All this is temporary, while I am dealing with the eternal. Gods and their universes come and go, avatars follow each other in endless succession, and in the end we are back at the source. I talk only of the timeless source of all the gods with all their universes, past, present and future.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
- The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is, and yet is not. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It just happens when we are absentminded. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it, nor meaning. Only the onlooker is real. Call him Self or Atma. To the Self the world is but a colourful show, which he enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over. Whatever happens on the stage makes him shudder in terror or roll with laughter, yet all the time he is aware that it is but a show. Without desire or fear he enjoys it, as it happens.
- There is nothing wrong in the idea of a body, nor even in the idea 'I am the body'. But limiting oneself to one body only is a mistake. In reality all existence, every form, is my own, within my consciousness. I cannot tell what I am because words can describe only what I am not. I am, and because I am, all is. But I am beyond consciousness and, therefore, in consciousness I cannot say what I am. Yet, I am. The question 'Who am I' has no answer. No experience can answer it, for the self is beyond experience.
- The personality (vyakti) is but a product of imagination. The self (vyakta) is the victim of this imagination. It is the taking yourself to be what you are not that binds you. The person cannot be said to exist on its own rights; it is the self that believes there is a person and is conscious of being it. Beyond the self (vyakta) lies the unmanifested (avyakta), the causeless cause of everything.
- God is only an idea in your mind. The fact is you. The only thing you know for sure is: 'here and now I am'. Remove, the 'here and now' the 'I am' remains, unassailable. The word exists in memory, memory comes into consciousness; consciousness exists in awareness and awareness is the reflection of the light on the waters of existence.
- 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.
- The main point to grasp is that you have projected onto yourself a world of your own imagination, based on memories, on desires and fears, and that you have imprisoned yourself in it. Break the spell and be free.
- Only your sense 'I am', though in the world, is not of the world. By no effort of logic or imagination can you change the 'I am' into 'I am not'. In the very denial of your being you assert it.
- All I can say truly is: 'I am', all else is inference. But the inference has become a habit. Destroy all habits of thinking and seeing. The sense 'I am' is the manifestation of a deeper cause, which you may call self, God, reality or by any other name. The 'I am' is in the world; but it is the key which can open the door out of the world.
- Even the experiencer is secondary. Primary is the infinite expanse of consciousness, the eternal possibility, the immeasurable potential of all that was, is, and will be. When you look at anything, it is the ultimate you see, but you imagine that you see a cloud or a tree. Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion: that is all. Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realise that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear. Even the sense of 'I am' is composed of the pure light and the sense of being. The 'I' is there even without the 'am'. So is the pure light there whether you say 'I' or not. Become aware of that pure light and you will never lose it. The beingness in being, the awareness in consciousness, the interest in every experience -- that is not describable, yet perfectly accessible, for there is nothing else.
- There is no such thing as a person. There are only restrictions and limitations. The sum total of these defines the person. You think you know yourself when you know what you are. But you never know who you are. The person merely appears to be, like the space within the pot appears to have the shape and volume and smell of the pot. See that you are not what you believe yourself to be. Fight with all the strength at your disposal against the idea that you are nameable and describable. You are not. Refuse to think of yourself in terms of this or that. There is no other way out of misery, which you have created for yourself through blind acceptance without investigation. Suffering is a call for enquiry, all pain needs investigation. Don't be too lazy to think.
- Your being a person is due to the illusion of space and time; you imagine yourself to be at a certain point occupying a certain volume; your personality is due to your self-identification with the body. Your thoughts and feelings exist in succession, they have their span in time and make you imagine yourself, because of memory, as having duration. In reality time and space exist in you; you do not exist in them. They are modes of perception, but they are not the only ones. Time and space are like words written on paper; the paper is real, the words merely a convention.
- Q: Does not 'I am' remain?
M: The word 'remain' does not apply. 'I am' is ever afresh. You do not need to remember in order to be. As a matter of fact, before you can experience anything, there must be the sense of being. At present your being is mixed up with experiencing. All you need is to unravel being from the tangle of experiences. Once you have known pure being, without being this or that, you will discern it among experiences and you will no longer be misled by names and forms.
- I am That – Nisargadatta Maharaj