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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 big cycle: part one

The alternation of manifested (existence, becoming)
- unmanifested (pure being).

The three states, sleeping, dreaming and waking, are all in consciousness, the manifested; what you call unconsciousness will also be manifested - in time; beyond consciousness altogether lies the unmanifested. And beyond all, and pervading all, is the heart of being which beats steadily: manifested-unmanifested, manifested-unmanifested (saguna-nirguna). (450)

It is the instinct of exploration, the love of the unknown, that brings me into existence. It is in the nature of being to seek adventure in becoming, as it is in the nature of becoming to seek peace in being. This alternation of being and becoming is inevitable; but my home is beyond. (417)

With being arising in consciousness, the ideas of what you are arise in your mind as well as what you should be. This brings forth desire and action and the process of becoming begins. Becoming has, apparently, no beginning and no end, for it restarts every moment. With the cessation of imagination and desire, becoming ceases and the being this or that merges into pure being, which is not describable, only experienceable. (505)

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)

Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy. (426)

After all, what do you really want? Not perfection; you are already perfect. What you seek is to express in action what you are. For this you have a body and a mind. Take them in hand and make them serve you. (212)

The manifestation of the Absolute.

[The centre of consciousness] cannot be given name and form, for it is without quality and beyond consciousness. You may say it is a point in consciousness, which is beyond consciousness. Like a hole in the paper is both in the paper and yet not of paper, so is the supreme state in the very centre of consciousness, and yet beyond consciousness. It is as an opening in the mind through which the mind is flooded with light. The opening is not even the light. It is just an opening. From the mind's point of view, it is but an opening for the light of awareness to enter the mental space. By itself the light can only be compared to a solid, dense, rocklike, homogeneous and changeless mass of pure awareness, free from the mental patterns of name and shape. The supreme gives existence to the mind. The mind gives existence to the body. (34)

There can be no experience of the Absolute as it is beyond all experience. On the other hand, the Self is the experiencing factor in every experience and thus, in a way, validates the multiplicity of experiences. The world may be full of things of great value, but if there is nobody to buy them, they have no price. The Absolute contains everything experienceable, but without the experiencer they are as nothing. That which makes the experience possible is the Absolute. That which makes it actual is the Self. (334)

In the Supreme the witness appears. The witness creates the person and thinks itself as separate from it. The witness sees that the person appears in consciousness, which again appears in the witness. This realization of the basic unity is the working of the Supreme. It is the power behind the witness, the source from which all flows. It cannot be contacted, unless there is unity and love and mutual help between the person and the witness, unless doing is in harmony with the being and the knowing. The Supreme is both the source and the fruit of such harmony. As I talk to you, I am in the state of detached but affectionate awareness (turiya) . When this awareness turns upon itself, you may call it the Supreme State (turiyatita). But the fundamental reality is beyond awareness, beyond the three states of becoming, being and not-being. (296)

The body appears in your mind, your mind is the content of your consciousness; you are the motionless witness of the river of consciousness which changes eternally without changing you in any way. Your own changelessness is so obvious that you do not notice it. The universe is in you and cannot be without you. The world exists in memory, memory comes into consciousness; consciousness exists in awareness and awareness is the reflection of the light on the waters of existence. (199)

Nobody can say "I am the witness". The "I am" is always witnessed. The state of detached awareness is the witness-consciousness, the "mirror-mind". It rises and sets with its object and thus it is not the real. Whatever its object, it remains the same, hence it is also real. It partakes of both the real and the unreal, and is therefore a bridge between the two. (395-6)

Consciousness arising, the world arises. When you consider the wisdom and the beauty of the world, you call it God. Know the source of it all, which is in yourself, and you will find all your questions answered. (266)

The absolute precedes time. Awareness comes first. A bundle of memories and mental habits attracts attention, awareness gets focalized and a person suddenly appears. Remove the light of awareness, go to sleep o swoon away, and the person disappears. The person (vyakti) flickers, awareness (vyakta) contains all space and time, the absolute (avyakta) is. (255)
Awareness is not of time. Time exists in consciousness only. Beyond consciousness, where are time and space? (31)

Mahadakash is nature, the ocean of existence, 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. (251)

Just like in a cinema all is light, so does consciousness become the vast world. Look closely and you will see that all names and forms are but transitory waves on the ocean of consciousness, that only consciousness can be said to be, not its transformations. In the immensity of consciousness a light appears, a tiny point that moves rapidly and traces shapes, thoughts and feelings, concepts and ideas, like the pen writing on paper. And the ink that leaves a trace is memory. You are that tiny point, and by your movement the world is ever re-created. Stop moving and there will be no world. Look within and you will find that the point of light is the reflection of the immensity of light in the body, as the sense "I am". There is only light, all else appears. To the mind, it [that light] appears as darkness. It can be known only through its reflections. All is seen in daylight - except daylight. To be the point of light tracing the world is turiya. To be the light itself is turiyatita. But of what use are names when reality is so near? (392-3)

Don't say "everybody is conscious". Say "there is consciousness", in which everything appears and disappears. Our minds are just waves on the ocean of consciousness. As waves they come and go. As ocean they are infinite and eternal. Know yourselves as the ocean of being, the womb of all existence. These are all metaphors of course; the reality is beyond description. You can know it only by being it. (221)

Neither comes first [matter or mind], for neither appears alone. Matter is the shape, mind is the name. Together they make the world. Pervading and transcending is Reality, pure being-awareness-bliss, your very essence. (405)

When the self-identification with the body is no more, all space and time are in your mind, which is a mere ripple in consciousness, which is awareness reflected in nature. Awareness and matter are the active and passive aspects of being, which is in both and beyond both. (483)

Consciousness is always of movement, of change. There can be no such thing a changeless consciousness. Changelessness wipes out consciousness immediately. A man deprived of outer or inner sensations blanks out, or goes into the birthless and deathless state. Only when spirit and matter come together, consciousness is born. (479)

In reality you were never born and never shall die. But now you imagine that you are, or have, a body and you ask what has brought about this state. Within the limits of illusion the answer is: desire born from memory attracts you to a body and makes you think as one with it. But this is true only from the relative point of view. In fact, there is no body, nor a world to contain it; there is only a mental condition, a dream-like state, easy to dispel by questioning its reality. (427)

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