Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's

Talks on Realizing the Infinite
Edited by Robert Powell, Ph.D.

BLUE SAN DIEGO'

DOVE

PRESS

CALIFORNIA'

1996

nus book

is the third volume of a trilogy of books by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, edited by Robert Powell. The other volumes, also published by Blue Dove Press, are The Ultimate Medicine and The Nectar of Immortality. Blue Dove Press publishes books by and about sages and saints of all religions as well as other inspiring works. Catalog sent free upon request. Write to: Blue Dove Press Post Office Box 261611 San Diego, CA 92196 Phone: (619) 271-0490

© 1996 by Robert Powdl All Rights Reserved FIRST EDITION Photograph on page 62 courtesy of Carl Adlon, taken as Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj stepped out of his bath. Other photos courtesy of jozef Nauwelaerts and Dingeman Boot. Special thanks to Dr. Lance Nelson, Department of Religious Studies, University of San Diego, California, for help in the preparation of this book. Cover and text design: Brian Moucka. Poppy Graphics, Santa Barbara. California Cover art by Rob Jacobs ISBN: 1-884997-14-7
Library of Congress Cataloging~in-Publication Nisargadatta. Maharaj, l897~1981 The experience of nothingness . sri Maharaj's talks on realizing the infinite Robert Polo/ell p. em. data: Nisargadatta I edi t.ed by

Includes bibliographical
ISBN:

references.

1-884997-14-7 1. Spiritual life--Hinduism. 2. Hinduism-Doctrines. I. Powell, Robert, 1918II. Title. BL 1214.26.NS73 1996

294.5'2--dc20 96-24322
CIP

After obtaining his doctorate in chemistry from London University.IJl spiritual awakening coincided with his discovery of the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. who gave him the name Maruti. In 1968 and 1969. his talks with holy men sharpening his inquisitive mind and kindling a spiritual fire. and his quest for self-discovery led him to study Zen and a number of spiritual masters including J. He continued to live the life of an ordinary Indian working-man but his teachings. R . he published nine chemical engineering monographs in use by academic and industrial libraries throughout the world. At the age of 34 he met his Guru and three years later realized himself. His parents. He is also the author of a number of books on what he describes as "human consciousness transformation. His O\1I. S obert Powell was born in 1918. California . Krishnamwti and Ramana Maharshi. made a significant philosophical break from contemporary thought.I was born in Bombay in 1897." Powell lives a busy life with his 'WifeGina in La Jolla. Devotees travelled from all over the world to hear Nisargadatta's unique message until his death in 1981. later becoming a cigarette trader in Bombay where he and his wife raised a family. Robert Powells personal exploration of spirituality began in the 1960's. taking the name of Nisargadatta. had a small farm at the village of Kandalgaon and it was here that he spent his early years. he pursued a career first as an industrial chemist and later as a science writer and editor in Britain and the United States. which are set out in his master-work I Am That and are rooted in the ancient Upanishadic tradition. From early childhood he had taken a keen interest in spiritual matters.RI NISARGADATIA MAHARA. In 1924 he married.

SRI NI5ARGADATTA 1897 - MAHARAJ 1981 .

it bas appeared spontaneously. If consciousness is not there. the expression of consciousness is not there either. is an expression of consciousness only. nothing is. Sru NISARGADAITA MAHARA] .Whatever is. Therefore. And this consciousness is an uncalled-for concept.

of Huntington Beach. who provided me with the original tapes of discourses for this book.ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I am grateful to Frank Anderson. California. .

TABLE OF CONTENTS PREFACE xi SETS OUT THE BASICS 1. 63 73 AND BE HAPPY! 6. AT THE HIGHEST LEVELNOTHING Is. THE EXPERIENCE OF NOTHINGNESS MANIFESTS. 7. IF You WANT THE HAPPINESS OF SELF. CONSCIOUSNESS OF ILLUSION 10. DON'T BE IDENTIFIED WITH A CORPSE. A TRUE SAGE Is HE WHO HAS TRANSCENDED 4. END SUFFERING BY STI\BILlZlNG IN THE STATE BEFORE WORDS GLOSSARY BIBLIOGRAPHY . WHO KNows THAT"] AM"? 9. AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL EVERYrHING THE PERSONALITI 3. WHEN CONSCIOUSNESS DUALI1Y APPEARS ITSELF IS THE SOURCE 93 111 129 147 161 165 8. GET RID OF nIB BODy-MIND 5. MAHARAJ 1 15 Is 39 55 SENSE OF THE TEACHING 2.

In this way. It occurred to me this might well have a bearing also on the way one reads these discourses.PREFACE ri Nisargadatta Maharaj hardly needs an introduction any longer to lovers of the highest wisdom. maverick Hindu sage. Known as a . about his apparently brusque manner with certain visitors by not allowing them to stay with him for any extended Length of time. and some even complained. In this volume Maharaj for the first time reveals the rationale for his actions. one uses Maharaj more like a catalyst in the flowering of one's own understanding and the consequent development of one's convictions. Poonjaji of Lucknow. in order to let their significance sink in. the depth and subtlety of the treatment of the subject combined with the closely reasoned approach (as marvelously exemplified in the chapter "The Experience of Nothingness") make these dialogues virtually unsurpassed in the spiritual literature. In this latest work. even if that person xi S . The other point is that it is apparent in the discussions that Maharaj rarely agrees with anyone. Maharaj addresses two points many have always found intriguing. Thus. such as Sri Ramana Maharshi of Tiruvannarnalai. small portions of the text should be digested at anyone time. the words acquire an extraordinary vitality and there is a corresponding responsiveness in the listener or reader. and the more recently known disciple of the Maharshi. Nisargadatta is now generally acknowledged to rank with the greatest masters of ad'Vaita teachings. On a more mundane level. People have wondered. Sri Atmananda of Trivandrum. Optimally.

It cannot be done. to go along with the speaker would only encourage him to believe he has achieved genuine transformation when in fact he is merely repeating mechanically a verbal formula. they may seem convinced. The possibility always exists to come up with a more or less correct answer.xii ." And on another occasion he said: "Self-surrender is the surrender of all self-concern. It is as Mabaraj once said: "The realized man knows what others merely hear but do not experience. In such cases. even accompanied by feeling. Maharaj acknowledges this and explains how and why he uses this particular approach as a subtle pedagogic device. yet be bereft of actual experience or deep conviction. The Experience of NotbingtJcss has made an apparently valid statement or given a correct answer to his questions. Intellectually. on the intellectual level. but in action they betray their bondage." ROBERT POWELL . Verbal self-surrender. it happens when you realize your true nature. is of little value and breaks down under stress.

The EXPERIENCEoF NOTHINGNESS .

the Absolute lies beyond all "physicality" and can no longer be described. What I am in the absolute sense. Maharaj teaches that upon transcendence of the individual consciousness into the universal manifest consciousness. They are wholly conceptual Often. Then they meditated and abided in it and finally transcended it. In the Absolute one has no instrument to make any statements. Thus. f-am-ness and beingness in these conversations are generally used by Maharaj as denoting limited states of understanding which are fundamentally based on a sense of separate identity. nobody has any consciousness of being present. ." "beingness" or "knowingness" has a somatic basis which in turn arises from the physical elements. be states: "This knowledge 'I am' or the 'beingness' is a cloak of illusion over the Absolute. resulting from taking oneself tc he the body. where the latter I The term "state" implies a "condition. which is to be expected since there is only one Reality.EDITOR'S NOTES: The basic truth of what the great advaita masters teach is essentially the same. In that ultimate awareness. of a more basic reality. it would be more accurate to express this modification as a SUperimposition on the "non-state" of the Parabrllhll1(U1. However." a modification. The presence itself is not there in the Absolute. resulting in their ultimate realization. somewhat aaalagous LO the seeing of a snake in the rope. which arises upon transcendence of the "l-am-ness" and equates the manifest consciousness." The state! of "beingness" is clearly an incomplete. different teacbers lay different emphasis on various aspects of this teaching and to this purpose employ slightly different nomenclatures or use these terms in flexible ways as it suits their purposes. provisional state of understanding. At other times. Thus. the latter rests upon and lies within the Unmanifest or Parabrabman. depending upon the emphasis he wishes to convey. Maharaj also refers to beingness as consciousness or knowingness and according to him it still is the product of the five elements (rooted in materiality). it is not possible to convey in any words." Whereas "l-am-ness. he denotes beingness as a somewhat superior state. in which there is not even a trace of the knowledge 'I am'. Therefore. when Brahman is transcended only the Parabrabman is. Maharaj uses both terms interchangeably. which concerns an unalterable and ineffable substrate. Therefore. as is also evinced from Maharaj's following words: "The sages and prophets recognized the sense of 'being' initially.

perfect and the Unborn. Find out how that consciousness has arisen." Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj ." In his teaching. This Parabrahman lies beyond both duality and non-duality. i. "Even this consciousness is not everything and it is [Jot going to last for all time. and the Absolute is then referred to as Consciousness (with a capital C) and consistently denoted by the term "SeW' (Sri Ramana Maharshi) and as the "l-Principle" (Sri Atmananda)..) It is the Absolute or the Ultimate Subject. Finally. The Ultimate principle which knows this beingness cannot he named at all. the source of the consciousness .e. What is this body? The body is only an accumulation of food and water. He also declares: "Please apprehend this clearly that You. it must be noted here that other sages as well as classic Vedanta scriptures are commonly using "l-am-ness" and Beingness (spelled with a capital B) interchangeably with the Parabrahman or Absolute. or the consciousness. the AbsoLute-bereft of any body identity-are complete.denotes "that principle which was unaffected by the dissolution of the universes" and is a non-state. you are something separate from either the body or the consciousness . It cannot be approached or conditioned by any words. what one is.." Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj "jivawum is the one who identifies with the body-mind as an individual separate from the world. you-as the Absolute-never have or had any birth. Therefore. The atmall is only beingness. That is the Ultimate state. which is the world. for there is no longer anyone or anything-not even the consciousness-sto experience it. All forms are a result of the frve-elemental play. since it is prior to space and time (we can only properly talk of duality or Don-duality within the physical-mental sphere. within consciousness.

Nisargadatta Maharaj talked with visitors until the vel}' day of his death of cancer. were exclusively directed at the goal of awakening or selfrealization. These conversations with visitors of all kinds. readers are encouraged to consult the Glossary in the back of this book when such terms are not defined in a footnote or in the text.To THE READER We realize that many Western readers are not familiar with some of the Indian words that appear in this book. . September 8th. 1981. which took place in the final year of his life. at the age of 84. While knowledge of these words or other specialized jargon is in no way essential for the understanding of the teachings.

.

