Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj     755 posts


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Once you have understood that nothing perceivable, or conceivable, can be yourself, you are free.

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To work in the world is hard. To refrain from all unnecessary work is even harder.

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Be careful. The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind. Words create words, reality is silent.

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Unmanifested, manifested, individuality, personality (nirguna, saguna, vyakta, vyakti); all these are mere words, points of view, mental attitudes. There is no reality in them

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In nature nothing is at a standstill, everything pulsates, appears and disappears. Heart, breath, digestion, sleep and waking, birth and death - everything comes in waves. Rhythm, periodicity, harmonious alternation of extremes is the rule. No use rebelling against the very pattern of life.

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It is neither necessary, nor possible to change others. But if you can change yourself you will find that no other change is needed. To change the picture you merely change the film. You do not attack the cinema screen.

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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.

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Put your awareness to work, not your mind. The mind is not the right instrument for this task. The timeless can be reached only by the timeless. Your body and your mind are born subject to time; only awareness is timeless, even in the now.

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Leave it all behind you. Forget it. Go forth, unburdened with ideas and beliefs. Abandon all verbal structures, all relative truth, all tangible objectives.

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Maharaj: Consciousness is time flowing continuously. But I, the Absolute, will not have its company eternally because consciousness is time bound. When this beingness goes, the Absolute will not know "I Am". Appearance and disappearance, birth and death, these are the qualities of beingness;
they are not your qualities.... You have urinated and odor is coming from that - are you that odor?
Q: No, I am not.
Maharaj: This beingness is like that urine. Can you be that beingness?

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Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginningless, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep... sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something. Consciousness is partial and changeful, awareness is total, changeless, calm and silent. And it is the common matrix of every experience.

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The mind must learn that beyond the moving mind there is the background of awareness, which does not change. The mind must come to know the true self and respect it and cease covering it up, like the moon which obscures the sun during solar eclipse. Just realise that nothing observable, or experienceable is you, or binds you. Take no notice of what is not yourself.

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I am all. As myself all is real. Apart from me, nothing is real.

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Your mind projects a structure and you identify yourself with it. It is in the nature of desire to prompt the mind to create a world for its fulfilment. Even a small desire can start a long line of action; what about a strong desire? Desire can produce a universe; its powers are miraculous. Just as a small matchstick can set a huge forest on fire, so does a desire light the fires of manifestation. The very purpose of creation is the fulfilment of desire. The desire may be noble, or ignoble, space (akash) is neutral -- one can fill it with what one likes: You must be very careful as to what you desire. And as to the people you want to help, they are in their respective worlds for the sake of their desires; there is no way of helping them except through their desires. You can only teach them to have right desires so that they may rise above them and be free from the urge to create and recreate worlds of desires, abodes of pain and pleasure.

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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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