Knowledge from a Realized Master.
As Rare as a flower in the desert.
His Words are Your Reality,
not intellectual knowledge.
Questions on Presence
Q: So my Presence will be there after my life?
Maharaj: There is no 'after my life' because Presence is just like the sky.
Q: So, that is what I am, just Presence?
Maharaj: Of course, of course.
Q: And is it the same as Ranjit Maharaj's 'I am He'?
Maharaj: All these words are indicators, not Ultimate Truth. 'I am That', 'That, you Are', 'I am He', you can give any name you want. (This is an area that comes up a lot. The indicators, pointers, are taken for the real thing, the thing in itself. Maharaj keeps reminding us that these are only the w-o-r-d-s that we created. These are simply the names that we have attributed to 'Ultimate Truth', 'Ultimate Reality' - or whatever we wish to call it - for understanding purposes only.)
The Master continues: So don't take the Master's words literally. Your Presence is 'Spontaneous, Silent, Anonymous, Unidentified'. So, e,g, 'I am He', is only a clue, an intimation.
Q: I prefer, 'I am He'...
Maharaj: That's okay, okay, as long as you understand that this phrase is only an indicator, a clue, pointing to Reality. Don't take it for 'Ultimate Reality'.
Q: If it is anonymous and imperceptible Presence, how does anyone get to know about it?
Maharaj: Forget about 'anyone'. Talk about yourself!
Q: OK. How can I get to know about this Presence, then?
Maharaj: You are the source of knowledge. You have exceptional power. Your inner Master is Ultimate Truth. You and me, we are the same.
Q: You say that measuring ourselves in the body-form is illusion. Is that because Selfless Self is not perceptible?
Maharaj: When you try to see it, the seer will disappear. Just see how you were prior to beingness! These concepts, 'perceptible', imperceptible', 'knowledge', man', 'woman', 'birth', 'death'. This is all body-based knowledge.
Q: Does Presence have any information about itself?
Everybody says 'I am Brahman', 'I am Atman', but that knowledge has
to be totally absorbed within you, in a real sense. You are Master of
Masters. At the moment of conviction, you forget about your identity.
But this conviction is spontaneous, not forced. It appears
Q: I have heard that Nisargadatta Maharaj initiated very few Westerners into the lineage because he considered them to be spiritual travellers. You are one of the very few, if not the only one, who is offering the Naam Mantra. We are very fortunate. What made you decide to do this, Maharaj?
Maharaj: To make seekers enlightened. To share knowledge with them, (in order) to remove them from the illusionary world.
Q: Do we really need to meditate?
Maharaj: You see, from childhood until now, there has been a lot of attachment to the body, a lifetime of impressions, a lot of love and affection with the body. All body-related relations are there. This has to be dissolved. Of course, meditation is also an illusion, but we need to use a thorn to remove another thorn. And remember, this is just at the initial stage for focus, concentration, to CONCENTRATE ON THE CONCENTRATOR.
The body is not your identity. You are 'Final Truth', 'Ultimate Truth. But in order to have this total conviction, all concepts and body knowledge need to dissolve. We may understand everything intellectually, but intellectual understanding is not enough. Therefore, you have to undergo the meditation. It is essential at the beginning. Later, at the advanced stage, it is no longer required.
In our lineage,(the Inchegiri Navnath Sampradaya), we are giving a mantra, some words, chanting these words. However, the mantra is not given to those who already have a Master.
Q: How does the mantra work?
Maharaj: First, I have to tell you that the mantra, (the Master Key), is to be kept secret. YOU MUST NOT REVEAL IT TO ANYONE. So, how does it work? The spirit is very sensitive. Whatever is impressed upon it, is reflected.You have forgotten your real identity, so the mantra reminds you of this. The meaning of the mantra is 'I AM BRAHMAN, BRAHMAN I AM'. The mantra produces vibrations within you, and through these vibrations, as you continue to recite the mantra, you will come to know the Reality.
silently and permanently, after concentrating, you will feel some
changes within you. Your body knowledge will be dissolved. You will
be totally fearless because you will know “I am not the body”.