1. air and ether-rue said to be the fundamental building blocks of the entire physical universe. SETS OUT THE BASICS OF THE TEACHING The nature of the consciousness has This consciousness can ~~~ arise only in the physical body. to 1 According to the Hindu cosmology. suffering must inevitably result. Most people who come here will not be able to accept this type of knowledge. But.j~~\fIfi~~~1be understood.' It is because of the association with the physical body that there is suffering. But some persons who apply themselves and can accept such a point of view. the "five elements" -earth. 1 . if they understand that the latter can only result from the consciousness which has identified itself with the physical body and suffer'Sas an individual. They will be totally free from the impact of pain and unhappiness. it is a composite unity. All living forms AHARA]: MAHARAJ 1Il. In that case. because it is on a strictly fundamental level. and the physical body is the essence of the five elements. what is the individual? There is a body created out of the five elements. fire. and in that body dwells the vital breath (prana) and the consciousness. will really understand. water.

but only very few will understand. While the body exists. But in actuality. I ask again: Where is the question of an individual? Basically. because it forms one unity with it.. When the body dies. Yet one does: the consciousness identifies itself with the body. M: Certainly. they all contain the same elements.. And this is my basic teaching which has to be grasped. Now what is it that we are concerned with? We are dealing with the physical form which is made up of. which is merely the five elements. So. and in this way the "individual" comes into being. In that form are operating the life force (the vital breath) and this consciousness-that is. So long as this is a fact. All forms are made of the same components. the life force .2 ." which is the gift of the consciousness. the individual as such has never come into being. And what I am. there is none. So where is the question of an individual? Throughout all this. I am the consciousness. the five elements. I am neither the body. I am none of these three things. The Experience of Notbingness contain the vital breath and the consciousness. the knowledge "I am" or the sense of being. the vital breath and the consciousness. the sense of existence. And. although the forms are different. but not in the same words. and fed by. that individual is bound to suffer. The latter is the "sentience. This is the total that we can perceive: the body. I must identify myself with the consciousness as long as the body is there. which merely witnesses whatever is going on. And for this reason there is no need to identify oneself with anything. VISITOR: Would you please repeat this? There was so much disturbance that I could uot follow it. nor the life force (the breath) nor the consciousness which comes into the body.

. what 1 am in the absolute sense. being only its witness. the people who come here are all jnanis. No person not interested in the subject would want to come here. 1 am essentially nothing (identifiable) in this consciousness. Sets Out the Basics of the Teacbing . which exists so long as the body is there. And." as individual entities. thus. So one can only assume that those who do attend are vitally interested in the subject and have done their homework .. Now there is . how many amongst us know the nature and the basis of this consciousness that I am. illness comes about. The universal consciousness is something like a name given to a city. The presence itself is not there in the Absolute. Earlier 1 had explained the question of the universal consciousness. Until the "I am" thought was there. there is no illness. there was no manifestation. and the consciousness mingles with the universal consciousness. But. 'When there is an imbalance in the body substance. But when that material is in perfect balance.Mabara. Now how is that? The question' was: Does the universal consciousness depend on the five elements for its existence? The answer to this question is that the universal consciousness and the total manifestation appear simultaneously. There is no "you. it is not possible to convey in any words. both came about simultaneously. Each of us must say "I am" and realize it. nobody has any consciousness of being present. But because we identify ourselves with the body in which the individual consciousness manifests itself-and the consciousness in order to manifest itself has to have a form-the "individual" is born and that individual suffers. The manifestation happens because consciousness is there. In that ultimate Awareness.3 leaves and mingles with the air." and there is no "me.

a city or a nation comprises only the individuals who make it up. are they different? To repeat: The whole problem lies in identification with the individual body and consequently with the individual. M: A name may have been given by individuals. If I say Bombay. Are there any questions on this subject? You are this consciousness. We consider ourselves as individuals. To my mind. But has man created the five elements? The five elements have been created out of that consciousness. for example. V: The universal consciousness and this consciousness within me. V: A very important point here. and that which is unlimited we have limited to an insignificant thing.so the universal consciousness is merely a name given to that which is formless. it means that I refer to a limited area.. And out of this consciousness is born the entire universe. Therefore. as reflected in various manifestations. the individual is ever afraid of death-death of the individual. which is in the individual body. I mean any city or place. The infinite .4 .. are they the same? M: The light which is perceived by your eyes and the light which is generally seen. The Experience of Nothingness Bombay. has man created it? Out of five elements. man is born. but that which has been created. What do you mean by co Bombay"? Can you produce Bombay? No! The totality of a particular thing is designated ." not particularly Bombay. I use the word "city.

but do they not act in remarkably contrary ways? Why is that? Because. they are all born from the same parents. is quite different . Or. of country. as is his wont. resulting from different proportions-permutations and combinations-of these elements.Thus. how can I know the purpose and basis of the entire universe? Maharaj is asking you.. each person acts in a different way. V: 'W"hose purpose is it.5 is narrowed down to a single body. creating all kinds of chaos? If one woman has ten children. In the country they make a panINTERPRETER: . Until I know. homely nature. Maharaj? M: The purpose is the addition of all these millions of combinations. That is our whole problem..Unless I first thoroughly know its nature. the metal may be the same but the purposes for which that metal has been converted into different instruments are widely different-each instrument may be used for a particular purpose. have you realized the nature of the consciousness? Now he gives an example. Now there is also this question: If it is the same universal consciousness that appears in millions of human beings..that is why I asked earlier when do we first know the nature and basis of this composition.Mabara. which we identify as ourselves. Sets Out the Basics of the Teaching .. although constituted from the same basic five elements the composition of each individual.. why do they act in such contrary manners. but the eventual object created from different combinations of those ingredients is bound to act uniquely according to its composition. to use a different analogy. So the ingredients are the five elements.

or something created out of stone. So far as that goes. So he says. But unless the nature of the consciousness is understood. having understood the nature of the consciousness. where the basic knowl- .there will be so many pundits who are so knowledgeable. and the wholehearted worshipping of it. they put a pan on it. as a subject. Unless you understand this consciousness. they will eat me alive. You may have dozens of these pancakes. And yet. and you are bound to accept it as such.. as God. but the number of dents and holes in the two will not be exactly the same. It cannot be attained other than by understanding. can only understand something which is an object. The Experience of Nothingness cake. you cannot be. and this kind of worship will have its normal effects in consciousness. If you discuss things with me. Then. when it is formed. and that is the consciousness. men the next one is put into the pan.. and then the dough is poured on it. based on the traditionalliterature and the traditional knowledge. one will not be able to understand one's true identity. you. no other way of realizing Paramatman exists. And the mechanism of this kind of identification does not differ in any way from identification of a chunk of stone. That is the nature of creation itself.6 . but each one is bound to be different. Anything that you have seen and understood. understand the nature and basis of that which is created as the manifestation. it is all right. There is a fire. M: The mystery of the hypnotic power of this maya is that one identifies oneself with the body. it will generally appear like the previous one. to have variety. you will also understand that you are not the consciousness. Finally the pancake comes into being and is removed.

you are left in doubt at the end whether he really knows the Ultimate. it is an ultimate question about so to speak the origin of the jnani. M: He cannot be called a jnani. Is that true? M: Would you repeat it. the problem is still incomplete. how did that happen? And in the last line. the poem goes something like this (I can only vaguely reproduce it): He. Any questions? it is well known to people who have read the translations. In other words.. Or perhaps. He says it in the last line . the jnatti . In other words. since the very question is not answered. he knows it. At the end of that. What about the origin of the jnani himself? You can imagine the jnani asking himself: How did I come to be here? The answer he gives is: He knows. the jnani. which I deal with.. Or perhaps.Mabaraj Sets Out the Basics of the Teaching . he knows not. the question now is who said this whole thing. whatever is seen. he does not know it either. M: But how does it start. why do these people remain speechless? Because it is something totally different from anything that can be understood.. 7 edge is concerned. V: There is a Hymn to Creation. the Ultimate Knower. is not true. it is difficult to do so without repeating the actual text. who caused him? It is about the jnani's origin. the poem reads: He.. V: Well. Whatever is understood. please. this Hymn to Creation? V: It is a very well known Hymn. .

] M: Consciousness itself is the screen. Then. The mystery remains. so to speak. explained that what the lady probably intended to convey is that anything that can happenall thoughts. Are there any questions? Maharaj wants questions. there is nothing. then obviously one is unconscious. right? This consciousness can eventually be understood by the jnani.8 . So in the language.. And the one who wrote it. there is no screen. P. I: That he explained yesterday morning .. Unfortunately. Whatever he says is an echo of illness. is still ill. Consciousness is being understood. Mr. Whatever is. When the consciousness is not there. all action-are only appearances in that consciousness. according to the language. V: A difficulty in our understanding is that consciousness itself is the object of the Knower. is unconsciousness. The Experience of Nothingness unsolved. is wide open. So what are you getting at? . The session is nearly over. V: [Asks a question in Marathi which is not translated. there is an inbuilt tendency to make this divisionconsciousness and unconsciousness. the opposite of consciousness is unconsciousness. I: The question was: Could we conceive of consciousness as a screen on which the entire creation is like a moving picture? So Maharaj said initially. This is the realm of consciousness and all creations are in the consciousness. and then what remains. he thrives on them. So Maharaj said: Undoubtedly. The sick man is still a sick mao.

M: It is out of unconsciousness that consciousness is born. The consciousness is a state which is now with us and because of which we suffer. but if there are any questions . the world is not there. . 1 am the evening. and is merely to be understood. is self-effulgent. and before this consciousness came. and then that seems an inferior state to him. I am the bad. You say that to the ordinary person. I am the good. It does not need anybody's help to exist. The session is over. SECOND VISITOR: It does not seem inferior to me. a state prevailed when we were not conscious and which was a happy state. That which is is to be understood. it will also be clear that I am the dawn. Although consciousness is so very important-for if there were no consciousness there would be no world. I am the afternoon.s] M: [in response to a question about effort to 'understand] There is no question of any efforts being made by anyone. 9 V: Consciousness is not true. has come out of the prior state when there was no consciousness. ? Then go ahead! [There aTe no furtber question. And what is to be understood is that if consciousness is not there. And that is our experience also.Maharaj Sets Out the Basics of the Teacbing . This knowledge "I am. I am the night. And when it is understood. unconsciousness is the source..." this consciousness. And I am not the consciousness. I am apart from it.

10 . The Experience

of Nothingness
I am not that.

there would be nothing-yet

V: But even coming to this insight requires effort. Why does Maharaj say there is no effort to be made? M: Now that you know that you are, you are sitting here, you know that you exist, you have that sentience. The know1edge that you are alive, that you exist, do you understand it through any effort?

V: No.
M: Your question is wholly correct from the point of view of this world; that is, unless you work there is no fruit, you can't eat. So from the worldly point of view, your question is correct. But I don't belong to this world I And in the world, this "Lam-ness" is just there, without any efforts on anyone's part. V: Maharaj, I am a teacher by profession. In theory, I accept this fully and even see the logic of it. The problem is that knowing this theoretically is one thing, but actually being it and feeling it is quite another. And that is where the trouble lies, and hence the need for effort. M: Yes, tremendous effort: being very, very still and not doing anything! That is effort-the effort which you made when you were in your mother's womb for eight months and in which state neither your parents nor you as such did anything. No effort was made. Whatever grew, grew by itseU.

V: I got my answer!
M: From the drop of semen at conception to the grow-

Mabaraj Sets Out the Basics

of tbe

Teacbing

• 11

ing into a baby, and his further development, what is it that made possible this growth? That very same principle which from the absence of knowledge has led to the presence of knowledge, this "I-am-ness"-that is what one is and what is to be understood. V: A spontaneous occurrence without effort.
M: That spontaneous happening. that consciousness

which has come upon unconsciousness. V: But how can one know that conception occurred?
SECOND VISITOR:

has

How otherwise would you know

the child is born? V: Unless there is conception. he will not grow. And in the person where there is no conception, there will be no growth. Hence, an effort would also have to be made for there to be conception; then only the growth will take place. I: Maharaj is telling you exclusively about the growth part. There are no efforts. It is spontaneously happening, the growth. M: Even there, even for the conception, what effort could the parents make? And even if the parents make that effort, could they have guaranteed that conception is to take place? The conception occurs by itself, of its own sweet will-not necessarily because of any efforts. In any case, the efforts which the parents made were not really efforts; they were enjoying themselves. That is not an effort as such.

12 . The Experience of Notbingness
[To a particular 'Visitor] Are you coming in the evening?

