These are the quotes from the last pages of the “I Am That” book by Nisargadatta Maharaj together with my commentary. Yet I hadn’t started quoting until maybe 300 pages into the book, so maybe I will release a few more videos containing quotes from the beginning of this work.
Q: You keep on telling me that I am dreaming and that it is high time I should wake up. How does it happen that the Maharaj, who has come to me in my dreams, has not succeeded in waking me up? He keeps on urging and reminding, but the dream continues.
A: It is because you have not really understood that you are dreaming. This is the essence of bondage – the mixing of the real with the unreal. In your present state only the sense “I am” refers to reality, the “what” and the “how I am” are illusions imposed by destiny, by accident.
Here Maharaj emphasizes the importance of understanding that all is illusion in this world except for your being. This person keeps mixing what is real with what is not real, and therefore he cannot wake up. Maharaj often advised people to into the habit of affirming that what they see, hear and feel is not real, and to always go back to their being. Eventually this will help to wake up.
[The dream] happens to be beginningless; but in fact it is only now. From moment to moment you are renewing it. Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up. But you do not see, because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you will long for the ending of the dream, with all your heart and mind, and be willing to pay any price; the price will be dispassion and detachment, the loss of interest in the dream itself.
There will always be theories about how this world started but we are inquiring into the illusion so it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s like if we in the dream started inquiring how it all happened. No matter what we would discover about the start of the dream, it’s still a dream.
If we believe that what we witness is real, we are renewing the dream, unable to wake up. And we will keep doing it until we exhaust the momentum built up (because it urges us to continue in the illusion). The way to not build it further is not to desire and not to fear, and not to take actions out of a mere wish, but only to respond to what comes to us uninvited.
Try to be, only to be. The all-important word is “try”. Allot enough time daily for sitting quietly and trying, just trying, to go beyond the personality, with its addictions and obsessions. Don’t ask how, it cannot be explained. You just keep on trying until you succeed. If you persevere, there can be no failure. (…) see the urgent need of being free of this unnecessary self-identification with a bundle of memories and habits. This steady resistance to unnecessary is the secret to success.
Here Maharaj says that you don’t need any formal meditation but what’s important is to have time to observe the personality. This staying present allows you to be aware that the witness and personality are different from one another, and this gap becomes greater and greater the more you sit with yourself.
Your interest in others is egoistic, self-concerned, self-oriented. You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich or ennoble your own image of yourself. And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body. By body I mean all that is related to your name and shape – your family, tribe, country, race, and so on. (…) A man who knows that he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish about.
Maharaj also says that though people think they really care about the well-being of the whole world, yet they can fully enjoy their dinner though in some parts of the world people are dying from hunger at the same time. Some people are very emotional about certain wars taking place yet they ignore other forms of suffering happening elsewhere in the world. This shows that it’s the ego at play, and not genuine care. The only way to really care is to transcend the ego completely. Then love becomes unconditional rather than selective.
Q: You see love everywhere, while I see hatred and suffering. the history of humanity is the history of murder, individual and collective. No other living being so delights in killing.
A: If you go into the motives, you will find love, love of oneself and of one’s own. People fight for what they imagine they love.
The false understanding that one is separate from others is the cause of wars. Even if people don’t kill, if they just care to keep themselves or their family fed whilst thinking that other people are totally separate from them, this kind of thinking is what creates wars. All of us are connected and if people transcend stupidity and selfishness, and care about others the way they care for their family members or at least don’t harm others in any way, then wars will not happen.
Love is boundless. What is limited to a few cannot be called love. (…) All is loved and lovable. (…) All is within my consciousness, all is my own. It is madness to split oneself through likes and dislikes. I am beyond both. I am not alienated.
This world is our own projection but when we believe that it’s real, and that we live in the world rather than the world existing in us, then we naturally like some things and dislike others. Yet when we really understand that this whole movie of life is our creation, then there arises love of our work of art, even of the details that portray something we used to consider negative.
Q: To be free from like and dislike is a state of indifference.
A: It may look and feel so in the beginning. Persevere in such indifference and it will blossom into an all-pervading and all-embracing love.
It only looks like the state of freedom from likes and dislikes produces vegetable existence. This kind of being is full of life and love; it’s only the mind’s imagination what it would be like if it’s deprived of imbalances that produces such false understanding.
Moods are in the mind and do not matter. Go within, go beyond. Cease being fascinated by the content of your consciousness. When you reach the deep layers of your true being, you will find that the mind’s surface-play affects you very little.
The mind can remain undisturbed even by the most difficult events, but only if through mindfulness you reach its peaceful depths. Then you will always feel that stable support within, no matter what you are going through in life.
[A gnani (the wise one)] is neither the perceived nor the perceiver, but the simple and the universal factor that makes perceiving possible.
The witness that we discover when we become mindful is just a reflection of reality (that is us) in the mind. Once the mind no longer obscures, understanding is born that we are not the witness but that we are that which enables observation to take place.
Q: Am I so hopelessly lonely?
A: You are, as a person. In your real being you are the whole.
As long as we believe to be bodies there will be some degree of loneliness. But when we understand that we are the creators of everything that we witness, there can no longer be any loneliness – the whole existence then seems friendly and we rejoice in our creations.
Q: There must be some common factor which unites us.
A: To find the common factor you must abandon all distinctions. Only the universal is common.
Maharaj sometimes was asked if his world was the same as the world of other people. He would say that people live in their own private worlds and that there is little similarity to his experiences. Yet if they would be willing to let go of all the fears, desires, hopes, likes and dislikes, and not get attached to the chattering mind, they could enjoy the same reality that he lived in.
Be free of desires and fears and at once your vision will clear and you shall see things as they are.
Likes and dislikes, fears, hopes and desires obscure the vision of reality. The quiet mind sees things as they are as it simply reflects the common reality we all created. Yet if it’s impure with the mentioned qualities, each person’s world is uniquely colored by these impurities.
Q: I am in a world which I do not understand, therefore I am afraid of it. This is everybody’s experience.
A: You have separated yourself from the world, therefore it pains and frightens you. Discover your mistake and be free of fear.
As long as we think we are the bodies living in the world, we will feel separate from the world and it will feel like the world is alien. This, of course, creates fear and uneasiness. However, when we understand that this world is our own creation, our own mental projection, then what’s there to be afraid of?
Q: You are asking me to give up the world, while I want to be happy in the world.
A: If you ask for the impossible, who can help you? The limited is bound to be painful and pleasant in turns. If you seek real happiness, unassailable and unchangeable, you must leave the world with its pains and pleasures behind you.
Some people are only interested in spirituality as a form of escape – when they are going through difficulties. Yet when difficulties are no more, the interest in spirituality is not there either. Yet more mature souls understand that each happiness is followed by sadness and vice versa. After some time these ups and downs lose their grip on personality and then one loses the interest the world, which makes liberation not far away.