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Every Escape Is Bound to Fail Alexander Smit

Alexander Smit at 25. And Interview with Alexander Smit by Belle Bruins September 1988. Location: the kitchen of his house on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. We were busy going over the translation of THE NECTAR OF THE LORDS FEET (Dutch title SELF-REALIZATION) by his Spiritual master Nisargadatta Maharaj and he wanted to do an interview for a change, as a sort of practice. The interview has survived a computer crash, break-in and theft, because luckily I had typed it out and printed the tape previously. I have preserved this as a treasure for years. Until now. Alexander met Nisargadatta in September of 1978. In the beginning of September of that year Jacques Lewenstein had been in India and come back with the book I AM THAT and tapes of Nisargadatta. Alexander: That book came into the hands of Wolter Keers. He was very happy with it, because after the death of Krishna Menon (Wolters spiritual master) he had not heard anything so purely advaita. After Wolter had read the book he decided to translate and publish it because this is so extremely good. Wolter gave me the book immediately and I was very moved by it. Then there was an article in Panorama or The New Revue: GOD HAS NO TEETH. A poorly written story by the young man who did Showroom (TV). There was a life-sized photo of Nisargadattas head in it. That was actually my first acquaintance with Nisargadatta. By then Wolter had already told me: I can not do anything more for you. You need someone. But I wouldnt know who. But, when he had read I AM THAT he said: If I can give you a piece of advice, go there immediately. And that I did. What were you seeking? I was seeking nothing more. I knew everything. But, if you had asked me what I had learned I would have said; I dont actually know it. There is something essential that I dont know. There was a sort of blind spot in me that no one knew what do with. Krishnamurti knew nothing that he could say about it. Bhagwan was for us at that time not someone that you would go to, at least for this sort of thing. Da Free John was also not it. Those were the known people at that time. I had a blind spot. And what typifies a blind spot is that you dont know what it is. You only knew that if you were really honest with yourself, if you really went to the bottom of yourself, that you had not yet solved the riddle. For the first time in Bombay? A little staircase going up to an attic room. First came my head, and the first thing that I saw was Mrs. Satprem and Nisargadatta. There were maybe three or four people there. Here I am, I said.

And he said: So, finally you came. Yeah, that is what they all say, that I heard later, but for me it was the first time that I heard it. I did have the feeling when I went in that now it was really serious. Now there is no escape possible, Here something is really going to happen. Naturally I had already met many of these people: Krishnamurti, Jean Klein, Wolter, Swami Ranganathananda, Douglas Harding, and also some less well known Indians. I was naturally too young for Ramana Maharshi and Krishna Menon. They died in the fifties. I was 7 or 8 years old then. That is not the age to be busy with these sorts of things. It held also true for us at that time, wait for a living master. And I had a very strong feeling that this was the man that I had been looking for. He asked if I were married, what I did, and why I had come to India. What precisely did you want from him? Self-realization. I wanted to know how I was put together. I said: I have heard that your are the greatest ego killer who exists. And that is what I want. He said: I am not a killer. I am a diamond cutter. You are also a diamond. But you are a raw diamond and you can only be cut by a pure diamond. And that is very precise work, because if that is not done properly then you fall apart into a hundred pieces, and then there is nothing left for you. Do you have any questions? I told him that Maurice Frydman was the decisive reason for my coming. Frydman was a friend of Krishnamurti and Frydman was planning to publish all of the earlier work of Krishnamurti at Chetana Publishers in Bombay, And that he had heard from Mr. Dikshit , the publisher, that there was someone in Bombay who he had to meet. (I AM THAT was of course not yet published at that time because Frydman had yet to meet Nisargadatta). Frydman went there with his usual skeptical ideas. He came in there, and within two weeks things became clear to him that had never become clear with Krishnamurti. And I thought then: if it all became clear to Frydman within two weeks, how will it go with me? I told all this to Nisargadatta and he said: That says nothing about me, but everything about Frydman. And he also said: People who dont understand Krishnamurti dont understand themselves. I thought that was beautiful, because all the gurus I knew always ran everyone down. It seemed as if he wanted to help me relax. He didnt launch any provocations. I was able to relax, because as you can understand it was of course a rather tense situation there. He said; Do you have any questions? I said; No. When are you going to come? Every day if you allow me. Thats good. Come just two times every day, mornings and afternoons, for the lectures, and well see how it goes. I said: Yes, and I am not leaving until it has become clear. He said; Thats good. Was that true? Yes, without a doubt. Because what he did within two minutes he made it clear, whatever you brought up, that the knowledge you presented was not yours. That it was from a book, or that you had borrowed or stolen it, or that it was fantasy, but that you were actually not capable of having a direct observation, a direct perception, seeing directly, immediately, without a mediator, without self consciousness. And that frightened me terribly, because everything you said was cut down in a brutal way. What happened with you exactly? The second day he asked if I had any questions. Then I began to ask a question about reincarnation in a more or less romanticized way. I told that I had always had a connection with India, that when I heard the word India for the first time it was shock for me, and that the word yoga was like being hit by a bomb when I first heard it on TV, and that the word British India was like a dog hearing his boss whistle. And I asked, could it mean that I had lived in India in previous lives? And then he began to curse in Marathi, and to get unbelievably agitated, and that lasted for at least ten minutes. I thought, my god, whats happening here? The translator was apparently used to it, because he just sat calmly by, and when Maharaj was finished he summarized it all together; Maharaj is asking

himself if you are really serious. Yesterday you came and you wanted self-realization, but now you begin with questions that belong in kindergarten In this way you were forced to be unbelievably alert. Everything counted heavily. It became clear to me within a few days that I knew absolutely nothing, that all that I knew, all the knowledge that I had gathered was book knowledge, second hand, learned, but that out of myself I knew nothing. I can assure you that this put what was needed into motion. And thats how it went every day! Whatever I came up with, whether I asked an intelligent question or a dumb question, made absolutely no difference. And one day he asserted this, and the following day he asserted precisely the opposite and the following day he twisted it around one more time even though that was not actually possible. And so it went, until by observation I understood why that was, and that was a really wonderful realization. Why do I try all the time to cram everything into concepts, to try to understand everything in terms of thinking or in the feelings sphere? And, he gave me tips about how I could look at things in another way, thus really looking. And then it became clear to me that it just made no sense to regard yourself whatever you call yourself, or dont call yourself in that way. That was an absolute undermining of the self-consciousness, like a termite eating a chair. At a certain moment it becomes sawdust. It still looks like a chair, but it isnt a chair anymore. Did that lead to self realization? He kept going on like this, and then there came a moment that I just plain had enough of it. Really just so much I would not say that I became angry, but a shift took place in me, a shift of the accent on all authorities outside of myself, including Nisargadatta, to an authority inside myself. He was talking, and at a given moment he said nobody. He said : Naturally there is nobody here who talks. That was too much for me. And I said: If you dont talk then why dont you shut up then? Why say anything then? And it seemed as if that is what had been waiting for. He said: Do you want that I should not talk anymore? Thats good, then I wont talk anymore and if people want to know something then they can just go to Alexander. From now on there are no more translations, translators dont have to come anymore, there is no more English spoken. Only Marathi will be spoken, and if people have any problems then they can go to Alexander because he seems to know everything. And then began all the trouble with the others, the bootlickers and toadies who insisted that I had to offer my apologies! Not on my life. Yeah, you cant offer excuses to a nobody, eh?! And to me he said; And you, you cant come here anymore. And I said: What do you mean I cant come here anymore. Try and stop me. Have you gone completely crazy? And the translators were naturally completely upset. They said nothing like this had ever been seen before. And he was angry! Unbelievably angry!. And he threw the presents that I had brought for him at my feet and said: I want nothing from you, Nothing from you I want. And that was the breakthrough, because something happened, there was no thinking because I was.. the shift in authority had happened. As I experienced it everything came to me from all sides: logic, understanding, on the one hand the intellect and on the other hand at the same time the heart, feelings and all phenomena, the entire manifest came directly to me from all sides to an absolute center where the whole thing exploded. Bang. After that everything became clear to me. The next day I went there as usual. There was a lecture, but indeed no English was spoken. I can assure you that the tension could be cut with a knife, because I was the guilty party of course. He wanted to push that down my throat and the translators just went along quietly. There was not even any talking. And the next day, there was not even a lecture. He arrived in a car, and drove away when he saw me and went to a movie Then I wrote him a letter. Twelve pages. In perfect English. I had someone bring the letter to him. Everything was running over. I wrote everything. And his answer was: let him come tomorrow at 10 oclock. And he read my letter and said: You understood. This confrontation was needed to eliminate that self-consciousness. But you understood completely and I am very happy with your letter and nothing happened. Naturally , that cleared the air. He asked if I wanted to stay longer. From this situation that took place on September 21, 1978, I want to be here in love . And he said; that is good. From that day on I attended all the talks and also translated sometimes, for example when Spaniards, or Frenchmen or Germans came. I was a

bit of a helper then. So actually you apply the same method as he did: the cutting away of the self-consciousness to the bone and letting people see their identities. Was that his method? Yes. Recognizing the false as false and thereafter letting the truth be born. But the most wonderful thing was, MY basis dilemma, and if I say my I mean everyone in a certain sense, is that if at a certain moment you ask yourself: what did I come here for, that seems to be something completely different from what you thought. Everyone has ideas about this question, and I had never suspected in the farthest reaches of my mind that the Realization of it would be something like this. That is the first point. The second is, it appears that a certain point you have the choice of maintaining your self-consciousness out of pride, arrogance, intellect. And the function of the Guru, the skill with which he can close the escapes from the real confrontation was in his case uncommonly great, at least in my case. And for me that was the decisive factor. Because if there had been a chance to escape, I would certainly have taken it. Like a thief who still tries to get away. Did he ever say anything about it? He said that unbelievable courage is needed not to flee. And that my being there had almost given him a heart attack, that he no longer had the strength to tackle cases like mine as he became older. So I have the feeling that I got there at just the right moment. Later he became sick. He said: I have no strength anymore to try to convince people. If you like it, continue to come, maybe you can get something out of it, but I have no strength anymore to convince people like him (and then he pointed to me). I am so grateful to him, because it only showed how great my resistance was. There has to be a proportional force that is just a bit stronger than your strangest and strongest resistance. You need that. It showed how great my resistance was. And it showed how great his strength was, and his skill. For me he was the great Satguru. The fact that he was capable of defeating my most cunning resistance and I can assure you after having gone into these things for 15 years my resistance was extremely refined and cunning, was difficult for him even though he knew who he was dealing with. Thats why I had to go to such a difficult person of course. It says everything about me. Just as he said in the beginning that it said everything about Frydman. But I have never seen the skill he had in closing the escape routes of the lies and falsehoods so immensely great anywhere else. Of course I have not been everywhere, but with Ramana Maharshi you just melted. That was another way. With Krishna Menon the intellect could just not keep it together under the gigantic dismantling, but by Nisargadatta, every escape was doomed to failure. People who came to get something, or people who thought they could bring something stood naked outside the door within five minutes. I saw a great many people there walking away in great terror. At a certain moment I was no longer afraid, because I felt that I had nothing more to lose. So I cant really say that it was very courageous of me. I can only say that in a certain sense with him I went on the attack. And what was nice about it is that he also valued that. Because, he sent many people away, and these really went and mostly didnt come back. The he would say: They are cowards. I didnt send them away, I sent away the part of them that was not acceptable here. And if they then returned, completely open, then he would say nothing about it. But during those happenings with me, people forgot that. There was also a doctor, a really fine man, who said; dont think that he is being brutal with you; you dont have any idea how much love there is in him to do this with you. I said: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that. Because I didnt want any commentary from anyone. After all, this is what I had come for! Only the form in which it happened was totally different from what I had expected in my wildest dreams. But again, that says more about me than about Maharaj, and I still think that. So, his method was thus to let you recognize the false as false, to see through the lies as lies, and to come to truth in this way? Yes, and that went deeper than I could have ever suspected. The thinking was absolutely helpless. The intellect had no ghost of chance. The heart was also a trap. And that is exactly what happened there. That is everything. And I know that after that day, September 21, 1978, there has never been even a grain of doubt about this question, and the authority, the command, the authenticity, has

