Niz: A jnani is aware of the origin and the value of consciousness, this beingness, which has spontaneously dawned on him. This same consciousness plays a multitude of roles, some happy, some unhappy; but whatever the roles, the jnani is merely the seer of them. The roles have no effect on the jnani. All your problems are body-mind problems. Even so, you cling to that body. Since you identify with the body-mind, you follow certain polite modes of expression when you talk. I do not. I might embarrass you; you may not be able to take what I say. I have no sense of propriety. You are bound by your own concepts and notions. Actually, you love only this sense of "I"; you do everything because of this. You are not working for anybody, nor for the nation, but only for this sense of "I" which you love so much.
Niz: All these activities go on, but they are only entertainment. The waking and deep sleep states come and go spontaneously. Through the sense of "I", you spontaneously feel like working. But find out if this sense of "I" is real or unreal, permanent or impermanent. The "I" which appears is unreal. How unreal it is I have proven. The moment the "I" is proven unreal, who is it who knows that the "I" is unreal? This knowledge within you that knows the "I" is unreal, that knowledge which knows change, must itself be changeless, permanent. You are an illusion, Maya, an imagination. It is only because I know that I'm unreal that I know you also are unreal. It is not like this: Because I am real, you are unreal. It is like this: Because I am unreal, everything is unreal. Consciousness depends on the body; the body depends on the essence of food. It is the Consciousness which is speaking now. If the food-essence is not present, the body cannot exist. Without the body, would I be able to talk? Can you do anything to retain this sense of "I"? As it came spontaneously, so will it go. It will not forewarn you by announcing, "I am going tomorrow." A doubt has arisen and you are trying to find the solution, but who is it who has this doubt? Find out for yourself.
Visitor: How did we lose this pure consciousness state?
Niz: Every being experiences the Isvara state, either directly or potentially, but he is so wrapped up in this objective world that he loses his identity. You must know what this "I Am" principle is. It appears spontaneously and with its appearance begins the riddle of conceptual life.
Visitor: How do I start this search for my Self?
Niz: There is nobody here who is 100 years old. Does that mean that 100 years ago you did not exist?
Visitor: I don't know.
Niz: The one who said, "I don't know" must have been there; in short, you were not like this, but you must have been something. You must comprehend this correctly. 100 years back I was not like this; so, the one pointing this out must have been there. You did, and do, exist unto eternity. What I am expounding does not relate to worldly knowledge. You do not want to give up either worldly knowledge or so-called spiritual knowledge, and yet, through these worldly concepts, you want to understand the riddle of your existence, and that is precisely why you are not able to understand. In truth, your state is one of Absolute bliss, not this phenomenal state. In that non-phenomenal state you are full of bliss but there is no experience of its presence. In that state there is no trace of misery or unhappiness, only unalloyed bliss. What am I talking about?
Visitor: Ananda (bliss)
Niz: Because you want some satisfaction according to your own concepts, you try to qualify unalloyed bliss. The term "ananda" has significance only when it signifies that the bodily beingness is available to experience it. When you are in deep sleep and you start to see forms, you are actually dreaming. Aren't those dream forms coming from your own beingness? Whatever you see, even in the waking state, doesn't it come from your own beingness which is dwelling within the body? In deep sleep, consciousness was in a dormant condition; there were no bodies, no concepts, no encumbrances. Upon the arrival of this apparently wakeful state, with the arrival of the concept "I Am", the love of "I Am" woke up. That itself is Maya, illusion.
Visitor: Does Maharaj mean that the experiencer of the three states is the Self?
Niz: Because of your beingness the other states are. Everything is beingness, but I, the Absolute, am not that. You as a dreamer are sleeping on the bed, but in your dream world you see a body and you think it is you, and you are doing everything through this dream body. In that same way, bodies are created in the so-called waking state. At the moment of so-called death, with what identity would you like to depart?
Visitor: As Parabrahman.
Niz: The Absolute, which I call Parabrahman, what is it like? What you are doing is multiplying words with more words, concepts with more concepts.
Visitor: Maharaj must take me out of this.
Niz: Can you define what you are?
Visitor: I must have your blessing to understand what I am.
Niz: You are very adept at word-games. While I am talking about knowledge that is beyond this phenomenal world, you are trying to understand through worldly concepts and words. Give up all these concepts and inquire into the nature of your beingness. How did you happen to be? Ponder it! The real blessing of the Guru comes when your knowledge itself sprouts inside you.
Niz: I am now 74 years old. And yet I feel that I am an infant. I feel clearly that, in spite of all the changes, I am a child. My guru told me, 'That child, which is you even now, is your real self (svarupa).' Go back to that state of pure being where the 'I am' is still in its purity, before it became contaminated with 'this I am' or 'that I am.' Your burden is one of false self-identifications -- abandon them all. My guru told me, 'Turst me. I tell you: You are divine. Take it as the absolute truth. Your joy is divine, your suffering is divine too. All comes from God. Remember it always. You are God; your will alone is done.' I did believe him and soon realized how wonderfully true and accurate his words were. I did not condition my mind by thinking: 'I am God, I am wonderful, I am beyond.' I simply followed his instruction, which was to focus the mind on pure being, 'I am,' and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together with nothing but the 'I am' in my mind, and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared: myself, my guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remained.
seeker: It all looks very simple and easy, but it is just not so.