ALL NEEDS ARE BODY-RELATED NEEDS: NEED
OF GOD, NEED OF FOOD, NEED OF HAPPINESS, NEED OF PEACE
- all body-related. When you came across
with the body, all needs
started. PRIOR TO BEINGNESS, NO NEEDS
WERE THERE, NO FEAR WAS THERE.That said, look after the body, do your job, do your duties. Do not neglect your body. This is a precious opportunity.
Q: So, meditating regularly will help to bring about a shift, a change?
Maharaj: “Meditation is the base, the starting process to ensure that a perfect foundation, a strong foundation is laid. As you recite this mantra, YOU ARE REMINDING YOUR 'UNIDENTIFIED IDENTITY', THAT YOU ARE ATMAN, BRAHMAN, PARAMATMAN.”
Maharaj continues: “You know Reality, but you have forgotten Reality. Everybody has the Knowledge of their Reality within them, but THIS PROCESS OF MEDITATION IS NEEDED FOR CONVICTION, TO ESTABLISH AND ABSORB THE KNOWLEDGE. Dry knowledge, bookish knowledge or literal knowledge is not Self-Knowledge. MEDITATION ALONE WILL LEAD TO SELF-KNOWLEDGE.”
Q: When reciting the mantra, the question sometimes arises “Who is reciting?”
Maharaj: Ah! “Who is reciting?” The question came because you have body attachment. There is no 'Who?', there is no 'He', 'She'. There is nothing. These are just the terms, the body-related terms. WHO IS RECITING THE MANTRA? THE CONCENTRATOR, THE INVISIBLE PRESENCE. Why are you reciting it? Because you forgot your identity. While reciting, YOU ARE INVITING THE ATTENTION OF THE 'INVISIBLE PRESENCE' – YOUR ULTIMATE TRUTH. So at the initial stage, you have to recite it deliberately. After continuous reciting, it will happen spontaneously, without your knowledge for 24 hours – waking, dreaming, all the time.”
“The terms 'he', 'she', 'it' are only used for understanding purposes. Guessing, logic or inference are not applicable to (the task of), knowing yourself in a real sense. Why? BECAUSE YOUR EXISTENCE IS 'SPONTANEOUS EXISTENCE'. How were you prior to Beingness? How will you be, after leaving the body? What is your identity? Here, we conclude, that the identity is the same as it is today. The only difference is that you are holding the body. So, again, I repeat, body knowledge has to be erased completely, and for this to happen, you have to meditate.”
Q.Maharaj, I have been reciting the mantra for some time now, and it is now happening spontaneously, just as you said it would. Also, the effects of the meditation are now showing. There's an almost tangible quality present, such as stunning silence and peace and emptiness, to use your word, 'CleaReality'.There is just spontaneous happiness that is causeless.
Maharaj:"You are operating the Master Key (Naam Mantra), with deep involvement, and so it is bringing you closer to Selfless Self. The spontaneous happiness is the fragrance of Selfless Self. This means that the Knowledge is being absorbed. Very nice. Embrace Selfless Self and go deeper and deeper.”
“You see, when you go deep and deep within the Selfless Self, you will find so many things, beyond your imagination. You will forget this external or internal identity. YOU WILL REMAIN UNKNOWN TO YOU. NO KNOWLEDGE IS KNOWLEDGE. NO KNOWLEDGE IS KNOWLEDGE.”
“WHATEVER KNOWLEDGE IS ROOTED TO THE BODY IS ILLUSION. YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF BRAHMAN, ATMAN, PARAMATMAN IS ALSO ILLUSION. These are just the words, only W-O-R-D-S, (the Master spells it out). It is OK, maybe giving you some pleasure, momentary happiness, a little entertainment, BUT IT IS NOT ULTIMATE TRUTH.”
