Author Topic: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj  (Read 178463 times)

Jewell

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #465 on: May 05, 2013, 09:45:38 PM »

There must be love in the relation between the person who says "I am" and the observer of that "I am". As long as the observer, the inner self, the higher self, considers himself apart from the observed, the lower self, despises it and condemns it, the situation is hopeless. It is only when the observer (vyakta) accepts the person (vyakti) as a projection or manifestation of himself and, so to say, takes the self into the Self, the duality of "I" and "this" goes, and in the identity of the outer and the inner the Supreme Reality manifests itself. This union of the seer and the seen happens when the seer becomes conscious of himself as the seer; he is not merely interested in the seen, which he is anyhow, but also interested in being interested, giving attention to attention, aware of being aware. Affectionate awareness is the crucial factor that brings Reality into focus. When the vyakti realizes its non-existence in separation from the vyakta, and the vyakta sees the vyakti as his own expression, then the peace and silence of the avyakta state come into being. In reality the three are one: the vyakta and the avyakta are inseparable, while the vyakti is the sensing-feeling-thinking process.

Jewell

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #466 on: May 06, 2013, 04:55:19 PM »

All happens in consciousness and you are the root, the source, the foundation of consciousness. The world is but a succession of experiences and you are what makes them conscious, and yet remain beyond all experience. It is like the heat, the flame and the burning wood. The heat maintains the flame, the flame consumes the wood. Without heat there would be neither flame nor fuel. Similarly, without awareness there would be no consciousness, nor life, which transforms matter into a vehicle of consciousness.

What relationship can there be between what is and what merely appears to be? Is there any relationship between the ocean and its waves? The real enables the unreal to appear and causes it to disappear. The succession of transient moments creates the illusion of time, but the timeless reality of pure being is not in movement, for all movement requires a motionless background. It is itsef the background. Once you have found it in yourself, you know that you had never lost that independent being, independent of all divisions and separations. But don't look for it in consciousness, you will not fint it there. Don't look for it anywhere, for nothing contains it. On the contrary, it contains everything and manifests everything. It is like the daylight that makes everything visible while itself remaining invisible. (410)

Jewell

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #467 on: May 08, 2013, 12:25:26 PM »
Unmanifested, manifested, individuality, personality (nirguna, saguna, vyakta, vyakti), all these are mere words, points of view, mental attitudes. There is no reality in them. The real is experienced in silence.

In reality the three are one: the vyakta and the avyakta are inseparable, while the vyakti is the sensing-feeling-thinking process. How can there be relation when they are one? All talk of separation and relation is due to the distorting and corrupting influence of "I-am-the-body" idea. The outer self (vyakti) is merely a projection on the body-mind of the inner self (vyakta) , which again is only an expression of the Supreme Self (avyakta) , which is all and none.

All attributes are personal. The real is beyond all attributes.

As water remains water regardless of the vessels, as light remains itself regardless of the colours it brings out, so does the real remain real regardless of conditions in which it is reflected.

If I ask you what is the taste of your mouth, all you can do is to say: it is neither sweet nor bitter, nor sour nor astringent; it is what remains when all these tastes are not. Similarly, when all distinctions and reactions are no more, what remains is reality, simple and solid. 

Jewell

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #468 on: May 09, 2013, 07:25:16 PM »

The Supreme (paramakash) imparts reality to whatever comes into being. To say that it is the universal love may be the nearest we can come to it in words. Just like love, it makes everything real, beautiful, desirable.

Circumstances and conditions rule the ignorant. The knower of reality is not compelled. The only law he obeys is that of love.

Once you are in it [true awareness], you will find that you love what you see, whatever may be its nature. This choiceless love is the touchstone of awareness. If it is not there, you are merely interested, for some personal reasons.

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #469 on: May 10, 2013, 05:20:25 PM »
Questioner: When asked about the means for self-realisation, you invariably stress the importance of the mind dwelling on the sense 'I am'. Where is the causal factor? Why should this particular thought result in self-realisation? How does the contemplation of 'I am' affect me?

Maharaj: The very fact of observation alters the observer and the observed. After all, what prevents the insight into one's true nature is the weakness and obtuseness of the mind and its tendency to skip the subtle and focus on the gross only. When you follow my advice and try to keep your mind on the notion of 'I am' only, you become fully aware of your mind and its vagaries. Awareness, being lucid harmony (sattva) in action, dissolves dullness and quietens the restlessness of the mind and gently, but steadily changes its very substance. This change need not be spectacular; it may be hardly noticeable; yet it is a deep and fundamental shift from darkness to light, from inadvertence to awareness.

Q:   Must it be the 'I am' formula? Will not any other sentence do? If I concentrate on 'there is a table', will it not serve the same purpose?

M:  As an exercise in concentration -- yes. But it will not take you beyond the idea of a table. You are not interested in tables, you want to know yourself. For this keep steadily in the focus of consciousness the only clue you have: your certainty of being. Be with it, play with it, ponder over it, delve deeply into it, till the shell of ignorance breaks open and you emerge into the realm of reality.

Q:   Is there any causal link between my focussing the 'I am' and the breaking of the shell?

M:  The urge to find oneself is a sign that you are getting ready. The impulse always comes from within. Unless your time has come, you will have neither the desire nor the strength to go for self-enquiry whole-heartedly.

Q:   Is not the grace of the Guru responsible for the desire and its fulfilment? Is not the Guru's radiant face the bait on which we are caught and pulled out of this mire of sorrow?

M:  It is the Inner Guru (sadguru) who takes you to the Outer Guru, as a mother takes her child to a teacher. Trust and obey your Guru, for he is the messenger of your Real Self.

Q:   How do I find a Guru whom I can trust?