V: These are my sisters. They are going back with me

this afternoon. M: The knowledge "you are"-if you want to remember this visit-remember this also, the memory that you are is under the shade [that is, the protecting umbrella] of the guru or God. Worshipping God and guru means worshipping the knowledge "you are" only. So hold on to that principle, the knowledge "I am," the knowledge that you exist, and worship it in the name of your guru or God.

.

" ISITOR: MAIlARAJ: Oh yes. and he said there is something saying "guru-guru-guru." "I am"that is guru-guru-guru. For this trifling talk. V: Can I ask a question? M: Of course. like the sound of a motorcar starting. which always reminds you "I am.2. why are you using this equipment? [referring to the tape recorder] V: Because the trifling talk takes us back all the time to that which is not trifling. AT THE WORLDLY LEVEL EVERYTHING Is Forgive me for going back to what Maharaj said yesterday. because I forgot. 15 . guru means that "l-am-ness" itself." "I am. AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL NOTHING Is. It is a continuous reminder that you are. M: Just so. I asked him about the presence of the guru.

Th« Experience of Nothingness V: This morning Maharaj said this mystery of the knower and the known should be followed up. there is no time. then only everything appears. only the witnessing of time is not there.. A [na ni is the most stupid ." V: But in deep sleep. there is no time.. where is the question of knowledge. ignorance. (He is not concerned with knowing in the conventional sense. feelings. and they are known because of their appearance in the light of consciousness. the integral combination of waking state. V: So witnessing comes afterwards? M: Agreed! V: In the deep sleep itself. this consciousness. The known is not really known by a knower.16 . V: How can there be time if there is no witnessing? M: Your watch did the witnessing job and told you that you were asleep for eight hours. deep sleep and the dream state comprises "I am. are movements in consciousness. appears. Prior to that. . is that really a state? M: Yes.) When this waking state. Is that correct? It is just like that. thoughts. M: Time is there. The known is known because its perceptions. orjnana? M: V: But deep sleep.

V: I don't understand that something can be timeless and yet exist-the deep sleep. Presence. The principle that witnesses the deep sleep does not sleep.. M: When it is formless." M: No. 17 M: The one that tells you later. M: "T-am-ness'' is Presence. no feeling.At tbe Highest Level Nothing Is . But there is . V: Still there is. M: You go into a very deep samadhi. In three hours or so." or Presence. If you want to meet a state of nothingness. the consciousness "I am" is not there either.. V: So in deep sleep. . There is no thought. what is he like before telling you? V: Formless. V: That is what I call "omnipresence. But the witnessing of deep sleep does happen.. there is no "I am. That "I-am-ness" presence should not be there. I noticed that many things had happened (in my immediate environment). The non-"I-am-ness" only can meet that nothingness.. then you will realize that. M: No thought.I have no word for it. when the form is not available. you yourself must also go into a state of nothingness. V: I used to go into samadhis which were just like deep sleep. no feeling.

. is a pointer to the Ultimate? even ignorance and M: When you are completely depersonified. is an embellishment or a decoration or a puja to the Para brahman. But that 1 don't know how to call it . you must not do that. M: O. V: Can you say that everything. knowl- is no knowingness . you are no more an individual..18 . M:..:. The manifest dynamic. then whatever is. so many years later. He said...ience of Nothingness But my guru was very unhappy with that. In the Absolute. the ultimate edge . it cannot be grasped by memory. knowingness. M. fluid Brahman cannot be caught in any words.K.: The Absolute? V: Yes. . I say they are identical. M. V: Knowledge with a capital K.. pain. and the experience are one V: But it cannot be remembered. The Exper. M: Samadbi and the experiencer of samadhi. did you get acquainted with both aspects-samadbi and the one who enjoyed samadbi? V: Now. It is not to be memorized.. no puja can happen. the experiencer and the same. But 50 long as you are wrapped up egoistically through some words.

At the Highest Level Nothing Is there is no knowingness. from its own point of view ...." V: I don't know how to call it . But in reality. " either. Knowingness . It is not possible. V: But no unconsciousness M: It is unconscious. M: You are talking of the Absolute. am-ness. M: In that state.. there is no knowingness. past.. M: Yes.. That is why you call it "no consciousness. V: From the point of view of the mind. 19 is only in the V: Here we face the difficulty of words. because you are ." the quality comes in. M: Call it Absolute. M: You better not call it knowledge. M: You are talking of the nirguna state? you say "knowlThere is no "r- . the indication is given with reference to consciousness. V: I don't mean that. The moment edge. V: Yes. V: Pure consciousness.

. . Actually. is recorded in the Absolute. . The Experience of Nothingness V: I don't know this Sanskrit term. known as an object. state. So? comes on the background of the V: So it is known .20 .. a non-knowing V: A non-knowing state . who would call it V: There is nobody to call it anything. M: If knowingness "knowingness"? Beingness IS is not known. the relative beingness is known. there is no substance in all this. M: That is the reply! V: So. V: Yes." V: "l-am" disappears in the Absolute. M: Beingness Absolute. have I understood it right this morning: Mabaraj advises us to find out who is the witness in deep sleep? M: All these wordy statements are just to please somebody. that knows! [laughter] M: Knowingness appears on the non-knowing state. M: Guna means "Lam-ness": and l'liTguna means "No[-am-ness. M: Yes.in the Absolute..

You may understand it that way. M: What do you mean by "puja"? Puja is a process or an aid to propitiate somebody. No. you have tried to capture it with words. and that you are this manifest Brabman only. Whatever that principle. Don't conceptualize. dynamic nature. and without words-how can it suffer? V: All this stops immediately when you see it as a puja to the Ultimate. because of its association with the body. don't stamp it with words! Just be. embracing a certain form and certain words and concepts. you cannot capture it through words. you are free. Now everybody is weighed down by words. Without that-without form. The whole problem is with the words. Because of this association with the body. 21 V: So. The dynamic beingness principle. no advice? M: The manifest. that dynamic principle has left the body. M: Yes. is suffering. and the child is dead.At the Highest Level Nothillg Is . . Suppose a child is there. V: Even the idea "I am not free" is part of the puia. Once you understand that you are not the body nor that you are wrapped up in name and form. V: So words are the only problem. Since that principle which has quit the body is now freed from the body. M: That means aU this wordy business stops. you cannot say what that dynamic principle is. It has no name now.

That is why he has no knowledge. What knowledge did you get? V: The ignorant man has not got any knowledge and the sage has not got knowledge. It is an expression of it. M: [pointing to a third visitor] For years he has been trying to assimilate knowledge. M: If you enter the arena. you must fight with questions. take the rearmost seat. there is no sense of knowledge because he dismisses knowledge as unreal. Then what is the difference? M: The ignorant one has to acquire knowledge. but he has not got an iota of knowledge. O.22 . Otherwise. Would you call it darishma? M: Call it whatever you like. For the jnani. If you are not going to ask questions. SECOND VISITOR: Of course. . because knowledge is valid for the ignorant. [To a newly arri'Ved 'Visitor] If you are going to sit here.K. The Experience of Nothingness V: Well. M: Yes. you must ask questions. he does not entertain knowledge. V: It is consciousness playing with its own. you must stick out your neck. it is no use (being here). of course. V: If you come here. Therefore.

" M: "Nobody" means the one who could refer to "whom"? V: This is the proprietor whom you cannot know. is an expression of consciousness only. nothing is. but. Secondly. to think that can one reach it when one actually can't. First. 23 V: In reality nobody can have knowledge. the proprietor does not live longer than one or two seconds. everything is. V: Does this mean everything is a form of consciousness? M: Whatever is. nothing is. in reality. there really is only one obstacle. M: This is all right on the worldly level. it has appeared spontaneously. At the worldly level.. Nobody means "who"? V: This is the "proprietor. nothing is. nobody can have anything. Therefore. . V: So once one has heard the truth. Even the proprietor goes at once . If consciousness is not there.. truthfully. He also is a thought...At the Higbest Level Nothing Is . the expression of consciousness is not there either. At the higbest level. you cannot own any thought . And this consciousness is an uncalled-for concept. M: In reality nobody can avoid knowledge. So I could not be the owner of knowledge for two reasons.

. this consciousness. . There remains only the universal consciousness without the knowingness. that "Lam-ness" state is also gone. you get purified and the process subsides. Once the latter is exhausted or no longer available. this guna. this consciousness endures. the non-knowingness state or anything else. is not there in the absence of the M: In the process of trying to understand. But once this food essence is gone. depends entirely on the food body essence. V: It appears that you have to reach it to attain it. Then in that state there is no question of manifest orunmanifest. no name. it still needs to be emulated in order to be reached. M: When you have heard the truth. the touch of "I-amness" or this guna. the life force. obstacle . When the consciousness quits the body. this state of "I-amness" or beingness. So long as the food body essence is available. that knowingness is no longer there. This guna. That comes only with the presence of consciousness. So how can it be understood? V: But that is something one continues to try for a long period. So long as the association with the body essence is there. that is the one M: Because the truth has no form. "How?" to understand it.. is available.24 . To repeat. this consciousness or this gun a is also not there. V: Your attempt obstacle. The Experience of Nothingness there is only one M: Mer one has got the truth.

manifest principle does not get caught up in the concept." If that dynamic. that is "the past. you take this consciousness Maharaj is talking about for that which you are. rebirth. but that you misapprehend it? Could it be that when you look for yourself. V: The past is always projected from this moment? M: 'Whatever has happened. V: Is it possible. that manifest. when you look for what you are.. 25 food body essence. ? V: So if there is no past. then it has no birth and no death. All the stories of reincarnation. there is no such thing as the past." V: But we can never touch the past. M: But who is the one who said "Iii? This means that by the word "I. M: What have you to say .. . dynamic principle caught itself in that word "I. that you get it mixed up? SECOND VISITOR: You mistake consciousness for the Ultimate. M: But who says that it cannot be touched." that chetana. are mere stories meant for the ignorant masses. maybe.At the Highest Lllwl Nothing Is . there is no bondage. we are only now . the past? V: I say so. So we cannot touch anything which is not now. that you identify yourself not with consciousness.. So. whether it concerns an ant or an elephant.

26 . Tbe Experience

of Nothingness

M: Yes, that consciousness is the prerequisite for anything. Without the consciousness, you cannot even do that search, you cannot look inward. Please proceed with the question. V: That is all. But when you make this mistake, when you identify yourself with consciousness, is it still some kind of feeling or experience? M: You are consciousness. "Where is the question of your merging with the consciousness? Your consciousness means "you are." "You-are-ness" and consciousness are not separate. The "you are" state itself is the consciousness. Can you follow me? You know you are, without the words you are. That itself is the consciousness. V: Can this consciousness exist without forms?

M: This consciousness cannot know itself in the absence of a form, of food body essence. Body is a form. For example, you are detecting some bad smell. There must be something from which the bad smell emanates. So something must be present. Likewise, to have this touch of "L-arn-ness." something must be there. And what is that something? Body, food essence. This body must be there, which is food essence. Storage of food essence is the body. [After a long pause 1 I had high expectations in you, that you would initiate some interesting talks. If nobody talks, I will dose the session and send people home. V: I have done some homework for questions. I had to jot them down, because when I sit here all my ques-

At the Highest Level Nothing Is tions vanish. When 1 go home, the questions back. You said one must always remember "I am."

.

27

come

M: Is it necessary that you should remember that you are? Spontaneously you know and remember that you are. That is why you have come here, have you not? Because you are. Stay put there. Currently, you are not yet that knowledgeable to be able to realize the happiness that goes with that state. You have yet to evolve.

