I am that - excerpts
Questioner: You told me that I can be considered under three aspects: the personal (vyakti), the super-personal (vyakta) and the impersonal (avyakta). The Avyakta is the universal and real pure 'I'; the Vyakta is its reflection in consciousness as ‘I am'; the Vyakti is the totality of physical and vital processes. Within the narrow confines of the present moment, the super-personal is aware of the person, both in space and time; not only one person, but the long series of persons strung together on the thread of karma. It is essentially the witness as well as the residue of the accumulated experiences, the seat of memory, the connecting link (sutratma). It is man's character which life builds and shapes from birth to birth. The universal is beyond all name and shape, beyond consciousness and character, pure unselfconscious being. Did I put down your views rightly?
Maharaj: Both. To the mind, a theory; in itself – a reality. It is reality in its spontaneous and total rejection of the false. Just as light destroys darkness by its very presence, so does the absolute destroy imagination. To see that all knowledge is a form of ignorance is itself a movement of reality. The witness is not a person. The person comes into being when there is a basis for it, an organism, a body. In it the absolute is reflected as awareness. Pure awareness becomes self-awareness. When there is a self, self-awareness is the witness. When there is no self to witness, there is no witnessing either. It is all very simple; it is the presence of the person that complicates. See that there is no such thing as a permanently separate person and all becomes clear. Awareness – mind – matter – they are one reality in its two aspects as immovable and movable, and the three attributes of inertia, energy and harmony.
Mahadakash is nature, the ocean of existences, the physical space with all that can be contacted through the senses. Chidakash is the expanse of awareness, the mental space of time, perception and cognition. Paramakash is the timeless and spaceless reality, mindless, undifferenciated, the infinite potentiality, the source and origin, the substance and the essence, both matter and consciousness – yet beyond both. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and the end of all manifestation, the root of time and space, the prime cause in every chain of causation.
Consciousness as such is the subtle counterpart of matter. Just as inertia (tamas) and energy (rajas) are attributes of matter, so does harmony (sattva) manifest itself as consciousness. You may consider it in a way as a form of very subtle energy. Wherever matter organizes itself into a stable organism, consciousness appears spontaneously. With the destruction of the organism consciousness disappears.
Love says: 'I am everything'. Wisdom says: 'I am nothing'. Between the two my life flows.
Pain is physical; suffering is mental. Beyond the mind there is no suffering. Pain is merely a signal that the body is in danger and requires attention. Similarly, suffering warns us that the structure of memories and habits, which we call the person (vyakti), is threatened by loss or change. Pain is essential for the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow with life. As a sane life is free of pain, so is a saintly life free from suffering.
Above everything else you cherish yourself. You would accept nothing in exchange for your existence. The desire to be is the strongest of all desires and will go only on the realization of your true nature.
In reality there is only perception. The perceiver and the perceived are conceptual, the fact of perceiving is actual.
The Absolute is the birthplace of Perceiving. It makes perception possible.
The 'I am' in movement creates the world. The 'I am' at peace becomes the Absolute.
Awareness is dynamic, love is being. Awareness is love in action.
You have invented words like effort, inner, outer, self, etc. and seek to impose them on reality. Things just happen to be as they are, but we want to build them into a pattern, laid down by the structure of our language. So strong is this habit, that we tend to deny reality to what cannot be verbalized. We just refuse to see that words are mere symbols, related by convention and habit to repeated experiences.
Questioner: I understand that, according to you, everything is a state of consciousness. The world is full of things – a grain of sand is a thing, a planet is a thing. How are they related to consciousness?
Maharaj: Where consciousness does not reach, matter begins. A thing is a form of being which we have not understood. It does not change – it is always the same – it appears to be there on its own – something strange and alien. Of course it is in the chit, consciousness, but appears to be outside because of its apparent changelessness. The foundation of things is in memory – without memory there would be no recognition. Creation – reflection – rejection: Brahma – Vishnu – Shiva: this is the eternal process. All things are governed by it.
Awareness with an object we called witnessing. When there is also self-identification with the object, caused by desire or fear, such a state is called a person. In reality there is only one state; when distorted by self-identification it is called a person, when coloured with the sense of being, it is the witness; when colourless and limitless, it is called the Supreme.
Questioner: The sense of being and the sense of living – are they one and the same, or different?
Maharaj: The identity in space creates one, the continuity in time creates the other.
Knowing is a reflection of your true nature along with being and loving. The knower and the known are added by the mind. It is in the nature of the mind to create a subject-object duality, where there is none.
The confusion is apparent and purely verbal. What is, is. It is neither subjective nor objective. Matter and mind are not separate, they are aspects of one energy. Look at the mind as a function of matter and you have science; look at matter as the product of the mind and you have religion.
Karma is only a store of unspent energies, of unfulfilled desires and fears not understood. The store is being constantly replenished by new desires and fears. It need not be so for ever. Understand the root cause of your fears – estrangement from yourself: and of desires – the longing for the self, and your karma will dissolve like a dream. Between earth and heaven life goes on. Nothing is affected, only bodies grow and decay.
Society as it is now, with its framework of laws and customs, is based on the idea of a separate and responsible personality, but this is not the only form a society can take. There may be other forms, where the sense of separation is weak and responsibility diffused. Produce to distribute, feed before you eat, give before you take, think of others, before you think of yourself. Only a selfless society based on sharing can be stable and happy. This is the only practical solution. If you do not want it – fight.
I look, but I do not see in the sense of creating images clothed with judgements. I do not describe nor evaluate. I look, I see you, but neither attitude nor opinion cloud my vision. And when I turn my eyes away, my mind does not allow memory to linger; it is at once free and fresh for the next impression.
It depends on the words you use: they are one, or two, or three. On investigation three become two and two become one. Take the simile of face – mirror – image. Any two of them presuppose the third which unites the two. In sadhana you see the three as two, until you realize the two as one. A long as you are engrossed in the world, you are unable to know yourself: to know yourself, turn away your attention from the world and turn it within.
Punishment is but legalized crime. In a society built on prevention, rather than retaliation, there would be very little crime. The few exceptions will be treated medically, as of unsound mind and body.