What you are experiencing during this dissolving process, what is
happening is correct. It is what is meant to be happening. It is taking its own course. Don't interfere. You have not to question what is happening
or not happening.
Maharaj. 'I am' is an indication of your Spontaneous, Anonymous Presence, but
it is without any shape, without any colour. Names are given to ‘Atma’,
‘Paramatma’, ‘God’, just to understand, to communicate. Reality is
beyond imagination. There should not be any confusion. It sounds like
some people have created a special house for ‘I am'.
At the advanced stage, ‘I am’ is also illusion. Again, be clear, there is no ‘I am’, there is no ‘you are’ - these are words. Prior to beingness, you did not know what the ‘I’ or the ‘you’ was. What has happened is that you are artificially moulding yourself, saying ‘I am’ somebody else (an individual), and in the light of that knowledge thinking and meditating on ‘I am’.
You are limiting your Reality by naming it, enclosing it. Remember, ‘I am’ is a concept. We are just using words to try and understand, exchanging words through which we are inviting attention of the Invisible, Anonymous Listener within you. All words are used for the purpose of understanding. Try to know your identity. Try to know your Unidentifiable Identity. The knower will disappear. Trying to know Ultimate Truth, the knower will disappear. No knowledge, no knower.
"You are limiting your Reality by naming it."
Q. The understanding is that ‘I Am’ is very deep…
M. Who is understanding that (laughter)'I' am understanding? Who is understanding that? All this requires Presence, but your Presence is not any shape or form. It is formless. No beingness, no non-beingness, no consciousness, no unconsciousness, no awareness, no unawareness. No knower, no knowledge, etc. You are neglecting the that which already exists within you, the Formless, Invisible Unidentified Identity. You are That. You are Brahman, Atman. ‘I’ is just like the sky. Does the sky say ‘I am’? Sky is totally unaware of its existence. Likewise, your Presence is totally unaware of your existence.
All these words are body-knowledge. Beingness is also illusion. Who says beingness and non-beingness? When you came across with the body you created a big illusionary field: beingness, non-beingness, awareness, unawareness, consciousness. You are roaming in the field and trying to extract knowledge. Come out of the field! Be brave, be courageous!
"You are roaming in a big illusionary field
and trying to extract knowledge."
Q. Has the ‘I Am’ practice maybe been taken too literally and grown out of proportion? There is a lot of confusion around it, a third of a century since Nisargadatta Maharaj’s passing. It has perhaps ballooned into something?
Maharaj: What happens is that devotees read books, and on the basis of their reading, they form a square, and then they expect answers from within the square.
"Master is not in the square,
he is out of the square."
So you have to leave all that. Whatever is realized from the existence of the body (body-knowledge), is illusion. You have brought yourself into the confusion field, using confusing words. You are a victim of your own ideas, your own concepts: ‘I am’ ‘you are’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘Brahman’.
Q. When we abide in ‘I Am’ , well, how are we to stay, or go beyond, ‘I Am’?
M. Forget about spiritual talk. To say ‘I’ is ego. Why are you trying to remain in/as I? It means you are taking some ego, and saying "I am somebody else". "I am", this means you are somebody else, and you are to stay like this, (eyes closed), ‘I’. This is duality. You have not to make any efforts. In the beginning, you are to accept that your ‘I am’ is in existence, and that you know ‘I am’ through the body only. It is an open fact that the body is not your identity. But while remaining in the ‘I am’, you are considering yourself as somebody else and, with the subtle ego, you are staying as “I Am”. This is not the Ultimate Truth and will not give you happiness.
Your Presence is spontaneous – don’t think, don’t apply the intellect. To stay in the ‘I am’, how to stay there? This is all illusion. You are already in that. It is already within you. But you are trying deliberately to remain in the ‘I am’. I am somebody else, and I am to remain in the ‘I am’. Illusory concept! Be as it is! Reality! Don't think, don’t pressure the brain. The spontaneous feeling is just that, "I am", there is no concept. As Nisargadatta Maharaj says: What is this body? Just glimpses of “I”. Just the glimpses of ‘I’ which has no shape, no colour, no witness, no experiencer, just, Maharaj holds his hands up, relaxes and, says ‘I’. We’re trying to experience ‘I’, to be Brahman, Atman, and to do that, you are having to be somebody else.
