pure mind, universal consciousness the Indian mind grasps easily. They ring familiar, they taste sweet. The Western mind does not respond, or just rejects them. It concretises and wants to utilise at once in the service of accepted values. These values are often personal: health, well-being, prosperity; sometimes they are social -- a better society, a happier life for all; all are connected with worldly problems, personal or impersonal. Another difficulty one comes across quite often in talking with the Westerners is that to them everything is experience -- as they want to experience food, drink and women, art and travels, so do they want to experience Yoga, realisation and liberation. To them it is just another experience, to be had for a price. They imagine such experience can be purchased and they bargain about the cost. When one Guru quotes too high, in terms of time and effort, they go to another, who offers instalment terms, apparently very easy, but beset with unfulfillable conditions. It is the old story of not thinking of the grey monkey when taking the medicine! In this case it is not thinking of the world, 'abandoning all self-hood', 'extinguishing every desire', 'becoming perfect celibates' etc. Naturally there is vast cheating going on all levels and the results are nil. Some Gurus in sheer desperation abandon all discipline, prescribe no conditions, advise effortlessness, naturalness, simply living in passive awareness, without any pattern of 'must' and 'must not' And there are many disciples whose past experiences brought them to dislike themselves so badly that they just do not want to look at themselves. If they are not disgusted, they are bored. They have surfeit of self-knowledge, they want something else.
M:Let them not think of themselves, if they do not like it. Let them stay with a Guru, watch him, think of him. Soon they will experience a kind of bliss, quite new, never experienced before, except, maybe, in childhood. The experience is so unmistakably new, that it will attract their attention and create interest; once the interest is roused, orderly application will follow.
Q: These people are very critical and suspicious. They cannot be otherwise, having passed through much learning and much disappointment. On one hand they want experience, on the other they mistrust it. How to reach them, God alone knows!
M:True insight and love will reach them.
Q: When they have some spiritual experience, another difficulty arises. They complain that the experience does not last, that it comes and goes in a haphazard way. Having got hold of the lollipop, they want to suck it all the time.
M:Experience, however sublime, is not the real thing. By its very nature it comes and goes. Self- realisation is not an acquisition. It is more of the nature of understanding. Once arrived at, it cannot be lost. On the other hand, consciousness is changeful, flowing, undergoing transformation from moment to moment. Do not hold on to consciousness and its contents. Consciousness held, ceases. To try to perpetuate a flash of insight, or a burst of happiness is destructive of what it wants to preserve. What comes must go. The permanent is beyond all comings and goings. Go to the root of all experience, to the sense of being. Beyond being and not-being lies the immensity of the real. Try and try again.
Q: To try one needs faith.
M:There must be the desire first. When the desire is strong, the willingness to try will come. You do not need assurance of success, when the desire is strong. You are ready to gamble.
Q: Strong desire, strong faith -- it comes to the same. These people do not trust either their parents or the society, or even themselves. All they touched turned to ashes. Give them one experience absolutely genuine, indubitable, beyond the argumentations of the mind and they will follow you to the world's end.
M:But I am doing nothing else! Tirelessly I draw their attention to the one incontrovertible factor -- that of being. Being needs no proofs -- it proves all else. If only they go deeply into the fact of being and discover the vastness and the glory to which the 'I am' is the door, and cross the door and go beyond, their life will be full of happiness and light. Believe me, the effort needed is as nothing when compared with the discoveries arrived at.
Q: What you say is right. But these people have neither confidence nor patience. Even a short effort tires them. It is really pathetic to see them groping blindly and yet unable to hold on to the helping hand. They are such nice people fundamentally but totally bewildered. I tell them: you cannot have truth on your own terms. You must accept the conditions. To this they answer: Some will accept the conditions and some will not. Acceptance or non-acceptance are superficial and accidental; reality is in all; there must be a way for all to tread -- with no conditions attached.
M:There is such a way, open to all, on every level, in every walk of life. Everybody is aware of himself. The deepening and broadening of self-awareness is the royal way. Call it mindfulness, or witnessing, or just attention -- it is for all. None is unripe for it and none can fail.
But, of course, your must not be merely alert. Your mindfulness must include the mind also. Witnessing is primarily awareness of consciousness and its movements.
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