M:  Your own heart will tell you. There is no difficulty in finding a Guru, because the Guru is in search of you. The Guru is always ready; you are not ready. You have to be ready to learn; or you may meet your Guru and waste your chance by sheer inattentiveness and obstinacy. Take my example; there was nothing in me of much promise, but when I met my Guru, I listened, trusted and obeyed.

Q:   Must I not examine the teacher before I put myself entirely into his hands?

M:  By all means examine! But what can you find out? Only as he appears to you on your own level.

Q:   I shall watch whether he is consistent, whether there is harmony between his life and his teaching.

M:  You may find plenty of disharmony -- so what? It proves nothing. Only motives matter. How will you know his motives?

Q:   I should at least expect him to be a man of self-control who lives a righteous life.

M:  Such you will find many -- and of no use to you. A Guru can show the way back home, to your real self. What has this to do with the character, or temperament of the person he appears to be? Does he not clearly tell you that he is not the person? The only way you can judge is by the change in yourself when you are in his company. If you feel more at peace and happy, if you understand yourself with more than usual clarity and depth, it means you have met the right man. Take your time, but once you have made up your mind to trust him, trust him absolutely and follow every instruction fully and faithfully. It does not matter much if you do not accept him as your Guru and are satisfied with his company only. Satsang alone can also take you to your goal, provided it is unmixed and undisturbed. But once you accept somebody as your Guru, listen, remember and obey. Half-heartedness is a serious drawback and the cause of much self-created sorrow. The mistake is never the Guru's; it is always the obtuseness and cussedness of the discipline that is at fault.

Q:   Does the Guru then dismiss, or disqualify a disciple?

M:  He would not be a Guru if he did! He bides his time and waits till the disciple, chastened and sobered, comes back to him in a more receptive mood.

Q:   What is the motive? Why does the Guru take so much trouble?

M:  Sorrow and the ending of sorrow. He sees people suffering in their dreams and he wants them to wake up. Love is intolerant of pain and suffering. The patience of a Guru has no limits and, therefore, it cannot be defeated. The Guru never fails.

Q:   Is my first Guru also my last, or do I have to pass from Guru to Guru?

M:  The entire universe is your Guru. You learn from everything, if you are alert and intelligent. Were your mind clear and your heart clean, you would learn from every passer-by;. It is because you are indolent or restless, that your inner Self manifests as the outer Guru and makes you trust him and obey.

Q:   Is a Guru inevitable?

M:  It is like asking 'Is a mother inevitable?' To rise in consciousness from one dimension to another, you need help. The help may not always be in the shape of a human person, it may be a subtle presence, or a spark of intuition, but help must come. The inner Self is watching and waiting for the son to return to his father. At the right time he arranges everything affectionately and effectively. Where a messenger is needed, or a guide, he sends the Guru to do the needful.

Q:   There is one thing I cannot grasp. You speak of the inner self as wise and good and beautiful and in every way perfect, and of the person as mere reflection without a being of its own. On the other hand you take so much trouble in helping the person to realise itself. If the person is so unimportant, why be so concerned with its welfare? Who cares for a shadow?

M:  You have brought in duality where there is none. There is the body and there is the Self. Between them is the mind, in which the Self is reflected as 'I am'. Because of the imperfections of the mind, its crudity and restlessness, lack of discernment and insight, it takes itself to be the body, not the Self. All that is needed is to purify the mind so that it can realise its identity with the Self. When the mind merges in the Self, the body presents no problems. It remains what it is, an instrument of cognition and action, the tool and the expression of the creative fire within: The ultimate value of the body is that it serves to discover the cosmic body, which is the universe in its entirety. As you realise yourself in manifestation, you keep on discovering that you are ever more than what you have imagined.

Jewell

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #470 on: May 11, 2013, 05:48:40 PM »

* Why the ignorance and the illusion? * 

There is nothing like ignorance, only inattention. After all, worry is a mental pain and pain is invariably a call for attention. The moment you give attention, the call for it ceases and the question of ignorance dissolves. Attention brings you back to the present, the now, and the presence in the now is a state ever at hand, but rarely notice.

Neither ignorance nor illusion ever happened to you. Find the self to which you ascribe ignorance and illusion and your question will be answered. You talk as if you know the self and see it to be under the sway of ignorance and illusion. But, in fact, you do not know the self, nor are you aware of ignorance. By all means, become aware, this will bring you to the self and you will realize that there is neither ignorance nor delusion in it. It is like saying: if there is sun, how can darkness be? As under a stone there will be darkness, however strong the sunlight, so in the shadow of the "I-am-the-body" consciousness there must be ignorance and illusion. Don't ask 'why' and 'how'. It is in the nature of creative imagination to identify itself with its creations. You can stop it any moment by switching off attention. Or though investigation.

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #471 on: May 12, 2013, 10:02:38 PM »
Questioner: We have been staying at the Satya Sai Baba Ashram for some time. We have also spent two months at Sri Ramanashram at Tiruvannamalai. Now we are on our way back to the United States.

Maharaj: Did India cause any change in you?

Q:   We feel we have shed our burden. Sri Satya Sai Baba told us to leave everything to him and just live from day to day as righteously as possible. 'Be good and leave the rest to me', he used to tell us.

M:  What were you doing at the Sri Ramanashram?

Q:   We were going on with the mantra given to us by the Guru. We also did some meditation. There was not much of thinking or study; we were just trying to keep quiet. We are on the bhakti path and rather poor in philosophy. We have not much to think about -- just trust our Guru and live our lives.

M:  Most of the bhaktas trust their Guru only as long as all is well with them. When troubles come, they feel let down and go out in search of another Guru.

Q:   Yes, we were warned against this danger. We are trying to take the hard along with the soft. The feeling: 'All is Grace' must be very strong. A sadhu was walking eastwards, from where a strong wind started blowing. The sadhu just turned round and walked west. We hope to live just like that -- adjusting ourselves to circumstances as sent us by our Guru.

M:  There is only life. There is nobody who lives a life.

