Based on a series of talks given by Ananta between April to August 2014. “You are always the Awareness itself, and as Awareness you know that all that is appearing in front of you is just an appearance. There is no one here besides You. All appearances are a play of Consciousness. You stay as the Awareness itself. Once the one that wants to help vanishes, then pure grace and help will flow from You, from your Being itself. Do not get confused, my beloveds. This is all for your own good, for your own freedom. There is only You. You are all there is. All emerges from your own Being. And the way to bless the entire Being is to find your complete freedom.”
Can You Stop Being consists of excerpts taken from some of Ananta's earliest Satsang's between August to October, 2014. “Ask yourself right now: Can I stop being now? In this question you will see that there is a Being here; your own Presence, which cannot be stopped. This Being is not a man or a woman, it is just Being. Irrespective of what happens in the story of this life, this Being is unaffected, unchanged, untouched Consciousness. Prior to I am a person, I am a man, I am a partner, I am a parent, I am a child, prior to all of this: ‘I Am’.
This book is a selection of Satsang dialogues that took place between Novemmeber 2014 to October 2015. “Although it can sound simple, almost trivial, but to not believe our next thought is to experience the freedom, the non-resistive, non-suffering state, right now. You cannot suffer without buying your next thought. Even if you believed all your previous thoughts, this fresh moment is so beautiful and powerful that all prior conditioning has dissolved already unless we pick up the tree of conditioning again by pulling at the branch of the next thought.”
This book is a selection of satang dialogues that took place between January and February, 2016. “You see, the Knowing is always Knowing. Awareness is always Aware, and This is always 'I'. So although Being is coming to a realization of its Source, The 'I' has always been 'I' . Even in the playing of ‘I’ as ‘I Am’, ‘I’ has remained as ‘I’.”
This book is a selection of satang dialogues that took place between March and May, 2016. “That’s why I say that ‘You are free now’. What does that mean? As Awareness you are free. But the advice is ‘Keep coming to satsang’. For who? For the Beingness. There is nothing here for the person. You see? So Consciousness in this monologue is saying to Itself: ‘Hey, buddy, you know, it’s good, what we’ve walked together so far, but let’s just keep at it’. You know? That’s the real monologue that God is having with Itself. It’s all part of the game.”
This book is a compilation of short, poignant talks taken from online Satsangs with Ananta between 19th May to 11th July 2016. It is not the recognition which is difficult. More difficult is to give up our stories. But That which You Are, (and you’re recognizing it now), cannot have a story. That which is not phenomenal cannot have a story. That within which all phenomenon is born and dissolves cannot have a story. You Are This.
Based on a series of talks given by Ananta in July and August 2016. “Can it be that all the wise ones were fooling us with their imploration ‘Know Thyself’ just so that one day we would come to this conclusion that ‘The Truth about the Self is unknowable’? The Realization of the Self is completely possible! The Self is completely Knowable! But not in the way we think. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi's repeated advice to inquire ‘Who Am I?’ and Nisargadatta Maharaj's guidance to stay with the sense ‘I Am’ was not so that one day they could say ‘Fooled you!’ There is a big clue in the phrase ‘Know Thyself’. The clue is to look at this Knowing itself.”
This is the 8th book of Ananta Satsang talks, taken from online satsangs from 5th September to 19th October 2016. Meet me here where we are One. Meet me here where the universe is just a tiny firefly. Meet me here before time and space. Meet me where meeting Me is to meet Yourself.
This book contains simple pointings, contemplations, guided inquiry and powerful discussions from online satsangs between 26th Oct. to 15th Dec. 2016. “I feel [this] is the gist of what has been shared from here over the years; the gist of what Advaita Vedanta really is trying to convey. It has been a great gift in this life here. Meeting all of you also has been the greatest gift that my Master has given. I have so much gratitude in my Heart for all of you. Thank you for being this beautiful Sangha, my beautiful friends and family. May we all never forget the beautiful grace we have all had in our lives to have the opportunity to be at the feet of Satguru Sri Moojiji.”
When Satsang got over yesterday, we were just joking around a bit and after everything that we were saying, we were saying ‘But, God is Here’. [Smiles] It’s like we said yesterday, the starting point is this. And then the mind will say ‘But…’ (…something) and in response to the mind’s ‘But…’ we can have …
When Satsang got over yesterday, we were just joking around a bit and after everything that we were saying, we were saying ‘But, God is Here’. [Smiles] It’s like we said yesterday, the starting point is this.
And then the mind will say ‘But…’ (…something) and in response to the mind’s ‘But…’ we can have this big ‘But’ which says ‘But, God is Here’ or ‘But, Guru is Here’ or ‘But, Self is Here’.
Guruji [Sri Mooji] often says, ‘Nothing is stronger than the holiness of Your Being.’
Something very innocent and beautiful I read many months ago, which said ‘Don’t tell your Guru how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big your Guru is.’ It’s very innocent and sweet, but it’s very beautiful. It is enough, actually. It’s the same as saying ‘But, God is Here.’
Surrender is like this; very simple, very innocent-sounding pointings. But something has to take, something has to catch on and say ‘Yes’.
For something that cannot be surrendered, then we have another Master Key. If you find something that ‘This, I just can’t surrender’ then that which you can’t surrender, you pull into your inquiry. And you will come to the same recognition, that the separate ‘me’ never was there. There is nobody whose problem this is.
Now, if the problem itself is that ‘I want to play with this ‘me’ longer’…, if the problem itself is that ‘I want to play with this ‘me’ a little longer’ that ‘I want to play with the spiritual ‘me’ or the enlightened ‘me’ or the whole journey of practices and siddhis and getting to peace of mind’ (or something like that) then by all means, play with that. But then don’t say ‘I want to come to the end of this. What is the end?! I want the Absolute, the Truth! I’m tired of this spiritual journey.’ Then say ‘I’m playing this, I’m enjoying. Why are you stopping me? Why do you say to surrender everything? I’m really enjoying this.’
But suffering only comes when what we are saying is different from how we are playing.
If on one hand we say ‘I want to come to the end of this now’ and I’m saying ‘Wonderful! It is your lucky day! Today, Right Now, it is the end of it!’ then unless you want to still play with it, you will not pick up the ‘But…’
If you are done with it, then you are done with it.
If you’re not done with it, then play. Enjoy the play. There is nothing wrong with it. But play with the innocence of a child going to the playground. Otherwise, when you’re in the playground, you’re crying…, and when you’re taken away from the playground, also you’re crying.
[Reads an online chat message]: “Actually, there is no problem until the problem of ‘me’ arrives on the scene.”
Yes. Like yesterday, we said ‘Till Mr. ‘me’ comes or Mrs. ‘me’ comes.’ And this is the beautiful part of it, that it never comes actually. It just comes as an idea of it, as a notion of it.
So, when the notion of it comes, we either let it come and go and say ‘It is the Satguru’s problem’ or we say ‘Who is this one?’ or ‘Who is it talking to?’ Either question is the inquiry.
But if we accept it, without any basis (because it doesn’t have a basis actually) then in the design of the world, suffering is bound to follow. Suffering is only the result of an un-inquired thought…, an accepted, un-inquired thought. If you have truly looked at the notion that is making you suffer, then the notion must dissolve; because at the premise, as the basis of all notions, is the idea of the non-existent ‘me’.
So, the spiritual journey is very simple. One main pointing is: ‘Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.’ [Chuckles] Just allow everything to come and go. ‘Life is just a dream.’
And the second part is, if there is something which is not making you ‘merry’ then you pick up that concept and say ‘Who is it that this concept applies to?’
‘Why am I not finding freedom? Why don’t I have better relationships? Why don’t I have more money? Why can’t I have a healthier body?’ These are the main notions. Find out if there is an ‘I’ like that which can have any of these things?
So, if I told you that God is Here…, I’m saying God is Here…, and you say, ‘Father, can we talk about that emotion I felt for five minutes yesterday?’ [Laughs] is it a good deal? I say: God is Here. And you say, ‘No, yesterday, I saw God. I was meditating and after a …
So, if I told you that God is Here…, I’m saying God is Here…, and you say, ‘Father, can we talk about that emotion I felt for five minutes yesterday?’ [Laughs] is it a good deal?
I say: God is Here. And you say, ‘No, yesterday, I saw God. I was meditating and after a long time, many years of meditating, something became very clear and yesterday, I saw God.’
I’m saying: God is Here. And you say, ‘Why do I get this intimate pain in my left elbow?’ [Laughs]
I say: God is Here. And you say, ‘What do you mean by awareness?’
What will you exchange God for?
This is the only choice that (… who is making?) God is making. So, it is God choosing to exchange Himself for a limited notion of Himself or Herself.
How about, in Satsangs from now on, if I find that we’re exchanging God for a notion, I just say: But God is Here.
And when ‘Mr. me’ comes, ‘Mr. mind’ comes, and he says ‘Okay, God is here, but what about me!?’ then we can say: But ARE you? Are you? Is there one that is separate from God?
That is inquiry. So, to See that God is Here is surrender. And then, when the mind comes and says ‘What about me? What about me?’ you say ‘Who are you?’ So, both surrender and inquiry are here.
This is the primal difference in what is called ‘direct Satsang’ and that which is called ‘indirect pointings’. Direct Satsang means that we start with this perspective, this clear Seeing, this direct insight that ‘I Exist. I Am. Consciousness Is’. Whereas, if it was indirect, then we would all collectively pick up the presumption that we are a person, we are people, we are the ego, and then figure out ways to get to God or get to the Truth. Since most of you have been here for a long time, there must be something which enjoys this directness.
So, either when we choose to pick up a notion, to pick up a concept or thought, either there must be a sense that what is being shared in Satsang is not true (that there must be a God and a ‘me’ and the ‘me’ must resort to these concepts and notions about itself) …, or it’s just a bad habit.
How to verify that what is being shared is true? I’m not saying to take my word for it. I’ve given you a simple tool to check:
Try to stop being.
Don’t be for an instant.
Don’t exist for a moment.
Did it? You cannot do it. If you had, then I would have seen the body fall. [His head falls forward] Sleep would have come; unconsciousness would have come. When the sense of Consciousness is there, when the sense of Existence is there, it relies on this Being, I Am Presence.
Now, stay with me on this point. This Being, this Consciousness…, the mind has convinced you that it is personal, that it is limited. This Presence, this Being which you cannot stop, this Existence which you cannot stop…, the mind has convinced you that it is personal, that it is limited. But if you explore with your inner insight, you will find that this Being, this Consciousness, has no boundary. All the sensations which we call the body are contained within It. All the perceptions which we call the world are contained within It.
All it means is one moment where you keep your doubt aside and just check: Where are these words? The mind will tell you that they are outside you. But actually, they are just inside. Your attention does not leave You; it cannot. Because there is no ‘outside’.
This is nothing fancy. This is our simple, natural truth.
You have met God.
There is no greater God that you can meet except Your own Being.
Check if there is anybody else here.
Is there a ‘me’ and ‘the Being’?
Is there a person sitting there on the side who has your name?
I Am this I Am.
The play is continuing. All the senses are functioning in their own natural way. The world has not stopped. The body functioning continues. Effortlessly, life continues to move. In the great stillness which is Your Being, all expressions continue to move around.
Now, the great trick, the great trick, is how the mind will come and tell you that ‘You know that person that you can never find? It wants something. That person that you cannot find has to do something.’
This is a beautiful part of this divine illusion is how Consciousness Itself picks up these notions, from its own aspect called ‘the mind’. Now, in the play, Consciousness Itself is playing as if It is addicted to these notions…, and seems to experience withdrawal symptoms every time we say ‘Just don’t pick up a notion about yourself’. [Then comes] ‘But, but, but, but, but….’ You see? [Chuckles] ‘But’ is the withdrawal symptom. It’s telling you that life is going to stop or the world is going to stop. Nothing has stopped.