(from Chapter 51 of "I AM THAT", "Be Indifferent to Pain and Pleasure")
Visitor: How did Maharaj get the name Nisargadatta?
Niz: At one time I was composing poems. Poems used to flow out of me and, in this flow, I just added Nisargadatta. I was reveling in composing poems until my Guru cautioned me, "You are enjoying composing these poems too much; give them up!" What was he driving at? His objective was for me to merge in the Absolute state instead of reveling in my beingness. This was the way I realized knowledge, not through mental manipulation. My Guru said, "This is so," and for me, it was finished! If you continue in the realm of intellect you will become entangled and lost in more and more concepts.
seeker: If I start the practice of dismissing everything as a dream, where will it lead me?
Niz: Wherever it leads you, it will be a dream. The very idea of going beyond the dream is illusory. Why go anywhere? Just realize that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another. Love all or none of it, and stop complaining. When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs to be done.
Niz: Just be as you are, don't imagine or picturize. Your body and your image have changed continuously all during your life and none of these images has remained constant. After twenty-five years your body will give up this image and will have an old person's image; later on that image also will go. If these images had been real they would have remained; they are unreal. The "I Am" principle has no form, no color, no design. Through these designs we enjoy or suffer, but nothing is real; any experience you get is not real. Whether you are crying or laughing, this is the image for that moment only - the next moment it will be changing. Some people are very good at weeping, crying, lamentation, only for that moment. So long as the body is there this passing show will be there, continuously changing, and finally, that very consciousness through which you see the world will quit. The days are numbered of this body and consciousness.
Visitor: If I have not fully attained when I die, will I have another birth?
Niz: If you go with that concept, that concept will have another birth. You don't know what form that concept will take. Only that person will be visiting me whose destiny is being fully exhausted. Nothing of his destiny will be left. You are a lady from some far off country, why should you be visiting this place? Because your destiny is being annihilated.
Niz: From 5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. what goes on? Consciousness comes to meet consciousness. There will be no other talk except some communication between consciousness itself. There will be no other strange third person or individual meddling in there. God has come to meet God. You know that whatever sentiments arise, you are not those.
seeker: How am I to fight desire? There is nothing stronger.
Niz: The waters of life are thundering over the rocks of objects -- desirable or hateful. Remove the rocks by insight and detachment and the same waters will flow deep, silent and swift, in greater volume and with greater power. Don't be theoretical about it; give time to thought and consideration. If you desire to be free, do not neglect the nearest stop to freedom. It is like climbing a mountain -- not a step can be missed. On step less-- and the summit is not reached.
(from Chapter 53 of "I AM THAT", "Desires Fulfilled Breed More Desires")
Niz: A life lived thoughtfully, in full awareness, is by itself nisarga yoga.
visitor: What does the marriage of life and mind mean?
Niz: Living in spontaneous awareness, consciousness of effortless living, being fully interested in one's life -- all this is implied.
visitor: Sarada Devi, wife of Sri Rmakrishna Paramahamsa, used to scold his disciples for too much effort. She compared them to mangoes on the tree which are being plucked before they are ripe. 'Why hurry?' she used to ask. 'Wait till you are fully ripe, mellow, and sweet.'
Niz: How right she was! There are so many who take the dawn for the noon, a mementary experience for full realization, and destroy even the little they gain by excess of pride. Humility and silence are essential for a sadhak (spiritual aspirant), however advanced. Only a fully ripened jnani can allow himself complete spontaneity.
visitor: It seems there are schools of yoga where the student, after illumination, is obliged to keep silent for seven or twelve or fifteen or even twenty-five years. Even Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi imposed on himself twenty years of silence before he began to teach.
Niz: Yes, the inner fruit must ripen. Until then the discipline, the living in awareness, must go on. Gradually the practice becomes more and more subtle until it becomes altogether formless.
(from Chapter 26 of "I AM THAT", "Personality, an Obstacle")
Visitor: What is it like to live with no concepts?
Niz: Any answer given to you will be a concept.
Visitor: How can one know that he is beyond concepts?
Niz: Merely to understand, without the slightest doubt, with great conviction, that there is a state prior to the arising of this consciousness. That, itself is, sufficient.
Visitor: How can one differentiate between just having the thought of it and living it?
Niz: How do you understand anything? Any knowledge of any kind that you think you have can only be in the consciousness. How can the consciousness, which came later, give you any knowledge about that state which exists prior to its arrival? Any thought that you have reached or are going to reach that state is false. Whatever happens in consciousness is purely imaginary, an hallucination; therefore, keep in mind the knowledge that it is consciousness in which everything is happening. With that knowledge, be still, do not pursue any other thoughts which arise in consciousness. What is necessary is to understand with sure conviction is that all is temporary, and does not reflect your true state.