MORE ON THE MANTRA
Maharaj: The Naam Mantra is very important. People say “I have got knowledge, why do I need the Naam mantra?”That's OK, but if you want to know yourself perfectly, if you want to identify yourself perfectly, the process of Naam Mantra is most, most important. Humanity is having a lot of knowledge about Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, all these things, but it is not practical. It is just (knowledge)for discussion, it is dry knowledge.
Some followers of Nisargadatta Maharaj claim that they themslves have practical knowledge, without the
Naam Mantra. Some people claim that it is enough to read Nisargadatta
Maharaj's books and follow his instructions. They claim to have found
absolute knowledge, the absolute state, without the Naam Mantra.
It is not a question of finding the ultimate stage, because whatever
is found, is found against the backdrop of body-based knowledge.
Here, (Maharaj points to his body), the body-based knowledge is here,
inside. So, unless it is dissolved, whatever you are building on top
of it, will collapse. It is the basic, fundamental requirement.
What you are saying is that knowledge cannot be built on the
People who are attending to spirituality, without the Naam Mantra,
and saying “I've got knowledge”, it's OK, but it is only a
We need to dissolve the body knowledge first, and we need the help of
the Mantra to do this?
Maharaj: So one should undergo this process. I will give you an example of a great philosopher and politician, about 65-70 years old. He spent about 5 or 6 months, discussing spiritual matters with Maharaj(ie Nisargadatta). He was very well-read in philosophy, the Vedas, Janeshwar, Tukaram, etc, etc. Then one day, he announced to Maharaj, “I know your knowledge very well, but, it is not so impressed inside me.
Nisargadatta Maharaj used the analogy of a creeper/climber plant to respond:“You know the creeper plant that grows on walls? How did it grow like that? It is because the seeds were planted and took root under the enclosed ground in the correct environment(ie beside a wall to hold on to). So like that, spiritual knowledge should be rooted through Masters only (Master is like the wall). If you try and plant the creeper seed elsewhere, it won't work”.
Maharaj continues: So, you must follow this guru mantra process, at the initial stage. It makes the perfect foundation for your spiritual knowledge. But everyone has different opinions.
Did Nisargadatta Maharaj want people to take the Mantra?
Maharaj: He never insisted on any person - whether he was great or famous or foreign – to, say, “take the mantra and be my disciple”. It happened spontaneously, like with the politician I mentioned. He decided for himself, and said to Nisargadatta Maharaj, “Now, I want to take the Guru Mantra”. For him, it became important and essential.
Q: Are there other ways of getting there, of reaching the Absolute?
Maharaj: "There's other ways, like if you have strong devotion(Maharaj makes a fist and shakes it in the air), like Ekalavya(from the Mahabharata). So it is not impossible to do it by another way. But casual reading and casual enlightenment is not so easy. We need total involvement, with a strong desire to find out, like “Yes, I want to know the Reality. I HAVE to know.
And you HAVE to surrender totally to the Master – whosoever the Master may be. That is also very important.
Q: What if you are devoted to a Master who is no longer in the body, Maharaj?
Maharaj: His presence may not be there in life, may not be in existence, but if the involvement is very strong, then it is also possible. But perfect devotion rarely happens. It is difficult because there should not be any type of dual mind.
And Maharaj, do you want people to take the Mantra?
I am not insisting on anything. So many people are coming to me, but
I am not insisting that they take the Mantra, the Guru Mantra, that
they be my disciples.
them, I am openly discussing all the spiritual secrets. I am not
keeping anything to myself. I am giving them all the secrets. What
effect all this Knowledge has on them, that is up to them. Some
people are impressed deeply, others not so much. Some feel it is
important to take initiation and others are not interested. So it is
different for everybody. And also it depends on their spiritual
More Q & A's
Q. Maharaj, when I meditate I just relax and try to be quiet. I have had several experiences that have been very pleasant and blissful. I am pleased because they seem to be happening more frequently.