Q:   That we understand, yet constantly we make attempts to live our lives instead of just living. Making plans for the future seems to be an inveterate habit with us.

M:  Whether you plan or don't, life goes on. But in life itself a little whorl arises in the mind, which indulges in fantasies and imagines itself dominating and controlling life. Life itself is desireless. But the false self wants to continue -- pleasantly. Therefore it is always engaged in ensuring one's continuity. Life is unafraid and free. As long as you have the idea of influencing events, liberation is not for you: The very notion of doership, of being a cause, is bondage.

Q:   How can we overcome the duality of the doer and the done?

M:  Contemplate life as infinite, undivided, ever present, ever active, until you realise yourself as one with it. It is not even very difficult, for you will be returning only to your own natural condition.

Once you realise that all comes from within, that the world in which you live has not been projected onto you but by you, your fear comes to an end. Without this realisation you identify yourself with the externals, like the body, mind, society, nation, humanity, even God or the Absolute. But these are all escapes from fear. It is only when you fully accept your responsibility for the little world in which you live and watch the process of its creation, preservation and destruction, that you may be free from your imaginary bondage.


Q:   Why should I imagine myself so wretched?

M:  You do it by habit only. Change your ways of feeling and thinking, take stock of them and examine them closely. You are in bondage by inadvertence. Attention liberates. You are taking so many things for granted. Begin to question. The most obvious things are the most doubtful. Ask yourself such questions as: ‘Was I really born?' 'Am I really so-and-so?’ 'How do I know that I exist? 'Who are my parents?’ 'Have they created me, or have I created them?' 'Must I believe all I am told about myself?' ‘Who am I, anyhow?'. You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. In fact, demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered. All hangs on the idea 'I am'. Examine it very thoroughly. It lies at the root of every trouble. It is a sort of skin that separates you from the reality. The real is both within and without the skin, but the skin itself is not real. This 'I am' idea was not born with you. You could have lived very well without it. It came later due to your self-identification with the body. It created an illusion of separation where there was none. It made you a stranger in your own world and made the world alien and inimical. Without the sense of 'I am' life goes on. There are moments when we are without the sense of 'I am'. at peace and happy. With the return of the 'I am' trouble starts.

Q:   How is one to be free from the 'I'-sense?

M:  You must deal with the 'I'-sense if you want to be free of it. Watch it in operation and at peace, how it starts and when it ceases, what it wants and how it gets it, till you see clearly and understand fully. After all, all the Yogas, whatever their source and character, have only one aim: to save you from the calamity of separate existence, of being a meaningless dot in a vast and beautiful picture.

You suffer because you have alienated yourself from reality and now you seek an escape from this alienation. You cannot escape from your own obsessions. You can only cease nursing them.

It is because the ‘I am' is false that it wants to continue. Reality need not continue -- knowing itself indestructible, it is indifferent to the destruction of forms and expressions. To strengthen, and stabilise the 'I am' we do all sorts of things -- all in vain, for the 'I am' is being rebuilt from moment to moment. It is unceasing work and the only radical solution is to dissolve the separative sense of 'I am such-and-such person' once and for good. Being remains, but not self-being.


Q:   I have definite spiritual ambitions. Must I not work for their fulfilment?

M:  No ambition is spiritual. All ambitions are for the sake of the 'I am'. If you want to make real progress you must give up all idea of personal attainment. The ambitions of the so-called Yogis are preposterous. A man's desire for a woman is innocence itself compared to the lusting for an everlasting personal bliss. The mind is a cheat. The more pious it seems, the worse the betrayal.

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #472 on: May 12, 2013, 10:08:07 PM »
Questioner: I am a retired chartered accountant and my wife is engaged in social work for poor women. Our son is leaving for the United States and we came to see him off. We are Panjabis but we live in Delhi. We have a Guru of the Radha-Soami faith and we value satsang highly. We feel very fortunate to be brought here. We have met many holy people and we are glad to meet one more.

Maharaj: You have met many anchorites and ascetics, but a fully realised man conscious of his divinity (swarupa) is hard to find. The saints and Yogis, by immense efforts and sacrifices, acquire many miraculous powers and can do much good in the way of helping people and inspiring faith, yet it does not make them perfect. It is not a way to reality, but merely an enrichment of the false. All effort leads to more effort; whatever was built up must be maintained, whatever was acquired must be protected against decay or loss. Whatever can be lost is not really one's own; and what is not your own of what use can it be to you? In my world nothing is pushed about, all happens by itself. All existence is in space and time, limited and temporary. He who experiences existence is also limited and temporary. I am not concerned either with 'what exists' or with 'who exists'. I take my stand beyond, where I am both and neither.

The persons who, after much effort and penance, have fulfilled their ambitions and secured higher levels of experience and action, are usually acutely conscious of their standing; they grade people into hierarchies, ranging from the lowest non-achiever to the highest achiever. To me all are equal. Differences in appearance and expression are there, but they do not matter. Just as the shape of a gold ornament does not affect the gold, so does man's essence remain unaffected. Where this sense of equality is lacking it means that reality had not been touched.

Mere knowledge is not enough; the knower must be known. The Pandits and the Yogis may know many things, but of what use is mere knowledge when the self is not known? It will be certainly misused. Without the knowledge of the knower there can be no peace.

Q:   How does one come to know the knower?

M:  I can only tell you what I know from my own experience. When I met my Guru, he told me: 'You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense 'I am', find your real self'. I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon! It took me only three years to realise my true nature. My Guru died soon after I met him, but it made no difference. I remembered what he told me and persevered. The fruit of it is here, with me.

Q:   What is it?

M:  I know myself as I am in reality. I am neither the body, nor the mind, nor the mental faculties. I am beyond all these.

Q:   Are you just nothing?

M:  Come on, be reasonable. Of course I am, most tangibly. Only I am not what you may think me to be. This tells you all.