Q. So there is duality, there is a split?
M. Immediately! When you try to stay like that. Why try? "I want to stay as John". I am John. You are already John. John is the name which has been given to this body. It is not your Ultimate Reality. Similarly, your Spontaneous Presence, existence is without shape.
Q. I think the understanding is that if you stay in the ‘I am’, meditate on the ‘I am’, then you will go beyond the ‘I am’. But it seems we are not managing to go beyond?
"Your Spontaneous Presence,
Existence is without shape."
M. You see, your Spontaneous Existence manifested , so without you, there is no focus. When I say ‘I am’, ‘I’ stays there, the subtle ego. Don’t make any effort. Don’t take the literal meaning of these spiritual words, rather, take what they are trying to convey. You cannot realize Presence through the bodily ‘I’.
You are your own Master. So whatever you read or listen, to some extent, it is helpful, but after reaching the Final Destination, you do not need an address. Don’t take the literal meaning of what the Masters say. What they want to convey is most important. To remain in ‘I’ is keeping you stuck. You have created a balloon, a concept out of how to stay? It's not like that.
Why remain in the ‘I am’, when you are already there? All you have to do is realize that the body is not your identity. You are posing as someone else when you meditate, and therefore the meditation has become dual.
Q. Why did Nisargadatta Maharaj not make this teaching clearer?
M. Listen to me! The 'I am' is only an indication, so not to analyze it so much. This ‘I am’ is also a concept, which maybe has been over-emphasized and misunderstood. All this meditation, concentration, knowledge, self-inquiry - these are all only various steps, a process, and through the 'I', you are coming to the Final Truth. After Conviction, that you are not the body, there is nothing left to do. Your reaction is Spontaneous Action.
You are already ‘I am’, without saying. So you just have to know yourself in the real sense because your Spontaneous, Invisible Presence is there, to whom you are giving the name, ‘I am’. Except your Selfless Self, there is no ‘I am’. So why stay in the little world of ‘I am’? You are already there. You are already 24 hours in the ‘I am’, but you are unaware. You are 24 hours together. You are ‘I am’ only. Why to remain in something that’s artificially created or imagined, guesswork? Why to remain like that 'I am' in the square?
So don’t struggle with ‘I am’ - the words are just indications of Ultimate Truth and how that truth is your Identity, but it is Invisible and Anonymous. So don’t imagine, don’t guess, don’t use logic or intellect. You are 24 hour Presence, so no need to try to be, or think of 'I am’ at all.
"Don't try to stay as I am "
REALITY IS ENGRAVED IN THE INVISIBLE LISTENER
Maharaj: If you are strongly dedicated it is not difficult to absorb the
teachings. You know
better that this external identity is not going to remain constant.
Forget spirituality for a moment! There is some spirit with which we are talking, and doing all our activities . Keep aside spirituality! Power is there working. We are
talking, looking, hearing, smelling. All our activities are
for the bod. This power keeps the organs functioning.
There is power, strength, spirit, just like electricity. It is Invisible, Anonymous, Unidentified. It is what we feel with.
Without this power, you can't say a single word. Without it, you can't raise a finger.
There can be no movement without the power, the spirit. That spirit is called Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God, Master. These are the names that have been ascribed. "That you are."
"Some power is there... It is Invisible, Anonymous, Unidentified... We feel it..."
What is the content of spirit? It is not your death and birth.Just that, just that! There is no experience, and no experiencer. There is no knowledge, nothing is there. Simple.
After the body disappears, what remains? Nothing! When the body goes, how does the world appear to him? It means nothing. It
has merged with nothing. Something merged with nothing. And out of
nothing, there is something. It is inter-related.
We are using some words for conversation purposes. Then you must have the Conviction that “I am totally unconcerned with the world”. All these relations are there. All expectations are there. All needs are there. All body related. We want peace. Who wants? We want happiness. Who wants happiness? We want a tension-free life. What's tension-free life, happiness, peace? We did not know these terms prior to beingness.
They came across, when we came across with the body. These are the bodily requirements, not your requirements.
"We want peace. Who wants? We want happiness.
We did not know of these terms Prior to Beingness".