V: I don't get it.
M: You are not mature enough yet. And really ... when you finally understand, you will realize that all this, whatever you have understood, is not the truth.

V: That is what I realize in my mind.
M: What can the mind understand? Can the mind have any wisdom? Whatever passing show it observes, that is the mind. Whatever is read, whatever is heard, that again flows out-that is the mind. Whatever earlier impressions entered, when they flow out, the flowing out is the mind. V: In a way, I don't want to ask questions, because if I put a clever question and I get a clever answer in return, I become more and more clever and it is no use. M: You ask a clever question reply. Is that what you mean? and you get a clever

28

. The Experience

of Nothingness

V: Yes. This makes me even more clever, and then I start ... It is no use .. Therefore, I don't want to ask questions. M: So you don't want to become clever? The state you want is non-cleverness. Is it something like that?

V: I may become very clever, but it does not help. It
does not make me happy.

M: It is of no use. But who observes it? 'Who is saying
this? Who has made .a11 the observations? V: The witness? M: I would like to know who is that witness and witness of what?

V: Well,. I can say I am the witness .. .I am not sure.
M: And witness what? V: Intelligence, the world, everything, aU that is man-

ifested.
M: How long are you going to be at that post of witnessing? How long are you in a witnessing position? It is the knowingness that is the trouble, the source of all troubles. In the absence of knowingness, of that consciousness, where is the question of misery, pam or pleasure? V: Nowhere. M: Now you know it. you can go home; you've got it.

" Do you follow? M: . Just be "you are.At the Highest Level Nothing Is . but it still does not work. "I-am-ness" is there. M: So long as beingness. 29 V: But I don't feel it. It (consciousness) has come spontaneously. I can explain everything most cleverly. M: Then keep quiet. there is no question of utility or no utility." Can Maharaj give some advice to ensure we don't mistakenly hold something for "I am "? SECOND VISITOR: Don't say I am this. V: Does it mean losing the consciousness? M: Did you ever catch hold of consciousness. In the absence of consciousness. V: Why utility? M: Usefulness or no usefulness." other times I take that as "I am. (why worry about) utility or no utility. I don't experience it like that. I am that. How is it that everyone has suddenly gone into silence? V: Is it not what he wants? [laughter] Can we get some advice for not getting things mixed up? Sometimes I take this as "I am. made it your own. Just hold on to yourself. even for myself. you are. Just be. your property? and V: No.

M: Every moment you are experiencing "1 am. aren't you? the mind. and prior to mind. yes. as a mind.30 . You exist prior to body." Are you not experiencing yourself right now? You are? V: As a body. but sometimes 1 imagine that 1 experience am. . So you are apart from the body. do you not? Do you understand? V: I understand. M: You know you are.. V: Separated.. M: You recognize the body. not always. Aren't you? V: Yes. you are apart from the V: Yes. M: Prior to body. The Experience of Nothingness "I V: Yes. are you not there? V: [don't know. as a body. M: Recognizing mind. M: Are you or are you not? Who recognizes the mind? You recognize the mind." Sometimes. separate from the body and separate from the mind. So you are . I am.

You are not that. M: You are not the fear! You observed the fear. Caught in the fear. You are the rearmost background principle. you are not that. The Experience of Nothingness V: Is that the same as when you meditate keep repeating it [the mantra] in your head? and you M: Suppose you meditate. . So in this way. That which is caught by the fear will die. But you are still in the background. Get back! V: But the more I get back. is that no problem? M: Then let yourself die. did you not? You acknowledge it because you accept it.. it is hard to remember. let it be dead.32 . the more fear comes. reject everything whatever you observe. but you won't rue. M: Let the fear come! It does not matter if you are overwhelmed by fear and you are dead-whatever that is. Recede from that. let it [the fear1 appear to you. be there! Recede! Whatever you meditate on. V: Then when it feels to me that I am dying. You will be really immortal. you are not that! Whatever you observe.. and finally settle down where no more observation is. meditate on the atman or something. V: I could meditate only very little through fear arising . M: But still you have to get back. V: It is hard to be convinced of that when you are meditating and the fear comes.

" M: That is all. of course. the fear and the trouble are endless. I have experienced it many times. 33 I: You survived. M: What are you going to do now? V: Meditate. what do you meditate? on V: 1 will sit and just watch what comes up.. and then I keep telling myself: "That's something. M: Everything not die. that's some- V: And I will come here everyday. four or five days? M: You can come here four or five days. M: When you say you are going into meditation. thing .At the Highest Le'Vel Nothing Is V: I know. will go hut you will not go. didn't you? So then? V: The trouble is endless. . nothing else. M: For four. five days! V: What do you mean. V: Not longer? .. you will V: 1 will try again.

.the unmanifest .. it has come ... Time and space are not binding upon it.. in order to thoroughly understand you can come. Is it time-bound or is it beyond time? You DOW know that you were not. Correct? M: Have you realized that? Is it your experience? V: No. and then go and imbibe them.. V: Understanding itself is not enough for me. M: Then what else you want? V: Become more realized .But then you should go.. You are. but it cannot be grasped by the mind or the buddbi [intellect] . V: I am fully aware of the question I am going to put.. The Experience of Nothingness M: There is no accommodation for newcomers. M: Then don't ask me about somebody else. it is there for ever. By all means. Somebody is realizing..but there is nothing to realize ... This "I-am-ness" was not. This "you-are-ness" does not occur to you. [makes gesture 1 V: What do you mean by "like this"? I have not understood the question.34 . [gigglingJ M: Realized? Whose realization? Somebody else's or yours? Your self-realization. would it be like this . M: Listen to my talks thoroughly for four or five days.

You are also the Unborn. So how can you say this "you-are-ness" is beyond time? It is time-bound. "l-am-ness" has come at a certain time. 1 am the Unborn. 1 understand you as such only." what are you? Before understanding this "you are" medicine and dismissing it. it must disappear. Due to what are they born? That was his question. Understand what it is! My state is: I am. Again and again I have been telling you that. therefore. It has appeared. In . Similarly. Prior to that. this "you-are-ness" was not. you are a Mahatma. You know you are. Someone asked me a queer question: I am responsible for the birth of fifty children. V: ILong and unintelligible statement about living the "unmanifest state. you are talking about a state without "you are" medicine. I want to know: What is this "you are" medicine? Why are you? What are you? Due to what are you? In the absence of that medicine "you are. without parents. "you are"? Due to what? When you recognize and transcend that. and people will come and talk to you. It has a certain period of time. "l M: All this talk is merely verbal acrobatics. without parents. I have been telling you again and again: that you exist is due to that "you are" medicine. and still you are putting the same basic question. Suppose your father asked such a silly question of somebody else? All this talking about the manifest and unmanifest is mere talk for the sake of entertainment. Have you understood this principle "I am"? When spiritually experienced people come here.At the Highest Level Nothing Is ' 35 afterwards. they enter into a dialogue just for entertainment. First find out: What is this medicine.

But you can't very well tell such stories here.36 . Ultimately. that is the normal ignorant personality. The knowledge removes he ignorance and then itself also goes. his ornaments are given to a barber.The question does not even arise. M: What do you mean by death of the body? Does the body die? Can this die [again referring to his cigarette lighter]? . because from the barber they will go to the dead person. you can convey any number of concepts to them. it means there is no pain after death of the body. we call it death. when a person is dead. And such concepts are all for the ignorant people. That is the concept. So long as that food essence body is available with that vital breath. both knowledge and ignorance are thrown overboard. Then again a rebirth! Rebirth of what? Of the five-elemental play! There is no birth of a certain personality. no individual or personality. when the quintessence of that play in the form of the food essence appeared in a certain form. V: When the body dies. In this manifest play of the five elements. Out of the five-elemental play. the life force is there. there is no entity as such. All this spiritual talk is spiritual jargon. The Experience of Nothingness the true state nothing is. what are these spiritual talks? They are meant for so long as ignorance prevails. the moment is there. Take for example the questions of rebirth and reincarnation. so-called knowledge is necessary. You can talk in the world to the ignorant masses. of this or that fellow. When the body is not available. That is the birth. when discussing profound spiritual matters. To remove the ignorance. Let me give you an example: In certain parts of our country. VVhatremains is the Absolute.

. This "Lam-ness. is it not death? You may call it death also. also merges with the universal consciousness. would you call it death? In other words. Where is the death? When the flame is extinguished. That is where the air becomes manifest. 37 M: If you make a flame. it is full of Life and fire. In that state. it merges with the universal air.At tb« Highest Level Nothing Is V: But that is not a living thing! . when this is completely consumed. When the vital breath quits the body. this quality of "l-am-ness" also disappears. there is no knowingness and the body becomes one with the five elements." the consciousness.

.

Why is that? ISlTOR: MAB:A.3. but I have no energy to talk about random matters. Talk only about the self and I will come straight to the point and explain matters to you. 39 . Why do you ask such questions? Ask only about your own self. but only a few can be truly convincing. A TRUE SAGE Is HE WHO HAS TRANSCENDED THE PERSONALITY There are many people who purport to speak about truth.R.AJ: Why do you ask me? How can I tell you? Somebody did not get a child. To talk on this matter will be perfectly all right. This philosophy has already been explained to you. and you are asking me: "Why did I not get a child?" Such questions have no place or relevance here. Did you get knowledge from me or somebody else? V: I think mostly from my own self. But no other topics. you should not have been coming here in the first place. M: If that is the case and you are getting knowledge through your own self.

40

The Experience

of Nothingn.ess
or the ulti-

V: I did not mean to say all knowledge mate knowledge.
INTERPRETER:

Maharaj wants to know whatever you are getting here. 'What other masters have expounded knowledge to you?
SECOND VISITOR: He wants to know what your sources are. what you have read, or from whom you have heard anything else.

V: 1 started off with drugs, then I listened to Wolter Keers', and ended up listening to Maharaj. M: Since you said that your knowledge has sprouted in your own self, then don't come back tomorrow. V: Yes, but that was only knowledge of changes, not knowledge about the "I am" or the changeless. M: If you really did get the knowledge through you, why should I break my head over you? I: Don't ask any irrelevant questions, for Maharaj tires easily. Just because he is available to us does not mean we should fling any question at him. M: I have to suffer for aU my talks, physically. V: Most of us come from Europe, where we don't have this guru-disciple tradition. and so we don't know how to behave.
1 A well-known Dutch author and lecturer on ad\'oilo wdanta lind the translator of I Am Thai into Dutch. He was a frequent questioner during the dialogues recorded in this present volume.

A True Sage Has Transcendedtbe

Personality

. 41

M: Here, traditionally the guru is the highest God-

the God of the gods.