never left, has never again shifted. There is no authority, neither in this world or in another world, that can thrust me out of the realization. Thats the way it is. Did Maharaj say that you had to do something after this realization? I asked: It is all very beautiful, but what now? What do I do with my life? Then he said: You just talk and people will take care of you. And thats the way it has gone. Did you go visit him often? Various times. As often as I could I was there every year for two or three months. Until the last time. And when I knew that I would never see him again there was entirely no sadness or anything like that. It was just the way it was. It was fine that way, Did he do the same with others as he had with you? Not as intensely and not so persistently. You get what you give? Yes, that is so. In a certain sense he did that with everyone, but if someone was very sensitive he approached it in a different way. Naturally it makes difference if an old nun is sitting in front of you, or a rebel like myself, who also looks as if he can take quite a bit. The last time he said; He will be powerful in Europe. He has the knowledge. He will be the source of what I am teaching. And then he directed those headlight eyes of his towards me. That is still so wonderful It is ten years ago now, and it seems like a week. I have learned to value his words in the passage of time. The things I questioned in the past I see becoming manifest now. At first I thought; the way he has put this into words is typical Indian conditioning after all, but the wonder is that all the advice that he gave taught me to hang on to them. I didnt follow them a few times and that always lead to catastrophes. For example? For example he said to me: Dont challenge the Great Ones. Let them enjoy. And I have to admit that I had trouble with that. But knowing my rebellious character and naturally he saw that immediately he still had to give me that. And every time that I see that, that aspect of my character wants to express itself, I hear his voice: Dont challenge the Great Ones. He anticipated that. I know that for sure. And in that way he also said a number of things that suddenly made sense. Then I hear him. And Wolter always said: After the realization, the only words that remain with you are the words of your Guru. All your knowledge disappears, but the words of the Guru remain. And I can now confirm that that is true, that it is like that. Was Wolter also a disciple of Nisargadatta? No, but he was there often. I have understood that you find the Living Teaching very important. Is that especially true for Advaita? The objection to books about Advaita, including the translations of Nisargadattas words is that too much knowledge is given in them. That is an objection. People can use this knowledge, and especially the knowledge at the highest level to defend and maintain their self-consciousness. That makes my work more difficult. Knowledge, spiritual knowledge, can, when there is no living master be used again to maintain the I, the self-consciousness. The mind is tricky, cunning. And I speak out of my own experience! Because Advaita Vedanta, without a good living spiritual master, I repeat, a good one, can become a perfect self contained defense mechanism. It can be a plastic sack that leaks on all sides, but you cant find the leak. You know that it doesnt tally, but it looks as if it does tally. That is the danger in Vedanta. Provided there is a good living master available, it can do no harm. But stay away from it if there is no master available! Provided it is well guided Advaita can be brilliant. Do you mean that people could act from their so called knowing as if they are more than the content of their consciousness? That they therefore assume that the content is worthless? Yes. That is why up to now, I have never wanted to write a book. But, as long as I am alive there are Living Teachings. When I die they can do whatever they want to with it, but as long as I am alive I

am there. To take corrective action? Yes. Do people have a built in defense mechanism? At the level of the psyche there is a defense mechanism that prevents you from taking in more than you can cope with, but at a higher level sooner or later you have an irrevocable need for a spiritual master who can tell you certain things, who has to explain things because other wise you get stuck. Whoever doesnt want a living master gets stuck. Books could lead to people becoming interested and going on a search. To a good spiritual master of flesh and blood. Living! Did Nisargadatta foresee that you would manifest as a guru? I think guru is a rotten word, but he did say: Many people will seek your blessings. So you couldnt do anything else. It happened by itself. He said; The seed is sown, the seasons do the rest. Isnt that true for everyone? Yes, but some seeds fall on good soil and something grows, but other seeds dont grow. Out of million sperms only one reaches the egg. At Nisargadattas bhajans were also sung and certain rituals done, especially for the Indians. Did you also participate in that? I participated two times. The bhajans I thought, were really special What is their goal? Singing bhajans has a purifying effect on the body, thinking, and feeling, so that the Knowledge can become manifest and finds its place there. I dont have any need of it, but I see that the singing offers social and emotional solace and thus I am not against it. In addition prasad was distributed and arati done. What is arati? A form of ritual in which fire is swung around and camphor is burned. Camphor is the symbol of the ego. That burns and nothing remains of it. Just as in self-realization nothing of the selfconsciousness remains. It is a beautiful ritual. It makes you attentive to all kinds of things. The fire is swung at your eye level so what you see may be beautiful, at your ears so that what you hear may be pure, and at your mouth so that what you eat may be pure. It is Hindu symbolism that has become so common in India that it has mostly become flattened out and routine. It has something, as a symbol , but Westerners shouldnt try it unless they understand the symbolism completely. I find the singing of OM good, that works, that is a law. It works to purify the body, thinking and feeling, so that the Knowing that it is can be manifest and find a place in your life. Did Nisargadatta follow a certain tradition? But of course. The Navdath Sampradaya. The tradition of the Nine Gurus. The first was Jnaneshwar (Jnanadeva) from the 13th century, who became realized when he was twenty and also died at that age. Nisargadatta was the ninth. Are you the tenth? No. I always call Maharaj the last of the Mohicans. Still you always talk about the tradition. I work following a traditional background, because there lies the experience of a thousand years of instruction. Instruction that works! I have learned to value the Tradition. I am totally non traditional, but in my heart I am a traditionalist. When I talk about the tradition I mean the tradition of Advaita so as that became manifest in the Navdath Sampradaya. What is the importance of tradition?

The importance of a tradition is just as with violin playing, that you have had predecessors who have done it in a certain way which you know works. But many traditions have become dead end traditions because they dont work anymore. That is why you always see renovators like a Buddha, a Krishna, Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi in a certain sense, and Bhagwan (Osho) and Nisargadatta. The way Nisargadatta said it is after all quite different from the way his Guru said it, and the way it is here made manifest, is after all also very different then at Nisargadattas. It is about the essence. Just as consciousness is transmitted by means of sex, enlightenment is transmitted by the Guru. Did Nisargadatta teach you the tradition? You cant learn a tradition; you can only become self-realized. And that is what happened. I know what I know. Done. And then a tradition is born? Yes, precisely, you say it very well. We are now busy with book Self-realization. What do you think about that book? It is no easy book. It is no easy bedside companion. In one way or another, translating the book has done much for me. You have been busy with these things for a long time, thus the reading of a relatively direct form of Nisargadattas words must have an effect, But even you found it to be a difficult book. The theme of the book who were you before the conception, before body/thinking/feeling appeared and before the forming of words in the mind is not simple to say, but by repeated readings, and talking with each other and all kind of other things, a few things have become clear. It has to be digested? Yes, especially digesting it is important. You can eat a lot, but it has to be digested. Did you just see him sometimes in the daytime, like here in the kitchen? He lived in that house and everyone went to their hotel or family, or to friends, or had lodgings with the translators. Someone always stayed to care for him a bit, but everyone simply went their own way. There was nothing like an ashram in the usual sense, a care institution, a salvation army for seekers. Absolutely not. How was he between the acts? Changeable, from extremely friendly to grumbling. Did you find him to be a nice man? Never thought about it for a second. Would you like to be his friend? That cannot? No, Odd question. I dont agree, you could at least say he is my Guru, but as a human, as a person if you at least could still see him as a person. Just a whopper of a person, but yeah, there are no meaningful words that can be said about it. I dont believe that. Really not. Did you ever eat with him? Yes. Did you ever listen to music with him? No. Did you ever just chat with him about little things?

Yes. How was that? Normal, just like with you. Did you find that scary? No. Never? Also not in the beginning? No. Did he have a normal householders life? Yes. Was he married? Yes, he had children. What kind of a father was he? Strict. What kind of husband was he? I dont know because his wife was dead. Did he have girl friends? No. Did he sometimes speak about sex? No, never. What did he do in his spare time? He had no spare time. All his time was spent on the talks. Or he slept or took walks, or he looked outside, and he smoked a little beedee. How did he experience being sick? He didnt think about it. Its just something of the body, a little something. What was his attitude towards women seekers? The rule for Indian women was keep your mouth shut and listen. Ask no questions. Unless they were very brave, then he allowed it from time to time and answered them, just as with them men. Western women he just answered, just like with the men. But with Indian women he was very traditional: just keep quiet. What did he think about Bhagwan (Osho)? It varied. It depended who was asking the question. Now, Ok, you dont want anymore. I give up. (laughs and turns of the microphone.) This interview appeared in Amigo, March, 2002 and can be found online at: For more from Alexander Smit look here. Leave a Comment Filed under Advaita, Alexander Smit, Meetings & Interviews, Nisargadatta Maharaj Tagged as Advaita, Atmananda, awareness, Being, Consciousness, Douglas Harding, Jean Klein, Krishna Menon, Krishnamurti, Meditation, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Osho, Ramana Maharshi January 14, 2010

How Am I the Witness? Atmananda

24th December 1950 Every perception, thought or feeling is known by you. You are the knower of the world through the sense organs; of the sense organs through the generic mind; and of the mind with its activity or passivity by your self alone. In all these different activities, you stand out as the one knower. Actions, perceptions, thoughts and feelings all come and go. But knowingness does not part with you, even for a moment. You are therefore always the knower. How then can you ever be the doer or the enjoyer? After understanding the I-principle as pure Consciousness and happiness, always use the word I or knower to denote the goal of your retreat. The I always brings subjectivity with it. It is this ultimate, subjective principle I divested of even that subjectivity that is the goal. Consciousness and happiness may possibly have a taint of objectivity in their conception, since they always express themselves in the realm of the mind. When one is deeply convinced that ones self is consciousness and happiness, one finds it as the nameless. Whereupon, even this namelessness seems a limitation. Giving up that as well, one remains as the I-principle, the Absolute. When you try to visualize the Absolute in you, nothing can possibly disturb you, because every thought or perception points to yourself and only helps you to stand established as the Absolute. To become a Jynyanin [Sage] means to become aware of what you are already. In this connection, it has to be proved that knowing is not a function. In all your life, you feel you have not changed; and of all your manifold activities, from your birth onwards, the only activity that has never changed is knowing. So both these must necessarily be one and the same; and therefore knowingness is your real nature. Thus, knowing is never an activity in the worldly sense, since this knowing has neither a beginning nor an end. And because it is never separated from you, it is your svarupa (real nature) just as shining is the svarupa of the sun and not its function. Understanding it in this way, and realizing it as ones svarupa, brings about liberation from all bondage. When you reach consciousness or happiness, you lose all sense of objectivity or duality and stand identified with the ultimate, subjective I-principle, or the Absolute. Then the subjectivity also vanishes. When the word pure is added on to consciousness, happiness or I, even the least taint of relativity is removed. There, all opposites are reconciled, all paradoxes stand self-explained; and everything, or nothing, can be said about it. -Shri Atmananda (Krishna Menon) From Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda, taken by Nitya Tripta This book can be purchased from Stillness Speaks. For more posts on Atmananda see the Atmananda Category. To read more from Atmananda see downloadable books. December 31, 2009

Ramana Maharshis Self-Enquiry

This was originally published as The Path of Sri Raman, Chapter 7 by Sri Sadhu Om. Self-enquiry

On hearing the expression Self-enquiry (atma-vichara), people generally take it to mean either enquiring into Self or enquiring about Self. But how to do so? Who is to enquire into Self, or who is to enquire about Self? What does enquiry actually mean? Such questions naturally arise, do they not? As soon as we hear the terms Atma-Vichara or Brahmavichara, many of us naturally consider that there is some sort of effulgence or a formless power within our body and that we are going to find out what it is, where it is, and how it is. This idea is not correct. Because, Self (atman) does not exist as an object to be known by us who seek to know it! Since Self shines as the very nature of him who tries to know it! Self-enquiry does not mean enquiring into a second or third person object. It is in order to make us understand this from the very beginning that Bhagavan Ramana named Self-enquiry as Who am I ?, thus drawing our attention directly to the first person. In this question, Who am I?, I am denotes Self and who stands for the enquiry. Who is it that is to enquire into Self? For whom is this enquiry necessary? Is it for Self? No, Since Self is the ever-attained, ever-pure, ever-free and ever-blissful Whole, It will not do any enquiry, nor does it need to! All right, then it is only the ego that needs to do the enquiry. Can this ego know Self? As said in the previous chapters, this ego is a false appearance, having no existence of its own. It is a petty infinitesimal feeling of I which subsides and loses its form in sleep. So, can Self become an object that could be known by the ego? No, the ego cannot know Self! Thus, when it turns out that Self-enquiry is unnecessary for Self and Self-knowledge is impossible for the ego, the questions arise: What then is the practical method of doing Self-enquiry? Why is this term Self-enquiry found in the sastras? Are we not to scrutinize thus and find out? Let us do so. There is a difference between the sense in which the term enquiry is used by Sri Bhagavan and the way in which the sastras use it. The sastras advocate negating the five sheaths, namely the body, prana, mind, intellect and the darkness of ignorance, as not I, not I (neti, neti). But who is to negate them, and how? If the mind (or the intellect) is to negate them, it can at best negate only the insentient physical body and the prana, which are objects seen by it. Beyond this, how can the mind negate itself, its own form? And when it cannot even negate itself, how can it negate the other two sheaths, the intellect (vijnana-maya kosa) and the darkness of ignorance (anandamaya kosa), which are beyond its range of perception? During the time of enquiry, therefore, what more can the mind do to remain as Self except to repeat mentally, I am not this body, I am not this prana? From this, it is clear that enquiry is not a process of one thing enquiring about another thing. That is why the enquiry Who am I? taught by Sri Bhagavan should be taken to mean Self-attention (that is, attention merely to the first person, the feeling I). The nature of the mind is to attend always to things other than itself, that is, to know only second and third persons. If the mind in this way attends to a thing, it means that it is clinging (attaching itself) to that thing. Attention itself is attachment! Since the mind is to think about the body and prana though with the intention of deciding this is not!, this is not! Such attention is only a means of becoming attached to them and it cannot be a means of negating them! This is what is experienced by any true aspirant in his practice. Then what is the secret hidden in this? Since, whether we know it or not, Self, which is now wrongly considered by us to be unknown, is verily our reality, the very nature of our (the Supreme Selfs) attention itself is Grace (anugraha). This means that whatever thing we attend to, witness*, observe or look at, that thing is nourished and will flourish, being blessed by Grace. * The practice of witnessing thoughts and events, which is much recommended nowadays by lecturers and writers, was never even in the least recommended by Sri Bhagavan, Indeed, whenever He was asked what should be done when thoughts rise (that is, when attention is diverted towards second or third persons) during sadhana, He always replied in the same manner as He had done to Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai in Who am I?, where He says, If other thoughts rise, one should, without attempting to complete them, enquire To whom did they rise?. What does it matter however many thoughts rise? At the very moment that each thought rises, if one vigilantly enquires To whom did

