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Excerpts from I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - Part 9

read by James Traverse





I AM THAT
Dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

 
9. Responses of Memory

   Questioner:
Some say the universe was created. Others say that it always existed and is for ever
undergoing transformation. Some say it is subject to eternal laws. Others deny even causality.
Some say the world is real. Others -- that it has no being whatsoever.

Nisargadatta:
Which world are you enquiring about?

Questioner:
The world of my perceptions, of course.

Nisargadatta:
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.

Questioner:
How can I take it to be a dream? A dream does not last.

Nisargadatta:
How long will your own world last?

Questioner:
After all, my little world is but a part of the total.

Nisargadatta:
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.

Questioner:
Surely, perception is not imagination!

Nisargadatta:
What else? Perception is recognition, is it not? Something entirely unfamiliar can be sensed, but
cannot be perceived. Perception involves memory.

Questioner:
Granted, but memory does not make it illusion.

Nisargadatta:
Perception, imagination, expectation, anticipation, illusion -- all are based on memory. There are
hardly any border lines between them. They just merge into each other. All are responses of memory.

Questioner:
Still, memory is there to prove the reality of my world.

Nisargadatta:
How much do you remember? Try to write down from memory what you were thinking, saying
   and doing on the 30thof the last month.

Questioner:
Yes, there is a blank.

Nisargadatta:
It is not so bad. You do remember a lot -- unconscious memory makes the world in which you
live so familiar.

Questioner:
Admitted that the world in which I live is subjective and partial. What about you? In what kind of
world do you live?

Nisargadatta:
My world is just like yours. I see, I hear, I feel, I think, I speak and act in a world I perceive, just
like you. But with you it is all, with me it is nothing. Knowing the world to be a part of myself, I pay it
no more attention than you pay to the food you have eaten. While being prepared and eaten, the
food is separate from you and your mind is on it; once swallowed, you become totally unconscious
of it. I have eaten up the world and I need not think of it any more.

Questioner:
Donít you become completely irresponsible?

Nisargadatta:
How could I? How can I hurt something which is one with me. On the contrary, without thinking
of the world, whatever I do will be of benefit to it. Just as the body sets itself right unconsciously, so
am I ceaselessly active in setting the world right.

Questioner:
Nevertheless, you are aware of the immense suffering of the world?

Nisargadatta:
Of course I am, much more than you are.

Questioner:
Then what do you do?

Nisargadatta:
I look at it through the eyes of God and find that all is well.

Questioner:
How can you say that all is well? Look at the wars, the exploitation, the cruel strife between the
citizen and the state.

Nisargadatta:
All these sufferings are man-made and it is within man's power to put an end to them. God
helps by facing man with the results of his actions and demanding that the balance should be
restored. Karma is the law that works for righteousness; it is the healing hand of God.