M: One who has understood this, that the consciousness which has been restricted to the body is in reality the limitless, universal consciousness, if he has accepted this with conviction, what more does he need? Whatever I say is from the point of view that I am without body-mind, and if you want to accept whatever I say from the point of view that you are bodymind, and expect to get something from it as a similar object, how can it be of use? I repeat: Whatever I say is from the conviction that I am without the body, that I am "no-body." Therefore, if someone wants to understand that, but remains himself identified with the body, how can he ever hope to grasp what I am trying to convey? Any questions? Put them, but understand that we are speaking and asking on the basis that we do not have a body. There is a body and the body is suffering. But I know that I am not the body; I am the universal conscia usness. I will not talkahout what is being generally talked about elsewhere on the mistaken notion that they are discussing "spiritual knowledge." I will only speak about one's own self. I will not fool people because I want them to come here and they come to me as guru. 'What is to be understood is that "I, " the self, comprises all things: this unity is to be understood thoroughly. Can there be anything else but one? There have been any number of avatars; they have

42

. The E"perienc;e

of Nothingness

gone but their bodies have merged into the five elements. Has anything changed? The self continues to be what it was for millions of years. Understand this as the puce mind, and anything else is tomfoolery. Consciousness within the body gets itself entangled in the various concepts which it has been given and which it has acquired and now considers as part of itself. In what I am saying now I give a picture of what you think yourselves to be. The jnani knows that this is totally untrue, and he knows the truth. V: Thought can never understand this. It takes a while before thoughts are completely exhausted and stop trying to understand. The understanding sinks in the moment the seeker disappears. M: Only when one is convinced about this, totally; there is nothing further that anyone can tell you and nothing further to be understood. Where is even the question of conviction? The body is going to disappear and mingle with the five elements, the breath will mingle with the air. and the consciousness with the universal consciousness; it is as simple as that. Be without the body first, and then whatever words emerge will be knowledge itself. They will not be coming from a particular apparatus; the words will be knowledge itself. The body is of the nature of food and if there is an illness it is an illness on the body because there has been an imbalance in what constitutes the body. How am I concerned? This life force. the breath, and consciousness, they are like the sun and sunlight; there is so much unity in that, they are really one. So when one disappears, the

at Least consider yourself the life force. Suppose you are sitting quietly. but remember it is still only a concept.A True Sage Has Transcended the Personality • 43 other also goes. the mind will always make us unhappy. If that does not arise. Take any concept that you like.. that breath of mind-is it with the body or is . Once you decide that you are not the body and this conviction grows. but because they have associated themselves with the body the bondage has come about.. and we are very. but the one who receives it. your body will be all the healthier for it. To start with. Suddenly one thought appears. if you cannot consider yourself as consciousness. So long as one depends on the mind. that breath of thought. This consciousness that I am.Then some other thought comes and the original thought and the unhappiness both disappear. but don't look to me for giving you any furtber concepts. if he does not keep himself open to receptivity. You may adopt any concept that will make you happy. very unhappy. The life force and the consciousness are always free. because the two are one but in any case not the body. what can I do? On this point.where is the question of unhappiness? Whatever knowledge Jgive is always free and open. I am the original. V: Is that the carrot to make the donkey run? 1\1: That you will know best yOUIseU. are there any questions? Your speech-that breath of words. I am the landlord not the tenant. What is suffering really? Suffering is only something which has been engendered by a thought or a word-the mind.

all those depend entirely on the meaning of the words. Whatever you consider as happiness or unhappiness. but those who think they have understood and are still in the process of digesting it and come here with great zeal and sincerity. the approach was more like this.44 . sin or merit. that is the thought. I repeat: One who has understood this. the sky and space? The consciousness is always the prime factor. And the life force and this consciousness within the body are bound to disappear. is it at all similar to that in which your guru was expounding the subject? V: Of course. M: Why do 1 talk in such a fashion? This could be misunderstood. Only when I interpret what is in the mind. and that is the word. I come . consciousness is movement. do I become happy or unhappy. and that is the mind. how can there be concepts of ether and atmosphere. So long as the mind does not work and there is no interpretation. and whatever happens is through the effect of the life force. Sometimes. I speak the way I like because [ know that I am no body and no thing. other times more like that. The E"perienceof Nothingness it without the body? The speech is without the body. Unless there is consciousness. I will not have him here. to them I will tell them in brief words what the position is and then send them out too. there is no question of being happy or unhappy. the life force is without the body. The life force signifies movement. heaven or hell. The manner in which the subject is being discussed here. the mind is without the body. that depends very much on who was there. Therefore.

and when both what is and what is not have disappeared then what remains is "I. He cannot say what sleep was.a number of judgments are collected-and the whole combination he considers the capital of his knowledge. I apperceived what is and I also apperceived what is not. for in sleep he is not consciously present. and both understood each .A True Sage Has Transcended the Personality ." I am certainly not presence and not even the presence of the absence. 45 and feel obliged to speak. and somebody else says something else' in this fashion. Anyone who is conscious of his presence. they exchange views and call it jnana. and I am neither! Neither the presence nor the absence.. Take the case of a jnani. will not talk in such open fashion. All knowledge anyone. he does have inana. however great. when they gave these judgments was he there? Was it the state of affairs when one understood the presence of the other. I am and I am not.. All he can say is something when he is awake. that is why I say whatever comes up. How did it arise? 'What is its nature? Those who have come here and have had knowledge. But is he able to say from where his knowledge has arisen? Knowledge has arisen from a point where there was no knowledge. and Buddha said that. And it is only that which he can distribute. when the consciousness is there. how will they be able to convey it to others? What really happens in the world is: somebody gathers a lot of material-somebody's judgment and somebody else's judgment . can have is that knowledge which one has at that split second when he is not asleep and not even awake. They merely exchange views: Shankara said this. But the one who passes on these opinions of others.

after nine months. Even the day prior to the conception. he would refuse. Whatever knowledge you have is hearsay. If one knew that he was going to be born. when the consciousness is actively working. that is not knowledge. as far as you are concerned. And then. the body is born and after a few months. which is "I love. [To a particular visitor} I consider you a jnani and I want an answer from you: What was born and how was it born? That is. and so on. a character. M: That is all. that is the basic concept which brings about the assumption of all other concepts by people. V: Only the idea "I am. I did not know I was going to be conceived. . are being exchanged among a group of people who then call that knowledge." not only that I exist but I love. then it is different. But merely parroting the opinions of others.46 . That primary concept. He would not have accepted the proposition that he should go in the food: Thank you. The Experience of Nothingness other's presence? If that was the case. That is my point. For years and years I may not know that I was going to be born. They told me I have a body." M: Who told you about this? V: My parents. I don't want it. I realize that [ am born. I'll pass. as well as judgments given in the past. Things that happened in the past. How can somebody who does not have knowledge of his true self be a guru? Only he can be a guru who has knowledge of his true nature.

So 1 said to Maharaj: The way we accept sages here with great reverence and awe is probably not customary there. So if at all thoughts occur. they will not be related to the individualistic idea that manifests about nature only. consciousness. they have reverted to that original state. the mind is there. M: A sage is one who has transcended individuality. You are the manifest only. This knowingness. I: In your country also there might be sages. is there any memory? Conventionally or traditionally. "l-am-ness" comes only with the body that is given. I do not believe that. There may be others-I don't really know. he does not need anything. therefore the individuality is there. and the mind creates an individually made memory pattern. there is no play of mind and therefore no individuality. and abides in the manifest consciousness. So long as the body is there. who are dead and gone? 'Whatever state they had prior to assuming a body. That . people say there is still memory even after the body goes. he is Consciousness. What about the sages. because there is no experience of it. with the consciousness. When a jnani does not have a body. personality. So the yardstick is his abidance in consciousness. 'When you are the manifest state. They have probably heard about sages like Ramana Maharshi because through Maharshi they came to know about the possibility of self-realization.A True Sage Has Transcended the Personality . 47 M: In that state which prevails after the dropping of the body.

being the background of manifest consciousness. consciousness conditioned V: The atma is that which never changes. without explaining what it means. All these people were using the word. soul is a kind of spiritual personality. Atma is impersonal. which all thoughts. The soul is a mixture of atma and ji'Va. I tried everyone. but no questions. [The interpreter used the word atma for "soul" in his translation for Maharaj] Soul is not attna. Catholics. .48 . everybody was talking about the soul. M: Why did they not answer? V: They did not know. The Experience of Nothingness manifest consciousness expresses itself through a particular body that is the sage. but them. fears and sense perceptions have in common. But that body has no individuality. Such entities only are true sages. I had get answers to my questions. by thought. So I said: What is this soul? Nobody knew. M: Do you understand what is the atma? V: That which remains when thought vanishes. V: Before coming to India. what is it? V: When we are still. For example. M: And when the thought is there. one could answer my fundamental tried everywhere to nobody would give Protestants. M: The atma conditioned.

All the names and titles of other gods are meant for you only. Your talk is of such a high calibre or at such a high level that it is not intelligible to the common man of any religion. You don't believe in all this. worship that knowledge "I am. which does not change. V: At my level. Whatever you are." So if you want to worship. that consciousness. But when the thoughts are there? V: Atma is also there. M: 'Whatever you are. is growing from the inside. I am only interested in silence. A guru feels exhilarated when he sees that the disciple has become mature in spirituality. I expect questions from you at your proper level. It is that which all thoughts and feelings have in common. the knowingness. a Muslim believes in the prophet or a god. every feeling. When you do that. It is something which is present in every thought. You are the knowledge "I am. and every sense perception. that "you are." the consciousness. when thoughts are not there. When you understand that consciousness with the identity of the body.A True Sage Has Transcetlded the Personality . You do not discuss any of the rituals of worshipping. so your talking is really useless. M: . A Christian worships Jesus Christ. 49 I: You said. don't send questions at lower levels. that itself is the atma. but you do not do any of this. We must talk when it is indicative of that [maturing] only. the atman or the self in you-that itself is nothing other than God. or doing this and that. Hindus worship so many gods. all other rituals become redundant." Be devoted to that "I-am-ness" only. you suffer.

do you think that book is getting pleased? It is only to satisfy or sublimate your own emotion! Good or had. when you realize that everything is useless. for the emotional side of us is part and parcel of human nature. it gives rise to a certain mood-feelings of adoration and worship.sa. Finally. Do you know the meaning of pra. all these talks. certain practices are recommended. everything is Brahman. The Experience of Nothingness useless. you will envision everything as useless. . I M: If a human V: [asks about a book by Ramdas] I: His [the visitor's 1 guru has told him that before reading the book. certainly at the lower stages. the absolute level.d? Something to eat. When at that level. it means you are at the Parabrahman level.50 . including the Brahman because the Brahman is also reduced to illusion. How to transcend such an emotional state? For this purpose. V: Then all this worshipping will be put to rest? being has the inclination towards devotion. Emotions should be sublimated: you cannot expel or suppress them. However. Therefore. he should worship it. you must give a prasad for that book. will be reduced to illusion when you reach the highest. the godly state. it is all an expression of your emotions. which will take say from two weeks to a month. M: Is that book going to eat? When you worship it. the consciousness or beingness transcends even this ernotional state. including my own.

This "you are" is there so long as the vital breath is present. How many sages are going to talk from the standpoint of the self only? There is the onlyatman. The one who has the finn conviction that except for the "l-am-ness" there is no other self. he stabilizes in the Parabrahman. nothing else needs to be done. 51 V: I want to know my atman. You worship that principle only.A True Sage Has Transcended the Personality . without words. 1 will come straight to the point. . I don't like to use flowery. untranslated] M: Who are you? You know you are sitting here." that itself is the atman. He is the space-atman. the fire-atman. you reach immortality. that very knowledge is the atman. Worship atman as the God. death occurs to you-then that "you are" knowledge will be the manifest knowledge only and it will not die. Suppose you pass on-in common parlance.ley are all the same for the five elements. This very knowledge "you are" will lead to the highest. redundant language to put all this into words. the water-atman-tl. Just be that "you are" only. And when you worship that "you are" as the manifest Brahman only. you know you are. to the Ultimate. How should I proceed? M: "You are. Atman is not to know anything. V: [asks a question in Marathi. there is nothing else.

all the Vedas. And should. with the self. In that fonn comes the knowledge "I am. in the course of such reminiscing.52 M: . ultimately leading to the beingness . then that consciousness will definitely be the highest. The Experience of Nothingness The one who abides in that principle by which he knows "I arn. the body drop off. that manifest self-principle always prevails." With the knowledge "I am. the human particle is significant." he is the manifest. You must continually think about it. He abides in that manifest Brahman all the tw-enty-four hours. this beingness. those sages. . "chew the cud. this touch of "l-amness." advocated to the masses the worship of the gods. Whether the body remains or not." that the knowledge "I am" signifies knowing all the gods. You must continually remember.. who understood and transcended the very source of this manifest world. it is the Brahman only. Who are they who have propounded the worship of deities and finally the Self? Only those personalities." with the consciousness.