this rise ?, it will be known To me. If one then enquires Who am I?, the mind (our power of attention) will turn back (from the thought) to its source (Self). Moreover, when He says later in the same work, Not attending to what-is-other (that is, to any second or third person) is nonattachment (vairagya) or desirelessness (nirasa), we should clearly understand that attending to (witnessing, watching, observing or seeing) anything other than Self is itself attachment, and when we understand thus we will realize how meaningless and impractical are such instructions as Watch all thoughts and events with detachment or Witness your thoughts, but be not attached to them, which are taught by the so-called gurus of the present day. Though one now thinks that one is an individual soul, since ones power of attention is in fact nothing but a reflection of the knowing-power (chit-sakti) of Self, that on which it falls or is fixed is nourished by Grace and flourishes more and more! Hence, when the power of attention of the mind is directed more and more towards second and third person objects, both the strength (kriyabala) to attend to those objects and the ignorance the five sense-knowledges in the form of thoughts about them will grow more and more, and will never subside! Have we not already said that all our thoughts are nothing but attention paid to second and third person objects? Accordingly, the more we attend to the mind, the thoughts which are the forms (the second and third person objects) of the world, the more they will multiply and be nourished. This is indeed an obstacle. The more our attention the glance of Grace (anugraha-drishti) falls on it, the more the minds wavering nature and its ascendancy will increase. That is why it is impossible for the mind to negate anything by thinking* I am not this, I am not this (neti, neti) On the other hand, if our (Selfs) attention is directed only towards ourself, our knowledge of our existence alone is nourished, and since the mind is not attended to, it is deprived of its strength, the support of our Grace. Without use when left to stay, iron and mischief rust away in accordance with this Tamil proverb, since they are not attended to, all the vasana-seeds, whose nature is to rise stealthily and mischievously, have to stay quiet, and thus they dry up like seeds deprived of water and become too *This is why aspirants who, in order to destroy evil thoughts like lust, anger and so on, fight against them and thereby think about them fail in their attempts, while aspirants practising Self-enquiry, who pay their full attention to Self with an indifference towards their thoughts, bypass them easily. weak to sprout out into thought-plants. Then, when the fire of Self-knowledge (jnana) blazes forth, these tendencies (vasanas), like well-dried firewood, become a prey to it. This alone is how the total destruction of all tendencies (vasanakshaya) is affected. If we are told, Abandon the east, the practical way of doing so would be to do as if told, Go to the west! In the same manner, when we are told, Discard the five sheaths, which are not Self, the practical way of discarding the non-Self is to focus our attention on ourself. What is this I? or Who am I? Thinking I am not this, not this (neti, neti) is a negative method. Knowing that this negative method is just as impractical as saying, Drink the medicine without thinking of a monkey* Sri Bhagavan has now shown us the practical way of drinking the medicine without thinking of a monkey, by giving us the clue, Drink the medicine while thinking of an elephant, that is, He has reformed the ancient negative method by giving us the positive method Who am I?, Verily, the ego is all! Hence the enquiry What is it? (in other words, Who am I, this ego?) is the true giving up (renunciation) of all. Thus should you know! Ulladhu Narpadhu, verse 28 Verily, all (that is, the five sheaths and their projections -all these worlds) is the ego. So, attending to the feeling I, *There is a traditional story of a doctor prescribing a medicine to a patient with the condition that It should be taken only while not thinking of a monkey; but the patient could not take the medicine under this condition, for every time he tried to drink it, the thought of a monkey would surely jump up.

What is it? or Who is this I ?, alone is renouncing the five sheaths, discarding them, eliminating them, or negating them. Thus Bhagavan Ramana has declared categorically that Self-attention alone is the correct technique of eliminating the five sheaths ! Since this is so, with what purpose did the sastras use the term enquiry to denote the method neti, neti? By means of neti, neti, can we not formulate intellectually (that is, through paroksha) the test which we have given in paragraph 4 of chapter four of this book, A thing is surely not I if it is possible for one to experience I am even in the absence of that thing? So long as there exists the wrong knowledge I am the body pertaining to the aforesaid five sheaths or three bodies, will not ones paying attention towards the first person automatically be only an attention towards a sheath or a body a second person ! But if we use this test, can we not find out that all such attentions are not the proper first person attention? Therefore, it is necessary first of all to have an intellectual conviction that these are not I in order to practise Self-attention without losing our bearings. It is only the discrimination* by which we acquire this conviction that has been termed enquiry by the sastras. What then is an aspirant to do after discriminating thus? How can the attention to these five sheaths, even though with an intention to eliminate them, be an attention to Self? Therefore, while practising Self-enquiry, instead of taking anyone of the five sheaths as the object of our attention, we should fix our attention only on the I -consciousness, which exists and shines as oneself, as the singular, and as a witness to and aloof from these sheaths. *The discrimination dealt with in chapter four of this book is also with the same aim in view, yet it is not the actual process of enquiry. What is given in the last chapter of this book alone is the actual method of Self-enquiry. Instead of being directed towards any second or third person, is not our power of attention, which was hitherto called mind or intellect, thus now directed only towards the first person? Although we formally refer to it as directed, in truth it is not of the nature of a doing (kriya-rupam) in the form of directing or being directed; it is of the nature of being or existing (sat-rupam). Because the second and third persons (including thoughts) are alien or external to us, our attention paid to them was of the nature of a doing (kriya). But this very attention, when fixed on the non-alien first person feeling, I, loses the nature of paying and remains in the form of being, and therefore it is of the nature of non-doing (akriya) or inaction (nishkriya). So long as our power of attention was dwelling upon second and third persons, it was called the mind or the intellect, and its attending was called a doing (kriya) or an action (karma). Only that which is done by the mind is an action. But on the other hand, as soon as the attention is fixed on the first person (or Self), it loses its mean names such as mind, intellect or ego sense. Moreover, that attention is no longer even an action, but inaction (akarma) or the state of being still (summa iruttal). Therefore, the mind which attends to Self is no more the mind; it is the consciousness aspect of Self (atma-chitrupam)! Likewise, so long as it attends to the second and third persons (the world), it is not the consciousness aspect of Self; It is the mind, the reflected form of consciousness (chitabhasa-rupam)! Hence, since Self-attention is not a doing (kriya), it is not an action (karma). That is, Self alone realizes Self; the ego does not! The mind which has obtained a burning desire for Self-attention, which is Self-enquiry, is said to be the fully mature one (pakva manas). Since it is not at all now inclined to attend to any second or third parson, it can be said that it has reached the pinnacle of desirelessness (vairagya). For, do not all sorts of desires and attachments pertain only to second and third persons? Since this mind, which has very well understood that (as already seen in earlier chapters) the consciousness which shines as I alone is the source of full and real happiness, now seeks Self because of its natural craving for happiness, this intense desire to attend to Self is indeed the highest form of devotion (bhakti). It is exactly this Self-attention of the mind which is thus fully mature through such devotion and desirelessness (bhakti-vairagya) that is to be called the enquiry Who am I ? taught by Bhagavan Sri Ramana! Well, will not at least such a mature mind which has come to the path of Sri Ramana, willingly agreeing to engage in Self-attention, realize Self ? No, no, it has started for its doom ! Agreeing to commit suicide, it places its neck (through Self-attention) on the scaffold

where it is to be sacrificed !! How? Only so long as it was attending to second and third persons did it have the name mind, but as soon as Self-attention is begun, its name and form (its name as mind and its form as thoughts) are lost. So we can no longer say that Self-attention or Self-enquiry is performed by the mind, Neither is it the mind that attends to Self, nor is the natural spontaneous Self-attention of the consciousness aspect of Self (atma-chit-rupam), which is not the mind, an activity ! A naked lie then it would be If any man were to say that he Realized the Self, diving within Through proper enquiry set in, Not for knowing but for death The good-for-nothing egos worth! This Arunachala alone, The Self, by which the Self is known ! Sri Arunachala Venba verse 39 The feeling I am is the experience common to one and all. In this, am is consciousness or knowledge. This knowledge is not of anything external; it is the knowledge of oneself, This is chit. This consciousness is we, We are verily consciousness, says Sri Bhagavan in Upadesa Undhiyar verse 23. This is our being (that is, our true existence) or sat. This is called that which is (ulladhu). Thus in I am, I is existence (sat) and am is consciousness (chit). When Self, our nature of existence-consciousness (satchit swarupam), instead of shining only as the pure consciousness I am, shines mixed with an adjunct (upadhi) as I am a man, I am Rama, I am soand-so, I am this or that, then this mixed consciousness is the ego. This mixed consciousness can rise only by catching hold of a name and form. When we feel I am a man, I am Rama, I am sitting, I am lying, is it not clear that we have mistaken the body for I, and that we have assumed its name and postures as I am this and I am thus? The feeling this and thus which has now risen mixed with the pure consciousness I am (satchit) is what is called thought, this is the first thought. The feeling I am a man, I am so-and-so is only a thought. But the consciousness I am is not a thought; it is the very nature of our being. The mixed consciousness I am this or that is a thought that rises from our being. It is only after the rising of this thought, the mixed consciousness (the first person), that all other thoughts, which are the knowledge of second and third persons, rise into existence. Only if the first person exists, will the second and third persons exist.. Ulladhu Narpadhu verse 14 This mixed consciousness, the first person, is called our rising or the rising of the ego. This is the primal mentation (adi-vritti) ! Hence: Thinking is a mentation (vritti) ; being is not a mentation ! Atma Vichara Patikam, verse 1 The pure existence-consciousness, I am, is not a thought; this consciousness is our nature (swarupam). I am a man is not our pure consciousness; it is only our thought! To understand thus the difference between our being and our rising (that is, between existence and thought) first of all is essential for aspirants who take to the enquiry Who am I? Bhagavan Sri Ramana has advised that Self-enquiry can be done either in the form Who am I? or

in the form Whence am I? Hearing these two interrogative sentences, many aspirants have held various opinions about them up till now and have become confused as to which of them is to be practised and how! Even among those who consider that both are one and the same, many have only a superficial understanding and have not scrutinized deeply how they are the same. Some who try to follow the former one, Who am I?, simply begin either vocally or mentally the parrot-like repetition Who am I ? Who am I? as if it were a mantra-japa. This is utterly wrong! Doing japa of Who am I? in this manner is just as bad as meditating upon or doing japa of the mahavakyas such as I am Brahman and so on, thereby spoiling the very objective for which they were revealed! Sri Bhagavan Himself has repeatedly said, Who am I? is not meant for repetition (japa)! Some others, thinking that they are following the second interrogative form, Whence am I? try to concentrate on the right side of the chest (where they imagine something as a spiritual heart), expecting a reply such as I am from here! This is in no way better than the ancient method of meditating upon anyone of the six yogic centres (shad-chakras) in the body!! For, is not thinking of any place in the body only a second person attention (an objective attention)? Before we start to explain the technique of Self-enquiry, is it not of the utmost importance that all such misconceptions be removed? Let us see, therefore, how they may be removed. In Sanskrit, the terms atman and aham both mean I. Hence, atma-vichara means an attention seeking Who is this I? It may rather be called I-attention, Self-attention or Self-abidance. The consciousness I thus pointed out here is the first person feeling. But as we have already said, it is to be understood that the consciousness mixed with adjuncts as I am this or I am that is the ego (ahankara) or the individual soul (jiva), whereas the unalloyed consciousness devoid of adjuncts and shining alone as I-I (or I am that I am) is Self (atman), the Absolute (brahman) or God (iswara). Does it not amount to saying then that the first person consciousness, I, can be either the ego or Self? Since all people generally take the ego-feeling (I am the body) to be I, the ego is also given the name self (atman) and is called individual self (jivatma) by some sastras even now. It is only for this reason that even the attention to the ego, What is it? or Who is it?, is also named by the sastras as Self-enquiry (atma-vichara). Is it not clear, however, that Self, the existence-consciousness, neither needs to do any enquiry nor can be subjected to any enquiry? It is just in order to rectify this defect that Bhagavan Ramana named it Who am I? rather than using the ancient term Self-enquiry (atma-vichara)! The ego, the feeling of I, generally taken by people to be the first person consciousness, is not the real first person consciousness; Self alone is the real first person consciousness. The egofeeling, which is merely a shadow of it, is a false first person consciousness. When one enquires into this ego, what it is or who it is, it disappears because it is really nonexistent, and the enquirer, having nothing more to do, is established in Self as Self. Because it rises, springing up from Self, the false first person consciousness mentioned above has to have a place and a time of rising. Therefore, the question Whence am I? means only Whence (from where) does the ego rise ?. A place of rising can only be for the ego. But for Self, since it has no rising or setting, there can be no particular place or time. When scrutinized, we the ever-known existing Thing alone are; then where is time and where is space? If we are (mistaken to be) the body, we shall be involved in time and space; but, are we the body? Since we are the One, now, then and ever, that One in space, here there and everywhere *, we the timeless and spaceless Self alone are ! Ulladhu Narpadhu, verse 15 *Time and space apparently exist in us (Self), but we are neither in them nor bound by them, The experience of the Jnani is only I am and not I am everywhere and in all times. - thus says Sri Bhagavan. Therefore, enquiring Whence am I? is enquiring Whence is the ego?. Only to the rising of the ego, which is conditioned by time and space, will the question Whence am I? be applicable. The meaning which Sri Bhagavan expects us to understand from the term Whence? or From where? is From what?. When taken in this sense, instead of a place or time coming forth as a reply, Self-existence, we, the Thing (vastu), alone is experienced as the reply. If,