Let me tell you from here; these words are flowing from this mouth. Is there a person sitting here saying them? No, I don’t find him. They are just appearing. Just like these eyes are blinking, this heart is beating, these words are just appearing. The same is true for you! Like [Sri Nisargadatta] Maharaj used to say, isn’t it? ‘The mind comes after, post-facto, and takes credit or blame.’ Sometimes, it also comes pre-facto. That’s why it is tricky. But what is happening is just happening. And if you were just to rely on your insight for a little bit of time, you will See that this is completely true for every movement; even those movements which we have called ‘mine’ in the past.
So, if everything is moving effortlessly, then you have to check the veracity of these words. If you feel like there is an individual entity which is doing something, you must be able to find this one. Don’t rely on any conjecture now. Don’t rely on any feeling. Rely on your inner intuition, on your intuitive insight, and See if there is such a one…, who deserves credit or blame for any action, arrogance or guilt about anything that has happened.
Now, if it is God that you want, or the Truth that you want, then drop every notion. Don’t make anything a ‘thing’.
But if it is the play that is not tiring enough yet, that we are not done with yet, then continue to play, by all means. All of this is for God to play with.
As long as whatever is happening is helping us to unburden ‘I Am’ from all notions of ‘I am something’ then it is beautiful Satsang. Whatever is giving your notions to this ‘I am something’ is contradictory to what Satsang is; which might include even the words of Satsang. Including…, (it might sound contradictory to …
As long as whatever is happening is helping us to unburden ‘I Am’ from all notions of ‘I am something’ then it is beautiful Satsang. Whatever is giving your notions to this ‘I am something’ is contradictory to what Satsang is; which might include even the words of Satsang. Including…, (it might sound contradictory to what I’ve been saying but really it’s not) including if it is just a notion that ‘I am God’ or ‘I am Consciousness’ or ‘I am Awareness’ or ‘I am the Self’. If these are just notions that we are giving to ourself then better to not have heard these words at all. That is why, for thousands of years actually, all these words were just shared in secret. The Upanishads say ‘Sit close. Sit close to the Master’s feet and share these words.’ It is like that.
So, nothing here be must be applied from notions or concepts to ourself. Everything that is here is just like a barber shop. [Chuckles] It’s to trim things away. We have no wigs for you here to wear. [Laughs] There’s no masks. We’re here to remove the masks. And I definitely don’t want to give anyone a spiritual mask.
That’s why I enjoy a question like this very much, saying ‘There’s just a fear about the laptop. All day I’m making highlights and looking at Satsang, so what happens if the laptop is not there?’ You see? Like that. And it’s full integrity. The question is not with a spiritual mask or something like that. ‘This is how it is. This fear is coming. I’m using that to check: What here is attached? Whose laptop is it?’ It’s very beautiful.
The inquiry is very simple like this, actually.
Surrender means just with this insight of ‘God is here’ …, everything is His problem, everything that is moving is in the light of Consciousness’. Whether we use the word ‘God’ ‘Guru’ ‘Self’ it doesn’t matter. These are just words we have to use in Satsang. Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] also very beautifully said ‘God, Guru and Self are One’. So, whatever we feel naturally devoted to, that we can say.
And most ‘but’s…’ will lose their potency, will lose their meaning. But whatever still comes, then we can pull that into our inquiry and say ‘Why is this so meaningful to me, that I’m happy to exchange my holy, divine Presence for just this notion of myself?’
Whether it is relationship, whether it is attachment, whether it is health of body, whether it is freedom itself, the concept of freedom; why is something so meaningful, so valuable to me now? Who is this ‘me’?
Q: Some of the biggest notions of God are ‘this and that’ …, like ‘omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient’. So, to use the word God is very hard to reconcile or recognize. A: This is an excellent point she is making. She is saying that because we’ve defined God to be omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, what has …
Q: Some of the biggest notions of God are ‘this and that’ …, like ‘omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient’. So, to use the word God is very hard to reconcile or recognize.
A: This is an excellent point she is making. She is saying that because we’ve defined God to be omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, what has happened is that when we heard these words, we made conditions out of them. Because we believed ourselves to be a person, then our idea of omnipotence became somebody who is GIANT, HUGE…, if He appears, then his nose will be big enough to stand on or something. [Chuckles] That strong. So strong.
But now, what you’re finding is a different kind of omnipotence. When God IS then the world IS. When God IS then all this time and space and the world IS. Gravity, electricity, light, sound; only when God IS. I Am. I awaken, I Am, and this whole light and sound show starts to show up. When ‘I Am’ disappears [as in deep sleep] then everything goes. ‘I Am’ appears and a different realm can appear with strange people and strange objects; that which we call a dream. Then this ‘I Am’ disappears. Then ‘I Am’ comes. Any realm can come with its own time and space and objects and qualities and attributes of all sorts. That is this ‘I Am’ …, in the appearance of which all of this starts to play.
Bigger than any idea of omnipotence that we can have mentally, we are coming to the discovery of this ‘I Am’ …, in the Light of which the world IS, the universe IS. From there, the Sage can say that ‘The universe is nothing but the body of God’. Which means what? It’s just the phenomenal aspect of God.
Omnipotent. Omnipresent. That what also we are checking; omni-presence. Does all of this happen within this very Presence? Is there anything outside? If there is nothing outside of this, then what is That which is beyond all things? It is this omnipresence, I Am. Being.
So, power and Presence. Then omniscient: what is it that Knows everything? Again, when we originally heard ‘knows everything’ we again expected it to be in a personal sort of way. ‘Only when I know about the future, I know about everything that happened in the past, I know everything conceptually or experientially, only then will I say I am omniscient, I am God.’
What we’re finding is that which is perceived here, that which has our attention: only that exists. Whether that attention seems to be on the so-called present or on so-called memory, all of the past or projections of the future, everything is coming from This. Like Guruji [Sri Mooji] says ‘You perceive only that which you conceive’. So, That which is the conceiver of all of this, the perceiver of all of this…, That is beyond any kind of mental knowing. It is all Its play. It knows every aspect. Every single atom of this play only moves with the will of God. Even the blade of grass moves only with God’s will. So, this will cannot be separate from this pure Knowing.
So, in this way, we are recognizing that what we had understood about these concepts, that is all being blown apart and we are coming to a deeper recognition of these (which are called) qualities of God. We’re Seeing that from this place, these are true; not what we had in mind about them. And that is why when we come to the recognition of this Being, it can seem so innocent, so simple, so gentle, that we can feel like ‘What happened to that ‘omni, omni, omni’?’ [Chuckles] This is so innocent, like a child. And yet, as we investigate it, as we dig deeper into our own Presence, we find that all of this is completely true; that It is so much more. Yet, it is not true in the way that we expected it to be.
So, there is a story in the Bhagavad Gita where eventually Krishna had to reveal himself based on the condition that Arjuna had about him, because Arjuna said ‘Show me your giant form’. There was a war on, so Krishna said ‘Okay, let’s get on with it’. [Laughs] And he revealed himself in that way as well. But, as Guruji said, Krishna must have been a bit disappointed in the play, of course, to see that question come from Arjuna.
So, hopefully with this little bit of sharing…, just like the ‘I’ has been used in a different way but it’s changing now, to ‘beyond attributes, beyond form’. In the same way, all these definitions will also change.
Q: There is this strange feeling that God cannot be separate; It is in All That Is. But I cannot be God. So, it’s only reconcilable here in ‘There is no ‘I’ here anyway (person)’.
A: Yes. This is how the word ‘I’ has been used to denote something which is limited for so long. So, when we apply it to the greater-You, then it can feel like the word is a bit alien to That which is so pristine. It can seem that way. But this feeling will also subside. There will be no feeling of arrogance when we say something like ‘I am God’. Or even beyond that, if you were to say ‘I am That in which even this Consciousness comes and goes; higher than God’.
But there is no rush for these things. In fact, the saying of them is not even important. So, if we are more comfortable using the term ‘Consciousness’ and more able to See so gently that ‘Yes, even Consciousness emerges and dissolves; and all happens in the Light of Consciousness’ then just Consciousness is enough. We don’t have to struggle with any terms.
How many of you are confused about, or not completely clear about what I mean when I say: It’s about the dropping of ‘something’…, the ‘I am something’. It’s all about the dropping the ‘something’ or not picking up the ‘something’. And, it becomes apparent when this ‘I Am’ remains empty of ‘the something’…, the Truth is so apparent. …
How many of you are confused about, or not completely clear about what I mean when I say: It’s about the dropping of ‘something’…, the ‘I am something’. It’s all about the dropping the ‘something’ or not picking up the ‘something’. And, it becomes apparent when this ‘I Am’ remains empty of ‘the something’…, the Truth is so apparent. Is this clear to you? Because this is very, very direct and straightforward.
So, this ‘I’ that is the primal witness that we spoke about, that is the unchanging, isn’t it?
Now, what happens? What is suffering? Can you have suffering in your dreamless sleep? You can’t have suffering in dreamless sleep. So, first, what needs to be there for you to suffer?
[Someone says]: ‘A thought.’
It is before thought. Can a thought come unless you are there? I should be there, but I as now this Consciousness. You must exist. You cannot have a thought in sleep state. You cannot have any phenomenal taste in deep sleep state. In fact, it is the appearance of the sense that ‘I exist’ which is the basis for all of this. So, let’s call this ‘I Am’. And don’t worry about if this has been your direct insight or not. For two minutes, just take my word for it. In the moment of your waking up, there is just ‘I Am’. You see? Before even time and space, there is just ‘I Am’. Then all this play of time and space, all of this starts.
Now, if this ‘I Am’ (Existence, Presence, Consciousness) was just left as ‘I Am’ …, could you suffer? Therefore, you must attach something; I am an employee, I am a mother, I am a father. Something must be put in that box for you to suffer.
Now, how does this ‘something’ get put into the box? Right now, you are empty of ‘something’. Now, if you have to put it in the box, if you had to fill in the blank, what would you have to do? Right now, you are in a safe environment. Try to pick up something. Can you do it without the thought arising? No.
So first, the thought has to arise. Just with the arising of the thought, is there something there? No, because many thoughts come and go. All the time, thought, thought, thought can come. But ‘I Am’ plays as ‘something’ when it gives its ‘yes’ to the thought, it gives its assent, its belief, to the thought. ‘Yes this is true about me. I am a good spiritual seeker.’ Suppose the thought came like that. If it was just coming and going, no truth value given, no assent given; nothing, it doesn’t get attached.
But the minute you latch on to it (as Guruji [Sri Mooji] says, you ‘log in’ to it) then it becomes ‘I am a good spiritual seeker or a bad spiritual seeker’ …, something.
Now, if you attach to the concept ‘I am a good spiritual seeker’ then somebody tells you ‘Rama, it’s not happening for you. What’s happening?! You are not a good spiritual person.’ [Acting shocked, alarmed] But for somebody who’s not in Satsang and they are only interested in building a building or something like that, if you say ‘You are not a good spiritual seeker’ they would say ‘I don’t care’. You see?
So, it is these concepts that we have about ourselves that become the root of our suffering. To be free from suffering, we come to this unassociated ‘I Am’.
What is the way to come to this unassociated ‘I Am’? There are two ways which I usually prescribe on this path, which are: Self-inquiry or surrender.
Surrender means what? Whatever that ‘something’ is which might be offered from the mind, just let it go. Let go. Don’t believe your next thought. Let-go means: It’s my Father’s problem. It’s Guruji’s problem; Satguru’s problem.
