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Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - issue #1284 - editor - michael


Nisargadatta list

From: minok

The Mystery of Awareness

I remember the moment clearly. I had

escaped from my sisters, over therocks and around the point. I was barely seven.

Above me, a rough

escarpment of boulders singing in the midday heat, at

my feet a rock pool of perfect,

inviolable stillness, and beyond, the

blue vastness of the South Pacific.

There was no other living creature. I

was by myself, barefooted, between the

cliff and the ocean.

As I squatted there, watching the

reflection of the wind in the unrippled

pool, hearing its exhilaration high

above me in the bright emptiness of the

sky, I became aware for the first time

of awareness itself.

I had no name for it, but I could almost

feel it, as if it had substance, like

the water in the rock pool, or breath,

like the shouting wind. I saw that I

was entirely by myself in a boundless

ocean of awareness.

In the same instant I understood that awareness is the single mystery

of life, that it enfolds all other mysteries,

even the secret of the separate self.

From that moment I was indelibly

astonished, and I knew that all my life

I would be pinching myself and asking,

What is awareness? Nothing else would

ever command my attention so completely.

How could it? For nothing else mattered

next to the constant pressure, the

single compulsion of this mystery.

A quarter of a century went by, and one

day my teacher placed in my hands a

copy of Mukerjee's edition of the

Ashtavakra Gita. I had by then, in the ordinary course of my seeking,

read a great deal of scripture, enough to know

the truth of Ashtavakra's admonition,

halfway through his own Song:

My child, you can talk about holy books

all you like. But until you forget everything, you will never find


Understanding the vanity of scripture,

I hardly expected Ashtavakra to solve

in a single epiphany the mystery of awareness.

And yet, as I read his spare and simple

verses, I felt that here at last were

words which in some measure consumed my astonishment. They spoke so

directly, and so modestly. They

seemed so austere, and yet so generous.

I found myself once more a child of

seven, tipped between the sea and the

sky, but hearing now in the wind's

exuberance a clearer music, touching

the heart of the mystery.

What is the rising or the vanishing of thought?

What is the visible world, or the

invisible? What is the little soul, or

God Himself?

Awareness. Pure awareness. The clear

space, the sky, the heart of awareness.


from Translator's Introduction of The

Ashtavakra Gita a dialogue b/w King

Janaka, the father of Sita and his guru Ashtavakra

by Thomas Byrom

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
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