on the other hand, we anticipate a place as an answer to the question Whence?, a place, conditioned by time and space, will be experienced within the body two digits to the right from the centre of the chest (as said in Ulladhu Narpadhu Anubandham verse 18). Yet this experience is not the ultimate or absolute one (paramarthikam). For, Sri Bhagavan has positively asserted that Heart (hridayam) is verily Self-consciousness, which is timeless, spaceless, formless and nameless. He who thinks that Self (or Heart) is within the insentient body, while in fact the body is within Self, is like one who thinks that the screen, which supports the cinema picture, is contained within the picture Ekatma Panchakam, verse 3 Finding a place in the body as the rising-point of the ego in reply to the question Whence? is not the objective of Sri Bhagavans teachings; nor is it the fruit to be gained by Self-enquiry. Sri Bhagavan has declared clearly the objective of His teachings and the fruit to be gained by seeking the risingplace of the ego as follows: When sought within What is the place from which it rises as I?, I (the ego) will die ! This is Self-enquiry (jnana-vichara) . Upadesa Undhiyar, verse 19 Therefore, the result which is aimed at when seeking the rising-place of the ego is the annihilation of that ego and not an experience of a place in the body. It is only in reply to the immature people who not able to have even an intellectual understanding (paroksha jnana) about the nature of Self, which shines alone as the one, non-dual thing, unlimited by (indeed, absolutely unconnected with) time and space, unlimited even in the form Brahman is everywhere, Brahman is at all times, Brahman is everything (sarvatra brahma, sarvada brahma, sarvam brahma) always raise the question, Where is the seat for Self in the body?,that the sastras and sometimes even Sri Bhagavan had to say: two digits to the right (from the centre of the chest) is the heart.* Hence, this heartplace (hridaya-stanam) Is not the ultimate or absolute Reality, The reader may here refer to Maharshis, Gospel, Book II, chapter IV, The Heart is the Self (8th edition, 1969, pages 68 to 72; 9th edition, 1979, pages 72 to 76). *It is worth noting that the mention of the location of the heart two digits to the right from the centre of the chest is not included in Ulladhu Narpadhu (the main forty verses), where the original and direct teachings of Sri Bhagavan are given, but only in Ulladhu Narpadhu Anubandham (the supplementary forty verses), since this is merely and of the diluted truths which the sastras condescendingly reply in concession to the weakness of immature aspirants. Moreover, these two verses, 18 and 19, are not original compositions of Sri Bhagavan, but only translations from a Malayalam work named Ashtanga Hridayam, which is not even a spiritual text, but only a medical one. It should also be noted here that these two verses do not at all recommend, nor even mention, the practice of concentrating the attention on this point in the body, two digits to the right from the centre of the chest. Indeed, in no place neither in His original works, nor in His translations of others works, nor even in any of the conversations with Him recorded by devotees has Sri Bhagavan ever recommended this practice (for meditation upon the right side of the chest or upon any other part of the transient, insentient and alien body is nothing but an attention to a second person, an object other than I), and when asked about it, He in fact used to condemn it (see Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, number 273). Thus, attending to oneself in the form Whence am I? is enquiring into the ego, the rising I, But, while enquiring Who am I?, there are some aspirants who take the feeling I to be their being (existence) and not their rising ! If it is taken thus, that is attention to Self. It is just to understand clearly the difference between these two forms of enquiry that the difference between our rising and our being has been explained earlier in this chapter, Just as the correct meaning of the term meditation upon Brahman (brahmadhyanam) used by the sastras up till now is explained by Sri Bhagavan in the last two lines of the first benedictory verse of Ulladhu Narpadhu to be abiding in

the Heart as it is (that is to say, abiding as Self is the correct way of meditating upon it), so also, the correct meaning of the term Self-enquiry (atma-vichara) is here rightly explained to be turning Selfwards (or attending to Self). In either of these two kinds of enquiry (Who am I? or Whence am I ?), since the attention of the aspirant is focused only on himself, nothing other than Self (atman), which is the true import of the word I, will be finally experienced. Therefore, the ultimate result of both the enquiries, Whence am I ? and Who am I ?, is the same! How? He who seeks Whence am I? is following the ego, the form of which is I am so-and-so, and while doing so, the adjunct so-and-so, having no real existence, dies on the way, and thus he remains established in Self, the surviving I am. On the other hand, he who seeks Who am I ? drowns effortlessly in his real natural being (Self), which ever shines as I am that I am, Therefore, whether done in the form Whence am I? or Who am I ?, what is absolutely essential is that Self-attention should be pursued till the very end. Moreover, it is not necessary for sincere aspirants even to name before-hand the feeling I either as ego or as Self, For, are there two persons in the aspirant, the ego and Self? This is said because, since everyone of us has the experience I am one only and not two. we should not give room to an imaginary dual feeling one I seeking for another I by differentiating ego and Self as lower self and higher-self Are there two selves, one to be an object known by the other? For, the true experience of all is I am one ! Ulladhu Narpadhu, verse 33 - asks Sri Bhagavan. Thus it is sufficient if we cling to the feeling I uninterruptedly till the very end. Such attention to the feeling I, the common daily experience of everyone, is what is meant by Self-attention. For those who accept as their basic knowledge the I am the body consciousness (jiva Bhava), being unable to doubt its (the egos) existence, it is suitable to take to Self-attention (that is, to do Selfenquiry) in the form Whence am I?, On the other hand, for those who instead of assuming that they have an individuality (jiva bhava) such as I am so-and-so or I am this, attend thus, What is this feeling which shines as I am?, it is suitable to be fixed in Self-attention in the form Who am I ? What is important to be sure of during practice (sadhana) is that our attention is turned only towards I, the first person singular feeling. - Sri Sadhu Om The Path of Sri Raman, Chapter 7 For more posts on Ramana Maharshi see: To read more from Ramana Maharshi see: December 21, 2009

O-theism Religion-less Religious-ness The no Religion of Whole religion It is the perennial philosophy. It is the Heart of the teachings of all the Awakened Masters including Krishna, Lao Tzu, Buddha and Christ.

It is the religion-less of Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti and Osho. It is the religious-ness of Advaita, the Sufis, Tantra and Zen. Isms are always shunned but this one points to its own non-being. Words are always grasped but this one points to its own non-limitation. -purushottama Prescott, Arizona December 21, 2009 Leave a Comment Filed under Advaita, Osho, Prem Purushottama Tagged as Advaita, Ajja, Atmananda, awareness, Being, Consciousness, Douglas Harding, Gurdjieff, I Am, Jean Klein, Jesus, Krishna Menon, Krishnamurti, Love, Meditation, Meher Baba, Nisargadatta Maharaj, O-theism, Osho, Ramana Maharshi, religiousness, Richard Rose, Robert Adams, Sufi, Tantra, U. G. Krishnamurti, Vimala Thakar, Zen December 9, 2009

Prayer by Shankarcharya Vimala Thakar

Translation & Commentary by Vimala Thakar Pratah smarami hridi samsphura ta twam Satchitsukham paramahansa gatim turiyam Yat swapna jagara sushupta mavaiti nityam Tad brahma nishkalamaham na cha bhuta sanghaha. In the morning as I meet the dawn, I remember that my heart contains the God, the Beloved, who has not yet been defined and described. I remember that it is He who vibrates within my heart, enables me to breathe, to talk, to listen, to move. When I am thus aware, that it is He who lives and moves within me, then the three phases of consciousness, jagrat, swapna, sushupti : wakefulness, dreaming, and profound sleep, they are transcended into turiya, the fourth dimension, which is behind the wakefulness, the dream-consciousness, and the sleep-consciousness. When I thus remember, that the underlying current behind the wakefulness, the dream, and the sleep-consciousness is He, who lives and moves within me, then that awareness gives me sat chit sukham, the flavor of the truth, the reality, and the bliss that is the nature, the basic primary nature of life. Sat chit sukham. When I am always thus aware of the real nature of life, then I arrive at paramahansagatim turiyam. I arrive at a state of being that has been called by the ancient wise Indians Paramahansa, a swan that swims through the waters of duality. That is how a sanyasi is called a paramahansa, one who lives in the renunciation of that austere awareness that it is not he who lives, as separate from the universe, but that he is only an expression of the universal. The state of paramahansa is the state where a person is aware that he is not a conglomeration of sense organs and only the five elements, but he is the nishkala Brahman, the supreme Brahman, the divinity, who has taken the dense form of a mind and a physical body. Pratara bhajami manaso vachasam agamyam Vacho vibhanti nikhila yadanugrahena Ya neti neti vachanaih nirgama avochu Tamdeva devam ajam achyutam ahuragryam

But my mind, when I am awake, needs some work to do. It cannot remain without movement. So I give it a job. Pratara bhajami manaso - by the mind vachasam agamyam by the mind I move. On the frontiers of the mind I give the mind a job to explore that which lies beyond its own frontiers, that which is not accessible to the word, to the speech, as well as to the mind. My mind asks me, How shall I do it? And I ask the mind to travel back, through the word, to the source of the word, the sound, and find out how the sound is born. I ask my mind to travel with the breath, to go inside: with the breath to travel. That is the only way you can find out how the sound is born, because breath and sound are woven together. All speech and all sound is a blessing of that unspoken, unstruck sound. And unless one discovers the source from which all sound is born, one shall never set oneself free from the power of the word, that intoxicates and distorts the mind; that intoxicates the mind and sweeps it off its balance. All the Upanishads and the Vedas have been searching for that source of sound. That source of breath. They arrived only at two words: na iti, na iti: it is not this, it is not this. So even the Vedas arrive at the point where nothing can describe and define. The source can only be experienced, the source can only be perceived and understood, but never defined and described. That is how the mind becomes silent. Not because I ask it, but while it is searching for the source of its own activity it takes a dive deep into silence, where the mind becomes the no-mind, where the knowing becomes the not-knowing. Then I understand that silence is the only speech through which life speaks, and I feel blessed when I am in that silence. Pratarnamami tamasah param arkavarnam Purnam sanatana padam purushottamakhyam Yasminnidam jagadashesham ashesamurtau Rajjuam bhujangama iva pratibhatitam vai. But then comes the body. It wants to do something. To worship, to admire, to adore. So I give it a job. I ask my body to bow down before the light of the earth, the sun, who dispels darkness from all the corners of the earth. And I ask my body to expose itself to that darkness dispelling sun ask it to find out how that sun enters into the body through the doors of the eyes, and through the pores of all the veins and nerves, every pore of my being. I want my body to find out which are the avenues through which the light is received. And when the body says, It is the eyes through which the light enters, I say, Find out how the eyes can see the light. Is the light outside the eyes, or is it inside? With the help of the mind, the body travels inward, to find out the source of the light. And it discovers that it is not a blind person who can receive the light from outside. He who has an eye can receive the light. So that which receives the light is greater than the light seen from outside. So I arrive at the source of light within me. And the awareness of that light dispels the illusion the illusion and the fear that a man experiences when he see rajo bhujangama : when he sees a rope in the darkness and he mistakes that for a snake, a cobra. I had mistaken the rope of duality for the snake and cobra of misery and sorrow. But the light dispels the darkness and I see that the duality is only a rope that cannot bind me in any way unless I bind myself with it. That light is the purushottam, that is sanatana - eternal. Purnam - that is perfect. The perfect eternity. The God divine. That is really my nature. I had mistaken the tensions of duality to be me, but then the light dispels all the darkness, and I get rooted back into the ajam, the aychutam that which can never be swept off its feet. Ajam that which was never born, and can never die. I am that. This is the prayer composed by Shankaracharya, the majestic exponent of the philosophy of nondualism, vedanta or advait. This was sung by Vivekananda very often, and it is really on this prayer that Vivekanandas Song of Sanyasin is based, where he sings, in great ecstasy:

They know not truth who dream such vacant dreams As father, mother, children wife and friend The sexless Self, whose father, whose mother is he? The self is All in All, None else exists, and thou art that, Sanyasin bold, say Om Tat Sat Om. Where seekest thou that freedom? This world nor that can give you. Thine only is the hand, That holds the rope that drags thee on. Then cease lament, let go thy hold! Sanyasin bold! Say Om Tat Sat Om! -Vimala Thakar Hunger Mountain, MA, October, 1972 Here is a link to an audio recording of Vimalaji chanting part of the above prayer. Prayer by Shankarcharya Vimala Thakar For more posts on Vimala Thakar see: To read more of Vimala Thakar see: Leave a Comment Filed under Advaita, Sruti (sacred texts), Vimala Thakar Tagged as Advaita, awareness, Being, Consciousness, Jean Klein, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Osho, Ramana Maharshi, Shankarcharya, Turiya, Vimala Thakar November 28, 2009

