The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false, you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst. With the body comes the world, with the world – God, who is supposed to have created the world and thus it starts – fears, religions, prayers, sacrifices, all sorts of systems – all to protect and support the child-man, frightened out of his wits by monsters of his own making. Realize that what you are cannot be born nor die and with the fear gone, all suffering ends.
When you understand that you are the one that made this projection possible; when you know that you are not the body in the world but that in you is the body as well as the world, then all the fears vanish as you know that you projected it all.
[The questioner is doubting whether he/she is consciousness in which all happens. Maharaj answers:]
Even your body is full of events which do not appear in your consciousness. This does not prevent you from claiming your body to be your own. You know the world exactly as you know the body – through your senses. It is your mind that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition. This created fear and hatred and all the miseries of living.
People like David Icke and Carlos Castaneda suggest that we were given the minds of our oppressors. It’s a mind that sees everything as a potential threat and is always afraid of being found out and its food source – denied. Our minds, therefore, serve as prisons. It’s crucial to free our awareness from total identification with it as then we are able to see oneness again.
Q: If my true being is always with me, how is it that I am ignorant of it?
A: Because it is very subtle and your mind is gross, full of gross thoughts and feelings. Calm and clarify your mind and you will know yourself as you are.
It’s difficult to focus on silence as the mind is ready to attach itself to any thought or occurrence. But it’s in silence that we can understand who we really are.
You already have all the experience you need, otherwise you would not have come here. You need not gather any more, rather you must go beyond experience. Whatever effort you make, whatever method (sadhana) you follow, will merely generate more experience but it will not take you beyond. Nor will reading books help you. They will enrich your mind, but the person you are will remain intact. If you expect any benefits from your search, material, mental, spiritual, you have missed the point. Truth gives no advantage. It gives you no higher status, no power over others. All you get is truth and the freedom from the false.
Many people get involved in spirituality to enhance their egos, like to get more power, for example. However, true spirituality is about being freed from this illusion. Nothing more is added. Sometimes Nisargadatta Maharaj would be asked to display some sort of supernatural power and he would say that special training is required for that. Enlightenment doesn’t add any incredible powers, it just shows who you really are.
Renunciation of the false is liberating and energizing. It lays open the road to perfection.
Some people are afraid to let go of their titles or belongings – even mentally. But, as Nisargadatta says, when you have nothing, you fear no loss. He also says that after liberation it may be that you will let go of all your belongings or that you will let go only of some. But that this would not matter to you at all as you then would understand that you own nothing yet at the same time you are the creator of everything.
Self-interest and self-concern are the focal points of the false. Your daily life vibrates between desire and fear. Watch it intently and you will see how the mind assumes innumerable names and shapes, like a river foaming between boulders. Trace every action to its selfish motive and look at the motive till it dissolves.
I was doing this investigation. The mind desperately wants to cling to illusion so that your true nature is not seen. It grabs on to even the tiniest thought, the most insignificant experience, to prove to itself that it exists, to define itself by it and out of fear of its extinquishment.
You need not earn for yourself, but you may have to – for a woman and child. You may have to keep on working for the sake of others. Even just to keep alive can be a sacrifice. There is no need whatsoever to be selfish. Discard every self-seeking motive as soon as it is seen and you need not search for truth; truth will find you.
That’s because self-seeking motives show body identification but if you act without the consideration of this illusion that’s when you base your actions on the Real and you get the Real in response.
Q: There is a minimum of needs.
A: Where they not supplied since you were conceived? Give up the bondage of self-concern and be what you are – intelligence and love in action.
Q: But one must survive!
A: You can’t help but surviving! The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. And the body will survive as long as it is needed. It is not important that it should live long. A full life is better than a long life.
Nisargadatta says that you have a destiny and that when your appointed time comes, you will die. Before that, you can either worry all you want about your survival or not care about that at all – you will survive nevertheless.
How many hours of worry people would be saved if they listen to this. I found his wisdom to be true. I never worry about my survival yet I’m always provided for.