Q:   It tells me nothing.

M:  Because it cannot be told. You must gain your own experience. You are accustomed to deal with things, physical and mental. I am not a thing, nor are you. We are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind. Once you have a glimpse of your own being, you will not find me difficult to understand.

We believe in so many things on hearsay. We believe in distant lands and people, in heavens and hells, in gods and goddesses, because we were told. Similarly, we were told about ourselves, our parents, name, position, duties and so on. We never cared to verify. The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false, you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst. With the body comes the world, with the world -- God, who is supposed to have created the world and thus it starts -- fears, religions, prayers, sacrifices, all sorts of systems -- all to protect and support the child-man, frightened out of his wits by monsters of his own making. realise that what you are cannot be born nor die and with the fear gone all suffering ends.

What the mind invents, the mind destroys. But the real is not invented and cannot be destroyed. Hold on to that over which the mind has no power. What I am telling you about is neither in the past nor in the future. Nor is it in the daily life as it flows in the now. It is timeless and the total timelessness of it is beyond the mind. My Guru and his words: 'You are myself' are timelessly with me. In the beginning I had to fix my mind on them, but now it has become natural and easy. The point when the mind accepts the words of the Guru as true and lives by them spontaneously and in every detail of daily life is the threshold of realisation. In a way it is salvation by faith, but the faith must be intense and lasting.

However, you must not think that faith itself is enough. Faith expressed in action is a sure means to realisation. Of all the means it is the most effective. There are teachers who deny faith and trust reason only. Actually it is not faith they deny, but blind beliefs. Faith is not blind. It is the willingness to try.

Q:   We were told that of all forms of spiritual practices the practice of the attitude of a mere witness is the most efficacious. How does it compare with faith?

M:  The witness attitude is also faith; it is faith in oneself. You believe that you are not what you experience and you look at everything as from a distance. There is no effort in witnessing. You understand that you are the witness only and the understanding acts. You need nothing more, just remember that you are the witness only. If in the state of witnessing you ask yourself: 'Who am I?', the answer comes at once, though it is wordless and silent. Cease to be the object and become the subject of all that happens; once having turned within, you will find yourself beyond the subject. When you have found yourself, you will find that you are also beyond the object, that both the subject and the object exist in you, but you are neither.

Q:   You speak of the mind, of the witnessing consciousness beyond the mind and of the Supreme, which is beyond awareness. Do you mean to say that even awareness is not real?

M:  As long as you deal in terms: real -- unreal; awareness is the only reality that can be. But the Supreme is beyond all distinctions and to it the term 'real' does not apply, for in it all is real and, therefore, need not be labelled as such. It is the very source of reality, it imparts reality to whatever it touches. It just cannot be understood through words. Even a direct experience, however sublime, merely bears testimony, nothing more.

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #473 on: May 13, 2013, 03:28:34 PM »
Q:   The men of wisdom and of love, who came before us, did set themselves right, often at a tremendous cost. What was the outcome? A shooting star, however bright, does not make the night less dark.

M:  To judge them and their work you must become one of them. A frog in a well knows nothing about the birds in the sky.

Q:   Do you mean to say that between good and evil there is no wall?

M:  There is no wall, because there is no good and no evil. In every concrete situation there is only the necessary and the unnecessary. The needful is right, the needless is wrong.

Q:   Who decides?

M:  The situation decides. Every situation is a challenge which demands the right response. When the response is right, the challenge is met and the problem ceases. If the response is wrong, the challenge is not met and the problem remains unsolved. Your unsolved problems -- that is what constitutes your karma. Solve them rightly and be free.

Q:   You seem to drive me always back into myself. Is there no objective solution to the world's problems?

M:  The world problems were created by numberless people like you, each full of his own desires and fears. Who can free you of your past, personal and social, except yourself? And how will you do it unless you see the urgent need of your being first free of cravings born of illusion? How can you truly help, as long as you need help yourself?

Q:   In what way did the ancient sages help? In what way do you help? A few individuals profit, no doubt; your guidance and example may mean a lot to them; but in what way do you affect humanity, the totality of life and consciousness? You say that you are the world and the world is you; what impact have you made on it?

M:  What kind of Impact do you expect?

Q:   Man is stupid, selfish, cruel.

M:  Man is also wise, affectionate and kind.

Q:   Why does not goodness prevail?

M:  It does -- in my real world. In my world even what you call evil is the servant of the good and therefore necessary. It is like boils and fevers that clear the body of impurities. Disease is painful, even dangerous, but if dealt with rightly, it heals.

Q:   Or kills.

M:  In some cases death is the best cure. A life may be worse than death, which is but rarely an unpleasant experience, whatever the appearances. Therefore, pity the living, never the dead. This problem of things, good and evil in themselves, does not exist in my world. The needful is good and the needless is evil. In your world the pleasant is good and the painful is evil.

Q:   What is necessary?

M:  To grow is necessary. To outgrow is necessary. To leave behind the good for the sake of the better is necessary.

Q:   To what end?

M:  The end is in the beginning. You end where you start -- in the Absolute.

Q:   Why all this trouble then? To come back to where I started?

M:  Whose trouble? Which trouble? Do you pity the seed that is to grow and multiply till it becomes a mighty forest? Do you kill an infant to save him from the bother of living? What is wrong with life, ever more life? Remove the obstacles to growing and all your personal, social, economic and political problems will just dissolve. The universe is perfect as a whole and the part's striving for perfection is a way of joy. Willingly sacrifice the imperfect to the perfect and there will be no more talk about good and evil.

Q:   Yet we are afraid of the better and cling to the worse.

M:  This is our stupidity, verging on insanity.

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #474 on: May 14, 2013, 07:05:26 PM »
Questioner: I was lucky to have holy company all my life. Is it enough for self-realisation?

Maharaj: It depends what you make of it.