Seeing It Simply Wei Wu Wei

It is surely axiomatic that a phenomenon (an appearance, an object) cannot perform any action whatever on its own initiative, as an independent entity. In China this was illustrated by Chuang Tzu in his story of the sow who died while suckling

her piglets: the little pigs just left her because their mother was no longer there. In Europe, even at that early date, the same understanding is expressed by the word animus which animates the phenomenal aspect of sentient beings, and this forms the basis of most religious beliefs. But whereas in the West the animus was regarded as personal to each phenomenal object, being the sentience of it, in the East the animus was called heart or mind or consciousness, and in Buddhism and Vedanta was regarded as impersonal and universal, Buddha-mind, Prajna, Atman, etc. When this impersonal mind comes into manifestation by objectifying itself as subject and object, it becomes identified with each sentient object, and the concept of I thereby arises in human beings, whereby the phenomenal world as we know it and live it, appears to be what we call real. That, incidentally, is the only reality (thing-ness) we can ever know, and to use the term real (a thing) for what is not such, for the purely subjective, is an abuse of language. In this process of personalising mind and thinking of it as I, we thereby make it, which is subject, into an object, whereas I in fact can never be such, for there is nothing objective in I, which is essentially a direct expression of subjectivity. This objectivising of pure subjectivity, calling it me or calling it mind, is precisely what constitutes bondage. It is this concept, called the I-concept or ego or self, which is the supposed bondage from which we all suffer and from which we seek liberation. It should be evident, as the Buddha and a hundred other Awakened sages have sought to enable us to understand, that what we are is this animating mind as such, which is noumenon, and not the phenomenal object to which it gives sentience. This does not mean, however, that the phenomenal object has no kind of existence whatever, but that its existence is merely apparent, which is the meaning of the term phenomenon; that is to say, that it is only an appearance in consciousness, an objectivisation, without any nature of its own, being entirely dependent on the mind that objectivises it, which mind is only nature, very much as is the case of any dreamed creature, as the Buddha in the Diamond Sutra, and many others after him have so patiently explained to us. This impersonal, universal mind or consciousness, is our true nature, our only nature, all, absolutely all, that we are, and is completely devoid of I-ness. This is easy enough to understand, and it would be simple indeed if it were the ultimate truth, but it is not, for the obvious reason that no such thing as an objective mind could exist, any more than an I or any other object, as a thing-in-itself. What it is, however, is totally devoid of any objective quality, and so cannot be visualised, conceptualised, or in any way referred to, for any such process would automatically render it an object of subject which by definition it can never be. This is because the mind in question is the unmanifested source of manifestation, the process of which is its division into subject and object; and antecedent to such division there can be no subject to perceive an object, and no object to be perceived by a subject. Indeed, and as revealed by such sages as Padma Sambhava, that which is seeking to conceive and to name this unmanifested source of manifestation is precisely this whole mind which is the animating or prajnaic functioning which itself is the seeking, so that the sought is the seeker thereof. Profoundly to understand this is Awakening to what is called enlightenment. This reasoned visualisation, therefore, like all doctrine, is merely conceptual, devoid of factuality, a structure of theoretical imagination, a symbolic diagram devised in order to enable us to understand something immediate that can never become knowledge. Yet that ultimate something, which is no thing, is nevertheless what the universe is, and is all that we are. The psychological I-concept has no nature of its own, is no thing, and could not possibly create genuine bondage. There cannot be any such thing as bondage at all, but only the idea of such. There is no liberation, for there is no thing from which to be freed. If the whole conceptual structure is seen as what it is, it must necessarily collapse, and the bondage-enlightenment nonsense with it. That is called Awakening, awakening to the natural state which is that of every sentient being. Sri

Ramana Maharshi taught just that when he said that enlightenment is only being rid of the notion that one is not enlightened, and Maharshi might have been quoting the Tang dynasty Chinese sage Hui Hai, known as the Great Pearl, when he stated that Liberation is liberation from the notion of liberation. He might also have been quoting Huang Po (d.850), of whom he is unlikely ever to have heard, when they both used the same words, full of humour, to someone asking about his mind: each sage asked in reply,How many minds have you? How many minds had they, those two young men? Why, none at all. Not only not two, but not one. Nor were they themselves a mind, for there could not be such a thing as a mind for them to be. Neither they nor mind ever had, or ever could have, any objective being whatever, for never has any kind of objective being been, nor will such ever be. All that, and every that which ever was thought up and that is the most purely objective of pronouns is the essence of the gigantic phantasmagoria of objectivity, which we spend our lives building up, and in which we search desperately for some truth which could not possibly be there. The whole vast construction is a phantasy, a dream, as the Buddha (or whoever wrote it in his name) told us in the Diamond Sutra, and the truth which a dream represents, or misrepresents, of which it is a reflection or a deflection, is the dreaming source of it which is all that it is. That source can never have a name, because a name denotes a phenomenon and there is no phenomenal dreamer, but a functioning that is called dreaming. Sri Bhagavan called it I-I: if it must be called anything, no nominal form could ever come nearer, or be less misleading as an indication, than his term. All objectivisation is conceptual, all conceptuality is inference, and all inference is as empty of truth as a vacuum is empty of air. Moreover there is no truth, never has been and never could be; there is no thusness, suchness, is-ness, nor anything positive or negative whatever. There is just absolute absence of the cognisable, which is absolute presence of the unthinkable and the unknowable which neither is nor is not. Inferentially this is said to be an immense and radiant splendour untrammelled by notions of time and space, and utterly beyond the dim, reflected sentience of temporal and finite imagination. - Wei Wu Wei Originally published in The Mountain Path, July 1964. This article was first seen on: 1 Comment Filed under Advaita, Wei Wu Wei (Terence Gray) Tagged as Advaita, awareness, Jean Klein, Mind, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, Wei Wu Wei (Terence Gray), Zen November 28, 2009

An Interview With Jean Klein

This interview was conducted 1n 1988 by Stephan Bodian when he was editor of Yoga Journal. I have posted it here for the benefit of those who would like to know more about Jean Klein. Jean, I find you and your teaching interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, you are a Westerner who went to India long before such journeys were common and ended up attaining a high degree of realization. What prompted you to go to India? I was hoping to find a society where people lived without conflict. Also, I think, I was hoping to find a center in myself that was free from conflict a kind of forefeeling, or foretaste, of truth. While in India, you found a teacher with whom you studied for a number of years. What is the value of a teacher for the spiritual life? A teacher is one who lives free from the idea or image of being somebody. Theres only function; theres no one who functions. Its a loving relationship; a teacher is like a friend. Why is that important for someone on the spiritual path? Because generally the relationship with other people involves asking or demanding sex, money, psychological or biological security. Then suddenly you meet someone who doesnt ask for demand anything of you; theres only giving. A true teacher doesnt take himself for a teacher, and he doesnt take his pupil for a pupil. When neither one takes himself to be something, there is a coming together, a oneness. And in this oneness, transmission takes place. Otherwise the teacher will remain a teacher through the pupil, and the pupil will always remain a pupil. When the image of being something is absent, one is completely in the world but not of the world; completely in society, but at the same time free from society. We are truly a creative element when we can be in society in this way. What did your teacher teach you? The teacher brings clarity of mind. Thats very important. There comes a moment when the mind has no reference and just stops, naturally, simply. Theres a silence which you more and more live knowingly. And the teacher shows you how to do that. Did you learn any meditation or yoga techniques from you teacher? No. Because what you really are is never achieved through technique. You go away from what you

are when you use technique. What about the whole notion of the spiritual path the idea that you enter a path, follow a certain prescribed way of practice, and eventually achieve some goal? It belongs to psychology, to the realm of the mind. These are sweets for the mind. What about the argument that if you dont practice, you cant attain anything? You must first see that in all practice you project a goal, a result. And in projecting a result you remain constantly in the representation of what you project. What you are fundamentally is a natural giving up. When the mind becomes clear, there is a giving up, a stillness, fulfilled with a current of love. As long as theres a meditator, theres no meditation. When the meditator disappears, there is meditation. So by practicing some meditation technique, you are somehow interfering with that giving up. Absolutely. How? You interfere because you think there is something to attain. But in reality what you are fundamentally is nothing to obtain, nothing to achieve. You can only achieve something that remains in the mind, knowledge. You must see the difference. Being yourself has nothing to do with accumulating knowledge. In certain traditions Zen, for one you have to meditate in order to exhaust the mind; through meditating the mind eventually wears itself out and comes to rest. Then a kind of opening takes place. But youre suggesting that the process of meditating somehow gets in the way of this opening. Yes. This practicing is still produced by will. For me, the point of meditation is only to look for the meditator. When we find out that the meditator, the one who looks for God, for beauty, for peace, is only a product of the brain and that there is therefore nothing to find, there is a giving up. What remains is a current of silence. You can never come to this silence through practice, through achievement. Enlightenment being understanding is instantaneous. Once youve attained this enlightenment or this current, do you then exist in it all the time? Constantly. But its not a state. When theres a state, there is mind. So in the midst of this current there is also activity? Oh, yes. Activity and non-activity. Timeless awareness is the life behind all activity and nonactivity. Activity and non-activity are more or less superimpositions upon this constant beingness. It is behind the three states of waking , dreaming, and sleeping, beyond inhalation and exhalation. Of course, the words beyond and behind have a spatial connotation that does not belong to beingness. In the midst of all activity, then, you are aware of this presence, this clarity. Yes, presence is a good word. You are presence, but you are not aware of it. Youve often called what you teach the direct way, and youve contrasted it with what you call progressive teachings, including the classical yoga tradition and most forms of Buddhism. What is the danger of progressive teachings, and why do you think the direct way is closer to the truth? In the progressive way, you use various techniques and gradually attain higher and higher states. But you remain constantly in the mind, in the subject-object relationship. Even when you give up the last object, you still remain in the duality of subject and object. You are still in a kind of blank state, and this blank state itself becomes an extremely subtle object. In this state, it is very difficult to give up the subject-object relationship. Once youve attained it, youre locked into it, fixed to it.

Theres a kind of quietness, but theres no flavor, no taste. To bring you to the point where the object vanishes and you abide in this beingness, a tremendous teacher of exceptional circumstances are necessary. In the direct approach, you face the ultimate directly, and the conditioning gradually loses its impact. But that takes time. So the ultimate melts the conditioning. Yes. Theres a giving up, and in the end you remain in beingness. You say that any kind of practice is a hindrance, but at the same time you suggest practices to people. You teach a form of yoga to your students, and to some you recommend self-inquiry, such as the question, Who am I? It sounds paradoxical no practice, but you teach a practice. What practices do you teach, and why do you use practices at all? To try to practice and to try not to practice are both practice. I would rather say listen, be attentive, and see that you really are not attentive. When you see in certain moments in daily life that you are not attentive, in those moments you are attentive. Then see how you function. That is very important. Be completely objective. Dont judge, compare, criticize, evaluate. Become more and more accustomed to listening. Listen to your body, without judging, without reference just listen. Listen to all the situations in daily life. Listen from the whole mind, not from a mind divided by positive and negative. Look from the whole, the global. Students generally observe that most of the time they are not in this listening, although our natural way of behavior is listening. The path you are describing is often called the high path with no railing, which is the most difficult path of all. The average person wouldnt know where to begin to do what youre talking about. Most could probably be attentive to their inattention, but after that, what? Theres nothing to grasp onto. No. theres nothing to grasp, nothing to find. But it is only apparently a difficult path; actually, I would say it is the easiest path. How so? Listening to something is easy, because it doesnt go through the mind. It is our natural behavior. Evaluation, comparison, is very difficult, because it involves mental effort. In this listening theres a welcoming of all that happens, an unfolding, and this unfolding, this welcoming, is timeless. All that you welcome appears in this timelessness, and theres a moment when you feel yourself timeless, fell yourself in welcoming, feel yourself in listening, in attention. Because attention has its own taste, its own flavor. Theres attention to something, but theres also attention in which theres no object: nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to touch, only attention. And in that moment of pure attention, you realize the one whos being attentive? I would say that this attention, completely free from choice and reflection, refers to itself. Because it is essentially timeless. The Zen master Dogen said: Take the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate the self. That seems to be similar to what you are talking about. Yes, but one must be careful. Turning the head inward is still doing something. And theres really no inward and no outward. I notice that you use the word attention. Is this the same as what the Buddhists call mindfulness being acutely aware of every movement, every sensation, every thought? Mindfulness mainly emphasizes the object, the perceived, and not the perceiving, which can never be an object, just as the eye can never see its seeing. The attention Im speaking of is objectless, directionless, and in it all that is perceived exists potentially. Mindfulness implies a subject-object relation, but attention is non-dual. Mindfulness is intentional; attention is the real state of the mind,

free from volition. What about the yoga you teach, which you call body-work? What is it, and why do you teach it? You are not your body, senses, and mind; body, senses, and mind are expressions of your timeless awareness. But to completely understand that you are not something, you must first see what you are not. You cannot say I am not the body without knowing what it is. So you inquire, you explore, you look, you listen. And you discover that you know only certain fractions of your body, certain sensations, and these are more or less reactions, resistance. Eventually you come to a body feeling that you have never had before, because when you listen it unfolds, and the sensitive body, the energy body, appears. It is most important to feel and come into contact with the energy body. Because in the beginning your body is more or less a pattern or superficial structure in the mind, made up of reactions and resistance. But when you really listen to the body, you are no longer an accomplice to these reactions, and the body comes to its natural feeling, which is emptiness. The real body in its original state is emptiness, a completely vacant state. Then you feel the appearance of the elastic body, which is the energy body. When we speak of body-work, it is mainly to find this energy body. Once the energy body has been experienced, the physical body works completely differently. The muscle structure, the skin, the flesh, is seen and felt in a completely new way. Even the muscles and bones function differently. What is the yoga that you teach like? Its not really yoga. Its an approach to the body based on the Kashmir teaching. The Kashmir approach is largely an awakening of the subtle energies circulating in the body. These energies are used to spiritualize the body, to make it sattvic [literally, pure or true]. In a sattvic body there is already a giving up. You see more clearly what you are not your tensions, ideas, fixations, reactions. Once the false is seen as false, what remains is our timeless being. By spiritualizing the body, therefore, I mean orchestrating all the dispersed energy that belongs to the false. Our approach is an exploration without will or effort. It is inspired by the truth itself. The natural body is an expression, a prolongation, of this truth. But I understand you use the traditional asanas of Hatha Yoga. Every gesture, every position the body can take, is an asana; there are certain archetypes that are not even mentioned in the classical texts of Hatha Yoga. But there are archetypal positions par excellence that brings harmonization of body and mind. Before going to these archetypes, however, one must prepare the body. Otherwise, yoga is nothing more than a kind of gesticulation. What you see for the most part in Europe and the U.S. is gymnastics, gesticulation, and has nothing to do with body integration. Do you have any other reasons for not using the term yoga? Yes. The term yoga means to join, and so there must be something to join, something to attain. But join who? Join what? In a certain way the body approach helps you to listen quietly. It is through real listening to the body that you come to true equanimity of mind and body. Should this be practiced every day? Dont make a discipline of it, because in discipline there is anticipation youre already emphasizing a goal. This doesnt belong to exploration. Practically speaking, wait until you are invited by the energy of the body itself. This recall of our natural state is not memory. It comes from the needs of the body and appears spontaneously. Go to it as you would to a dinner invitation. Otherwise, youre doing violence to the body. In your daily life you may experience moments of absolute silence in which theres nothing to do, nothing to avoid, nothing to achieve. In these moments, youre completely attuned to this stillness without any effort. Become more and more aware of these timeless moments, moments when you cannot think, because when you think, the moment is already past. Present moments free from all