(…) You need some food, clothing and shelter for you and yours, but this will not create problems as long as greed is not taken for a need. Live in tune with things as they are and not as they are imagined.
Some people don’t understand why I don’t take my business to the next level, why I don’t improve this or that. That’s because I’m happy with the way that it is and the money that it generates is enough.
I see too many people falling for the greed trap. However much they earn, it’s not enough. Upon the expansion of wealth their spending expands, so they need to make ever more. That’s not living but slavery to money.
(…) It is not at all difficult, but detachment is needed. It is the clinging to the false that makes the true so difficult to see. Once you understand that the false needs time and what needs time is false, you are nearer the Reality, which is timeless, ever in the now.
Often people think that enlightenment happens over time, that you do some spiritual practices and this eventually results in liberation. But Nisargadatta says that enlightenment takes no time – it’s just a shift of perspective. You thought yourself to be the body in the world and then you shift your attention to that which makes the body seen.
Q: Don’t I need a lot of experience before I can reach such a high level of awareness?
A: Experience leaves only memories behind and adds to the burden which is heavy enough. You need no more experiences. The past ones are sufficient. And if you feel you need more, look into the hearts of people around you. You will find a variety of experiences which you would not be able to go through in a thousands years. Learn from the sorrows of others and save yourself your own. It is not experience you need but freedom from all experience.
Often people in the West get into the habit of book reading. The mind wants to acquire more and more, yet the person still is not liberated. That’s because they already have enough knowledge, they don’t need any more. All they need now is to shift their attention from doing to being.
The old grooves must be erased in your brain, without forming new ones. You must realize yourself as the immovable, behind and beyond the movable, the silent witness of all that happens.
Our habit is to react, to look for new experiences, to get more knowledge. Yet Maharaj asks to stop identifying with doing but get established in the witnessing of what’s happening to your body.
Q: Does it mean that I must give up all idea of an active life?
A: Not at all. There will be marriage, there will be children, there will be earning money to maintain a family; all this will happen in the natural course of events, for destiny must fulfill itself; you will go through it without resistance, facing tasks as they come, attentive and thorough, both in small things and big. But the general attitude will be of affectionate detachment, enormous good-will, without expectations of return, constant giving without asking.
Working without expectations, giving in service without any particular goal in mind is a well-known spiritual practice in Hinduism. I integrated it into my being and it freed me to express myself the way that I want to.
When actions are based on some desires and goals, they become limited. When you create without an expectation but simply from the joy of creating, you express yourself the way that you should.
Nisargadatta Maharaj says that the events will happen how they are supposed to happen, and that you are not the doer. He says that the belief that one is a doer is imagination. So you might as well take the action that springs from your heart rather than based on some expectation.
The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Soon he discovers that his own body he cannot be. Once the conviction “I am not the body” becomes so well grounded that he can no longer feel, think and act for and on behalf of the body, he will easily discover that he is the universal being, knowing, acting, that in him and through him the entire universe is real, conscious and active.
That is total freedom, of course, as then you are not bound by limitations of form and name, and the world loses its coldness and danger.
Q: (…) It is so completely beyond my urgent needs. When I ask for bread, you are giving jewels. They are beautiful, no doubt, but I am hungry.
A: It is not so. I am offering you exactly what you need – awakening. You are not hungry and you need no bread. You need cessation, relinquishing, disentanglement. What you believe you need is not what you need. Your real need I know, not you. You need to return to the state in which I am – your natural state. Anything else you may think of is an illusion and an obstacle. Believe me, you need nothing except to be what you are. You imagine you will increase your value by acquisition. It is like gold imagining that an addition of copper will improve it. Elimination and purification, renunciation of all that is foreign to your nature is enough. All else is vanity.
People often seek for ways to enhance the self through knowledge or goods but this further enslaves them. Liberation is achieved through elimination and not gathering. The gathering of resources is to strengthen the ego whilst the elimination of all that’s not you is for uncovering the Real Self.