So, ‘I Am’. If you don’t fill in the blank [‘I Am _____’] you cannot suffer. In this Emptiness of something, who are you? It is really apparent, but you don’t have a concept
Now, some say that ‘It doesn’t come naturally for me to surrender. I cannot just let things go. I have to make these things a thing’. These days I’ve been saying; my favorite teaching now, today is: Don’t make any thing a ‘thing’. Like that, the same thing: Don’t put something into that box.
Some say ‘It’s not natural for me to surrender. I’m more of the inquisitive type. I have to ask why; what’s going on.’ So. for them, it is prescribed that: For you, it would be better do the inquiry, because letting go doesn’t seem to be easy.
Then you inquire. You say ‘This thought comes that I am not a good spiritual seeker.’ Then you ask yourself: ‘Who is the I that is not a seeker? Is the body the seeker? Is the thought the seeker? Is emotion the seeker? Who is the seeker?’
Then you will see that it is not a true notion; it is not a true concept; it is not true. Therefore, then again, this ‘something’ does not get attached to ‘I Am’ and we remain empty of that. As long as it remains empty of that, then nothing…, no matter what is happening, we cannot suffer in this play. For us to suffer, there must be a notion of limitation that we have put up about ourselves. That’s why most of spirituality, if not all, is about how to be empty of this ‘something’. That’s why when I say ‘Remain open, don’t take a position, don’t give yourself a reference point, don’t go with your mind’s offer, don’t believe your next thought, let go, forget about it’ …, all of this means the same thing: Don’t give yourself that ‘something’ position.
When this is understood, then all that we will find is that some (two or three main) ‘somethings’ still seem to be sticky. They just come, and the habit is to grab on. So, when we come to Satsang, you’ll find naturally that it’s getting lighter and lighter. And if they’re really sticky then we can really put them into the inquiry and say: Until that particular something becomes laughable, we can inquire into it.
If you are not of the inquiry temperament, then you can just surrender it to the Lord, to Guruji. But either way, it is not something that you pick up as a notion about yourself.
Then, if both of these seem too alien, surrender and Self-inquiry, then other paths are there; practice something, chant a mantra, practice mindfulness, do meditation, do vipassana, do various other things to keep yourself empty of this ‘something’ notion. But ultimately, at the end, all spirituality will come to this Truth: I Am, this Atma, this Consciousness, empty of this notion of a limited Atma jeeva, an egoistic, individualistic idea or notion of yourself that ‘I am something’. If this is dropped, no matter which path you follow or which practice you do, it is all about this.
Now, that is what I’ve been saying; that even in spirituality, because the habit is to pick up something, then even this spiritual concept we can pick up. Like, we can hear in Satsang ‘I am Awareness’. You can just pick it up as a concept and put it there: ‘I am Awareness. I’ve found the master key to life. I am Awareness’. So, if anyone says something like ‘What do you like for lunch?’ the reply is ‘I am Awareness’. [Chuckles) You see? That becomes the manifestation of spiritual ego. So, we remain empty even of even spiritual concepts. We use all spiritual concepts just as thorns to remove other thorns.
So, in this way; whatever is easy. Actually, this is the pathless path, because you know the good news. The good news is that right now you are empty of that ‘something’. It’s just that we got used to buying from the salesman who has been selling us fake goods for so long. But now we are learning how to say ‘No’. Not even ‘No’ …, just ‘Move on, move on’. That’s all that’s happening. That’s the meaning of what the zen masters had said: ‘Let all thoughts come and go, just don’t serve them tea.’ It’s the same thing. Don’t pick up that ‘something’ and attach it to yourself.
I feel like this, in this very simple way, it can get to the root of it. Otherwise, I know that many times the words of Satsang can seem contradictory; we don’t know if it’s this way or that way. All of Satsang is basically an attempt. So, if your ‘something’ is of this type, then what you’ll hear in Satsang is the opposite type, so we can empty you of that ‘something’ notion. If it’s the opposite type, then we have to say it. If you are going too much to the right, right, right then I say ‘Left, left, left’. Or I say ‘Come here; right, right, right’. If you are going too much to the right, right, right, then I say ‘Come here; left, left, left’. You see? The point of concepts is not that you will learn something. Actually, it’s to unlearn everything. In Satsang, the point of concept is just that. That’s why.
Q: You said in your book that if you don’t believe your next thought, everything else will be taken care of; that everything will reveal itself to you. It cannot hide, you say. Is it really enough, Guruji? A: Yes. Let’s start now. In this moment, before going to your next thought, you are not …
Q: You said in your book that if you don’t believe your next thought, everything else will be taken care of; that everything will reveal itself to you. It cannot hide, you say. Is it really enough, Guruji?
A: Yes. Let’s start now. In this moment, before going to your next thought, you are not confused about who you are. How is that? It is not your natural state to not know who you are. It is like you’re auditioning for a play but you got so involved in it that it is now the play character which is now trying to find its own Source. You see? What has happened is that the audition became so sticky that it left this mind to remind you of your dream character.
So, if you just keep that aside for some time (not in the sense of aversion or pushing it aside; it is not about not believing your next thought in fear, like ‘No, no, I must run from my thoughts or something) …, just in a simple, natural openness, just allow them to come and go. Don’t pick up a notion about yourself. Because all notions are limitations.
You are Here, effortlessly. And You are aware of this Existence, effortlessly. A thought is a step; an offer to take a step somewhere; an offer to take a position, to make a reference point about yourself. Before you take this offer, where are You? You are Here. As what?
Thoughts do not have answers to these, even if it claims it does. Those answers are not true. But your insight is true.
That is why it is very simple. I used to say very often, every day, that there are three main pointings:
To be rid of suffering (because suffering is the play of the limited self, and the limit can only happen when you pick up a limited notion about yourself) …, so to be rid of suffering, all that one has to do (if it is a doing at all; actually, it is a non-doing) …, all that one has to do is: Don’t believe your next thought.
And many have said that ‘Yes, I cannot suffer unless I believe what this mind is telling me. It always has to do with this limited notion about myself.’
Then, you might ask me ‘Okay, this is fine. I’m not suffering anymore, but what about God? Can you show me God?’
Then, I would say yes, I can show you God if you just try for one moment to stop being. Don’t exist…, for one instant. [Can I stop being?] You will see that this Existence is Here. And this Existence doesn’t have any boundary. It doesn’t have a definition. It doesn’t have shape or size. I Exist. I Am. This Existence is Consciousness; what most people call God.
Then, you might ask me ‘But what about That which is the Absolute? There’s this old Sufi story about ‘Higher than God, I Am’. What is this?’
And mostly, there will come a disbelief when I tell you that to come to this highest, all you have to do is in inquire into this simple question: Am I aware now?
This ‘I’ that is aware, which one is this one?
Now, the questions are very simple, but if we allow the same old techniques to hijack them, which is trying to answer them conceptually or use some prior knowledge (even what you learned in previous Satsangs) if you try to apply that, it won’t work. It must be completely fresh; like an infant child. You cannot use these questions from a position. I know actually that many have also tried ‘Don’t believe your next thought’ from a personal position and reported back to me ‘It doesn’t work’. [Chuckles] Because you’re trying to solve something personally and you’re trying to use this Master Key to open that lock. It’s not a personal strategy; it will not help. It’s not a cheat code to having a prosperous life or something. It is more pristine than that.
So, completely empty of all positions, all notions, ask yourself: Am I aware now?
How is it that you say ‘Yes?’ It’s pristine. It’s pristine how you say ‘Yes’. Just that your mind won’t agree with how pristine it is. Why is it pristine? Because if I ask you ‘Is there a computer in front of you?’ you have to perceive it as an object, then you say ‘Yes’. All objects are perceived in this way. But this Awareness we don’t perceive as an object. And yet, you say ‘Yes’. You don’t have to use the concept ‘I am Awareness’ to say ‘Yes’. You have not had a taste of Awareness as if it is phenomena…, and still you say ‘Yes’.
What is the basis of that ‘Yes’? It is not conceptual, it is not perceptual, it is not emotional; it is something much deeper than that.
And don’t give this insight over to the mind. Because the mind will come like a jealous friend. You’re trying to tell them about your wonderful vacation and they say ‘Yeah, yeah, I did that five years ago. And also, by the way, I also did this. Did you do that?’ It will try to find reasons for why you are ‘not there yet’. So, don’t go to the mind for the freedom certificate. Just See that You are aware of Your very Existence.
Which one is this one?
Q: Can you talk about the importance, if there is any, of the bhajans and chants? A: Bhajan is actually an invocation. It is a choice-less invocation almost, in the sense that in the one who calls, something arises in their Heart when the call arises…, and the one that responds, also has no option. …
Q: Can you talk about the importance, if there is any, of the bhajans and chants?
A: Bhajan is actually an invocation. It is a choice-less invocation almost, in the sense that in the one who calls, something arises in their Heart when the call arises…, and the one that responds, also has no option. So that aspect of Consciousness…
Maybe some other day I can share more about what all these aspects are and if they are real or not real. But that aspect of Consciousness which is being invoked with no expectations, with no phenomenal gain in mind, just out of this beautiful space of devotion (and whether you are invoking Krishna or Jesus, it doesn’t matter) that aspect of Consciousness serves your Presence.
This invocation that we call bhajan is a beautiful part of the play, a sweet part of the play, that is still enjoyed here very much. [Smiling] It is with very bad singing usually (is what arises here) but with full, full love to enjoy the taste of Consciousness that we might call…, whatever name we might give to it.
It’s like invoking the Holy presence of Guruji [Sri Mooji] invoking the Holy presence of Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] invoking the Holy presence of Papaji [Poojaji]. You can taste their flavor, isn’t it? You can taste their Presence. It is the same way as it is with anything that you have true devotion in your Heart for.
So, besides the joy of the singing, the beautiful words, the tune and melody, all of these things, true bhajans are an invocation from the Heart to that aspect of the Formless One which appears in these most beautiful forms.
And just like a Master is an appearance of this aspect of Consciousness which is so empty of the concepts about himself or herself, we invoke the beautiful Presence of the Master. They are there; always there, but even their flavor becomes apparent.
Very beautiful. And whatever your starting temperament might be, you will find that as True Knowledge dawns then True devotion is a by-product of that. If true devotion flowers, you find that these beautiful insights, true Knowledge, also appears. Like Nisargadatta Maharaj; all he had was his devotion to his Master and yet he spoke right from the place of the Absolute.
There are many, many, many rivers that lead to the same ocean. In the same way, all paths lead to your Self, because the Self is always there.
Q: Guruji, I have a doubt. Is witnessing also a phenomena? A: Is witnessing also a phenomena? So, that is why I clarify often that usually when we talk about witnessing, we are talking about perception. And perception is the process of Consciousness using attention to bring phenomenal content to Itself. So, if this is …
Q: Guruji, I have a doubt. Is witnessing also a phenomena?
A: Is witnessing also a phenomena? So, that is why I clarify often that usually when we talk about witnessing, we are talking about perception. And perception is the process of Consciousness using attention to bring phenomenal content to Itself. So, if this is what we mean by ‘witnessing’ then this part of the play is also phenomenal because it relies on your Existence and the availability of attention.
But what is it that is aware of this?
What is aware of Presence, this Being?
What is aware of attention itself?
This Witness (capital ‘W’ Witness) is not phenomenal. This Witness is that which witnesses the coming and going of all the states; the coming and going ultimately of ‘I Am’ Itself, of Consciousness Itself. This is the Eternal Witness, the Sakshi.
