Questioner: What do you do when asleep?
Maharaj: I am aware of being asleep.
Q: Is not sleep a state of unconsciousness?
M.:Yes, I am aware of being unconscious.
Q: And when awake, or dreaming?
M.:I am aware of being awake or dreaming.
Q.: I do not catch you. What exactly do you mean? Let me make my terms clear: by being asleep I mean unconscious, by being awake I mean conscious, by dreaming I mean conscious of one’s mind, but not of the surroundings.
M: Well, it is about the same with me, Yet, there seems to be a difference. In each state you forget the other two, while to me, there is but one state of being, including and transcending the three mental states of waking, dreaming and sleeping.
Neither ignorance nor illusion
Ever happened to you.
Find the self to which you ascribe
Ignorance and illusion
And your question will be answered.
You talk as if you know the self
And see it to be under the sway of
Ignorance and illusion.
But, in fact, you do not know the self,
Nor are you aware of ignorance.
By all means,
This will bring you to the self
And you will realize that there is neither
Ignorance nor delusion in it.
It is like saying:
If there is sun, how can darkness be?
As under a stone there will be darkness,
However strong the sunlight,
So in the shadow of the
There must be ignorance and illusion.
Don’t ask ‘why’ and ‘how’.
It is in the nature of creative imagination
To identify itself with its creations.
You can stop it any moment by
Switching off attention.
Or through investigation.
Watch your mind, how it comes into being, how it operates. As you watch your mind, you discover your self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown is the source of knowledge. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there.
Q.: Love of truth, of man, goodwill -- what luxury! We need plenty of it to set the world right, but who will provide?
M: You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth and love, intelligence and goodwill, imploring God and man -- all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself -- this is the inexorable law. You cannot change the image without changing the face. First realise that your world is only a reflection of yourself and stop finding fault with the reflection. Attend to yourself, set yourself right -- mentally and emotionally. The physical will follow automatically. You talk so much of reforms: economic, social, political. Leave alone the reforms and mind the reformer. What kind of world can a man create who is stupid, greedy, heartless?
Maharaj: You may find differences, or you may not. All depends on your capacity of observation. The objective differences are however, the least important. What matters is their outlook, their attitude, which is that of total detachment, aloofness, standing apart.
Q: Does not a jnani feel sorrow when his child dies, does he not suffer?
M: He suffers with those who suffer. The event itself is of little importance, but he is full of compassion for the suffering being, whether alive or dead, in the body or out of it. After all, love and compassion are his very nature. He is one with all that lives and love is that oneness in action.
Q: People are very much afraid of death.
M: The jnani is afraid of nothing. But he pities the man who is afraid. After all to be born, to live and to die is natural. To be afraid is not. To the event, of course, attention is given.
Q: Imagine you are ill -- high fever, aches, shivers. The doctor tells you the condition is serious, there are only a few days to live. What would be your first reaction?
M: No reaction. As it is natural for the incense stick to burn out, so it is natural for the body to die. Really, it is a matter of very little importance. What matters is that I am neither the body nor the mind. I am.
Q: Your family will be desperate, of course. What would you tell them?
M: The usual stuff: fear not, life goes on, God will protect you, we shall be soon together again and so on. But to me the entire commotion is meaningless, for I am not the entity that imagines itself alive or dead. I am neither born nor can I die. I have nothing to remember or to forget.
Q: What about the prayers for the dead?
M: By all means pray for the dead. It pleases them very much. They are flattered. The jnani does not need your prayers. He is himself the answer to your prayers.
Q: How does the jnani fare after death?
M: The jnani is dead already. Do you expect him to die again?
Q: Surely, the dissolution of the body is an important event even to a jnani.
M: There are no important events for a jnani, except when somebody reaches the highest goal. Then only his heart rejoices. All else is of no concern. The entire universe is his body, all life is his life. As in a city of lights, when one bulb burns out, it does not affect the network, so the death of a body does not affect the whole. I AM THAT
Q: What makes the difference between the person and the witness?
M: Both are modes of consciousness. In one you desire and fear, in the other you are unaffected by pleasure and pain and are not ruffled by events. You let them come and go.
Q: How does one get established in the higher state, the state of pure witnessing?
M: Consciousness does not shine by itself. It shines by a light beyond it. Having seen the dreamlike quality of consciousness, look for the light in which it appears, which gives it being. There is the content of consciousness as well as the awareness of it.
Q: I know and I know that I know.
M: Quite so, provided the second knowledge is unconditional and timeless. Forget the known, but remember that you are the knower. Don't be all the time immersed in your experiences. Remember that you are beyond the experience ever unborn and deathless. In remembering it, the quality of pure knowledge will emerge, the light of unconditional awareness.
Q: At what point does one experience reality?
M: Experience is of change, it comes and goes. Reality is not an event, it cannot be experienced. It is not perceivable in the same way as an event is perceivable. If you wait for an event to take place, for the coming of reality, you will wait for ever, for reality neither comes nor goes. It is to be perceived, not expected. It is not to be prepared for and anticipated.
But the very longing and search for reality is the movement, operation, action of reality. All you can do is to grasp the central point, that reality is not an event and does not happen and whatever happens, whatever comes and goes, is not reality. See the event as event only, the transient as transient, experience as mere experience and you have done all you can. Then you are vulnerable to reality, no longer armoured against it, as you were when you gave reality to events and experiences. But as soon as there is some like or dislike, you have drawn a screen.
I AM THAT