Nonduality Presents


Excerpts from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's I AM THAT

compiled and edited by Miguel-Angel Carrasco

Numbers after quotations refer to pages of the edition by Chetana (P) Ltd, Bombay, 1992.

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The World exists only as a dream in my Consciousness: Part Two

Whatever has a form is only limitations imagined
in my consciousness.

By itself nothing has existence. Everything needs its own absence. To be is to be distinguishable, to be here and not there, to be now and not then, to be thus and not otherwise. Like water is shaped by the container, so is everything determined by conditions (gunas). (15)

Pure being, filling all and beyond all, is not existence, which is limited. All limitation is imaginary, only the unlimited is real. (355)

The World is but a show, a make-belief.

The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is, and yet it is not. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It just happens when we are absent-minded. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it, nor meaning. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atma. To the Self, the world is but a colourful show, which he enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over. Whatever happens on the stage makes him shudder in terror or roll with laughter, yet all the time he is aware that it is but a show. Without desire or fear, he enjoys it, as it happens. (178-9)

The universe is a stage on which a world drama is being played. The quality of the performance is all that matters; not what the actors say or do, but how they say and do it. Sportsmen seem to make tremendous efforts: yet their sole motive is to play and display. (95)

All happens as it needs, yet nothing happens. I do what seems to be necessary, but at the same time I know that nothing is necessary, that life itself is only a make-belief. (191)

You see me apparently functioning. In reality, I only look. Whatever is done, is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they all are real to the man in bondage; to me, they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself. I may perceive the world just like you, but you believe to be in it, while I see it as an iridescent drop in the vast expanse of consciousness. (179)

All that lives, works for protecting, perpetuating and expanding consciousness. This is the world's sole meaning and purpose. It is the very essence of Yoga - ever raising the level of consciousness, discovery of new dimensions, with their properties, qualities and powers. In that sense, the entire universe becomes a school of Yoga. (275)

Out of a lump of gold, you can make many ornaments - each will remain gold. Similarly, in whatever role I may appear and whatever function I may perform - I remain what I am: the "I am" immovable, unshakable, independent. What you call the universe, nature, is my spontaneous creativity. Whatever happens, happens. But such is my nature that all ends in joy. (138)

The World I perceive is entirely private, a dream.

The world you can perceive is a very small world indeed. And it is entirely private. Take it to be a dream and be done with it. Is not the idea of a total world a part of your personal world? The universe does not come to tell you that you are a part of it. It is you who have invented a totality to contain you as a part. In fact all you know is your own private world, however well you have furnished it with your imaginations and expectations. (23)

This world is painted by you on the screen of consciousness and is entirely your own private world. (200)

To know the picture as the play of light on the screen, gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real. (388)

Consider. The world in which you live, who else knows about it? Within the prison of your world appears a man who tells you that the world of painful contradictions, which you have created, is neither continuous nor permanent and is based on a misapprehension. He pleads with you to get out of it. You got into it by forgetting what you are, and you will get out of it by knowing yourself as you are. There is no reality in it. It cannot last. (45)

The world has no existence apart from you. At every moment it is but a reflection of yourself. You create it, you destroy it. Your personal universe does not exist by itself. It is merely a limited and distorted view of the real. (94)

You are not of the world, you are not even in the world. The world is not, you alone are. You create the world in your imagination like a dream. As you cannot separate the dream from yourself, so you cannot have an outer world independent of yourself. You are independent, not the world. Don't be afraid of a world you yourself have created. (453)

Search and you shall discover the Universal Person, who is yourself and infinitely more. Anyhow, begin by realizing that the world is in you, not you in the world. Your personal body is a part in which the whole is wonderfully reflected. But you have also a universal body. You cannot even say that you do not know it, because you see and experience it all the time. Only you call it "the world" and are afraid of it. Both anatomy and astronomy describe you. You know the world exactly as you know your body - through your senses. It is your mind that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition. (309-10)

The world is but a reflection of my imagination. Whatever I want to see, I can see. But why should I invent patterns of creation, evolution and destruction? I do not need them. The world is in me, the world is myself. I am not afraid of it and have no desire to lock it up in a mental picture. (28)

Imagine a dense forest full of tigers and you in a strong steel cage. Knowing that you are well protected by the cage, you watch the tigers fearlessly. Next, you find the tigers in the cage and yourself roaming about in the jungle. Last, the cage disappears and you ride the tigers! (476-7)

What I appear to be to you exists only in your mind. I am a dream that can wake you up. You will have the proof of it in your very waking up. (181)

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. (257)

Desire and fear come from seeing the World
as separate from my-Self.