So, usually in Satsang when we say ‘Witness’ we are talking about this primal Witness, primodial Witness. But That which witnesses perception, can That be perceived? [Silence]
And yet, in spite of It being non-phenomenal, it is not just a concept. This is the only discovery which is like this. It’s your direct insight about YourSelf. And yet it is non-phenomenal and you are not making it up. You Are It.
That’s why it’s a beautiful, holy inquiry: What witnesses perception?
Maybe we can take a minute to take you through this. If, one by one, all the senses were leaving us: sight has left us, hearing has left us, taste has left us, touch has left us, smell has left us; all the senses have left. Suppose all of these seemingly-inner objects; thoughts, memories, imagination…, all of this also is gone; emotion, sensation, pain, pleasure…, also gone:
You continue to exist.
Now, this existence, who witnesses this?
What is aware of this?
And you will notice that This One is independent of all perception, all senses, and even inner perception. This is what we call the intuitive insight…, because it is beyond just the regular perception.
From this place, a Sage like Astavakra says ‘You are the one solitary witness of all there is.’ And just before that, he said ‘You are not earth, water, fire or air; you are not even the space in which they happen.’ All phenomena you are not. And yet ‘You are the one solitary witness of all there is.’ Therefore, You must be something which is beyond phenomena. And if You are beyond phenomena, then You witness that all phenomena is a coming and going; is an appearance and disappearance. That it why it is called ‘appearance’ because it appears and it disappears. Reality does not appear and disappaear; but the Reality is not phenomenal.
So, I’m happy that you asked this question because many have been confusing this ‘Witness’ of the Ashtavkara [Gita] with the perception, which is the functioning of Consciousness using the power of attention to bring objects to life (in a way).
Q: So, is the Witness self-aware; aware of Itself; witnessing all of the phenomena and Its own existence, too?
A: Yes, because if it wasn’t, then we would never be able to say ‘I am aware’. Then Awareness would be an unknown notion. So, not only is Self self-aware, even in Its dynamic play as Consciousness, it comes to the recognition of this Awareness. So, if Its dynamic play is coming to this recognition, if in the inquiry, if in the ‘neti, net’ / ‘not this, not this’ process, you come into the recognition of this, then You that is coming to the recognition of this is also just an aspect of Awareness. Then, how can it be that an aspect can come to this recognition, if the Whole never had it?
Some of these things, I know, might seem a bit confusing but it’s simpler than what we might think it is.
In fact, It is the ‘All Knowing’. It is the Knowingness Itself. Then how would It not Know this basic, fundamental truth about Itself? But It doesn’t know it in a conceptual way. It doesn’t need to know it in a perceptual way. All of this is part of the phenomenal aspect; Consciousness which has played with this knowledge conceptually, experientially, as objects of perception. Now it is going beyond all that.
That’s why this is so uniquie. Here, there is no experience on offer; that is why it is so unique. And yet, it is a non-phenomenal experience.
To the mind, there is no such thing as a non-phenomenal experience because experience itself means phenomena. But to You …, You are recognizing this. As you’re emptying yourself of all conditionings, all that is false about YourSelf, you will See that all of these insights are self-evident. So, you don’t have to force them.
I’m very happy with this. Just continue to not fill the blank with ‘I am ____’ …, not to fill in the blank with anything. You will find that all of these insights become clearer and clearer.
Inquiry must be done in a very natural, playful way. I feel like too many are doing inquiry like [Makes a face of much exertion and stern trying]. Let it be just easier. So natural: ‘Who am I? Am I the body?’ Not [Stern, contorted face] ‘Am I the body’. [Chuckles] Sincerely, who am I? …
Inquiry must be done in a very natural, playful way. I feel like too many are doing inquiry like [Makes a face of much exertion and stern trying]. Let it be just easier. So natural: ‘Who am I? Am I the body?’ Not [Stern, contorted face] ‘Am I the body’. [Chuckles]
Sincerely, who am I?
Am I something that is changing?
And if I am the changing, then what would witness this change?
Is that itself changing?
Just like this; simple. One or two questions like this. Allow the questions to do the work themselves. The main part of the inquiry is not to get in the way. Just allow it to unfold. The question ‘Who am I?’ is so potent that it doesn’t need any other support. And what can seemingly-obstruct it is our conclusion. So, if you’re reaching a conclusion, then drop it! You will reach a non-conclusion; the no-thing…, as your intuitive insight. And you will struggle to verbalize it. The intuition itself puts the words in your mouth. And then they are coming from a space of True Seeing.
I know that this inconclusiveness can seem a bit frustrating for some. Because in this world, we’ve been taught that we must know things. If you don’t know, then you’re dumb or something. But it’s not true. You will not know who you are conceptually. You will not know who you are as a phenomenon. You will see that You have always Known who You Are.
I don’t say these words with the intent of making them confusing; in fact, if there is intent here it is only to make it sound very simple. But as I hear them, I know that many times they can sound like a bit of a riddle. That is the play of trying to share this non-phenomenal Truth in a phenomenal way.
The bud, the flower bud might also feel, when the change comes and it is opening up, it might feel like it is dying. ‘If my petals are just opening, opening, they might just fall off’. Like that. This resistance to opening up is like that. You don’t know what is happening. That is …
The bud, the flower bud might also feel, when the change comes and it is opening up, it might feel like it is dying. ‘If my petals are just opening, opening, they might just fall off’. Like that. This resistance to opening up is like that. You don’t know what is happening. That is why sometimes it is said that the devotees have the easiest time of it because they feel like ‘Whatever it is, it is the Master’s problem’.
Come to your notion-less existence. And see that these words are just your own inner insight. Nisargadatta Maharaj was a seller of small cigarettes called beedis; no education, no Advaitic background, did not go to any school. Just in his unfolding, he saw that it is so clear. Then his words, this uneducated beedi seller, his words have become the revered scripture (almost, you can say). It was wanted, maybe, that he didn’t know. And he continued not to know. From that not-knowing, he can speak of the True Knowingness.
But if there’s a claimant to this Knowingness, then you know that it has become mental; it has become a position.
It’s empty of one to know. Only the Knowingness Is. There is nobody who decided to be aware. There is nobody who has suddenly become aware.
This Awareness that we speak of is prior to all of this; prior to all that can change.
Without a notion, You are just the Self. Even with a notion, You are just the Self. The only difference is then it is this Self which is posing as if it is a person. That is why this spiritual journey is the journey of dropping all notions. And yet, in the play of life, …
Without a notion, You are just the Self.
Even with a notion, You are just the Self.
The only difference is then it is this Self which is posing as if it is a person.
That is why this spiritual journey is the journey of dropping all notions.
And yet, in the play of life, it can seem like the journey unfolded.
But the dropping of the notion happens only Now.
You cannot hold onto the concept that ‘One day I will drop all concepts’.
And what is the good news? The good news is that even this dropping is not an exercise that you must do. It is not a ‘doing’ in that way. It is the picking up; the belief in the notion. It is giving assent to the thought. It is believing the conclusion that the mind is making about You which is the seeming effort.
Could it be that that which we have been chasing for so long actually is the most effortless thing?
Q: I feel that some identification with the fear comes. A: So, what is the way to identify even with the fear? Suppose I was to tell you now that you see YourSelf as this Primal Witnessing which has no size or shape; nothing. Now, your job is the opposite. You are not to try and …
Q: I feel that some identification with the fear comes.
A: So, what is the way to identify even with the fear? Suppose I was to tell you now that you see YourSelf as this Primal Witnessing which has no size or shape; nothing. Now, your job is the opposite. You are not to try and get rid of the fear, you’re not to try and get rid of the identification with the fear, you connect this Awareness to the fear…, and show me how you will do it. Let the fear come, use it, in fact, and try to identify the Awareness to this fear. Attach the Awareness to the fear. How will you do it?
Q: So, you say, right now, as the Awareness, try and attach to the fear?
A: Yes, instead of trying to avoid the attachment, you do the reverse; try to attach.
Q: But how to do it?
A: Do it, try everything; try whatever you have been doing in the past. You say ‘I get so attached to this fear.’ So, everything you have been doing in the past to attach the Self to fear, can you do it?
Q: I feel right now, when you are in the state of being aware and you are calling the mind to bother you, it’s not coming! [Smiling]
A: [Chuckling] Yes.
Q: Mind says ‘Right now, I’m not going to come.’ Right now, I feel that I cannot call the fear to come.
A: Yes. You see, this is what happens. When you hide from the mind, then it comes and chases you. But when you say to the mind ‘Okay, tell me what you can do. How will you get this primal witnessing, this Awareness which has no attribute, no shape, no size, no locations, no durations; nothing.’ Then you say ‘Okay, Mr. mind, you come. Tell me how will you attack me, how will you get me bound, how you will attach to me?’ Then you notice that it’s just not possible. You see?
So, in your hiding, you pretend as if you are a limited identity. In your hiding, you pose as if you are a limited entity. In your openness, in your saying, ‘Okay, come, what will you do? Mr. fear, come. Mr. mind, come. What will you do to the Self?’ Like that, if you stay open, you see that they will do nothing. They are molesting a non-existent ‘you’ which is just an invention which you’ve made, based on yourself as a spiritual seeker.
Because we have invested so much in the inquiry, we have invested so much in the spiritual seeking process, that we invest in our identity as the seeker who now must be free of fear.
But I am telling you that whatever might come, the biggest fear, the biggest anger, the biggest emotion might come, it cannot touch the reality of You; ever. It is never touched. You will find that this is true.
Every time, You will See that this is true. But when you project from the past or when you project into the future, you might find that ‘Oh, actually, I do end up getting caught up’. You see?
Now this ‘I’ which ends getting caught up is just a figment of your imagination. We have believed ourself to be that non-existent one for so long. I usually these days call it ‘the blue cat’. We’ve imagined ourselves to be ‘the blue cat’ for so long that we are just chasing our bowl of milk or avoiding that which can give this cat some pain. But You are not that.
No matter if you look at this a million times, you will never find one who is actually attacked.
That one just never exists. It is just an interpretation of the mind saying ‘Because fear is coming, I am fearful; because something is arising therefore I must be that’.
But You are never that.
You are always this Awareness alone.
Q: Can you speak of this persistent idea that awakening is a sudden experience and everything up until then is in preparation for it? …, meaning actually, nothing can be done for that. But there is this feeling that everyone who truly we call awake had this conversion then they are doing their best to …
Q: Can you speak of this persistent idea that awakening is a sudden experience and everything up until then is in preparation for it? …, meaning actually, nothing can be done for that. But there is this feeling that everyone who truly we call awake had this conversion then they are doing their best to show us how simple that is, already Here Now, but for them it was sudden and total.
A: So, let’s really look at what it really means, this awakening. Now, there are two things. One is that which we call ‘the awakening’ or that which we call ‘the awakening experience’. Now, it is true that most of our teachers have told us that the awakening experience, as it happened, was a sudden shift in perspective. They say that ‘There was not a separate me that I could find’. It is like that. It is true that many have (in fact, most have) these kinds of reports. And it is rare to have those who talk about this sober awakening where it was empty of a radical shift that happened in a moment. And yet, it is also true that all those who have had these radical shifts are now saying that it is not about that experience itself, per say. It is just that in that moment, nothing happened except that I Saw what I always was; and you can also See that, Right Here, Right Now.
It’s one of the conundrums of this play of Consciousness; it’s a conundrum in this appearance of this world. It’s like the Buddha himself did a lot of austerities and practices and then he said ‘None of that is needed. Just the middle path; moderation’. So, this is the way the world seems to play.
Actually, in our sangha, we can say that there are many who are coming to this recognition in a very sober way; not necessarily with a lot of fireworks, a lot of radical shifting. Just every day, more and more clearing happening. So, it is like that.