The body dissolves. We fear because of our attachment to the body. No one wants death. Everyone is afraid of death.
But when you come to know the Truth of death, there is no fear. Just like the famous story of the rope and the snake. You are afraid of the snake. It is a matter of fact that there's no snake, it is a rope! Similarly, we are afraid of our death. Who is dying? Who is taking birth? When you realize you are nobody, you will be totally unconcerned, totally indifferent.
"Who is dying? Who is taking birth?"
Your Presence is Spontaneous, just like the sky.The entire world is projected, emerges out of Presence. Without your Presence, you can't see the world, you can't see anything. That Anonymous, that Invisible Unidentified Identity, called Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, for That, there is no death and birth, no need of salvation. The question of heaven and hell never arises. No prarabdha, no religion. This is all body related, and came with the body-form. Where was religion prior to the body-form? Who did these religions belong to prior to beingness? Nobody. Religions were formed just to stimulate a peaceful life, along with the principle of prayer. This kind of thing is OK, but you must know this secret of your life. You must know, understand, realize what it means. Then only, will you be totally fearless.
"What was the Meaning of Religion
Prior to the Body Form?"
should ask yourself, "Why should I fear death? Death is common for
You say, “I can't escape from death, the concept of death”. But, who is dying? Who is living? Just Self-Enquire! Nobody is dying, nobody is taking birth. We're thinking from the body point of view, and blindly accepting all these concepts, illusory concepts: I'm a man or a woman, this religion, that religion, last birth, future birth, present birth, rebirth, so many concepts are there.
You are blindly signing, and accepting everything. You have not committed any crime, yet you are signing “I am a criminal”. Master says you have not committed any crime. It is an impossibility. But still you sign “It's OK, I am a criminal.”
The Master is making you enlightened. You are neither a criminal, nor not a criminal.
Master is your reflection. As a matter of fact, there is no Master, no
disciple. The totality of all this body-knowledge is framed around, and formed out of body relations, which you are not, which you were not,
and which you are not going to be.
How do you get out of illusion? You are the architect of your own life. When you realize that it is all a dream, you will be out of illusion.When you
come to know that it is a dream. In other words, you
are acting in some drama. You are the hero, or heroine or villain. But you know better, as the Listener, even after three hours, or four and a
half hours, that this is only a role you are playing. You are doing a role very well, but you have no connection to that role.
Similarly, we are playing the role of a man or woman, accepting so many concepts. Yet you have nothing to do with all, or any concepts. You are unborn. To establish this fact, you have to undergo the disciplines, the basics.
The same principle is placed before you in different words, different manners, in different ways, different angles, different dimensions.
"You are nothing to do with all or any concepts."
Maharaj: The message is the same:"Except your Selfless Self there is no God, no Atman, no Brahman, no Paramatman." This is the message. To establish that truth, we give some examples, just like telling stories to your child. You have to present in words, the principle of a story, putting it into story-form. The mother or father are telling the story and then explaining the principle behind it.
Likewise, Master is placing before you your Ultimate Truth in story form, using certain language, certain words. After having Conviction, what to do, or not to do next, is up to you. You know your Selfless Self better than anyone. You know better your Selfless Self.
"After Conviction, what to do, or not to do next,
That's up to you.
Because you know better your Selfless Self."
When this takes place: Conviction, enlightenment, realization, you become One with the Final Truth.
"I am never born, so why to fear the death?" No fear is there. This is direct hammering.
Q. Sometimes you can listen, and maybe not hear what is being said, and another time you listen, and there is a 'Yes' a click of understanding!
Maharaj: Because the Invisible Listener within you is listening quietly and calmly. Reality is engraved in that Invisible Listener, which cannot be removed. Therefore, even if you are aware, you will not understand. The Listener is accepting all this, just like a recorder. Silently. The process of recording is going on.The process of analyzing is going on, without your knowledge. Why have ego? No intellect, no mind, nothing!
"Reality is Engraved in the Invisible Listener."
Q. The mind, ego, intellect try to block...
Maharaj: These are external layers.. You can use them, it’s not a bad thing. Use them, as and when you like. You are not to become a slave of that. Excessive use of anything is poison. Excessive use of anything is poison. If you take more food than you need, it is poison.
Too much mind, mental stuff?
