Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj     714 posts


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By its very nature pleasure is limited and transitory. Out of pain desire is born, in pain it seeks fulfilment, and it ends in the pain of frustration and despair. Pain is the background of pleasure, all seeking of pleasure is born in pain and ends in pain.

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Why do you worry about the world before taking care of yourself? You want to save the world, don't you? Can you save the world before saving yourself? And what means being saved? Saved from what? From illusion. Salvation is to see things as they are. I really do not see myself related to anybody and anything. Not even to a self, whatever that self may be. I remain forever -- undefined. I am -- within and beyond -- intimate and unapproachable.

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Your mistake lies in your belief that you are born. You were never born nor will you ever die, but you believe that you were born at a certain date and place and that a particular body is your own.

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Maharaj: You are all drenched for it is raining hard. In my world it is always fine weather. There is no night or day, no heat or cold. No worries beset me there, nor regrets. My mind is free of thoughts, for there are no desires to slave for.

Questioner: Are there two worlds? M: Your world is transient, changeful. My world is perfect, changeless. You can tell me what you like about your world -- I shall listen carefully, even with interest, yet not for a moment shall I forget that your world is not, that you are dreaming.
Q: What distinguishes your world from mine?
M: My world has no characteristics by which it can be identified. You can say nothing about it. I am my world. My world is myself. It is complete and perfect. Every impression is erased, every experience -- rejected. I need nothing, not even myself, for myself I cannot lose.

Q: Not even God?
M: All these ideas and distinctions exist in your world; in mine there is nothing of the kind. My world is single and very simple.

Q: Nothing happens there? M: Whatever happens in your world, only there it has validity and evokes response. In my world nothing happens.

Q: The very fact of your experiencing your own world implies duality inherent in all experience.

M: Verbally -- yes. But your words do not reach me. Mine is a non-verbal world. In your world the unspoken has no existence. In mine -- the words and their contents have no being. In your world nothing stays, in mine -- nothing changes. My world is real, while yours is made of dreams.

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As long as you are a seeker, better cling to the idea that you are pure consciousness, free from all content. To go beyond consciousness is the supreme state.

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Q: Everybody says 'I am'. The realised man too says 'I am'. Where is the difference? M: The difference is in the meaning attached to the words 'I am'. With the realised man the experience: 'I am the world, the world is mine' is supremely valid -- he thinks, feels and acts integrally and in unity with all that lives. He may not even know the theory and practice of selfrealisation, and be born and bred free of religious and metaphysical notions. But there will not be the least flaw in his understanding and compassion.

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Q: How are we to distinguish the inner from the outer in actual experience? M: The inner is the source of inspiration, the outer is moved by memory. The source is untraceable, while all memory begins somewhere. Thus the outer is always determined, while the inner cannot be held in words. The mistake of students consists in their imagining the inner to be something to get hold of, and forgetting that all perceivables are transient and, therefore, unreal. Only that which makes perception possible, call it Life or Brahman, or what you like, is real.

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There is No Free Will

Q: Surely, I am not the master of what happens. Its slave rather.
M: Be neither master, nor slave. Stand aloof.
Q: Does it imply avoidance of action?
M: You cannot avoid action. It happens, like everything else.
Q: My actions, surely, I can control.
M: Try. You will soon see that you do what you must.
Q: I can act according to my will.
M: You know your will only after you have acted.
Q: I remember my desires, the choices made, the decisions taken and act accordingly.
M: Then your memory decides, not you.
Q: Where do I come in?
M: You make it possible by giving it attention.
Q: Is there no such thing as free will? Am I not free to desire?
M: Oh no. You are compelled to desire. In Hinduism the very idea of free will is non-existent, so there is no word for it. Will is commitment, fixation, bondage.
Q: I am free to choose my limitations.
M: You must be free first. To be free in the world you must be free of the world. Otherwise your past decides for you and your future. Between what had happened and what must happen you are caught. Call it destiny or karma, but never—freedom. First return to your true being and then act from the heart of love.
Q: Within the manifested what is the stamp of the unmanifested?
M: There is none. The moment you begin to look for the stamp of the unmanifested, the manifested dissolves. If you try to understand the unmanifested wtih the mind, you at once go beyond the mind, like when you stir the fire with a wooden stick, you burn the stick. Use the mind to investigate the manifested. Be like the chick that pecks at the shell. Speculating about life outside the shell would have been of little use to it, but pecking at the shell breaks the shell from within and liberates the chick. Similarly, break the mind from within by investigation and exposure of its contradictions and absurdities.
Q: The longing to break the shell, where does it come from?
M: From the unmanifested.

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Unless you make tremendous efforts, you will not be convinced thateffort will take you nowhere. The self is so self-confident thatunless it is totally discouraged it will not give up. Mere verbalconviction is not enough. Hard facts alone can show the absolutenothingness of the self-image.