Q:   I was told that the liberating action of satsang is automatic. Just like a river carries one to the estuary, so the subtle and silent influence of good people will take me to reality.

M:  It will take you to the river, but the crossing is your own. Freedom cannot be gained nor kept without will-to-freedom. You must strive for liberation; the least you can do is uncover and remove the obstacles diligently. If you want peace you must strive for it. You will not get peace just by keeping quiet.

Q:   A child just grows. He does not make plans for growth, nor has he a pattern; nor does he grow by fragments, a hand here a leg there; he grows integrally and unconsciously.

M:  Because he is free of imagination. You can also grow like this, but you must not indulge in forecasts and plans, born of memory and anticipation. It is one of the peculiarities of a jnani that he is not concerned with the future. Your concern with future is due to fear of pain and desire for pleasure, to the jnani all is bliss: he is happy with whatever comes.

Q:   Surely, there are many things that would make even a jnani miserable

M:  A jnani may meet with difficulties, but they do not make him suffer. Bringing up a child from birth to maturity may seem a hard task, but to a mother the memories of hardships are a joy. There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is in the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you. Without imagination there is no world. Your conviction that you are conscious of a world is the world. The world you perceive is made of consciousness; what you call matter is consciousness Itself. You are the space (akash) in which it moves, the time in which it lasts, the love that gives it life. Cut off imagination and attachment and what remains?

Q:   The world remains. I remain.

M:  Yes. But how different it is when you can see it as it is, not through the screen of desire and fear.

Q:   What for are all these distinctions -- reality and illusion, wisdom and ignorance, saint and sinner? Everyone is in search of happiness, everyone strives desperately; everyone is a Yogi and his life a school of wisdom. Each learns his own way the lessons he needs. Society approves of some, disapproves of others; there are no rules that apply everywhere and for all time.

M:  In my world love is the only law. I do not ask for love, I give it. Such is my nature.

Q:   I see you living your life according to a pattern. You run a meditation class in the morning, lecture and have discussions regularly; twice daily there is worship (puja) and religious singing (bhajan) in the evening. You seem to adhere to the routine scrupulously.

M:  The worship and the singing are as I found them and I saw no reason to interfere. The general routine is according to the wishes of the people with whom I happen to live or who come to listen. They are working people, with many obligations and the timings are for their convenience. Some repetitive routine is inevitable. Even animals and plants have their time-tables.

Q:   Yes, we see a regular sequence in all life. Who maintains the order? Is there an inner ruler, who lays down laws and enforces order?

M:  Everything moves according to its nature. Where is the need of a policeman? Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralises the action. Everything happens, but there is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

Q:   Do not console me with final harmonies. The accounts tally, but the loss is mine.

M:  Wait and see. You may end up with a profit good enough to justify the outlays.

Q:   There is a long life behind me and I often wonder whether its many events took place by accident, or there was a plan. Was there a pattern laid down before I was born by which I had to live my life? If yes, who made the plans and who enforced them? Could there be deviations and mistakes? Some say destiny is immutable and every second of life is predetermined; others say that pure accident decides everything.

M:  You can have it as you like. You can distinguish in your life a pattern or see merely a chain of accidents. Explanations are meant to please the mind. They need not be true. Reality is indefinable and indescribable.

Q:   Sir, you are escaping my question! I want to know how you look at it. Wherever we look we find structure of unbelievable intelligence and beauty. How can I believe that the universe is formless and chaotic? Your world, the world in which you live, may be formless, but it need not be chaotic.

M:  The objective universe has structure, is orderly and beautiful. Nobody can deny it. But structure and pattern, imply constraint and compulsion. My world is absolutely free; everything in it is self-determined. Therefore I keep on saying that all happens by itself. There is order in my world too, but it is not Imposed from outside. It comes spontaneously and immediately, because of its timelessness. Perfection is not in the future. It is now.

Q:   Does your world affect mine?

M:  At one point only -- at the point of the now. It gives it momentary being, a fleeting sense of reality. In full awareness the contact is established. It needs effortless, un-self-conscious attention.

Q:   Is not attention an attitude of mind?

M:  Yes, when the mind is eager for reality, it gives attention. There is nothing wrong with your world, it is your thinking yourself to be separate from it that creates disorder. Selfishness is the source of all evil.

Q:   I am coming back to my question. Before I was born, did my inner self decide the details of my life, or was it entirely accidental and at the mercy of heredity and circumstances?

M:  Those who claim to have selected their father and mother and decided how they are going to live their next life may know for themselves. I know for myself. I was never born.

Q:   I see you sitting in front of me and replying my questions.

M:  You see the body only which, of course, was born and will die.

Q:   It is the life-story of thus body-mind that I am interested in. Was it laid down by you or somebody else, or did it happen accidentally?

M:  There is a catch in your very question. I make no distinction between the body and the universe. Each is the cause of the other; each is the other, in truth. But I am out of it all. When I am telling you that I was never born, why go on asking me what were my preparations for the next birth? The moment you allow your imagination to spin, it at once spins out a universe. It is not at all as you imagine and I am not bound by your imaginings.

Q:   It requires intelligence and energy to build and maintain a living body. Where do they come from?

M:  There is only imagination. The intelligence and power are all used up in your imagination. It has absorbed you so completely that you just cannot grasp how far from reality you have wandered. No doubt imagination is richly creative. Universe within universe are built on it. Yet they are all in space and time, past and future, which just do not exist.

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #475 on: May 22, 2013, 01:43:06 AM »
A devotional account of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj by Swami Paramatmananda

From the book : "On the Road to Freedom : A Pilgrimage in India, Volume 1" by Swami Paramatmananda Puri

   
At this juncture, I came across a book entitled, I am That, a collection of conversations with Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Realized Soul living in Bombay. I felt that his teachings were identical to the Maharshi’s and as I had not seen the Maharshi during his lifetime, I entertained a strong desire to see someone like him. Going to Bombay seemed out of question, so I wrote a letter to Maharaj explaining my physical, mental and spiritual condition and requested his blessings. The very next day, after I had posted the letter, a French lady came to visit me. She had read the same book recently and had decided to go to Bombay and see Maharaj. I told her of my desire and my inability to travel. “You could take a plane to Bombay. If you like, I will help you to get there,” she said.