Maharaj: There is no mind at all!
Q. So, keep hammering, dong, dong, dong.
Maharaj: This is an exceptional knowledge. It is clear Reality. It is not bookish knowledge, not literal knowledge.
Q. It seems to be beyond all the knowledge.
Maharaj: It is beyond everything, beyond knowledge, everything, beyond words, beyond imaginations. Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say, "How you were prior to beingness, remain as it is." How were you prior to beingness? You are "not knowing".
"Remain as you Were Prior to Beingness".
are totally unaware of anything. You don't know anything. Since
you came across with the body, you started knowing so many things. Therefore, 'mind' is body knowledge. What remains? The food-body. Some day or
other, willingly or unwillingly, you are to leave this body because it is
not your identity.
"You are disturbing the peace"
REALITY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WORDS
Extract from Inner Quest: http://www.inner-quest.org/Ramakant_Reality.htm
Let there be peace and love among all beings of the universe.
RAMAKANT Maharaj is a direct disciple of the late Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and spent 19 years with him. From 1962, he visited Nisargadatta Maharaj and listened to his lectures regularly, until his master's Mahasamadhi in 1981. During the last decade or so at the Ashram in Nashik, Ramakant Maharaj has been introducing devotees from around the world to the Ultimate Truth.
Ramakant Maharaj: Why all the struggle and fighting to understand words and meanings, all this intellectual analysis, comparisons and conclusions? Reality has nothing to do with words, and nothing to do with the intellect. It is beyond all body-knowledge.
You can't say how you were prior to beingness.
There were no words, no knowledge, nothing.
Words cannot describe "nothing".
Spiritual knowledge is OK for the body-form, for as long as the body-form exists.When the body-form disappears, who knows what will happen? After conviction, this knowledge [jnana] comes quick and sharp, very quickly, with an edge. When this happens, there is no longer any need for peace or happiness.
Happiness and peace are for the body,
Because existence in the body-form is intolerable.
The moment you are convinced that the body-form is not your Ultimate Truth, then whatever "negative" thing may happen to the body, is viewed with some distance, like something that has happened to your neighbour's child, and not to you. You will feel it because this body is a material body. At the same time though, you will not be involved because it is your neighbour's child, and not you.
Detachment is one of the signs of realisation.
Question: Before this stage, there is a strong sense of ownership, that people own their bodies which is very important.
Maharaj: Oh yes! But not ownership, you are not the owner. It is the five elements. You are staying on a rental basis. It is just the borrowing force of the body: you are borrowing water, borrowing food. For a few years you have a license, then the license is extended, Keep Out! As soon as you stop providing food and water?
Question: Then you get thrown out of your house!
Maharaj: It is a cage, not a house. You are staying in a cage and chewing a carrot. It may be a golden cage, silver cage, brass cage, whatever comes one's way. Rich people make a golden cage, and the poor people get an iron cage.
Question: It is still a cage.
Maharaj: The sage is staying within that cage. It is a "sage-cage". The moment you have conviction, you will break open that cage. I'm giving you courage:
You are to leave! Open the cage!
Open it wide!
You are a free bird!
These are the ways of conviction, using stories, various words, metaphors and analogies. But listen to me! The whole of spiritual science is just talking about this unborn child.
At the initial stage, people do listen.
But afterwards, there are not so many
Who continue to go deeper and deeper into the Reality.
They much prefer to dissect the teachings
And contest the words that have been used to express them.
When it comes to the crunch, generally, people are not so keen to turn within and be quiet. They are more comfortable with the old ways of body-knowledge. They find it easier to discuss and debate the meaning of Reality. This is pointless!
Reality is not up for discussion or debate.
This is why I ask everyone the same question: "What is your conclusion after reading all the spiritual books?" If you are fearless, then OK, you will hopefullybe fearless when the time comes to leave the body. But make sure! If fear is still roaming around you, then all your literary pursuits have been a waste of time.
Trembling in the face of fear, is not knowledge.
Knowledge has to be useful to you on your deathbed.
Spirituality makes you fearless, with the result that you have spontaneous peaceand happiness. Just like, if you have no money in your pocket, you have no reasonto be afraid of the thief! Let the thief come! Your pocket is empty! Now that youhave conviction, it will help you at this time. There will be no fear, nothing, just peace. Some day or other, you are to leave this house.