At one level it seems like a conundrum that more have had this kind of radical shifting and then they say ‘It is not about just that experience. It is about the recognition of who we Are…, and not picking up the false conditioning.’
So, if you were to look at it just in a simple way, what happens in that moment? What happens in that moment is that it is Seen that there is no individual ‘me’ here…, and it is Seen that I am not a phenomenal object. You cannot find a location for YourSelf, you cannot find a reference point for YourSelf. But that is true even Now. And yet, this (when it seems sudden) it can seem like you’re just caught up, seemingly so attached to this container of the body, that ‘I’m an object within this body’ and then …, [opens his arms wide] [the realization]: ‘I’m not an object within this body at all. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like the body is an object. Nothing is an object. It just feels like everything is just light, and nothing’. So, that moment can come.
But the main point is that Now, as you’re finding this about YourSelf, it is completely possible to drop that which is false.
If you were to check Now (this is what we do every day) if you check Now, we find that ‘I’m not an object, I’m not a limited thing’. Most of us do find this. Only some have this very radical sort of awakening or awakening experience, as you might call it.
[Reads question again]: ‘This persistent idea that awakening is a sudden experience.’
Now, there are many also who can have this awakening experience and are not yet awake…, for the same reason, using the same terminology, are not yet liberated from the limited conditions they have put upon themselves. In fact, there are some that have had strong awakening experiences and yet have gone to deeply spiritual egoistic conditions about themselves. So, the awakening experience, although very often is the end of the false conditioning about ourself, many times it can also lead to a lot of new spiritual conditioning about ourself.
[Reads question again]: ‘Everything up until then is a preparation for it.’
It can seem like that. When we look at the lives of these Sages, many times it can seem like that, that everything up until that point was preparation for it. Then that big shift happened. In fact, [Chuckles] that is why I rarely share the story from here. It’s just that sometimes when my children ask me the question with great sincerity, I cannot get myself to say ‘No, no, I won’t share’. But many times, these things have become benchmarks for us.
There’s one thing that I want to look at. She also said, ‘But for them, it was sudden and total’. So, I would completely agree with the sudden part, but the total part is really not true. Even if you look at the lives of the greatest Sages, you will find that many of them went into a period of silence where everything that was still remaining was washed away, wiped clean. Not everything…, 99.9997%. [Chuckles] Because ‘everything’ [100%] also becomes a condition. So, sudden; yes. But total; no. Mostly, in fact, it has been that even for those who have a sudden awakening experience, they have gone into prolonged periods of silence where the clean-up job continued in that period of silence.
She says, ‘Actually, strangely enough, it seems that many who gave up the search …, then it happened.’
Maybe that’s what Papaji used to say. ‘You? No, it’s not for you in this life.’ [Chuckles] So, when you hear it like that, then this whole feverishness about freedom, wanting that ultimate bowl of milk, drops away. And in that ease, sometimes…., yes. Like that. The simple Seeing. Being empty of this feverishness, conditional feverishness, can create more room for the simple Seeing to take place.
There is no one template that works. Like, if it worked like that, I would just tell everyone ‘You, no, it’s not. You, no.’ If it just worked like that; if I found the magic pill… [Laughs] But it is not like that. There is no template for this. That is why you just have to trust what is coming up intuitively.
Even then, we don’t know how life will play out in that particular case. […] That is the nature of Consciousness. That is why the Sage’s attempt is to meet you where you are and then to see what arises from there. How the play turns out, even in spite of that, nobody can ever really predict.
[Reads more from questioner]: This is very good. She says ‘You asked: ‘What is the most persistent idea you hold?’ It is this one. I just want to surrender this.’
Suppose there was no concern about relationships, all relationships. Suppose there was no concern about money or security. Suppose there was no concern about health in the body, state of the body. And suppose there was no concern about even freedom. Truly there is no reason to be concerned actually about any of these. These are …
Suppose there was no concern about relationships, all relationships. Suppose there was no concern about money or security. Suppose there was no concern about health in the body, state of the body. And suppose there was no concern about even freedom.
Truly there is no reason to be concerned actually about any of these. These are the four primary problems or concerns we seem to pick up. Sources of suffering are our ideas, our expectations about these. The funniest is the last one. [Chuckling] The suffering seeker. Who knew?… that to escape worldly suffering he came into this spirituality and who knew?… that it was fresh suffering? ‘I’m not getting it’…, ‘When is it going to happen for me?’ This kind of suffering; unworthiness, guilt, the idea that ‘I’m missing the point’ or something like this.
The point of saying could not have been this…, ‘Oh, let’s exchange worldly suffering for a new variety of suffering. Let’s change it from worldly arrogance or wordy specialness to spiritual arrogance or spiritual specialness.’ Definitely was not the purpose, if there was a purpose. This cannot be the purpose of satsang.
It’s just that for so long you’ve looked this way. [Pointing outwards, away from himself] You’ve hardly ever looked this way. [Pointing towards himself] We’ve looked at the objective realm, the world of objects, for too long and then when we are told ‘Look within. Look at what you are, at ‘Who am I?’ We go looking in that way also with the expectation of finding some object. ‘I found the Self’ …, as if you’ll find it as an object. What You are finding is Your own Self, which is prior to objects.
Now, this is a huge paradigm shift for the mind. Because the mind cannot actually even fathom this. It us too much of a leap. That’s maybe Guruji [Sri Mooji] says ‘You be the cow that jumped over the moon.’ Take this leap. What is the leap? Just from this very objective idea, the idea that ‘I am a thing, I am this body, I am what the mind is telling me I am’ to Seeing that ‘I am not an object. I’m not a thing at all. The Self is not a thing. I am no-thing.’
Earlier I used to say often: More than a noun, you are a verb. You are a verb…, but actually even that’s not true. Not even the verb you are. It’s a good shaker-upper. [Chuckles]
Now, all these concerns that we talked about, if you are not an object, which one would apply?
The relationship of the space in this room; what can we say about the relationship the space has? You need to invent a theme; you need to invent something that you are before you can have a relationship.
Who has that money in the bank account which you say is yours? Where is that entity? Who is the owner of that? There is a name there; it seems to conform with the name that has been given to this body. But even if this body was able to answer, are you concerned about the money in the bank account? You can’t even touch it.
Who is that one that owns this body? Who owns that money? Who owns that relationship? Who owns the spiritual journey? Who has embarked on this endeavor?
There is nobody. When you look, you will find that there is nobody. That which is looking unconcerned by any if this. If you spoke to the looking and said ‘You will find freedom after seven lifetimes, if you’re really good’ …, the looking would say ‘Freedom? What freedom? Where is the bondage?’
This, you see, this is the Divine delusion, maya; that That which is so beyond all of this has been able to invent this concept about itself…, and now feels it is stuck in this endless maze. ‘How do I get out of this maze? I’m stuck!’ This is the story of the spiritual seeker…, going from teaching to teaching, from Master to Master, confusion to confusion. You will find that what all the true Masters are saying is that ‘The Truth just IS; unchanging.’
How many can pick that up as a clue and say ‘What is it that is unchanging? What is it that is unchanging?’
Most of humanity cannot spend two minutes on this question. Notice the hypnosis of the mind is so strong, so caught up in the realm of change, in the realm of holding on to that which changes, that for two minutes we cannot contemplate this question: ‘What remains unchanging?’ Can we take a minute on it?
We don’t have to throw anything away also. Let it be there. Don’t fight with the changing realm. Let it be there. But beyond that, is there something?
Is there something about you which is beyond change?
Who can go through like this; step by step? The body? What about the body? [Chuckling] Let’s have some feedback. Changing or unchanging?
A: Changing, so what else is there? Body is changing. What else is there in our experience?
A: Aliveness; changing it unchanging? We’ll come to that in a minute.
What is there before we come to aliveness?
Q: Thoughts. Sensations.
A: Thoughts, mind, memory, sensation, feeling, emotions; all clearly changing. So, what is there beyond that?
Like he said: Aliveness. Aliveness. Can you stop being? Can you not be? Is this what you mean by aliveness, what we call Being?
Now, this is a beautiful point to get to. As long as we are looking in this waking state, this Being is the one constant. Guruji [Sri Mooji] says it is the deity of the waking state; the God of the waking state. But when everything goes (everything goes in that which we call sleep) even this Presence, this Being, this sense of Existence is not there. Isn’t it? And yet You Are. Empty of even aliveness, ultimately.
Now, we can only rely on our experience for this; we cannot conceptualize it at all. So, a beautiful way to check is:
What wakes up in the morning? What woke up today? I woke up. Which I was that? This sense that I exist, the sense that I am, the sense that I am alive.
That which you came to in your sleep state was beyond life and death; unborn, undying. The presence or absence of even the waking state or dream state does not touch That one. The concept of two does not exist there; the concept of one also does not exist there. There is ‘not two’ … Advaita.
This, because it is the simplest recognition, even a child recognizes it. And the simpler it gets, the more complicated it is for the mind. Because everybody knows. ‘Ah, I woke up just five minutes ago’. What came? The sense that ‘I exist’.
Now the Sage [Ashtavakra] was able to say, Papaji [Sri Pooja] was able to say, Guruji [Sri Mooji] was able to say: ‘Don’t touch this also. Don’t even touch this sense of existence. Now, what are you?’
The one that woke up. Let the waking state take care of that one. You cannot have any trouble then. The one that woke that one up…, let That one take care of this one. Simple surrender. Let the waking state take care of itself.
If you take any object, say, if I decide I’m going to take the coconut into my dreamless sleep. Can I do it? Or I say ‘I want to take this hand into my dreamless sleep; just this hand should be there.’ Can I do it? No. Can we take a thought there, into my dreamless sleep? ‘I want to just have that one thought, the holiest thought!’ Can I take it? You cannot. ‘I still haven’t fallen asleep, I’m still awake. Can I take some emotions with me?’ Nothing. All is left behind.
Papaji’s example is very beautiful, that you can be on your wedding night in the arms of your beloved but when sleep comes, even that beloved is left behind. No object can go with you. But you sleep. It is not a third-party experience. You cannot say to someone ‘You sleep for me today’. [Chuckling] And yet, this ‘You’ is beyond all attributes and qualities…, because all qualities were left behind.
Nothing is there…, and yet, You Are.
This ‘You’ has gotten no attention, has gotten no focus from us; has been given no value. The waking state comes, it is this play of light and sound and excitement and all kinds of things, so the substratum has lost its focus in a way. So, this Satsang, this Self-recognition is just about this: looking further back and saying: ‘Who am I? Am I some object of the waking state? Or do I remain untouched, no matter which appearances may appear in the waking state? Who am I?’
One of our Sangha members has been there right from the beginning. From almost the very first Satsang four years ago, he has been there. He says, “Any time I ask Ananta something, I know what he will say. He will say: ‘Who are you?’ [Laughing] Anything, anything, like ‘What am I supposed to do?’ [Ananta will say] ‘Who? Who is the ‘you’ who has to do?’ …, like some Advaita policeman.” And sometimes I have to; it’s true.
Because the source of all confusion, at the root, is the confusion about identity. It might seem like whatever else it is; it might seem like a question if desire, a question of doership, but at the root of that confusion is the confusion about who we are; about who I am.
Now, if you come to Satsang, you will not escape this question. If you’re not in satsang…, I don’t go to work and ask everyone ‘Who are you?’ [Laughing] But Satsang means that ‘I am open to this question.’ At least this kind of Satsang means that ‘I’m open to this. I might not be very inclined to inquire but I am open to hearing the pointing as it is spoon-fed day after day.’ The end of all is this psychological suffering, of all of these problems…, in this recognition, this is to be found.