As you think yourself to be, so you think the world to be. If you imagine yourself as separate from the world, the world will appear as separate from you and you will experience desire and fear. I do not see the world as separate from me and so there is nothing for me to desire or fear. (123)

There is no chaos in the world, except the chaos which your mind creates. It is self-created in the sense that at its very centre is the false idea of oneself as a thing different and separate from other things. In reality you are not a thing, nor separate. (121)

While I see the dream as real, I'll suffer being its slave.

Both sleep and waking are misnomers. We are only dreaming. True waking and true sleeping only the gnani knows. We dream that we are awake, we dream that we are asleep. The three states are only varieties of the dream state. Treating everything as a dream liberates. As long as you give reality to dreams, you are their slave. By imagining that you are born as so-and-so, you become a slave of the so-and-so. The essence of slavery is to imagine yourself to be a process, to have past and future, to have history. In fact, we have no history, we are not a process, we do not develop, nor decay; so see all as a dream and stay out of it. (189)

To know that you are a prisoner of your mind, that you live in an imaginary world of your own creation is the dawn of wisdom. (426)

The cause of suffering is in the identification of the perceiver with the perceived. Out of it desire is born, and with desire blind action, unmindful of results. Look around and you will see - suffering is a man-made thing. (381)

Nobody suffers in a play, unless one identifies himself with it. Don't identity yourself with the world and you will not suffer. (156)

While it lasts, the dream has temporary being. It is your desire to hold on to it, that creates the problem. Let go. Stop imagining that the dream is yours. (257)

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. (258)

At present you are drifting, and therefore in danger, for to a drifter any moment anything may happen. It would be better to wake up and see your situation. That you are, you know. What you are, you don't know. Find out what you are. (474)

My intention to wake you up is the link [between our respective dreams]. 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 realize 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. 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. (258)

This is the heart of the matter: As long as you believe that only the outer world is real, you remain its slave. (424) Just understand that what you see is not what is. Appearances will dissolve on investigation, and the underlying reality will come to the surface. You need not burn the house to get out of it. You just walk out. It is only when you cannot come and go freely that the house becomes a jail. I move in and out of consciousness easily and naturally, and therefore to me the world is a home, not a prison. (479)

Nothing in the dream is done by me.

As long as you believe yourself to be a body, you will ascribe causes to everything. I do not say things have no causes. Each thing has innumerable causes. It is as it is, because the world is as it is. Every cause in its ramifications covers the universe. There are no causes, but your ignorance of your real being, which is perfect and beyond causation. For whatever happens, all the universe is responsible and you are the source of the universe. (347)

All that happens is the cause of all that happens. Causes are numberless; the idea of a sole cause is an illusion. (398)

Why do you talk of action? Are you acting ever? Some unknown power acts and you imagine that you are acting. You are merely watching what happens, without being able to influence it in any way. (238)

Stop imagining yourself being or doing this or that, and the realization that you are the source and heart of all will dawn upon you. (3)

The wise man counts nothing as his own. When at some time and place some miracle is attributed to some person, he will not establish any causal link between events and people, nor will he allow any conclusions to be drawn. All happened as it happened because it had to happen; everything happens as it does, because the universe is as it is. (270)

You imagine being and doing as identical. It is not so. The mind and the body move and change and cause other minds and bodies to move and change, and that is called doing, action. I see that it is in the nature of action to create further action, like fire that continues by burning. I neither act nor cause others to act; I am timelessly aware of what is going on. (398)

Nothing is done by me, everything just happens. I do not expect, I do not plan, I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal. (191)

It is just like your tape-recorder. It records, it reproduces - all by itself. You only listen. Similarly, I watch all that happens, including my talking to you. It is not me who talks, the words appear in my mind and then I hear them said. (433)

The deed is a fact, the doer a mere concept. Your very language shows that while the deed is certain, the doer is dubious; shifting responsibility is a game peculiarly human. Considering the endless list of factors required for anything to happen, one can only admit that everything is responsible for everything, however remote. Doership is a myth born from the illusion of "me" and "mine". I do not have the feeling that I am talking. There is talking going on, that is all. Do you [really talk]? You hear yourself talking and you say: I talk. I have no objections to the conventions of your language, but they distort and destroy reality. A more accurate way of saying would have been: "There is talking, working, coming, going". For anything to happen, the entire universe must coincide. It is wrong to believe that anything in particular can cause an event. Every cause is universal. Your very body would not exist without the entire universe contributing to its creation and survival. I am fully aware that things happen as they happen because the world is as it is. To affect the course of events, I must bring a new factor into the world and such factor can only be myself, the power of love and understanding focussed in me. (389)

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