Every day you are to say to yourself,
"This house is not mine."
You have an opportunity to use this body to know your Selfless Self, and how you were prior to beingness. Every moment in your life is very, very important. Every moment in your life is very, very important. Otherwise, there will be another dream, another dream, another dream.
You are to come out of this vicious circle.
You can do it with your own power.
Break the vicious circle with your own power.
You can break it because
You are Ultimate Reality.
Don't sign anything blindly again! You are unborn. Be cautious! Don't ignore Reality because of pressures from external forces, invisible forces. Don't ignore Reality because of spiritual forces, physical forces, mental forces, logical forces, intellectual forces.
Don't ignore Reality.
Everyone's trying to impress his own ideas in the name of the masters. Generally, it is expected that you nod your head to them and say, "Correct, correct". Not you! Not you, not you any more!
Now you can decide what is correct or incorrect,
Authentic or inauthentic,
Using the mirror of knowledge,
In the light of that mirror of knowledge,
You can discriminate and decide.
You have conviction! You may need to use some words, just remember that words are not Ultimate Truth.
Don't become a victim of words again.
Don't fall into that trap again.
It happens. I have seen it happening.
Question: I am not going to be seduced by any books or teachers, Maharaj. You don't have to worry about that. I understand their body-knowledge limitations. And why should I look for book-knowledge, when Self-knowledge is unfolding as never before?
Maharaj: Very nice! We have created the words and given them their meanings.
We are using words all the time. Take the words, "God" and "donkey". We say "God" is a deity, whereas "donkey" is an animal. If we were to say that"Donkey means Deity", what happens? Nothing! It is simply the words that have changed, not the essence or substance. Forget about the words. Be with Reality! Have a nice time, enjoy your spirituality.
Be quiet and happy!
REALITY AND KNOWLEDGE
Except yourself there is no God, no Brahman, no Atman, no Paramatman, no master.
Know yourself in the real sense. We're knowing ourselves in body form. It's not your identity. Your identity is unidentified, invisible, anonymous identity. So your spontaneous presence is the cause of the projection of the world, so you are Ultimate Truth, you are unborn. Devotees are people that want some happiness, peace of mind, tension-free life, fearless life. These things can happen once you know yourself in the real sense. You're totally unborn but you're thinking I am born and I am going to die. That concept is an illusory thought. True knowledge will help you realise what is the Ultimate Truth, Final Truth.
After knowing yourself in a real sense, you will be completely out of fear. Knowing "I am unborn", there is no fear of death and birth. There is no birth and death. You are beyond knowledge, beyond "words and worlds". This is conviction, enlightenment, realisation – you become one with the Final Truth
That anonymous, that invisible, unidentified identity, called Parabrahman, Brahman, Atman for which there is no death or birth, no need of salvation.
Questions of heaven and hell never arise. There is no prarabdha [concept of accumulated deeds from previous incarnations, brought into the present lifetime as "karma"], no religion. This is body attachment, body related. It came across [rises] with the body form. "This and that" – all have to do with the bodily state. It came across as the body form.
Outside of yourself there is no God, no Brahman – God is in you and nowhere else. This is very liberating because it means outside of myself there is no God, no nothing!. I am the Source of everything! You are the Source, you are the power.
Enter the cave and uncover your treasure.
Be practical, everything is in you, but you are searching here and there. You are ignoring the searcher, you are ignoring the finder. You have tremendous power, but you are unaware it. You are underestimating yourself, saying "I am man or woman." That is not your identity. This identity is to be dissolved some day or other.
There is no mind at all! This is exceptional knowledge. This is Reality. It's not book knowledge. It's not literal knowledge. It is beyond everything, beyond knowledge, everything, beyond imaginations. Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say "How you were prior to beingness, remain like that." So how were you prior to beingness? You were "not knowing". You were totally unaware of everything. You did not know anything.
It is invisible, anonymous and unidentified. It is That with which we feel, without which you can't utter a single word, without which you can't raise your hand. No movement can be there without Its power. That spirit is called Brahman, Atman, Paramatman, God, Parabrahman. Names are yours. What is the content of spirit? It is not your death, nor your birth... Just That, just That!