thoughts. Often you will have these moments when an action is accomplished, when a thought is finished, in the evening before you fall asleep, in the morning when you first wake up. Become more and more familiar with these gaps between two thoughts or two actions gaps which are not an absence of thought, but are presence itself. Simply let yourself be attuned to these timeless moments. You will increasingly welcome them, until one day you are established in this timelessness, are knowingly the light behind all perceptions. So you dont recommend practicing meditation as a regular discipline? No. You talk about stillness and silence. Are these goals of spiritual life? When I speak of stillness and silence, nobody is still and nobody is silent; there is only silence and stillness. This stillness does no refer to somebody or something. So in the midst of this stillness there is activity? Yes. Stillness is like the hinge of a door. The body is the door that opens and closes constantly, but the stillness never moves. T.S. Eliot called it the still point of the turning world. Since the practice has no goal in fact, there isnt even a practice what is the purpose of spiritual life at all? Obviously, most of us would say that we are not enlightened or liberated, and so we do feel a need to go somewhere where we are not. Then it seems as if we do need to undertake some kind of spiritual life. What is that like? I would say that we are constantly, without knowing it, being solicited by what we are fundamentally. But the feeling by which we are solicited is very often mistaken for something objective, for a state, for some relative mental stillness that we can achieve through effort or practice. We seek this state as a kind of compensation for real stillness. The moment you are really solicited by the inner need and you face it and visit with it, you will be taken by it. But generally we are looking for compensation. This process youre talking about is very different from the way we usually do things. Usually we have an idea in mind of where we are going and then we set out in a certain direction and use our will to get there. But all doing has a certain motive. I think this motive is to be free from oneself, free from all conflict. The motive is a good one, then, but the response is a little misguided. When you become more and more acquainted with the art of observation, you will first see that you do not observe; when you see that you dont observe, you are immediately out of the process. There is a moment, a kind of insight, when you see yourself free from all volition, free from all representation; you feel yourself in this fullness, in this moment beyond thought. Its mainly through observation and attention that you come to feel what you are fundamentally. How would you describe liberation? Ill give you a short answer. It is being free from yourself, free from the image you believe yourself to be. That is liberation. Its quite an explosion to see that you are nothing, and then to live completely attuned to this nothingness. The body approach I teach is more or less a beautiful pretext, because in a certain way the body is like a musical instrument that you have to tune. And we tune it to play on it the song of our own nothingness. Exactly. Liberation means to live freely in the beauty of your absence. You see at one moment that there is nothing seen and no seer. Then you live it. This is what you refer to as living free from psychological memory.

Absolutely. Is it really possible to live in the world in this state of total openness and freedom from our own identity, doing the things we do leading busy lives, taking care of family, etc. ? Yes. You can live in a family perfectly without the image of being a father or a mother, a lover or a husband. You can perfectly educate your children not to be something, and have a love relationship with them as a friend, rather than as a parent. One teacher of vipassana meditation who is also a clinical psychologist has written, You have to be somebody before you can be nobody, meaning that for many people, particularly now in the West, who have been brought up in dysfunctional families, there are very often such deep lack of self-esteem and such a conflicted or uncertain sense of who they are in an everyday way, that they must first develop psychological and emotional strength before they can embark on the path to becoming nobody. There are people who would near you say that ultimately we have no identity, we are nothing, and we live in this nothingness, and would turn around and say, Oh, yes, I know that. What they are really talking about is their own inner emptiness, their own inner feeling of lack or deprivation, which is a kind of sickness. Do you agree that we have to be somebody before we can be nobody? First you must see how you function. And you will see that you function as somebody, as a person. You live constantly in choice. You live completely in the psychological structure of like and dislike, which brings you sorrow. You must see that. If you identify yourself your personality, it means you identify yourself as your memory, because personality is memory, what I call psychological memory. In this seeing, this natural giving up, the personality goes away. And when you live in this nothingness, something completely different emerges. Instead of seeing life in terms of the projections of your personality, things appear in your life as they are, as facts. And these appearings naturally bring their own solution. You are no longer identified with your personality, with psychological memory, though your functional memory remains. Instead, there is a cosmic personality, a trans-personality, that appears and disappears when you need it. You are nothing more than a channel, responding according to the situation. This interview was part of a larger article that was published in Yoga Journal, Issue 83, November/December, 1988. To read more from Jean Klein see here. 6 Comments Filed under Advaita, Jean Klein, Meetings & Interviews Tagged as Advaita, awareness, Being, Consciousness, Enlightenment, I Am, Jean Klein, Love, Meditation, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, Zen November 13, 2009

The Challenge of Emptiness Vimala Thakar

Vimala Thakar Vimala Thakar on the Spiritual Emancipation of Women an interview by Shanti Adams Shanti Adams: This morning I would like to talk with you about women in relationship to spiritual liberation. In the course of the last ten years I have been part of a community of men and women who are students of spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen. We have been trying to live, together in a mixed community, what we have learned through being with him and through practicing and studying his teaching. Initially, the people who joined this community did not attach any particular importance to being either male or female. Speaking for myself, I was never drawn to womens movements. I was just interested in the truth. Im not a feminist and Im not an antifeminist either. I have no doubt that real freedom transcends nationality, transcends religious bias and also transcends gender. At first there didnt seem to be any particular differences in our community between male and female conditioning when it came to spiritual practice or liberation. But over time, deep differences between male and female conditioning seem to have emerged. And this doesnt seem to be just an individual matter; each sex as a group seems to have its own distinct conditioning. Let me give you an example. Really trying to live these teachings requires an ability to observe ones conditioning, habits, and tendencies clearlyor objectivelyand to actually transcend them or be free of them. One thing that is beginning to emerge is that women often have difficulty with that kind of objectivity. For example, when a tendency or habit is revealed, women often take it more personally and in some cases will initially be defensive. They tend to feel hurt and they seem to have more difficulty than the men not being distracted by their emotional response to what has been seen. The men dont seem to get quite so distracted by their fear or their pride, and they seem to be more interested in just looking objectively at whatever it is that they may be facing. This tendency to take things personally, and therefore to defend themselves, seems to be something that the women in particular are coming up against. Vimala Thakar: The objectification of the inner psychological life is extremely difficult for women. Woman has had a role to play in human history. She has been the wife, the mother, the sister, protected by others, especially by men. In India the Hindu religion says woman is always to be protectedin childhood by the father, in young age by the husband, and in old age by her son. It is said that she does not deserve freedom. That is the basic principle. And I feel that perhaps in other countries also she has had only one role to play. It is a secondary role, protected by the male, and she did not require objectivity. As a subjective person she always has to react. Man has to act, man has to earn; she has to take care. In this secondary role, she never lived for herself as a human being. She lived for the parents, for the husband, for the children, for the family. The family institution has survived at the cost of woman. So the inner freedom of objectifying her own emotions or perceiving the situation entirely objectively is very difficult for women, very difficult. And man finds it easy, objectification. But it is very difficult for men to transcend their egos. Woman, through emotional strength and emotional integrity can go beyond the ego easier than man. Man can objectify more quickly and easier than woman. There are certain limitations because of the role that man and woman have played in human history and civilization. The woman immediately withdraws into her own shell to protect her emotions, her reactions, everything. SA: Yes, I recognize that. VT: In India women have been prescribed the yoga of devotion, bhakti yoga. In identifying with a god, a goddess, an idol, or a guru, all the emotional strength and vitality is consumed so it doesnt trouble her in other human relationships. But that is not so all over the world. And in many places

man and woman live together, which rarely happens in India. Even in ashrams in India men and women live separately. They come together only for prayers and for meditation in the presence of the teacher. But visiting each others rooms and discussing things togetherthe kind of thing that takes place in other countrieshas not yet come to India. So in India they may not have the problem you describe. In your situation, men and women are on an equal footing. They are trying to understand the teachings and live together. So they will have to go through their different conditionings, conditionings that are not consciously adopted, but are inherited. It is so true, you are so correct when you say that women withdraw into psychological isolation very easily. They feel that they can protect their feelings, their observations, that way. And thats a defect because that withdrawal, that retiring or retreating into their shell, prevents them from assimilating the essence of the teachings. They have to accept the world, they have to accept whatever happens in their interactions and be there. SA: Yes, exactly. VT: They will have to face attachment also. Without the context of the family, with men and women living together, the biological phenomena of attraction and repulsion are there. You cannot ignore or deny it. So that attraction or repulsion gets expressed in relationship. Like-minded people have come together, and their quest is the same, but after all they are human animals. The animality is there, the instinctive part is still there. It has to be transcended through meditation, but that duality is there. So woman and man have to go through this phenomenon of understanding the attraction, recognizing the attraction or the repulsion, even infatuation, and not accept it but go beyond it. Unless you recognize it you cant go beyond it. So without feeling guilty, without making a fuss about it, without calling it a sin or a crime, one has to see it as it is. SA: Precisely, yes. Thats very clear, and that, I think, is the challenge to women who are really serious. VT: To both. SA: To both, exactly. That is the challenge, yes. Its interesting, Vimalaji, what youre saying about something inherited just by virtue of being, as you said, protected. Ive been thinking about this a lot. In the West, although this is changing, there is still the fundamental fact that women are the weaker sex. And theres always this fear of exploitation and so on. I wonder whether an inability to trust, in the biggest sense of the word, has come from this. By trust I mean here a very fundamental trust in life, an ability to actually let go in order to be able to see things clearly for what they are, and not instinctively to defend. VT: Shanti, besides the inheritance part, the psychological inheritance part, look at the biological factor. In the sexual relationship woman receives and man asserts. This cannot change, this biological factor in the sex life that leaves its imprint on the psychology. The residue of sexual relationship builds up the male psychology and the female psychology, unless one educates oneself in transcending the sex consciousness and the I consciousness, the ego, which go together. As long as the I consciousness is at the center you cannot escape the sex consciousness, the duality. That duality cannot be negated. It cannot be rejected, it cannot be ignored, it is there. So besides the psychology of being protected, the receptive role of the woman has also been a handicap to her, and she has to go beyond it. And man has to go beyond that assertive psychology. What is true in the physical and the biological he extends to the psychological realm. There is a kind of assertiveness and domination without being conscious of it. Its in the blood. So we have to go beyond the biological and the psychological facts and only then will living the nonduality that is the substance of truth become possible. This is a challenge for modern men and women who are exploring together, unlike in India where it is done separately. Doing it while living together requires much more fearlessness.

SA: Yes, thats true. VT: I congratulate those who go through these challenges. It is a challenge. There is no precedent for this. Nobody has an answer for it or a remedy. You have no prescriptions, norms, or criteria in any religion for the challenges you are asking about. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism have no answer because they have not faced it this way. There has been segregation. And now there is the segregation that comes about through the feminist movement. So when you say you are neither feminist nor antifeminist I feel very happy. All the truths have not been verbalized. The last word in spirituality has not yet been said. Truth is infinite and there is hope for humanity because the human potential is inexhaustible. People will find remedies to these challenges, ways to meet these challenges. SA: What youre saying about it is very helpful, Vimalaji. VT: I have seen the difficulties of women in the West, in Europe, in America and in Australia. I have met them. And they do not understand the harsh biological realities, the roles that they have had to play, the scars and scratches and the residue of memory that were left behind, which inhibit the psychology. They have to be conscious of it, recognize it and go beyond it. SA: Yes, that seems to be the answer, becoming conscious of it. The recognition of it has to precede going beyond it. I think thats why we are trying to open this up. Because we are beginning to see that there are limitations here that seem very deep, almost instinctive. They need to be penetrated in order for us to go further. VT: Perception of bondage is the beginning of freedom. SA: Im very thrilled to meet you, Vimalaji, because it seems to me that there are very few women teachers like yourself who are teaching real liberation in the world. I havent met many. Ive met more men, such as Krishnamurti and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. It seems that most of the women figures who are leaders in the arena of spirituality are kind of Divine Mother figures, and thats very different. Theyre apparently teaching unconditional love through the expression of who they are, in a sense. But there does not seem to be a real teaching of liberation there. So its very inspiring for me to meet someone like yourself who has actually transcended the conditioning that we are speaking about. It seems to me to be unusual. VT: My dear, it is unusual because, for example in India, Hinduism says woman can never be liberated in a womans body. If she behaves, if she follows bhakti yoga, then she may be born again in a male body and then she will be liberated. Buddhists and Jains also never accept that a woman in a womans body can be emancipated. Nor do the Catholics accept it. So at best a woman becomes a mother figure, such as Anandamayi Ma, or this figure or that figure. And she teaches as the Mother, not as an emancipated person. Shall I tell you something? I was visiting Los Angeles in 1968 and I was staying at Ramakrishna Mission. I was asked to give a talk to the inmates of the ashram but they said, You cannot speak in the chapel because you are a woman. Only sannyasins [monks] can speak there, and a woman cannot be a sannyasin. The Swamiji there was Swami Prabhavananda, who was a very powerful swami. He wrote books along with Christopher Isherwood on the Bhagavad Gita, and commentaries on the Gita. He knew J. Krishnamurti, and so on. He was a very fine person. I said to him, Swamiji, excuse me. Will you please remove the photographs of Sarada Devi, Ramakrishnas wife, from the chapel? There were two photographs there. So I said, Since you tell me that I cannot give an address in this chapel, I will not give an address. But, will you please remove those photographs? Even in Ramakrishna Mission there is a differentiation. So who will stand up against all this and assert the humanness concealed in womans body, the divinity concealed in womans body, and demand equality on that levelnot just on the physical and psychological levels? So it is unusual. But let us be thankful that it has happened here.

