Some gems of Universal Value from 'I AM THAT'
Dialogues with Swami Nisargadatta Maharaj
- Padmaja Suresh, Bangalore
September 5, 2010
That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings, who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being - I am that.
We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings with a temporary human experience!
I AM THAT- Recorded dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj with disciples.
This book is a rage among philosophers and others too (with interest in Advaita Vedanta), throughout the world. I have captured some sentences that I call the gems of universal value from this book.
1. Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.
2. Give up all questions except one: 'Who am I?' After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The 'I am' is certain. The 'I am this' is not.
3. Sadhana is only a vessel and it must be filled to the brim with earnestness, which is but love in action. For nothing can be done without love. In peace and silence, the skin of the 'I' dissolves and the inner and the outer become one. The real sadhana is effortless.
4. Just as each flower has its own colour, all colours are caused by the same light, so do many experiences appear in the undivided and indivisible awareness, each separate in memory, identical in essence. This essence is the root, the foundation, the timeless and spaceless 'possibility' of all experience.
5. You need not get at it, for you are it. It will get at you, if you give it a chance. Let go your attachment to the unreal and the real will swiftly and smoothly step into its own. Space and time are the body and the mind of the universal existence. My feeling is that all that happens in space and time happens to me, that every experience is my experience every form is my form.
6. The universe is not bound by its content, because its potentialities are infinite; besides it is a manifestation or expression of a principle fundamentally and totally free. It is the illusion of time that makes you talk of causality. When the past and the future are seen in the timeless now, as parts of a common pattern, the idea of cause-effect loses its validity and creative freedom takes its place.
7. Desire is the memory of pleasure and fear is the memory of pain. It is desire that gives birth, that gives name and form. The desirable is imagined and wanted and manifests itself as something tangible or conceivable. Thus is created the world in which we live, our personal world. The real world is beyond the mind's ken; we see it through the net of our desires, divided into pleasure and pain, right and wrong, inner and outer. Pleasure depends on things, happiness does not. One cannot help it - the inner happiness is overwhelmingly real. Like the sun in the sky, its expressions may be clouded, but it is never absent.
8. To see the universe as it is, you must step beyond the net. It is not hard to do so, for the net is full of holes. You do and undo at every step. You want peace, love, happiness and work hard to create pain, hatred and war. You want longevity and overeat, you want friendship and exploit. See your net as made of such contradictions and remove them. That in which both the knower and the known arise and set, is beyond time.
9. In death only the body dies. Life does not, consciousness does not, reality does not.
10. Turn within. 'l am' you know. Be with it all the time you can spare, until you revert to it spontaneously. In pure being consciousness arises; in consciousness the world appears and disappears. All there is, is me, all there is, is mine. Before all beginnings, after all endings - I am. All has its being in me, in the 'I am', that shines in every living being. Even not being is unthinkable without me. Whatever happens, I must be there to witness it.
11. What is the use of truth, goodness, harmony, beauty? They are their own goal. They manifest spontaneously and effortlessly, when things are left to themselves, are not interfered with, not shunned, or wanted, or conceptualized, but just experienced in full awareness, such awareness itself is sattva. It does not make use of things and people - it fulfils them. Would you say that a flower is trying to be beautiful? It is beautiful by its very nature. Similarly God is perfection itself, not an effort at perfection.
12. The root cause of the world is self-love. Because of it we seek pleasure and avoid pain. Replace self-love by love of the Self and the picture changes.
13. Be passionately dispassionate - that is all.
Would you say that a flower is trying to be beautiful? It is beautiful by its very nature. Similarly God is perfection itself, not an effort at perfection.
14. It is neither necessary, nor possible to change others. But if you can change yourself you will find that no other change is needed. To change the picture you merely change the film, you do not attack the cinema screen!
15. Setting things right lie in my very nature, which is satyam, shivam, sundaram (the true, the good, the beautiful).
16. Time squares all accounts. The law of balance reigns supreme. Karma is the divinely prescribed treatment. Welcome it and follow the instructions faithfully and you will get well. A patient will leave the hospital after he recovers. To insist on immediate freedom of choice and action will merely postpone recovery. Accept your destiny and fulfill it - this is the shortest way to freedom from destiny, though not from love and its compulsions. To act from desire and fear is bondage, to act from love is freedom.
17. Of course, if you are ignorant of your real being, whatever you do must turn to ashes. You cannot imitate a Guru and get away with it. All hypocrisy will end in disaster.
18. Trace the world to its source and you will find that before the world was, you were and when the world is no longer, you remain. Find your timeless being and your action will bear it testimony.
19. The realized man lives on the level of the absolutes; his wisdom, love and courage are complete; there is nothing relative about him. Therefore, he must prove himself by tests more stringent, undergo trials more demanding. The tester, the tested and the set up for testing are all within; it is an inner drama to which none can be a party. After all, liberation is but the freedom to discover. Of the centre of your being, which is free of all directions, all means and ends.
20. Posture and breathing are a part of Yoga, for the body must be healthy and well under control, but too much concentration on the body defeats its own purpose, for it is the mind that is primary in the beginning. When the mind has been put to rest and disturbs no longer the inner space (chidakash), the body acquires a new meaning and its transformation becomes both necessary and possible.
Bharatanatyam dancer/teacher Padmaja Suresh has been trained by prominent gurus in dance, music, choreography and nattuvangam. She hails from a family of renowned artistes - her great-grandfather Kalamandalam Maddalam Vengichen and father Chakyar Koothu K K Rajan. She holds degrees in Commerce, Law, Diploma in Choreography from Guru Maya Rao's Natya Institute, a Masters in Philosophy. Her institution Kalpataru Kalavihar imparts training in classical dance and music and has a charitable wing Kalachaitanya for propagating arts for underprivileged children.