But what can happen sometimes is that the mind can come in very quickly after the moment of recognition and try to co-op the recognition personally. That is what is called the spiritual ego. Whatever form it might take, whatever color or flavor it might express itself in…, it is what? The idea that the ‘person’ has come to a spiritual insight.
So, this recognition has no claimant to it. The claimant is the ego in its worst form actually. The claimant to it is the most difficult one to engage with, because it is the most closed. If there is a quality about a spiritual seeker which is useful, it is openness. ‘I’m open. I don’t know.’ But the claimant of the recognition is the most closed. ‘I’ve seen it all now. I’m done with this. You have nothing more that you can give me.’ This kind of thing. ‘Yes, yes, I’m Awareness. Why can’t you understand that I’m Awareness’? [Laughing] This is the voice of the spiritual ego or the claimant.
Plus, you can smell the wanting to proclaim, the wanting to get some attention, to get some specialness as a result of this; almost like a child who has done very well in their exams for the first time, then they want to go all over the market place, saying ‘See my report card.’ [Chuckling] So, then the Master says ‘Keep quiet, sit down. This claimant will give you much more trouble.’ And you’ve seen over the years in the Sangha, also many have gotten stuck and have had so much trouble because of this.
You cannot pick up a new position. I was saying after Satsang got over yesterday that I’m really enjoying these recent satsangs, which are so much inviting you to drop all the positions that you can take.
So, ego is what? Ego is position…, the ultimate position, the sub-ultimate position, the worldly position, the personal position, the position as God, the position as person. All this: Forget about it. Fuhgeddaboudit! [Said with that Mafia accent of American movies] [Chuckling] It’s not going to help.
Then you see that Satsang is not a classroom. Till then, you might feel like it’s a classroom. There’s one teacher who keeps talking, talking, talking and ‘What am I learning, learning, learning?’ Then you see that this is the absolute unlearning.
That’s why yesterday Shivani was saying, ‘I don’t know anything.’ So, I said ‘In the ‘I don’t know anything?’ how can you be troubled? How can that be a bother? Then there must be an idea that ‘I don’t know anything but I must know something.’ If that is not there, then what can bother us?
The true ‘I don’t know’ is just beautiful. So, ‘I don’t know’ is very good. Which classroom will tell you this? [Chuckles]
Now who does this ‘I don’t know belong to’? If the ‘I don’t know’ belongs to somebody with name and form, then it can be a painful ‘I don’t know’. If that ‘I don’t know’ is part of the natural functioning of this play, if there’s no claimant even of the ‘I don’t know’ then you’re not troubled even if the worst type of feelings are coming; even if the worst type of thoughts are coming. What you are remains untouched by the flow of any object. The object could be a feeling, it could be a thought, it could be some state of the body, it could be anything in the world.
So, ultimately, it all must boil down to who you are. All the clues are available, all the pointings are available. All that is needed is a little bit of openness.
If the clue says ‘Find that which is unchanging’ and you use your mind and say ‘Yeah, yeah, the Self is unchanging ‘ that doesn’t help. That is where knowledge gets in the way, actually. If you know too much, then when the pointer is being given then you have already preempted it with some learned concept or based on some past insight…, and that doesn’t help. If the clue is ‘Find out that which is the non-phenomenal witness of everything that is phenomena’ …. and then you apply your knowledge about phenomena and witness, that doesn’t help.
You just have to look.
What is always here? God is here. And I’m not speaking physically. Right Now, Your own Presence is Here. This is this Being. Earlier, when somebody would ask me ‘Can you show me God?’ I would say ‘Yes. But you have to follow this question: ‘Can you stop being?’ Your Existence, Your Presence, uncolored by …
What is always here? God is here. And I’m not speaking physically. Right Now, Your own Presence is Here. This is this Being.
Earlier, when somebody would ask me ‘Can you show me God?’ I would say ‘Yes. But you have to follow this question: ‘Can you stop being?’
Your Existence, Your Presence, uncolored by any attribute, is naturally Here.
To still the seeker, that’s the only thing you ever need to hear. This Consciousness remains; untouched, no matter what might be happening in the worldly appearance.
Now what does it mean to ‘go there’? To ‘go there’ implies ‘to take a position’. To give this unadulterated Presence an attribute or a quality and say ‘I am something’. This ‘I Am’ plays as if it is an ‘I am something’. And this ‘something’ is perennially dissatisfying because You know that You not that ‘something’. You are unlimited. And that ‘something’ is always a limitation.
So, any time you pick up that something…, (the strangest things come to me in Satsang). [Smiling] Do you remember that story we used to read growing up? There was a story about this princess where the Father (I don’t remember exactly how the story was) but the Father wanted to check whether she is really his daughter; the princess. So, she had these 8 layers of mattresses but under that, he put a pea or somebody put a pea. So, this pea was there. And this princess was used to so much comfort that she couldn’t sleep because under the layer of 8 mattresses, there was a pea.
So, this ‘something’ was that pea. You will not come to comfort, you will not come to satisfaction till you get rid of this ‘something’. That’s why I say the best news I can give you is you have to do nothing to get rid of it. Right Now, You Are This ‘I Am’. Existence is uncolored. But you also have the power to pick up this concept, this notion about yourself that ‘I am something’. So, if we allow all notions to just come and go. . .
I see online also some new people are here. Some of you have not heard this example from this restaurant ‘Yo Sushi’. Some of you have seen it. In this restaurant ‘Yo Sushi’ they have all these dishes that come, one after the other, on a conveyor belt. So, you’re sitting at your table and there’s a conveyor belt running next to you; and all these dishes are color-coded. So, these offerings are coming.
The mind is offering these notions. Being is Here. The mind will be saying ‘Pick this up and taste it’ …, from the view of individuality. When we are done with stuffing ourselves with notions, then we get tired of it. It will be like ‘I had the red one, it’s really sweet. That one is good. What if I have the blue one? That one is good. This one…’ Education, relationship, money, security; all of these dishes are coming as offerings from the mind and you follow them. They come as the offer that ‘You are something’.
There is nothing that will feed Consciousness, because Consciousness is already All There Is.
So, what to do as these dishes are coming and going? Just don’t pick them up.
If you pick them up, what to do? Nothing. Just don’t pick up the next one. If you pick that up, what to do? Don’t pick up the next one. Because what can happen many times, when we do pick up a notion about ourselves, then quickly we also pick up the next notion that ‘I am so unworthy, I am so stupid, I am so guilty’.
So, this is pointing you to the Truth of what You Are, Right Now.
Do you have to think about it? Do you have to understand it?
This. And this is contrary to all the conditions that we have had so far, isn’t it? That is why it can seem like a struggle because our habit is like this. But, nothing to do, nowhere to go. Just naturally, Your Presence is Here. The Being is Here.
This Consciousness is the fruit of Satsang. This is the fruit that is on offer here. But can I give it to you straight? To come to unassociated Being…, do you have to ‘stay’ like this? What you might feel in Satsang sometimes is that you ‘stay as you are’. But ‘staying’ only means ‘Don’t pick up that which is false’.
It’s too easy! [Smiling] Liberation is too easy if you are just a little bit open.
No position. No ‘I am this or that’. No ‘I am 50% free’ or ‘100% free’. Not even ‘I am enlightened’. Not even the concept ‘I am the Self’ is needed…, unless we first make ourself into something. Which is what? ‘I must be this body/mind with a particular name.’ Or ‘I must have some experiences as confirmation of my freedom. Only when I’m feeling bliss! Then I must be free.’ This can also play, as someone was saying the other day ‘When I’m in Satsang hall, it’s so easy, there’s so much love; just Presence, Being’. It’s not even about that. It’s not about any feeling, not about any thought, not about anywhere to get to. It’s That which is ever-present.
When you start to See this for yourself, then all these stories about the one who is begging while sitting on the treasure chest and believing he doesn’t have anything; this is the spiritual seeker.
Be aware of what you already have…, then tell me if you need something. The other day I was saying that ‘The food is on the table and you’re licking the scraps on the floor’.
Where to go to find God? Where did you go to find YourSelf? What are You already? Is there something missing?
Now, all of us have had our favorite ‘but…’ So, either we can just drop this ‘but…’ or we can inquire into it. That’s why Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] said ‘Either surrender or inquiry’. If you have devotion, then offer it up at the Master’s feet. Then don’t pick it up. Done! Or.., inquire. ‘Who is this ‘but’ about? But…, what about when I go home? But…, why doesn’t my family understand I am free?’ So, inquire into this. ‘Whose family? Who are you referring to yourself as? Are you just this body/mind? Are they not also an appearance the same way that this body is?’
We try to apply this which we are finding in Satsang personally. We cannot do that. And many times, it is this that remains like a thorn, embedded in us. It is not to be used in that way. It is not a self-help class. [Chuckles]
The discovery is that ‘I Am beyond All There Is’. And empty of notions. This is so apparent. You don’t have to struggle to find yourself. The only struggle seems to be these sticky notions, these sticky labels about ourself and the world. The plan of what to do. The list of what you want. So, if we don’t use fancy words like desire and doership, that’s what it means, isn’t it? The plan for what you want to do, the list of what you want; all of this is desire and doership.
What did you do to create this Presence here?
How much effort did it take for you to be present?
Effortless. It’s Here. So, where to go looking for that which is already Here? Which practice will get us there? Therefore, the only useful practice is that which helps me remain empty of all notions about myself. No matter what the practice is, That which You Are (no matter what country you might be hearing this from, whether it’s day or night, what your situation might be in life, at work, with family or whatever) this that I’m saying is true for all of us.
Your Existence is effortlessly present.
And in this moment, Right Now, Now, Now,
You are empty of all notions about yourself.
Naturally, it happens.
So, Satsang is about demolishing our favorite notions about ourself, our favorite concepts. Even now, you might be holding onto one or two favorites. This is fine; but this one, till I fix this…, till I have a particular experience; till something. You might be holding onto a particular grievance or some idea of individuality. All these are being shaken out of us. As we come Satsang like this, a direct Satsang, you will find that many come expecting peace also. But you might find that the volume seems even turned up for them because these notions can start to feel like they are so troublesome. They need to be vomited out. So, all the clean-up, all the emptying, naturally just happens here.
You see, what happens (this is not an elegant metaphor) if you’ve thrown all of it, and then you go and revisit the garbage truck, like you just want your favorite necklace back or something, then it might feel like ‘I will avoid the stink of the rest of it and only go and get my necklace’. You will find the entire thing seems to be waiting there for you. ‘Oh, you’ve come!’ [Chuckles] Our personal ideas about ourselves are there, ready to be picked up. And yet, again, this is what we do. We keep revisiting the garbage truck, thinking that something meaningful will come out of it…, so you ignore the God, the Presence which is just here, effortlessly.
The world is moving in the Light of that Presence. When we Exist, the world moves? Or not? We wake up in the morning; do we say that the world is on pause? The body is the body, the heart is already beating, breath is happening, the sun seems to be moving; everything is going on as soon as we are present. Everything is functioning on its own, effortlessly. The Presence is Here, effortlessly. And That which is aware even of this Presence is completely beyond even the idea of effort.
So, then, does this mean you got it? No. [Chuckles] Does this mean you haven’t got it? No. Because even those are positions. Even that is the ‘something’. ‘Now I am something. Now I am free.’ Freedom doesn’t need a concept to announce itself. This is just the oscillation of the mind, which goes from ‘I am so bound, bound, bound’ to (many times in Satsang) ‘I am so free, free, free’. [Laughs] And it’s still coming very individualistically. ‘I’ is still there as a concept to console the body/mind.
I’m just highlighting some of our favorite concepts, so when they come, we can just allow them to come and go…, without serving them tea.