Self-enquiry, Self-knowledge and Self-realisation are the set stages. Everybody's reading so many books, they are talking about Brahman, Atman, Paramatman,God. It is very easy to talk. But one should question oneself. Out of all this knowledge, "What am I? What have I got?" Question whether I am completely free from the fear of death? Whether I have complete peace, whether I have complete happiness without any material cause? One should question oneself.
If the answer is "No", then it is only literal knowledge that one has – both literal and little.
If you are strongly dedicated, it is not difficult to absorb the teachings. You know better. This external identity is not going to remain constant.
Conviction is essential for spirituality. Some spirit is there through which we are talking. Some power is there working. We are looking, we are hearing, all activities are for the body, all are for the body. Some power is there, some strength is there, some spirit is there, just like electricity.
There is the story of the rope and the snake. You are afraid of the snake. It is a matter of fact that there's no snake, it is a rope. Similarly, we are afraid of our death. Who is dying? Who is taking birth? Because [you realise] there is nobody, [you are] totally unconcerned, totally indifferent. This presence is spontaneous just like the sky. Out of presence the entire world is projected,
we merge. Without presence we can't see the world, we can't see anything.
BODY AND ILLUSION
Prior to body form, nothing was there. Prior to beingness, to whom do these individual names belong? Just to stimulate a peaceful life, religions and the principle of religion were formed. This is the essential principle form, frame – "praying form". It is OK. The secret of your life, the gist of your life you must know, understand, realise what it means. Then only you will be totally fearless.
Your master is your reflection. As a matter of fact there is no master, no disciple. The sum total is that all of this is a dream which has come out of body relations – which you are not, which you were not, and which you are never going to be. So, how do you get rid of the body illusion?
You are the architect of your own life. Eventually you come to know that everything is a dream. In other words, you are acting in some drama/movie –you are the hero, heroine or villain – and even after two and a half hours, you know this is just my role. I am still doing my role, but there is not any connection with that role. Similarly, we are accepting these roles, like "man" or "woman", without question. It [Reality] has nothing to do with all these concepts. You are unborn.
You should ask yourself, "Why should I fear death when it is common for everybody?" You say, "I can't escape death". Who is dying? Who is living? Just enquire. Nobody is dying, nobody is taking birth. We're thinking from the body point of view, blindly accepting all these concepts, illusory concepts: man or woman, this religion or that religion, last birth, next birth, present birth, rebirth... so many concepts, illusions.
You've blindly signed and accepted all these illusions. You have not committed any crime yet you are signing "I am a criminal." [You are guilty of accepting a false identity of an individual person.] Masters say you have not committed any crime, but you sign "I am a criminal." "I" is illusion,"you" is illusion,"Brahman" is illusion. Entire world is illusion. Just think how I was prior to beingness? At that time there was not any God, Brahman, Atman – these are the words. After dissolving the body, what is my status? You say "I don't know." So all these requirements for these things, God, Brahman, Atman are body related. To have these, there is a material cause. That is illusion, so we have to come out of the illusion.
After the death of the body, what remains? There is no experience, no experiencer. No knowledge, nothing is there. Simple. Simple! After the disappearance of the body what remains? Nothing! But for some persons for whom body is their world, for them, all is the body. Suppose his body disappears. How is his world coming, appearing then?
Body is having some time limit but you are everywhere, you are Omnipresent, just like the sky. If at all you want to compare yourself, let it be like the sky. We are bound by the body knowledge, food-body knowledge, therefore we are trying tofind out where there is happiness, where we can find complete peace. Complete peace and happiness are only words.
How is this world for me? It is merged with nothing. Something merged with nothing. And out of nothing, there is something. They are interrelated. Just for conversation we are using some words. All these relations, conditions, sensations are there. All expectations are there. All needs are there. I am totally unconcerned with the world. They are all body things. All body related. We want peace. Who wants? We want happiness, more happiness. Who? We want a tension-free life. Tension-free life, happiness, peace. We are not knowing all these prior to beingness. They came across with the body. They are the bodily requirements, not the spirit requirements. The body dissolves. We fear that because of our attachment to the body. No one wants death, everyone is afraid of death. But when you come to know the truth of death, there is no fear.
You have to have the conviction: "I am totally unconcerned with the world."