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and I can. But don't talk about anything irrelevant. GET RID OF THE BODy-MIND !SITOR. get rid of the body-mind sense. There are plenty of things to talk about. M: If you want the happiness of self. Make that the very core of your being. IF You WANT THE HAPPINESS SENSE OF SELF.4. MAlIARAJ:Could you define what is happiness? You won't be able to. and you will understand that itself is the manifest Brahman. Think about that self or the touch of "l-am-ness" only. Do you want the happiness of having a wife.: We spend our lives always searching after some happiness.ETER: you have read the book [presumably If referring to I Am That] and wish to make any comments. IN'rERPR. the happiness of eating food? V: I want the happiness of self. you may do so now. 55 .

But that is not so. From your standpoint. Now whatever you say with that "lam-ness" through the mind about "you." prior to anything." "I am" means the flow of mind has started. Now that I am sitting here. Self-knowledge cannot be captured by words or the mind. [unintelligible Marathi or Sanskrit expresthe priormost "I-principle. So there. V: Sometimes there is a mood of happiness which I cannot explain. we have to stabilize.56 . . The Experien(. Now the hearsay goes "1 am..conjuring up the space and the remaining four elements. You are here right now.e of Nothingness M: I would like to know what is the knowledge you have of your own self." Prior to words. in that priormost principle. We have to subside.. sink into the Source. M: I call it . that you are. nothing can be explained. What is it that you are? To know that you are is that knowledge "you are" without words. You are sitting here: "you are. but that again is a bodily experience. in our priormost state. The question now is: Is one stabilizing downward or upward? Common parlance has it that I am getting elevated. which means the mind. my position is getting higher and higher. So I prefer to call it the lower state: to subside into one's foundation. The traditional knowledge comprises whatever is sion]. what is knowledge? Knowledge is that which is collected by the words or their meaning.. the five elements come out of that . But that is not the self-knowledge. At that moment. settle down into our original state. I can say: It happens like this." you have represented as yourself. Subsequent to that. But it is not so..

That is why the mind sinks into quietude and why the Vedas settle into quietude. . it is not a question of being purified or not purified. V: This means that you must have that purity in you. Words trying to describe that original. pasbyanti. We create an image based on a certain concept based on the words we think we are hearing. everyday life you must develop the conviction that whatever language sprouts out of you is the language of the Vedas only. Only that which is directly apperceived is knowledge. Whatever I say. We want only that "self-knowledge" which is acceptable or palatable to the mind. we create a concept. Even in the worldly. you must apperceive directly.Get Rid of the Body-Mind Sense . and then based on that concept. M: We must be purified to that extent. Because. madbyama and 'Vaikbari-do not touch it. How could there be any bondage or shackles to the atman? It is only the meaning of the words which one accepts for oneself that becomes the shackles. The atman principle remains untouched by the meaning of the words that flow from it. we accept that for what we are. externally. not true knowledge. One has to understand the principle. what happens? Based on those words. primordial state invariably fail. And when there are no words to use. But that which is accepted by the mind is only a yoke. In order for the Veda language to come out of us. without the filter of the words. But that is not j:nana. it means there are no Vedas. But that is not the self-knowledge. 51 collected through this mind or through the words. which is prior to that also. if we accept the words. Even the four aspects of the language-para.

In that state. You all entertain a certain concept. "yes." You listen to me. that is acceptable to me. If any idea is traumatic. it is the idea of death." He is referring to the knowlwdge thai lies beyond lhe subject-object relationship. Then you say. being unable to give up this association with the body.58 . one in ten million. insignificant body. once. It is only a rare one who directly apperceives what I am trying to say without the words. The knowledge I try to convey will not be acceptable to the average person. And that is why. . even if he happens to he interested in spiritual knowledge . this identification with the body. he wants to get something-knowledge as an object-which is impossible because knowledge is purely subjective. I How amusing it is that all of you are listening to what I am saying but do not accept what the words are trying to express regarding your identity. The Experience of Nothingness The capital we have is this knowledge "I am. to the limited-a specified. when the subject is knowing himself as subject and not as object." Thereby we have reduced the totality. Why? Because we are not able to disassociate ourselves from this identity with the body. This is because he expects something from the point of view of the body." But what have we done? We have handed over that knowledge to the body and we say "I am the body. there is no receptivity for what is being conveyed. and whatever 1 say you are trying to have within the limits of that concept.. we are afraid of dying. the limitless. You listen but the real meaning underlying the words is not accepted. as an object. then at the end of a certain period you come to the conclusion: "I have not benefited much from Maharaj's 1 M aharaj obviously does not use this term in the usual sense or "3 matter of opinion. twice or several times.

no word. forgetting that what we are is prior to even the beginning of not only the word but also the first basic thought. and now I understand what Maharaj is saying and Maharaj is right.id of the Body-Mind Sense .or word-created design can have no real significance to you. no grasp of what is being said? M: I started saying that that which you are is prior to any words or thoughts. that does not appeal to me. based on the words you are trying to create an image about yourselves. Then you say "Yes. Any other thing has been or can be acquired. but for this sver [literally: "being"} there is no author.now I have got the knowledge. And when." We stick to the words and the meaning." Why? Because. you say "Sorry. but with respect to this there is no acquisition. So that cannot be identified as such.Get R. . Any mind. Many of these japi-tapis. whatever I say appeals to you according to that concept. V: Then." Why? Because what I say appeals to your concept. you say "Yes. are still entangled in the concept based on certain words." And when it does not tally. even those who consider themselves as [nanis. for it is only conceptual. there is no communication. I found it hard to understand how Maharaj. V: I have read the questions and answers from I Am That. it is beneficial. You can have a word and meaning for almost anything. I would like to know from all of you whether what I say appeals to you as truth and is beneficial. it is not for me. you are That. your true nature is such that it can have no color or design. 59 words. I repeat: When does one say that it is beneficial? When it tallies with the concept one cherishes.

and somehow it has filled me with the greatest happiness. But this is purely the knowledge related to the highest. always answers questions from the highest level only. I do not want to say anything about that." if you like--during the reading of some of the answers. have had supreme moments of joy-"peak experiences. The Experience of Nothingness though in the body.60 . . it may be bodily happiness also. that will pertain to the worldly life. my son and myself. Whenever you talk from the five-elemental bodily or consciousness state. But both of us. M: Because I am stabilized in that foremost absolute principle. all the talk will emanate from that level only.

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then what will happen is this: having left this place. whatever is somewhat understood will first have to be properly digested. In the course of your initial eight or ten days. DON'T WITH A AND BE BE HAPpy! IDENTIFIED CORPSE. ISITOR: ~~i>SdI Sitting in Maharaj's presence. Will you feel happy and satisfied if you 63 . How should I understand this? MAHARAJ: In trying to understand the experience. he will not be able to remain alone for long. until then any further talks will not be absorbed. Assuming that a person is knowledgeable. he feels very unhappy. because if you do stay that long you will not be able to understand. He craves company to whom he can deliver the goods of spirituality. whatever significance your words and concepts give to it will be acceptable to you. I had a certain bodily experience.5. But that is not the knowledge. That is why I am not very keen to ask people to stay for any extended period of time. otherwise. He likes to seek out somebody with whom he can talk and discuss spirituality.

But I am not going to die. but I am prior to that. but it is the sickness that will accept it. in which there is no experience. To one who realizes that this consciousness is an indication of his presence. the dream is one of these. Maharaj is not feeling well today. That highest state is the unborn state. this desire to discuss and exchange views on spirituality. a play? In the light of the consciousness. On the other hand. they accelerate their death by imagining that they are going to die. and in the end it again merges into the consciousness. there is no death to me. but that it also must come to an end. almost in a daze. within that .] Before the sickness or my present condition. it means that I am present-all bewilderment ceases. to share it with others? My answer was that this is a part of the process. when so-called "knowledgeable" people are sick.64 . when sickness comes. People normally feel. The Experience of Nothingness don't encounter other sadbakas? The question was asked [by the translator] whether it is not necessary for a serious seeker to go through this stage where one likes to dole out whatever knowledge one has. all kinds of play take place. that they are going to die. What do you understand by the word "dream"? How do you understand a dream? Is not the dream something like a drama. I was there. then the impact of the sickness will be less. that it is in fact conscious presence-when I am conscious. he is very weak. If a sick person will remember this principle onlythat prior to the sickness he was and his true nature is ever prior to the sickness-if be truly realizes this. Thus. [According to the translator. This sickness has come as a temporary phase.

If I have consciousness. that impersonal presence is merely an indication of presence as such. but essentially they are the same. How is a jnani? The jnani is like the cigarette lighter. Whatever is seen is seen in that light. To one who really understands what has been said here. that is. the only thing present is the light of consciousness. but in essence both are events happening in the consciousness and essentially they are not different. Again. Many people are under the impression that they are acting in the play. not of any individual. Because of the light of the consciousness. without the flame. When the lighter is lit. there is no individual present who sees something. In this impersonal presence as such. we call one thing the waking state. But whether or not there is the light of the consciousness. there is neither the seer nor the seen in the impersonal presence. the consciousness comes in.Don't be Identified with a Corpse . V: The actor is part of the play? M:Why does something appear to us as actual or real? Because something that one sees every day or often conveys a sense of reality or actuality. It is an assurance. than something that appears in a dream. it means I am certain that I am present. but this is a mistaken notion. a guarantee of one's presence. without any form or shape. more real. I repeat. Therefore we accept it as more actual. All that happens is that the light of the consciousness shows various things happening. a dream is no different from what is seen in the waking state: both are plays in the consciousness. the jnani is . another thing the dream. And whatever happens is seen in the light of that consciousness. 65 presence as such.

the knowingness has no form. the dream occurs and one appears to act in that dream. it does not go into activity in the absence of the knowledge "I am. and so we become unhappy. But a difficulty arises. This composite of body/vital breathlknowingness does not know itself as "I am" in the absence of that knowledge "I am. 1 am only talking about the total manifestation and how that manifestation arises. The Experience of Nothingness ever there. vital breath and consciousness has no shape or form. Now so long as you do not remove the charge that this vital force. so long as this charge of having a male or female body is not removed from that which exists impersonally. that is the mind: it also feeds on the mind. and on the manas. there is the impersonal presence. from the moment that slight consciousness arises. I repeat. while the composite consisting of body. therefore nothing happens. because. as part of the dream." The vital force is also our self: without form. But once we realize the basis of it-that the total manifestation is only in the impersonal consciousness. And this knowledge "I am" is a mere witness. which is Presence. In deep sleep we are like the condition of the unlit lighter. Now this vital force depends on the food essence body to sustain itself. impersonal presence-there is no longer any difficulty. On the other hand. Because of the impersonal consciousness.66 . the trouble will continue and unhappiness will persist. yet this entire composite must be available. we identify all three with the body. This vital force is the agent for all activities. I am not talking about what happens to an individual. the light may come on. To repeat: that vital force does not know itself. But even in that state." And that knowledge is available only if a sustaining body is available. Similarly. There is no light. and the knowl/ .

