To know everything else, everything other, without knowing yourself is rather futile. What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world-appearance and lost his soul, that is, lost sight of his true nature or what Nisargadatta Maharaj referred to as the natural state? Self-existing, Self-shining, Self-knowing awareness. There is no one who is reading this who is not aware or spontaneously knowing ‘I am’. However what the nature of this ordinary everyday awareness is, you do not know, and cannot know as an objective thing.
Loosing sight of this naked non conceptual awareness around the age of two and a half years when the “I” thought comes over us, engendered by the acquisition of words and language imposed upon us by the parents and society; one seemingly looses hold of one’s Self or non dual essence by taking hold of the body-mind appearance as one’s identity. A little simple looking, investigation, or discrimination on the part of the so called person would show the falseness of this body-mind identity or imagined entity.
It is a simple fact that the false cannot stand up to genuine authentic investigation. However in nearly all cases this body-mind identity, persona, mask or limited human face is never questioned and is taken to be what I truly am – that appearance and nothing else. Now to always live on the surface, and to live from a lie or untruth will in the long run cause immense psychological suffering, and ultimately if not seen through, end in self-destruction which is nothing less than suicide.
Therefore it is imperative for anyone who is at all serious or earnest to LOOK and SEE and directly discover who and what you truly and ever are. No one else however holy or saintly they may be can ever SEE or realize this for you. You alone are the authority there where you are at zero degrees from yourself, from where you are seeing. No one else can know you there at zero degrees because only you are there; the so called others are outside of this aware emptiness, this no thing that is at the very core or heart of your being, they are simply regional appearances of the awake no thing that you are at center. This aware emptiness at center is full of the entire display of changing appearances that are in it, and there is no division or separation whatsoever between the appearances and the empty essence that they are appearing in. Hence emptiness is form and form is emptiness, this is the all-inclusive nature of non duality or the natural state.
Ever-fresh, ever-new, presence awareness, just this, nothing else. Nothing other, not two, no duality now or ever, just an ‘appearance’ of duality. One non dual essence expressing and appearing as everything, and it is not even One as no words or concepts can ever capture or express it – non conceptual, ever-fresh presence awareness. Are you unaware right now? If not then you are aware. You are present and aware whether conceptualizing is occurring or not, isn’t that so? Realize this ‘fact’, re-cognize this fact, make it real in your own case and abide as THAT ever fresh non conceptual awareness – I am THAT! – this Maha Vakya or great word is describing your true nature or natural state. Your authentic original stateless state, your selfless Self – no God, no Guru, no Soul, no Atman, no Brahman, no Parabrahman – your Selfless self-shining essence or emptiness prior to the arising of any phenomena, concept, or idea.
You must directly SEE and know for yourself – what was my original face before my parents were born? What was my condition six months prior to conception in my mother’s womb? One hundred years back, or five hundred years back, how was I? This is not some kind of trick question. You must know this, and you must want to know this with a burning urgency, otherwise you should just forget about Advaita or non duality all together and just live your life without enquiring into this profound subject at all; which is simply what is happening anyway whether you are turned around to look at this or not. Please note that life is effortlessly and spontaneously living you as that appearance, and that you, as the imagined separate entity – Mr or Mrs So and So are not doing a single thing. You, as that separate entity, have never done, and will never do anything at all.
Without the presence of that animating life essence, the source and origin of which is THIS Omnipresent unborn naked awareness; you would not even be able to lift a finger. You as the apparent separate entity are not, and never have been the doer of your actions. Deeds are done, choices are made. but there is no doer or choice maker; everything happens spontaneously without the input of any imagined entity as such.
Bit of a blow to the old pride or ego isn’t it? Have a good look at it, don’t agree or disagree. Look and SEE for yourself. So called karma means cause and effect. We are discussing and pointing to the actuality and the simplicity of non duality here – fathomless peace and the total absence of any fear whatsoever. If the cause, the imagined separate entity is seen through and known to be false, then the effects must also be seen to be false. If the cause the “me” of memory and acquired knowledge is false, then the effects – my sadness, my sickness, my anxiety, my fear, my depression, my anger, my worry etc must also be false.
Karma is then seen to be the illusion that it is. In that case, who did psychological suffering ever happen to? It happened to “me”, and this fellow here is pointing out that there is no me. No one has ever lived or died and nothing has ever really happened because Reality or non duality is THAT which doesn’t change. Wouldn’t that be a big weight off your shoulders, and wouldn’t seeing this fact be utter freedom, effortless living and relaxation knowing that the heavy burden of guilt, remorse, fear and constant anxiety that you had seemingly been carrying all those so called years, was illusory and imagined and not the actual?
This has happened here and the same can be true for you if you have the courage and the earnestness to question all your beliefs, concepts, false images, illusions, and familiar certainties that you have acquired over a lifetime of conditioning and cultural indoctrination. Drop all your concepts and look and see as a new born child does, only then will you SEE as the sages and seers see – fresh and new – Ever fresh presence awareness just this nothing else – nothing added, contrived or acquired in the form of dead concepts and learned words and labels from the past, the first and only freedom – this timeless instant unfolding spontaneously and effortlessly as the natural state.