SA: Yes. VT: It is something in the orbit of human consciousness. Whether it happens there or here is immaterial. But it can happen. This person has been hurt in many ways by the ancient Hindu authorities. When I wanted to study the Vedas, the Brahma Sutras, in Varanasi, I went with folded hands to the authorities on the Vedas and they said, No, a woman should not study the Vedas. What have you to do with the Vedas and the Brahma Sutras? they said. No, we wont teach you. Alright, I said, I will study by myself. For a woman to be unconditionally and totally emancipated is something unacceptable at least to the Indian consciousness, and maybe to the non-Indian consciousness also. This differentiation has to go. There is differentiation that has to do with the body, with different kinds of limitations. But that doesnt mean that woman is not entitled to liberation. I am so glad that you are talking about this and that you are looking at the issue in this way. This challenge has to be met. Not aggressivelyyou dont have to fight for it, you have to work for it. SA: Yes, I feel that very strongly because Ive experienced within myself the very conditioning that we are talking about. And I can see that unless I can recognize this very deeply within myself I cannot transcend it. So I feel this is very important. I feel that its up to women individually to meet the challenge of being a woman and all the conditioning, as you were saying, that is biological, hereditary, psychological and so on. I think thats what you mean by working for it, earning it. VT: Have you discussed these matters with your teacher? SA: Very much so. Hes incredibly observant and very passionately interested in each persons liberation. And initially he had no concept of any differences between the conditioning of men and women. But then over time he was actually the first person to recognize in his female students what he called female pride. VT: Oh yes, oh yes! SA: So he was the first person to really get us to start looking at that ourselves. Hes very interested in this, and hes also very concerned that his female students really meet this challenge. Because some of them are not interested. There is quite a lot of denial still going on among some of his students. But in others there is the recognition that there is something that we need to meet, to understand, to penetrate, in order to be free. There is an awakening to the fact that, as women, to really be able to live what we understand we need to come to terms with this. Hes encouraging all of us individually to really have the fire and the fearlessness and the humility to actually recognize this and to take it on. VT: How nice. SA: We were speaking earlier about women seeming to have a bit more difficulty than men being objective and impersonal. When things about themselves are pointed out to them, they often take it personally and defend themselves at first, taking time to come around to accepting what has been revealed, and then overcoming or transcending it. There sometimes seems to be an almost innate visceral response of defending, of protecting, of surviving and maintaining that operates in women. The reason I am saying this is because while I know that men have tendencies they have to face male traits such as selfishness, aggression and even cowardice have been revealed in our investigationthe men do seem to be able to more easily accept the impersonality of their condition. They do not seem so proud or defensive about these negative tendencies. I was wondering whether underneath their defensiveness women have a deeper fear of nonexistence, a deeper existential insecurity or fear of emptiness, than men. VT: Nothingness, nobodyness, emptinesseven the intellectual understanding of this frightens women. It frightens women! At the depth of our being there is fear because of our physical

vulnerability, because of our secondary role in human civilization. It is in the subconscious, not in the consciousness. On a subconscious level there is fear. If I get converted into or if I mature into nonduality, into nothingness, into nobodyness, what will happen to my physical existence? Will it be more vulnerable? Will I be able to defend myself in case of difficulty, in case of some attack against me? That is a basic fear among women. So women very rarely take to meditation. They take to devotion, to bhakti yoga. They can take to service, seva yoga or karma yoga. But not meditation, dhyana, samadhi. Consciously, intellectually they understand everything, because regarding the brilliance of the brain there is no distinction such as male and female. But psychologically, at the core of their being is this fear. And that fear has to be dispelled. Woman has to understand that nobodyness or nothingness, the emptiness of consciousness in samadhi or meditation, generates a different kind of energy and awareness which is more protective than self-conscious defensiveness. When woman appreciates that, when she understands that, then this fear will be dispelled. Otherwise it is very natural for a woman to feel frightened even by the idea of nothingness. SA: Its amazing, Vimalaji. Everything you say rings perfectly true to our experience. The areas women excel in are exactly what you have saidin service they are very strong, they give everything to help and to support. Physically and emotionally they are very, very giving. They will give everything and work very hard, very selflessly. So its very interesting what you say about women being naturally inclined to devotion and to service because that is exactly what is happening in our community. And yet on the other hand, as we have been saying, to really engage with meditation in the truest sense, to really let go into being nobodymany women are unwilling to do that. VT: There is a subconscious resistance. SA: Yes, exactly. VT: They dont find any resistance on the conscious level. They will say, No, we do not resist, and they are being honest. And yet at the deeper level of their being there is an unverbalized resistance. SA: Exactly. That is exactly what is happening. VT: That has to be perceived. That has to be recognized. Perhaps if the women recognized the resistance at the subconscious level, it might disappear, it might dissolve. SA: Yes, that seems to be the only possibility. And I think some of us are just beginning to recognize that. I know, for myself, for many years my teacher pointed this out, and I said no. Because consciously I accepted and was thrilled by the idea of being nobody, by the concept of freedom that that means. But now Im beginning to see that subconsciously there is a resistance which needs to be completely met in order to be truly free. VT: To allow the divinity or the absolute truth to use your body, your brain, your mind for the service of humanity is one thing. I want to serve and I get pleasure out of that service. Im serving so and so, the cause or the individual. There is pleasure in that. But to let go of that pleasure and allow the truth to shape your life, to mold it, to give it a direction and to use it for the cosmic purpose, requires tremendous fearlessness. And very few are willing to let go of the last noble pleasure for that. Its a noble pleasure to serve. Youre offering service and youre offering your life and here is someone who says, No. Not that, not the conscious service, the I doing the service. No, not the I devoting itself. You are again creating a different field for the survival of limitations. Let it go. Then the resistance comes, the inhibitions come. Women begin to suffer. They dont like it if you point it out, even on a conscious level. They hear it, but they dont receive it. It doesnt go in because of the subconscious resistance. SA: Yes, thats absolutely true.

VT: Oh, yes. One has seen it happening. One has seen it happen in people around you. The emptiness, the nobodyness, as you have rightly put itthat frightens them. Me doing the service, me giving, me working; that is O.K. Yes, we are dealing with the crux of the issue here. Hitting the nail on the head. Such merciless perception of truth, merciless analysis of the subjective world, is very rare to come across. People find it unbearable. Even the verbalization is unbearable to some. SA: Yes, definitely. VT: One has to go very slow. That during our first visit we could do that together is an exceptional occurrence. So I have to congratulate your teacher. SA: Thank you. VT: Thank you for raising these questions. You are the first person in the last ten years to raise these questions. Non-Indians come to me from at least twenty countries here. Women come from many different nations and discuss with me the problems of women in modern Western culture, but not the question you have raised this morning. It is from a very deep level that this question has come. Im glad about it. SA: Thank you. Its been a fabulous opportunity to explore this together. VT: For both of us to share. Life is fulfilled in sharing. Not only meals and clothes and money, but when you share your flesh and blood then there is a rare fulfillment. It takes two to have a conversation, a dialogue. One person cant do it. Shanti Adams is a student of Andrew Cohen living in London, England. Her previous contribution to What Is Enlightenment?, The Long and Winding Road [July 1994], describes her many years as a spiritual seeker in India. The entire article/interview can be found at: I find it necessary to publish links to three postings on the What Enlightenment? blog that relates to this interview. Apparently Andrew Cohen used Vimala Thakars words to justify the mistreatment of the female members of his community and this was subsequently strongly condemned by Vimalaji. Below you can follow the links and read for yourself. For more posts on Vimala Thakar see: To read more of Vimala Thakar see: Leave a Comment Filed under Vimala Thakar Tagged as awareness, Being, bhakti, compassion, Consciousness, Krishnamurti, Love, Meditation, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Vimala Thakar, women November 10, 2009

That NOW Which is the Harmony of Reason and Love J. Krishnamurti

The following was a morning talk given in Ommen, Holland in 1929.

This morning I want to go over the whole of my subject in a condensed form, so that if you will use your keenest intelligence there will be no possibility of misunderstanding. It is very difficult to pierce through the illusion of words. Many of you here understand English and many do not; but even those who understand English will interpret the words in their own manner, and that is where the difficulty lies. I wish it were possible to invent a new language! Please give me your intelligent attention, analyze, criticize and make up your minds. Either what I say is entirely false or it is entirely true. If it is false, then every one of you must shout it down, destroy it. If it is true, then everything else must go, because Truth cannot exist with, cannot be set beside falsehood. Truth and falsehood cannot exist together. My purpose this morning is to make myself perfectly clear, so that you will be able to decide if what I say is true. If it is, then you must shout from the housetops, then you must live it, then it must be the one thing that matters for you. But if it is false, do not make a weak compromise with it -set about to destroy it. You must either be for the Truth entirely, or against it entirely, you cannot compromise. You cannot build in any other manner. You cannot stand in the shade and worship the sun; you must come out of the shade and delight in the sun, rejoice in its purity, so that you yourself become pure, perfect, incorruptible. You cannot compromise, for Truth does not lie in dead hopes. In the minds of the majority who listen to me, there is an inclination to believe that what I say is purely destructive, and hence negative, that I am all the time merely pulling down, that as I do not put anything in the place of what I pull down I am not constructive. What I say is neither constructive nor destructive, because I speak of Life, and in Life there is neither destruction nor construction. It is the foolish that divide Life into the destructive and the creative. But when I say that certain things are childish, unnecessary, foolish, unessential, false, it is because I wish to make the one essential thing clear, positive, outstanding, and distinctive. On you alone therefore, on every individual alone, depends the destruction and the rebuilding. In the very process of pulling down you are building. That is what you do not realize. As soon as you have withdrawn from all childish things, from all crutches, from all unessential, futile, trivial things, inside you begins to grow that assured certainty, which is above all transient things, which is constant, which is your true measure of understanding. So it is not a matter of destruction, but rather of the desire to discover for yourself the true value, the true meaning, the true purpose of life. To discover that, you must set aside everything that is of little value, as otherwise your mind is perverted, your judgment made crooked. As the river must go to the sea, must wander through many lands, urged on by the great volume of water behind it, so must every individual, through his own experience, through his own struggles, through his own suffering, ecstasy, rejoicing, enter that sea, which is boundless, limitless, immeasurable, which is Eternity itself. The sea cannot enter the river; the river is too limited. So the river must go to the sea. In like manner I have attained. All your worships, your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions have thrilled me, your hopes, your gurus, your discipleships have held me, but only by putting all these aside have I found. You must come to that Truth unburdened, fearless. You must not come to it with a prejudiced mind, with preconceived ideas, with false hopes, false fears, ambitions and personal glory. By putting aside everything which I held as glory before, I found that which is everlasting, unconditioned, which is Truth itself; by cutting away the past entirely, ruthlessly within myself, I found that which is eternal, which is neither past nor future, which has no beginning, no end, which is Eternal. Having by this means found that which is everlasting -and there is no other means- I would give of that understanding to others. What is it therefore that all of you, who gather here year after year, are seeking? Please, when I ask this question, put it to yourselves, do not let it pass by. What is it that everyone is seeking? Why do you attend these Camps? To enjoy a pleasure resort? To pass a few days together with those whom you have not met for a whole year? To indulge yourselves in your petty passions? To listen to words of comfort? To be made certain in your doubtful beliefs? What is it you are seeking? What is it that every one of you desires? I will tell you what you desire -not what you desire individually, but what the world is seeking. Ignorance has no beginning but it has an end, and every one of you is seeking to end that ignorance,