67 edge "I am. this is the actual state of affairs. that flame appears.nani derives in getting separated from the vital breath and the knowingness is thousands of times superior. on account of bodily association. The vital force carries out all the activities. I have no attributes. and because of the lighter. In the flame." the vital breath and the mind must be present. he is coming apart! Take the example of this cigarette lighter. Maybe the examples I have given are somewhat pedestrian. . on the "highest day" (the term normally used in spiritual parlance)." is male or female. but my intention was only to create a. in my state that beingness is absent. Compared with the love play of the wedding night. the mind is there and the vital force is there. then only the talk can come out. I don't require any . whatever pleasure the couple realize in coming together. you are bound to suffer. stronger impact. the "I-am-ness. the knowledge "I am" is there. true state is nirgunarajas. My state is nirgunaraias. How would a jnani feel when he gives up his body? What type of pleasure or bliss does he experience? Imagine a newly wed couple: the pleasure which they derive from their wedding night is as nothing compared to the highest bliss a jnani gets when he quits his body Of his life force. I am like that lighter only. That is. I call it the highest bliss in the best festival. For the emanation of any talk the flame must be available. the flame may be there or it may not. The mind communicates. the happiness a . The Latter is something Like nirgunarajas. Similarly. and the knowledge "I am" is merely a witness." My original. They [the couple] are coming together. I am nirguna and nirrajas. Now on the lighter. that is the "heat state.Don't be Identified with a Corpse .

and the vital breath and mind are also presentthis being the rajas state. sattva-guna. we are always occupied with one thing or another. Then. The former I call the flame state. We can never stay idle. This means the quintessence of the food essence is necessary to sustain the "Lam-ness" or this beingness. so long as food essence is available. But all these together-that is. as compared to the nirrajas state of the lighter-some occupation or entertainment is essential. Presently.68 . the body is there. food body quintessence and the knowledge "I am. in the process of its realization it is able to quit this state . the "Lam-ness" also goes. the Absolute state. you have the knowledge "you are. the knowingness will last. That is. in the temporary phase." The memory that you are was missing. it should realize itself. that is. And that essence in turn depends on the food body. When the knowingness or "I-am-ness" state is there. In my true state." Earlier I said it is the sagunabrahman state. the "l-amness. This can be observed in all of us. and that knowingness or "l-am-ness" is there. A hundred years back. The state in the absence of this beingness or the maya is that nirguna-nirrajas state-mayatita (prior to maya)." But to have this knowledge. Now how to escape from all this? This knowingness is to discover itself. what remains is only the nirrajas-nirguna state. the vital breath is there./ ." the vital breath and the mindthese are all a temporary phase only. nothing is. you did not have the knowledge "you are. the mind is there. that means. All that is being entertained by maya. The Experience of Nothingness rajas. When the vital breath quits the body. what were you? At that time. I don't want any entertainment activities. what are the prerequisites? The essence is required.

Do all the social work. my wife thinks this way. without that identification with the body . "Whenever you sit for meditation. So one must abide in oneself first. m V: I get a glimpse of your state. and you will enjoy lots of merit.Don't be Identified with a Corpse . it is not yours. purify myself and all that. the body is inert. in the non-knowingness state. & to me. Without these two states.. with that not only will you do good to yourself but also to the society. in the knowingness state. as to what you are-· intellectually. The body is dead always. ind. Hold on to this concept very firmly. I was in the . Get rid of the notion that you are this corpse.." You are not the body.. somebody else thinks that way-I am always under tension. So how to get rid of this? M: I am telling you a simple thing. that is. Give up these concepts! To do such meditation is almost impossible. [laugbter] V: There is quite a big gap between that state and my present state. and then whatever happens. you hold on to the form-concept that you are a male or a female. It is alive only by means of your "T-am-ness. But in my daily life. 1 have to do sadhana. I am so much under stress . 69 and abide in the Absolute. How can I manage to do all these religious and worldly duties in my busy life? M: You have recourse to naturopathy. There is a considerable time gap. I am fed up with this entire waking state and sleep state. Somebody is itching to ask questions. only a rare one will do it.

The Experience of Nothingness perfect. we are fed up with life. They survive on this essence of'Vanaspati.70 . etc. 'When the vital breath leaves the body. you are thi satt'Va-guna. that quintessential vegetation juice. this entire composite I am not. This you have to realize. mammals. a granule.. worms. I caU it vanaspati. It is very simple. I am not the body. you have the vital breath for making possible all activity. the knowledge "1 am" is present. there is also a particle. The particle quintessence . Did you ever hear the words "sorrow" and "misery" in the absence of the deep sleep and waking states? The knowledge "1 am" is the product of interaction within the five-elemental state. there is some urge but it is not sufficiently strong. the knowledge "I am" also disappears. that you are the mind. to withdraw from this daily grind. Those food essences are your real ancestors. peaceful state. The body and in the body . and on the other side is the knowledge "I am." Only when the vital breath is there. bees. Now in that vanaspati juice. M: How can you dispose of this problem? You resent that you are the body. the rajas-guna and tamas-guna. .. V: Most of us are not satisfied. are not the knowledge "I am. Who are your ancestors? They are the food particles-that food essence.. And both of these are the product of the food essence body. as the Absolute. The latter means: insects. out of that grows vachaspati. I am not that. which contains the sattva-guna. On one side.-aU types of creatures. The quintessence of that vanasp ati is the food essence. that standpoint you must have. On the earth there is vegetative growth. it is like a coin. You are not that! You.

this guna leads you to activity. And tamasgunarepresents the claiming of authorship. Unlike what one can read in the scriptures. a touch of "l-am-ness. your ancestors are in these grains of wheat and rice." Rajas-guna is activity. in the essence of those are our ancestors. taking the credit. beingness. for the activities. The satt'Va-guna is mere witness.Don't be Identified witb a Corpse . Therein the real essence of our creation is contained. 71 contains all three qualities. .

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6.
THE EXPERIENCE OF NOTHINGNESS
There arises a feeling of sadness when one hears from Maharaj that I will have to return again and again so long as I have not attained that state of joy, of realization ..
ISITOR:

MA.lIARAJ: It is just like that flame: You can quit cycle of travail when you understand that you are that flame. You are not this composite. So long as entertain the notion of being a name and a form, are bound to be enmeshed in your own concepts.

this not

you
you

V: Why does the flame appear? M: That is its very nature.
V: If my nature appear? is in the lighter, why does a flame

M: This is not a relevant question. Why does the rain fall? Why should the sun shine? There is no cause for the world experience. For your own experience there

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74

. The Experience

of No tbingn,ess

is no cause, but you presume that parents are the cause of your existence. Because you respect your parents, you accept they are the cause of your existence. Otherwise, you spontaneously came into existence. V: All the knowledge that science and technology have given us is because of inquiring: Why does it rain, why does that move-the whys and wherefores of everything. Does Maharaj want us to quit all this science and technology, and dwell in our inner being through withdrawal? That is a way, but how to balance things? After all, we have to live and work. M: Science may eventually combine different kinds of juices and create a human being, but it is not going to contribute to the general well-being and peace. The peace will go to piecesl There is only one solution: that is to find out why you are. What is the cause of your being, "I am"? Actually, you had no knowledge that you are or you were. But at this moment, you know you are. Why is that? Understand its cause. You alone know why you are; why it is offered to you that you are, you alone know. Don't ask anyone else about it, but inquire by yourself. Don't bother about others; worry only about your own self. That knowledge "1 am" is the product of what, is due to what? How and why? Inquire only into this matter. Nine months ago the child was not there. Now just three days back, the child was born. And he is crying. What is the child's crying? What is this child? How does he happen to be? The child is crying, due to what, the product of what? The world is manifest and expansive. Don't get lost

The Experien<;e

of Nothingness

.

15

there; just inquire as to why you are, how you are, how you happen to be. You were not there earlier. At present you are; how has this confluence taken place, from the "you-are-not" state ... V: There are so many different counsels: Go and visit different countries, do this, do that, do social work, get acquainted with different people, etc. Also there is withdrawal, having read the scriptures, Ramana Maharshi, Krishnamurti and others. So the mind is doubting. For this withdrawal, one needs the help of a guru. Is this guru predestined as it says in the Vedas? You know, I have seen different gurus; I have been to Krishnamurti, Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, and have read various books and different teachings. Rajneesh seems to give a modern way, science and technology also ...Maharaj gives one dimension only. He says: withdraw, be desireless and be active. How to decide who is the best guru? [laughter] M: I am telling you a simple thing. Accept one statement from any guru. Assimilate that fully and believe in yourself, consider and accept your own self as the guru. Accept no one else as such. The final prerequisite for this spiritual precept is self-confidence, a firm faith in oneself. If you have no faith in your own self, you are hopeless. You are an outcast. Your self itself is the guru. Do you understand now? The guru is Brahmani the guru is knowledge, the guru is brihaspati, and the sum total of all that is your own self.

And all the activities that happen through you are the expression of the grace. Other people want knowledge but for them the priority is guru worship. remember that "you are"-merely because of the grace of God. M: I would like to make room for newcomers. I will send away. M: The bare fad that you are alive. Some come exclusively for knowledge. although they would like to stay. you are. Some people I will request to stay. So remember that "you are" itself is the grace of God. Do plenty of dhyana-yoga meditation. Don't do anything mechanically. Your self-identity is nourished by such faith through japa. If the grace of God were not there. more and more. for then there is no soul in the recitation of the japa. In such situations. that should be sufficient for everyone. There are various kinds of seekers. Practice meditation. there is no point in it at all. they go. I can't explain why. Eight days for them only.76 . they are not interested in the person who delivers it. that "you-are-ness" would not be there. Once they get the knowledge. If you don't recite soulfully. if something bad happens. that itself is the grace of God. The Experience of Nothingness V: I want to ask about God's grace and free will. You must have faith first. V: Unintelligible question about doing japa [reciting a name of God] . Devo- . And some people. M: The whole significance of doing japa dwells in your faith.

possess anything.The Experience of Nothingness . Because of Maharaj's sickness... So today one person told him that he knew of a healer who could diagnose an illness by feeling the ten fingers and ten toes and could then suggest some treatment. just M: . But Maharaj said he was not interested and continued to state: "I am not the least interested in this daily ritual of getting up in the morning. to such a person even the god is devoted. But this does not mean that I expect them to come daily. eating and again sleeping and all this . hut because of their intensity of devotion reached their goaL The one who is doing devotion to his guru. " INTERPRETER: People are visiting this place. Whatever natural experiences you encounter. it does not mean that I am seeking their association. and reply to all their questions. J treat them with respect. because I am fed up with that very consciousness out of which the world is created and want to get rid of this consciousness. I would like to be alone. I do not expect anything from this world. attain. So he approached Maharaj whether he would be interested to have such a person come to see him.l have had enough of all that. many types of experts have come here to offer their advice. I am not going to achieve. Although they come here. 77 tion to the guru comes first and only incidentally they collect knowledge. There are some great sages who in their seeker stage used to do devotion or worship of a god only for namesake.

. he must be despising this whole world as something very mean and low? M: That question does not arise.Experience of Nothingness accept them as they come. And there is nobody responsible for the creation! It has spontaneously come about and ultimately it is an illusion. It will go on in its own way. and whatever is today will never be in future. the great sage Jnaneshwar made his valedictory prayer before taking samadhi . So there is no question of rectifying or preventing that. spiritual seekers of various orders. Any kind of desirel And then. You indicate to me where is the world. There have been so many sages. all this play-the sum total of all these bad things and good things-is illusion only. I have come to the conclusion that the world is spontaneously there without any seed [cause}. its creation is seedless. but I raise no objection to whatever they say or the way they behave. I have no comments on them. but in the world it is full of seeds for me. Knowing this entire game of consciousness or Maya. Just be with them. In spite of that prayer. it is a mere appearance. The . Whatever is today. what is the world? Can you point your finger and say: "This is the world"? The world is Dot. they have come and gone. japi-tapi's [seekers practicing japas and tapas (austerities)]. V: Since Maharaj is a jnani. because from my standpoint the world is not. Finally. Don't try to alter anything. it never was. Procreation or re-creation is going on all the time. there was no change in the sum total of those bad things and good things. let the bad people be punished and let good intentions develop in the hearts of people.78 . He prayed to God and said: Let the desires of aU be fulfilled..