Freedom from the known, freedom from the dead past is freedom unlimited. The acquired word or sound ‘water’ will never quench your thirst, nor will the word ‘fire’ ever burn your mouth when you speak it. Reality or non duality – not two, can never be pinned down or limited to any fixed reference point, it is fluid, ever-flowing, ever fresh, ever new, light of boundless intelligence. This is the real and authentic knowledge, Jana, or wisdom – the undeniable unqualified knowledge “I am” infinitely and eternally. Ask yourself, am I deeply fundamentally at peace, fearless and without any anxiety whatsoever? If the honest answer is, no I am not, then you have the wrong kind of knowledge – you have only small or limited knowledge.
This reality that is being pointed to, this Nirvana or light of emptiness is not real in the way that objects or things are real. It is not by going that you can reach this unbecome, this unmade, this suchness, this unborn. We call this that is being pointed to THAT, for want of a better word, although no word can encompass it. Hence the Maha Vakya or great word of Hinduism – I am THAT! Thou art THAT! THAT being all there ever ‘is’. There is only THAT! This being so, aren’t you THAT also and not the limited, miserable human being that you are presently , quite mistakenly, taking yourself to be? Look and see for yourself, don’t just take my word for it.
The THAT that is being referred to is beyond language, beyond time and elemental space, in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today. Full stop right there! abide as THAT, don’t go back into your time-bound mind and seek an answer there where it can never be found. Don’t try to understand what is being said with your mind. Don’t take that trouble to acquire or renounce anything, to alter, modify or correct anything whatsoever. Simply “be” as you are in the natural state. There is no becoming in being. Becoming implies time and this awake. aware no thing that you ever are is timeless pure being – I am THAT I am! Know this for one hundred per cent certain and drop the endless search. It is the very search itself that is the problem. The search itself implies time – you know, at some future time I am going to become enlightened. There is no future time at all. There is no such thing as time. Time is only a mental concept. The acquired mind is time, and that mind can never be free of time because it is time – “me” So and So who is so many years old according to my birth certificate.
Realize for yourself that all this is false. The idea that I was born at such and such a time, and at some future time I am going to die. Is this really so, ask yourself – is this really true? Can you remember being born? If you are honest with yourself you will have to say – no, I don’t remember my birth! That being the case, then perhaps you were never born in the first place, and that you are actually existing all along without any beginning or ending – Existence Itself – Self-existing, Self-shining Being – Sat – I am, endless capacity, timeless without beginning or ending. This is the knowledge which is real and authentic, and this is the peace that passes understanding by the time-bound mind or shadow persona.
Turns everything upside down doesn’t it? You see, you’ve never really questioned any of this, you take for granted that you were born, but have never looked deeply into this mystery – who and what am I really? Did I only begin at birth, or was I existing all along infinitely and eternally? Perhaps you have severely underestimated yourself, and placed unnecessary limitations on yourself.
How did this happen – the appearance of this physical body that I am identified with and that I call myself? How did this happen without my permission? Was I responsible for the apparent creation of my own body-mind, or did it arise spontaneously like everything else in nature? Ask yourself these questions and find out for yourself. Everything arises spontaneously by itself, there is no creator of the world. The world was never created in the first place. Nothing ever happened. All this time, and I should not be even using that word; you have simply been duped by illusion or what we call in Advaita – Maya.
Every apparent thing is unborn, unoriginated, there is no duality in this unborn essence, no other now or ever. Certainly there is an appearance of an other. Everything in the manifestation ‘appears’ in the pairs of opposites. Everything appears dualistic ally, you cannot have a universe without it appearing in the pairs of opposites – day, night – hot, cold – male, female etc, however nature or Nisarga(Sanskrit notation) even as it displays itself in the natural world is not in conflict with itself. Day does not fight with night, winter does not fight with spring or summer, silence does not fight with sound, the incoming tide does not fight with the outgoing tide. Everything in nature resolves itself spontaneously. Even though it appears in myriad shapes, sizes, and forms it never changes its harmonious true nature or essence. It never tries to be other than what it is.
With us so called human beings however, there is constant and ongoing conflict and wars all because of this acquired self-center or ego. This reference point or persona “me”is always in conflict with other apparent separate entities, and must necessarily be so in order to maintain its own separate identity and to compete with other apparent entities for food, clothes, shelter, and limited resources. This self-centered activity is the principal cause of the ongoing wars that have occurred throughout recorded history.
Self interest rules in the world of phenomena, and this is inevitable and necessary up to a point. However if the apparent separate self or entity is not seen through and known to be false and non existent, a phantom in the final analysis, then it certainly becomes self-destructive. This entity or ego is a parasite that drains all your energy and finally kills you in the end if it remains unexamined. That is what a parasite does if its falseness is not seen through, and we are simply saying and pointing out that this psychological suffering does not have to be there. It is up to you and you alone.