I thought that this must be godsend and immediately agreed to her proposal. She had read many books on the Vedanta philosophy which states that there is only one Reality and the world being a manifestation of That. It is all but impossible to attain that consciousness without a one-pointed devotion to God or Guru and a complete purification of one’s body, speech and mine including one’s actions. Ananda, as she was called, felt as most pseudo-nondualists do, that nothing else is necessary except the superficial conviction that oneself is That. In the name of being that Supreme Truth, such people indulge in every kind of undisciplined, irresponsible and sometimes immoral activity. While we were on the way to Madras in a taxi, she questioned me, “Why all this discipline, rules and regulations? Even devotion to God is unnecessary. All of these things are only for weak-minded people. You should just go on thinking ‘I am That,’ I am That,’ and you will realize the Truth of it one day.”

“I think that you have overlooked an important point in the philosophy of Vedanta,” I objected. All of the texts and teachers of that school thought insist that, before one even takes up the study of it, one must have certain qualifications. A child in kindergarten cannot possibly do justice to a college textbook. He may even pervert the meaning. In the same way, before one takes up the study of practice of Vedanta, the mind should be rendered unmoving to such extent that the reflection of the Real can be seen therein. Holding on to that reflection leads one to the original. If the reflection is not visible, what is one to fix his mind on in the name of oneself being the Truth? Thoughts, feelings, body? We are already doing quite a lot of mischief with this small, perishable body. If we start to think that we are the Supreme Being, what will we not hesitate to do? What is a demon or a dictator but one who feels his little self to be equal to, or greater than God? There is not even a trace of bad in the Supreme Reality and one who had not given up such negative qualities as lust, anger and greed cannot be taken to be one who has realized the Truth. A safer course would be to consider oneself as a child of a Realized Soul or of God. To benefit from being the child of such a one, we must try to approximate his character. Only if we can do this, will our mind gradually become pure and unruffled by passions and the Truth will be seen, and not until then.” You are still weakminded. You will see when we get to Maharaj. He will tell you to throw all this mushy sentimentalism overboard,” she retorted, somewhat irritated. I had already met a number of people like her and knew there would be no value in arguing, so I kept quiet.

Reaching Bombay, a friend took us to Maharaj’s apartment. Maharaj had been a dealer in cigarettes as a young man. One day, a friend of his took him to see a famous holy man who was in Bombay. The holy man initiated Maharaj into a mantra and also told him to purify his mind by getting rid of all thoughts and holding on to the sense of being, or “I am.” He practiced this intensely for three years and after many mystic experiences, found his mind merged into the Transcendent Reality. He stayed on in Bombay doing business and instructed those who came to him in spiritual matters. He was now in eighties and lived with his son in a three room flat. He had also created a small loft in the living room where he spent most of his time. It was there that we met him.

“Come in, come in. You are coming from Arunachala, aren’t you? Your letter came yesterday. Are you enjoying peace near the Maharshi?” Maharaj jovially asked me, motioning me to sit near him. Immediately I felt an intense peace near him, a sure sign for me that he was a great soul. “Do you know what I mean by peace?” he asked. “When you put a donut in boiling water, a lot of bubbles will come out until all of the moisture in the donut is gone. It also makes a lot of noise, doesn’t it? Finally, all is silent and the donut is ready. The silent condition of mind which comes about through a life of meditation is called peace. Meditation is like boiling the oil. It will make everything in the mind come out. Only then will peace be achieved.” This was a very graphic and precise explanation of spiritual life if I had ever heard one!
 
 “Maharaj, I have written to you about the spiritual practices that I have done until now. Kindly tell me what more remains to be done,” I requested.
 
“Child, you have done more than enough. It will be quite sufficient if you just go on repeating the Divine Name until the goal is reached. Devotion to your Guru is the path for you; it should become perfect and unbroken by thoughts. Whatever may come to you, accept it as His gracious will for your good. You are hardly able to sit up, aren’t you? It does not matter. Some people’s bodies become sick like this when they sincerely do meditation and other spiritual practices. It depends on the physical constitution of each. You should not give up your practices but persist until you reach the goal or until the body dies, “ he said.

Turning to Ananda, he asked, “What kind of spiritual practice are you doing?”
 
“I just go on thinking that I am the Supreme Being,” she replied in a somewhat proud tone.
 
“Is that so? Did you ever hear of Meerabai? She was one of the greatest lady saints ever born in India. From her childhood she felt that Lord Krishna was her Beloved and spent most of her days and nights in worshipping Him and singing songs about Him. Finally, she had a mystic vision of Him and her mind merged into Him. She thenceforth sang songs about the glory and bliss of the God-Realized state. At the end of her life, she entered a Krishna temple and disappeared in the sanctum. You should walk in the same path as her if you want to achieve the Realization,” Maharaj said smilingly.

Ananda turned pale. Maharaj had pulverized her mountain of Vedanta in one stroke! She could not speak.
I may talk about Vedanta to some of the people that come here,” Maharaj continued. “That is not for you and you should not pay any attention to what I am telling others. The book of my conversations should not be taken as the last word on my teachings. I have given answers to the questions of certain individuals. Those answers were intended for those people and not for everyone. Instruction can be on an individual basis only. The same medicine cannot be prescribed for all.