because ignorance is a limitation and causes sorrow. To be unaware of the self is ignorance, and knowledge is fully to understand the self. Ignorance is the intermingling of the false and the real. Being uncertain, being doubtful, you are not sure of what is true and what is false, of what is essential and what is transient, of what is bitter and what is sweet. To know what is true, to know what is false; to recognize the truth in the true, and the falsehood in the false, is true knowledge of the self. That knowledge of the self creates no barriers and no limitations, and hence gives lasting happiness. You are seeking the power to destroy for yourselves all the limitations that are placed upon you by yourself, and thereby attain freedom, which is happiness. Anything that leads to freedom, to poise, to the boundless, immeasurable vastness of Life leads essentially to Truth. Anything which creates a barrier, a weakness, anything which imposes a bondage, a limitation, a belief, anything which acts as a crutch, which leads to reliance on another, is false, and will not lead you to Truth. So the intermingling of the true (which is the choice of the essential that shall set you free) and the false (which places a limitation on you and hence binds you) is ignorance. The falsehoods, the unessentials, the childishnesses, the weaknesses on which you depend, the fears which you take to your heart, cannot lead you to freedom, and hence they are false, they are a limitation to be set aside. This constant struggle to discriminate between what is real and what is false, what is bondage and what is freedom, what is misery and what is happiness, this struggle, pain, this constant battle is going on within each one. It is this problem you must solve. It is this to which you must pay attention, give your concentration, and not to the trivial things created by man, not the forms that the perverted life creates. They will exist but they are of little importance. What you have to concern yourself with is how and in what manner you will distinguish for yourself, without the authority of another, that which is true and that which is false. When you have decided for yourself you must no longer play with them, you must be either firmly for one or for the other. There can be no compromise, for compromise cannot exist in spirituality. What is it for which everyone in the world is struggling, groping, fighting, crying? It is to be sure for himself, to grow for himself, eternally, to acquire that inward peace which cannot be disturbed either by the false or by the true. This is what everyone is seeking, and it is to this that you must give your minds, your hearts, your whole concentration. I tell you that the only manner in which you can find it is as I have found it, by setting aside all trivial things -worships, gurus, fears, paths, everything- to discover this one thing. If you want that happiness you must do likewise. I am not urging you to do it. It is not my authority that should impel you. It is because you are unhappy, because your faces are shrouded with misery, because there are tears, and laughter that is bound by sorrow, that you must seek. There are two elements in every human being -this is not a dogma or a philosophy or a theory- one eternal and the other progressive. You must concern yourself with changing the progressive self into the eternal. In every human being, in every one of you there is this progressive self that is struggling -struggling to advance to that which is immeasurable, limitless, eternal. In making that progressive self incorruptible, by the union with that which is eternal in you, lies the acquisition of Truth. I am dividing the self into the eternal and the progressive purely for explanation, but do not translate it into other words and make a theory, a dogma, a complicated system out of it, and thereby destroy what you are seeking. The whole process of existence consists in changing the progressive into the eternal. The progressive self that is in limitation, created by itself, is the cause of sorrow. The progressive self, because it is small, because it chooses the unessential, the false, the limited, is constantly creating barriers. That progressive self is constantly asserting itself, and that assertion will exist, must exist, until there is that union with the eternal. This progressive self is ever seeking that eternity, which is not the eternity of the individual, but of the whole, which is not limited to individuals, but is the consummation of all life, individual as well as universal. The progressive self is in process of advancing, is all the time climbing, through struggle, by the destruction of barriers, and in that advancement, in that climb, it is creating, by its self-assertion, echoes. Those echoes return to it as sorrow, pain, and pleasure. That self-assertion of

the progressive self will always exist and is bound to exist, until you are made one with the eternal. Existence itself, that is, the life that you are leading, is self-assertion, and that very self-assertion in limitation creates sorrow and that sorrow perverts your judgement, complicates your life. You are constantly led astray by things that are of no value, by things that are unessential, by things that place greater limitations on your search. If your search is not constantly watched over, guided, helped, encouraged, you are caught up in things that are trivial, absurd, and childish. Therefore, I say again, you cannot escape from the self-assertion, which is the cause of sorrow, but that selfassertion can be made so vast that it becomes boundless. Because what you perceive you desire. Your desire is transformed by that which you perceive. If your perception is narrow, limited, then your desires will be small. But if your perception of life is limitless, vast, whole, complete, then your desire becomes whole, vast, limitless. The self-assertion of the I which does not create sorrow is timeless. The present, the immediate now, is ever the past. The moment I have done something it is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead. Every action, which takes place in the present, instantly becomes the past, and to that past belongs whatever you have understood of the progressive self. Whatever you have understood, whatever you have dominated, conquered, is over, it belongs to the past, it is dead, finished with. All that you have understood and conquered, dominated brings you nearer to that future which is NOW. To that past which is the ever-changing present, belongs birth, acquisition, renunciation, all the qualities that you have developed. The moment you understand something of the progressive self it is over, it is finished with and belongs to the past. It is dead, dust, and nothing of it remains except that you are nearer to eternity. The present being the ever-changing past, there remains the future, to which you all look with such delight, with such hopes, with such variation of longing that you create theories, innumerable philosophies, which have very little importance, because, as I will show you, the future is not real. To that future, which is the mystery in which you take so much delight, to that future belong what remains of the unsolved, progressive self. Whatever you have not solved of the progressive self is a mystery, and in that mystery you are caught. That is the future, because that is the mystery of the self, which you have not conquered, which you have not gained, attained and solved. So it remains a mystery. To the mystery of the future, which is the unsolved I, belongs death, of which you are so afraid. Directly you understand, there is no birth, no death. Whatever remains to be understood has not come to an end. Whatever has not come to an end is a mystery, and in that mystery you place death. Because you do not understand it, it belongs to that unsolved portion of the I and from that insoluble mystery comes fear -fear of death, fear of the entanglements of love (love which is not returned, jealousy, envy), fear of loneliness, fear of friendship, fear of all that is of the future and belongs to the unsolved I. You should seek that happiness you desire neither in the future nor in the past, but now. What is the good of being happy in ten years time? What is the good of being companionable, full of friendship in ten years time if you are lonely now, if every moment creates tears, sorrow, and misery? When you are hungry you want to be satisfied immediately, now. To solve the mystery of the unsolved I, of the self, you cannot look to the future, because the future, if you have not solved it, is never-ending; it is continuous. But to the man who understands, the solution is at that point where the past and the present and the future meet, which is now. The moment you understand, there is no mystery. The eternity, which the progressive self is seeking, is neither in the past nor in the future. If it is neither in the past nor in the future, it is now. Now is the moment of eternity. When you understand that, you have transcended all laws, limitations, karma and reincarnation. These, though they may be facts, have no value, because you are living in the eternal. You cannot solve your problems in the future; your fears, your anxieties, your ambitions, your deaths and births cannot be solved either in the future or in the past, you must solve them NOW.

That progressive self, which is constantly seeking, through its limitations, through its sorrow, to find eternity, must be made incorruptible NOW. Not with whether you will be corruptible or incorruptible in the future, but with whether you are corruptible or incorruptible NOW must you concern yourself, because you are concerned with sorrow now, and not in the future. You must make that progressive self incorruptible, strong, whole, complete in the immediate NOW, which is the moment of eternity. As you should have nothing to do with the past or with the future (I am afraid you have, but that does not matter!), you must concentrate your whole attention, focus every action, every thought, towards the incorruptibility of the mind and the heart, because there is the seat of self. The moment you are incorruptible, you will be a light and cast no shadow, so that all happiness, all rejoicing will be concentrated in you; then you can truly help, and give light to those around you who dwell in darkness. To live in that immediate NOW, which is eternity you must withdraw from all trivial things that belong to the past or to the future. Your dead hopes, your false theories, your goals, everything must go, and you must live -as the flower lives, giving its perfume to everyone- fully concentrated in that moment of time, in that NOW which is neither the future nor the past, which is neither distant nor near, that NOW which is the harmony of reason and of love. That NOW is Truth, because in it is the whole consummation of life. To dwell in that NOW is true creation, for creation is poise, it is absolute, unconditioned, it is the consummation of all life. If you would dwell in that eternity which is now, you must look neither to the future nor to the past, but with the desire to make that progressive self incorruptible, free, unconditioned, you must live concentrated, focused, acute, in every action, in every thought, in every love. Because that NOW exists where ever you are; that NOW abides in each one, whole, complete, unconditioned. It is that eternity which the progressive self, bound in limitation which is sorrow, is ever seeking. - J. Krishnamurti From Morning Talk, Ommen, Holland, 1929 Collection of Jiddu Krishnamurti Early Writings This text can be found at: To see more posts of J. Krishnamurti see: To read more of J. Krishnamurti see: Leave a Comment Filed under Advaita, J. Krishnamurti Tagged as Advaita, awareness, Being, Consciousness, Enlightenment, Krishnamurti, Love, Meditation, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Osho, Ramana Maharshi, Vimala Thakar, Zen November 7, 2009

Seek the Source of Consciousness Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: We were talking the other day about the ways of the modern Western mind and the difficulty it finds in submitting to the moral and intellectual discipline of the Vedanta. One of the obstacles lies in the young Europeans or Americans preoccupation with the disastrous condition of the world and the urgent need of setting it right.

They have no patience with people like you who preach personal improvement as a pre-condition for the betterment of the world. They say it is neither possible nor necessary. Humanity is ready for a change of systems social, economic, political. A world-government, world-police, worldplanning and the abolition of all physical and ideological barriers: this is enough, no personal transformation is needed. No doubt, people shape society, but society shapes people too. In a humane society people will be humane; besides, science provides the answer to many questions which formerly were in the domain of religion. Maharaj: No doubt, striving for the improvement of the world is a most praiseworthy occupation. Done selflessly, it clarifies the mind and purifies the heart. But soon man will realise that he pursues a mirage. Local and temporary improvement is always possible and was achieved again and again under the influence of a great king or teacher; but it would soon come to an end, leaving humanity in a new cycle of misery. It is in the nature of all manifestation that the good and the bad follow each other and in equal measure. The true refuge is only in the unmanifested. Q: Are you not advising escape? M: On the contrary. The only way to renewal lies through destruction. You must melt down the old jewellery into formless gold before you can mould a new one. Only the people who have gone beyond the world can change the world. It never happened otherwise. The few whose impact was long lasting were all knowers of reality. Reach their level and then only talk of helping the world. Q: It is not the rivers and mountains that we want to help, but the people M: There is nothing wrong with the world, but for the people who make it bad. Go and ask them to behave. Q: Desire and fear make them behave as they do. M: Exactly. As long as human behaviour is dominated by desire and fear, there is not much hope. And to know how to approach the people effectively, you must yourself be free of all desire and fear. Q: Certain basic desires and fears are inevitable, such as are connected with food, sex and death. M: These are needs and, as needs, they are easy to meet. Q: Even death is a need? M: Having lived a long and fruitful life you feel the need to die. Only when wrongly applied, desire and fear are destructive. By all means desire the right and fear the wrong. But when people desire what is wrong and fear what is right, they create chaos and despair. Q: What is right and what is wrong? M: Relatively, what causes suffering is wrong, what alleviates it is right. Absolutely, what brings you back to reality is right and what dims reality is wrong. Q: When we talk of helping humanity, we mean a struggle against disorder and suffering. M: You merely talk of helping. Have you ever helped, really helped, a single man? Have you ever put one soul beyond the need of further help? Can you give a man character, based on full realisation of his duties and opportunities at least, if not on the insight into his true being? When you do not know what is good for yourself, how can you know what is good for others? Q: The adequate supply of means of livelihood is good for all. You may be God himself, but you need a well-fed body to talk to us. M: It is you that need my body to talk to you. I am not my body, nor do I need it. I am the witness only. I have no shape of my own. You are so accustomed to think of yourselves as bodies having consciousness that you just cannot imagine consciousness as having bodies. Once you realise that

bodily existence is but a state of mind, a movement in consciousness, that the ocean of consciousness is infinite and eternal, and that, when in touch with consciousness, you are the witness only, you will be able to withdraw beyond consciousness altogether. Q: We are told there are many levels of existences. Do you exit and function on all the levels? While you are on earth, are you also in heaven (swarga)? M: I am nowhere to be found! I am not a thing to be given a place among other things. All things are in me, but I am not among things. You are telling me about the superstructure while I am concerned with the foundations. The superstructures rise and fall, but the foundations last. I am not interested in the transient, while you talk of nothing else. Q: Forgive me a strange question. If somebody with a razor sharp sword would suddenly severe your head, what difference would it make to you? M: None whatsoever. The body will lose its head, certain lines of communication will be cut, that is all. Two people talk to each other on the phone and the wire is cut. Nothing happens to the people, only they must look for some other means of communication. The Bhagavad Gita says: the sword does not cut it. It is literally so. It is in the nature of consciousness to survive its vehicles. It is like fire. It burns up the fuel, but not itself. Just like a fire can outlast a mountain of fuel, so does consciousness survive innumerable bodies. Q: The fuel affects the flame. M: As long as it lasts. Change the nature of the fuel and the colour and appearance of the flame will change. Now we are talking to each other. For this presence is needed; unless we are present, we cannot talk. But presence by itself is not enough. There must also the the desire to talk. Above all, we want to remain conscious. We shall bear every suffering and humiliation, but we shall rather remain conscious. Unless we revolt against this craving for experience and let go the manifested altogether, there can be no relief. We shall remain trapped. Q: You say you are the silent witness and also you are beyond consciousness. Is there no contradiction in it? If you are beyond consciousness, what are you witnessing? M: I am conscious and unconscious, both conscious and unconscious, neither conscious nor unconscious to all this I am witness but really there is no witness, because there is nothing to be a witness to. I am perfectly empty of all mental formations, void of mind yet fully aware. This I try to express by my saying that I am beyond the mind. Q: How can I reach you then? M: Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness. That is all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the earnestness that count. - Nisargadatta Maharaj I Am That, chapter 68. For more posts on Nisargadatta Maharaj see: To read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj see: