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Excerpts from I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - Part 17

read by James Traverse

Dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

17. The Ever-Present

The highest powers of the mind are understanding, intelligence and insight. Man has
three bodies -- the physical, the mental and the causal (prana, mana, karana). The physical reflects
his being; the mental -- his knowing and the causal -- his joyous creativity. Of course, these are all
forms in consciousness. But they appear to be separate, with qualities of their own. Intelligence
(buddhi) is the reflection in the mind of the power to know (chit). It is what makes the mind
knowledgeable. The brighter the intelligence, the wider, deeper and truer the knowledge. To know
things, to know people and to know oneself are all functions of intelligence: the last is the most
important and contains the former two. Misunderstanding oneself and the world leads to false ideas
and desires, which again lead to bondage. Right understanding of oneself is necessary for freedom
from the bondage of illusion. I understand all this in theory, but when it comes to practice, I find that
I fail hopelessly in my responses to situations and people and by my inappropriate reactions I
merely add to my bondage. Life is too quick for my dull and slow mind. I do understand but too late,
when the old mistakes have been already repeated.

What then is your problem?

I need a response to life, not only intelligent, but also very quick. It cannot be quick unless it is
perfectly spontaneous. How can I achieve such spontaneity?

The mirror can do nothing to attract the sun. It can only keep bright. As soon as the mind is
ready, the sun shines in it.

The light is of the Self, or of the mind?

Both. It is uncaused and unvarying by itself and coloured by the mind, as it moves and changes.
It is very much like a cinema. The light is not in the film, but the film colours the light and makes it
appear to move by intercepting it.

Are you now in the perfect state?

Perfection is a state of the mind, when it is pure. I am beyond the mind, whatever its state, pure
or impure. Awareness is my nature; ultimately I am beyond being and non-being.

Will meditation help me to reach your state?

Meditation will help you to find your bonds, loosen them, untie them and cast your moorings.
When you are no longer attached to anything, you have done your share. The rest will be done for

By whom?

By the same power that brought you so far, that prompted your heart to desire truth and your
mind to seek it. It is the same power that keeps you alive. You may call it Life or the Supreme.

The same power kills me in due course.

Were you not present at your birth? Will you not be present at your death? Find him who is
always present and your problem of spontaneous and perfect response will be solved.

Realisation of the eternal and an effortless and adequate response to the ever-changing
temporary event are two different and separate questions. You seem to roll them into one. What
makes you do so?

To realise the Eternal is to become the Eternal, the whole, the universe, with all it contains.
Every event is the effect and the expression of the whole and is in fundamental harmony with the
whole. All response from the whole must be right, effortless and instantaneous.
It cannot be otherwise, if it is right. Delayed response is wrong response. Thought, feeling and
action must be one and simultaneous with the situation that calls for them.

How does it come?

I told you already. Find him who was present at your birth and will witness your death.

My father and mother?

Yes, your father-mother, the source from which you came. To solve a problem you must trace it
to its source. Only in the dissolution of the problem in the universal solvents of enquiry and
dispassion, can its right solution be found.