“Nowadays people are full of intellectual conceit. They have no faith in the ancient traditional practices leading to Self-Knowledge. They want everything served to them on a silver platter. The path of knowledge makes sense to them and because of that, they may want to practice it. They will then find that it requires more concentration then they can muster and slowly becoming humble, they will finally take up easier practices like repetition of a mantra or worship of a form. Slowly the belief in a Power greater then themselves will dawn on them and a taste for devotion will sprout in their heart. Then only will it be possible for them to attain purity of mind and concentration. The conceited have to go a very roundabout way. Therefore I say that devotion is good enough for you,” Maharaj concluded.

I was time for lunch, so we left Maharaj to himself. As we were leaving, he asked me if I would be staying for some days in Bombay. “I don’t know. I have no plans,” I replied. “Very good. Then you come here this evening after four,” he said.
 
The evening saw me back in Maharaj’s room. He asked me to sit near him. Though I had known him only for a few hours, I felt as if I were his own child, that he was my mother or father. A European came and put a large currency note in front of Maharaj.

“Please take it back. I am not interested in anyone’s money. My son is there and he is feeding me and looking after my needs. After you attain some peace of mind, there will be enough time for these things. Take your money ! He exclaimed.

With great difficulty I sat and watched what went on until seven o’clock. I felt fully satisfied and peaceful and thought that I could not possibly receive anything more than Maharaj had told me. I thought of going back to Arunachala the next day. I mentioned it and asked him for his blessing.
 
“If you feel like that, then you may go. Do you know what my blessing is for you? Until you leave your body, may you have full devotion and surrender to your Guru.” Maharaj looked at me compassionately. Moved at his kindness, I started to cry but controlled myself. Even then a few tears trickled down my cheeks. He smiled and gave me a piece of fruit. He then got up and taking a huge pair of cymbals, started to sing devotional songs in praise of his Guru. I bowed down to him and went to rest in my room.
 

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #476 on: May 22, 2013, 07:34:39 PM »

Both sleep and waking are misnomers. We are only dreaming. True waking and true sleeping only the gnani knows. 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 of 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; so see all as a dream and stay out of it.

To know that you are a prisoner of your mind, that you live in an imaginary world of your own creation is the dawn of wisdom.

The cause of suffering is in the identification of the perceiver with the perceived. Out of it desire is born, and with desire blind action, unmindful of results. Look around and you will see - suffering is a man-made thing.

Nobody suffers in a play, unless one identifies himself with it. Don't identity yourself with the world and you will not suffer.

While it lasts, the dream has temporary being. It is your desire to hold on to it, that creates the problem. Let go. Stop imagining that the dream is yours.

Let the dream unroll itself to its very end. You cannot help it. But you can look at the dream as a dream, refuse it the stamp of reality.

At present you are drifting, and therefore in danger, for to a drifter any moment anything may happen. It would be better to wake up and see your situation. That you are, you know. What you are, you don't know. Find out what you are.

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #477 on: May 23, 2013, 04:02:43 PM »

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.

All that lives, works for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness. This is the world's sole meaning and purpose. It is the very essence of Yoga - ever raising the level of consciousness, discovery of new dimensions, with their properties, qualities and powers. In that sense, the entire universe becomes a school of Yoga.

Out of a lump of gold, you can make many ornaments - each will remain gold. Similarly, in whatever role I may appear and whatever function I may perform - I remain what I am: the "I am" immovable, unshakable, independent. What you call the universe, nature, is my spontaneous creativity. Whatever happens, happens. But such is my nature that all ends in joy. 

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #478 on: May 25, 2013, 01:04:36 AM »
The Supreme, the Mind and the Body

Questioner: From what you told us it appears that you are not quite conscious of your surroundings. To us you seem extremely alert and active. We cannot possibly believe that you are in a kind of hypnotic state, which leaves no memory behind. On the contrary, your memory seems excellent. How are we to understand your statement that the world and all it includes does not exist, as far as you are concerned.

Maharaj: It is all a matter of focus. Your mind is focussed in the world, mine is focussed in reality. It is like the moon in daylight -- when the sun shines, the moon is hardly visible. Or, watch how you take your food. As long as it is in your mouth, you are conscious of it; once swallowed, it does not concern you any longer. It would be troublesome to have it constantly in mind until it is eliminated. The mind should be normally in abeyance -- incessant activity is a morbid state. The universe works by itself -- that I know. What else do I need to know?

Q:   So a jnani knows what he is doing only when he turns his mind to it; otherwise he just acts, without being concerned.

M:  The average man is not conscious of his body as such. He is conscious of his sensations, feelings and thoughts. Even these, once detachment sets in, move away from the centre of consciousness and happen spontaneously and effortlessly.

Q:   What then is in the centre of consciousness?

M:  That which cannot be given name and form, for it is without quality and beyond consciousness. You may say it is a point in consciousness, which is beyond consciousness. Like a hole in the paper is both in the paper and yet not of paper, so is the supreme state in the very centre of consciousness, and yet beyond consciousness. It is as if an opening in the mind through which the mind is flooded with light. The opening is not even the light. It is just an opening.

Q:   An opening is just void, absence.

M:  Quite so. From the mind's point of view, it is but an opening for the light of awareness to enter the mental space. By itself the light can only be compared to a solid, dense, rocklike, homogeneous and changeless mass of pure awareness, free from the mental patterns of name and shape.

Q:   Is there any connection between the mental space and the supreme abode?

M:  The supreme gives existence to the mind. The mind gives existence to the body.

Q:   And what lies beyond?

M:  Take an example. A venerable Yogi, a master in the art of longevity, himself over 1000 years old, comes to teach me his art. I fully respect and sincerely admire his achievements, yet all I can tell him is: of what use is longevity to me? I am beyond time. However long a life may be, it is but a moment and a dream. In the same way I am beyond all attributes. They appear and disappear in my light, but cannot describe me. The universe is all names and forms, based on qualities and their differences, while I am beyond. The world is there because I am, but I am not the world.

Q:   But you are living in the world!