M. As long as you are considering yourself in the body form, the subtle body form, these experiences will continue. All this is only temporary spiritual entertainment. Whatever is happening as experience is illusion. All experiences are illusions. Even if you experience “I am Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, or God, it is also illusion.
To say 'I am Brahman, Atman', your Spontaneous, Invisible Presence is required. The entire world is projected out of your Spontaneous, Invisible, Anonymous Presence. I repeat, your Spontaneous, Invisible, Anonymous Presence. It cannot be described in words. Out of presence, this entire world is projected. To say 'God', your presence is required. To say 'Brahman' your presence is required. Your existence is beyond, beyond. So there is no experiencer, no experience.
There have been some problems in my life that have disturbed my
peace. I am trying to find peace and happiness again, but I'm not
M. For whom is peace required? 'I want peace of mind, I want happiness'. Who wants happiness? Because you think that you are a man, that you are a body, then all these disturbances, tension, fear, so many things are affecting you. Basically, you were not the body, you are not going to remain the body and though you have a body, it is not your Ultimate Truth. That means that you are totally formless. You are supposed to have conviction, total conviction “Yes, I am Ultimate Truth. That I am”, without saying it.
So know yourself in a real sense. We are knowing ourselves in the body form only, but the body is not our identity at all. Make self-enquiry. Go to the root – Who wants peace? Self-enquiry leads to knowledge. Then you will find peace that is lasting, and not just momentary peace.
Q. I have heard you say that reading books, even the spiritual classics is not enough. Why is this?
M. You are reading so many books and listening also to many Masters. What do they want to convey? Where do you stand in the light of all this knowledge? What is your conclusion after reading this book, that book, this other book? There has to be a full stop. Literal knowledge, dry knowledge will not serve you at all.
We have created the words, given the names to all these things: this is a 'donkey' and that is called 'God'. But prior to that, your existence is there. Your existence is unborn existence. There is no birth, there is no death. Birth and death are applicable to this body only. You are never born, so the question of death never arises. It is an open fact but we are not accepting the open facts. We are always under the pressure of illusory concepts: 'last prarabdha', 'future prarabdha'. What is prarabdha? What is karma, dharma? All these concepts are there and we have become slaves to them, acting within the circle of these concepts. So close the circle and have some courage. What you are reading about in spiritual books is YOUR STORY, YOUR REALITY, not the story of Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God.
So even if you have read 1,000 books, do self-enquiry and find out: 'Where do I stand? Am I fearless? Have I got happiness? Have I got peace?' What is the use of all your knowledge?' Knowledge has to be implemented in daily life. You must know yourself in a real sense, so that when the time comes to leave the body, you remain fearless.
Q. You asked how I was prior to beingness, and after the body dissolves? I have to say that I don't know.
M. Correct! 'I don't know' is the perfect answer because this means that the sayer is saying, 'I know my presence existed, but not in any form'. That my formless presence was there, is known by the statement 'I don't know', (as in the basic example of someone knocking on the door asking "Is there anybody there?", And you reply "No, there is nobody here" - meaning that your presence has to be there first in order to say this). Your presence has to be there first for you to say 'I was not in the body form'. Follow?
You say that there were no needs, no requirements prior to beingness,
that sounds to me like perfection. Can one use the word 'perfect' to
describe the state?
No! This is imagination. You are guessing. There is no 'state'.
Q. Both Nisargadatta Maharaj and yourself say 'How you were prior to beingness, stay like that'. What do you mean?
Prior to beingness you are/were unknown to you. You were not knowing
anything. You did not even know the word 'knowledge'. Nothing was
there – no body, no mind, no intellect. No needs were there – no
need for Master, God, spirituality, religion. When Nisargadatta
Maharaj said this, what he was trying to convey was for you to 'Be as
it is' – 'Unknowing', 'Not Knowing'. Don't stress the brain. Just
be as it is.
Can I go back to the subject of books please? Are you saying that
reading spiritual books is a complete waste of time then?