In the absence of name and form. concepts. Similarly.having lost everything. I can encounter any situation and fit into anything. all such worries exist. Since I don't have any form. I am freed from such concerns and all that can be ignored. There are ever so many customers. that he is a rich man. all these problems will be there. how is it that you have been able to associate with various kinds of people? Some fellows might be very bad. I have nothing more to lose. and because of his reputation that he is somebody. you have to worry about things. Let us say. whether there are seeds available.. etc. any situation. While sticking to your name and form. there are no problems. some people may be obsessed by their minds. I have land and property. After losing the farms. all are out to gain and possess something in . 79 V: Having attained knowledge. when he leaves his house there is always danger lurking. etc. you gradually lose your form and as the form is shed. no fixed form of my own. he is wearing a lot of ornaments and expensive clothes. with farms. no stance. A naked beggar who goes into the street has nothing to lose. He is afraid of going into the street. This is on account of the fact that he represents so many ideas. some people are good-how could you get on with all such persons? M: Who is to get on? I have no pose. so I can fit into anything. by nothingness I have become the subtlest. So long as you wear a name and a form. the name also detaches itself. About the time of the rains there are always concerns such as whether I will be able to till the soil.The Experience of Nothingness . it would be difficult to relate to anybody. In the spiritual pursuit. If I had. Suppose a man is rich.

. The Experience of Nothingness the name of knowledge. I will tell you about the normal tendency of a person.80 . even spiritual knowledge. So probably he will be born as a broomstick! II 'I M: The question is: What yardstick exists to measure the progress of a seeker? A very weak man was not able to walk. The traditional concept is that whatever strong concern one has at the time of death. and had lived to about a hundred or a hundred-twenty-five years. so he was shouting: "Off with the broomstickl. but nobody is a customer for the true self-knowledge. and the calf was chewing a broomstick. He was calling out: "The broomstick. Even on his deathbed. So you can watch from the bedroom and see the cattle shed. had worldly possessions. he will not be contemplating something very "high. Normally in the villages even the cattle shed is attached to the main building itself. He is looking at the calf. quite well off. There is the story about an old man. while about to kick the bucket. he started getting stronger and began to walk. does he not? The indication of one's progress is shown by your disinclination to asso- . He was very worried about the broomstick getting damaged. Gradually. the broomstick! Take care of the broomstick!" While uttering that "broomstick. he will be reincarnated into. And now he lies on his deathbed in his village house. broomstick .. So then he knows that he has regained his strength. he will not be inclined to thinking very noble thoughts. " he breathed his last. who had a very satisfying family life.

In the worldly life. you become the manifest consciousness. Your desires and expectations get Less and less. just wanted to know where do I go from here? and I M: In that nothingness. so you must covet seLf-knowledge. V: I know the experience of the nothingness. to get self-knowledge or spirituality. you get the Parabrabman state. Similarly. The complete world picture you get through the five sense organs. You must have an intense hunger or need for it. with the power of money. but don't ask anything about family life. and the combination of that multiplied by a certain factor represents your worldly needs.e of Nothingness . what is present? That "you" which has been present in that nothingness and has had the experience of nothingness. you start rejecting everything. up to your own consciousness. you can purchase anything. you surrender the consciousness also. you get the Brahman state. ask only about spiritual knowledge. in the second or the last state. now what is that someone or something? V: Complete emptiness. who or what is that? Someone or something has had the experience of nothingness. you shed everything. Please ask some questions. by donating the self. Just like a fish out of water gasps for water. and when you donate the Brahman state. When out of intense hunger for spirituality or self-knowledge the floodgates are opened. . In the first state.The Experienc. At the end of the process you are the Parabrabma«. from the broomstick to Ishvara. 81 date with so-called "normal" people.

M: Have you done any meditation? V: There was a seminar of EST. what is the conclusion you have arrived at about your self? Is there something at all." that is the only thing that has meaning. a four-day course of continual meditation.. .82 . it has no meaning. M: That is all right.. M: That which has no shape or form. or are you also nothing? V: I am nothing. Don't use the word "1. Everything in the world is just a lot of nonsense. I went to one of those ." But what is it that is nothing? M: V: I don't know. The only thing I have got is "nothing. But in the balance of all this experience and no-experience.. is that' you"? V: I don't know.and that's where I got the experience of nothingness. The Experience of Nothingness M: What is that experience itself? Does it have a shape or form? V: I can't think of any shape or form for it. I have only had this experience and I feel every thought and everything else was just a lot of rubbish.. what is it that you think you are? What is your knowledge about your own identity? What result have you got? What is the balance sheet? Ultimately. I can't express it .

83 V: EST is an organization. who is not satisfied with the experience. So who is it who is grumbling.t. I: So that individual has been dissolved? V: There is nothing. You see. absolutely nothing. who is not satisfied with the total nothingness. There can't be an individual who is away from it and can still say. there is no interest now in doing anything or fighting the battles of life as we used to do before. M. I have felt that this nothing. with the nothingnessj If there is nothingness.hingness . which it is? Who is dissatisfied? Who is grumbling? In that nothingness. it means "to be" in French. . there must be total nothingness. But with that answer... then there is nothingness about [nothing left of] an individual either. I have. there is nothing further that can be said. then I am not happy with it because it does not seem to nurture me. grumbling means . M: The answer you have given is correct.The Experience M: 'What does EST stand for? of No. the individual also must be dis. It is a regular institution that gives seminars. solved.: If there is nothingness. like warriors. Then who is it that is grumbling? Who is it that is not satisfied? V: Oh. Have you come to that conclusion with conviction? V: Yes. if it indeed is the ultimate reality that I have been looking for. "There is nothingness." So what is this individual. ness.

that concept itself has turned into nothingness. that I exist. And you as an individual or the conscious presence has been dissolved into nothingness. That is all you can say. whatever your behavior. Dissatisfaction I: But who? That is Maharaj's question! V: The physical body.. is the . there is nothing. we can only talk about what has happened to you.84 . How can it live and how can it survive on this earth with a form if all the time it has got this concept of complete nothingness? M: I come back to the same thing. What is that something that has turned into nothingness? This consciousness that I am. M: The answer is a hundred percent correct. and was just a quest like everything else. The Experience of Nothingness I: Then. What is or is not. M: Something has turned into nothingness. But I wanted to find out how steady you are in that nothingness. where is the dissatisfaction? must be felt by somebody! V: How can one live in this world . Once you are in that situation. whatever work you do. 'What is it that has to do anything in this nothingness? What is it that is left in this nothingness who has to do anything? V: Perhaps this nothingness was only a beginning. don't argue about that. the physical manifestation.. So what is left? Who is left? V: Nothing is left.

85 work and behavior of that child of a barren woman.The Experience of Nothingness . But then what should I do. Therefore. Therefore. he no longer has an instrument with which to undergo any experience. and also your individualitythe two are incompatible [that is. I feel as if I am an observer to this whole thing. But in your case. That is not the answer either. my final answer to you is that you continue to do your sadbana. what then is left to do anything in this world? V: There is nothing left. you know-an act. mutually exclusive]. then what? V: But he can't. it is all a massive play. continue to do your sadhana: If you really are at a stage where you find the nothingness. his individuality does not remain. I assume that that to which this answer has been has also been dissolved into nothingness. and that there is no individuality left. M: If the one who observes that is also dissolving into nothingness. M= The answer was a hundred percent correct. The jnani who has this experience of nothingness. V: No. because the physical body is there. you say that nothingness is there. Therefore. that does not exist as an individual. But where do I go fromhere? . So whatever happens. But from your subsequent treatment of this problem I conclude that this individuality still remains. Nothing is an answerto this. commit suicide? M: You are not there even to die! V: No I appreciate that.

and that is "I am"-the fundamental concept of one's individuality. because there is no longer anything to be satisfied in. But have the people because of that concept been able to realize their true nature? Therefore. In this. although your answer was a hundred percent correct. The entire world moves on the basis of one concept.86 . I have come to this nothingness in which the search has ended because the seeker has also disappeared into that nothingness of which we are talking. the individuality should have been dissolved so that there is no longer anyone who is satisfied or dissatisfied. For example. Thousands of organizations have come and gone. Only that individual who has lost his individuality has merged with the Parabrabman. I no longer care about all this. now to a certain extent that concept of untouchability has gone. the ultimate thing is to find out about one's true nature. in that nothingness? So what you have got is not the real thing. one had the concept of untouchability. I have seduced Maya and once the Maya surrendered to me. How could he be satisfied. First. I bad no other use for Maya so I threw her out. none of these organizations have any use. As for myself. I no longer take any interest in that research. thousands are yet to come. organizations can do nothing. All of them are based on a certain concept. The Experience of Nothingness M: The lady was explaining that there are all kinds of EST type of methods and systems which come with the promise of liberation in ten or twelve days. V: But this organization put me in touch with my beingness and that is the whole point. because they are all based on a certain concept. So the individuality must go. M: In that very nothingness which we have been discussing. .

M: Again the answer that you don't know is a hundred percent correct because in that state where you did not know. then how can any further concept or any further question arise? If you had really come to the firm conclusion that "Lam-ness" is no longer there. M: If you had come to the conclusion that you are not. And this "Lam-ness" has come subsequently without . who is there to search for anything. So long as I do not have that "I-amness. I That is what I then who is to do anything anyway? Assuming that there is nothingness. Then who is it that wants anything more than this? ~1: So if there is nothingness. do not get the feeling of everythingness. V: I don't know. Then my individuality has merged into this everythingness or nothingness and everything is all right. how can any further question arise at all? V: That means there is nothing further than that? M: Everything that is there.The Experience of Noibingness . it is nothingness. even everythingness? In that nothingness." how can the world move? That is what I am trying to express. you are also not there. am trying to say. V: But there is no everythingness. it is fullness and it is nothingness. 87 V: When the basic concept is "I am nothing. you did not even know that you existed." I no longer have the concept that I am an individual.

Your question is very much like the child of a childless couple asking "Where do I go from here?" Where is he to go? And from where has he come? I will continue with the same old simile. the question just does not arise. So who is to go anywhere? For whom are there any more questions left? In that nothingness. love and reverence by all their acquaintances. You are also nothingness. All the acquaintances decide that they must do something for the child. happiness or unhappiness. So the couple dies. The . is the form of knowledge.88 . he must contain consciousness. is the totality. For whom could they do something? Once the knowledge of the self dawns. after all. But the jnani has no form or . anything is nothingness. we are also nothingness." But in your original state. But the child had not been born. V: The problem is where do I go from here? M: Who? The question is "who" is to go anywhere? It started with the whole thing and the circle is now complete.nani. Are there any further questions? V: If the [nani is beyond consciousness and unconsciousness. the not-knowing is there. suffering or not suffering. The Experience of Nothingness your wanting it. In that nothingness. the entire manifestation. there is no longer any question of good or bad. jnana. How can that which contains consciousness not he conscious? M: Knowledge. A very old couple are held in great esteem. And whatever knowledge you have now bas been accumulating since the arrival of this "lam-ness.