M:  That's what you say! I know there is a world, which includes this body and this mind, but I do not consider them to be more “mine” than other minds and bodies. They are there, in time and space, but I am timeless and spaceless.

Q:   But since all exists by your light, are you not the creator of the world?

M:  I am neither the potentiality nor the actualisation, nor the actuality of things. In my light they come and go as the specks of dust dancing in the sunbeam. The light illumines the specks, but does not depend on them. Nor can it be said to create them. It cannot be even said to know them.

Q:   I am asking you a question and you are answering. Are you conscious of the question and the answer?

M:  In reality I am neither hearing nor answering. In the world of events the question happens and the answer happens. Nothing happens to me. Everything just happens.

Q:   And you are the witness?

M:  What does witness mean? Mere knowledge. It rained and now the rain is over. I did not get wet. I know it rained, but I am not affected. I just witnessed the rain.

Q:   The fully realised man, spontaneously abiding in the supreme state, appears to eat, drink and so on. Is he aware of it, or not?

M:  That in which consciousness happens, the universal consciousness or mind, we call the ether of consciousness. All the objects of consciousness form the universe. What is beyond both, supporting both, is the supreme state, a state of utter stillness and silence. Whoever goes there, disappears. It is unreachable by words, or mind. You may call it God, or Parabrahman, or Supreme Reality, but these are names given by the mind. It is the nameless, contentless, effortless and spontaneous state, beyond being and not being.

Q:   But does one remain conscious?

M:  As the universe is the body of the mind, so is consciousness the body of the supreme. It is not conscious, but it gives rise to consciousness.

Q:   In my daily actions much goes by habit, automatically. I am aware of the general purpose, but not of each movement in detail. As my consciousness broadens and deepens, details tend to recede, leaving me free for the general trends. Does not the same happens to a jnani, but more so?

M:  On the level of consciousness -- yes. In the supreme state, no. This state is entirely one and indivisible, a single solid block of reality. The only way of knowing it is to be it. The mind cannot reach it. To perceive it does not need the senses; to know it, does not need the mind.

Q:   That is how God runs the world.

M:  God is not running the world.

Q:   Then who is doing it?

M:  Nobody. All happens by itself. You are asking the question and you are supplying the answer. And you know the answer when you ask the question. All is a play in consciousness. All divisions are illusory. You can know the false only. The true you must yourself be.

Q:   There is the witnessed consciousness and there is the witnessing consciousness. Is the second the supreme?

M:  There are the two -- the person and the witness, the observer. When you see them as one, and go beyond, you are in the supreme state. It is not perceivable, because it is what makes perception possible. It is beyond being and not being. It is neither the mirror nor the image in the mirror. It is what is -- the timeless reality, unbelievably hard and solid.

Q:   The jnani -- is he the witness or the Supreme?

M:  He is the Supreme, of course, but he can also be viewed as the universal witness.

Q:   But he remains a person?

M:  When you believe yourself to be a person, you see persons everywhere. In reality there are no persons, only threads of memories and habits. At the moment of realisation the person ceases. Identity remains, but identity is not a person, it is inherent in the reality itself. The person has no being in itself; it is a reflection in the mind of the witness, the 'I am', which again is a mode of being.

cont...

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Re: Quotes of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
« Reply #479 on: May 25, 2013, 01:08:29 AM »
cont...

Q:   Is the Supreme conscious?

M:  Neither conscious nor unconscious, I am telling you from experience.

Q:   Pragnanam Brahma. What is this Pragna?

M:  It is the un-selfconscious knowledge of life itself.

Q:   Is it vitality, the energy of life, livingness?

M:  Energy comes first. For everything is a form of energy. Consciousness is most differentiated in the waking state. Less so in dream. Still less in sleep. Homogeneous -- in the fourth state. Beyond is the inexpressible monolithic reality, the abode of the jnani.

Q:   I have cut my hand. It healed. By what power did it heal?

M:  By the power of life.

Q:   What is that power?

M:  It is consciousness. AII is conscious.

Q:   What is the source of consciousness?

M:  Consciousness itself is the source of everything.

Q:   Can there be life without consciousness?

M:  No, nor consciousness without life. They are both one. But in reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. And as long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists, the Supreme will appear to you non­existing. When you understand that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatsoever, and what is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness, you will be at peace -- immersed in the deep silence of reality.

Q:   If time and space are mere illusions and you are beyond, please tell me what is the weather in New York. Is it hot or raining there?

M:  How can I tell you? Such things need special training. Or, just travelling to New York. I may be quite certain that I am beyond time and space, and yet unable to locate myself at will at some point of time and space. I am not interested enough; I see no purpose in undergoing a special Yogic training. I have just heard of New York. To me it is a word. Why should I know more than the word conveys? Every atom may be a universe, as complex as ours. Must I know them all? I can -- if I train.

Q:   In putting the question about the weather in New York, where did I make the mistake?

M:  The world and the mind are states of being. The supreme is not a state. It pervades, all states, but it is not a state of something else. It is entirely uncaused, independent, complete in itself, beyond time and space, mind and matter.

Q:   By what sign do you recognise it?

M:  That's the point that it leaves no traces. There is nothing to recognise it by. It must be seen directly, by giving up all search for signs and approaches. When all names and forms have been given up, the real is with you. You need not seek it. Plurality and diversity are the play of the mind only. Reality is one.

Q:   If reality leaves no evidence, there is no speaking about it.

M:  It is. It cannot be denied. It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery. But it is, while all else merely happens.

Q:   Is it the Unknown?

M:  It is beyond both, the known and the unknown. But I would rather call it the known, than the unknown. For whenever something is known, it is the real that is known.

Q:   Is silence an attribute of the real?

M:  This too is of the mind. All states and conditions are of the mind.

Q:   What is the place of samadhi?

M:  Not making use of one's consciousness is samadhi. You just leave your mind alone. You want nothing, neither-from your body nor from your mind.