Forget about what you have read. All spiritual knowledge
is indicating, inviting attention, reminding the invisible reader, the invisible listener that 'You are Ultimate'. I am talking to that Ultimate Truth that is not in any body form. What you read and what you have heard is OK but some limits are there. We are adding some ego, some subtle ego along with the knowledge. As long as you measure yourself in the body form, you are considering yourself as being 'somebody', somebody else. So there is duality when you read spiritual books. The mind, ego, intellect is accumulating all this knowledge about the God, Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, Ultimate Reality. It becomes like you are reading someone else's story – the story of Brahman, Atman, Ultimate Reality – instead of your story.
then you say: “I am so well-read. I have listened to so many
Masters. I am Brahman. I know so much. I, I, I”. This is ego
talking. It is not real knowledge. It is dry knowledge, material body knowledge.
Listen to me! The entire world, including all the books, all the Masters, all the spiritual knowledge is a projection of your Spontaneous Presence. So I repeatedly say what Nisargadatta Maharaj rightly said: “Except your Selfless Self, there is no God, no Brahman, no Atman, no Paramatman, no Master”. This is the gist of all this knowledge, spiritual knowledge. You are acting like a beggar looking for spiritual knowledge from outside - books, Masters, temples, holy sites etc, when all the time Knowledge is with you. It lies within you.
YOU ARE THE SOURCE OF ALL KNOWLEDGE.
So, stand on your own feet. You are not a beggar, you are a millionaire.
Maharaj: Every day I am repeating and telling everybody the same thing: Don't take my words literally. What the Masters are trying to convey is what is important - the essence, the meaning, the gist. We are not here to have a debate, or to study the exact words that are spoken, or compare teachings or make a comparison of Masters. Listen to me! I am not speaking to you. I am addressing the silent invisible listener within you.
M. The Master is needed at the initial stage to give direct Knowledge and remind the 'disciple' that he, too, is a Master. There is no difference between them but the Master is speaking from the realized state. He has transcended the limitations and is free of illusion. The Master reminds the disciple of his true identity with statements such as "The Master regenerates your power." "You have forgotten your true identity". "You are not the body, were not and will not remain the body". "You are covered in ash. Underneath the fire is burning. Master removes the ash."
In fact, there is no you, no I, no he, no she, no disciple, no Master. We have to play at being the Master and disciple to remove the layers of ignorance and illusion and to get back to the Source/Reality.
Q. If you discriminate between Self and ego, is that not a kind of duality?
M. The Masters are beyond mind. They abide in the stateless state. They speak from the bottom of Reality. We are not talking here about body knowledge, which is ignorance. The Masters' Knowledge is Selfless Self-Knowledge, not second-hand book knowledge or experiential knowledge. Even when you read spiritual books, you are reading them as if they are stories about someone else.
Book knowledge is not enough. Knowledge has to be sourced from within. When all body knowledge is dissolved, then the door of Knowledge will open to you.
M. Enlightenement is the Conviction that "You were not the body. You are not the body. You are not going to remain the body". It is the Conviction that you are beyond Brahman, Paramatman, that you are Selfless Self - Self devoid of all content and body knowledge. Selfless Self is that which can only be pointed to and is impossible to describe. "You are the spontaneous, invisible, anonymous, unidentified identity".
M. First, you have to be a Master of the mind ie witness the thoughts flowing, without being affected by them. And at the advanced stage, there are no thoughts and the illusory thinker disappears.
M. Again, these are the words - void, time space, action, perception - all a reflection of your Spontaneous Presence. In the Ultimate stage (there are no stages but this is used for teaching), there are no experiences, no experiencer, no witness, no witnesser. There is nothing. It is the state of not knowing or unknowing.
Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say "How you were prior to beingness/consciousness - stay like that". No needs, no requirements, no Master. No knowledge! You did not even know the word 'knowledge'. As Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say - "All that is perceivable and conceivable is not it".