So, everything is just Here. Even perception is happening naturally. If you decided or didn’t decide to hear these words, these words would still be heard. You’re not deciding to hear the sounds from the words and still they are heard. You’re not doing anything to exist. So, that in which so much is happening (millions of body functions, thousands of perceptions happening every moment) the idea can be that ‘I need to invent the idea for me that is going to help this one run this life’. This is the one, isn’t it? It goes ‘Unless I decide, unless I do, unless I desire, this life is going to be terrible…, because that One that is beating my heart, that is making my blood function, that has done all of this play, cannot run this life!’ This is arrogance. Arrogance means ‘I am separate from God’. It is not arrogance to See that ‘I am God’ or that ‘I Am is God Itself’. But the idea that ‘I am something separate which has some power over something’ …, this is arrogance. This is the upside-down nature of the world; the upside-down nature of the mind. To say ‘I am God’ is arrogance but to say that ‘God is limited and his or her limits apply to where this boundary starts and beyond this, it’s up to me’ [Laughs heartily] to say that ‘God is running the world but as soon as this body starts, then it’s my problem’ …, what is that but arrogance? This is how the mind operates, that ‘This body/mind is a separate existence from everything else and I have some autonomy over it’.
We say ‘Why?! Why does this happen to me?! Why? Why am I taken like this? Why is my life like this? Why do I have to have it so hard? Why? Why? Why?’ And never asking ‘Who? Who? Who?’ [Laughs] ‘Who? Who are you who has this problem?’ This came to me a few weeks ago where I noticed the mind’s attraction to this word ‘Why?’ and its complete repulsion towards this word ‘Who?’ Can you imagine? Just one alphabet letter. While these favorite notions are also using Its power…, everything is moving on its own.
In the Light of My Presence, the world appearance seems to function so naturally.
And I cannot suffer unless I pick up a notion about myself.
That is the design of this play.
That’s why Papaji [Sri Poonjaji] said, ‘To be happy, we don’t need anything. But to suffer, you need a thought.’
That’s why most of us feel our childhood was so happy. There was a lot of crying; there was a lot of crying and hunger or heat or whatever children find in experience, but it was so happy. The child is not mixing up its Presence with the notion of being something, of wanting something, of getting somewhere.
If you know that you are already in the best place you can ever be, where would you want to go? Nowhere. So, the mind is only telling you that there is a better place on offer for you. It is only selling you the story of resistance to What Is. ‘What Is’ is not enough for the mind, that’s what it says.
If God is not enough, then what is?
A: This Now, when you are empty of all positions and without inferences, there is no trouble. This is [being at] my Fathers feet, unassociated Presence. Now if you exchange this for any notion, no matter how good it sounds to you (it might sound like if I say this, it would be the …
A: This Now, when you are empty of all positions and without inferences, there is no trouble. This is [being at] my Fathers feet, unassociated Presence. Now if you exchange this for any notion, no matter how good it sounds to you (it might sound like if I say this, it would be the most impressive thing I can ever say) no matter how good the notion sounds to you, you don’t leave my Father’s feet for that notion.
Q: Okay, shall I tell you where I …
A: This is the notion.
Q: No, no, eehhh.
A: Listen, listen [Chuckling]
Q: Aaah, okay, okay.
A: No, you have to listen. Right now, you have no trouble till you invent it with your next notion. This right Now is your Unassociated Presence. This is my Father’s feet. I’m explaining to you very clearly. Now don’t exchange this for any gift; like Nachiketa who said ‘No’ to Yamraj when he was offered everything that the universe had to offer. Don’t exchange it for any idea about Self; whether you’re confused, not confused, whether you’ve got it, not got it, whether the witness is a joke, whether Ashtavakra is talking nonsense…, forget all of it.
Q: Fine, Father.
A: Don’t pick it up. This is what it means to stay at my Father’s feet.
Q: Thank you, Father. I don’t know whom to open up to, whom to ask. I have nobody else other than you, hahaha.
A: Yes, now don’t pick up this notion. Stay at my Father’s feet.
Q: Fine, Father, I got it. I mean, not really ‘got it’ for the mind. I was craving for two months to be in Bangalore and suffering, but now there is no suffering.
A: There is no suffering at my Father’s feet.
Q: [Blah, blah, blah]
A: Actually, this is for all of us. This is what satsang is. Don’t exchange the Satguru for any notion about yourself, even if it is the most glorious notion you can think of. I said the ego will present very well-dressed thoughts, the holiest concepts…, ‘beyond Ashtavakra’ we want to go. [Chuckles] Forget that one. That is the trickster.
Don’t exchange my Father’s feet for any notion about yourself. I’m telling you, it will be a very bad bargain that you will make.
Q: [Rambling about some event, on and on and on]
A: This is the habit. The ‘me’ comes back so fast and my Father’s feet are forgotten. Then you …. [giving examples of what was being rambled on about]
Q: [Speaking Hindi, rambling on]
A: I’m going to send a poster to you which says ‘Don’t pick this up’. [Chuckles]
Q: I’m very thankful, Father. You are so patient with me; the whole sangha is so patient with me. Thank you so much.
A: You might feel like I’m being harsh with you, or something like this ….
Q: No, no, no, no, no, no….
A: …but the pointing is for everyone. This is the root of satsang. This is the root of satsang. Your unassociated Presence is the Satguru; this is my Father’s feet. Don’t exchange it for the holiest idea; no matter what it might be.
We said it in a different way at the start if satsang; we are saying it in a different way at the end of satsang but the pointing is the same. We’ve indulged this voice, this mind, for too long; this non-existent ‘me’ for too long.
Now, just rest at my Father’s feet. All of you.
Q: In a synchronistic way, Jesh posted a quote of yours yesterday which said: ‘Only that exists on that which there is attention.’ It’s a stunning quote. Not just the thought, but the feeling that came up for me is ‘Okay, what is attention?’ You said: ‘Only that exists on which there is attention.’ And …
Q: In a synchronistic way, Jesh posted a quote of yours yesterday which said: ‘Only that exists on that which there is attention.’ It’s a stunning quote. Not just the thought, but the feeling that came up for me is ‘Okay, what is attention?’ You said: ‘Only that exists on which there is attention.’ And the next point of inquiry is: ‘What is this extraordinary quality of attention?’
I remembered a quote that Rupert Spira mentioned that’s stunning also and I wanted you to also comment on it. He said that: ‘Attention is Awareness when turned towards an object.’ And the next feeling that came up is ‘That’s amazing’ then ‘What is Awareness when it turns upon itself?’ I wanted to just drop that into the field; and whatever you wanted to respond would be amazing. Thank you.
A: First, to clarify the first quote: ‘Only that exists that has your attention.’ So, clearly here we are speaking about our phenomenal experience. Can we say that there is a road outside this room? Not conclusively; only because we might hear some sound from the road. So, because attention is on that we can say there is something there; the rest is just a presumption. In that way, the first quote is meant: Only that exists, in this phenomenal play, which seems to have our attention.
So then, what is attention? And this quote is also very nice, what Rupert said. From what I understood, he said: ‘Attention is nothing but Awareness turned towards an object.’
Fundamentally, what we are doing is that we are exploring the nature of this attention. Now many times, the clue for you is that: The Self is without qualities and attributes. The real Self, the greater Self, is without qualities and attributes.
Now, in our phenomenal play, there is one (we can say) thing (but it’s not a thing) …, one thing that comes close to this, which is attention. Because when I say ‘What is the color of your attention?’ you cannot say. And yet, it is not the Self. It is an aspect of the Self. Why? Because Awareness is so beyond this limitation of any sort, whereas attention is not.
So, if all of us were to un-mute our mic and to start speaking, you would not have the attention to hear everyone. That’s why parents with many children are very tired [Chuckling] because all the children are asking for their attention, for all their time. Now, if you are interacting, and then you start interacting [pointing to someone] then you start interacting [pointing to someone else] then we cannot give this quantity of this unlimited type of attention. You see that attention runs out very quickly. But we can never say that about Awareness.
So, the real distinction between the Self (Awareness and attention is that attention is like the phenomenal play of Awareness. Everything is. But a very, very intimate phenomenal play of Awareness is this attention. Because you cannot find any quality to attention, except that it seems to run out.
You can never run out of Awareness.
But you can run out of attention.
So, yes, ‘When it is turned towards an object’ …, it is a nice way of explaining, it’s not bad. It’s a funny play; whether attention actually turns or whether it’s the object on the screen which changes. This is a nice contemplation for us.
What we can really say is that attention doesn’t seem to play (in our unlimited way) in this phenomenal play and only that we can perceive. We cannot perceive without attention. Perception works in coordination with attention. It’s like Being uses attention to taste this phenomenal world, to taste the phenomenal function. That’s where all these primal contemplations come from, isn’t it? What is that one famous one? ‘If the tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?’ Nobody else is in the forest; when the tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Also, scientific experiments like Schrodinger’s cat. The cat is in the box, there is no observer of it. Is there now a cat? Or isn’t there? So, all of this is an experiment about this. What is the observing quality in this phenomenal realm? The power of perceiving operates on this power of attention.
So, this is attention. Now, how far can attention go? We can bring attention to the outer-seeming world, we can give attention to the body sensations, we can bring attention to these inner-seeming perceptions like thoughts, memories, imagination; attention can go there. And then we can say, ‘Ultimately, keep your attention on your Being. Rest with the sense of Being.’ To even this we can say, ‘Yes, I’m keeping my attention on my Presence.’ And some might say it’s natural for it to rest there and some might say it seems like a force. But it is still part of the objective play, ultimately.
Now when you say, ‘What is prior to this Being? What is aware of even this Beingness?’ can we truly that say it is attention? Although in words sometimes you might say it, but can we truly, truly say that it our attention that is going, prior to Being? Actually, it is like the cessation of the functioning of attention. It’s like a spring is completely pulled back, a spring was stopping at all these different levels and then we say, ‘Okay what is prior to even existence?’
This Self-discovery…, Awareness which is Self-Aware, is not subject to attention. It is just that attention is divested from everything else so it can feel like attention came here. But in the realm of the Pure Self, there is not even attention.
So, Being uses attention to come to this discovery ‘I Am that I Am’. But as Being is coming to the recognition of its own Source, even the play of attention stops there. So, although we can say in satsang, ‘Turn your attention completely inwards to that which is prior to your existence’ actually you will find that it is a pointing to divest your attention from everything else. And there, as you are coming to the non-phenomenal recognition, you will not find the play of even this quality called attention. It is part of the functioning of the Self in its dynamic aspect (which is Being) and Being works in coordination with attention to perceive, to taste this phenomenal existence of Itself.
I know that some of these things are very subtle; for the mind they are completely abstract. But as you are tasting all of this for yourself, you will see that:
Yes, the discovery is made of the Source of even Beingness, where Being comes from.
My attention does not go beyond my Being.
But as it is divested from everything else,
I find that the recognition of this Absolute is empty of all qualities;
Even something which is such a transparent quality like attention is not there.
Shanti said something beautiful, she’s saying, ‘Here it could seem that perception is the flood light and attention is the spotlight of Awareness, where more focus is put on the object of perception. When it is turned back on itself then all other objects no longer exist. And Self alone exists. Just coming here as an analogy.’
Very beautiful. So, we See that when we go beyond Being, then even this play of attention is not there. Like in the deep sleep state, we are not paying attention to the No-thing; only the No-thing Self is there.
In fact, these experiments with attention are very beautiful. And as you start noticing the quality of attention you will see that, as sleep is coming, that with which a lot of attention could have been given to a book or to movie or something like that, when sleep is coming, you find that you don’t have that attention to give to it anymore. It seems like it is just withdrawing from the seeming-outward phenomena and just going to rest within. So, as this objective reality is vanishing, you see that it is attention which is actually withdrawing; that is why it is vanishing.
