Nisargadatta's "I Am That" - chapter 55
Give up All and You Gain All.
Questioner: What is your state at the present moment?
Maharaj: A state of non-experiencing.
Such things require special training.
I am like a dealer In wheat.
I know little about breads and cakes.
Even the taste of a wheat-gruel I may not know.
But about the wheat grain I know all and well.
I know the source of all experience.
But the innumerable particular forms experience can take I do not know.
Nor do I need to know.
From moment to moment, the little I need to know to live my life, I somehow happen to know.
Q: Your particular existence and my particular existence, do they both exist in the mind of Brahma?
M: The universal is not aware of the particular.
The existence as a person is a personal matter.
A person exists in time and space, has name and shape, beginning and end; the universal includes all persons and the absolute is at the root of and beyond all.
Q: I am not concerned with the totality.
My personal consciousness and your personal consciousness -- what is the link between the two?
M: Between two dreamers what can be the link?
Q: They may dream of each other.
M: That is what people are doing.
Everyone imagines 'others' and seeks a link with them.
The seeker is the link, there is none other.
Q: Surely there must be something in common between the many points of consciousness we are.
M: Where are the many points?
In your mind.
You insist that your world is independent of your mind.
How can it be?
Your desire to know other people's minds is due to your not knowing your own mind.
First know your own mind and you will find that the question of other minds does not arise at all, for there are no other people.
You are the common factor, the only link between the minds.
Being is consciousness; 'I am' applies to all.
Q: The Supreme Reality (Parabrahman) may be present in all of us.
But of what use is it to us?
M: You are like a man who says: 'I need a place where to keep my things, but of what use is space to me?
' or 'I need milk, tea, coffee or soda, but for water I have no use'.
Don't you see that the Supreme Reality is what makes everything possible?
But if you ask of what use is it to you, I must answer: 'None'.
In matters of daily life the knower of the real has no advantage: he may be at a disadvantage rather: being free from greed and fear, he does not protect himself.
The very idea of profit is foreign to him; he abhors accretions; his life is constant divesting oneself, sharing, giving.
Q: If there is no advantage in gaining the Supreme, then why take the trouble?
M: There is trouble only when you cling to something.
When you hold on to nothing, no trouble arises.
The relinquishing of the lesser is the gaining of the greater.
Give up all and you gain all.
Then life becomes what it was meant to be: pure radiation from an inexhaustible source.
In that light the world appears dimly like a dream.
Q: If my world is merely a dream and you are a part of it, what can you do for me?
If the dream is not real, having no being, how can reality affect it?
M: While it lasts, the dream has temporary being.
It is your desire to hold on to it, that creates the problem.
Stop imagining that the dream is yours.
Q: You seem to take for granted that there can be a dream without a dreamer and that I identify myself with the dream of my own sweet will.
But I am the dreamer and the dream too.
Who is to stop dreaming?
M: Let the dream unroll itself to its very end.
You cannot help it.
But you can look at the dream as a dream, refuse it the stamp of reality.
Q: Here am I, sitting before you.
I am dreaming and you are watching me talking in my dream.
What is the link between us?
M: My intention to wake you up is the link.
My heart wants you awake.
I see you suffer in your dream and I know that you must wake up to end your woes.
When you see your dream as dream, you wake up.
But in your dream itself I am not interested.
Enough for me to know that you must wake up.
You need not bring your dream to a definite conclusion, or make it noble, or happy, or beautiful; all you need is to realise that you are dreaming.
Stop imagining, stop believing.
See the contradictions, the incongruities, the falsehood and the sorrow of the human state, the need to go beyond.
Within the immensity of space floats a tiny atom of consciousness and in it the entire universe is contained.
Q: There are affections in the dream which seem real and everlasting.
Do they disappear on waking up?
M: In dream you love some and not others.
On waking up you find you are love itself, embracing all.
Personal love, however intense and genuine, invariably binds; love in freedom is love of all.