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Look at your mind dispassionately; this is enough to calm it. When it is quiet, you can go beyond it. Do not keep it busy all the time. Stop it - and just be. If you give it a rest, it will settle down and recover its purity and strength. Constant thinking makes it decay.

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The mind craves for formulations and definitions, always eager to squeeze reality into a verbal shape.

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The Guru demands one thing only; clarity and intensity of purpose, a sense of responsibility for oneself. The very reality of the world must be questioned.

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The body is made of food, as the mind is made of thoughts. See them as they are. Non- identification, when natural and spontaneous, is liberation. You need not know what you are. Enough to know what you are not. What you are you will never know, for every discovery reveals new dimensions to conquer. The unknown has no limits.

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Every pleasure, physical or mental, needs an instrument. Both the physical and mental instruments are material, they get tired and worn out. The pleasure they yield is necessarily limited in intensity and duration. Pain is the background of all your pleasures. You want them because you suffer. On the other hand, the ve...ry search for pleasure is the cause of pain. It is a vicious circle.

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Love is not selective, desire is selective. In love there are no strangers. When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer interested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure intensity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source.

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Man's fivefold body (physical etc.) has potential powers beyond our wildest dreams. Not only is the entire universe reflected in man, but also the power to control the universe is waiting to be used by him. The wise man is not anxious to use such powers, except when the situation calls for them. He finds the abilities and skills of the human personality quite adequate for the business of daily living. Some of the powers can be developed by specialised training, but the man who flaunts such powers is still in bondage. The wise man counts nothing as his own. When at some time and place some miracle is attributed to some person, he will not establish any causal link between events and people, nor will he allow any conclusions to be drawn. All happened as it happened because it had to happen everything happens as it does, because the universe is as it is.

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Look, my thumb touches my forefinger. Both touch and are touched. When my attention; is on the thumb, the thumb is the feeler and the forefinger -- the self. Shift the focus of attention and the relationship is reversed. I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing. I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness -- love; you may give it any name you like. Love says: 'I am everything'. Wisdom says: 'I am nothing' Between the two my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I
express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.

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That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings, who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being -- I am that.

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All waiting is futile. To depend on time to solve our problems is self-delusion. The future, left to itself merely repeats the past. Change can only happen now, never in the future.

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Love says: 'I am everything'. Wisdom says: 'I am nothing'. Between the two my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both

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Moments of deep insight and all-embracing love purify the mind, while desires and fears, envies and anger, blind beliefs and intellectual arrogance pollute and dull the psyche

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In memory, what is remembered, is but another dream. The memory of the false cannot but give rise to the false. There is nothing wrong with memory as such. What is false is its content. Remember facts, forget opinions. What is perceived in pure awareness, unaffected by desire, that is a fact.

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All search for happiness is misery and leads to more misery. The only happiness worth the name is the natural happiness of conscious being.

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Pain is physical; suffering is mental. Beyond the mind there is no suffering. Pain is merely a signal that the body is in danger and requires attention. Similarly, suffering warns us that the structure of memories and habits, which we call the person (vyakti), is threatened by loss or change.Pain is essential for the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow with life.As a sane life is free of pain, so is a saintly life free from suffering.

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Life is love and love is life. What keeps the body together but love? What is desire, but love of the self? What is fear but the urge to protect? And what is knowledge but the love of truth? The means and forms may be wrong, but the motive behind is always love -- love of the me and the mine. The me and the mine may be small, or may explode and embrace the universe, but love remains.In seeking you discover that you are neither the body nor mind, and the love of the self in you is for the self in all. The two are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love.

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Most people live in the world of self-consciousness and do not have the desire or power to leave it. They exist only for themselves; all their effort is directed towards achievement of self-satisfaction and self-glorification. There are, however, seers, teachers and revealers who, while app...arently living in the same world, live simultaneously in another world also -- the world of cosmic consciousness, effulgent with infinite knowledge. After his illuminating experience Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj started living such a dual life. He conducted his shop, but ceased to be a profit-minded merchant. Later, abandoning his family and business he became a mendicant, a pilgrim over the vastness and variety of the Indian religious scene. He walked barefooted on his way to the Himalayas where he planned to pass the rest of his years in quest of a eternal life. But he soon retraced his steps and came back home comprehending the futility of such a quest. Eternal life, he perceived, was not to be sought for; he already had it. Having gone beyond the I-am-the-body idea, he had acquired a mental state so joyful, peaceful and glorious that everything appeared to be worthless compared to it. He had attained self-realisation.Uneducated though the Master is, his conversation is enlightened to an extraordinary degree. Though born and brought up in poverty, he is the richest of the rich, for he has the limitless wealth of perennial knowledge, compared to which the most fabulous treasures are mere tinsel. He is warm-hearted and tender, shrewdly humorous, absolutely fearless and absolutely true -- inspiring, guiding and supporting all who come to him.Any attempt to write a biographical not on such a man is frivolous and futile. For he is not a man with a past or future; he is the living present -- eternal and immutable. He is the self that has become all things.

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