Like you said ‘When this spotlight is there, it seems to always be shining on something objective. And when the spotlight seems to run out of battery [Chuckling] or seems to run out of power, then the world of objective appearances seems to vanish, it seems to dissolve.
(Contemplation on the Ashtavakra Gita Chapter 20, Verse 14) ~ ~ ~ [20.14] Janaka said, “Where is existence or non-existence? Where is Unity or duality? Nothing emanates from me. No more can be said.” Q: But when it says ‘Nothing emanates from Awareness’ it’s not emanating from the mind. It’s something; I mean it’s not …
(Contemplation on the Ashtavakra Gita Chapter 20, Verse 14)
~ ~ ~
[20.14] Janaka said, “Where is existence or non-existence? Where is Unity or duality? Nothing emanates from me. No more can be said.”
Q: But when it says ‘Nothing emanates from Awareness’ it’s not emanating from the mind. It’s something; I mean it’s not some-thing, but it does emanate.
A: The appearance is just an appearance. Nothing actually emerges. So, once you see that there is no snake; once it is seen, you see it only as a rope. Once you See that you are the Self alone, then all of this is Seen just as an appearance. It’s not real. So, when you say it’s not real, can you say something really emanates? Nothing actually emanates. It was just a seeing, an appearance.
So, it’s like, okay, there’s a rope. You’re seeing a snake. Did the snake appear and then it went away? So, in the same way, this world is an appearance; same as the snake. It never really appeared. Nothing really emanated. It was seen. The dynamic aspect, as we call it, actually we have to say that even all of this maya, illusion, never really happened
We don’t talk like this in Satsang every day, because then we can get into a sort of conceptual denial of the appearance. But we are now looking at the last verse, saying ‘If I am truly the unchanging, then can the changing truly ever have happened? Is any of this True? What is the Reality of it?’ This is the distinction between the Real and the unreal, the rope and the snake (which is the most popular example in Vedanta). Then we start to See. Although it might appear to be that all of us are here having this conversation, in Reality only Awareness IS.
So, where is the snake when it appears? Where is the water in the mirage that appears? And yet it can be perceived as if it is. But does it have a tangible reality? So, it appears as an appearance. But if it is just an appearance, what came? Nothing actually. An appearance is not real. If something real emanated from me, then I would say ‘Yes, this is how it was. There was this play of two-ness. Now we go back to this One.’ But if it is just an illusion, an appearance, what really emanated out of Awareness?
Q: It does emanate.
A: It only appears to have emanated. Can you put it like that? The snake only appears to have come and once we see it in its true light, we see that there is no snake; there is only a rope. So, from the perspective of Awareness, what really happened? In the coming of the waking state, in the coming of the sense of existence, what really happened? That’s what they’re saying. Nothing really happened; it’s just a play of appearances. So, if you want to say that a non-real appearance seemed to have been perceived, you can say it like that. [Chuckles] Because even this conversation can only happen in that ‘seeming’.
Q: You can’t really deny this, like right now; these words.
A: Yes, but the nature of this, as real or unreal (if the definition of real is clear; that the unchanging is real, which the Sage defines right in the beginning) then what would say about this?
Q: It’s not true.
A: It’s not true. So, if it is not real, can you say that it really emanated? Just an appearance.
Q: So, when you said that it doesn’t really emanate, I mean, it does emanate out of this Presence. I mean, it just comes.
A: But is it similar to the mother giving birth to a child, or is it similar to the appearance of a snake in a rope? This will bring you to one of the most traditional and oldest debates in Advaita Vedanta.
Adi Shankaracharya says that ‘Maya is neither real or unreal. It just appears to be.’ That’s why it is called the unreal. The other path will say that this jiva, this sense existence, is as much Brahman as Brahman itself. So, these are two very traditional approaches to this. Now, either are fine. Whatever appeals to your Heart the most; whatever you feel most intuitively inclined to is completely fine.
Here, ultimately, I have to say that I have to agree with Shankara; to see that Awareness is the True Real and everything else has just been an appearance, just like the illusion of silver in mother-of-pearl, the illusion of a snake in the rope. The illusion that this ever really happened. But truly, I can’t explain it to you. It has to be on the basis of your insight. Whether you feel that Consciousness, this Existence, has some reality is based on how you define Reality and what your intuitive experience is. Because ultimately, the Sage has said ‘Everything that changes, everything that comes and goes, is not real.’
Now, I don’t know if I even want to make this publicly available, but the fact is that, with that definition, even Existence doesn’t stand up to that test (isn’t it?) to that standard. That’s why Maharaj [Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj] was very strong when he said, ‘All of this problem is because of this ‘I Am’ infection. Forget about ‘I Am’. Nothing has ever really happened.’ But it’s very rarely that the Sages (Maharaj, Papaji) have said it like this, that ‘Nothing has ever really happened.’
Now, why I don’t usually share like this in Satsang every day is also that many have picked up this idea that ‘Nothing has ever really happened’. And clearly there’s identification with some limitation which hooks onto the concept that ‘Nothing has ever really happened’ so it can just come about like that. But here, we’re at the fringes of our insight; we’re at the limits of what can be found in this recognition. Once I find MySelf to be this Self, then is it True, in Reality, that something has happened; that time and space were ever real or were they just an appearance?
So, actually, for me, I don’t mind if you say either of these; which is ‘I see that I am this Awareness and within Me is this birth of my child called Consciousness’ or you say ‘I am this Awareness alone…, and this play of Consciousness is just an appearance. There is no I Am ultimately because even that is changing. It comes and goes.’ This I have to leave to you, actually.
~ ~ ~
Reading from the Ashtavakra Gita, Translation by Bart Marshall
[20.12] Janaka said, “Where is activity or inactivity? Where is liberation or bondage? I am timeless, indivisible. I am Self alone.” So, “activity or inactivity” is about doership and non-doership. What am I to do or not to do? “Where is liberation or bondage?” So, is Awareness bound? If it is not bound, can it …
[20.12] Janaka said, “Where is activity or inactivity? Where is liberation or bondage? I am timeless, indivisible. I am Self alone.”
So, “activity or inactivity” is about doership and non-doership. What am I to do or not to do? “Where is liberation or bondage?” So, is Awareness bound? If it is not bound, can it be bound? Can I bring a chain strong enough to bind Awareness? So, the concept of bondage itself does not apply. So, what liberation can I give that which is the unbound? We See that liberation is the discovery that there is no such prison that we want liberation from.
Now, we can understand even this. Because even this, that ‘I need more freedom’ or ‘I need more liberation’ can be picked up as a concept, conceptually in our basket of concepts. We can still retain our limited identity and add to that this concept that ‘I am God, I don’t need freedom’. This conceptually is not enough. It must be a reflection of your true insight about YourSelf. Because all the concepts are shaky. If we keep saying ‘I am God, I am God’ (many times, people have these kinds of things where they start saying ‘I am God, I am God’) it is a tradition that will be replaced by ‘I am in the hospital’. [Laughter in the room] So, if it’s mental, it will be like that. It’s just the identity trying to hold on to some idea of Godliness. And we find that that is actually a very shaky ego because even when life comes in its day-to-day life, then something happens; your mom says something to you, then that whole ‘I am God’ thing goes in two seconds. You’re back to being the daughter again. So, if it is just conceptual and not the result of true realization, the result of true insight, then it’s just another concept. All concepts are changeable, removeable; coming and going. But once you have tasted it for yourself, what You Are, it cannot be replaced.
[20.13] Janaka said, “Where are principles and scriptures? Where is the disciple or teacher? Where is the reason for life? I am boundless, Absolute.”
I say that we have gone beyond all of this and we’ve looked at all of the aspects before.
[20.14] Janaka said, “Where is existence or non-existence? Where is Unity or duality? Nothing emanates from me. No more can be said.”
So, from this, (this is the last verse of the Ashtavakra Gita) beyond existence. Where is existence and non-existence? If I am no-thing, can truly a some-thing emerge? Can truly there be Reality which emerges as an appearance, as a by-product of that which is no-thing. So, that which emerges then has to be only the idea that there is snake, the idea of a snake, but actually there is just the rope. The idea that there is a mirage but there is just a desert. The idea that there is silver but it is just mother-of-pearl. So, this is really saying that nothing has ever really happened.
~ ~ ~
Reading from the Ashtavakra Gita, Translation by Bart Marshall
From your truest position is there anything that has ever really arisen or dissolved? Such a beautiful contemplation. Now, some of you, in your contemplation (and this has happened for centuries so I don’t feel like it will change) some of you in your contemplation will come to an insight upon which you will make …
From your truest position is there anything that has ever really arisen or dissolved? Such a beautiful contemplation. Now, some of you, in your contemplation (and this has happened for centuries so I don’t feel like it will change) some of you in your contemplation will come to an insight upon which you will make a conclusion like ‘Consciousness is like the waves on the ocean’ which seems like they have the same material reality as the ocean itself. And some of you will come to the conclusion that ‘Consciousness is like the snake in the rope’. It never really happened but appears to have been so.
With either of these, you’re beyond the realm of personhood, you’re beyond the realm of suffering. You’re not identifying with something which is ephemeral, something which is changing. You are finding that ultimate reality; whether you say that ‘Consciousness takes birth and then dissolves back into itself’ or you say ‘It never really appeared, never really happened but appears to have been so’. I’m okay with either of these positions. In fact, it is a beautiful contemplation.
But in this contemplation, you will find that we really clarify for ourself what we mean by ‘Real’.
Do we really agree with the Sage’s definition that ‘Everything that comes and goes is not real?’
If it is unreal, could it ever really have happened? It’s not real. You see?
All of these are ‘next level’ contemplations. What is really Real? What is really Real?
Do we agree with this when I say there are two filters to what is Real?
One is: it must be our direct insight
Second is: it must not be changing.
What lives up to these two filters?
It must be our direct insight, our direct experience; and it must not be changing. What lives up to these two filters? Can you say?
Only Awareness, isn’t it?
Only this Absolute, the Self.
So, in these two filters, ultimately even Consciousness does not apply.
That’s why in the last few verses he says, ‘Where is existence? Where is God? I am the Self alone.’
[Quoting from 20.11: Janaka said, “Where is illusion? Where is existence? Where is attachment or non-attachment? Where is person? Where is God? I am Awareness.”]
The simpler approach which we take in Satsang is to say ‘Yes, the dynamic aspect is there. Don’t get into some sort of Advaita denial.’ But at the end, all the Sages have said, ‘Nothing really ever happened.’ … ‘No time, no space, no existence, no non-existence. I’ve always been beyond this. In my reality, there was a seeming-appearance of something. A seeming-appearance of something was there but I saw through it and saw that nothing has even happened’.
So, stay with the question: What is it that I mean by Real?
When I say ‘I’…, what is it that you mean by ‘Real’?
Is there a difference in your definition compared to what the Sage is saying?
Now, if you include something which is changing as also the Real, then you will come to a different conclusion. You will come to the conclusion that everything emanates out of the Real and goes back to the Real.
If you say that ‘That which is changing never really happened’ then you will come to this conclusion that this entire play, all if this, even this play of Consciousness, it is all just an appearance; like the movements of the snake that never was. [Smiling]
In Indian spirituality, very popularly these things are said. ‘Like the seventh son of a woman who never gave birth.’ [Laughing] This is what Yoga Vashishta is pointing to. ‘This world is the third child of a barren woman’ …, they would talk like that. [Chuckling]
~ ~ ~
Reading from the Ashtavakra Gita, Translation by Bart Marshall