Q: People come and go.
One loves whom one meets, one cannot love all.
M: When you are love itself, you are beyond time and numbers.
In loving one you love all, in loving all, you love each.
One and all are not exclusive.
Q: You say you are in a timeless state.
Does it mean that past and future are open to you?
Did you meet Vashishta Muni, Rama's Guru?
M: The question is in time and about time.
Again you are asking me about the contents of a dream.
Timelessness is beyond the illusion of time, it is not an extension in time.
He who called himself Vashishta knew Vashishta.
I am beyond all names and shapes.
Vashishta is a dream in your dream.
How can I know him?
You are too much concerned with past and future.
It is all due to your longing to continue, to protect yourself against extinction.
And as you want to continue, you want others to keep you company, hence your concern with their survival.
But what you call survival is but the survival of a dream.
Death is preferable to it .
There is a chance of waking up .
Q: You are aware of eternity, therefore you are not concerned with survival.
M: It is the other way round.
Freedom from all desire is eternity.
All attachment implies fear, for all things are transient.
And fear makes one a slave.
This freedom from attachment does not come with practice; it is natural, when one knows one's true being.
Love does not cling; clinging is not love.
Q: So there is no way to gain detachment?
M: There is nothing to gain.
Abandon all imaginings and know yourself as you are.
Self-knowledge is detachment.
All craving is due to a sense of insufficiency.
When you know that you lack nothing, that all there is, is you and yours, desire ceases.
Q: To know myself must I practise awareness?
M: There is nothing to practise.
To know yourself, be yourself.
To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that.
Let your true nature emerge.
Don't disturb your mind with seeking.
Q: It will take much time if I Just wait for self-realisation.
M: What have you to wait for when it is already here and now?
You have only to look and see.
Look at your self, at your own being.
You know that you are and you like it.
Abandon all imagining, that is all.
Do not rely on time.
Time is death.
Who waits -- dies.
Life is now only.
Do not talk to me about past and future -- they exist only in your mind.
Q: You too will die.
M: I am dead already.
Physical death will make no difference in my case.
I am timeless being.
I am free of desire or fear, because I do not remember the past, or imagine the future.
Where there are no names and shapes, how can there be desire and fear?
With desirelessness comes timelessness.
I am safe, because what is not, cannot touch what is.
You feel unsafe, because you imagine danger.
Of course, your body as such is complex and vulnerable and needs protection.
But not you.
Once you realise your own unassailable being, you will be at peace.
Q: How can I find peace when the world suffers?
M: The world suffers for very valid reasons.
If you want to help the world, you must be beyond the need of help.
Then all your doing as well as not doing will help the world most effectively.
Q: How can non-action be of use where action is needed?
M: Where action is needed, action happens.
Man is not the actor.
His is to be aware of what is going on.
His very presence is action.
The window is the absence of the wall and it gives air and light because it is empty.
Be empty of all mental content, of all imagination and effort, and the very absence of obstacles will cause reality to rush in.
If you really want to help a person, keep away.
If you are emotionally committed to helping, you will fail to help.
You may be very busy and be very pleased with your charitable nature, but not much will be done.
A man is really helped when he is no longer in need of help.
All else is just futility.
Q: There is not enough time to sit and wait for help to happen.
One must do something.
M: By all means -- do.
But what you can do is limited; the self alone is unlimited.
Give limitlessly -- of yourself.
All else you can give in small measures only.
You alone are immeasurable.
To help is your very nature.
Even when you eat and drink you help your body.
For yourself you need nothing.
You are pure giving, beginning-less, endless, inexhaustible.
When you see sorrow and suffering, be with it.
Do not rush into activity.
Neither learning nor action can really help.
Be with sorrow and lay bare its roots -- helping to understand is real help.
Q: My death is nearing.
M: Your body is short of time, not you.
Time and space are in the mind only.
You are not bound.
Just understand yourself -- that itself is eternity.